andys blog

XtremeMac and idAmericaiPhone 4S case roundup

Posted on February 21, 2012 04:21 AM

Summary: It seems there are an unlimited number of cases for the iPhone and I recently had a chance to try out four with my iPhone 4S. Do you use a case with your iPhone or do you carry it naked?

The iPhone accessory market is overwhelming V6 Phone VE77 and you can find hundreds of cases in just about any color or design configuration you like. I used to carry my phones in belt clip cases, but no longer do that and now just throw them in my jeans or coat pocket. Thus, I was interested in trying out cases that did not add much bulk to the iPhone and did not wrap around and cover the display.

IdAmerica: Gasket

I put my own engine in my first car when I was 16, owned a small boat for several years, and have thus spent a lot of time under the hood of cars and boats so when I saw the Gasket case that looks like a head gasket on an engine I knew I had to try it out. The Gasket is available in Aluminum Silver, Titanium Gray, Modern Bronze, Vintage Gold, Jet Black, and Rally Blue.

You will find the lightweight aluminum Gasket case W600T along with front and rear clear screen protectors inside the box. I installed the clear protector on the back since I already have a BodyGuardz (review coming soon) on the front. The protector was easy to apply with a two step plastic covering and very easy installation. I can hardly tell there is a protector on the back, which is what I want from protectors like these.

The inside of the case is lined with material to protect your iPhone from getting scratched and cut out to match the holes in the back. The metal covers most of both sides of your iPhone with the top and bottom being open for full access to all ports and buttons. The case offers minimal protection and is more about the looks than anything else.

On the back you will see that the inner lining keeps the case metal from touching your iPhone. One rather major issue I have with this case that kept me from using it any longer than just the time I needed to test it out is the sharpness around the MQ222 inside of all three large openings. The edges will scratch you and if you rub up against it hard enough the edges may even cut you. Also be careful if you place it on a wood table or other surface you don’t want scratched.

The other issue I have with this case that I have also confirmed with many other people is the impact on the cellular reception. My iPhone 4S gives me the best reception I have ever seen on a Verizon phone, but I have seen this case result in a reduction of 2-3 (out of 5 total) bars and if you are in a weaker signal area you may see your connection lost when in this case.

The Gasket is very cool looking and well made, but the sharp edges and apparent signal impact keep me from recommending it. You can buy it for $29.95.

idAmerica: Skyline

The Skyline case from idAmericais a stiffened plastic material that offers good protection for your iPhone. The Skyline is available in Matte White, Matte Black, and Matte Pink. The back has many openings so the color of your iPhone shows through and makes the case a bit lighter.

The right side and top are mostly completely covered with the power button being covered up. There are openings for the 3.5mm headset jack, lock switch, volume buttons, speakers, and bottom Apple port. There is also an opening on the back for the camera.

The case has a lip that wraps around the front just a bit to hold it in place. The Skyline package comes with a front and rear clear plastic protector that I recommend you use for screen protection.

 

I like that the rigid flex material used for the case is not sticky so it slides easily in an doug of your pocket and doesn’t collect lint like a silicone gel case. The Skyline case is available for $24.95 and is a nice case to consider.

I thought that the Gasket case would be my favorite since it has such a cool design, but it is just too sharp for me and I don’t want any case impacting my reception. My favorite of all four of these is the XtremeMac Microshield in Bronze color. It gives me some back and side protection, allows my iPhone to slide easily in and out of my pocket, and looks great with my white iPhone 4S.

Have you tried any of these cases out? If so, I would like to hear about your experiences with them.

Android in 2013: Beyond Smartphones

Posted on February 20, 2012 04:43 AM

Last week, I began the “Android in 2013” series, projecting where Android will be a few years' out. That initial post focused on what people usually think of with respect to Android: smartphones.

However, the little green guy is already being used beyond smartphones, and there is no indication that this will change during the next few years. Let's take a look at some other segments and see where Android may wind up.

Right now, a lot of the focus is on tablets, U5+ Phone courtesy of Apple's iPad and Google CEO Eric Schmidt's recent comments regarding Google and HTC developing a tablet. Other Android-powered tablets have already been announced or discussed. Android is an easy fit for a tablet, since it can support a touchscreen interface. This segment is likely to proceed similarly to the past couple of years in smartphones: Apple will have the early lead, with Android a strong second in terms of momentum, and Microsoft getting into touchscreen-centric tablet operating systems a bit later. It is probable that, by 2013, Android will be #1 in terms of unit sales, with Apple focusing on the high end. However, it remains to be seen how well this segment will fare in terms of absolute size.

It should also offer better peripheral support than it does today, particularly with respect to Bluetooth. This will be driven less by Android on smartphones than it will be by Android on other devices, particularly TVs and set-top boxes. I would expect that N8i+Capacitive i4GS+ Bluetooth keyboards and pointing devices will be the first out of the gate, again with an eye towards allowing user input for a set-top box. My hope is that there will be steady momentum to add support for other peripherals as well, perhaps even outside of Bluetooth (e.g., USB for a set-top box).

Somewhere along the line, Google will cook up a push framework for Android. Partially, this will make it easier for developers to notify running applications of events “in the cloud”. Partially, this will be to better manage background battery and CPU utilization, since every app today needs to “roll their own” polling system. I suspect this will also be tied into their HTML5 work, since many of Google's own HTML5 apps will need something for this sort of push, and every app holding open its own WebSocket will seem wasteful.

Not all will be rosy, though, as I fully expect more APIs to be eliminated to defend against malware. We saw this with Android 1.5, where APIs to control various system settings were moved to be “secure” and only modifiable by firmware-signed apps. It would not surprise me in the least if the API used by so-called “task killers” will be substantially revised in the next Android release. And as more and more developers find ways to impede users, Google will modify Android to block those things, occasionally at the cost of harming legitimate development.

Part of the skepticism around tablets comes from the THUI 9650+ recent experience with netbooks, which had a 12-18 month heyday and then have somewhat faded. Devices where keyboards are the primary form of user input are not well-suited to Android...or, more accurately, other operating systems are at less of a handicap. Hence, I am not expecting Android to be terribly popular on netbooks, though it may do fine at the spot where netbooks and tablets overlap (e.g., a tablet with a popular or bundled Bluetooth keyboard accessory). Instead, I expect Microsoft to continue its dominance in this segment, followed by non-Android Linux (e.g., Ubuntu).

The other segment that got a bit of attention earlier this year is the television set-top box, courtesy of a New York Times report that Google and Sony are developing an Android-powered device in this segment. Apple, of course, tried Apple TV, but they may have been a bit early to the game, with the “sizzle” now on accessing free streaming content from Hulu and related sites via front-ends like Boxee and XMBC and hardware like the Neuros Link and upcoming Boxee Box. Android could do reasonably well in this segment, if the right media hooks are put in place and if Flash runs well on the devices. However, I am not sure that these devices will cross over into the mainstream by 2013. Some “set-top boxes” will have their functionality rolled into actual televisions, of course.

While people think of Android and smartphones, another area where Android may enter is in lower-end “feature phones”. As CPU and flash prices fall, what had been powering a low-end Android device (e.g., T-Mobile G1) could power a less-expensive phone, particularly when coupled with other cost savings (e.g., no touchscreen, no GPS). While the smartphone gains ground in theUSand other nations, less-expensive phones are dominant elsewhere. By 2013, a few manufacturers are likely to have tried Android in this segment.

 

 

Bright Future for Tablet Computers

Posted on February 17, 2012 02:20 AM

Last week was a big one for tablet computing. Google formally showed off a version of Android for tablets, and Apple and News Corp. jointly unveiled the long-awaited daily "newspaper" for the iPad called The Daily.

Neither announcement came as a surprise, but together they spell a bright future for tablet devices.

Apple has sold nearly 15 million iPads since it first went on sale in April. That's a lot more than many analysts expected. Android 3.0, code named Honeycomb, is a new version of Android that Google says was "designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets."

A1608 looks as if Google hopes to do to the iPad what it did to the iPhone -- cut heavily into its sales. Android sales early last year were neck and neck with iPhone and Research In Motion's BlackBerry. But in the past six months, according to Nielsen, "Android is clearly in the lead with 43 percent of recent acquirers purchasing an Android device, compared to 26 percent for Apple iOS and 20 percent for BlackBerry's RIM."

Of course, that could change as a result of the Verizon iPhone. There undoubtedly are some potential Android phone buyers on Verizon who might opt for an iPhone once they have the choice.

Based on what I've seen of Honeycomb, it's likely to allow a number of manufacturers, including LG Electronics and Motorola Mobility, to produce tablets that will seriously rival the iPad in terms of quality, potentially at lower prices. But Apple isn't sitting still. There are widespread reports that an "iPhone 2″ will come out within the next few months with front- and rear-facing cameras and other features not on the current model.

As with the S3+ Phone, we can expect to see lots of apps for an Android tablet. Google has an ecosystem of developers second only to Apple it can call on to make Android tablets come to life with programs and content.

Shortly before Google held its Honeycomb news conference in Mountain View, News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch and Apple iTunes honcho Eddie Cue held a news conference inNew Yorkto announce The Daily, a new iPad-only daily "newspaper." Like News Corp.'s Wall Street Journal site, but unlike most other editorial websites, The Daily will be available only to paying subscribers after a two-week free trial period now under way.

Although my review of The Daily was mixed, I'm nevertheless bullish on the idea of using tablet devices for reading newspapers, magazines and books.

For the moment, at least, tablets have their limitations when it comes to producing content, but they are great for consuming it. And, in 2011, we can expect a lot more tablets to hit the market including some inexpensive ones, like those from Capacitive Changjiang 007, that will cost under $200.

TABLET PC EXPERT HUGO ORTEGA LAUNCHES FIRST EBOOK DISCUSSING OPERATING SYSTEMS

Posted on February 16, 2012 02:37 AM

Taipei, Taiwan, 24 October, 2011 – The tablet PC market is now a mature market offering various (and often confusing) options. Consumer choice in the decision on which tablet to buy often resides in the operating system. The main choices are the (often) familiar Windows; the newcomer, Android; or Apple, with its ecosystem of content and apps. Understanding what user experience these operating systems bring to tablet PCs, as well as other less well-known tablet operating systems, is crucial to making an informed decision about a tablet purchase. Hugo Car Accessories has lived the tablet scene since its inception and is bringing all those years of hands-on, media, business and mobile lifestyle experience to a series of eBooks about tablet computing. ‘Tablets: Know Your Operating Systems’, published by MetaPlume, explains the benefits and drawbacks of the operating system options and discusses topics such as productivity, apps, price, versions, features and a look to the future. Tablets PCs have proven to be a true alternative to netbooks and notebook computers. This new eBook is essential reading about this exciting device segment, relevant for enterprise users considering which platform to integrate into a work environment, or consumers approaching the decision about which ecosystem to use for their mobile computing. Speakers uses their tablet PC a little differently. After all, these are computers that are designed used by millions – as many ways as you can devise as the end user, they can be used. But, with the market for tablets so new, some devices do a little better for common tasks than others. And to be honest, a lot of the focus in the market right now is heavy on the hardware side of things. People are more interested in how flashy a new device rather than what it can specifically do for its user. I like to think of tablets in terms of the productivity gain they give me, though. It doesn’t matter if a device has the flashiest new camera or slickest new case design if it doesn’t help me get things done. What does this mean? GS30 can be purchased now on Amazon.com。 Hugo Gaston Ortega has been awarded the status of Microsoft MVP annually since 2006. His commitment to the better understanding of Tablet PC globally has been recognised by his peers and utilised through annual roles as Guest Speaker at events like Microsoft Teched Australia and New Zealand, CeBIT Hannover Fairs, IT Managers Conference for the AIS (Association of Independent Schools) and more. Ortega is the founder and Principal of Tegatech Australia, Tegatech North America and Tegatech Europe, and has helped expose thousands to the power of mobility and bolstered the reputation of countless manufacturers worldwide. Early 2010 saw Tegatech launch its own brand of Tablet across Australia, dubbed the TEGA, and with great success its predecessor the TEGA v2 globally. Hugo’s ability to take a complex subject matter and make it fathomable makes the messages he delivers all the more appealing. His blog ( www.MrMobilePC .com) has been quoted in newspapers, online media and event on mainstream television on several occasions. Hugo is now taking to presenting his years of experience in tablet computing as eBook guides; helping individuals and businesses realize the potential of the form factor that he has passionately followed for so many years. About the MetaPlume Established in March 2008, MetaPlume is a fast-growing global digital marketing company with operations in the UK, Australia, India, and Taiwan. MetaPlume has developed an innovative approach to eBook creation, publishing and promotions, one that is applicable to a broad spectrum of partners. This includes aspiring writers, published authors, print publishers wanting to digitally publish an existing catalog, website owners looking to leverage existing content, and various businesses and projects, covering many genres and topics. The company also offers a broad spectrum of website design and development, digital content creation, digital content promotion, and digital content services that provide you with creative and affordable solutions for boosting global visibility and mindshare.

Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet Review

Posted on February 15, 2012 02:57 AM

Trying to position itself as a viable replacement to the laptop, the Lenovo Thinkpad stays true to Lenovo’s strict functionality and business like design with it’s appearance being very similar to that of the Thinkpad T series notebooks.

It also follows suit with its weight, which is 1.65 pounds and not for those searching for a lightweight tablet. Weighing the same as the Lenovo Remember jobs K1 and Toshiba Thrive but somewhat heavier than the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab.

PC World points out that some Windows 8 devices and tablets were showed at CES recently, their numbers were few and far between; and none of them made a bang, so to speak, on the show floor.

According to PC World, “While CEO Steve Ballmer talked Windows 8 at his keynote and showed a Qualcomm prototype tablet running Windows 8, Intel’s Paul Otellini briefly showed a Lenovo unveiled its innovative IdeaPad Yoga, a Windows 8-primed convertible notebook whose screen can twist around to turn into a tablet, little chatter was heard on the Windows tablet front.”

The report also claims that there were still Windows 7 tablets showcased (from Chinese firms) despite Windows 8 on the horizon. This makes sense from an economics point of view, but it doesn’t seem to bold well for Microsoft in getting a wider appeal For China Phone.

A lot of questions were still not answered regarding to how efficient Windows 8 will be on tablets and what exactly can we expect from software. These are questions consumers have in their minds as they wait for the year to mature and these tablets to hit retail.

Connectivity and Accessories

Connectivity for a range of devices is excellent with ports available for an SD card reader, micro USB ports, USB 2.0 port and a slot for a SIM card. The tablet also includes a slot for the Thinkpad Tablet Pen, which works well for both drawing and taking notes on the Thinkpad utilizing the preinstalled Notes Mobile application. Power users will appreciate these connectivity options as will business users.

Design

Keeping in line with the rugged design is the display, a 10.1 inch scratch resistant display made from Corning Gorilla Glass which is a good protection against scratches. This scratch resistant glass helps keep the Thinkpad in good shape even in demanding circumstances and is a good protection against normal wear and tear.

Specs

No Lenovo Thinkpad tablet review would be complete without a discussion of the tablets specs. Getting to the guts of the Thinkpad we find that it is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core ARM 1.0GHz processor and comes with 1GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Running on the Android 3.1 platform the Thinkpad gets just moderate marks for performance as it can sometimes behave sluggishly when booting up and when closing applications. It can also take several inputs before the tablet registers, all of which dampen the user experience.

Apps

The Thinkpad does come loaded with apps that the business user will appreciate such as Documents on the Go and Kindle for Android allowing users to keep up with their favorite business publications. IT departments will also appreciate the inclusion of security apps such as Computrace Mobile, McAfee Mobile Security and Citrix Receiver.

Batterylife is quite acceptable at 8 hours even when using Wi-fi. In addition to Wi-fi, the tablet also has support for 3G and Bluetooth meaning you have plenty of options for network connectivity. And 3G is supported for all three of the major U.S.carriers (Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T). Even global nomads can stay connected too as the tablet supports global roaming utilizing the Car LED Light Bulbs and HSPA networks.

Negatives for the ThinkPad include a poor AC adapter, even the user manual states it is quicker to charge the device using the optional ThinkPad Tablet Dock. Some users have also complained about Wi-Fi–only tablets running Honeycomb to endlessly search for a 3G signal causing significant battery drain. One final complaint is that it is impossible to use the Thinkpad in tablet form without completely removing it from its case. And the case has been known to inadvertently activate the power button, draining the battery and leaving users with some surprises when they try to use their Thinkpad.

 

 

 

T-Mobile unveils the HTC HD7 and Dell Venue Pro Windows Phone 7 devices

Posted on February 14, 2012 02:17 AM

Summary: We are finally seeing announcements for Windows Phone 7 devices and T-Mobile will be launching two smartphones before the holidays. The X12 GPS and Dell Venue Pro both have 1 GHz processors and more.

As you know I had the chance to spend a few weeks back in July with the Technical Preview of Windows Phone 7 and created my Definitive Guide that covered all aspects of this new Microsoft mobile operating system. I have spent an intensive month diving into all the details of Windows Phone 7 as I was writing my book and am intimately familiar with it, probably even more so than with any other mobile operation system I use daily. Thus, when I was told of the news about the upcoming T-Mobile HTC HD7 running Windows Phone 7 my heart started racing and I cannot wait until it is released in November and plan to be the first one in line to pick it up. I had the chance to spend a few minutes with the HD7 and it is a fantastic device that is sure to do well on T-Mobile. T-Mobile also announced they will be offering the Dell Venue Pro running Windows Phone 7.

T-Mobile HTC HD7

Similar to the HTC HD2, the A8 Android  a 4.3 inch capacitive touchscreen display and will be the largest Windows Phone 7 device in theU.S. While the HD2 was a great piece of hardware, the Windows Mobile 6.5 OS had issues that ruined the experience. Windows Phone 7 has been rock solid and I have not seen any of these performance issues, even with the Technical Preview so I look forward to trying it out on the HD7.

4.3 inch capacitive touchscreen display

Qualcomm 1 GHz Snapdragon processor

Quad-band GSM

Dual-band UMTS/HSPA

802.11 b/g/n WiFi

Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR

16GB internal Flash memory

Integrated A-GPS receiver

5 megapixel camera with dual LED flash

Integrated kickstand around the camera module

Dimensions of 4.8 x 2.7 x 0.44 inches and 5.71 ounces

The rumors were heard previously indicated the device would only have 8GB of internal memory so it is nice to see that rumor was A1000 . I still don’t understand how Nokia can now churn out penta-band 3G devices while others stick with dual and tri-band 3G radios. We also see Bluetooth 2.1 in this device rather than Bluetooth 3.0. Even though T-Mobile is rolling out their HSPA+ network, the new HD7 does not support these super fast data speeds like the T-Mobile G2.

There is limited manufacturer and A1000 customizations, thank you Apple, so on the HD7 we see Netflix, T-Mobile TV (rebranded MobiTV subscription service), TeleNav GPS Navigator, and Slacker Radio preloaded on the HD7. One new feature I read about that sound quite interesting is T-Mobile Family Room, a new application exclusively from T-Mobile that helps families keep in touch and manage their busy lives. Customers can write a note on a virtual chalkboard and add shared calendar events for their Family Room group to coordinate get-togethers. Sharing pictures and interacting is easy, with real-time notifications alerting users when any family member posts something for everyone to see.

 

Overall, it looks like the hardware of the HD7 is a bit less than the highest end devices available today, but it is more than adequate to run Windows Phone 7 and if T-Mobile launches it in mid-November for the typical $199 smartphone price then it should do well.

Dell Venue Pro

T-Mobile also revealed they will be launching a Dell Windows Phone 7 device before the holidays, called the Dell Venue Pro. The device features a QWERTY portrait slider keyboard, 4.1 inch AMOLED display made of Gorilla Glass, 5 megapixel camera, and 1 GHz Snapdragon processor. There are very few details on the device, but it may be the Dell Lightning that was revealed way back in April. Hmm, this device actually looks pretty compelling too and I may just have to try it before I decide between it and the HD7.

24 hours and we saw 12 Android smartphones on sixUScarriers

Posted on February 12, 2012 08:21 PM

Summary: Google Android is taking off like wildfire and at CTIA we saw a rather startling number of new devices announced from all four major carriers and a couple regional carriers. Most of these devices are low to mid-level devices that should appeal to the masses.

Editors of Apple iPhone sites like TiPB must be heaving a great sigh of relief knowing that they only have to cover one major smartphone release per year after seeing that Android site editors just heard about a whopping 12 new Android smartphones coming from five carriers in the last 24 hours. If you look at all the other recent and currently shipping products, not to mention some coming soon, Android site editors like my buddy Phil are having to work like mad to stay on top of everything. I felt overwhelmed just seeing the news of all these Android devices coming through my email and Twitter feed so I turned to Android Central, who are on site at CTIA, to read all about the new devices and even see some hands-on video with devices.

AT&T

Three new Motorola handsets are coming to AT&T, the Motorola Bravo, Flipside, and Flipout. These three are entry to mid-level Android devices, which seems to be the standard for AT&T in almost all cases, except for the Samsung Captivate.

The Bravo has a 3.7 inch display and will be available for $129.99. The Flipside has a slide-out full QWERTY keyboard and 3.1 inch display with a price of $99.99. The Flipout has a funky flip out QWERTY keyboard and small 2.8 inch display with a price of just $79.99.

Cellular South

You know a platform is getting popular when the smaller regional carriers start picking it up and now we see Cellular South getting ready to offer their own Samsung Galaxy S variant, the Samsung Showcase. There is no pricing or available date, other than before the holidays, but it does have the 1 GHz Hummingbird CPU, 4 inch Super AMOLED display, 5 megapixel camera, and Android 2.1 operating system.

Sprint

Sprint also announced three new devices, the Samsung Transform, Sanyo Zio, and LG Optimus S. The Sanyo Zio has a full 3.5 inch touchscreen and mid-level specs with a price of $99. The Samsung Transform looks similar to the Sprint Samsung Epic, with lower specs and the same kind of slide-out QWERTY keyboard at a price of $149. The LG Optimus S is a fairly traditional looking device with a 3.2 inch touchscreen with Android 2.2 and a price of just $49.99. Again, these three are low to mid-level Android device for Sprint.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile USA only announced one device in the last 24 hours, but this follows their current rollout of the T-Mobile G2 and future myTouch device. The LG Optimus T looks to be similar to the Sprint version (note the T for T-Mobile versus the S for Sprint) with very few details released. It will have a couple of colors, be loaded with Android 2.2, and a 3.2 megapixel camera, but we do not have a price or solid release date.

US Cellular

I previously took a look at the excellent A8000 GPS on U.S. Cellular and was very impressed with the device and their service offering. In another great move for this regional carrier, they are rolling out the Samsung Mesmerize, which is another of the Samsung Galaxy S devices. The Mesmerize will launch on 27 October for $199.

 

Verizon

It must be the law of threes at B1000 as Verizon Wireless also announced three new Android devices, all from Motorola. The Motorola Droid Pro, that we previously mentioned, the Motorla Defy, and the Motorola Citrus were revealed at CTIA.

The Motorola Droid Pro is a sweet looking front facing QWERTY keyboard Android device with good specifications and an appealing form factor. The Motorola Defy is a semi-ruggedized Android smartphone with a 3.1 inch touchscreen and Gorilla glass on a water and dust resistant shell. The Motorola Citrus is an entry-level Android device powered by Android 2.1.

No assigned carrier

Motorola also announced the Motorola Spice device with no news of a UScarrier. It may be headed to Braziland actually has a cool form factor, T710 Phone slider like a Palm Pre Plus, that many here would probably appreciate.

It is pretty amazing to see all of these devices announced on all the carriers at one event and shows you how flexible Android can be in covering the entire spectrum of smartphone buyers.

p+�bt�= @�] id software goes back to its default settings every time you leave the camera application.

 

The HD7 fits fine in my pocket and even though it is larger than the MT4G I do not find the size to be much of an issue. The HD7 is a bit slick though and the evaluation unit slipped from my hands a couple of times (this has rarely happened to me over years of using these smartphones) and is now scratched on top next to the power button. It still performs flawlessly though so that shows it is a bit durable too.

 

 

Nokia N8 review units roll out, can it live up to expectations?

Posted on February 11, 2012 01:11 AM

Summary: The Nokia N8 is now getting sent out into the hands of reviewers so next week will be an interesting time for Nokia as we see if they can overcome the shadow of the failed N97 flagship device.

DR X12 is now shipping all around the world and we will see a ton of enthusiastic unboxing posts starting later today and through the weekend. The real test for Nokia comes next week though as media, smartphone enthusiasts, and regular people dive deeper into their devices and we see more detailed content and experiences being posted online. There was a record number of pre-orders and excitement seems to be quite high for the Nokia N8, even after thousands tried them out at Nokia World a couple of weeks ago. While my own pre-ordered N8 won’t arrive until the end of October I do have a review unit that should arrive tomorrow that I can use for almost three weeks. While there is a lot of excitement for the Nokia N8 it is also a fairly pivotal device for Nokia and could set the stage for their future.

The Nokia N97 was the last flagship device, A1 AGPS seems to be avoiding that label this time around, and while I liked it for many of its features and functions, the internal hardware was outdated and the constant low memory warnings really killed that device and lowered people’s expectations for the high end Nokia devices. The timing was not good for Nokia as the iPhone started getting better, Android starting exploding, and RIM kept on chugging away. There has not been a true high end Nokia device released since the N97 last year so Nokia fans are looking at the N8 to be that device.

The Nokia N8 is also the first shipping device with A818 WCDMA+GSM and while it is not a revolutionary software update, it looks to offer lots of improvements over S60 while still providing some familiar S60 parts and pieces. From what I saw at Nokia World, people who like Nokia devices should like Symbian^3 on the N8.

I am expecting some very critical reviews here in theUSand will be very surprised to see a lot of reviews giving the N8 high marks. Most of theUSmedia doesn’t understand or know how to use Symbian devices since they are not readily available fromUScarriers and you have to go out of your way to buy Nokia devices in SIM unlocked fashion.

The N8 is the first in a line of Symbian^3 devices that looked quite good at Nokia World, including the E7, C6, and C7, and I will be following all of the news myself to see what people think of the device. Stay tuned early next week for my first impressions of the N8, followed a bit later by a more in-depth take on using the device for a couple of weeks.

Verizon announces 4G rollout, but are any of theseUSsystems really 4G?

Posted on February 10, 2012 03:42 AM

Summary: Verizon Wireless will be rolling out their LTE network this weekend and the battle for 4G in theUScontinues. I am not sure any of theseUSfaster technologies really are 4G though, are you?

 

The battle for the fastest wireless carrier network continues with Verizon Wireless rolling out their LTE (long-term evolution) network this Sunday, 5 December, in nearly 40 markets. The rollout starts with USB dongles and in mid-2011 moves to wireless handsets. Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are now heavily engaged in the 4G war while AT&T is starting to roll out HSPA+ without using the 4G branding yet. F603 is working to roll out their 4G LTE network in 2011. There are a lot of advertisements and statements between the major carrier slamming each other for speeds and network technologies, so let’s take a look and see if we can get past some of the marketing and promotion of the 4G label to figure this out.

 

Is any of this really 4G?

According to the ITU-R standard none of these current LTE, HSPA+, or WiMAX network technologies are truly 4G systems. It appears that LTE has the potential to be a 4G technology, but only when it is 10 times faster than what we are seeing here in theUSfrom Verizon Wireless. 4G systems are supposed to support data transfer speeds on the order of 100 Mbps and the areas where we are just starting to see this is inJapanand parts ofEurope. These are really more of 3.9G technologies, but that doesn’t have quite the ring to it as 4G.

 

Granted, the technologies from US carriers may be fourth generation products and they are much faster than their 3G networks, but if you look at the true 4G standard these new network systems are not even close to 4G speeds and the entire 4G label is a marketing term that helps to differentiate between the existing 3G networks. They are more like Super-3G networks than 4G networks and this term is used by some researchers.

 

What kind of speeds can we expect from these “4G” networks?

T-Mobile’s 9191 WCDMA+GSM network supports simultaneoous voice and data with data speeds being measured in the 5-10 Mbps range (theoretical download speed is 21 Mbps). Upload speeds of HSPA+ can be in the range of 5-7 Mbps.

 

Verizon expects their LTE average data rates in real-world, loaded network environments to be 5 to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads. I haven’t yet been able to find any information on simultaneous voice and data support with Verizon’s LTE.

 

Sprint’s WiMAX network has been shown to produce speeds in the 6-8 Mbps range with 2-4 Mbps upload speeds. When connected to WiMAX you can also make and receive voice calls. WiMAX is more of a wide area WiFi network while HSPA+ and LTE are cellular longer range technologies.

 

I personally find better coverage with HSPA+ on T-Mobile while I regularly get the fastest speeds on my EVO 4G with Sprint.

 

It’s still better than 3G

Even though none of the US wireless carrier technologies is truly a 4G network, the speeds of these new networks are still much faster than the previous generation of 3G networks. The speed differences between all three current carriers promoting 4G are fairly minor, but you will see some performance differences. Sprint’s W802 technology performs rather poorly indoors and seems to have limited range within major metropolitan areas. Verizon’s LTE network is based on its 700 MHz spectrum and should perform quite well indoors with eventual support from the extensive Verizon network. T-Mobile’s HSPA+ is already widely deployed and supported on two current handsets and other USB dongles.

 

Sprint has a $10 additional data fee on devices with 4G radios, T-Mobile has no pricing differences for HSPA+, and we don’t yet know what Verizon’s LTE pricing structure will be for handsets.

 

Overall, they are all faster technologies and I suppose they have to have a label for it other than 3G to differentiate to the consumer that the network is faster than before so I am fine with calling them 4G. I do get tired though of the constant digging at each other about who has the fastest 4G network since each company tends to avoid telling the whole truth and they all think they are the best. The only way to subscribe to a carrier in theUSis to find the one that works best for YOU where you live, work, and play since this differs around the country and NO single network is the best for everyone.

Comparison of Xoom and iPad2

Posted on February 09, 2012 01:22 AM

Tablets are the hottest products now all over the world. In the electronics market, there are tablet s of famous brands, like Moto and Samsung, and also there are some China Brands tablets like Lenovo and some other brands. Since there are so many kinds of tablets, let me pick up 2 of them and compare, hoping to help you when you buy tablets. Here comes the Motorola Xoom and iPad2.

Why I pick them two? As we know, iPad has always been the leader and No.1 of tablets, while Motorola, the best cell phone I love for its Razr series and also a long history electronic manufacture. Also, I do not deny that many kinds of tablets are very good and perform quite well.

Also there are many kinds of tablets from China Wholesaler of low prices. Here, simply I just pick Xoom and iPad2 for comparison and hope to give you some suggestions. Ok, back to topic, let us see how they perform.

Firstly, let us see the OS of each tablet. Operation system is a very important feature of tablet; a good OS can make your experience on the tablet better. Now the Xoom is the first on to carry Honeycomb 3.0 which is an upgradeable version of Ice Cream Sandwich OS—the OS of Google. Now iPad carries the OS of iOS 4.3, an old OS version of Apple. New OS must bring the better experience for the customers, while iOS 4.3 could not support the multi-tasks quite well. However, iOS 5 does it well and better. Most of the tablets apart from iPad use the android system of Google, tablets of China Wholesale included too. But, products of Motorola can enjoy the latest version of Google OS for was purchased by Google some mouths ago which makes Motorola more competitive.

At the same time, Xoom has a browser that is quite like Chrome, and is much better than that of iPad2. Chrome is now most popular browser on computers and laptops. A Chrome-like browser will definitely bring you the familiar feeling. As for the processors, iPad has dual-core A5 processor and Xoom has the Tegra processor, both of them perform quite well, according to the users of both tablet.

As for the screens and cameras, they are about the same. According to what is said above, they are different mainly for the OS. Xoom has a new and upgradeable operation system, it has also updated some software to make users feel better and handle comfortably. It seems more and more tablets are going to surpass Apple products, no matter in the phone market or tablet market which may be welcomed by the consumers. 

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