PhoneNews is reporting that Verizon Wireless has approved a firmware update for the xv6850 Touch Pro. As promised by Verizon Wireless late last year, this firmware update will unlock the GPS on the handset, allowing owners to use Google Maps or Windows Live Search instead of the proprietary and costly VZ Navigator. The firmware update also adds Visual Voicemail support to the phone, a feature that requires a $3 monthly fee and EVRC-B codec support which improves call handling. The update is not available through Verizon Wireless or HTC yet but it is being offered early by Phone News. For those Touch Pro owners who have not already hacked their phone to unlock the GPS, hit the read link to obtain the firmware update — at your own risk of course. Samsung Saga and Samsung Omnia owners – hang in there and hopefully a similar update for your crippled handset is right around the corner, too.
The next few months will be busy for U.S. Cellular customers as five new handsets are rumored to be hitting the shelves by the end of June. Coming first is the HTC Touch Pro which is slated to arrive on April 17th. Following close on the heels of the Touch Pro is the Samsung Gloss U440, a white or charcoal clam shell with a QWERTY keyboard, integrated music player, stereo Bluetooth and 1.3 megapixel camera. Targeting a feminine audience with a penchant for texting, the Gloss will hit the shelves in early May. Shortly thereafter in mid-May, U.S. Cellular will debut the entry-level Samsung R311, a simple clam shell with Bluetooth, one-touch speakerphone and a VGA camera. Last but not least to arrive in mid-June are the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230, which needs no introduction, and the LG UX840. The LG UX840 will be a QWERTY slider with a 3″ QVGA touchscreen, 3.0 megapixel camera, integrated music player, stereo Bluetooth, full HTML browser, email support and GPS. The lineup is hardly confirmed considering the source is an anonymous forum post, but we imagine U.S. Cellular customers will be glad to hear about the possibility of some fresh blood coming their way.
Windows Mobile users have a lot going for them lately but truth be told, most of the good news still falls in the rumor category for the time being. Windows Mobile 6.5 might be introduced at MWC but we don’t know for sure. We also don’t even know if it will be worth the wait. The honeycomb UI looks interesting but videos show it might just be a TouchFLO-like band-aid. The rumored cloud-based suite looks nice but we still have nothing from Microsoft regarding SkyBox, SkyLine or SkyMarket. Now however, we’ve got some good news that you might not have to wait long for. According to an update to the Firefox Mobile wiki, HTC Touch Pro owners could be looking at an initial release as soon as next week. Woo! Internet Explorer is, umm, not so good, and Firefox Mobile is poised to do for Windows Mobile what Firefox did for Windows: Fix web browsing. For all the people out there without a Touch Pro this is still great news as it marks the first time a version of Firefox Mobile will be released in any state for a device other than a Nokia Internet Tablet. We can’t wait.