Our latest podcast is now available to download, in episode 30 we discuss the Windows Mobile Marketplace updated information, Windows Mobile 7, Skype beta 3.0 with a live test, iPaq Data Messenger review, iPhone sin unlocked now available, Pocket God controversial review and a test of Skype for iPhone plus loads more. You can subscribe via iTunes, RSS or download the mp3 file here. Full show notes after the break.
Archive for March, 2009
Want to find out how and what the Windows Phone marketplace is all about. Well Microsoft have posted a video with all the details, telling us how the system works, how to pay, Carrier included content and a guarantee that the app will actually run on your model of phone. Pretty impressive stuff, also if your not satisfied with a particular app you can get a refund too. Check out the video after the break and make sure you have Silverlight installed first.
AT&T announced 6 new entries to its mobile phones portfolio yesterday. The emphasis is quite obviously on texting with all 6 of their new offerings featuring full QWERTY keyboard. The leader of the pack is Nokia E71x, followed by three Samsung handsets – Propel Pro, Impression and Magnet and two LG devices – Neon and Xenon.
The Nokia E71x isn’t really any different from its European sibling, save for the new paintjob. The bar is the slimmest smartphone to date and sports a 2.36" 16M color QVGA display.
It will also feature a GPS receiver a 3 megapixel auto focus camera and of course – HSDPA and Wi-Fi connectivity. A built-in microSD card slot will allow expanding the internal memory with up to 16GB worth of additional storage.
The Nokia E71x will be available in the following weeks across AT&T stores for 150 US dollars on a 2 year contract.
The Samsung Propel Pro comes as a direct successor of the Samsung A767 Propel, extending its functionality quite extensively. Running on the Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard it packs Wi-Fi, GPS and a 2.55" square display with a resolution of 320 x 320 pixels.
Samsung Propel Pro
The Samsung Propel Pro has a 528 MHz CPU and 128 MB of RAM. Its other important features include 3G with HSDPA support, microSD card slot, Bluetooth, USB and a 3 megapixel autofocus camera.
Samsung Propel Pro
You can find the Propel Pro in the AT&T stores starting from April 14. In order to walk out with it you will have to part with 150 US dollars and sign a two-year contract.
Next in line is the side-slider Samsung Impression. Its highlight feature is the 3.2" AMOLED touchscreen of WQVGA resolution, which according to AT&T is a first for the US. In addition to it the handset comes with quad-band GSM and dual-band UMTS with HSDPA support.
The other key features of Samsung Impression are Bluetooth with A2DP, microSD card slot and a 3 megapixel camera with video recording capabilities.
The Samsung Impression will be available from April 7 for 200 US dollars on a two-year contract.
The Samsung Magnet is a simple offering, targeted at the younger audience. Sporting great messaging capabilities thanks to the full QWERTY keyboard it will be the most affordable of the bunch. However AT&T haven’t yet published the full specifications of the device so all we can tell you is that it will be an entry-level offering.
The Samsung Magnet will hit the shelves in the coming weeks.
LG Neon is an exact replica of the LG KS360, which we reviewed not too long ago. It is a mid-ranger that catches the eye with bold colours and quirky controls. Its main features include a 2.4" display, a 2 megapixel snapper and Tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support.
FM radio is also onboard and so are stereo Bluetooth, microSD card slot and FM radio.
The Neon will be available quite shortly for 100 US dollars on a two-year contract.
The LG Xenon comes with haptic feedback for improving the touchscreen experience. The quad-band GSM and dual-band UMTS (with HSDPA support) handset sports a 2.8" 65K colour WQVGA display.
Its other features include 2 megapixel camera, Bluetooth, USB and a microSD card slot.
The LG Xenon will be available shortly across AT&T stores but its pricing still remains to be disclosed.
Posted by: John
We have criticised the way in which Microsoft was proposing to deal with developers in the new Marketplace mainly because of the structure of charging developers to submit updates to their applications as we felt that it would stifle improvements to apps. Well the good news is The Marketplace team have just announced some more details around the ‘Windows Marketplace for Mobile’ which has put to rest the fears of this happening. This is what they have to say:-
A: No, if your application has been previously certified and published in the catalog, you can submit subsequent updates without incurring any additional fees. The application update will be made available through Windows Marketplace to all customers that have downloaded your application in the past.
A: Yes, we originally communicated that only application updates submitted within 7 days of their publish date would benefit from a free submission. After talking to the developer community and better understanding the dynamics and frequency of application updates, we have decided to extend the original 7-day window and make it permanent. This means that if an application has been previously approved in the marketplace the developer can submit updates to it without incurring any additional fees.
Roughly 6 months ago I took a look at SPB Online. This was a package of several utilities bundled into one. Probably the most impressive of these utilities was a TV streaming program. Now SPB have released a full version of this function. Should you check it out?
Nokia has announced a software update to the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic to further improve the performance and add new functionalities to the device. The software update is immediately available for download on Nokia Software Update website (http://www.nokia.com/softwareupdate) free of charge.
Improvements in the new software version include faster data download from Internet, improved e-mail experience, better search experience with in-device search. Many additional features are also included in the software update listed after the break.
Kinoma will offer visitors to CTIA Wireless a first-ever sneak preview of its Kinoma Play mobile media browser for Nokia’s S60 devices. Kinoma Play for S60, slated for launch on Nokia’s forthcoming Ovi Store, lets consumers see and hear their favorite media faster. It will be featured in Nokia booth #7553 at the CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas, April 1-3.
Kinoma Play is a fundamentally better way to find, play and share all kinds of media — videos, music, podcasts, radio, audiobooks and photos — whether they’re on your phone, your home PC, or streaming from your favorite social media sites. It delivers an exceptional, touch-optimized media experience for leading sites like YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, SHOUTcast and Live365, and the built-in Kinoma Guide puts “the best of the web” within easy reach.
Play.com are now offering the iPhone 3G for sale without any simlock. That’s right you can buy the phone from them and use it with any UK sim card that you have like Vodafone, T-Mobile etc as it is officially unlocked and ready to use. This is not a software unlock so updating the phone will not break the unlock.
- This is a genuine Sim Free mobile phone and therefore unlocked to all UK networks.
- It is not unlocked from a UK or European network and is available due to EU legislation ensuring the sale of sim free mobile phones.
Now the downside is the price, a whopping £549.99 for an 8 Gig model and £599.99 for the 16 Gig, that’s pretty steep but at least there is now a way to use the phone legitimately on with your current network. One word of caution, a new model is rumoured to be just around the corner.
Should I add a Tilt/shift lens to my photography kit bag ?
The PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED.
In 2008 Nikon introduced the PC-E NIKKOR 24mm f/3.5D ED lens, at the time this was the latest in a series of tilt/shift lenses that offer effective manipulation of: perspective, distortion and focus. Ideal for photographing landscapes, architecture, or panoramas, this (PC) or Perspective Control lens simply corrects linear distortion and aberration to deliver images closer to a true human eye view. This lens can be used on many Nikon D-SLR cameras, and it offers a multitude of possibilities beyond its functions as a precision correcting tool.
The larger knobs at the top and on the side of the lens are for tilt and shift adjustments; the smaller locking knob (on the right side of the lens) keeps adjustments in place after they are set. The aperture stop-down button, for checking depth of field and for use with manual exposure operation
What’s in the box?
Bayonet Hood HB-41,
Flexible Lens Pouch CL-1120
Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED Specification
- Focal length – 24mm
- Aperture – f/3.5 – 32
- Lens construction - 13 elements in 10 groups (with three ED glass elements, three aspherical lenses, one with Nano Crystal Coat)
- Picture angle - 84°, Maximum 101° when fully shifted
- Closest focus distance - 0.21 m / 0.7 ft
- Maximum reproduction ratio - 1:2.7
- Aperture blades - 9 (rounded)
- Filter attachment size - 77 mm
- Focusing - Manual focus
- Dimensions - Approx. 82.5 x 108 mm / 3.2 x 4.3 in.
- Weight - Approx 730 g / 25.7 oz
This lens is both a special-purpose lens and also a very effective wide-angle lens. It provides both the pro and serious amateur photographers with a groundbreaking, effective solution for many photographic challenges, as well as offering a whole range of new and exciting avenues for creative exploration. It has a good solid build quality and is a great lens to handle. Despite the multitude of moving parts and complexity of the lens functionality it feels very solid and reliable.
Pro’s and Con’s
- Many photographers will value the capacity to more efficiently correct images during a shoot. Considerably reducing the postproduction needed on the images afterwards with software.
- This lens has many characteristics that mean it is well suited to a variety of tasks and offers both a wide angle-of-view combined with dramatic depth-of-field control. Ideal for capturing stunning landscapes.
- The lens allows the photographer to quickly adjust the aperture with a stop-down button, or with the aperture ring.
- Many of the functions also mean that this lens a great choice for close-up macro work, with a minimum focusing distance of 0.7 feet and the capacity to fine tune focus with perspective control.
- The small locking knobs for the movements can be tricky to reach, depending on how the lens is tilting.
- Three aspherical elements virtually eliminate all types of lens aberration even at the widest aperture.
This lens offers photographers ‘complete control’ over all its features. Its controls are easy to use and I found it very intuitive to use straight out of the box. The features include an aperture ring, aperture stop-down button, focusing ring, shift knob and tilt knob. The use of Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat, 3-element glass lens and aspherical elements come together to create a lens that offers outstanding optical quality, with minimal flare and chromatic aberration.
Those photographers who are most likely to find this lens a practical addition to their kit would include architectural, interior, landscape and stock image photographers. Although I feel it has a great deal of creative range and options opening up new potential for any photography enthusiast.
It offers you unbelievable control and the ability to manipulate depth of field in new and interesting ways.
Unfortunately the price means that it’s a very expensive piece of kit to purchase if you are just looking at experimenting with its many interesting possibilities. But it functions extremely well as a 24mm lens and with the additional options it offers you for many photographic disciplines it could be worth its weight in gold and function as a very versatile tool in your camera kit.
I guess I would recommend this lens to any professional photographer. It seems currently the price tag would need a little justification for a specialist lens like this to find its way into many enthusiasts’ kit bags. It can of course always be considered a very good option as a 24mm lens with outstanding built quality and durability. To really benefit from this lens you either have need a practical functional need for its corrective capabilities: as in architectural photography for example. Or just be prepared to experiment and explore your creative potential with added control over the focal plane and depth of field. I personally found this lens a joy to use and more importantly I found it inspired me to challenge myself and discover new avenues for creative expression.
It was refreshing as a digital camera user to find a tool, which gave me back a real sense of creative control and interesting ways in which to use the technology. I also own a lens baby and it is the only lens I can draw a comparison from, its very similar but in a more professional way, it also has a very high level of durability and a fantastic build quality, where as the lens baby in comparison is more of a junior level lens.
Review by: Stuart Birchall
The guys over at cnet have managed to sit down with the application’s principal engineer before the announcement was made at CTIA 2009 to see Skype for iPhone in action and it will finally be available to download from the iTunes App Store sometime on Tuesday. While most of the features aren’t too surprising there are a few capabilities that are notably missing, and a few iPhone-only perks that are refreshing to see.
Calls on Skype for iPhone work only if you’re in range of a Wi-Fi network calls will not work over the cell phone network on the iPhone (but chatting will.)
Skype left a few more skills out of its maiden iPhone voyage. SMS, setting up a conference calling group, purchasing SkypeOut credit directly, and being able to field a second incoming Skype call are a few. File transferring and getting Skype voicemail native on the phone are two more. We expect to see at least two of these added in the next version, but we’ll hope for more.
Read the full details over at cnet news