Late last year, we said farewell to the Phone Encyclopedia. It was a tough call, but one in hindsight we think was the right one to make.
There were a few areas of the Phone Encyclopedia though that maintained very high levels of popularity, and we committed to bringing them back. Our first, the Carrier Phone Numbers page, has been up for awhile. You’ll find it at the top of every page, and yesterday we moved it up a notch from sub-menu status.
Today, we’re happy to announce the return of the Firmware Tracker. We created the Firmware Tracker way back in 2004, as a means of asking the industry to step up and improve the way software was updated on user’s devices. It was the first viable option for people to actually find out if their phone needed a software update.
The Firmware Tracker will be available under the PhoneNews.com Extras menu item, at the top of every page on the site.
Since then, Firmware Over The Air (FOTA), and smartphones have gone mainstream. So, why bring it back?
First, we think old hardware can still be functional. That old Windows Mobile device can still live on as a backup turn-by-turn GPS device. That old Android phone can still refresh popular web sites in the background, on your desk. Or just be a great alarm clock.
Many smartphones to this day still don’t totally update over the air. Major upgrades are still often done over the wire, with little fanfare, as companies move onto selling new devices.
So, we still feel it’s a necessary item on the site. And, we’ll continue to update it as people send in new firmware releases.
However, the Firmware Tracker is still community supported. We need you to use it, and fill out the form (on the page) to let us know when new firmware is available.
Also, I wanted to close by giving you an update on what we’re working on behind-the-scenes. Work continues on transitioning PhoneNews.com into being a powerful news aggregation service, while still maintaining the potent mobile-and-technology coverage. We are hiring right now to make that a successful transition.
As promised, the Phone Encyclopedia, and its thousands of pages of information will be handed over to Wikipedia. Details on that will be available this summer. While PhoneNews.com’s own page is still banned on Wikipedia, due to the opinions of a few members of the community, we’re committed to working past that.
As to our forum situation, we realize people may have given up on ever seeing a forum from us again. Forums, like wireless news sites in general, have become over-saturated these days. We are still working on spinning that off, as time permits.