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Showing posts from June 20, 2010

iPhone 4 First Impressions

Spent some time with the iPhone 4 this morning and I have to say that I've been left seriously underwhelmed. Now whilst you might not find that surprising, I was disappointed as I really thought that this was the phone that might tempt me back into the Apple fold.

The screen is good, but its not exactly amazing unless you're coming from the old iPhone in which case its a quantum leap forward. Coming from the Xperia its improvement in resolution and color presentation is less amazing, I'd say that the iPhone's screen is 10% better than the Xperia, 5% ahead of the Desire and nip and tuck with the Galaxy S.

Other than that and the nicer industrial design there's not a lot there that's new, unless you've been using an older iPhone for the last few years.

It is clear that Apple have corrected many of the flaws which made the earlier iPhone's untouchable for many people and, more importantly, caught up with Android on many fronts.

I can't wait for Google…

You're Holding It The Wrong Way

So say Apple and (tersely) Steve Jobs, in response to the reported problems of antenna problems and loss of wireless service with the new iPhone 4.
Sorry?
Its clear that Apple made a complete FUBAR with the antennas on its new phone - probably due to the fact that wireless performance and emission testing is pretty much never done with the device in a user's hand.
Fair enough, could happen to anybody. The real solution appears to be a case which stops the hand contacting the antenna. Apple has just such a thing coming - the Bumper case. What's interesting is that the Bumper is the least Apple-like product in the world, it looks tacky, covers one of the iPhone 4's nicest features and is going to cost a user money. All of which suggests that it was designed specifically to solve a particular problem...
This being the case I'm at a loss to see why Apple didn't come clean and say that there's a problem with the design and give every buyer a free Bumper with each iPhone…

Battery Life v Performance

Battery life is something that pretty much every smartphone user worries about - lasting a full day on a charge of moderate usage isn't a given for most of today's powerhouses. Just how much things have changed was brought home to me this week by being out of the office.
My work-supplied phone is the Palm Treo Pro - its a phone I've always liked pairing a decent keyboard with a touchscreen and most of the features that most business people need - push email, a decent browser and good phone performance.
I don't recall battery life being a particularly key factor in the decision to purchase Treo Pros, however having put it through its paces over the last few days I have to say I'm surprised - three days of light to moderate usage easily achieved on one charge. That's something I could only dream of with my Xperia.
Of course the trade-off is performance - the Treo runs a slow (but actually more than adequate) CPU, less memory, a screen half the size and less than hal…

iPhone Out The Door, But Not Cleanly

The iPhone 4 arrived in UK shops today and already there have been some stories of users having hardware problems.

The one gaining initial publicity is to do with the iPhone's display - high resolution it may be, free from discoloration it certainly ain't!

Users have been reporting that their phone's display is marred by yellow discoloured areas. Some have spots, others have bands. For those who are having problems there are uncomfirmed claims that the yellow is glue used to attach the screen to the touch layer which hasn't cured properly and should disappear when it has after a few days of use.

More worrying is the story that phone signal can be affected by the way the phone is held - almost certainly due to the antenna bands which frame the device. Plenty of video evidence out there, although there's no comment from Apple yet.

Given the news about Android's continued success now would be a really bad time to drop the ball at such a big product launch...

Google Activating 160,000 Androids Per Day

That's a pretty remarkable number and starts to suggest that despite some serious Jobs-ian frothing at the mouth, Apple's grip on the Smartphone market is being loosened.

In fact if you consider that 160,000 across a full year (even working on a five day week) that's almost 50 million Androids entering the market this year - enough to overtake Apple and Rim and even to start worrying Nokia's inflated position at number one.

Impressive achievement by Google and its partners I just don't see them shipping at that rate for much longer.

End of year sales numbers are going to be interesting reading though...

World Cup: England Expects

Tomorrow brings England's chance to prove their credibility as World Cup contenders, victory over Slovenia the required result.

To my mind there is no question that England will get this result, not least because of the mindset of their manager 'Don Fabio' as some of the press have christened him. This is a man who has one league titles by the bucketload as a manager and who is the true expression of the results-focused management style which characterises the success of the Italian national team.

Thus we can say that irrespective of the performances England have put themselves in a position to qualify - a simple victory assuring a place in the last sixteen. No surprise that Italy find themselves in a similar position.

For any team at the World Cup getting through the first round is the biggest hurdle, as France have proven, once into the knockout phase anything can happen and often does.

England expects and its unthinkable that England will fail to deliver.

World Cup: Shamed France Head Home

Runners-up last time out when Zinedine Zidane managed to tarnish his reputation with a physical assault on one of his opponents in the final; the French managed to go one better this time when the collective behaviour of their squad and the lack of effort or commitment from the players on the pitch has heaped disgrace and indignity on their nation. In 1966 the Italian team was pelted with tomatoes when returning home after their desperate performance, this French side deserves no less.

There is a certain responsibility that goes with the honour of being selected to play for your nation, whatever your nationality. This French squad were exposed as petulant, over-paid children who showed the badge of their country no respect. The French Football Federation should ensure that none of those responsible ever receive that honour again.

The World Cup is a time when we mark the achievements of those teams who achieve more than they have a right to do. At the same time we should berate those who…

Android App Review: Zeam

One of the interesting features that Google lifted from Windows Mobile is the ability to replace the default Android launcher with something original. Obviously something that OEMs have taken too because to date we have specific launchers from HTC, Dell, Samsung, LG and Sony-Ericsson.

It's not just an option for the manufacturers though, there are quite a few replacement launchers in the market, one of those being Zeam which is currently in beta and is free - for the moment at least.

Zeam isn't a huge departure from the standard Android launcher, implementing a few key usability changes which make it immeasurably more usable than the default option.

First change is the ability to pin applications to the launch bar, rather than the standard link for opening the app drawer. This works well and I find that keeping the dialer application here improves the X10 I'm using greatly. The app draw itself has a selection of animations when opening and closing and this is one of a number …

World Cup: Chickens Coming Home To Roost

They say what comes around for a around, well for the Brazilians its taken eight years but justice has finally been served for Rivaldo's criminal piece of play acting against Turkey in 2002.

Kaka's sending off was completely unwarranted and occurred as a result of some play acting in the account of one of the Ivory Coast players. Unfair on Kaka perhaps, but if the Brazilians lose to Portugal in their final game and in doing so lose top spot in their group there will be a part of me that rejoices in the spirit of karma...

World Cup: It's Not Won In The First Round

English pride took a battering in Friday as the team failed to spark against an Algerian side that should have been brushed aside on the basis of FIFA's ranking tables.

Football has always been more than just statistics and despite not playing well England picked up another point which leaves qualification in their own hands.

On the basis of press and public reaction you'd think this was the worst English World Cup performance ever. I suspect that after a comfortable win against Slovenia in Wednesday all we'll hear will be pundits and hacks telling us how they said there was nothing to worry about all along.

There's a history of teams building momentum through a World Cup, something Italy are past masters of: in 1982 they won the competition after starting with three very poor draws and only just scraping through the group stage. The beaten finalists that year, Germany, only came through their group after losing to outsiders Algeria...

As the Dutch often prove the finals a…

Dell Streak: Falling Between Two Stools

Had a chance to spend some time with the Dell Streak this weekend and although its clearly greater than the sum of its parts there are still shortcomings that need addressing to make it a potential bestseller.

Biggest problem that I can see is that it ploughs its own furrow in the tablet market which only serves to expose its smartphone roots. At the moment tablet buyers can either down the iPad root, with its dedicated app choice which effectively hides its own failing as a large screen iPod Touch; or choose to go full Windows tablet and give up some degree of usability in exchange for full desktop application compatibility.

The Streak has neither the customised applications of the iPad nor the ability to run desktop apps of Windows devices and therefore has to rely on applications originally written for smartphones. As such it becomes of no more utility than a smartphone and one that is just too big to use as a phone to boot.

That's not to say that the combination of big screen, de…