Podcast: Talking with Matt #19 (FoneFrenzy special)

November 24, 2009

It’s time for another podcast (35 min) with Matthew Bennett (Nokia Daily News, US Mobile Industry):
Audio version
Video version

This week we were joined by special guest Tony Peric (FoneFrenzy) and his (WiFi-less) Palm Pixi! We discussed the HTC Hero, the Motorola Droid, and the Nokia N900

We also talked about unlocking and debranding the Sony Ericsson C905a, and we even covered the Acer Aspire 1410 and the HP Mini 311. Enjoy :)

Click here to subscribe to this podcast.


Unboxing the HP Mini 311

November 21, 2009

Hot on the heels of the Motorola Droid, the friendly people at Verizon sent me an HP Mini 311-1037NR review unit!

It’s a netbook with an Intel Atom N270 processor, NVIDIA ION graphics, and an 11.6″ screen. Of particular interest to me is the Gobi radio from Qualcomm (built-in WWAN) which supports both EVDO and EDGE/HSDPA networks…

Read the rest of this entry »


Tasty bits, revisited

September 21, 2008

Yes, I know. I’ve completely & utterly failed at maintaining my tasty bits column – it’s been dormant since late April…

It appears I don’t have the time or motivation to publish it in the present format, so I’ve decided to try something new – and this is it!

Here’s a list of tasty bits, devices I’m excited about, and hoping to get my hands on.

- Nokia N85:
Take the awesome N95-3, add a lens cover, add European 3G (in addition to US 3G), add USB charging, replace the single LED flash with a dual ultra-bright LED unit, replace the LCD with an OLED screen, and make it a lot thinner. That’s the N85, and after playing with it in Helsinki, I can’t wait to replace my N95-3 :)

- HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1:
What’s not to be excited about? It’s the first Android device and the first HSDPA smartphone on T-Mobile USA’s AWS network. Want! See you in line…

- Samsung i8510 (INNOV8):
Take the N95-2 (European 8GB), add a lens cover, add a micro-SD card slot, replace the 5 megapixel sensor with an 8 megapixel unit, replace the single LED flash with a dual ultra-bright LED unit, and make it a bit thinner. That’s the INNOV8, and I’ve played with it. It’s a great phone, other than the lack of US 3G.

- LG KC910 (Renoir):
If my experience with the LG Vu is any indication, this device might be worth getting for the 8 megapixel camera alone. Hopefully, LG’s improved the touch screen and user interface…

- Lenovo IdeaPad S10:
It’s the only 10″ netbook that I’m excited about, because it offers a great balance between price, features and design (it even looks like a smaller IdeaPad U110). Hopefully, it’s just as mod-able as my Acer Aspire One!

- Voodoo Envy 133:
I’m not a PC person, but I love everything about the Envy – the ultra-thin design, the carbon-fiber body, the Ethernet port on the AC adapter, the external optical drive, the back-lit keyboard, the removable battery. It almost makes me want to cheat on my MacBook Air :)

Here’s a few more random pieces:

- I got to play with the Yamaha Tenori-on at Austin GDC last week. It’s a very cool device. Here’s a video of it in action, featuring industry colleague and rock star Kurt Larson

- I made a couple more videos during my trip to Finland. I’ve also posted the last of my pictures.

- Have I mentioned how much I enjoy Nokia’s design direction, lately? Even its low-end devices are sexy!


Unboxing the Acer Aspire One

August 10, 2008

I’ve been eying the Acer Aspire One for a while now, because it’s one of the few netbooks equipped with both a 9″ 1024×600 pixel screen and a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom CPU that’s true to the original spirit of netbooks, i.e. affordable, small, light, SSD, Linux, and mod-friendly.

I learned from my experience with the Asus 701 (Eee) that the 7″ 800×480 pixel screen was too small and that the underclocked 900 MHz Celeron CPU was too lethargic. But I liked the sub-$400 price, sub-3 lbs weight and hack-appeal of the original Eee :)

I was disappointed with the HP 2133 (Mini-Note), because of the price, weight and the limited mod-appeal. Built-in Bluetooth was nice and the keyboard was fantastic, but the 9″ 1280×768 pixel screen was too good for my eyes (resolution-wise), the Via C7-M CPU was too inconsistent (performance-wise), and the 120 GB HD was overkill…

I’m really enjoying the Asus 901 (Eee), with its 9″ 1024×600 pixel screen, 1.6 GHz Intel Atom CPU, 12 GB SSD, built-in Bluetooth, multitouch trackpad, and hack-friendly design – but the price is too high!

So today I picked up my Acer Aspire One – I got the A110 model in fabulous Sapphire Blue (512 MB RAM, 8 GB SSD, 3-cell battery, Limpus Linux). Take a look at the unboxing pictures.

I’m very impressed so far. The SSD uses a 40-pin ZIF connector compatible with most 1.8″ PATA hard drives, and there’s a missing mini PCIe connector and SIM holder on the motherboard for 3G. But first, I’ll be upgrading the RAM and adding internal Bluetooth.

It’s just so, so, so hack-elicious :)

Update: I’ve cracked it open, upgraded the RAM to 1.5 GB, and located an additional USB port and power on the motherboard for Bluetooth.


Amazon Kindle vs. Seabol & friends

June 7, 2008

Once a upon a time in the good land of milk & honey lived a band of happy gadgets. The leader of the band, Seabol, took it upon himself to keep a loving eye on the others, a MacBook Air, an HP Mini-note, an iPhone, and an alien gadget from another planet, the Nokia N95-3

The band’s benevolent dictator was always very nice to all of them. She made sure no unwanted gadgets from the dark land far far away joined the band.

One fateful night, an evil gadget, the Amazon Kindle, somehow infiltrated the band, unbeknown to the benevolent dictator. It first attacked the iPhone, which managed to escape, being so thin and slippery.

The Kindle jumped on the MacBook Air, but was foiled by its strong aluminum shell. it then pounced on the HP Mini-note, but was blinded by its glossy frameless screen.

Something needed to be done. The Kindle was about to consume the Nokia N95-3 when Seabol jumped to the rescue. Within seconds, the Kindle was foiled and Seabol & friends prevaled!


Life with the HP Mini-Note

May 18, 2008

I’m sitting on the patio at Cafe Flore in the Castro on this balmy spring evening (70 degrees at 11 PM) in San Francisco, blogging on my HP 2133 (Mini-Note) instead of my MacBook Air – oh the things I do for my dear readers :)

Now that I’ve played with my Mini-Note for a couple weeks, I’m really not quite as excited about it as I’d like to be. Here’s a summary of my experience so far…

Pros:
– Small
– Über sexy anodized aluminum
– Nice build quality
– Great keyboard
– Good screen resolution (almost too good?)
– Integrated Bluetooth
– Lots of memory and storage

Cons:
– Too heavy for its size (> 3 lbs)
– Bulky 6-cell battery and AC adapter
– Screen too dim at times (and no LED backlight?)
– Small trackpad (and horrible buttons)
– Fan is almost always running
– Overly sensitive accelerometer
– Poor video performance

I’m still running Windows XP Pro, now with the official drivers – I’ve also upgraded to XP SP3.

The screen resolution is good but possibly too good for my eyes. As a result, I’ve set the screen to 144 dpi (150% original size), which is a definite improvement.

I’ve downloaded the official SuSE Linux disk image, and I may be taking it for a spin very soon.

Overall, the Mini-Note is a nice machine with good features for the money, but I’m not sure it’s the right machine for me.

I think the upcoming Asus 901 (Eee), with its Intel Atom CPU, integrated Bluetooth, multitouch trackpad, and more manageable 1024×600 pixel screen resolution, may be a better choice for me.

Besides, I already know from my Asus 701 (Eee) that I’m comfortable with the smaller keyboard.

I’ll keep you posted!


Unboxing the HP 2133 (Mini-Note)

May 3, 2008

Well my HP 2133 (Mini-Note) finally arrived yesterday! I got the KX870AT model (1.6 GHz CPU, 2 GB RAM, 7200 rpm 120 GB HD, Bluetooth, 6-cell battery, Windows Vista Business)…

Check out my unboxing pictures – the Mini-Note is definitely full of hotness :)

First impressions?

Build quality is exceptional – the screen and keyboard are great. The trackpad feels tiny compared to the giant one on my MacBook Air, and the power jack sticks out in an unwieldy way while connected (an L-shape would be ideal).

I removed Vista (like any sane person would do) and installed Windows XP Pro before even booting for the first time… I used this guide, which required some updating for Bluetooth support.

Everything is working properly and XP is snappy!


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