Showing posts from September, 2007

iPod Touch Mini-Review

Had a first chance to try the new iPod Touch today and its hard not to be impressed by its PDA like features. In fact the more I look at it, the more I suspect that only Apple's decision to pull the ability to add calendar appointments on the fly saved Palm's corporate backsides.First thing that you'll notice about the Touch is its speed. Flicking between programs is near instant with even the most demanding of applications (specifically Safari) starting with no discernible delay.Video performance is excellent - although I never had the time to upload any of my own videos, nothing I saw made me think that this would work any less well than converting videos to existing 5G iPods.The Coverflow feature works exactly as advertised and more than anything does a fantastic job of keeping the iPod at the top of the MP3 player pile. It always performed well, but now it looks good in use too - at least until you decide to kill the screen to save battery life.Talking of battery life,…

Where Have All The Big Screens Gone?

The trend to reduce the size of smart phones and PDA phones has continued apace over the last few years, but the cost has been high - we're all staring at smaller screens and getting eyestrain in the process. Apart from the Universal and Advantage VGA devices from HTC, the average screen size has shrunk to around 2.5" - even the WVGA screen on the Toshiba G900 is a trifling 3" in diagonal. First glimpse of the HTC Panda suggested a reversal of that trend, but in fact that suffers from a small screen too. Now before you question my eyesight, let me point out that there's a secondary reason for wanting a bigger screen on my devices - Transcriber. This is the most accurate method of adding large amounts of text on a mobile device (well it is for me anyway) and a smaller screen restricts me to a few words at a time rather than the whole paragraph that the larger 3.5" screens allow. Especially useful when doing something creative like a blog post, article or proposal…

Will The iPhone Payoff For O2?

The announcement of O2's exclusive deal with Apple for the iPhone in the UK didn't make a huge ripple in the blogpool - after all we were pretty sure that O2 had got the contract once they started rolling out EDGE on their 2G towers - the data connection supported by the iPhone.

What's more interesting are the dynamics behind the package and just how much O2 thinks they are going to make on the deal.

The £269 sticker price appears to be completely unsubsudised and means that the cheapest deal you'll get for an iPhone will cost you £900 over the 18 month minimum contract. That's an awful lot of readies given the iPhone's shortcomings, some of which will be more important over here than in the US, where usage patterns aren't the same at all. I'm guessing early take up will be brisk - but will tail off quickly, there aren't that many people ready to pay that sort of money out on a phone who are also out of a contract. Which means that O2 are going to hav…

Latest Is Not Always Greatest

I've been using a Windows Mobile 2003 SE device for the last couple of days and after nearly two years of windows Mobile 5 its something of a revelation to step back in time and find that things really were better in days of yore. For example, who decided that we all wanted to abandon RAM for Flash in our devices, with the attendant loss of performance and additional boot up time that this brings? Every single WM5 device has flash ROM for device storage. Surely we should be allowed to choose whether we value performance over battery life? Of course the justification has always been that having ROM storage means that we won't lose data if we ever suffer a flat battery. But as I trust myself to ensure that this never happens (and to have a valid backup on storage card if it does) I'd quite happily trade that feature for a bit of extra 'zing' - and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

iPod To Save The PDA, Maim Windows Mobile, Kill Palm

In a world where we're constantly being told that the unconnected PDA is dead, its interesting to see that Apple joined HP in launching new phone-free PDAs this week.Whilst HP's iPaqs were new only in name, Apple dropped a stealth bomb down the pants of Palm and HP themselves (being the only two major players inhabiting this sector) by launching the iPod Touch - aka the 'i' (as its an iPhone without the Phone).Now the iPod is an MP3 player isn't it? Well yes, but lets just take a quick peek at the feature list and see how well it does as a PDA.Calendars and contacts are all present and correct, shouldn't be too hard to manage your day. Web browsing is at the same high quality as the iPhone, thanks to their shared Safari browser. Music and video will naturally be iPod strongpoints. So we've covered off around 75% of PDA users complete function lists already. The only real failings are the absence of an email client (although I'm guessing that will be re…

Maybe The PDA Isn't Quite Dead

The companies that put a spin on sales numbers have been telling us that converged devices are going to kill the traditional (ie non-connected) PDA stone-dead. Recent evidence, however, is starting to suggest that this is far from the truth, even if recent sales trends have been consistent with those predictions.To deal with the sales progressions first. At about the same time that the analysts started telling us that converged devices were the way to go, all the key companies in the PDA market killed development on regular PDAs and threw research money at the PDA/phone as the cash cow of the future. PDA sales started dropping - but with good reason: no new devices = no compulsion to upgrade.Palm (for many years market leader) concentrated on its Treo line, so its PDAs stagnated. Their current line up consists of lightly warmed over seconds from 2005. HP has had the same line-up of traditional iPaqs since before the arrival of WM5, as has Dell with its Axim x50 line. The fourth and fi…

Foleo - A Sign Of Big Problems At Palm

Its rare for a non-product to consume so much of the oxygen around a company that its actual product line disappears into oblivion, but at Palm that's what's been happening for a rather long time.

Since around mid-2005 Jeff Hawkins has been pumping a mysterious third product line for Palm. We wondered what ground-breaking device this could be? After all Palm's existing products were rotting on the vine and its one major source of income, the Treo smartphone, was under increasing competition from all directions. It had to be something pretty impressive to drag much needed resources away from the core business. Especially as the company had undergone a chaotic restructuring/sell-off which appeared to leave it less able to compete than before.

Then Palm announced a Windows Mobile powered Treo. This had to be a sign. This new product line was so good that the company was even prepared to jump into bed with Microsoft, its erstwhile nemesis, throwing into stark contrast the short…