Saturday, 30 October 2010
I had originally planned on holding off until unlocked devices hit the market, but the PAYG deal currently being offered by O2 was too good to resist.
WP7 looks great and is smooth as silk to operate, whilst its Windows Live and Xbox 360 integration are class leading. However there are some missing features that need addressing, some of which Microsoft assure us they are addressing. Its a change in tack from the feature-laden but much derided Windows Mobile - which I still think was often the victim of unfair or unsubstantiated criticism - and as a result there's a whole bundle of functionality missing when compared to Android and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone.
All the same the HD7 manages to be a thing of joy and for that reason alone I'm not surprised to hear that O2 are selling them in droves. Maybe I'm not the only sucker out there...
Friday, 29 October 2010
The premise for thus incredible leap? As she walks past the camera she has her hand up to her face in the same way that somebody using a mobile phone might do. Therefore she's using a mobile phone and therefore she's a time traveller: QED.
Leaving aside all the scientific counter-arguments this just defies belief. Did this time travelling woman bring a network of cellular towers with her when she jumped through time? And no-one on set questioned her for talking in the back of scene, into what was presumably a device that no-one had seen the like of before.
Time travel? It's a one way street. Forward, into the future, one day at a time. Anyone tells you different have them locked up...
Thursday, 28 October 2010
Which is strange because it comes across as nothing less than a WP7 based Desire - and that's a pretty good place to be coming from. The only difference between them appears to be the OLED/S-LCD screen which has been ditched for a standard LCD on the Trophy - no bad thing in my opinion as the OLED's shortcomings aren't fully compensated for by its lower power consumption and better colour reproduction. There's certainly nothing to complain about in the Trophy's screen performance.
Flicking around the operating system is pretty smooth too, in fact its fair to say that this is the phone that Microsoft and HTC should really be making a big push on, as I suspect its combination of size, functionality and price are Windows Phone 7's sweet spot at the moment.
Price? Oh yes, the Trophy can be had free for £25/month on a two year Vodafone contract. For £30 its free on an 18 month contract too. That's a hefty £360 cheaper than O2's HD7 over a two year contract.
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Webber's car rolled across the track and into the path of the oncoming field in a clear attempt to take out one or more of his championship rivals - Alonso managed to dodge around the Red Bull but Nico Rosberg was unable to find a gap and was wiped out in the ensuing accident, ending what looked like a charge to the podium at the very least. How do we know it was a deliberate attempt to eliminate his rivals? Review the footage and you'll see that the wheels of the car are turning, not locked as they would have been if Webber's foot had been on the brake pedal. Had Webber braked he would have stopped almost immediately after the impact with the wall and not crossed the racing line.
This is the third incident this season where the cheating Aussie has eliminated a title rival - team-mate Vettel in Turkey and Hamilton in Singapore being the other two - yet thus far he has escaped punishment. The FIA should review the telemetry from the Korean incident before we get to Brazil and, if it does reveal that the brakes were not applied on the car, Webber should receive a 10 place grid penalty for the next race or even a one race suspension.
Being prepared to put his rivals and track-side workers into a position of danger to try and gain a championship advantage is at least as criminal as the actions of Renault and Nelson Piquet Jr. in Singapore 2008 and punishment should be equally firm.
Dell have a rather tasty £50 off the Streak at the moment, bringing the price down to a £399, something of a bargain. If you qualify for the Employee Purchase program - NHS and other Public Sector employees certainly do - there's an extra 3% off that price, making the price just £387.
Good timing too, with the Froyo update due anytime in the next two-four weeks. That should make the Streak the best combination of performance and portability you can spend your hard-earned pennies on...
In Brazil in a couple of weeks there is only one acceptable scenario for swapping Vettel and Webber - if Alonso is ahead of both Red Bulls then Vettel's championship challenge is over anyway and deferring to Webber costs him nothing.
However, Brazil is an absolutely guaranteed Red Bull track and with Alonso down to his last penalty-free engine of the season I can't see this scenario developing. Therefore Red Bull should be very closely monitored to ensure the highest level of fair play...
Saturday, 23 October 2010
Microsoft's advert for the Windows Phone 7 was inspired, coming at the whole smartphone thing from a different angle. Shame then that in crossing the Atlantic to become Orange's spot on UK screens the tagline has changed to 'Please use responsibly'.
So now instead of being an advert suggesting that WP7 is a new way of using your mobile, it suggests that WP7 users will be texting in the urinals...
Not a message that's going to go down a storm here frankly...
Friday, 22 October 2010
This is a particular worry because it is on the exit of a blind, flat out corner with walls on either side of the track. It's not inconceivable that a driver who is racing would come across an opponent entering the pits, on the racing line, going 70-80mph slower.
Anyone who remembers Riccardo Patrese cartwheeling down the pit straight in his Williams after running into the back of Gerhard Berger in similar circumstances will be very concerned over the risks.
A good result this weekend may not be a win for your favourite driver, just getting everyone home in one piece...
O2 seems to be the only network with any sort of commitment to selling the device. The Orange shop I visited refused to demo a Mozart as it would mean they had one less to sell, T-Mobile had no devices in stock and didn't know when they would be in. They did suggest that they were expecting to get the HD7 though. Three had no idea and Vodafone no stock. Carphone Warehouse will not be stocking WP7 at this time either. So much for the big launch day then...
For anyone trying to compare the various handsets supposedly launching today it would have been a hugely frustrating day. The attitude of the Orange Shop was most disappointing. Its a new operating system that's trading on its new way of working, if you don't provide demo devices you won't sell any anyway.
Seems that Microsoft and partners need to work on their relationship a but more, I can't remember a more understated launch, no advertising material no window dressing no devices in most shops. I'm guessing early sales will be very poor indeed...
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
Over here there's probably not going to be a huge rush to take up the new platform for several reasons. Firstly iPhone users are pretty locked in to the Apple ecosystem, secondly Androd has been mopping up users who decided they wanted to switch after the end of their Apple/O2 contracts and three those lengthy new contracts that people have bought into don't make it easy for users to switch or break out for a new device.
There's no real availability of pricing information on SIM-free models. The pricing for WP7 contract handsets looks pretty ferocious too. The HD7 will be free on a £40/month two year contract - that's a whopping £960 over the contract term. Orange/T-Mobile look similarly optimistic at £35/month on a slightly lower spec HTC Mozart.
That's a hefty commitment for people to make on a platform that isn't guaranteed to be a success. I suspect Microsoft might have cause to regret the way the UK launch has panned out. It isn't so long since Palm made the same mistakes with the Pre and look what happened to them...
Big day for Microsoft tomorrow...
A top end model, in terms of spec and price, but a netbook nonetheless. Which seems strange considering Apple spent so long telling us no-one wanted them. Perhaps the 90 million sales last year changed his mind...
Last time out I loved the look of the original Macbook Air but was disappointed by the specifications, now things have reversed and whilst the specs look much better, the thing itself is far too pointy for my liking... I'm not at all convinced that the thin end of the wedge will be a pleasant place to be typing from.
Its likely that this will be as far as the X10 goes down the road to Froyo, which seems a shame given the quality of its hardware, never mind that it breaks some promises made around the time of the X10's launch.
The update will be delivered via SE's PC update application.
I can't say whether the functionality or capabilities of the new OS are better or worse than anything out there (other than the missing functions we already know about) but its clear that Microsoft have taken a giant leap forward in look and feel.
Initial exposure would certainly suggest that Microsoft have a potential winner on their hands. Let's see how the consumer market takes to it...
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
First of all why even discuss Google - unless its an admission that Google's efforts are starting to impact on the Apple business model? Its certainly not considered good form in the UK to be seen to be trash talking the competition, perhaps things work differently in corporate America? Secondly if open systems don't "always" win, then you're suggesting that they usually do. Way to defeat the point of your own argument...
For the record, the markets didn't like the sound of what Apple had to say in its financial statement, with the company's value dropping 7% in aftermarket trading. Seems to suggest that a few fewer people are drinking the Kool-aid today...
Monday, 18 October 2010
Whilst pretty much everything from your TV to your watch now packs some serious computing power where on earth do we draw the line between device and computer? Its a tough call and I'm sure one that will have different interpretations depending on who is making that call.
To me the deciding factors have to be: can the device run and install software? Can it be used without ever having to tether it to another more powerful computer? If it meets these criteria I'm happy to call it a computer. If it is able to connect to the internet then it makes the decision even easier.
Does the iPad meet these criteria? No, unfortunately not - but I can definitely see why some people would hold a contrary view. After all, tethered to a keyboard and a mouse and mounted in an appropriate dock it starts to look an awful lot like a computer...
Sunday, 17 October 2010
Claims that he slept with more than 5,000 women are impossible to verify and rather than something to glorify - as the excerpts suggest the book does - merely expose the emotional and intellectual immaturity that defined the man.
The legacy of James Hunt will always be that of his actions at and after the Italian Grand Prix of 1978. The brand of cowardice he displayed exposed an enormous yellow streak that riddled the man who played up to the seventies F1 gladiator image.
On that fateful day a startline accident caused Sweden's Ronnie Petersen to receive injuries that would prove fatal. Hunt instigated a witch-hunt against young Italian driver Riccardo Patrese, claiming his reckless driving had caused the accident. The former World Champion's accusations drowned out the protestations of the young rookie and, at the next race the drivers, under Hunt's directions presented the organisers with an ultimatum: accept Patrese's entry and no-one else will race. Needless to say Riccardo was excluded from the race and his guilt was proven in many eyes.
Except that as investigations continued into the death more and more evidence piled up to show that Patrese was innocent and had played no part in causing the accident. The perpetrator? James Hunt. The Englishman had used the lack of credibility of his fall guy to cover up his own part in the accident that led to Peterson's death. There was no culpability in causing the accident itself, a racing incident with calamitous consequences, an all too regular occurrence in the seventies. Hunt's subsequent attempt to shift the blame was the really shameful action.
Eventually an Italian court exonerated Patrese of blame officially and in most people's eyes.
Except Hunt, by now a member of the BBC commentary team with Murray Walker, who instigated a very public hate campaign against Patrese, regularly attacking the Italian in his commentaries and often extending this to other Italian drivers as his hate campaign spilled into xenophobia.
Up until his death Hunt was allowed to get away with this awful behaviour, although subsequently it has been roundly condemned and Patrese eventually restored his reputation.
Playboy? Playground bully more like and all the drugs and booze and sordid shagging won't ever change that story.
Saturday, 16 October 2010
Personally when with my family my phone only gets used for calls and as a camera but I see other people who clearly haven't managed to make that disconnect between real and virtual life.
Friday, 15 October 2010
But what if the same technique was used to launch devices by other tech companies, how would that work? Well if you read this piece by Rita at MobileRNR you'll find it works quite well actually. http://mobilernr.com/had-apple-announced-the-nokia-n8/
Any gadget lover who doesn't want to rush out and try an N8 after reading this piece isn't a true gadget lover...
That's good news for Xperia owners, with some caveats though. The biggest question has to be: how can it have taken ten months to get to Eclaire when Froyo has been available for all of that time. As its looking more and more likely that Sony-Ericsson has no intention of upgrading the X10 to Froyo how likely are any X10 users to buy from the company again.
There are some issues that need to be addressed for what is supposed to be a flagship phone... why is the headset volume so low? Why is the camera so laggy and why does Timescape still behave so badly?
The X10 could have been a class leading device, it remains probably the nicest phone to look at and hold and its screen is a good size for a small-ish device.
Sony-Ericsson just needed to commit to delivering a class leading experience with the phone too. Something they have thus far failed to do...
Monday, 11 October 2010
The new OS looks good and introduces a new metaphor to the smartphone market, being information centric in its UX in a sort of super-inflated Today Screen way. Its less than Android's widget based interface, which can offer a similar type of experience without approaching the slickness of Microsoft's interface; and a world away from the iPhone's 'look here are some icons' experience. Does it work? Its certainly in the ball game and I suspect that for most 'true' smartphone users it will be a better way of interacting with their phone than any of the alternative platforms. However it doesn't strike me as having the personalisation options that vanilla Android offers, at least not yet.
Microsoft has still got a lot of work ahead of it though, WP7 lacks key functionality which is now available everywhere else, not least its predecessor Windows Mobile. Copy/Paste and Multitasking need to be delivered rapidly, not least because the impressive looking mobile Office implentation is hamstrung without it. Office looks mighty impressive and seems like much more capable of handling document round trips than the WinMo implementation. The integration with Windows Live services gives Microsoft a big leg-up in the market, although with Google looking to improve its apps performance on Android that may not be a lead it holds very long. MobileMe looks pretty dreadful by comparison.
Of the devices launched today there doesn't appear to be a clear leader nor any particularly weak devices. Microsoft and its partners seem to have covered most of the bases with their launch range, with the devices covering large screen, landscape or portrait keyboards; music, photo and AMOLED bases.
So a long time in the making but still an unfinished work, Microsoft has generated some buzz with its new platform. Now it has to work to build some momentum behind its new baby, otherwise it could fail before its even got going.
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
How does this happen. Next isn't the last word in fashion stores but it has a decent enough reputation and presumably takes some care about the clothing lines it stocks in its stores, yet seems to be prepared to throw all that away by trying to sell an ill-conceived, poorly tested and badly marketed product.
Having been involved in the planning, design and release of several high-profile products for large electronics companies, as well as having experience of the high volume fashion industry's methods of purchasing and selling clothing I just can't see how Next have managed to get this so wrong. Even given that the accessory line is something of a hobby for them.
Perhaps next time they'll send someone with the first idea of what computing is about to procure their products in China. And maybe they'll even spend some time testing it before letting reviewers and the public get their hands on it...
Funny how we have one of the World's greatest broadcasters in the BBC and one of the absolute worst in ITV....