The best camera is the one you have with you

I’m back from Burning Man and still catching up on the latest mobile technology news… This year was my first time in the desert without a dedicated point-and-shoot digital camera – the above pictures were all taken with my Nokia N95!

For me it all started with Sony Ericsson’s W800i – arguably one of the first decent camera phones (and by decent I mean featuring a flash, auto-focus, macro, some manual control, and decent hardware/software). Once I was able to take decent pictures anytime, anywhere and optionally send them via e-mail or multimedia messages, I was hooked :)

Until then I rarely used my (albeit better) dedicated point-and-shoot digital camera. Why? Because the best camera is the one you have with you.

I soon learned to work within the limitations of camera phones (mostly poor low-light performance and slow startup/focus). My next device was Nokia’s N80, but the lack of auto-focus was both a blessing (fast shots) and a curse (less control). I currently use Nokia’s N95 and (more seldom) i-mobile’s 902, both very decent camera phones. My i-mobile 902 is the better camera (CCD sensor and xenon flash), but the phone is only adequate for a Symbian power-user like me.

Ultimately, I think this is a turning point – camera phones are finally decent enough to replace dedicated point-and-shoot digital cameras in most situations. Picture quality is steadily improving (especially low-light performance) – only the lack of optical zoom is still a significant problem at times.



Hello AirCard 860, goodbye BlackJack

Contrary to popular belief, I rarely get free devices to review! So after recently acquiring my Nokia N95, I decided to sell my Nokia N80 – I also decided to sell my Samsung i607 (BlackJack), and I acquired a Sierra Wireless AirCard 860

The AirCard 860 is extremely affordable and is HSDPA (1900/850MHz) and EDGE (quad-band) compatible. This is my first time owning a dedicated data card – mine is unlocked, and is working very well with both Cingular (HSDPA) and T-Mobile (EDGE) in Windows XP Pro.

I plan to test it in Linux (Ubuntu) as well :)

Nokia N95 battery life

There’s been a lot of great Nokia N95 coverage in the past week, and one of the biggest criticisms is about battery life

I’m experiencing about the same battery life with my N95 as with my Nokia N80 or my Samsung i607 (BlackJack), i.e. I’m averaging 24-48 hours between charges, depending on use.

“Use” for me means about 1 hour of talking per charge, some web browsing (both WiFi and EDGE), some photo taking and viewing, some music playback, some GPS mapping, and some Bluetooth and USB access.

By default I keep WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth off. My N95 is set to GSM only and the display is set to maximum brightness, with a 20 second timeout.

Sure, the N95 battery life is not the best compared to some others, but it’s manageable, especially when you consider that most people charge their phone every night!

If your N95 is running on empty after 6-18 hours, what are you doing?

I’d like to know :)

Tasty bits – 14

The Google phone is is not is perhaps coming, and the Meizu M8/miniOne is is not is perhaps an iPhone clone

Here are some pictures of the Samsung F700, which is really tasty!

And as if this was not enough goodness, here are more pictures and another video of the LG KE850 (Prada), which is already being replaced?

The Digital Cube i-Station G43 is an interesting handtop-sized UMPC – like a Nokia N800 on steroids :)

Speaking of handtops, how about more OQO Model 02 and Vulcan FlipStart (aka. the ugly duckling) coverage?

And finally, the Nokia N80 is now supported natively by iSync, and the N95 is about to be released (complete with commercial).

GDC tidbits

Here’s a video and some pictures of the Motorola and Nokia booths at GDC, all captured with my i-mobile 902!

I briefly used a few interesting devices at the Motorola booth, namely the Q9, Z8, E6 and A1200 (Ming), but the Nokia booth was disappointing. The N93, N80 and N73 were on display – however, the interesting devices, like the N95, N92 and N76 were inside a glass case…

Strangely, Qualcomm (?) showcased some currently available CDMA devices, including an unusual “gaming” prototype/development phone called Slingshot (which is apparently now discontinued).

Tasty bits – 11

Well it looks like the Nokia E90 got the FCC nod… But the device tested appears to be a tri-band UMTS/HSDPA version (850/1900 MHz for AT&T and 1700 MHz for T-Mobile USA)! Strangely, the 2100 MHz band (used in Europe/Asia and also supposedly required by T-Mobile USA) seems to be missing.

And if you’re craving even more E90 coverage, here’s an “extra” preview, a video preview, and a web browsing preview :)

Want to upgrade your Nokia N80 to the Internet Edition firmware without voiding your warranty? Well it’s official, you can have your cake and eat it too.

On the topic of wireless net neutrality, take a look at this article:

If Steve Jobs had wanted to, he could have launched the iPhone explicitly as a SIM-free smartphone, just as the Macintosh computer is sold explicitly ISP-free. He could have cut the phone network operators out of the picture completely.

Amen to that!

Speaking of iPhone, the Meizu M8/miniOne is shaping up to be a cool device.

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