Smartphones – except the iPhone until relatively recently – have always had the capability to ‘multitask’ – run more than one application at the same time.
This comes in useful if you want to switch between applications quickly, or if you want to jump from one to another without having to close the first down. Read more

Taiwanese handset maker HTC began 2011 with an announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas of three flavours of 4G phones for the leading operators in the US. The Thunderbolt should appear on Verizon’s LTE network by the spring, Sprint’s Wimax network will feature the Evo Shift and AT&T ‘s HSPA+ network has the Inspire from February 13. I have been testing the Inspire, which is very similar to the Desire HD, available in Europe and Asia. Read more

HTC, Motorola and then Samsung have successively stolen the Android smartphone limelight, but it could be Sony Ericsson’s turn in 2011. The handset maker is planning a big push, starting with the Xperia arc Android smartphone launched at CES, with several more models including a PlayStation phone on the way. Read more

Google is giving us a glimpse of the future with its Nexus S phone, the first to run Android version 2.3, and its CR-48 notebook, a prototype for its Chrome computing system.

Tim Bradshaw and Richard Waters wrote early reviews of the products before I had an opportunity to play with them for this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section. For me, the CR-48 represented the biggest change in my computing habits since I moved from the keyboard commands of MS-DOS to the Windows operating system nearly 20 years ago. Read more

Google will release the latest version of its flagship Android smartphone this month, made by Samsung and offering a curved screen and faster processor.

The Nexus S is the first handset to feature the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, dubbed Gingerbread. It comes as smartphones running Google’s software overtake Apple and close in on Nokia in global market share. More than 200,000 smartphones running Android are activated every day, Google says. Read more

The acid test for gadget success comes not from reviewers, but from shoppers in stores and during this busiest time of the year in the West.

This week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section has some gadget gift-buying suggestions, with the online version after the jump linking to previous reviews of products. For convenience, a list here too of products reviewed in detail: Read more

Firefox may have disqualified itself from the iPhone, but expect the browser to appear in its Firefox for Mobile version in the Android Market in the near future.

It’s not finished yet, but there are so many bogus versions of Firefox appearing in the Market that its creator Mozilla is considering pushing out the beta version, already available on its website. Read more

For a company rebooting its mobile phone strategy, the simple building-blocks look of the home screen on Windows Phone 7 is an apt visual metaphor for the extensive reconstruction work under way to rebuild Microsoft’s smartphone reputation.

In this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, I reviewed one of the nine launch phones sporting this refreshing new interface – the Samsung Focus. Read more

Nokia’s N8 smartphone takes gorgeous panoramic pictures, but its Symbian ^3 interface is cramped, cluttered and hard to navigate.

In this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, I reviewed the flagship smartphone and assessed how it might fare against the latest Android and Windows Phone 7 rivalsRead more

It’s two years this month since the birth of the first Android phone, the HTC G1, with its godfather T-Mobile celebrating with the release of an official successor, the G2.

Of course, there have been many other Android phones in between, but the G2 is as good a milestone as any to assess how far these Google phones have come. Read more

Windows Phone 7 is probably Microsoft’s last chance to remain relevant in the increasingly competitive smartphone operating system marketplace.

Over the past few weeks, I have had the chance to test out several of the new handsets based on Windows Phone 7, including models from Samsung, the Korean electronics group, and HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker, which has been a longtime Microsoft handset partner. Read more

First impressions of Nokia’s new N8 handset are impressive build quality, best camera I’ve experienced on a smartphone and a big improvement in the operating system with the introduction of Symbian ^3.

I plan a full review in the Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section shortly, but, in the meantime, more on the N8 in an interview after the jump with Tero Ojanperä, head of Nokia’s mobile services, who handed me an N8 review unit on its first day of shipping on Thursday. Read more

Research in Motion’s new BlackBerry PlayBook will be taking on the iPad, the Cisco Cius and a host of other tablets when it appears early next year.

But its closest rival, both in looks, specifications and marketing strategy, appears to be Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, with the two manufacturers looking to pair the devices with their existing smartphones. Read more

A new Dell tablet with an innovative swivel-screen that turns it into a netbook grabbed all the attention at Intel’s developer forum on Tuesday.

But smartphones running the chipmaker’s Atom processor were notable in their absence again, suggesting Intel is making heavy weather of breaking into the key mobile handset industry. Read more

After eight years writing his Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, Paul Taylor has signed off with a look back at the dramatic changes over that time.

Paul is launching a new section on later this month called The Connected Business, including reviews on technology for the workplace. After the jump, his last word on the rise and rise of smartphones. Read more

Hewlett-Packard is announcing an entertainment-oriented  refresh to its notebook computer line today–and the most notable addition comes with its own 3D glasses.

The HP Envy 17 3D’s glasses automatically turn on when the user is watching a 3D Blu-ray DVD on the machine and then turn off again, giving the glasses a projected year of battery life.

In a test, I found the background shapes to have distracting shadows, but HP said it is tweaking the technology and will ship before the winter holidays at $1,600 or more. Read more

Dell on Tuesday began selling its first US smartphone, a model using an older version of Google’s Android operating system and seen as a lower-end entry that will be followed by more sophisticated models.

The Dell Aero joins a throng of competitors, even among Android phones, which now collectively outsell Apple’s iPhone. Read more

The BlackBerry Torch is the first touch-enabled slider phone from Research In Motion and the first to feature its new operating system, BlackBerry 6.

But does this mean that the BlackBerry is a match for the latest Android smartphones and the iPhone 4? We have a hands-on look at the BlackBerry Torch in the Personal Technology section of this week’s Business Life in the FT. Read more

Mobile TV in the US has had a good World Cup, according to viewing statistics released by MobiTV  and Qualcomm’s FloTV.

But now the last ball has been kicked, are there any compelling reasons to keep watching? Read more

This week saw the release of new operating systems by Apple and Google – iOS4 and Android 2.2 – and the launch of two new phones – iPhone 4 and the second-generation Droid X.

In Friday’s Personal Technology column in the FT, we look at the astonishing growth of the smartphone category and the capabilities of its latest entrants. Read more