Archive for January 28th, 2009

By January 28, 2009 Read More →

Mobile Tech Addicts Podcast No 22

image Our latest podcast is now available to download, in episode 22 we discuss the Windows Mobile 18 month plan and 6.5 leaks , the new HTC Touch Cruise, iPhone software update 2.2.1 and a few applications, the Nokia 5800 review, Android Cupcake and a pay as you go Blackberry plus much more. You can subscribe via iTunes, RSS or download the mp3 file here. Full show notes after the break.

Posted in: Podcast
By January 28, 2009 Read More →

Pay as you go Blackberry coming to Orange UK

image We have just heard from Orange that they will shortly be releasing the Blackberry Pearl 8120 on a pay as you go service. From February, Orange will be the first operator in the UK to offer BlackBerry on Pay As You Go. The launch will also include a colour exclusive of the Pearl in indigo. The handset will be priced at £145.00 and the Blackberry Internet Service or BIS will cost just £5.00 per month. Depending on how it goes Orange will look to extend the offer to other Blackberry models in the not too distant future. There will be a formal announcement tomorrow.

Posted in: Phones
By January 28, 2009 Read More →

Samsung i200 review

Following on from my recent S740 review, one of my comments was that I was really impressed by the Smartphone but would have preferred a version without the sliding keyboard. This lead me to have a look around to see what was available with that kind of spec. I ended up taking a closer look at the Samsung i200.

As Matt mentioned in the unboxing video it is an entry level and Windows Mobile standard Smartphone, with a relatively small processor and low end specifications. Described as ‘My very first Smartphone’ is the Samsung i200 any good, or is it too basic to warrant a serious look?

Although this device has been around for a few months it kind of passed me by and even if you go onto the Samsung website it’s masked by the likes of the Omnia and Pixon etc. It took me a while to even find it.

Samsung i200

The Samsung SGH-i200

 

What’s in the box?

  • Samsung i200
  • AC charger
  • USB sync
  • Stereo headset
  • Quick start guide and CD.
  • Outlook 2007 trial

 

Pretty standard here, with nothing out of the ordinary to comment on. Have a look at Matt’s Samsung i200 unboxing video for more details.

 


Samsung SGH-
i200 specification:

  • Dimensions: – 117 x 51 x 12 mm (Corrected from the original Unbox)
  • Display: 240 x 320 pixels (2.3 inch)
  • 128MB ROM / 64MB RAM
  • MicroSD/SDHC memory card slot
  • Network: – GSM: 900/1800/1900 (Tri-Band) – WCDMA: 2100
  • Camera: – 2 mega-pixels
  • Music: – Supported formats: MP3, AAC, eAAC+ & WMA
  • Video: – Video Recording – Video Streaming
  • Bluetooth (2.0)
  • GPRS Class 32
  • HSDPA (3.6 Mbits)

 

Around the i200

On the top of the phone is only the power button, which launches the ‘Quick list’, this allows you various options such as 1. Power off 2. Lock 3. Task Manager 4. Wireless Manager, or access to ‘Profiles’.

Samsung i200_top

Samsung i200 top view

 

On the left side of the i200 is the ‘Function jack’ to connect the proprietary Samsung connector, USB lead or headset. Once again and the VERY worst thing about the Samsung phones is their refusal to use miniUSB connectors.

Also there is a lanyard loop and the up and down volume rocker.

Samsung i200_left

Samsung i200 left side

 

Opposite on the right is the dedicated 2 Megapixel camera button which is customisable and can be changed to pretty much whatever you want and there is a MicroSD slot.

i200_right

Samsung i200 right side

 

The back of the device finds the camera itself, with no flash or portrait mirror, as well here is the back cover.

i200_back

Samsung i200 back view

 

At the sharp end, on the front of the unit is the earpiece, the forward facing camera lens which is next to the light sensor.

The Samsung has a flush fitting QVGA screen which is 2.3” screen underneath which is the left/right soft keys, the send and end keys surrounding the centre key and 4 way navigation key. Flanking all of these buttons is a Home key on the right hand side and a Delete/back key on the left hand side.

Below these is the 12 button key alphanumeric keypad.

i200_main

Samsung i200 front view

 

There is nothing on the bottom of the i200.

 

 

Highlights

  • Utter simplicity
  • Clear bright screen
  • Great design and build

Lowlights

  • Proprietary Connection!!
  • Occasional lag
  • No GPS or Wifi

 

 
Software

In regard to the Windows Mobile Standard this device is pretty standard, there is Mobile office included as well as Adobe reader including ClearVue PDF viewer, an organiser which includes the calendar, alarm, world clocks, tasks, voice notes and a selection called ‘D-day’ which is a reminder and countdown program to a specific event, such as Birthdays, anniversaries, end of the world etc.

There is also a ‘contents manager’ which seems to be a different, customisable version of File Manager, where you can navigate through My Documents, My Pictures, My Music etc.

The home screen in particular is very customisable because on top of the usual WM home screen Samsung has added a couple of their own to give no less than 15 different options.

Another disappointment, and not a fault of this particular phone, is the lack of third party applications compared with that available for Windows 6.1 professional. I found very little to spice up the phone for a self confessed tinkerer like myself.

 


Review

 

On first impressions I really like the look of the Samsung, it is a little longer than the normal, being roughly the same width and similar depth as my diamond, it does come in approximately 15mm longer. A few have mentioned that it is too long, but after using the S740 I have got used to this as they are very similar in length and I would sooner have this than sacrifice either the larger screen or keypad.

i200_angled_left

The design of the phone is very well laid out and the feel of the device is very easy to live with. It is comfortable to hold and use. I found that all the buttons are responsive and positive. It looks good and is very pocketable due to its slim form factor.

There is occasionally a slight lag due to the lack of ROM/RAM on the device, but never that often or long enough to be annoying. I’m not the most patient of people when it comes to computer processes (I once read that if a web page doesn’t load within 15 seconds then the majority of people log off, I wouldn’t give it that long!) so if the lag had been an issue then I would have been the first to make a big deal of it.

The lack of wifi and GPS is a real shame, but then again the simplicity of the i200 is one of its charms. Like the S740 I found that it does the everyday tasks very well, texting and calling are a doddle, the call quality is fine, and fast web connection is also nice to use.

As a side point, this week I have been messing about with Windows 7 Beta release, and while the Samsung interacts happily with Windows Media Device Centre on Vista, I could not get it to work on W7, despite loading drivers, connecting with Bluetooth etc. It just did not want to know, strange.

The camera is adequate and that’s about it, as a low end device you cannot expect miracles, it does have face and smile recognition technology but in practice I found these not that good, I think adequate says it all.

The battery life on the phone is good; as it is simple it does not make excessive demands on the battery, with normal moderate use I did manage up to 3 days between charges, on a heavy use day it was done by late evening.

Placing the connector hole on the top left of the i200 I feel was a mistake, this would probably have been better at the bottom of the device, being Right-handed I often hold the phone in my left hand to use and the lead was often in the way and made the device awkward to hold.

 

 


Conclusion

 

Is this phone good enough to tempt the Nokia user away and introduce them to Windows? In my opinion, I like this phone a lot, its neat and tidy, slim and feature packed, as a low end device; I think it is very capable and a simple pleasure to use on a regular basis. It has its faults and is not perfect, having said that I like it enough to go about buying one myself. The reason I am buying one is that sometimes my Diamond, as well as other high end devices can quite often over complicate matters, making simple tasks too much of a pain. The i200 is the opposite it is not complicated and does simple tasks very well, there are quite a few times when I just want a decent phone, without the bells and whistles, and for me this a great cheap alternative, at around £160- £190 for me it’s worth the money.

NB. Even better I have just found one of £120, bargain.

 

Review by: Steve

[ Post Tags: windows mobile, smartphone, Samsung, SGH-i200, i200, My Very First Smartphone, tracyandmatt.co.uk ]

Posted in: Phones, Reviews
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By January 28, 2009 Read More →

HP launch first multi-touch Tablet PC

Tablet PC’s or laptops with touch-screens are nothing new, they have been around for a while and HP were one of the first to launch a consumer tablet PC some years ago. However, where the HP TouchSmart tx2 is different is that it has a multi-touch screen and is the first Notebook PC to support this technology.

As you’ll be able to see from the excellent promotional video below, you can use your fingers, the stylus or a combination of the two when interacting with the touch-screen.

 

HP TouchSmart tx2

 

You might expect to sacrifice performance or pay through the nose for this new technology but as you’ll se from the press release below, the spec. is pretty good and the price very resonable.

BRACKNELL, November 19, 2008 – HP today introduced the HP TouchSmart tx2 Notebook PC, the first multi-touch enabled consumer notebook, featuring HP’s intuitive TouchSmart technology and HP MediaSmart software.

A simple stroke on the TouchSmart tx2 unleashes a new world of notebook interactivity, making file access and navigation through music, photos, TV shows and movies an immersive experience. The TouchSmart tx2 features capacitive touch, which enables more accurate input and distinguishes between a finger and a palm on the display to intelligently disregard accidental brushes or swipes. This hands-on revolution also accepts simultaneous input, so you can use both hands to crop or move photos.

“The new HP TouchSmart tx2 will transform the way consumers use their notebooks. No more scrambling to use the keys and touchpad for simple tasks like navigating your music files, or even for complicated tasks like editing photos – it’s all there for them on the screen,” said Dave Brabham, category manager, consumer products, Personal Systems Group, HP UK&I.

Everything at your fingertips

With TouchSmart tx2’s unique dual-mode service, users can select all their files with either the tip of their finger or a digital pen. To avoid typing and write directly onto the notebook, simply twist and fold the screen into slate mode, write on-screen with the pen and the notes are automatically converted to editable text. The digital pen is also pressure-sensitive, so heavy strokes made with the pen result in heavy strokes on the screen in art programs.

Design is everything

The TouchSmart tx2 notebook’s 12.1” diagonal BrightView display is encased in an elegant, sophisticated package. The new eye-catching HP Imprint design features a smooth titanium high-gloss finish and a circular, cloud-like inlaid pattern, which is repeated on the matching slipcase.

Bringing entertainment to you

The newly integrated relationship of multi-touch and HP’s innovative MediaSmart software makes the TouchSmart tx2 the supreme digital media powerhouse. Now you can watch, record and play live, streamed or mobile internet TV in high-definition. Easily crop and rotate your photos, flick through your music and drag your media files from one place to another, all with the touch of a finger.

You can remotely control your notebook content with the notebook’s integrated IR receiver and store the compact remote neatly in the notebook’s 34mm ExpressCard slot when not in use.

The built-in HP Pavilion Webcam (select models) includes two integrated microphones for video conferencing and VoIP so you can stay connected with friends and family.

AMD Turion™ X2 dual core processors and ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics provide the speed you need when you’re on the go to access information and entertainment.

Pricing and availability

The HP TouchSmart tx2 is expected to be available in the UK from January 2009 at a recommended street price starting at £ 799 inc. VAT.

 

We’re trying to get our hands on one now!

 

Posted by: Matt

Posted in: News
By January 28, 2009 Read More →

Has Research In Motion’s CEO lost his mind?

image The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article about the Blackberry Storm and some of the troubles that RIM has had related to the phone’s release. The story  goes into some of the bugs, glitches, and customer dissatisfaction that plagued the Storm when it was first released at the end of November. Buried in the article is this gem of a quote by RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie where he says that buggy smartphone software is part of “the new reality”. What!

This little bit of information is not really news to early adopters, but coming from the co-chief executive of a major smartphone maker, this sentiment is truly alarming. One of the main jobs a person in that position has is to be salesman for his company’s products. Can you imagine Steve Jobs, or anybody from Apple, HTC, Nokia making a comment like that? Mr. Balsillie is basically giving RIM’s most loyal fans a big FU. Instead of trying to ensure that only the best combination of hardware and software gets released from RIM, Jim Balsillie is suggesting that we as Smartphone users should just learn to accept subpar products, because they will try and fix the problems eventually. I sincerely hope that this attitude does not permeate throughout Waterloo Ontario, and the rest of the mobile device industry.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Posted in: Phones