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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nokia forum experts bashing clients

A few weeks ago I saw a post on the Nokia forum, where a guy called Lucian Tomuta (you may remember him from a demo video for N8), and another guy who's name I do not know but who's forum nickname is wizard_hu_, nearly bit some poster's head off when he started a thread about porting Maemo for Nokia 5800.

The original thread was this, which was closed about a year ago:


I was blown away by the attitude of these two guys towards the user that started the forum, and now a year later I thought I would bring this behavior to Nokia's attention. Here is what followed:


These guys simply don't care about the respect a customer should get. Here is a taste of the conversation:

Q: So really why there is no port of maemo for 5800 ?

A: Why would there be one? Would its existence make any sense from the majority-of-5800-users' point of view? Do you often change the OS on your washing machine? Or on the microwave oven?

When I started to point these things out, I got one official answer from the forum administrator who said he'd investigate this(which I really appreciate, finally someone was actually willing to solve this problem), and then some more attitude from the "washing machine" guy.

We'll see how it goes. I'll keep everybody posted.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Samsung Galaxy S accesories

Samsung launched a full set of premium accessories for the Galaxy S flagship. The line of accessories include a desktop dock, a vehicle dock, a charger for secondary battery, various carrying cases and a video streaming box.

The desktop dock

The desktop dock should be used with the Desk Home app. It will turn the smartphone into very capable media player and allows making hand-free calls.

The vehicle dock and cases

The vehicle dock has an additional USB connector for charging while the leather/silicon/neoprene cases don't need any explanation, bearing the Galaxy S logo. They look excellent and should keep you phone safe from bumps and other incidents.

The battery charger

The battery charger comes with an extra 1500 mAh battery and allows you to charge it and store it outside the phone.

The streaming box

The streaming box is named Samsung WMG160 Wi-Fi HD. The box gives you the ability to stream movies, music and photos from your Galaxy S to a HDTV device. The Samsung WMG160 connects to the HDTV by a cable connection, while the streaming is done over the Wi-Fi network (DLNA). It's practically a DLNA adapter for HDTV with the option to playback multimedia files from the built in storage or memory card.

Original article from GSMArena here.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Symbian 3 impressions

Even though it was shadowed by the release of Android 2.2 Froyo, Windows Phone 7 and Bada at this year's MWC, Nokia released their new OS, Symbian^3. The first smartphone to wear the new S^3 suite is gonna be the new Nokia N-series flagship, the N8, which apparently will also be the last N-series Symbian powered device.

The Nokia N8

The video shown by Nokia at MWC 2010 demoing the S^3 unveils a multi-touch capable platform, with a multi page widgetized homescreen, which is a step forward for Nokia.

However, the S^3 user interface looks and feels like an overhauled version of the old S60v5. Maybe the OS behind the UI has been rewritten, but the user experience on S^3 won't be much improved compared with the S60v5 user experience(multiple homescreens aside).

Nokia fanboys may claim that it's a revolutionary OS, but it's not. S^3 is so far behind Android it can't even see it's antennas.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Samsung Galaxy 3 and Galaxy Apollo : The constellation grows

After putting out the brightest star in the Samsung constellation, the Galaxy S(tar), Samsung now enriches the Android solar system with two more brothers. The Galaxy 3(I5800) and the Galaxy Apollo(I5801). The I5801 is only available for Orange however.

The Galaxy 3 I5800

The Galaxy Apollo I5801

These two phones don't offer the Super-AMOLED display, but they still pack the Touchwiz 3, which is my opinion is the thing that enriches the Android user experience.

With all the connectivity features required by modern smartphones, and the 667Mhz CPU, these two smarties pack a heavy punch in the low-end smartphone world. They both have capacitive touchscreen, which I think is a must when it comes to Android phones and Touchwiz phones too(feature or smart).

Both phones come with document editor and DivX/Xvid support built in making them full-fledged media phones.

Even if the display resolution is only 240x400, the Touchwiz interface makes these phones worthwhile.

The 3.2MP camera is also a good camera for low-end smartphones, if you look at the competing products that usually pack a 2MP camera.

The bottom line is this: you can't ask for more in a 200 Euro phone, mining that most of the phones in this price range offer much less.

Here's a full review of these two phones courtesy of GSMArena


Monday, August 16, 2010

Samsung Wave wins European Social Media Phone 2010-2011

Samsung strikes again at the EISA awards, this time with Galaxy's older brother, the Wave. The Bada powered smartphone gets the European Social Media Phone 2010-2011 award.


The Samsung Wave capitalises on the current interest in smartphones by providing means and applications for social media environments. The Wave is the first device from Samsung with the Bada operating system in connection with an Apps Store. Behind the stunning 3.3-inch (8.38 cm) AMOLED touch screen there is a powerful 1GHz processor. Amazing connectivity provides Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0. Audio/video features include FM radio with RDS and an excellent 5 megapixel camera with 720p video recording and LED flash. The Samsung Wave is thin and very designed, featuring a metal chassis.

Official award page here
European Social Media Phone 2010-2011 - Samsung Wave GT-S8500


Samsung Galaxy S wins EISA smartphone 2010-2011 award

The EISA (European Imaging and Sound Association) awards are out! Good news for Samsung, the Galaxy S has taken the lead! This year's EISA Smartphone 2010-2011 award goes to the brilliant Samsung Galaxy S!

Based on the Android operating system, the Galaxy S is a ‘jewel in the crown’ for demanding users wanting to be connected, entertained and updated on the move. It is equipped with a huge 4-inch (10.16 cm) AMOLED, 800x480 pixel touch screen providing an exceptional viewing experience. The on-board 5 megapixel camera is without flash, but with video recording of 720p. Interconnectivity brings together Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi with DLNA, a hotspot function and AllShare which allows content to be shared between the mobile and Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players. It’s a well made device that should capture the attention of every mobile phone lover.

As I write this post the EISA website(first and third link below) is barely working because of the high traffic caused by these awards.

The best smartphone of the year product video

Original article on GSMArena here

EISA website


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Samsung Galaxy S first impression

After the launch of the Wave, Samsung hits the market with another high end Super AMOLED device. The Galaxy S is the first Android flagship released by Samsung, and it brings Android to a whole new level. The Touchwiz integration is seamless and brings the power of both Touchwiz and Android together in one unforgettable user experience. I've played with the Galaxy S for about half hour and it really impressed my socks off :). I'm a fan of Touchwiz, but when you combine it with Android you get the best of both worlds. What I like about it is that this is not just a phone for geeks, like the Nexus One for example which looks like a mobile desktop, but a phone for everybody. The Touchwiz makes the phone look like a user-friendly feature phone, but the Android power is at your fingertips.

It has 7 homescreens by default which is a lot of space for keeping your favorite widgets all the time. The menu of the phone along with the user interface look like Samsung pride and joy, Bada. And this is a good thing, because Bada is the most intuitive platform I've seen so far. However, the Galaxy S has a clear advantage over Bada, the Android Market, which provides thousands of apps for this beautiful phone.

The Super-AMOLED display is the brightest display in the industry, and even though I've tested this phone in broad daylight I did not encounter any readability issues. The phones looks sleek, even if it's not a full metal body, and runs fast and smooth.

Samsung's choice of colors for the UI and the icons really helps the Super-AMOLED screen to get noticed. Even if I am an adept of screens between 3.2 and 3.7 inches, this phone didn't bother me at all.

Another thing that increases the user friendliness is the Swipe text input. It takes a minute or two to get used to, but once I was there it was very hard for me to go back to conventional typing.

It has Bluetooth 3.0 which shows that Samsung is thinking about the future.

The only downside of this phone is the lack of camera LED flash. That should have been there for this high end phone, but the lack of it isn't a showstopper.

Another thing I really like, and this goes for most Samsung smartphones, is the integration of the DivX/Xvid video player, which I think every phone should have. Same goes for document editing. The large amount of internal storage also makes this phone a must-have.

The connectivity is all there, 3G, WiFi, A-GPS, BT 3.0, everything you need. The in-call audio quality is also very good.

Here is a video review of the Galaxy S.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

SPB Shell review

For Nokia's S60v5 users there are little options to customize the homescreen. Only the latest phones like C6 have widgetized homescreens, but not even these come close to the level of customization expected in a smartphone.

Here is where the SPB Shell comes in handy. It's a bit pricey (29USD) but it changes the whole user experience of S60v5 phones. SPB Shell offers a bunch of useful widgets like weather, birthdays, missed calls, sms and email, analog and digital clock, connectivity features, music player and links to any app installed on your phone. Here is how the default homescreen looks like.

You have two layouts available, one called Lifestyle and the other called Professional. Each of these layouts offer up to 5 different homescreens. Each lifestyle have different wallpapers. The latest SPB Shell version can be configured as portait, landscape or autorotate. The landscape view however doesn't look that good, so I for one keep my SPB Shell on portait only. It would be nice to have a fullscreen shell, but I guess such an option will be available on future releases.

Choosing widgets is pretty straightforward as you can see in the below screenshot.

Every widget, as well as links to the applications can be customized, or as they say, "skinned". The predefined widgets usually have normal looking skins or professional skins. These skins also come in different sizes, varying from a thumbnail to a halfscreen widget like the weather one in the next screenshot. Same goes for the clock, tasks and calendar.

The shell also comes packed with a contacts application that is far better than the default one, coming with T9 search and it's a lot faster that the S60 one.

The shell has a panels and a carousel view that can be used to find any screen available in the shell.

The bottom line is that if you give this shell a chance, you may end up never wanting to leave it.


Samsung Wave first impressions

The first time I saw the Wave I could not believe that someone actually made a phone that is exactly the phone I dream of at night :). The size, the build, the screen and the metal body are exactly the kind of things that I look for in a phone. I thought then "if it would run Android, it would be the perfect phone". But it didn't run Android, so I was a little disappointed, at first. Then I saw a demo of Bada and I realized that it isn't just "another OS", it's an OS with a bright future ahead(if properly backed by Samsung). Then I heard about the Bada developer challenge, and decided to give it a try. I managed to get a running application and submit it in about 4 days. You would think "what the heck, if it's a simple app, you can do it in less than 4 days". Here is the funny part: the Bada SDK is written in C++ and I am a Java developer with no experience whatsoever in C++, so for me it meant a lot.

Back to the Wave. This phone didn't impress me just by the looks, it also impressed me with the hardware specs: 1GHz CPU, 512RAM and 2GB of storage out of the box is no little thing. the Super-AMOLED display is also a gorgeous thing to look at, the viewing angles and brightness of this thing is unbelievable.

Now, I have to confess that I was so inspired by the Wave, and I like it so much that I actually enlisted in the Bada developer challenge with the hopes of getting in the first 300, and getting a free Wave. The challenge will end on August 31st, and I'll know if I won a Wave by mid September. I'll keep you posted.

This post may be biased by me liking the Wave so much, but I'm sure that the readers who know this phone will agree that once you've seen it you can't be objective anymore. Those who didn't meet the Wave yet, you should. Here is a video:


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Samsung Bada impressions

There is just one thing that comes to mind when I say Bada(Ocean), and that word is flow. Why flow? Because with this OS, everything seems to be right where you need it to be. That was my first impression on Bada. Having used Touchwiz before (2.0) I was a little skeptic, but I was quickly charmed by Touchwiz 3.0. Samsung sure learned a lot from the criticism Touchwiz 2 received. No more widgets overlapping, no more moving widgets instead of swiping to the next homescreen. Touchwiz 3 is lightyears ahead of other Touchwiz version in terms of usability and even looks.

Now let's get on to the OS. Bada has everything packed in, all the apps you'll need, excepting a decent navigation app. The UI is simple and straightforward, I thing it's even simpler than iPhone's UI. It has the looks, friendliness and speed of a high-end feature phone packed in a smartphone platform.

However, the best thing about Bada in my opinion is the development platform. I managed to create a working app in a matter of days, having no knowledge or experience with neither the platform nor with the C++ language it uses. The development learning curve is very quick and the emulator is just brilliant.

Minding that a smartphone OS is as smart as it's application store grows, let's hope Bada's application store manages to round up a decent number of apps. The Bada Developer Challenge is a good start. Copying a successful model is not a bad thing and I'm glad Samsung did it.

Final conclusion: Judging from the developer's standpoint, there is nothing holding devs back from writing apps for this platform. Very easy to use SDK with a very good emulator means fast application development. This platform, if properly promoted and maintained, can be IMHO a powerful iOS and Android contender. The best part is that Samsung plans to run this platform not only on the high-end S8500, but also on lower tier phones that might just get the "smart" badge.


Here is a demo of S8500 running Bada.


Nokia 5230, owner's review

I was a little disappointed at first when I received my Nokia 5230, because, out of the box the UI was very slow. Then, after a hard reset it started to work properly. I don't know why Nokia ships this model with the presets it does because all they do is cast a bad light on the phone itself, which doesn't do the phone justice.

First thing I noticed was the outdated S60 UI. Looks like an 80's car compared with iPhone or Android's modern looking UIs.

The second thing I noticed was that I had better inter-application integration on my previous phone, a Samsung 3650. That was somewhat solved when I installed the SPB Shell, which completely changed the Nokia's user experience, but I'll cover the SPB Shell on another post.

The third was the Ovi Store. I was looking forward to downloading and even purchasing apps from the Ovi Store. The first apps I downloaded were free and I felt pretty good about my phone. Then I noticed that the 5230 had no document editor, which I believe every phone should have (even my old Samsung S3650 had at least a document viewer). The only software that I found on Ovi for document viewing/editing was QuickOffice, which is free as a viewer, but paid as an editor, and it's very overpriced. Same goes for the pricey PDF reader.

Another thing that I would expect a smartphone to have by default was an AVI player, and again the 5230 let me down. No video player here, not even a paid one. And it's not like it's impossible, the Samsung Omnia HD has one, so why doesn't Nokia have one.

The telephony is brilliant, I have now the best signal I ever had, and the best in-call audio quality. I you get passed the outdated look of the applications, you'll find quite a useful bunch packed in this model. The calendar app is very good, and if you download the Mail for exchange app from Nokia (I fail to understand why it doesn't come with the phone) you can synchronize your phone's calendar, contacts and tasks with your Google account, but only after you visit Google's mobile Sync page, where there is a detailed tutorial on how to get things working. Maybe Nokia wants to shove the Ovi services down your throat instead of Google's.

What I liked most about this phone, was the speed of Java apps, which sometimes are as fast as the Symbian native ones.

Another plus of this phone is it's camera. It's only a 2MP camera but it is able to record VGA resolution videos and it's the best 2MP camera I've ever seen. It takes brilliant photos in broad daylight even in poor light conditions. Maybe that's because the phone processes practically every photo it takes. That increases the time between two snaps, but provides a quality that will make it worthwhile.

The GPS reciver seems to take some time before it gets a lock on your location. Comparing the two nav apps I've installed, I found Ovi maps to be more accurate than Google maps, but it was only a matter of 20 meters.

In conclusion, the Nokia 5230 is a phone that surpasses the expectations of the 130 Euros I paid for it.

Here is a video review of the 5230


First post


This blog is gonna be about mobile technology. Mostly I will write about phones, short reviews and opinions.