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Showing posts from January 4, 2009

Vaio P Pricing Announced - How Much?

Sony's Vaio P arrives in the UK sometime in February according to the Sony Style website, but at a price that is so-eye wateringly eye that I wonder whether anyone will really be interested. The entry-level P, with HD rather than SSD, the slower Atom Z processor, clocked at a measly 1.33GHz, comes in at £849.

Now while its likely to be cheaper from non-Sony retailers even a 10% reduction would be still outside of the realms of reality.

For comparison the Acer Aspire One, equal or better in every area bar screen resolution, costs around £250... Even adding a 3G card wouldn't make the P look like a good purchase against that.

I also had to laugh at the 'Pocketable' tagline being thrown for the P. Its ever so slightly bigger than the Q1 Ultra which I tote daily, and there's no way I'd consider carrying that in my pocket - even clowns don't have pockets that big.

What's NOT Wrong With Windows Mobile

Now that's not a sarcastic question, more of a response to a blog entry written on Gizmodo by Jason Chen called What's Wrong With Windows Mobile. Now I'm not particularly going to defend Microsoft over what is essentially a clunky system, but Jason's post is factually wrong in many areas and I feel these should be addressed.

Let's take Jason's points in the order he makes them.

1. Its hard to multitask. Sorry Jason, but its really not. In any application you can tap the Start menu icon or press the Windows key and jump to any of the last six applications you've had open or up to nine others on the Start menu. Its possibly the biggest redeeming factor in the Windows Mobile interface.

2. Closing a program doesn't close it. It can do - a tap and hold on the X button, but more importantly why worry about what does and doesn't happen. Since WM5 Microsoft have pretty much cracked the memory management side of things and programs minimise or close as necessar…

Where Does Apple Go Now?

Here's an interesting dilemna for Apple, how does it respond to the Palm Pre? If the Pre is as good as its launch and first impressions suggest then Apple have serious competition on their hands from the most unlikely of sources. They probably expected RIM or Google to come up with something that would seriously challenge the iPhone's dominant position and when both failed to step it probably allowed the iPhone to ease back a touch. Which would explain the less the stellar updates that have been arriving recently.

Palm's recent history - probably for the last five years - had nothing to suggest that they could deliver a truly competitive device and many, myself included have said that this was Palm's last chance for survival. They've grabbed it with both hands and now Apple have been leapfrogged.

Can the iPhone deliver the much promised (and much delayed) missing features of the iPhone - notifications, copy/paste, turn by turn navigation? And more importantly can the…

Palm's Pre/Web OS, More Thoughts

Exciting though Palm's new OS and handset look, there are a few questions that need answering. Like when will we see a GSM version? Given Palm's previous performance and the promise of a US device only by June we might not see anything over here until Christmas...

Also there's the question of applications. It appears that these are going to be web apps in all but location - much like the original iPhone. Whether this will allow developers to deliver sufficiently complex applications when compared to the iPhone or Android remains to be seen.

There was no mention of backwards compatibility with Garnet applications which is somewhat disconcerting, there are after all, somewhere in the region of 30,000 Garnet applications out there, possibly all orphaned now.

Anyway, I'm still pretty impressed with what we've seen thus far, we'll have to wait for our US friends to let us know how the new OS works; I'm sure those other questions will get answered sooner rather than…

Palm's Back In The Game

Palm's CES launch is currently underway and, based on what we've seen of the new hardware (the Pre) and its new Web OS Palm has clawed its way back into the game - assuming the shipping devices match up to the launch buzz that is.

Vaio P Looks A Strange Mongrel

The Sony Vaio P has had its official unveiling and some prices announced and, frankly, I'm a bit bemused.

Apart from the screen resolution (of which more later) the P's specifications read like a fairly standard 'netbook' the like of which will set you back between £200 and £350 from a variety of manufacturers with names and reputations every bit the equal of Sony's. So how exactly have Sony worked out a price of $899 (a likely UK price of £700 when it crosses the pond) as being appropriate?

Its not the battery life (4 hours, above average but far from class leading) or the processor (1.33GHz as opposed to the 1.6GHz on the competition) nor is it the size which, although smaller than a regular 'netbook', is only a marginal saving in volume.

Which brings us to the screen. An 8" beauty with an absolutely eye-popping 1600x768 resolution. Now I've seen that sort of pixel width on a 15" screen and thought it a bit on the high side, I can't begin t…

New OQO Unleashed

And what a beauty it is. The first OQO to sport an Intel processor the new 2+ sports 'netbook' specs in an Ultra-PC form factor. The OLED screen is described as gorgeous and makes this the first PC of any kind to sport the technology. I'm dissapointed that the screen resolution has remained at 800x480, however I can understand that the company needs to compromise between screen real estate and text size to avoid putting off potential buyers with aging eyes.

It'll be interesting to see how OQO have dealt with the heat issues that plague some of the Atom-sporting 'netbooks' - OQO have had much more experience at dissapating heat, but they've got much less space to deal with it.

Price is set at around $999, which will no doubt translate into £999 once the collapsing pound and the 'technology exchange rate tax' are taken into account. No indication on the spec that will come to the UK (and as ever the bulk of the OQO site is restricted unless you have a U…

Spotify Links To Last.FM

One thing I mentioned in the brief summary of Spotify last week was that it didn't do social networking, which is technically true I suppose, but what I did find out after writing the review was that you can link Spotify to Last.FM and scrobble away happily. As a music service I think its safe to say that Spotify now has everything, except perhaps a mobile client (iPhone, WM, etc).

I have some invites to Spotify, so if you'd like to try the service leave a comment on this thread and I'll send you one.

Update: All the Spotify invites are now gone, but check back as I'll distribute more as I get them.

Palm's Big Day In The Spotlight

Later on today Palm should be unveiling its new Nova operating system and, with any luck, the first handset to run on it. There's a lot riding on this (as you're no doubt sick of reading) and Palm can't afford to choke this one as they did with the overly hyped Folio.

Ed Colligan made some fairly forthright statements about what it was and wasn't possible for Apple to do around the time of the iPhone launch. This included the claim that knowing the smartphone business meant that Palm was better placed to deliver a killer handset. Well Apple haven't done to badly with the iPhone, so now its time to step up to the plate Ed, deliver us a new OS and handset that proves what you've been claiming.

Nothing less will do.

iTunes Gets Tiered Pricing, Loses DRM

Phil Schiller, keynoting MacWorld in Steve Jobs absence, made few earth-shattering announcements however the changes in the iTunes Music Store are worth a second look, not least to understand the state of the relationship between Apple and the music publishing industry.Tiered pricing has been on the publishers agenda since day one, they want to charge more for new tracks and albums whilst lowering the price of older tracks. Which fits the long tail model nicely, so long as the number of tracks at the new lower tier is a fair match for those at the higher.Apple has been pushing for DRM-free tracks for a while now, for the obvious reason that more and more people have seen the problems with locked tracks and moved to Amazon. Whilst not a statistically significant number, it was enough for Apple to see the writing on the wall and go back to the negotiating table with the publishers. That contract with Amazon looks a pretty clever move in hindsight, it certainly seems to have focused App…

Engadget Scoops Vaio P

Looks like Engadget have outed Sony's new ultra-small Vaio, if only through some blurry pictures of the device on a screen at CES.I hesitate to call the Vaio P a 'netbook' at least until we've seen a price tag as this looks more than £350 worth of machine, which to me really demarks the point at which a device is starting to get too close to the price of real lightweights with much better spec sheets.Still its nice to see the spirit of the old Picturebook revived in a new device. Lets hope Sony have learnt how to support these devices in the interim period.

UIQ Files For Bankruptcy

Reuters is reporting that UIQ, the touchscreen branch of Symbian, currently owned by Sony-Ericsson and Motorola has finally fallen over and yesterday morning applied to the Swedish courts to begin bankruptcy proceedings.The writing was on the wall once the company started shedding staff, however its interesting to see just how far and how quickly the company has failed, hurt no doubt by some truly awful devices from Sony-Ericsson.When launched in 2002 the UIQ based P800 looked like a template for smartphones to come, yet the software was clunky, not very usable and hugely unstable. The device even came with its own white screen of death, introducing phone users to system crash related service outages years before Microsoft got into the game.Subsequent updates of the hardware brought us the P900, P910, P990, M600 and P1. None ever eradicated all of UIQ’s problems and despite building up a loyal (if small) following the writing was on the wall when Sony-Ericsson switched to Windows Mobi…

Palm To Launch Nova Phone At CES

Looks like Palm are going to grab their last chance opportunity with both hands, as TechCrunch is reporting that the big CES launch will be a new Palm phone running Nova. Hooray!The new hardware sounds impressive too: a large touchscreen and slide out keyboard. Whether this is a HTC style sideways slider or a vertical slider like some mobile phones isn’t clear yet, although I’d hope for the former, on the grounds that it supports a much bigger keyboard. Now Nova just needs to be a big enough step forward to put Apple, Google and Microsoft in the shade. Anything less might not be enough.

Spotify - A Paradigm Shift For Music Services

I've been playing with the public beta of Spotify and its a game changer especially when judged against iTunes and Comes With Music. Spotify essential gives your PC full access to music in the same way as, although it trades the social aspect for an unlimited listening model - even on the free account. This model is apparently supported by advertising, but I haven't seen or heard any of that yet.For now I can report an abundance of music, a slick front end and good quality audio performance. It will her interesting to track Spotify's performance over the next few years to see if they can deliver on this early promise. More info on Spotify’s web site here.