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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Photos taken with the Nokia N8

Well, the camera is the feature I tested the most on the Nokia N8. What can I say, it's addictive. You keep shooting and shooting and ... And you just can't stop.

Here are some pictures I shot with it, some of my son, some from Craiova's rainy skies, even this morning's coffee, and some close ups.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Samsung confirms it will make the next Nexus phone

Two hours ago Samsung confirmed trough the official cSamsung Mobile Romania tweet account, that it will be the maker of the next Google Nexus phone.

Here is the original tweet:

The translation is simple:
Exactly as you already discovered and then the link which leads to an article about Samsung being the maker of the next Google Nexus phone.

The link inside the tweet: http://fb.me/QLGZA7ol


Touring Europe with Ovi Maps

First of all I had to share a place from my home city Craiova, Romania in Ovi Maps, a place that brought both ecstasy and despair to the people of this city. I live nearby the biggest city stadium, the Ion Oblemenco stadium, which is home of the Universitatea Craiova football club.

You can see it here on Ovi Maps: The Ion Oblemenco Stadium
The U(short for Universitatea) Craiova club is legendary in Romania, being the first Romanian team to ever reach an UEFA Cup semifinal. The team that achieved this performance was called Craiova Maxima. This performance was never followed by the next generations. Now U Craiova plays in the second Romanian league hoping to go back to the fist league next year.

Ion Oblemenco Stadium in the evening

So, to go further, since I am a football fan, and never quite had the chance to leave the country, I decided to visit Barcelona and the Camp Nou Stadium, the home of FC Barcelona. It was not it in the Ovi Maps 3D landmarks, but after some searching I found it, and it is gorgeous.

Here it is, as seen on Ovi Maps:

Camp Nou Stadium

Next, I decided to make a quick stop in Milano in Italy to check out the San Siro Stadium, or Giuseppe Meazza, as it is known today, home of Internazionale Milano and A.C. Milan football clubs. I looked a bit for this one too, but here it is:

Giuseppe Meazza(San Siro) Stadium

Well, enough with the stadiums, let's see some historical sights. For that we go to London. First of all, let's see the place that was on fire a while ago with the wedding of price William and Kate Middleton, the Westminister Abbey. This is the place were all the kings and queens of England have their weddings. It's an important milestone England's history, both old and modern.

Westminister Abbey

Since I was in London I decided to "drop by" the guys from WOMWorld located on Windmill Street near the Piccadilly Circus.

1000Heads/WOMWorld London Office

Nice to finally see where all those Nokia goodies have been coming from.

Thank you Ovi Maps!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nokia N8 unboxing

Well, the day has come that I finally got my hands on a Nokia N8. The nice people at WOMWorld sent me this N8 for a two weeks trial.

The phone is solidly built, it feels very good in hand, and as a very nice surprise, it is very light. The camera takes amazing pictures(I'll get back with another post on that one) and to my surprise, it takes them fast. Very fast. The phone seems to love to take pictures.

I found myself pulling the N8 from my pocket each 5 minutes just to look at it. I still do. As I write this post, it's sitting next to me and I find myself staring at it for a few seconds once in a while.

What can I say? Do I want one? Definitely. Can I afford one? Ask my kid, he'll say "na na na na".

But enough with the chit-chat, here is the unboxing video:


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nokia N9 uncovered. MeeGo is beautiful

Well, in my previous post I said that Nokia made a smart move with the N9, and that it will open up some new opportunities for Nokia phones. I take that back. The N9 doesn't need a ported OS. MeeGo is beautiful. When I saw MeeGo getting demoed I could not believe it! It is what I've been looking for in a smartphone. Everything is well organized starting with all notifications in one screen, all apps on another, and finishing with the superb open apps manager.

I love the idea of a phone with no buttons, and what Nokia has done with this idea I call art. MeeGo is so natural, I can hardly believe that Nokia, the same people who did Symbian, developed it. I think this can be the third horse in the smartphone race, and if Mr. Elop dumps MeeGo, he's an idiot, or a Microsoft trojan-horse.

Just take a look for yourselves.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Nokia N9 - a smart move by Nokia

Well, June 21st is coming up next week, and everybody is eagerly waiting for Nokia to announce the N9/N950.

The phone is supposed to run MeeGo and have a 12MP camera just like the N8. The slider keyboard is for those heavy messaging people and the 4 inch screen, expected to be ClearBlack, should be more than enough for anyone.

I think this is a great move by Nokia, one that will assure everyone that Nokia has not abandoned MeeGo. Furthermore, this new device, running a Linux based OS opens up the possibility to have Android on a Nokia device. It happened before with the N900, but this time we're not talking resistive 3.5 inch screen, but a real 4 inch contender.

Even though Nokia did not adopt Android as a smartphone platform, they can't ignore it's potential. I believe Nokia will release this device for two purposes: first, to test the waters withe MeeGo and see how it pins itself against the smartphone big boys, and second, to see how well Android can run on it. There will be people who will start porting Android to the N9, and hence spare Nokia the efforts of doing it themselves(if they haven't already).

Call me a dreamer, but I will love to see Nokia releasing Android phones in the future, even if they have already stated out loud that they will concentrate in Windows Phone. I'm sure that if the N9 and it's MeeGo brothers will succeed on Android, we may see a shift in Nokia's vision of the smartphone future.

What can I say, I can't wait to get my hands on one.


eBuddy for Android - must have messenger

Today we review the seasoned eBuddy messenger solution for Android. If you're tired of using Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger and Facebook and AIM(and so on) dedicated clients separately on your Android device, eBuddy brings them all into one convenient place. One login, all accounts available.

Why an all in one messenger? Well, first of all, RAM consumption. Having 3 or 4 messengers opened at once can quickly eat up the memory of your phone. Second, installation space: why waste precious phone storage to install 3 or 4 messengers when you can do the same thing with only one. You may ask why eBuddy? Well, besides being a well done and easy to use app for Android, eBuddy is available for all major platforms, iPhone, Android, Symbian and most phones who support Java. You can quickly download eBuddy for any new phone you may purchase, and with one login you're set.

The interface is easy to use and very clean. It has very good support for emoticons while all the ongoing chats are grouped under a separate tab in the interface.

Head over the market and give eBuddy a try. You will need an eBuddy account that you can obtain straight from the application itself.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Motorola fails it's customers again

This post is addressed to whom it may concern within the Motorola company.

So, Motorola, you are lying to users once again... Now it's unlocked bootloaders, now it locked. Well, in my country the Constitution guarantees the right of ownership. We also have a law on Consumer Protection. The Consumer Protection law states that the manufacturer of a product must provide a solution in a timely manner to a problem that a customer encounters. It also states that if a solution is not found, the manufacturer is obliged by law fix, replace the defective product or to return the amount of money spent by the Consumer when purchasing the product, without causing prejudice to the Consumer. Right now I have not been given a solution by your Romanian counterparts or by your forum experts. My Milestone is practically a brick. I updated to Froyo when it came out and I was told by your people that in order to revert to Eclair(which was working properly) I will lose all my data. That is what I call prejudice. In order to preserve my data I have to stick with the defective software, or lose my data to get a working phone. Furthermore, the multitasking that was advertised as working on this phone is not working as a fact, probably due to the lack of RAM available on the Milestone. The fact that the Motorola engineers were not able to get Froyo, a newer and more optimized version of Android than Eclair, to run on the same amount of RAM and provide the same functionality as with the original software is a Motorola problem and not a customer side problem. Never was it mentioned in your warnings that if I would install Froyo, I won't be able to run 2 apps at the same time on my Milestone. The only warning was that I should run less apps in parallel. Less apps does not mean only one.
When you announced that you will revise the locked bootloader policy I mistakenly assumed that it would apply to existing customers too, since we still have rights as Motorola customers. How wrong was I....

So the first issue we have with your Motorola is that you do not allow us to use our owned hardware as we want it, to it's full potential by limiting our choices with a locked bootloader. That I see as a breach of our constitutional rights of guaranteed ownership(property). This would not have been a problem if you would have provided a viable software alternative or an unlockable bootloader.

The second issue we have with you Motorola is false advertising which is also punishable by law.

The third issue we have is the prejudice you cause us when we want to get our phones in an usable state again, loss of data that is.

Me and a fairly large community of Milestone users from Romania are strongly thinking of forming a class action against Motorola here in Romania, where I assure you, YOU WILL LOSE THE LAWSUIT! You have to understand Motorola, we have no other choice. You did not offer us a viable alternative to your faulty software. You never had such a large disgruntled user base with the Droid because it had an open bootloader and people have given up on your software and installed custom better ones. We do not have that choice. You have taken it away from us. Bottom line... Unless we are given a solution to this issue, there may be legal actions.

Anyone who would like to support the Motorola Milestone users having these issues with Motorola, please share, tweet or retweet this post.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nokia E7 review

Well, two weeks ago the nice people at WOMWorldNokia have sent me the latest Nokia flagship, the almighty E7. Why almighty? Because when held in hand you find yourself staring at it and only one word comes out of your mouth "WOW".

The huge 4 inch display dominates the front of the phone, along with a single menu button. The blacks of the CBD(Clear Black Display) are outstanding. I honestly could not see where a gradient that ended in the black color ended and the display bezel started.

On the left side you have the unlock knob, while on the right side you have the SIM card housing, the volume knob(yes knob) which replaces the traditional volume rocker, and the dedicated camera key. On top you have the micro-USB port which serves for charging too, the HDMI port and the power button.

There is no SD card slot(not that you'd need one anyway) and on the down side, the battery is non replaceable because of the unibody design.

The anodized aluminium case is as strong as it can be on a cell phone, and the Gorilla glass covering the display should prevent scratches from deteriorating the 4 inch screen.

The phone feels solid(and probably is) and the sliding mechanism is very easy to use once you get the hang of it. The first time you open the keyboard you feel like the phone is ready to snap out of your hands, like a wild horse. But once you get familiar with it, it's actually a very nice feeling.

The keyboard is the best I have ever seen. The keys are comfortably placed and spaced, and pressing them is as easy as can be.

The SIM card is not hot swapable, the phone reboots after the SIM card is changed.

The build quality overall is excellent, but there's just one thing... the menu button. It seems a bit fragile, but I guess it can leave that impression compared with the rest of the hardware.

After using and Android phone in for some time now, I have to point out one thing that Nokia phones, not just the E7 have that droids do not: Wake up on alarm. This means that if you have set an alarm clock and the phones is turned off, the Nokias will power up and ring while the Android phones will not. It is a very important feature to remember when buying a new phone.

As usual on Symbian^3 devices, a full range of video codecs is supported including avi and divx files, which, along with the 4 inch screen can mean you can even watch movies on it while traveling.


2G Network - GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network - HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100
Dimensions - 123.7 x 62.4 x 13.6 mm, 104.9 cc
Weight - 176 g
AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size - 360 x 640 pixels, 4.0 inches
- QWERTY keyboard
- Nokia ClearBlack display
- Multi-touch input method
- Proximity sensor for auto turn-off
- Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate
- Scratch resistant Gorilla glass display
Loudspeaker, 3.5mm jack
Phonebook practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall
Call records - Detailed, max 30 days
Internal - 16 GB storage, 256 MB RAM, 1 GB ROM
No card slot
GPRS - Class 32
EDGE - Class 32
3G - HSDPA, 10.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 2 Mbps
WLAN - Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth - v3.0 with A2DP
microUSB v2.0, USB On-the-go support
Primary Camera - 8 MP, 3264x2448 pixels, fixed focus, dual-LED flash, geo-tagging, face detection
Video - 720p@25fps, video stabilization
Secondary Camera VGA
OS - Symbian^3 OS
CPU - 680 MHz ARM 11 processor, Broadcom BCM2727 GPU
Messaging - SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Browser - WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML, RSS feeds
Radio - Stereo FM radio with RDS
GPS with A-GPS support - Ovi Maps 3.0
Java - MIDP 2.1
- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- Digital compass
- TV-out (720p video) via HDMI and composite
- Dolby Digital Plus via HDMI
- MP3/WAV/eAAC+/WMA player
- MP4/H.264/H.263/WMV player
- Voice command/dial
- Document editor (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)
- Video/photo editor
- Flash Lite 4.0
- Voice memo/dial
- Predictive text input
Standard battery, Li-Ion 1200 mAh (BL-4D)
Stand-by - Up to 432 h (2G) / Up to 480 h (3G)
Talk time - Up to 9 h (2G) / Up to 5 h (3G)


I'm not going to do a full software review, as I've already published a full review of Symbian^3 and unfortunately, the E7 does not come with Symbian Anna update yet, so I'll only mention the apps that are specific to the E7.

First of all the E7 comes with a full QuickOffice license unlike the C7 I previously reviewed, and a full license of Adobe PDF.
Another software difference is the Communicator software installed on the E7, and that is expected in a business device such as the E7.

Overall, the software experience is smooth, but some apps are better optimized than others, so the user experience is not as consistent as it should be. However, things should change once Symbian Anna will be available for the E7, which is gonna happen in the following months.

Now, I have heard a lot of opinions about the E7. Some say it could have been more than it is. Others say it's more that they could have expected. I think that if you want the level of customization of Android, this phone is not for you. But if you want a reliable business phone, which can also entertain your while traveling(and I mean movies, games and so on) then you should seriously give it a go.

The 8MP camera takes very nice pictures, and it's very very snappy, because of the EDoF technology used. It's a full focus camera, and landscapes are just a pleasure to shoot. Folow the link to check the quality of the photos taken with the E7.

Here is my unboxing and hands on in case you missed it:


Thursday, June 2, 2011

File Expert for Android - All you need to manage your files

I used to be a faithful user of Astro File Manager and ES File Explorer to do my daily file managing stuff. Now, each one of the aforementioned had it's pros and cons and I would have so much liked to frankenstein both of them into a single app. No I no longer need to use both of them, as there is an app in the market that does what I need and more.

File Expert by Geek Software Technology Inc is a file management software and much more rolled into one beautiful and easy to use app. An iPhone-esque interface that is just beautiful shows off most of the features you need on day to day use.
This app gives your the opportunity to also browse network drives from your local intra-net, as well as share your files the same way, via network share or web server.

You can exclude folders from media scanning, and you can even enable the root mode(in case you use a rooted phone) so that you can modify the system files freely. The application is skinable so you can download more skins if you don't like the default one.

The app also allows you to batch uninstall multiple apps and also to mount your local filesystem in read/write or read only modes.

One thing that I appreciate about File Expert is the lack of ads. They put up a popup first time you open the app where you can donate to them if you choose, and after that you won't see any ads or nags again.

This is one of the best apps I ever came across for Android.

Download it from Market and give it a try, I guarantee you it's worthed.