Archive for May, 2010

Samsung Galaxy S Out Soon

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Samsung Galaxy SSamsung‘s much-anticipated Galaxy S was officially announced at CTIA in March, and since then interest has sky-rocketed. The first step in Samsung’s “Smart Life” development strategy, the Galaxy S has staggering specs and one-of-a-kind features not present in any other mobile device on the market. Running on 2.1 revision of the popular Android OS, and with official confirmation of an upgrade to the exciting Android 2.2 (Froyo) platform at some point in the future, the Galaxy S offers plenty of customisation and functionality. Internal accelerometer, digital compass, proximity, and light sensors provide extra functionality for Android apps to take advantage of, elevating your mobile experience and allowing for very interesting applications of your device.  Samsung’s “Smart Life” philosophy is designed to cater to users desire for more content, more capability, more services, and more multitasking. Users want “to watch high quality video on their phones just as they can on their TV or computer at home. They want easy multitasking on their handset. They are demanding of services such as real-time traffic reports, 3D maps, and directions,” according to J. K. Shin, head of Samsung’s Mobile Communication division. To fit these needs, Samsung is rolling out a series of feature-rich phones primed for content on the hardware front, as well as in terms of presentation and availability. Already Samsung is working closely with major content providers to optimise movies, TV shows, books, and more to make full use of Samsung’s touted Super AMOLED technology. You can learn more about this in the Samsung Galaxy S reviews section.

Samsung Galaxy S (1)Potentially the widely-anticipated and hyped aspect of the Galaxy S is its keynote 4.1-inch 800×480 WVGA screen using Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology with mDNIe (mobile Digital Natural Image engine) which provides stunning picture clarity and contrast not found on any other mobile device, even rivalling some HDTVs. While AMOLED is already better than standard TFT LCD screens, Samsung’s Super AMOLED utilizes different technology from other AMOLED screens that allows for an extremely thin, power-efficient construction that offers 20% more brightness, 80% less distracting reflection, unequalled colour reproduction and up to 20% extended battery life. The less bulky screen results in a much thinner and lighter device overall; the Galaxy S is only about a centimetre in thickness. the Keeping in touch with your friends is fairly easy as the large screen makes using the on-screen QWERTY keyboard a breeze. Additionally, the Galaxy S will utilize Swype on its super-responsive touch screen for gesture-based typing, making interaction and messaging even quicker.

To make use of this exclusive technology, the Galaxy S supports 720p video recording and playback in a variety of popular formats, offers e-reader functionality for upcoming content from magazines and books provided by Skiff, and there are plenty of games and applications available from the Android Market to take advantage of the large HD display. Additionally, the Galaxy S has a VGA telephony camera for video call functionality as well as a 5.0-megapixel camera with a number of features. Auto focus, self-shot, action shot, stop motion, and panorama shot make it easy to take stunning pictures of almost any subject, while smile shot helps you to time your pictures perfectly so you always get a great smile.

Samsung Galaxy S (2)Like HTC‘s Friend Stream and Sony Ericsson‘s Timescape, Samsung has their own Android application for aggregating social networking updates called Social Hub. With Social Hub, you have easy access to all of your social info—Twitter and Facebook updates, Facebook messages, texts, e-mails, etc—from a single streamlined source, allowing you to stay on top of what’s going on. Additionally, the Galaxy S features an updated Twitter interface based on Samsung’s TouchWiz UI that is much more intuitive and organized than the alternative TouchWiz 3.0 on their other devices. To provide additional access to social media in keeping with the Smart Life ideal, the Galaxy S also has Daily Briefing, a service that allows you to set up custom news and weather feeds, DNLA media sharing (a protocol for sharing media amongst DNLA-enabled devices) and a Smart Alarm. The Galaxy S also supports all of the staple messaging features—MMS, SMS, e-mail and video messaging—so you can easily keep in touch with friends.

Powered by a 1GHz processor, the Galaxy S can easily offer sufficient multitasking capability to satisfy consumers. Additionally, the Galaxy S has an impressive GPU that puts the Snapdragon platform and iPhone to shame, capable of rendering more than three times as many polygons as its competitors. All this translates into gorgeous graphics and smooth interface transitions, though like any phone it can get still be bogged down by excessive clutter. As a result of running on the Android OS, the Galaxy S comes packaged with the Google application suite, and with on-board aGPS support, the Galaxy S can take advantage of location-based services such as Google Goggles. Samsung’s Layar Reality Browser also presents some interesting new features, with “rich augmented reality contest” such as 3D mapping and additionally support for location-based applications. 3G HSPA support and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi let you connect to the internet on the go to enjoy all that the Galaxy S has to offer.

Samsung Galaxy S (3)Expected to be coming to Vodafone UK soon, the Galaxy S will easily be the most advanced Android mobile device to hit the UK so far, one of only two Super AMOLED devices (both made by Samsung), with a price tag to match: early estimates place the price at a hefty £745 before taxes and subsidies. Pricing still has yet to be officially announced, however, so keep your fingers crossed for some excellent Samsung Galaxy S deals. Available in 8GB and 16GB models, the Galaxy S has impressive internal storage with room for up to 32GB of external microSD storage as well. Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity and USB 2.0 allow you to quickly sync data and media with your computer, while Exchange ActiveSync allows you to connect to a Microsoft Exchange server and enjoy such features as remote data wipe, corporate e-mail and contact lookup, and calendar syncing from your mobile device so you can have fun and get your work done at the same time.

Nokia: Free Cab Rides Powered by Ovi Maps

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Nokia X6Well, it seems that Nokia is really intent in dominating the free sat nav service industry which Google is trying to take a piece of (quite successfully too). In order to promote their new service, and help the people of London travel easier, Nokia has launched a new Taxi service that will ferry passengers for free –all the while showing off the features of the Nokia X6 smart phone.

For those who missed the news, Nokia announced early this year that they are offering their Ovi Maps service for free –yes, that is free voice guided satellite navigation. The offer was made open to all owners of Nokia smart phones that use Ovi Maps; including the then-recently re-launched Nokia X6.

Nokia also announced just a couple of days ago that they have tied up with Yahoo (Google’s competitor in the search engine industry) and that Yahoo maps will now be powered by Ovi maps as well. It’s a very obvious move to match Google’s services, and Nokia and Yahoo have executed it well.

Anyway, getting back to the cabs, the free taxi service is available for anyone who actually gets to hail them. The Nokia representatives driving the vehicle will gladly bring passengers to any destination within a certain radius and for the entire duration of the trip, progress across streets can be tracked by using the on-board Nokia X6 smart phone.

While this advertising strategy may seem odd, it is a rather convenient and cheap way to get around if you are lucky enough to catch one of the cabs. They are painted light yellow and white, with print that easily allows the vehicles to be identified as Nokia cabs. So far, it has not been announced how long this little promotion will continue, so if you see one of the cabs coming your way, better take advantage of it fast.

HTC Desire Will Get Android 2.2 Update

Friday, May 28th, 2010

HTC Desire (2)HTC and Google have officially confirmed that the HTC Desire Android smart phone will be updated to version 2.2 Froyo by June 23. The announcement just came this week –much to the delight of Desire owners who have been waiting for the new version.

Froyo (which stands for Frozen Yogurt) is the latest Android version which brings together a whole host of new features for the already impressive Google mobile platform. The biggest addition in version 2.2 is the inclusion of native support for both Adobe Flash and AIR. Google has also included support for tethering, WiFi syncing and several other new features. It’s a massive update, but according to what Google stated back at last week’s I/O event a much bigger 3.0 update will be coming soon –named as version Gingerbread.

It is not surprising that HTC’s Desire is the first phone to get the update right after the Google branded Nexus One smart phone (which already has an available 2.2 update that can be downloaded straight from Google’s site). The Taiwanese manufacturer has been a steady and long time supporter of the Android OS; they were among the founding members of the Open Handset Alliance and also the manufacturer of the very first Android smart phones (the G1/HTC Dream) and the Nexus One.

There is no doubt that the Desire will be able to run Flash as smoothly as the Nexus One –the two smart phones share very similar specifications; both have 1GHz Snapdragon processors, 5 mega pixel cameras and 3.7 inch AMOLED capacitive touch screen displays. One of the core differences of the Desire is that it uses HTC’s SENSE user interface –which makes the phone experience a little different as compared to a straightforward Android handset.

The Desire is already available across various network operators in the UK.

What People are Saying About the Apple iPad

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Apple-iPadThinking about lining up for the Apple iPad this Friday? You might want to take a step back from your plans and take a moment before fully deciding on this little tech investment. Even the cheapest version of the iPad is certain to set users back by a few hundred Pounds, and this is why it pays to research ahead of time.

Anyway, the Apple iPad is the first touch screen standalone tablet. While there are similar touch screen devices, none are like the iPad, and in many ways it is the pioneer in its own niche. While that is essentially a good thing, the lack of competition has dulled Apple’s innovative edge.

For one thing, this device focuses heavily on internet access. In fact, without web access, a great portion of the tablet’s functionality is lost. While the onboard browser is fast and efficient, it still lacks some key factors that prevent it from being successful –the most important of which is lack of Flash support. Apple has been very loud about stating that HTML5 is the new direction. While that may be true, the iPad’s lack of Flash support is like selling a television that can only play HD signals and will not support SD.

The same applies for Flash, while HTML5 may be the new format of the next generation, there is a vast number of websites that are require Flash to be accessed, a majority of streaming video on the internet also requires it as well as many Facebook apps –including the very famous Farmville. The device also lacks multi tasking and requires the use of Apple’s iTunes software to hook up to a computer.

In its’ other functions, the iPad is an excellent eBook reading tool, application platform and of course, media center. Owners are exceptionally happy about the iPad’s long battery life –lasting up to the advertised ten hours.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 MiniAt a press conference in Barcelona, Sony Ericsson announced a number of new compact high-quality communication entertainment mobile devices, including a device modelled after the popular Xperia X10, called the X10 Mini. Though it is bundled into a much smaller package, the X10 Mini still delivers the quality and usability to be expected from Sony Ericsson. The convenient size makes for an interesting mobile experience for owners of the X10 Mini; an impressive number of“best-in-class” features are available in a device that is smaller than a credit card, weighing 88 grams and measures a surprising 8.3 x 5 cm. The X10 Mini has already made a splash in the mobile industry, and was acknowledged for its outstanding product design at the 2010 red dot awards. Following the human curvature design philosophy first debuted with the Xperia X10, the Mini is contoured to complement the shape of the human hand, allowing for comfortable, intuitive interaction with the mobile device and contributing to its good looks. This sleek styling is coupled with bold colours—Pearl White, Pink, Black, Lime, Red, and Silver—to create a no-nonsense mobile device that still has an aesthetic side. The X10 Mini is expected to be available in select markets sometime near the end of Q2; estimates place the price at about £300 before taxes and subsidies, though no official numbers have been released as of yet. Still, we should be able to enjoy some pretty nice Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini deals very shortly.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini (1)The X10 Mini runs on Google‘s Android OS with an updated version of the Sony Ericsson UX platform made for these new compact high-quality mobile devices serving as the interface. This combination provides users with access to a sizeable amount of built-in functionality and nearly limitless customization. Packaged with the Google application suite, the X10 Mini has a number of useful applications right out of the box, as well as granting you access to thousands more applications through Android Market to help create the perfect user experience.  AGPS support and Google Maps let you plan trips or look up directions, while Wisepilot live voice navigation provides turn-by-turn directions to keep you on the right track. A 600 MHz processor powers the X10 Mini, providing plenty of computing power to navigate menus and allow you to run any application quickly and smoothly without  worrying about hangups or choppiness.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini (3)View your videos and pictures in vivid colour on the luminous 240×320 pixel (QVGA) TFT touch screen display with more than 16.7 million colours. The “four-corner” touch screen interface allows you to have shortcuts to your most used applications for quick navigation to the apps you use most, and auto-rotate capability and the on-screen QWERTY keyboard contribute to the ease of interaction with the phone, making it simple to view video and reply to messages in a comfortable manner. Sony Ericsson’s “Infinite” button, seen on the Vivaz and X10 Mini Pro, makes an appearance in the X10 Mini as well. The dedicated button provides context-based information on friends, album and artist information from tracks, or search for videos on YouTube; you’re never more than a simple button press away from the info you want.

The X10 Mini comes loaded with a surprising number of features for such a small phone. A built-in 5-megapixel camera with functions you might expect from a dedicated digital camera allows you to take pictures or record video; auto-focus capabilities keep your pictures clear, a flash and continuous video light create the ideal conditions for recording video or taking a quick snapshot, and  geo tagging lets you add location information to your photographic handiwork. With the pre-installed Facebook application, you can easily share your new pictures and video with friends and family directly from the homescreen, or upload them to Flickr, Twitter, or any of your other favourite social networks using the Webkit browser. 3G+ HSPA  and Wi-Fi connectivity give you access to broadband internet on the go; easily visit all of your favourite websites with a simple tap using the X10 Mini’s bookmark support. You can find out more about this from the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini reviews section.

To make it easy to keep in touch with friends, family, and co-workers,  the X10 Mini features SMS messaging with a conversation-style layout, support for multiple e-mail accounts, and instant messaging with  a variety of clients.  The Mini Pro’s predictive text input learns from your typing habits and suggests frequently-used words to speed up your messaging and make it a breeze to reply to your friends. To help you keep up with business on the go, Exchange ActiveSync allows you to connect to a Microsoft Exchange server and sync calendar items and contacts or check your corporate e-mail from your mobile device. Similar to HTC‘s Friend Stream, Sony Ericsson Timescape gathers information from social networks and your other interactions and presents it in a single stream. Check missed calls, Twitter and Facebook status updates, and recent text messages and e-mails at a glance; Timescape makes it easy to stay on top of the latest news from your friends and family, or update your own status from a single place.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini (4)Not just a messaging platform, the X10 Mini has a number of entertainment features as well; stream video from YouTube, listen to music from a library and set your favourite MP3 and AAC tunes as ringtones, or stream music from FM radio stations. Sony Ericsson’s Music player allows you to listen to music on your mobile device and keep it organized with the ability to create playlists and utilize album art for a quick, visual way to search through your music. Sony Ericsson’s PlayNow store gives you access to plenty of new music you might find with TrackID or the “Infinite” button, as well as games and applications. TrackID lets you record a short clip of a song, send it to be analysed and checked against a large database, then have album and artist information sent to your phone almost instantly.  Similarly, the new Infinite button pools info from PlayNow and allows you to search YouTube to find the music you want.  Bluetooth A2DP support gives you the freedom to listen to your music wirelessly, while the 3.5mm audio jack lets you use conventional headphones. With 128MB of internal storage and room for 16GB of external storage using the microSD expansion slot, the X10 Mini has room for all of you media, applications and games. To help you sync all of this data, the X10 Mini supports Bluetooth wireless connection up to 10 meters away and USB connection to sync with your computer and transfer calendar data, contacts, as well as any media and notes you might have.

Dell Streak is the Mini Tablet

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Dell StreakDell is aiming for a totally new niche –on the go tablet. Let us face it: the iPad’s large 9.7 inch screen is not exactly what a person would consider as portable. While you can whip it out in the back seat of a car, lugging the tablet around is a bit of a hassle, especially since you need to protect the screen –even if you carry it in a special case.

This leaves the iPad as an office and home gadget, on the other hand, the iPhone is far too small to handle really high resolution settings. Even if the hardware allowed for a 1024 x 768 pixel resolution, the screen is far too small. And thus we arrive at the Dell Streak; this hybrid tablet smart phone is an Android powered gadget that cannot decide if it is a tablet or a phone.

You can play around and do tablet-ish things with the large 5 inch touch screen, and you can also bring up the contacts list and make calls on the device. It will also support Flash with an update to version 2.2 of the Android OS and of course, it will also have HTML5. All in all, the Streak is a great substitute for the iPad if you want to travel around with a tablet. But if you only need a home device, then having a dedicated tablet and a smart phone would be a better idea.

Speaking of travel, the phone may have a wider screen, but it is light and comfortable to grip, making it easy to carry around when walking. It will be a tight fit for some pockets, though it might be a better idea to just slide in the device into a small bag for transport. O2 has announced that they will be offering the Dell Streak to customers this coming June.

J Allard Steps Down From Microsoft

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

microsoft_logoMicrosoft is going to have some very big shoes to fill as it has recently been announced that J Allard will be stepping down from his position as the senior vice president of design and development. While this may not seem like a big deal for some, many tech fans will easily recognize Allard’s name as the man behind many of Microsoft’s most innovative products and services.

For the gaming community, Allard’s largest contribution is the Microsoft Xbox game console. The system was created by Allard, his team and their gang-ho attitude towards the development of better and newer ways to have fun with technology. He would later go on to develop Xbox Live, and the new Xbox 360. Prior to his position as senior VP, Allard was the chief technology officer for the entertainment and devices division of Microsoft.

Games was not Allard’s only passion, the man was also responsible for the creation of Zune –which may not be familiar thing for most people, but it is a major media tool that has the potential to beat even the Apples iTunes.

With J Allard leaving, Steve Ballmer will be losing a very important man. The upcoming Windows Phone 7 mobile platform is featuring the incorporation of the XBL Games service as well as supporting an all new generation of smart phone games that run in full 3D (thanks to the XNA). This feature has always been Allard’s strong point and even the implementation of Zune in the new OS will be affected.

Still, the separation is not a total dead end; J will still be working for Microsoft but on a lesser capacity –as a consultant.

There are some rumors that are hinting that there might have been a falling out between Allard and Ballmer regarding the cancellation of the dual screen tablet device, the Courier, though there is no proof that supports this claim.

Why Foursquare is Becoming the Next Form of Social Networking

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

FoursquareWhile you may not get to share YouTube video links, photos from your latest vacation, invite a pal to visit your virtual farm or simply send a happy amusing poke to your friends, GPS-cum-social network tool Foursquare is becoming one of the fastest growing tech trends of today.

If you have not tried it out, simply get the Foursquare app for your smart phone (it supports the Google Android, Palm’s WebOS, the BlackBerry OS, iPhone and more) and you are ready to go. The app itself is easy to use; simply head over to the nearest public facility that is listed in the app, ‘check in’ and you are done. Foursquare keeps track of how often you get to check in at a location. And if your favorite pub is not already listed in Foursquare’s directory, you can list it as well.

Foursquare awards users with virtual rewards called badges which are achieved by being in certain places at certain times or just being there often enough. The much coveted mayor badge goes to users who check in the most.

This may not seem like a big deal, after all, what use are virtual badges anyway? The real bonus comes from the fact that many establishments now recognize Foursquare and actually give special real life awards to people who earn certain merits. These special promotions are often advertised on site. And if you have just recently listed a location, know that you have helped advertise the business to the many Foursquare users in your area.

Topping off this great app is the ability to leave notes in the places you go to. You can post anything from crude “I was here” remarks to more informative tips such as “try the soup of the day” or “best time to order grilled sandwich is after lunch”. It is like geo-specific twitter with a 200 character cap. By combining real life activity with online resources, Foursquare has once again made it possible to turn an internet hobby into something that applies to the outdoors.

Upcoming Phones: HTC Vision and Acer Liquid Stream

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

HTC VisionFor those of you who are not looking forward to the new devices coming out later this year, HTC and Acer are already working on their latest handsets that will bring the Android smart phone to you.

First up is the HTC Vision. For now, this phone is still very much rumored as an actual device, but considering HTC’s dedication to bringing out new Android smart phones, it would not be a surprise to see the Vision become a reality.

Initial reports place the Vision as an exact duplicate of the HTC Desire, with the addition of a slide out QWERTY keyboard. If the Vision does push through, then it will be the very first Android smart phone to have a physical keyboard –unless Samsung’s Galaxy S Pro was not just a rumor. As a device based on the Desire, we can expect the Vision to have a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, a 3.7 inch AMOLED capacitive touch screen display and a 5 mega pixel camera.

Acer Liquid StreamAcer is also coming out with another high end Android smart phone, the Liquid Stream. Many of you may remember the original Liquid A1 as an Android smart phone with an under clocked Snapdragon CPU running at 700 MHz.

The Liquid Stream shares similar features to the A1 with the exception of the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor which is now running at a full 1GHz speed. The device comes with a 3.7 inch touch screen display, a 5 mega pixel camera (with 720p video recording), an HDMI output port and of course, the usual smart phone features: GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi and more. This phone will come with the older Android 2.1 Éclair operating system.

Both devices are expected to be compatible with the upcoming version 2.2 Froyo update for the Android OS –this new version will have native Flash and AIR support, tethering, WiFi syncing and other features.

More iPhone Rumours: White Version Leaked

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Apple iPhone 4G WhiteSince the Apple iMacs (and some of the lesser iPod devices), there has hardly been anything that came to a semblance of having a choice when it came to purchasing Apple devices. For the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad, all the devices looked the same –no choice in colors or other appearance variations.

Anyway, the upcoming iPhone 4G/HD has been spotted again and from the looks of it, there will be two variations of the touch screen smart phone. According to various sources, the device will actually come in two variant colors: black and white. Black is easy to imagine –it is basically the same look for the iPhone ever since it came out over two years ago. The white finish on the other hand is somewhat promising but is still made for a niche crowd –white tech gadgets never seem to appeal to many folks anyway.

So there it is; the iPhone might come in two colors. One might think that it is not a big issue, but for Apple to actually provide variety is already a miracle in itself.

On a more serious note, the actual launch of their handset has yet to be announced. It was originally thought that the iPhone might make an appearance at the upcoming event this June 7, but Apple is still keeping silent with all details.

If Apple does decide to bring out the new iPhone next month, then they will be bringing out two major devices right after the other: the iPad touch screen tablet and the next generation iPhone. As previously announced, the new iPhone will come packed with the iPhone 4.0 operating system and it will support multitasking, and plenty of other new features. Obviously, support for Flash will never be available on Apple’s products.