Sunday, 28 November 2010
Still not perfect, but very usable nonetheless.
The new keyboard works very well and there's a general improvement in speed too. However Timescape won't connect to Twitter and the camera options are still pretty lousy.
On the whole I'd say its turned a disaster into a disappointment, which counts as some progress anyway.
Thursday, 25 November 2010
Or not as the case may be.
The Eclair update, on my X10 at least, is awful. Slow doesn't even begin to describe it. My three year old daughter armed only with crayons could redraw the screen quicker than this. Its like watching a stop motion parody of an OS - with 9 of every 10 frames missing.
I'm going to try a hard reset, re-flashing the ROM and the bin in that order... If I get to step three then its the end for me and SE. After the P800 and X1 I think they've had enough chances, don't you?
Monday, 22 November 2010
The Swype keyboard which is the new default data entry tool feels like out was designed for use on a 5" screen, being much more comfortable to use than on the larger Galaxy Tab (too far to go on that big screen) or smaller smartphones (smaller keys are more difficult to hit accurately). The addition of a full version of Quick Office is a bonus too, meaning that the keyboard can bed put to good use for document creation.
Lastly the Stage interface is slick in use and very nice to look at. In fact if Dell had thought to include a calendar/agenda Stage widget I'd be using Stage exclusively for my home screens.
Its nice to report an update that brings more functionality and extra freebies.
I forgive you for all the delays, Dell...
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Dell released its new Froyo build for the Streak on Monday as expected, however the deployment is being staggered so US Beta unit owners get first shot at the new software, followed by EU unlocked device owners from next week. The upgrade makes its way around the world with both Japan and America slated to receive both the upgrade and new purchase options in early December.
To ease the pain of the wait Dell have published a fairly detailed change log, a lot of which relates to the Froyo update itself. However, several additional pieces of functionality have been added including a full version of Quick Office, a copy of the Swype Keyboard and new PC software to support synchronization with Outlook on the desktop.
Add the features of Android 2.2.1 (yes the latest Froyo release) to the new Stage UI and the Streak starts to look very competitive indeed.
Next week can't come quickly enough for this Streak owner...
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Aside from freedom of speech issues, this amounts to a license for the ISPs to begin charging extra for a service that they are already supposed to be providing.
So as well as conning their customers on the speeds that they can reasonably expect to achieve between ISP and modem, users will now need to pay extra for high speed backhaul as well, with no more guarantee of service.
There just doesn't appear to be any upside from this decision. And there seems to be little we can do to change it...
Well the argument is settled and the answer is that SE weren't being 100% truthful in their statements about the X10s capabilities. Early in 2011 the X10 will indeed get multitouch support.
I'm not sure exactly what SE have been planning for the future but on the evidence of its handling of premium customers (the people who bought the X10) I'd suggest they join Nokia in a search for something outside if the mobile phone arena.
I wonder just how many X10 early adopters will ever consider a Sony Ericsson phone again...
Sent from my Windows Phone
That's set to change with the new Webkit based browser in BB6 and with the Playbook RIM are looking to outgun the iPad, as this video clearly demonstrates.
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
The LG Optimus Android phone is a pretty good entry level phone, apparently a pretty popular one too... LG are reporting that they've sold a million of them in just 40 days. That's without worldwide availability either.
To put that into context, if they continue to sell at that rate LG will sell about half as many Optimus phones as Apple sells iPhone 4 handsets.
Add in sales of all the other Android phones out there and its clear the Google is winning the sales battle and their lead is going to grow and grow.
Is there anybody out there who doesn't already own all The Beatles music they want? Apple Computer and Apple Corps are both betting that that's not true. In fact given the pricing that they've applied to the albums I'd suggest that they're also not expecting potential buyers to have too many brain cells either. Its actually far cheaper to purchase CDs from Amazon than to buy the downloads from the iTunes Music Store...
I doubt that Apple Computer are to blame here, much more likely that the various owners of the work's copyrights are looking to milk as much as possible out of the back catalogue whilst they can. However Jobs & Co are guilty of being so desperate to land the contract that they allowed a degree of price gouging that wouldn't have been tolerated by anyone else. Oh and the most ridiculous piece of over-hype ever in its advertising for today's event.
I'm on not entirely sure what the big deal about The Fab Four is anyway. Without the hype of the sixties its hard to see anything more than middle of the road pop of the ilk turned out by dozens of contemporaries and repeated ad nauseum though the Seventies, Eighties, Nineties and Noughties.
The real genius was John Lennon and it is his solo work that stands the test of time...
Three wins from the last four races (would have been four from four but for mechanical failure), only the seventh driver in history to take ten pole positions in a season and being implored to help team mate Webber's challenge as far back as Japan. It's a summary of what amounts to a remarkable comeback to become the youngest F1 World Champion ever.
I think that any true F1 fan would agree that Sebastian Vettel is the year's true champion and but for incredible amounts of poor luck with mechanical failures (and a highly questionable punt off the track from Webber in Turkey) the German would have sealed his title far earlier than the final race in Abu Dhabi.
Congratulations Seb, here's hoping its the first of many...
Saturday, 13 November 2010
The Tab works nicely and looks quite nice - hard to ignore its similarity to a shrunken iPad though. Given that my biggest complaint about the Galaxy S was that it looked too much like an iPhone 3G its a shame that the Korean giant seems to have abandoned its design department for the purposes of copying Apple's output.
The screen looks nice, Samsung have done a good job of customising some Android applications to better suit the Tab's higher resolution screen. I can't help feeling that its in a strange market position. Too big for your pocket, but not big enough to take advantage of screen real estate in the same way that the iPad does. It doesn't really offer too much over the 5" screen of the Streak either.
Leaving a very small market for those who want to fall between the pocketable and the luggable.
The pricing is starting to look a little better though, but even at £479 its too much more than its Galaxy S stablemate - from where it draws on much if its technology - without offering a killer feature to justify this add on purchase.
Despite that apparent negativity I'd still consider buying one... But I think I'll wait for the 10" version... Not sure the 7" Tab will hit the same sales sweet spot that Apple have found with the iPad though.
Sent from my Windows Phone
There have been a couple of signs that Dell is preparing to launch the Streak's Froyo update at long last. Firstly the appearance of a Dell backup/restore application in the Android market - a requirement for an upgrade that will delete everything in the Streak's memory; and a change to the Dell web page that the Dell system software checks for updates. Something that last happened prior to the O2 2.1 update going live.
With Dell having apparently delivered a pretty impressive new front end for Android (Stage which will also appear on the forthcoming Thunder handset) this highly anticipated update may be enough to bring the Streak back to the head of devices challenging for super-phone pre-eminence.
My guess is a release early next week... possibly even Monday. Fingers crossed!
Friday, 12 November 2010
Not surprising really, makes the Nintendo Wii-mote and Playstation Move controllers look a bit 20th Century...
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Which becomes all the more obvious if you look at the capabilities of Google's cloud offering. Gmail, with its excellent integration of PIM and sync; practically unlimited storage and photo/video connectivity is all available for free and outclasses Apple's option completely. Google's weakness - and by definition Android's - are a poor marketplace, lack of a media store and the lack of brand recognition for Android phones. Of course as Android sales power through the roof its clearly not holding the platform back.
And what of Microsoft, who saw the potential here when it bought HoTMaiL all those years ago and having taken it through several re-branding exercises now have the Windows Live platform. For PIM, sync and device management the latest iteration of Live seems to have surpassed Gmail and now offers a product which is every bit as good as Gmail and, by virtue of its cloud sync tools, has nosed ahead. Importantly Microsoft have also got the Zune platform to handle the media side of things - and although the Zune devices have only had moderate success in the US, the Zune Pass music subscription is a different matter. Its arrival in the UK to coincide with WP7's launch offers a real competitor to the iTunes Music Store. Particularly as the same subscription offers PC, WP7 and Xbox 360 owners access to practically unlimited music across their devices.
And having bested the opposition in two critical areas Microsoft still have a trick up their sleeves: Xbox Live. Whilst Apple and Android users are getting social gaming bolted on to their platforms, Microsoft has a thriving community of Xbox 360 users who can transfer that experience straight across to WP7 where its nicely embedded.
What previously looked like a straight fight between Apple and Google may just be a three-cornered punch-up after all...
Monday, 1 November 2010
|Nokia's Flagship N8|
One phone that I had a chance to try last week that I haven't mentioned yet is the new Nokia N8, a good-looking phone that on specs alone would wipe the floor with anything else on the market. Its new version of Symbian ^3 is supposed to compete with iOS, Android and, now, Windows Phone 7.
Unfortunately this phone is abysmal.
If this thing is Nokia's best shot at saving its phone business then they better start investing heavily in the tyre business again, because they aren't going to be saving anything with a product this poor.
I wonder whether anyone from Nokia has seen an iPhone or tried an Android device. Perhaps they're banned in Finland and as a result Nokia don't realise that the stakes have changed, but whereas using practically any of the competition is an involving, fun experience, using the N8 is like being forced to listen to somebody running their nails down a blackboard. Torture.
Here are just some of the areas where I found it deficient. The new home screen widgets are small, not particularly finger friendly and don't really make for easy viewing of the information they contain. The homescreen has three pages and flicking between them is incredibly laggy - there's none of the slick animation between pages, or if there is its of the two frame on-off variety. The menu system isn't intuitive and everything seems to take far too many screen taps to achieve.
The camera is also disappointing - not the quality or the response time, as there's almost no shutter lag. However there's an almost interminable delay after taking a picture whilst its saved to storage, so if you don't get the shot you want first time you'll probably not get another chance.
I didn't have it long enough to gauge the battery life or try out the HDMI output but given how unpleasant the phone was to use I doubt that there was sufficient wiggle room for them to redeem yet another disappointing flagship handset from Nokia.
In the same way that Palm lost the plot and its direction with the Lifedrive and T5, Nokia's recent handsets have been a mixture of complacency and incompetence and with its core market for feature phones being eroded by the day Nokia can't afford to be shipping garbage like this. Nokia needs to deliver with a jaw-droppingly good MeeGo phone first time out, or admit defeat and take Android on as its core OS. Either way something has got to change before even the staunchest Nokia fan starts looking elsewhere.
In the meantime I heartily recommend that you avoid both the N8 and anybody using one, as you don't want to be the thing they end up throwing it at...