Archive for January, 2010

Nexus One Getting 3G Fix

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Google Nexus One 1It has only been a little over a couple of weeks since the launch of the Google phone, the Nexus One and we have already heard a ton of complaints and criticisms about what many once thought to be the true iPhone killer. In the end, after a dismal and unimpressive launch, 3G connectivity issues and lack of customer support, the Nexus One still remains far behind the iPhone in terms of actual performance.

One thing that the Nexus is following the iPhone in is the 3G problems. As some of your may remember, the iPhone also had problems with 3G networks. It was not until two major patches (and the threat of a class action lawsuit) did the 3G connection get fixed.

Users of the Nexus One have had varying problems related to the 3G network connection. The most common of the complaints was that the device would jump between EDGE and 3G networks, and sometimes, the phone would not be able to get a good 3G signal in locations where other devices have no problems (as seen when the Nexus was compared with a G1). These problems were worsened by the fact that Google had a very weak after sales policy and the company lacked the sufficient customer support required to assist their clients.

According to Ivar, a Google representative, the company is still working on a solution to the problem. Google’s engineers are in the process of testing a possible software fix which should help solve the problem and if it works, we should expect to see the patch within the next two weeks. With the N-One’s bad sales performance (only 20,000 units sold during the first week) and current problems, it is about time that Google actually announced some good news.

The Next in User Input Technology: Pressure Sensitivity

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Touch ScreenHave you ever tried pushing really hard on your touch screen display hoping that your extra effort would get your message sent faster, or your call connecting quicker?

It is an instinctive effort in vain, but pretty much understandable –some people even press hard on elevator buttons in hopes for the car to ride up faster. We all know it will not work, but we still press as hard as we can.

This instinct is not lost on engineers who constantly design and redesign the gadgets and gizmos we use today. In fact, pressure sensitive controls are already present in today’s society and in a very unlikely medium. Video games are some of the most interesting pastimes, hobbies and lifestyles that people have, and it makes sense that many players find themselves eagerly pressing hard on those plastic buttons while playing. More often than not, pressing lightly on a button and jamming it hard achieves the same result.

Playstation 2 players however, actually get a little more reward for the effort, games like Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Ace Combat Zero take advantage of the pressure sensitive buttons on the Dualshock controller, controlling depth of zoom and even complex moves (such as tackles or CQC as it is called in MGS) according to the pressure applied. In MGS, lightly holding down the square button will let you grapple an enemy, press it hard and you can permanently incapacitate the target.

This is done with pressure sensitive buttons –a mechanism not possible on touch screens. Fortunately, UK based researchers at Peratech hare currently working on a new form of technology that would allow users to use pressure sensitive commands on touch screens. The material is thin and can (theoretically) be fitted into any touch screen.

Will this be the start of a new era for user input technology? Hit the link to learn the rest of the details.

The Apple Tablet is Out!

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Apple-iPadJanuary 27 just passed us and so did Apple’s pretty successful unveiling of the iPad.

The iPad has been on the news headlines constantly since December and sporadically before that. The big question, why is the world so interested in a fully touch screen device? The answer is simple, because it is so deceptively simple and easy to use. Unlike desktop and laptop computers, the tablet is a full device that require no additional installations and little tech knowhow to use and maintain. Turn it on and jump straight to your favorite websites. Need to do some serious work? –load the iWorks application and create and edit documents as you need with the onscreen keyboard.

Controls on the device have been demonstrated to be very intuitive. The usual set of touch screen commands are present and the 9.7 inch screen will respond accordingly to your taps, pinches, and other gestures.

The iPad comes in two forms, a 3G and a non-3G version. Both have access to wireless local area networks (WiFi) but only the 3G version has GPS support. Seeing Google maps on the 3G version of the iPad is pretty impressive. You will not be able to lug it around easily on your car (unless you’ve got the big trailer with room to spare for a 9 inch screen on your dashboard), but it makes for the perfect planning tool that gives you accurate and up to date map info.

Of course, Apple still has its usual restrictions with the internal memory and the battery. The iPad is, as we sadly expected, a closed device. No removable battery, no removable hard drives. At least the battery is pretty high capacity. The device is said to last for a month on standby and 10 hours of straight usage. The hard drive is a small 64GB at most (it also comes in 16GB and 32GB versions).

Check the source for some more info.

Orange: Bringing together Advertising and Exclusive Access

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

OrangeMobile phone advertising is a risky thing. After all, not that many people would appreciate suddenly receiving advertisements on their mobile devices, but when these adverts come with special promotions and exclusive access, would a customer be more tolerant of the ads?

Most advertisements, with or without bonus deals often end up in the spam folder or the trash bin, depending on the medium of the advert. People also go through lengths to download pop-up blockers, ad removers and other similar software on computers just to avoid advertisements, targeted or otherwise.

Looks like Orange is planning to stir up a hornets’ nest with their new Orange Shot ad service. While this will certainly bring revenue to the mobile network operator, it does not necessarily mean a great deal for both brands and consumers –though Orange believes otherwise. Marc Overton, current vice president of Wholesale Business Development for Orange has stated that “Orange shots will transform advertising as we know it.”

So far, the system has yet to be implemented. It will be first tried out on a sample number of 100,000 of Orange’s subscribers on the Monkey-line starting on February 1.

It has not yet been revealed as to how the system will actually be put to use, but it is probable that an extensive review and study of individual customer preferences will be taken count of.

Despite the fact that not many like ads, targeted advertising has its good points. For one thing, getting relevant advertisements is not as annoying as seeing ads for window treatments on your favourite Manchester United RSS feed window.

Also, customers will get bonus content such as exclusive news and media content. The ads will come in the form of SMS and MMS messages and will allow customers to reply with feedbacks and comments.

Get more info on Orange Shots at Mobile Today UK.

HTC Bravo and HTC Legend Resurface

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

HTC BravoThe mobile community is abuzz with rumours ad reports about devices from HTC. Putting aside the hoax images of the HTC Obsession and unconfirmed reports about the Espresso, HD3 and other devices, let us focus on two major phones that first appeared in the leaked HTC roadmap last year.

The first two devices in the 8 phone list were the HTC Bravo and the HTC Legend. Both were touch screen Android smart phones that packed serious hardware such as impressive AMOLED screens. Sadly, since all the big news about the Nexus One came about, most of the details in the leaked roadmap were all but forgotten and so far, only the HTC Bravo has been confirmed.

The HTC Bravo is expected to be released sometime this March or April –right about the same time as the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10. Without a doubt, the two Snapdragon powered Android phones will be going head to head with their matching specifications and the HTC Sense UI squaring off with the Sony Timescape and Mediascape UI.

The Bravo will come with a 3.7 inch AMOLED capacitive touch screen display, a 1400 mAh battery, the new Android operating system and a 5 mega pixel camera with auto focus, LED flash and 720p HD video recording. Images of the Bravo are already released.

The HTC Legend has also been reported to be in the works. While no images of the Legend has been revealed, it seems like the phone will be getting a bit of an upgrade. Originally, it was listed that the Legend would only have a 3.2 inch AMOLED screen. New reports states that the phone has been resized to match that of the Bravo; 3.7 inches. It will not have the same HD video recording capabilities as the Bravo. The Legend will also come with a tough aluminum casing as well.

See more details on the two phones straight from the source.

New Colours for LG GD150 Pop and 16GB Nokia X6

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Nokia X6There are two updated phones coming this February and if the upcoming barrage of high end Snapdragon powered devices with the new Android and WinMo operating systems is not your thing, then you might want to take a quick look at the new offering from Nokia and LG.

Nokia just recently announced that they will be offering free sat nav services via their Ovi-maps service. This little news means that most of Nokia’s smart phones have become ready to use GPS devices. Now, the Finnish manufacturer is bringing something a little familiar to the table with the 16GB version of the Nokia X6.

Originally, the 32GB version of the X6 came out last year and came with a pretty impressive package. The phone has a 3.2 inch TFT touch screen display that handles images and videos quite wonderfully. Of course, when you have 32GB of free space, you will certainly need lots of content to fill that up. Nokia answers that need with the “Comes with Music” bonus package which grants users unlimited music downloads from the Nokia music store.

The new 16GB version of the X6 will not have the unlimited music download, but will have a significantly cheaper price tag and 25 free downloadable tracks. Not quite the massive library, but when you already have lots of music in digital format, then youLG GD510 Pop Col would not need the 25 downloads either.

LG on the other hand is bringing four new colours for its highly popular GD510 Pop. Originally being released in a metallic blue colour only, the Pop will soon be available in red, black, purple and pink. The GD150 Pop is a cute little touch screen GSM phone with a solar panel. Yep, leave this little gizmo out in the sun for 10 minutes and you will get about 2 minutes worth of talk time (about 3 hours of standby).

Want to know more? Head straight to GSM Arena and get the full details.

HTC: Leaky Boat or a Sub in Disguise?

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

HTC BravoMore often than not, it is easy to think that mobile phone manufacturers are simply suffering from leaks. After all, it is pretty common that there are plenty of internal and external leaks in a company that would be willing to bring out some new info for a price or simply for the bragging rights of being first to announce it.

This can be seen with leaks of pre-production mocks of upcoming mobile phones, blueprints, plans and other similar work in progress images that have been scattering about in the internet. But what is the real difference between a leak, and a viral ad?

Yes, viral advertisement. The internet is full of people all too willing to spread news of an article that is supposedly leaked, and it is so easy for a company to intentionally leak production details of an incoming device to build up some hype and buzz.

Eldar Murtazin (famous for his previous claim that the Google phone was a rumor-ware created by Apple) recently announced that he believes that the recent slew of HTC leaked info is actually a series of misleading information intentionally leaked by the company.

As to what specific reasons why, we can only assume. Misinformation is a great way to throw competitors off track. It is all too common for manufacturers to create devices that are meant to match and rival those of another company’s. It’s a tall claim at best, as the leaked info from HTC is partly proving to be true.

Take the HTC Bravo, the device is set to launch this March. As for the other devices, it looks like HTC has seen better variations of the Android to create. The three WinMo phone will certainly have to be revamped with the OS being updated and a new version is about to be released.

Real or not, get the rest of the details straight from the source.

HTC Obsession Coming Soon?

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

HTC ObsessionWindows Mobile 7 is going to be the big turnaround for Microsoft’s mobile division after the big flop we all know as the WinMo 6.X OS.

The big news is that HTC will be bringing out a high end smart phone for the new operating system with specs that match even that of the Nexus One. The HTC Obsession will have a nice 5 mega pixel snapper, a fast 1GHz Snapdragon processor and even HD video recording capabilities (on top of the usual smart phone features –microSD card support, Bluetooth, AGPS and more). It’s a lot like the HTC Bravo actually, including the HD video capability.

With many experts predicting MS to formally announce WinMo 7’s launch at the upcoming Mobile World Congress this February, it makes sense that at least one WinMo device is ready for show. The other WinMo phone is the amazing LG Apollo. While the Apollo’s specs surpass that of the Obsession, it seems that LG is still busy with its GW990 and we will not see the Apollo until a much later date –as it is, even the Obsession is expected to arrive late this year.

Contesting these reports are analyses of the current images of the Obsession being distributed. Many point out that the screen on the Obsession currently displays the Android OS. With news that HTC is intentionally misleading the public by leaking out erroneous info, there is a reasonable degree of doubt for news regarding upcoming HTC devices.

On the other hand, it was previously leaked that HTC would be producing three new WinMo 6.5 devices (the Photon, Trophy and Tera). It would not be too much of an assumption that the Obsession is the fruit of the groundwork laid when those three phones were being planned.

Grab the rest of the WinMo 7 and Obsession details straight from the GSM Help Desk.

GTA: Chinatown Wars Cheats Revealed

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Apple iPhonePlaying video games is fun and exciting, and everyone loves a good challenge. But for those occasions when you just want to turn on your iPhone and run amuck in Liberty City without fear of being run down by angry gangs or the local law enforcement, Rockstar Studios has included cheat codes in the game that will let you keep your mind off the usual details you need to pay attention to when playing the course of the game.

Now, before you go running off and inputting the codes, you might want to ask yourself: “why cheat?”

Cheat codes are normally placed in the game for the benefit of users who do not really wish to play the game for challenge or skill, but simply for running around. Many gamers feel that using a cheat or an exploit to progress a game’s story mode often takes away from the experience; with open world games like GTA: Chinatown Wars, playing the game does not necessarily progress the story. In this case, some players use the cheats only on certain occasions, such as when a specific mission or task is beyond their skill level.

Anyway, to activate the cheat codes, simply go to the Mission Replay Board in the Safe House and use the magnetic letters to spell out the following codes:

GTA Chinatown Wars iPhone
CASHIN – Grants $10,000 extra cash.

LIFEUP – Refills your life to full.

SHELLY – Refills your armor to full.

COPIN – Raises your wanted level by 1 star.

COPOUT – Lowers your wanted level by 1 star.

Raising the wanted level is a fun way to get lots of enemies onscreen without having to run around the city trying to get more cops to chase you. Just be careful when raising the level to over 4 stars as the police reinforcements will bring in the heavy weapons and vehicles.

Get the rest of the GTA: CW codes from Phone Arena.

Vodafone’s 3G network is Supreme: so says 100,000 iPhone Units

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Apple iPhoneWhat is the biggest concern for iPhone users? It is 3G power.

With a mobile phone that relies heavily, on its web browsing features, internet based applications and a giant market of social networking addicts who cannot live without Tweeting or posting a Facebook comment of update every half an hour (or more), nothing is as important as getting to access a 3G network that is fast and stable. This means you need a combination of large coverage, fast speeds and large bandwidths to accommodate the users of the network.

With Vodafone not currently tied up to a virtual network like 3 Mobile or Virgin Mobile, it has a monopoly of its 3G network. The company has also been preparing for over a year in order to strengthen its 3G network. So far, the effort has paid off.

In a single week of sales, Vodafone has sold around 100,000 iPhones.

According to Guy Laurence (CEO of Vodafone UK), “The demand from both consumer and business customers has been phenomenal. They want an outstanding phone on an outstanding network and we’re delivering that.” –judging from the sales figure, we would have to agree. But is Vodafone really that fast?

It is certainly a great thing for Vodafone as they are indeed UK’s largest mobile phone operator (and also third largest in the entire world). No doubt that their coverage area is far more expansive than other networks. They have also recently re-released the Femtocell Sure Signal booster which is certain to help people who live in areas with weak or no 3G coverage.

As a tie up to their iPhone launch, Vodafone is also releasing its exclusive iPhone application, People Sync. This social networking application connects to the Vodafone 360 service and consolidates your contacts, friend lists and other information into a single account.

Click here for more details on the iPhone’s first week.