Pictures taken with the Nokia N76

The camera in the Nokia N76 is similar in performance to other current 2 megapixel devices, like the Nokia N75, the Apple iPhone, and the BlackBerry 8320 (Curve).

But as I mentioned before, there appears to be a green tint problem with the camera. Perhaps it’s a firmware problem? The (CMOS) sensor is noisy in low light, but this is somewhat alleviated by the LED flash.

Ultimately, the N76 takes adequate pictures for a device without auto-focus or macro.

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Tasty bits – 30 31 32 (yummy chunks)

Another month, another triple edition of tasty bits… I just can’t keep up!

A device I just acquired, the Sony Ericsson K850i:
Sony Ericsson K850i Unboxing!

A device I recently reviewed, the BlackBerry 8320 (Curve):
T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi BlackBerry Curve Is Fo’ Real and Quite Tasty
UMA: T-Mobile’s secret weapon. Truphone: everyone else’s?
T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8320 Unboxing Part 2 / Giveaway
T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8320 Unboxing!
BlackBerry 8320 Wi-Fi vs. BlackBerry 8300 EDGE speed test
T-Mobile announces BlackBerry Curve with WiFi, we check it out
Another look at the BlackBerry 8320 for T-Mobile

Nokia N95 (I expect to get my hands on the US version soon):
A Brief Look at the Nokia N95 US 3G, PT. 1
A Brief Look at the Nokia N95 US 3G, PT. 2- Battery Life Comparison
A Brief Look at the Nokia N95 US 3G, PT. 3 – Build Quality
BL-6F Into Nokia N95 – Yes It Can Be Done, But…
Nokia N95 or Apple iPhone? – The Question Has Been Answered
Sling Player Now Available on Nokia N95
US 3G Costs Nokia N95 a Mere Hour of Battery Life
US 3G Nokia N95 Runs For Over 9 Hours On EDGE
US Nokia N95 Reviewed: Better Than the Euro Version
New Nokia N95-3: it’s what the original should have been
Unboxing the Nokia N95 8GB
All About Symbian Review: Nokia N95 8GB
Nokia N95-3 hands-on!
Nokia N95-3 with North American 3G now available
Hands-on (again) with the North American N95!
Wiimote used to control Nokia N95
Google Maps gets cozy with N95’s internal GPS

Nokia N810 (a device I’m very excited about, since I’m coming from the Nokia 770):
Nokia N810 Hands-On Gallery and Video
Nokia N810 Internet Tablet with QWERTY is peeped!
Third generation tablet on TabletBlog
N810 on TabletBlog
Nokia’s N810 Internet Tablet, MOSH to debut soon?
Nokia N810 gets official
Nokia N810 hands-on

More Nokia news:
S60 Touch Interface Launched
Nokia E90 review: Heavyweight champion

iPhone info (centered around the 1.1.1 update and Apple finally announcing an SDK):
iPhone Firmware 1.1.1 Out and Tested: Breaks 3rd-party Apps, Relocks iPhones and Sends Them to Semi-Brick Activation Limbo (Updated with video)
iPhone Installer App Updated to 3.0beta3 With Many Improvements
New anySim Gets Bugs Ironed Out, Now Integrated with Installer.app
250,000 Unlocked iPhones Have Been Sold
iPhone Dashboard Widgets Imminent?
iPhone Re-Reviewed (Verdict: Don’t Buy)
Apollo IM for iPhone hits 1.0
A note to both Apple and iPhone customers on the v1.1.1 update
Truphone demos VoIP for iPhone
iPhone update: facts and fiction
iPhone v1.1.1 baseband downgrade released
Orange to sell unlocked iPhones in France
iPhone / iPod touch v1.1.1 jailbreak code posted
MEX – the strategy forum for mobile user experience – Award surprises, Apple interface guidelines & our challenge for operators
Apple: “iPhone SIM unlockers will end up with iBricks”
How to relock your iPhone before the firmware update
“iPhone Dev Team” issues statement
Moment of Truth: iPhone Software 1.1.1 is out
iPhone: 90 Days Later
DIY iFlash for the iPhone
iPhone/iPod touch Remote Control
BusinessWeek: Why I Won’t Buy an iPhone
iPhone Dev Team announces public iPhone 1.1.1 Jailbreak
iPhone SIM Free announces 1.1.1 SIM Unlock, iPhone Unbricking
iToner working with iPhone Firmware 1.1.1
iPhone jailbreak interface INdependence updated to 1.2.2
iPhone Dev Team announces free unlock
Apple: “we plan to have an iPhone SDK in developers’ hands in February”
iToner 1.0.3 works with iPhone 1.1.1
iPhone programming 101: full header documentation released
Stacks on the iPhone

Walt Mossberg echoes (in part) my own rant about the iPhone:
Mossberg howls: “Free my Phone”

More Apple news:
Apple Macbook Touch Concept and Thoughts on the Newton 2 Rumors
We need a real handheld computer, who will build one? Apple of course
More “New Newton” rumors

Samsung P520 (Armani), G800 and more:
Samsung Armani Phone Hands On Video
Java Phone: Sun Microsystems and Samsung May Be Developing Cheaper iPhone Alternative
Specs Drop for Samsung’s Touchscreen, WiMax UMPC SPH-9200
Samsung i550, GPS Phone, officially announced
Samsung’s Armani phone has a surprise: a haptic feedback UI
Samsung’s 5 megapixel G800 gets launched, available next month

LG VX10000 (Voyager) and CU920 (Vu2):
Verizon’s Voyager- going after the iPhone crowd
LG Shine, Prada coming to AT&T as Vu, Vu2?

Google phone:
What’s the Google phone going to be? Hardware or software?
The Google Phone: It’s the OS dummy

Linux/DIY:
Compulab’s EM-X270 brings DIY to smartphones
Wired’s Open Phone Round-Up Tells the Bleak Truth

Other:
Motorola’s big ‘08 splash
Meizu’s MiniOne M8 GUI showcased further, still devoid of originality

BlackBerry Curve camera

Here are some pictures taken with my WiFi-enabled BlackBerry 8320 (Curve)

Quality is reasonable, and in line with other current 2 megapixel devices like the iPhone and the Nokia N75.

On the positive side, the camera is equipped with an LED flash and a digital zoom. On the negative side, it is missing two important features: auto-focus and macro!

That being said, over the past few days I’ve really learned to appreciate the Curve – it’s a well designed phone (both hardware and software) with a well balanced set of features.

No BlackBerry plan? No problem

I’ve been reading mixed reports about using my WiFi-enabled BlackBerry 8320 (Curve) without a BlackBerry plan… Some say it’s possible, other say it’s not, so I decided to investigate!

With my existing T-Mobile unlimited t-zones data plan, the built-in web browser worked fine for WAP sites (over GPRS/EDGE only) and for HTML sites (over WiFi only). I was able to install Opera mini 4 beta, the Google maps client and the Gmail client, but none of these application worked (over either GRPS/EDGE or WiFi, with TCP/APN set to “wap.voicestream.com”). Blame it on the proxy…

Since I was already considering it, I upgraded to the T-Mobile Total Internet data plan that was recently introduced (unlimited data + Hotspot). I also added the BlackBerry Feature Enabler (free – for MMS support).

With my Total Internet data plan, the built-in web browser worked fine for both WAP and HTML sites (over either GPRS/EDGE or WiFi). Opera mini 4 beta, the Google maps client and the Gmail client, all worked as well (over either GRPS/EDGE or WiFi, with TCP/APN set to “internet2.voicestream.com”)!

Then I got the phone SIM unlocked and tried my AT&T MEdia Max 200 data plan.

With my MEdia Max 200 data plan, the built-in web browser worked fine for both WAP and HTML sites (over either GPRS/EDGE or WiFi). Opera mini 4 beta, the Google maps client and the Gmail client, all worked as well (over either GRPS/EDGE or WiFi, with TCP/APN set to “wap.cingular”).

Basically, it looks like any proxy-less data plan works fine – so unless you require push email, ignore the BlackBerry plan :)

One more thing… UMA turns me on is pretty cool!

It works on most WiFi networks as long as you use a T-Mobile SIM, and call quality is great – no special router required. Unfortunately, transitions between GSM and WiFi often result in dropped calls, but this is apparently getting fixed soon.

Now I want to see UMA support for my Nokia N95.

BlackBerry Curve observations

After 48 hours with the WiFi-enabled BlackBerry 8320 (Curve), here are some observations…

– Hardware:
This device is a lot more attractive in person than in pictures. It’s very light and pretty thin, but build quality is solid. It’s nice to see a standard mini-USB connector (with charger and mass-storage support) and stereo headset connector (4-prong 3.5 mm). The micro-SD card lives under the battery, which is unfortunate.

– Software:
The user-interface is very good. It’s simple, consistent, and easy to use, but it’s lacking polish in some areas (media player and camera). Then again, after living with an iPhone for 3 months, I’m getting jaded – sorry for being such an Apple fangirl :). I think a short press of the mute key should show the profiles (I ended up assigning the left-side convenience key to the profiles). It was easy to install my contact and ringtones and to customize the phone.

The BlackBerry Destop Manager is not working for me. I’ve installed it on 2 different Windows XP (SP2) computers and I’m still experiencing the same problem: I can’t install applications.

When I run the Application Loader, everything is grayed out and the Application List shows: “The BlackBerry Desktop Software does not have BlackBerry Device Software for the device that you have connected to your computer. Contact your wireless service provider or system administrator.” When I click on “Add” (the only control not grayed out other than “Cancel”) and select the Opera mini 4 beta ALX file, it tells me: “No additional applications designed for you device were found”.

Thoughts?

– Data/WiFi/Bluetooth/UMA:
I still don’t have a BlackBerry plan. Why? I think Research In Motion should support industry standard email/web/MMS connectivity over GPRS/EDGE for people (like me) with regular data plans who are not interested in using push email. In fact, I was under the impression that the “consumer” devices like the Pearl and Curve supported industry standard connectivity, in addition to the BlackBerry plans.

The built-in web browser works fine over WiFi (with or without the SIM inserted), despite the lack of BlackBerry plan – of course, it doesn’t work over GPRS/EDGE. Opera mini 4 beta doesn’t work (both WiFi and GPRS/EDGE) despite changing the APN in the TCP options to “wap.voicestream.com” (for my unlimited t-zones data plan).

Bluetooth works fine, but I’m not (yet) sure if UMA works.

– Keyboard/Screen:
The keyboard feels nice but I’m struggling to read the key labels at times. The QVGA screen is decent, as expected (it could be brighter, perhaps).

– Camera:
The 2 megapixel camera takes decent pictures and features an LED flash, but could benefit from an auto-focus lens with macro. Video recording appears to be missing.

– Audio/RF:
Call quality and reception are very good. Sound quality is average when listening to music with high-end headphones, but I’m being picky here…

FYI, The supplied stereo headset works with the iPhone (both physically and electrically), including the switch/microphone- nice!

– Battery life:
It’s a bit too early to tell, but with WiFi enabled and Bluetooth disabled, so far, so good.

Update: I’ve since upgraded to the Total Internet data plan.

Unboxing the BlackBerry 8320 (Curve)

Oh noes! I can has WiFi-enabled BlackBerry 8320 (Curve)…

Me, testing a BlackBerry? Shocking, I know :) I’m only doing this because:
– I have one to play with for several days (don’t ask)
– I wanted to try UMA with an interesting device
– I have never used a BlackBerry before (curiosity)

First, take a look at my unboxing pictures.

Second, help me!

I don’t have a BlackBerry plan… Can I add it to my account without renewing my contract (which is expired)? Can I add it without changing my data plan (unlimited t-zones)?

Voice/SMS is working, but obviously data is not (it didn’t even work over WiFi) :/ I tried installing Opera mini with the BlackBerry user tools (Windows XP) but it didn’t let me add applications.

This is not looking terribly good so far.

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