Archive for October, 2010

Apple’s Free Engraving on New iPads, PSP Phone Rumours Continue

Friday, October 29th, 2010

The PSP Phone is one elusive device –after all, Sony refuses to make comments or statement directly about the whole matter. But from what we have heard from the grapevine, there are plenty of interesting things about the new handheld gaming system –slash mobile phone.

First off, it seems that the device will certainly be packing a touch screen display in addition to the buttons and that it will also have two analog sticks –or more appropriately, nubs.

Another bit of big news is the announcement that the UMD storage option will no longer be used. Now this is not stating that the next PSP will not support physical storage media –but it does say that the older discs are no longer any good to use. Also, the device will certainly support microSD cards (since it is also going to be a smart phone).

HD video will also be a core feature on the device, though this is most likely to be playback on the HD capable touch screen display as opposed to recording capabilities since the mock ups did not seem to have a digital camera –yet.

The most likely OS to be used in the device is the Android 3.0 Gingerbread; since it is expected that Google would out that version by the time the PSP Phone comes out.

In Cupertino, the folks at Apple are already hard at work making the i-Series for Christmas worthy. One interesting new offer brings the Apple team in engraving the back side of the iPad with two lines of dedication –a particularly interesting option for those planning to give out the touch screen tablet as a gift for loved ones.

Be warned however, that due to the hardware modification process that the etching will induce, the iPad in particular will not be refundable.

Orange’s Dual Number and Palm’s Upcoming Tablet Device

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Tablet devices are the perfect fit for the home. Be it for viewing media, playing games, browsing the internet or simply typing out an email, these devices tend to be small lightweight touch screens that allow users to hook up to a WiFi hotspot (or have a small SIM port for 3G access).

The result is the ultimate in web browsing experience (as the use of the touch screen is actually a lot more intuitive than a mouse and keyboard). This is why the iPad has been so successful and why so many people are excited over the Galaxy Tab which runs the Android OS. As for Palm’s WebOS, it seems that HP has decided to modify it for use with a tablet and that the device will be coming out next year.

2011 is still plenty of time for HP to provide this Palm branded device with all the hardware and software support that it needs.

Orange mobile UK may be focusing on the release of high end smart phones for the general public, but a recent announcement from the mobile network operator has shown that they still have plenty to offer for business customers.

According to reports, Orange has a new dual number plan for people who need to consolidate a business line and a personal line into a single device and this is the perfect solution for everyone struggling with two numbers –even on dual SIM devices. With most dual SIM phones unable to access 3G networks, Orange’s offer is a great alternative that would provide companies with better control of expenditures while still providing excellent mobility options for their employees.

These dual number plans are already available on Orange Mobile UK and come in varying monthly allowances; there is also a pay as you go option as well.

News Updates: White iPhone Delayed and Nexus 2 Rumors

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

It seemed not too long ago that Google officially announced that they would not be making another handset in the Nexus One series. In fact, it can easily be recalled that Google specifically stated that the Nexus One was only meant to bring the benchmark for Android smart phones up to certain standard and that the handset has already succeeded in what it was supposed to do –as opposed to making a profit that Google was already making in plenty of other ways.

So when we see rumors that a potential Google Nexus Two is on the horizon, we immediately react with raised eyebrows.’

But the possibility is not as completely null as one might imagine. After all, there are millions in the smart phone market and Google has no reason to refrain from going at it again –this time for actual sales profit even. Despite arguments that the developer would end up antagonizing their industry partners –that also make Android phones, the fact is that Google’s devices would simply spice things up. And unlike Samsung, HTC, LG and other developers, Google would only launch one device at a time; leaving most of the competition still in the hands of the phone makers.

So what about the rest of the rumors? According to speculations, the new Nexus phone is UK bound and that Google is looking into the possibility of a tie up with a specific retailer (named to be Carphone Warehouse in certain sources).

In other news, the White iPhone 4 seems to be really hard to produce as the elusive handset has once again been delayed for launch. The latest news regarding the device now states that the phone will not be out in store shelves until 2011 rolls in -actually far too long of a wait for a simple white version of the Apple handset.

Gamer’s View: Insights on the PlayStation Phone Rumor

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Once again, the Playstation phone rumor has been revived. A recent image from Engadget along with allegations that the device in the picture is the real deal has once again sparked all the big rumors about the possibility of Sony allowing Sony Ericsson’s engineers to help crank out a new product with the Playstation brand.

However, as promising as the possibility may be, there are some red flags in the whole concept that still need to be addressed.

First off, the lack of PSN; the announcement that there will be a Playstation Marketplace may seem interesting to non-gaming readers, but for those familiar with Sony Computer Entertainment (the part that actually handles the Playstation branding), it is a well known fact that an online store already exists: the Playstation Network. And an argument that the “Marketplace” will be unique since it will host Android compatible apps, that notion is also void.

The fact is that PSN already hosts downloadable games and content for both PS3 and the PSP. Adding in a new category for an Android phone would not be much of an issue –but opening a completely new store just for Sony Ericsson is a moot point.

The second major issue is the lack of the XMB (or cross media browser). Sure, the Android is an amazing OS, and SE even has that Timescape UI for the XPERIA series. But the XMB is the core user interface for Sony’s entertainment systems, from the PSP, to the PS3, and even in the Sony Bravia. It is however, possible to re-skin the XMB on top of the Android OS.

In all honesty, gamers would certainly appreciate the presence of a great gaming phone. But to make it the mainstream device would be a gamble. It is likely that if the PS Phone will be made, it will only be a secondary device to the upcoming PSP 2 (much like the Playstation Portable Go).

Mobile News Bits: WP7, iPhone and Androids

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Huawei is releasing a couple more devices under Android Ideos lineup: the X6 and X5. As the name suggests, the X6 is the higher end smart phone between the two. While Huawei’s handsets are hardly great alternatives for more established brands such as HTC or Samsung, these are certainly worthwhile devices to invest in if you are really on a tight budget.

Specs wise, the X6 offers a much larger touch screen display at 4.1 inches and also support HD video recording and playback. The X5 on the other has a smaller screen at 3.8 inches and it packs a 5 mega pixel snapper.

For those who want to invest in a truly high end piece of hardware, Carphone Warehouse has an impressive Windows Phone 7 handset for you: the HTC 7 Trophy. Originally leaked last year as a WinMo 6.5 device, this handset slid out of the radar only to resurface as an upgraded device for the new Microsoft mobile platform.

Carphone Warehouse’s offer for the 7 Trophy is under Vodafone so expect to get good deals for this device, one recommended tariff is only up for 30 Pounds each month and already provides the user with 500MB of data allowance.

Lastly, it has been reported that iPhone owners are very picky about their networks. In fact, a recent study has shown that some networks are preferred more than others. Orange Mobile UK has had the misfortune on the bottom end of the list by having the largest percentage of unhappy iPhone users. The study showed that many are already considering upgrading by switching to another network.

The same study also revealed that the most common complaints where lack of overall satisfaction in the network and also the low coverage that was being provided. In the meanwhile, it also revealed that many iPhone users are considering switching over to Vodafone.

iPhone news: Lock Bypassed, Tesco Bar Scan App Launched

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

So you have run out of your favorite jar of pickles, or dip, or six pack. Need to get more? The best way may no longer be to hop out and head over to the grocer, a more convenience approach would be to whip out your Apple iPhone and take a quick scan of the bar code and have the product added into your virtual shopping cart.

It may seem like a little too overdone, but actually being able to save time on commute and simply having the grocery delivered is a big convenience, and Tesco knows this. CEO Laura Wade-Gery certainly knew that she had a great service for Tesco’s supermarket products when she launched this feature.

The best part of it all is that the app is completely free to download. While users will still need to pay for all the things they order, this certainly helps keep the daily needs of any household on proper stock. The only limit here is that the items to be scanned should be carried by Tesco; because they obviously cannot sell what they do not stock.

On a more serious note, it appears that someone has been able to find a way to bypass the password screen when moving the iPhone from a screen lock to accessing the phone’s address book. While the override will not allow access to other features of the phone, this is still a major security issue that Apple needs to address as soon as possible –as of the time of writing; Apple’s iOS 4.1 is still vulnerable to this flaw.

For those wondering how the bypass works, this is done by going to the emergency call mode (just tap the button), entering three hash marks (the # sign), pressing the call button and then quickly pressing the lock screen button on top of the device. This will grant the person instant access to the contacts list, though messages, email and other functions will still be locked out.

Quick Picks: Today’s Mobile News in a Flash

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

We have tons of new updates for you all and since bringing in information through walls of text is never really a good thing, here is a simple, easy to digest recap of all the tasty bits of news that have popped up in the past 24 hours.

Dell’s Venue Pro is officially on pre-order. Frankly, at 500 Pounds, this handset is a definitive keeper. The only thing buyers should look out for is the fact that this makes use of a portrait oriented slider keyboard –so be sure that you do not mind the Torch inspired form factor before hopping into this latest Windows Phone 7 handset.

A new lawsuit is heading straight for HTC, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. According to sources, a “digital security firm” is suing all the Android phone makers. While the exact details are not confirmed, it is most likely to be a patent infringement charge. Rumors state that the lawsuit involves the use of Java card technology.

The BlackBerry Bold 9780 smart phone has been a pretty elusive device. There is no doubt that the handset is one of the most much awaited RIM devices (since the slight departure of the Torch from the traditional BB form factor). To further push the hype of the device, several leaked images of the 9780 in action have been spread about just recently.

The Nokia N8 has arrived on Virgin Media and the MVNO is not just offering the handset to subscribers, they are also offering special bonuses as well. A new Virgin Media Player app exclusive to the Nokia N8 has been made –it will be preinstalled on all N8 devices sold under VM and the app will be available as a separate download for all non-VM N8 users. With SE and Samsung abandoning the Symbian OS, the N8 needs to succeed in order for Symbian to survive.

Two New Handsets Now on 3 UK

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

3 Mobile UK has confirmed that they are offering both the Nokia N8 and the HTC Desire HD.

First up, the Android offering; the new HD Google powered handset is a definite favorite among this generation of mobile devices. The sequel to the successful HTC Desire brings in a bigger touch screen at 4.3 inches –compared to the original 3.7 inches of the first Desire as well as a better snapper that packs an 8 mega pixel camera.

Overall, it is hard not to like the Desire HD, the Android 2.2 Froyo operating system does a great job at delivering all the right features to users without much trouble having to understand or figuring out how the UI works. Controls are simple, intuitive and very responsive. Speaking of responsive, we particularly like how the 1GHz CPU has optimized the speed and smoothness of the user experience –Froyo’s upgraded kernel memory management and Java API has also certainly helped improve the speed and stability of the OS.

The Nokia N8 is the first and only Symbian^3 handset that will be coming out on Nokia N-series. This has been confirmed as early as the start of the year –Nokia will be adopting the MeeGo platform for the N-series instead. In the meanwhile, the N8 will be showcasing the latest version of the Symbian operating system.

Currently, there is a lot riding on the shoulders of the Nokia N8 as the Symbian OS is currently taking a lot of criticism in the mobile industry. With both Samsung and Sony Ericsson announcing that they will no longer be supporting the mobile platform, the Nokia N8 serves as the last hope for the Symbian Foundation.

Both devices are already available through 3 UK’s stores and both are being offered with very impressive plans that offer plenty of data and call minutes per month.

WP7: Needs More Developer Support

Monday, October 25th, 2010

It is a pretty well-known fact that months prior to the launch of the Windows Phone 7, app developers have already been given SDK’s for the upcoming mobile platform. Considering how important apps can be to a smart phone, this is very crucial part of the WP7’s change to take the lead in the industry.

In terms of game applications, Microsoft has little to worry about as the Xbox Live Games service instantly lets people choose, invite and even refer to new titles. The big addition of in game achievements that are reflected on the device’s XBL Account page where details on the owner’s personal profile can be found is a major highlight –providing bragging rights for many players and their peers.

As for other applications, Microsoft needs to bring in the market of phone owners that actually purchase content online if they want to beat the Apple iTunes in terms of application sales. The Zune Marketplace has a long way to go, but with so many new devices and the WP7 having just come out, it would be much too early for major profits to start coming in.

In the meanwhile, Steve Ballmer and his crew are pretty excited as the first WP7 devices are now available through pre-order and various methods on several UK based network operators. It is expected that the volume of WP7 devices that are shipped out by 2011 is already at 30 million units.

Microsoft’s competitors are not slouches either. The Android OS is growing to a vast range, and Apple already has an established user base. Growth can be expected with the BlackBerry OS, Samsung’s Bada and the upcoming MeeGo OS.

In other WP7 related news, it has been announced that the system will be getting updates for Adobe Flash player support in order for the WP7 browser to easily see web content.

Android Happiness on T-Mobile UK

Monday, October 25th, 2010

The biggest problem with smart phones is that they never really fit a person’s active lifestyle. Sure, the devices are pretty much well rounded when it comes to features and functionality, but touch screen phones are simply not the kind of gadgets you would want to have in your pocket if you intend to go out and do some heavy lifting or other strenuous activities.

And considering how hard it is to be without a smart phone these days, it is easy to get stuck on deciding what to do. Fortunately, Motorola seems to have made the first step towards a real answer: the world’s first touch Android. Sure, we have all heard of tough phones (especially those from Sonim), but the Motorola Defy takes things one step further: this is an Android smart phone with a capacitive touch screen display. Add in the fact that the display is protected by Gorilla glass, and packs IP67 certification against minor shocks, liquids and dust.

If you already have an Android phone, then T-Mobile has something else to offer: the Samsung P1000 Galaxy Tab. The device might sound like another touch screen smart phone to you, but in reality, this is actually a 7 inch touch screen tablet. Loaded with plenty of Google’s best web features, camera and an impressive visual display, the Galaxy Tab is the perfect device when it comes to browsing and media playback in the home environment.

It is quick, stable and easy to use. Best of all, the web browser supports Flash –a feature that rival Apple iPad cannot handle. HTML5 is expected to be a supported feature when Android 3.0 Gingerbread comes out next year. In the meanwhile, the current Galaxy Tab makes use of the Android 2.2 Froyo operating system.

Interested buyers can now register on T-Mobile to avail of the devices when they launch in November.