Archive for August, 2010

Dual Data Input Versatility on the Nokia X3 Touch and Type

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

It used to be that mobile phones can be quite easy to categorize based on form factor. You can have a conventional candybar, a clamshell, a slider, a QWERTY slider or a touchscreen.

You also have those so-called PRO models with a hybrid touchscreen and full QWERTY landscape sliders.  Blackberry recently came out with its latest Torch flagship that made the Blackberry-esque signature style into a hybrid touchscreen slider.  It’s no longer as easy.

Now, the Finnish mobile phone giant and world leader Nokia has brought out its first candybar handset with touchscreen and branded aptly – the Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type.

Merging the intuitive touchscreen, the new X3-02 comes with Nokia’s debut of its most anticipated S40 Touch UI to make this hybrid handset a reality.

Ergonomics to Match Versatility

The supreme utilitarian ergonomics of an alphanumeric keypad on a candybar handset has been the hallmark success that catapulted Nokia into world leadership standing among mobile phones since the 90s.

Its timeless styling now gets innovated with the addition of a touchscreen functionality on a 2.4-inch TFT LCD screen to make the Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type not just the first of its kind for Nokia, but also the first in the world in the last couple of years.

Yes, it’s basically a revival as Sony Ericsson had the same touchscreen and keypad hybrid with the G700 and G900 that was released in mid-2008.  Hopefully, Nokia does a better job and do not repeat the lackluster performance of its rival’s handsets.

With a resistive touchscreen on a QVGA resolution and 256k colors, the Nokia X3-02 enjoys a 4-row alphanumeric keypad minus the usual 5-point navigational buttons that usually take the form of the trackball, joystick or touchpad as well as the confirm key.

The omission is understandable as you can just do scrolling and menu selection more intuitively with the touchscreen.  People with large fingers need not worry as the menu icons are made larger on the S40 Touch UI so you can still do a one-hand operation that people have accustomed to in conventional candybars.

The Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type is clearly positioned to a trendier younger crowd as its cosmopolitan sharp cornered X6 styling gets a variety of colors like petrol blue, dark metal, lilac pink and white silver.

It’s also one of the thinnest mobile phones on the planet regardless of form factor with a body measuring 106.2 x 48.4 x 9.6mm.  Its remarkably lightweight 77.4 makes it almost inconspicuous inside any pocket.

Features at a Glance

Based on the latest S40 rel 60 UI, the S40 Touch user interface makes the touchscreen hybrid a reality.  Promised as an answer to its Korean rivals’ dominance in the touchscreen category, Nokia plans to use the S40 Touch UI in forthcoming handsets.

This is with or without touchscreen as it is just a matter of activating the feature in tandem with a touchscreen display like what the Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type.

But outside of the touch sensitivities, there’s really nothing outstanding in the handset.

  • With a slew of radio connectivity technologies, international roaming on the GSM networks is seamless on either 2G or 3G. The Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type gets on a quad band radio on both UMTS and GMS.  Data connectivity is likewise extensive with HDDPA/HSUPA data speeds on 3G and class 10 GPRS/EDGE data speeds of up to 2368 Kbps on 2G.  That means you get broadband internet speeds on either, but HSDPA/HSUPA affords a fast no-wait surfing experience rivaling what you get on the desktop PC.
  • As a concession to better design affordability, you won’t get GPS but you still get local high speed data connectivity with its WiFi 802/11 b/g/n for hotspot surfing while local data transfers and synching get Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP and microUSB v2.0 for the wireless and wired alternatives, respectively.
  • Among its more competitive features is its digital camera which boasts of an upscalish 5 megapixel imaging resolution.  Again, affordability in its product design gets the better of the handset so you won’t find autofocus, LED flash or any of the fancy features you may be expecting from the more sophisticated imaging phones out there.  But you still get 4X digital zoom and a competent video recording with VGA resolution at 18fps frame rates. You also won’t get a secondary 3G video call camera.
  • Like all slim handsets, its slim battery suffers in terms of power with less muscle to spare. The Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type is powered by relatively impoverished 860 mAh li-ion battery but does a good job of delivering up to 5.3 hours of talk on 2G, 3.3 hours on 2G and up to 408 hours on standby.
  • It’s socially aware and comes preloaded with Facebook and Twitter apps, along with IM support for Gtalk, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger.  It supports Adobe Flash Lite v3.0.

A Competent Music Phone

Leveraging on Nokia’s XpressMusic and Comes with Music heritage, the Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type has what it takes to be a top notch music phone as any on the markets or even better than many trumpeted as an entertainment phone.

With a 3.5mm headphone jack that many so-called music phones miss out and dedicated music playback keys on the body that easily betray its music pedigree, this one sports the requisite stereo FM radio with RDS and the media players for popular audio and video files.

Its A2DP profile support for wireless Bluetooth stereo headsets completes its entertainment prowess.

Preparing the Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type with multimedia files to entertain you on a long trip won’t benefit from its meager 50 MB of onboard memory.  But you get all the storage you’ll ever need from its microSD external memory expandability of up to 32GB.

Your long trip will also benefit from its battery that delivers up to 28 hours of uninterrupted music listening on a single charge. You can read some more Nokia X3 reviews to help to come to a decision on whether or not to purchase one of the Nokia Touch and Type deals compared here on Moby1.

Samsung’s New Devices and HP’s Teasers

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

HP is keeping everyone in the dark about what exact products the company is developing. But from a recently released image, it appears that the company is currently pursuing development on a wide range of products.

The image shows Phil McKinney (current CTO for HP) with several new devices on hand. As to specifically what devices he is holding, nobody knows. The image has all the new gadgets blocked out with black boxes leaving only a size references to determine what kind of gadgets these things could be. Anyway, one of the devices stands out: what appears to be standard sized smart phone.

HP’’s attempt at a smart phone has long been awaited for since the company took control of former smart phone manufacturer Palm. The Palm WebOS and keyboard layouts are quite famous and successful in the tech industry and many have been waiting to see what HP would actually do with the resources.

In other mobile handset news, Samsung has recently been teasing the world with a couple of new devices: one Android and the other a Bada smart phone.

Many are already quite familiar with the recently uploaded site for the Samsung Galaxy Tab teaser website and from the looks of it, the Korean phone maker will be pushing full steam ahead with their new touch screen tablet device.

It might have a smaller screen than that 9.7 inch display of the iPad, but even with 7 inches, the Tab is still quite a tempting choice –particularly because this device is reported to be able to take and make calls.

This potentially makes the Galaxy Tab the largest smart phone. The other device is the Wave 723 which is a new Bada based smart phone that looks a lot like the Wave 2 devices but only with a better camera (5 mega pixels).

More Bada Fun with the Samsung Wave 723

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

It is certainly surprising how the first Samsung Wave handset managed to sell well. With the market already dominated by many other operating systems, it seemed pretty much of a big gamble for the Korean phone maker to create their own mobile platform. And while others may argue that a large bulk of the sales happened within Korea, one cannot help but see the impressive design and work running with the Bada OS.

Anyway, the Bada mobile platform is set to come out in several new devices, and among these phones is the Samsung Wave 723. New to the lineup of Wave handsets, the S7230E is an addition that certainly deserves a little bit of mention.

Admittedly, the specs are not all that impressive –differing only from the Wave 2 and Wave 2 Pro in minimal details. But there is something about this handset that some users will appreciate; a better camera -the 5 mega pixel camera on the Wave 723 is a notch better than the 3.15 lenses of the Wave 2 phones.

While this will not matter much to most users who simply use the phone for snapshots, the additional specs certainly give the handset better value.

In terms of other hardware features, anyone who has seen the Wave 2 and Wave 2 Pro will easily see the similarities of the two devices. First off, all of the phones pack a nice 3.2 inch TFT capacitive touch screen display. While this is nowhere near the 4 inch screen of the Galaxy S, it is certainly more practical for the general user.

Expect to get decent quality visuals on the 240 x 400 resolution screen and fast response times from the touch screen interface. For those hesitating with the Bada platform, worry not –the TouchWiz user interface makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.

Android News Bits: Everything Android this Week

Monday, August 30th, 2010

It seems that the Samsung Galaxy S is getting a new accessory. A quick look at our German neighbors has revealed that there is an add-on battery pack available for Samsung’s powerhouse of an Android smart phone.

The EBB-U10 is currently available on retail for 70 Euros and is packing some serious power updates for the Samsung smart phone. The new battery pack is external and from the way that the body wraps around the handset and seems to have an odd bulk on the top, many suspect that it connects to the phone through the mini USB port.

According to the tech specs, this new battery buff up will add a full 8.5 hours of talk time. That is a lot of power to enjoy your Android phone. Of course, with more power comes more bulk. This hefty little upgrade will weigh your down by an extra 70 grams and will definitely add a lot more size to the Galaxy S.

In other Android news, Mozilla has announced that the Android version of the Firefox is officially ready for downloads. Fennec Alpha, which was originally launched for the Nokia Maemo has finally been ported over to the Android OS. Mozilla had announced the new version earlier.

Lastly, the newly announced Huawei mid range Android smart phone capable of running Android 2.2 Froyo has finally been confirmed. The device will be named Ideo and will be arriving by next week on September 2. The device sports a 2.8 touch screen display, a 3.2 mega pixel camera and a 500MHz CPU.

So far, this handset is quickly proving to be a great cause mid range smart phone alternative for anyone who goes for basic handsets. If you plan on getting a contract from an operator, better stick to the high end devices.

Orange Froyo Delayed to September

Monday, August 30th, 2010

In what has to be one of the saddest announcements of the week, Orange Mobile UK’s PR manager has Tweeted that the update for the HTC Desire will not be available until later this coming September.

With Vodafone UK launching their Android OS update just recently, this announcement from Orange Mobile is a little disappointing. But only a little, with the middle of September just a couple of weeks away, a little bit of waiting time are not going to be such a big issue. The only thing that is heavily scarring Orange’s reputation is the fact that the update is already available on another network.

In any case, knowing about the delay ahead of time makes a big difference for those who are already waiting. While delayed, the Android 2.2 Froyo is certain to come and knowing a good estimate of the launch period is also comforting to many.

For those not familiar with the Android operating system, the term from Froyo stands for frozen yogurt. Google has been naming Android versions after deserts and sweets. The most recent version, 2.1 Éclair is currently the standard for many high Android smart phones including the HTC Desire.

2.2 Froyo brings a performance boost to the operating system (as well as plenty of new features as well). According to Google, Froyo will enhance the speed of the user interface up to three times faster while web browsing is now five times faster. This is thanks to better kernel memory management and the use of a new Java API.

The Desire is currently HTC’s best Android handset. While other devices are also going to be released, the Desire is considered to be the pinnacle of Android smart phone standards and sits alongside the Google Nexus One in terms of its’ importance in the Android community.

Nokia C7 in Images, Samsung Galaxy S in Trouble

Friday, August 27th, 2010

It seems that the Samsung GT i9000 Galaxy S Android smart phone is having some issues when it comes to connecting the handset to a computer –sadly, the problem’s symptoms come in the form of completely wiping the device’s memory and content storage. This means that the Korean phone maker better have some quick fix on the way.

According to reports, the Galaxy S Android smart phone will connect to a computer through the use of special software. However, when this software detects files in the Galaxy S that uses filenames that are over 16 characters long (we assume that the count also includes the file extension as well) a memory wipe is activated.

Now, this little function could be functional as a remote feature on the handset which would allow owners to easily wipe the data clean if the device is left behind in a public location. But right now, Samsung needs to help out their users; and considering how important the Galaxy S is, they should be cranking out a solution as soon as they can.

In other news, images of Nokia’s upcoming C7 Symbian smart phone have been circulating online and from what we have seen, the device looks a lot like your typical Nokia touch screen smart phone and in terms of specs, it truly is a lite version of the upcoming Nokia N8.

Still, smart phone fans on a budget might want to try out the C7 thanks to its sleek design, ergonomic form factor and of course, the new Symbian^3 operating system. According to reports, the new OS focuses heavily on the touch screen UI and of course, media playback.

According to reports, the C7 will be launch shortly after the Nokia N8, which places the launch window sometime between October and November this year.

PSP 2 and Android: Excitement and Reservations

Friday, August 27th, 2010

There is no doubt that the recent rumors about Sony being in talks with Google have been a major source of gadget fantasies for many gear heads. Gamers in particular are pretty excited about the possibility that the PSP2 might just be the smart phone that everyone has been looking forward to.

We have all seen what the Sony Ericsson Aino can do with remote play access to media; now imagine how it would be like to be able to access certain remote play PS3 titles.

Among the things that many are certainly looking forward to is the fact that Sony now has access to better hardware. When the original Playstation Portable came out, it has been limited to a 333MHz processor –which had been under clocked to 222MHz. Today, the Qualcomm Snapdragon and the Intel Atom processors bring the 1GHz processing speed as a new standard for smart phones. The same goes for the PSP’s graphics card and other hardware; better versions are available.

Of course, backwards compatibility will be a major concern –and gives Sony more reason not to abandon the UMD format as it would make the current PSP library available to the rumored PSP 2.

While the device seems promising, there are certain reservations that are also present. The first is concern regarding how the phone and gaming functions will be separated. If the device is always functioning as a phone, then what would prevent a wayward incoming phone call from interrupting a serious gaming session?

A single SMS message could ruin the experience of watching an important cut-scene in a 60 hour long epic RPG, a single voice call could ruin the completion of a massive 10 hit string match-turning combo against the hidden final boss of a fighting game.

Balancing the two features will certainly be a key, after all, how would the device manage an interruption during ad hoc gameplay among multiple players?

Naturally, there are also concerns regarding the practicality of using an open source mobile platform on a gaming device where piracy has been a major concern for quite some time.

O2 Goes Green; Apple Avoidance Raises Questions

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Mobile network operator O2 has its hands on plenty of things other than mobile phones: media, sports, music, and other various activities. One thing that caught our attentions is their new think Green program.

In this new ranking study, O2 will take a look at every mobile phone they are offering and will rank the devices according to how green they are. This will measure the volume of recyclable content and of course, how much hazardous waste will be left over from each handset. There are already several phones that have stood out and the ones that did are not surprising to see.

Nokia and Sony Ericsson have take the top accolades from Greenpeace earlier this year which is why it is pretty much expected that one of SE’s Greenheart mobile phones has earned top scores from O2. The SE Elm handset (which came out with the SE Hazel) is a basic mobile device that features very Earth friendly materials and production value.

For those not familiar, the Greenheart label is a tag by Sony Ericsson for their eco friendly mobile phones. The Japanese Swedish joint venture’s main goal is to make all their phones and accessories fit the Greenheart standard.

In what appears to be another act that would earn the scorn of the public (yet again), Apple has stated that they will not participate in O2’s little eco program. Apple spokespersons refuse to specify the reasons why they are not going to cooperate but have also stated that the company has their own environmental programs.

Considering the issues with the Apple iPhone’s touch screen display and the whole controversy about the toxic chemicals being used in the manufacturing of the device, it is not surprising that Apple decided to be exempt rather than to receive very low marks.

Does the Google Android Need DRM?

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

One of the biggest strengths for Google is the fact that the Android OS is an open source mobile platform. This means that there are plenty of things that developers can do when it comes to creating apps for the Android OS.

Being an open source platform, many of a phone’s hardware resources and the OS’ core functions are easily accessible to developers –which provide them with a large room to play around with when it comes to creating apps.

In fact, when it comes to the Android platform, the only thing developers cannot seem to do is to have a sufficient degree of profit to match what Apple offers on the iTunes store.

Already, app developers face serious competition from over a hundred dozen free apps that offer similar features and functionality. While the paid apps may be less buggy and more polished in terms of visual effects, many users would prefer to stick with apps that are completely free.

However, it has been stated that the quality of paid apps on the Android OS is increasing at an impressive rate and the only thing preventing people from buying is the fact that many of the paid apps are getting pirated and obtaining unlicensed copies is becoming an easy task.

So yes, the definitive answer is that Google needs to provide a form of DRM that would actually be able to protect developers from losing profits due to illegal software downloads. At the same time, the Android’s DRM system has to be simple enough to not be a burden for the end user.

Right now, the big complaint is that the current DRM in use has very low security. While there is room for improvement, Google can only take these measures one step at a time. Jumping the gun could potentially lead to many users being disgruntled at the sudden implementation of stricter rules.

Android Froyo is Cheapest with Huawei

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Right now, it is only mere speculation that the upcoming Huawei U8150 Android smart phone will actually have a low price tag, but according to the China based phone maker, that is the point of the new handset. Considering that this is one phone maker that focuses heavily on producing low cost smart phones (previous Android phones from the maker include the U220 and U230 devices), it is quite possible that the U8150 will be the cheapest Android 2.2 device yet.

As a phone maker, Huawei’s reputation is decent at best. While their devices have always been low cost, many wonder if it is at the compromise of quality –a reasonable concern for every consumer. And while it is promising, getting Android 2.2 is simply a matter of time and patience for Android fans.

Looking at the U8150 handset, one can easily see the basic signature markings of the Android OS in the buttons below the screen. Of a much larger curiosity, there is a circular pad below the buttons –which might be an optical track pad or a small directional control. In any case, it is difficult to determine the purpose of the pad at this point.

The device comes with a 2.8 inch capacitive touch screen display and a 3.2 mega pixel camera. For an Android device, that’s pretty much the all the basics you need. There is currently no information on what speed the processor will be running on, though it is expected to be operating around the region of 600MHz or better.

Currently, the device is expected to come out during the first week of September, which is just a short time away –this would make the phone very tempting for those who have been waiting for an update to the OS for quite some time.