Tasty bits – 35 (holidays edition)

Happy new year :)

Here’s last month’s tasty bits, a little behind once again! I’ve decided to stop numbering the column hereafter…

JKK added HSDPA to the Asus 701 (Eee) – I’m working on a similar mod using a Sierra Wireless AirCard 875U HSDPA modem…

Also I’ve started using Qik to stream live video with my Nokia N95!

I’m keeping an eye on all the CES madness this week and I’ll be at Macworld next week, so stay tuned :)

Asus 701 (Eee):
WiMax-Enabled Asus Eee PC Confirmed
How to add internal 3G HSDPA to Asus Eee PC
How to add touch panel to Asus Eee Pc
It’s official: upgrading the Asus Eee PC memory keeps warranty intact
eeeXubuntu: Ubuntu distilled for your Eee
Ubuntu on the Asus Eee PC: Part 1 (or How to run a functional Ubuntu install off a USB drive)

Nokia N810:
Nokia N810: unboxing and first impressions
Canola2 Now Out!

Nokia N95:
Nokia N95-3 Finally Gets an Update to v 11.2.009
The N95 classic hits v20 firmware
The N95’s camera quality? It just got better…
Hands-on with the Nokia N95 8GB for North America!

Nokia N82:
Nokia N82: impressions after a week…
Nokia N82 hands-on
Nokia N82 preview: First look
Nokia N95, N95 8 GB and N82: The evolution of the multimedia computer

More Nokia:
Cellphones: Alleged Nokia N96 Spy Shots Look Yummypianoblacklicious
New Slider: Nokia’s Patent Reveals Innovative Six- or Eight- Megapixel Slider Phone
Video streaming from your phone QIK-ly, as in: instantly
All About N-Gage – Totally CONFIRMED Star Wars N-Gage Video
emTube – YouTube client for S60 phones
Nokia Internet Radio
Clarification: Upcoming Nokia IS a QWERTY Nseries

Apple iPhone:
Breaking: iPhone Firmware 1.1.3 Video and Evidence Confirms Update Is Real, Breaks Unlock, Third-Party Apps
How to Install Applications on iPhone 1.1.2 (Video Tutorial)
Syphon lets you save iPhone text messages
Control Pro Tools with your iPhone
Apple doesn’t give us MMS on the iPhone, so the community does
iPhone gets video recording capabilities
Not all is lost: partfoundry developing GPS module for iPhone
Fixing YouTube on your Jailbroken iPhone
Mobile Safari plug-in downloads files to your iPhone/iPod touch
Apple relents, sanctions custom ringtones!

OQO Model 02:
OQO Announces model e2 with Built-In HSDPA Mobile Broadband Capability
OQO does WiMax and 64GB SSDs

Neonode N2:
Neonode N2 officially coming to the US
Review of the unique Neonode N2 multimedia phone

BlackBerry 9000 (aka. BlackBerry 8xxx):
BlackBerry 9000 specs revealed, our early Christmas present to you
BlackBerry 8xxx hails from Rogers!
BlackBerry 9000 series spy shot revealed?

Hands-on with the Samsung G800
Hands-on with the Samsung P520 Armani
Samsung’s P720, F490 make their video debut

Google Maps for Mobiles shows your location, even without GPS
Verizon Wireless will open network for non-Verizon devices, services
Photo of the Sony Ericsson P5i Leaked
Wibrain’s B1 UMPC gets showcased on video – Engadget
Hands-on with the LG KU990 Viewty
A teaser shot of Motorola’s 5 megapixel multimedia maven?


Unboxing the Nokia N95, US version

The news came right after I returned from playing in the desert with my Nokia N95, right around the time Nokia officially announced the N95, US version (aka. N95-3).

Apparently, I won the Nokia BH-801 contest! I won – wait for the irony of it – an N95… It’s my first time winning anything significant, and it’s a device I already own – oh noes :)

What was I to do? Simple really, I talked the (very accommodating, thank you) contest organizers into giving me an N95-3 instead! I then sold my beloved N95, and picked up my Sony Ericsson K850i to hold me over.

So, after waiting 3 months for it to arrive, I’m finally unboxing my N95-3 – take a look at the pictures

Continue reading “Unboxing the Nokia N95, US version”

Sony Ericsson K850i observations

I’ve been using my Sony Ericsson K850i for a few days now and it’s a great device all around. In fact it’s almost as powerful as the Nokia N95 which was my convergence device of choice for several months…

That’s pretty impressive, because it’s not a smartphone and it’s not equipped with WiFi or GPS. Then again, these missing features are somewhat alleviated by solid Java support, tri-band (!) HSDPA and an optional GPS module!

– Hardware:
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s smaller than I expected and it’s a fingerprint magnet. Build quality is very good – no surprise there.

Like most digital cameras and unlike most phones, a hinged door hides a battery slot, a memory card slot (which accepts either micro-SD or Memory Stick Micro M2 cards – very nice), and a SIM slot (hot swappable) all stacked next to each-other.

There’s a strip of black rubber along the edge of the hinged door that prevents the phone from sliding when placed keypad/screen up on a flat surface – smart touch.

Unfortunately, there’s no dedicated play/pause hardware key (see the Sony Ericsson W800i) for the media application. Standard USB and stereo headset connectors are also missing, so proprietary cables are required.

– Software:
The user interface is similar to other recent Sony Ericsson devices. It’s easy to navigate, responsive and quite polished (the fonts in particular). All of the supplied themes are appealing, which is rare on other phones.

The media application automatically switches between portrait and landscape when you tilt the device, just like the iPhone. Unfortunately, it takes incredibly long to index the contents of the memory card upon insertion.

The web browser is pretty basic when compared to the iPhone or the Nokia N95. It supports landscape, but it’s done manually. Java applications like Opera Mini and Google Maps Mobile work well, but strangely, Gmail Mobile is not available.

The phone crashed on me a few times when I was hammering the user interface right after power up – I was forced to remove and re-insert the battery in order to recover.

– Camera:
I’ll be reviewing the camera separately, but I’m pretty sure the K850i is one of the best camera phones on the market today. Overall picture quality and low-light performance are excellent, startup time and auto-focus are significantly faster than other phones.

In short, I feel that the Nokia N95 colors are richer, and that the i-mobile 902 sensor is less noisy, but the K850i is consistently good. The combination of both a xenon flash and an LED flash (to assist the auto-focus) can’t be matched by the other two devices.

The electrically activated lens cover is nice, but strangely there’s also a glass plate over the lens cover which easily becomes soiled with fingerprints – this makes the lens cover somewhat pointless.

– HSPDA/Bluetooth:
With quand-band GPRS/EDGE, tri-band UMTS/HSDPA (US 1900/850 MHz and european 2100 MHz), Bluetooth 2.0 (with A2DP and DUN), and USB 2.0 (with mass storage and DUN), what’s there not to like? It’s a great device for tethering…

– Keypad/screen:
The unusual keypad is surprisingly functional after a brief adaptation period (cutting my nails helped a lot).

The phone uses capacitive sensors just like the iPhone, but only at the bottom edge of the screen where the 3 soft keys are located. As a result I keep trying to tap on other parts of the screen, expecting it to react – doh!

The QVGA screen is excellent (it’s very bright but it could be larger).

The phone resets to using T9 predictive text by default when turned off – this is annoying.

– Audio/RF:
Call quality and reception are very good, as expected. Sound quality is excellent when listening to music with high-end headphones, better than the Nokia N95 (which is noisy at low listening volumes).

– Battery life:
Battery life is great, especially when set to GSM only with Bluetooth disabled.

I last charged it Sunday night and it’s still 3/4 full Tuesday afternoon. I turned it off Monday night for 8 hours. So far on this charge I’ve talked for about 2 hours.

I’m pretty impressed – then again, it’s not a smartphone :)

The great Nokia N95 remix

Yes, it’s definitely odd… But it’s also definitely cool!

Although it’s not unusual for Nokia to release revised or updated products with a different name (e.g. N61, N62, and N61i) it appears that Nokia decided to remix the original N95, european version, into two new products without renaming it.

First, the Nokia N95, US version:
– UMTS/HSDPA on US 1900/850 MHz (no european 2100 MHz)
– Double the RAM (128 MB)
– Better battery capacity (BL6-F, 1200 mAh)
– Revised back casing without camera lens cover
– Revised bumpy multimedia buttons

Second, the Nokla N95, 8 GB european version:
– 8 GB internal flash storage
– No micro-SD card slot
– Black finish
– Larger screen (based on my careful analysis of the FCC documents)
– Revised wider front casing with smaller D-pad area
– Double the RAM (128 MB), to be confirmed
– Better battery capacity (BL-6F, 1200 mAh), to be confirmed
– Revised back casing without camera lens cover
– Revised bumpy multimedia buttons

The verdict: I’m not pleased about losing the camera lens cover, but I’m excited about the additional RAM and the US 3G bands.

Now let’s hope Nokia combines the above two versions and offers an 8 GB US version – I’d take the larger screen and 8 GB internal flash storage even if it resulted in losing the micro-SD card slot.

What about you?

Tasty bits – 23

T-Mobile recently launched HotSpot@Home, a UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) service with seamless hand-off between GSM and WiFi – unfortunately it requires special phones and routers…

Nokia released new firmware for the N95 which includes support for AGPS (to enhance the existing integrated GPS). Also, here’s an aftermarket high-capacity battery (and cover) for the N95!

Here’s a couple of new 5 megapixel camera phones: the Samsung G600 and the LG KU990, a touch-based device with a 3″ screen and HSDPA.

The Neonode N2 is almost ready for release, albeit without EDGE… The Meizu M8 (miniOne) is supposed to be launching in 2008 – $989 for the 16 GB version!

And now for the obligatory iPhone coverage:
– Another Apple iPhone vs. LG KE850 (Prada) comparison
– Enter field test mode
Setup custom ring tones
– Looking for music to stream? Here you go! (and BTW, this is not supported on the N95)

And finally, if you don’t think the iPhone changes everything, think again:

They are bringing millions of newbies, and not kicking and screaming, into the smartphone age.

Yes, James Kendrick gets it.

Unboxing the Apple iPhone

Wow! The iPhone, the most anticipated device ever, is here… And I have one :) Take a look at the pictures.

As planned, I tried both my existing AT&T SIM (450 Rollover + Media Max 200) and T-Mobile SIM (600 minutes + unlimted t-zones) with the iPhone.

I activated my iPhone with the supplied AT&T SIM, and created a completely new account (basic iPhone plan).

Before activation:
– The supplied AT&T SIM was accepted
– My existing AT&T SIM was accepted
My T-Mobile SIM was rejected

After activation:
– The supplied AT&T SIM was accepted
My existing AT&T SIM was rejected
My T-Mobile SIM was rejected

So it appears that the iPhone only accepts the SIM used during activation! Madness…

But the supplied SIM is working fine (using the “wap.cingular” access point) with all my unlocked devices, including the HSDPA module in my OQO Model 02 :)

Tasty bits – 22

The iPhone launch (now with YouTube support) is one week away. Are you ready for total chaos? I have a plan :)

In the meantime, here’s a nice article comparing the iPhone with other devices, including two from my current stable (the Nokia N95 and the Sony Ericsson M600i).

Speaking of my favorite phone, the Nokia N95 just got better! And if you’re still not convinced, here’s yet another review. Alternatively, the Nokia E90 is also a good choice

I’m also pretty excited about Nokia’s Mobile Web Server – it’s a very interesting idea. BTW, here’s a look into the Nokia Media Transfer application I mentioned last week.

The Sony Ericsson K850i is official, complete with a 5 megapixel camera (with auto-focus, macro, xenon flash, and powered lens cover), and supposedly tri-band HSDPA (as well as quad-band EDGE). Yummy :)

Opera announced a flash replacement for phones, and released a beta version of Opera Mini 4. After playing with it, I have to admit that it’s a pretty good web browser, especially for a Java application – in fact, it’s quite similar to Nokia’s very nice web browser.

The Meizu M8 (miniOne) is still evolving and is supposed to be available in late 2007.

Finally, here’s another installment in the multi-part review of the OQO Model 02.

OQO Model 02 HSDPA mod

As you probably know, I’m a fan of the OQO Model 02! But I’m also a fan of HSDPA

Unfortunately, so far the Model 02 is only available with EVDO from either Sprint or Verizon, and despite getting the SERO discount two weeks ago, I was not very excited with the idea of paying another bill beyond my existing T-Mobile and Cingular AT&T accounts. So what’s a girl to do? Well, just mod her Model 02 and replace EVDO with HSPDA, of course :)

And that’s exactly what I’ve done! Take a look at the pictures of my mod and keep your eyes peeled for more information soon…

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