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Showing posts from May, 2008

Three Snags iPhone For HK, All But Confirms 3G

Hutchinson Telecom - aka Three - have announced that they have won the exclusive rights to sell the iPhone in Hong Kong and Macau from 'later this year'.
And as Three only sell 3G phones this is just another clear indicator that his Steve-ness will be announcing the 3G iPhone at Apple's WWDC on June 9th.

Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Some products change the landscape in which we operate. They are either so visionary, so different or so far out of left field that the change our whole perception of what we do and how we do it.

What used to take generations and decades to happen in days gone by has been reduced to weeks and days in our age of technology. Changing the game these days is measured in the way that your peer group or competition react to your product. The iPhone has spawned endless attempts to mimic its look, interface or modus operandi. Whether that be by previously unknown MP3 player fabricators or the software houses who have been pushing out iPhone- alike applications left, right and centre; its clear proof of how Apple rewrote the book with the iPhone.

Now the Asus EeePC has crossed that boundary into legend, as its legions of imitators look to match its combination of ease-of-use, size, price and performance. We've seen some of the smaller players be quick out of the blocks with their own Eee-cl…

iPhone To Save Video Calling

Most of America doesn't (yet) have the quality of 3G network to support video calling, most of Europe has it, but barely uses it. Can the 3G iPhone change all that?Video calling's failure to take off has somewhat perplexed the network operators, they bid big money for the 3G licenses on the basis that we'd all be so taken with the concept that they'd have plenty of opportunity to recoup their investment.I suspect that the reason that video calling has failed to take is due to the restricted number of handsets available that support video, the huge additonal cost compared to voice calls and the poor quality of early iterations of the technology which put off those who tried it.The availability of HSPA networks (HSDPA and HSUPA) means the final barrier should be removed. Which leaves two obstacles - a simple enough task for Steve Jobs and the Apple team to overcome.

Has Palm Given Up The Fight? 850W To Roll With 32Mb.

I've discussed at great length what I think is wrong with Palm at the moment: accountants making decisions that engineers should be making.
Here is another.
TamsPPC have recieved specs of the 850W and if we are to believe them then Palm has corporately taken leave of its senses. SDRam is listed at 32mb, not the 64Mb normal on today's devices or the 128Mb that we're beginning to see on high devices.
This is such a crazy decision that I'm going to have to say that the info is flawed. Its the only rational explanation. Either it got misread in the data transfer or Tam's contact was ill-informed.
Whatever the cause, I'm calling it incorrect. No self-respecting company would make that kind of decision in today's competitive market.
It would be commercial suicide.

New iPhone To Do GPS?

Funny how leaky the Apple ship has apparently become in the last few months, with all the alleged iPhone rumours floating about.
The latest one probably passes the likelihood test: GPS. Its hardly guaranteed, but rumours of a geotagging service would point to its presence. Of course those rumours may amount to nothing more than a bit of wishful thinking but whilst we wait until June 9th and the likely launch date they may be the only things we clutch hold of for stories.

Save The Start Menu

Adam Z Lein at Pocketnow has a great post on the much-maligned Windows Mobile Start menu

Its been a point of dispute for Windows Mobile naysayers for some time, yet as Adam points out its a brilliantly simple way of providing two press access to the Today screen and your most common apps.

What's Going On At Yahoo?

Yahoo's AGM, due on July 3rd has been postponed until ''the end of July" and the company has lost one board member, Edward Kozel, likely as a result of the failure to reach agreement with Microsoft on the on-off-on again takeover deal.
With Microsoft supporter Carl Icahn increasing his shareholding and proposing to force through the replacement of the whole board at the AGM, it seems to be a strange decision to delay and allow him to strengthen his position further. Unless of course a deal with Microsoft is now seen as inevitable and the board is looking to get the best proposal on its terms before it has to face the shareholders.
Looks like Steve Ballmer will eventually get his prize, one way or another.

Palm CFO Hints At Summer Linux Release

You can pick up some gems in the strangest of places, Engadget have been fishing in Palm CFO Andy Brown's Tech Conference wth JPMorgan and hooked what appears to be a promise of Palm-Linux this summer.

Given the years of Palm underperformance I'm inclined to take a big pinch of salt with this one. Are we talking about an actual shipping device (unlikely) or a demo of a working system itself?

Palm needs to score big with this, whatever they plan to deliver. Another debacle of Foleo proportions really will bring about the end very quickly indeed.

Nokia N810: Impressions

Another new device that I've been playing with for a while, but not really mentioned very much, is the Nokia N810. Its been around for four or five months now, but I've yet to see anyone else using one in anger. In fact at a recent Microsoft seminar I could see the technical people straining their necks to try and work out what it was.

Aside from OS2008, which is much the same as the version released for the N800, the important thing with the N810 are the hardware changes. Gone are the rotating webcam, from mounted speakers and nav-pad; in comes a keyboard, GPS and built-in flash memory (2GB). The two SD card slots have disappeared too, replaced by the aforementioned flash and a single mini-SD slot which is HC compatible, so should work with cards up to at least 32GB, as they come out.

The screen remains the same, which is a positive thing, as it remains a fantastic and unique feature on Nokia's Internet tablets. When combined with the really rather good Mozilla based web br…

3G iPhone To Feature Over The Air iTunes?

With the accepted wisdom being that the much anticipated 3G iPhone will launch next month, speculation is turning to what Apple will use all the additional bandwidth for. And the obvious answer is over the air downloads of music, video and other content.It seems a logical strategy, after all users are already locked in to the iTunes music store and spending money freely. Why not take advantage of the extra ability to sell to them whilst they are out and about. Especially as they have already demonstrated a blatant preference for style over value in purchasing the iPhone in the first place... Its likely that an OTA download will be more expensive than your regular download, the content owners and mobile service providers are likely to want a bite of the profits after all. Yet I think Apple's involvement will probably make this a viable service. Unlike those which have been unsuccessfully pushed by the operators and manufacturers in the past. Remember those adverts from a decade ago…

Palm OS Is Dead?

PDA247 is one of my regular visits, its a good place for news and today's article by Shaun McGill really emphahsises a theme that's becoming more and more prevalent: Palm OS is Dead. For those who don't know the origins of PDA247 are buried deep in the depths of the PalmOS, as Clieworld, so these guys are usually quite kind about Palm.

I'm afraid when Palm start losing these sorts of people they've reached the end of the road. Palm OS ruled the roost as recently as five years ago, yet now most sane people won't go near it. So far out of date that its laughable, Palm OS can't even handle the simple requirements of a relatively simple smartphone, never mind anything advanced. Palm's best devices run Windows Mobile and even they are some way behind the competition.

Anyone comparing a Treo to an iPhone or a modern Windows Mobile device, would peg the former as a relic of years gone by. And lets be honest, the Treo has barely advanced since Palm's takeover…

Battle of the SuperPDAs: Advantage vs Universal

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been playing around with HTCs mammoth Advantage PDA for the last few weeks. I've actually had it for much longer than that, but because of its shortcomings (more of which later) I'd used it very little.

Of all the machines I've used in the last few years the HTC Universal (aka XDA Exec, MDA Pro) has been the one with the form-factor I've been most impressed with. The device itself has some issues, but a lot of these have either been addressed through ROM updates or by the community at XDA-Developers.

So having spent some time with the Advantage has it won me over? Well, more of that later. I like the fast processor, the bigger screen and the built-in Microdrive. And I'm sure that the replacement 7510 will impress me even more.

But it is a flawed device.

You can't really fit it in your pocket. Which means you won't always have it with you, which means more often than not the time you need it most is the one where you d…

Microsoft and Yahoo: Seconds Out, Round Two

Having walked away from a potential takeover bid after Yahoo's board overvalued the company Microsoft are back into the battle, this time suggesting that they might be happy with a smaller chunk of the company.

I'm not sure where Microsoft are going with this, after all its not as if they haven't got the cash to buy the whole lot and if that was over-priced then buying in, or buying bits (I'm not sure what MS mean by a smaller chunk of the company yet) is still going to be over-priced.

Yahoo seem to be quite keen to cosy up to Google rather than get involved with Microsoft, which makes me wonder if the board have any idea how to best realise shareholder value, never mind how it makes the company look, taking the begging bowl to its biggest rival.

Microsoft's Live Search leaves a lot to be desired, but could it really cost that much to fix it? I don't think so. If Microsoft walks away from Yahoo again then the company looks doomed. But perhaps Microsoft without Bil…

Google Roasted For Giving Up Indian Orkut Poster

Not sure on the exact story here as there are a couple of plausible versions doing the rounds at the moment, but it appears that Google passed the details of an Indian man who had posted (illegally) about Sonia Gandhi on an Orkut 'I hate Sonia Gandhi' forum.Now I'm not entirely sure what the problem is here. Its clear that the user had broken the law and that the Indian authorities had made a legitimate request for information.Short of closing up its Indian operations what was Google supposed to do exactly?Do No Evil may be the company's mantra, but equally true must be 'Stay in business'Maybe some blogs and bloggers are too far removed from the real world to get this...More details and a relatively sane view at http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080519-maybe-a-little-evil-google-outs-indian-man-to-authorities.html

Codemasters Mug Sony For F1 Licence

One of the PS3's big licenses has been its exclusive F1 race game - although American's might not agree. However, there have been whispers that Sony weren't ready to pay the asking price for renewal. Turns out that those whispers were spot on, as Codemasters have announced that from the 2009 season they will be exclusive F1 licensees. And presumably that will mean cross platform development and the removal of one of the best reasons to choose PS3 over Xbox 360 or Wii.Sony's saving grace? Gran Turismo...

No 7510 For US

The continuing litigation around Qualcomm's 3G chipset has been revealed as the reason that the American market won't be getting the second generation HTC Athena 7510.Having spent the last few days getting better aquainted with the Advantage and really starting to see past its weak point (i.e. the keyboard) and enjoy some of its more advanced features I'm looking forward to seeing this newcomer so much more.

Jobs Keynote Hints At iPhone 3G

With an air of inevitability it has been confirmed that Steve Jobs will keynote Apple's WWDC next month and that one of the topics he will discuss will be the iPhone.This really removes all but the tiniest shred of doubt that a 3G iPhone will be announced, although some sites are suggesting an Apple Tablet (possible, but unlikely, especially with one major launch already expected) or a games-centric version of the iPod Touch, which seems more likely, although still a long shot.The all-black iPhone which has appeared in various spy shots on the web looks to be the finished article and with iPhones in short supply I'm expecting a repositioning of the range with old iPhone 16GB at the bottom of the tree, partnered with two models of 3G iPhone. Anything announced over and above this (can we have a new Newton please Steve?) will be an unexpected bonus.

HP iPaq 214 Touchscreen Issues

HP's new iPaq 214 should be the poster child for the new generation of Windows Mobile Classic devices, a replacement for the much missed hx4700, packing a large VGA screen, twin card slots, a screaming processor and buckets of memory.Shame then that it will have you throwing it down in disgust after just a few minutes use. Why? The quality of the touchscreen is absolutely abysmal. I can't emphasise how bad it is, requiring screen taps of varying degrees of force to register a click and at times losing whole strokes. Around the screen edges its virtually impossible to click with any kind of consistency. And its not an isolated problem, I have tested seven, from which only one has had a usable screen.The images show the same grid being drawn on a T-Mobile MDA Pro and a 214, stylus pressure is constant. The results won't make good viewing for the iPaq team at HP.I was ready to give you a full review of what is otherwise a truly fantastic device. But that wouldn't be fair.…

HTC Launches A Diamond

Rather unsurprisingly (its been scoopd fairly comprhensively in the last week or so) HTC launched its new Diamond handset in London today with partner Orange.

In terms of spec the Diamond has VGA, HSUPA, 3.2mega pixel camera and GPS. Software wise the new Touchflo 3D interface and a Youtube application star.

Some people are calling this an iPhone-killer, primarily because of the addition of an Opera powered HTC web browser. Could it be better than Picsel Browser? We'll see. Better than Safari? I'll wait to be convinced.

Obvious flaws are the new soft keyboard, which appears to mask around 80% of the screen when in use.

Full reviews will probably give us an idea of how good this really is... otherwise an early July launch date will be our first chamce of a hands-on, in an Orange shop near you.

Yahoo Beats Off Microsoft Approach, But Does It Have A Future?

Having added $5bn to its offer for Yahoo late last week and seen it rebuffed Microsoft withdrew from its takeover quest for the search company. There's probably much patting of backs going on amongst Yahoo's board members today. But there still no evidence of a workable plan for the company's future.

Google own the search, ads and apps portion of the web; Microsoft owns the desktop; between them they're converging into the middle ground. Which is where Yahoo currently sits...

Smartphones Are A Mature Product

It seems a strange thing to say, what with a new iPhone just around the corner and Palm waiting in the wings to deliver a whole new operating system, but I believe that the Smartphone market has reached a level of maturity such that we will see few (if any) quantum leaps forward in technology and capability.

Sure no-one has yet built the ultimate smartphone, but all the building blocks are there just waiting for someone to put them together in the right mix for you.

There are three established form factors: touch screen/large display/minimal keyboard; sliding keyboard/medium sized display; and fixed keyboard/small keyboard.

Typically these would be the iPhone, TyTn and Treo.

Once you've selected your form factor its then a choice of picking the elements that are important to you: size, connectivity, camera and OS.

I can't see anyone coming out of left field with any real advances now, the iPhone's interface hoo-ha has died down a bit now and its easy to see that it doesn't …

Virgin & iPlayer: Calling A Different Tune Now

Its not so long since Virgin Media's senior execs were threatening to bury the BBC's iPlayer service on the slow-lane of the information super-highway unless the Beeb stumped up some of its rocketing bandwidth costs.

Now Virgin have announced that iPlayer will be available through its TV on demand service.

Volte face? About turn? What do you call it?

Whatever name you put to it, its clear that corporate ducks at Virgin Media aren't all corporately aligned...