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Friday, July 01, 2005

DigitalCamera@101reviews � Creative Introduces Zen Sleek

DigitalCamera@101reviews � Creative Introduces Zen SleekThursday, Jun 30, 2005
Creative Introduces Zen Sleek
Category: News

Creative Introduces Zen SleekCreative has launched an Apple iPod mini lookalike in its latest member of the Zen MP3 players - Zen Sleek

Award-winning Zen family gains a new member featuring a striking design with distinctive materials and textures.

Creative the worldwide leader in digital entertainment products for the personal computer and the Internet, announces the exciting new Zen Sleek MP3 player. This compact, high-end player, with large backlit display and touch-sensitive controls, combines sleek, glossy white contours with smooth aluminium, making it ultra-stylish as well as easy to use.

Everyone can enjoy using the Zen Sleek, thanks to the intuitive design of its backlit Touch Pad control which gives natural, one-handed fingertip management of all the player’s functions, even in poor light. It is complemented by the large blue backlit display, which provides all the information users need about tracks, artists, playlists and settings. The Zen Sleek can store up to 10,000 songs* in WMA or 5,000 in MP3, while quick and easy downloads from a PC at up to a song per second are assured by support for USB 2.0. It can also record direct from its built-in FM radio and microphone and offers playtimes up to 16 hours from the rechargeable battery.

“The Zen Sleek is the latest expression of Zen style,” comments Geraldine De Bonis, European Business Manager for MP3 Players with Creative. “Its combination of cutting edge design with the most advanced audio technology makes it a unique and modern statement of excellence. It’s the player for people who want an individual product with outstanding sound.”

The Zen Sleek fits comfortably into the hand for fingertip management of all its powerful features. Output can be adjusted to personal taste via the Equalisation feature, which offers nine acoustic environments. Like other Creative MP3 players, it supports the widest choice of music download services, giving owners easier access to the music they want.

Zen Sleek Features:
· Stunning design, in smooth aluminium and cool white contours.
· 20GB hard disk stores up to 10,000 songs* in WMA or 5,000 in MP3. Also supports WAV.
· Vertical touchpad with LED backlight is quick and intuitive to use, gives total control with fingertip touch.
· Large blue backlit display for access to comprehensive track information and settings.
· FM tuner with 32 presets and direct recording, to capture memorable broadcasts.
· Built-in microphone for live voice recording and personal notes.
· Equalisation feature with nine acoustic environments such as ‘rock’ or ‘jazz’, plus bass boost, enable listeners to customise music to their personal preferences.
· USB 2.0 connection, for downloads at up to a song per second.

*Based on four-minute songs at 64Kbps in WMA, 128Kbps in MP3.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - T-Mobile launches web-n-walk also for Windows Mobile phones new SDA smartphone coming - T-Mobile launches web-n-walk also for Windows Mobile phones new SDA smartphone comingT-Mobile launches web-n-walk also for Windows Mobile phones + new SDA smartphone coming
June 29, 2005 [General]
T-Mobile transfers Internet experience on PCs to cell phones... including MDA Compact Pocket PC phone and new SDA (!!!) Microsoft Smartphone!

More information from T-Mobile follows.

* * * * *

web’n’walk: T-Mobile launches open mobile Internet.

* T-Mobile transfers Internet experience on PCs to cell phones
* Easy spontaneous access to the World Wide Web with Sidekick II, MDA compact, Nokia 6680 and the new SDA model
* Fast, user-friendly surfing with optimized Internet browsers
* Worry-free offers: Internet-optimized devices with attractive price plans

T-Mobile is the first carrier in Europe to bring free Internet to mobile phones: web’n’walk is the name of the offer that T-Mobile is using to compile attractive packages for mobile users in the World Wide Web. The first web’n’walk offers are now available in Germany and Austria. In the course of the year, mobile Internet will also spread to Great Britain, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

The vital difference from mobile portals and their often restricted content is that web’n’walk gives T-Mobile customers not only far greater flexibility in Internet usage but also the advantages of free Internet, with optimized quality and low package prices. This offer from T-Mobile gives customers the opportunity to transfer Internet experience they have gained on their PCs to mobile scenarios, with the added advantage of the spontaneity and flexibility that are typical of cell phones.

“With web’n’walk we are giving vital impetus to mobile Internet usage,” says RenĂ© Obermann, CEO at T-Mobile International. “We are paving the way to free Internet for our mobile customers, demonstrating once again that we are the innovation leader in the mobile communications market.”

“web’n’walk lets our customers click into their favorite sites wherever they happen to be, retrieve the information they require and subscribe to entertainment offers,” adds Ulli Gritzuhn, CMO at T Mobile International. “We expect all data-enabled cell phones from T-Mobile to be web’n’walk devices in five years’ time.”

To mark the launch, four cell phones will offer the new web’n’walk experience: Sidekick II, MDA compact, Nokia 6680 and the new SDA model. Sidekick II came to market in June and has a full-size keyboard and large color display – spelling maximum ease of use for Internet access. A special compression procedure accelerates retrieval and display of the Internet pages. E-mails are delivered automatically and promptly to their recipients via the mail push service.

MDA compact provides T-Mobile customers with a fast, easy-to-use access medium to the open Internet. To make MDA compact even speedier, the device now comes with an improved Internet browser.

The third cell-phone model in the web’n’walk launch offer is a Nokia 6680. With this compact device, users can, for example, use T-Mobile’s UMTS network (UMTS, Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) to pick up e mails plus attachments at high speeds and for fast Internet searches. Special software also optimizes page representation in 262,000 colors on the Nokia 6680 display.

Around September, T-Mobile is due to introduce a fourth web’n’walk device, the new SDA model, which will attract above all a mass market. This full-size smart phone will have an optimized Internet browser for even faster surfing on the open Internet. T-Mobile also has plans to greatly expand its web’n’walk mobile device portfolio in the coming months.

“Our target is to attract several hundreds of thousands of new web’n’walk customers by the end of 2006,” RenĂ© Obermann quotes the sales forecast for the new offer. “What’s more, we expect ARPU (average revenue per user) to climb significantly for customers using the mobile Internet.”

To ensure that Sidekick II and MDA compact users on the move can access the Internet offers they need with minimum effort, the Google search engine is preconfigured as the homepage, accessible via the Internet Explorer icon. In the future, T-Mobile and Google Inc. will cooperate closely on the new web’n’walk offers. They aim to further improve the comfort, benefit and speed of Internet access with cell phones from T Mobile. In addition to the search engine, users will find a list of interesting links. Here, they can click their way rapidly to RTL news, online weather forecasts or Postbank’s online offers. And of course users can replace this homepage with their own personal favorite at any time.

To mark the launch of the web’n’walk offer, T-Mobile is introducing new volume-based data options in Germany and, at the same time, making its existing offers even more attractive. For example, the new Data 30 option offers a monthly inclusive volume of 30 MB for mobile data transmission, instead of the previous 10 MB, and at a monthly price of only EUR 10. Once the inclusive volume is used up, a price of EUR 1.90 is charged for each additional MB. There is also a special attraction for everyone who surfs the mobile net with Sidekick II: the 30 MB limit for the Sidekick Data option is being lifted until the end of the year. This means that a real flat rate option is now available in T-Mobile Deutschland’s network for a monthly price of EUR 15.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

In-depth survey from Handango reveals behavior and trends for PDA and smartphone downloads

In-depth survey from Handango reveals behavior and trends for PDA and smartphone downloadsIn-depth survey from Handango reveals behavior and trends for PDA and smartphone downloads
News : Windows Mobile Pocket PC : Software, posted 29-JUN-2005 09:52

Third-party software is a powerful influencer in the decision to purchase a smartphone or handheld, according to a recent Handango survey of mobile content users and their behavior. The in-depth results from more than 14,000 buyers of mobile downloads revealed that the selection and quality of third-party software had a "strong influence" or "somewhat of an influence" on 69% of the users' decisions to purchase their mobile devices. The availability of third-party software was also ranked as the third most important influencer in a device buying decision behind only "need in my personal life" and "need in my line of work".

"The rich data from our customer survey enables Handango and our partners -- including mobile operators, handset manufacturers, portals and developers -- to optimize content discovery, purchasing and usage, which helps us grow the overall mobile downloads ecosystem," said Randy Eisenman, president and chief executive officer of Handango. "This year, we're also very excited to make a subset of the survey data available to the public in an effort to spread awareness of the desires and needs of mobile content users."

Additional findings from the survey revealed that people who actively use mobile content on their smartphones and handhelds are more satisfied with their mobile device and less likely to change brands. Ninety-four percent of respondents indicated that they are "extremely satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their mobile device experience.

In the same survey last year, customers ranked "multimedia capabilities" as a minor influence in their decision to buy a mobile device. This year, customers ranked the multimedia capabilities of the mobile device as a more important buying criterion than price and the sixth most important criterion overall behind "need in personal life", "need in line of work", "availability of third-party software", "wireless capabilities" and "brand".

Seventy-one percent of respondents reported having purchased and installed more than five applications, not including trials and freeware, indicating extremely active usage. However, despite extremely high satisfaction and usage rates, two out of five respondents reported having difficulty licensing their mobile applications. Currently, mobile content providers employ a wide variety of licensing schemes which may lead to the high rate of issues.

Customers ranked "availability of a trial" was the number one influencer in their decision to purchase mobile downloads. While there was a strong desire to try applications before buying, respondents indicated that only very short trial periods are needed. Sixty-nine percent of customers say they need less than three days to evaluate an application and 29% said they need less than one hour.

The survey also uncovered a wide array of user preferences. Customers indicated that they are primarily interested in applications in four key categories: Business & Professional, Productivity, Utilities and Games. Yet, their specific uses within these and other secondary categories were excessively broad. When customers were asked which application led them to purchase their current mobile device, their responses ran the gamut with no single response gathering more than 5% of answers. This indicates a wide variety of personalization and professional needs which can only be met by a broad selection of mobile downloads.

Google Earth 3.0 review by PC Magazine

Google Earth 3.0 review by PC MagazineGoogle Earth 3.0
REVIEW DATE: 06.28.05
# Company: Google Inc.,
# Price: Free. Plus version: $20 per year

Total posts: 2
Buy It Here $0.00

By Richard V. Dragan

When the Keyhole satellite-imagery Web service debuted last year, we were impressed with the technology—so much so that we gave it our award for technical excellence. The folks at Google saw the potential too and used some of the company's IPO booty to snatch up Keyhole. The result is Google Earth 3.0: the same wide-ranging, detailed aerial images provided by Keyhole, combined with Google's excellent local search capabilities. And since the formerly $299 service is now free, we're even bigger fans. Whether you're traveling or just geographically curious, this new service presents map information using an intuitive, interactive virtual globe.

To get started, you download and install the 10MB Google Earth client, which provides access to the company's digital imagery servers. Type in an address and the on-screen view zooms in to it with a satellite's perspective in real time. (A 128-Kbps network connection is required.) You can use the convenient buttons to navigate in any direction, zoom in and out, and tilt the terrain for a true 3D effect.

Google Earth 3D Cities In this version, Google has beefed up its collection of satellite imagery for worldwide coverage and has added 3D views of about 40 American cities. Buildings are rendered in gray blocks only, but that's enough to give a perspective of each city's skyline.

As you scroll around and zoom in and out, the animation is seamless and simply a joy to experience. Services like TerraFly present satellite imagery, but they don't offer such smooth movement. (It remains to be seen whether Microsoft's announced MSN Virtual Earth will offer the same sort of animation when it debuts this summer.) The easy-to-use client app also features panels for displaying maps, as well as for searching and cataloging your favorite places. You can annotate any location using a placemark (akin to a bookmark), and even add a live URL link. You can save and share annotations as XML files, and also e-mail or print any image on the site. And as with the original Keyhole service, you can mark two locations on the map and the service will calculate the distance between them.

Beyond marking individual points of interest, Google Earth gives you over 100 available geographical and business overlays to choose from, ranging from restaurants and other businesses to weather, crime statistics, and geology. In a big city like New York, these annotations can quickly become overcrowded, but the service had no trouble pointing out Italian restaurants in Manhattan, for example.

For any point of interest or business, Google Earth lets you link to the Google Local search feature, as well as to Google Maps. By default, linked pages are displayed in the embedded browser showing detailed information about a restaurant or business. One nit here is that cross-referencing satellite imagery (in Google Earth) and a standard road map (in Google Maps) was a bit awkward. Putting additional detail into pop-up windows on the actual satellite map (an approach that is apparently in the works for MSN Virtual Earth) seems like a better idea to us. And for getting driving directions, we actually preferred the driving locations in Google Maps for clarity. The animated flyover option inside Google Earth give you a bird's-eye view of your route, but the animation can be disorienting, especially for city driving. Luckily, text-based directions are available in both Google Earth and Maps.

A Plus version of Google Earth ($20 per year) adds the ability to draw shapes on maps and to import data from common GPS devices. The business-oriented Pro version ($400 per year) increases resolution for printing and lets you save your fly-by tours as video files for animations. But the vast majority of users will be well served by the free version. Its ability to provide smooth virtual flyovers is the best we've seen to date, and the integration of Google's search technology makes it even more useful.

Bill Gates is no match for the Teflon president | | CNET

Bill Gates is no match for the Teflon president | | CNET News.comJune 28, 2005 11:34 AM PDT
Bill Gates is no match for the Teflon president

Bill Gates may be the ultimate techie tycoon, but he's not the greatest American of all time.

That was the collective judgment of some 2.5 million people who took part in an "American Idol" style poll this month, which had its finale Sunday night. Gates had been short-listed to the top 100 Greatest Americans. The contest was hosted by America Online and the Discovery Channel.

Highest honors went to Ronald Reagan, cited for having "played many roles during his lifetime." The late Cold Warrior and Hollywood star was one of three presidents in the top five, along with Abraham Lincoln (2) and George Washington (4). (Reagan apparently edged Lincoln by just 0.5 percent of the vote.) The other two spots went to Martin Luther King Jr. (3) and Ben Franklin (5).

Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect did make it into the Greatest American top 25. That puts him in the company of the sitting president (but not his father), Henry Ford, the Wright brothers, Muhammed Ali, Oprah Winfrey, Roosevelts Franklin and Eleanor, and Armstrongs Neil and Lance.

Apple and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs finished farther back with the larger pack, somewhere between 26 and 100.

Posted by Jonathan Skillings

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Samsung I730

mobilePASSION: First Look: Samsung i730 Pocket PC Phone Edition

mobilePASSION: First Look: Samsung i730 Pocket PC Phone EditionFirst Look: Samsung i730 Pocket PC Phone Edition

Slidkeyboardextendedbattery_1 Samsung’s new SCH-i730 is a major improvement over their previous i700. The most visible change is the slide-down QWERTY thumb keyboard, for e-mail and other text entry duties. Less visible, but perhaps more important is the enhanced wireless power built into the device. The i730 has a built-in EVDO/1xRTT capable mobile phone as well as integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability.

Samsung was very serious about getting a form factor out that will be attractive to anyone interested in an integrated tactical keyboard yet keeping the overall size small. Verizon Wireless will be carrying the Samsung i730 product and I have heard that the availability should be around July 7.

Imgp0981The i730 ships with an AC charger that plugs directly into the i730 or into the USB desk cradle that folds to easily fit in your Pocket. The cradle not only recharges your i730, it simultaneously charges a second high-capacity battery that comes with the unit. The extended battery is great to bring along with you if you use the battery-draining Wi-Fi capability.

The Samsung device ships with a carrying case in the increasingly popular belt clip style, with a plastic snap holder that allows the device to be clipped to your belt in with the screen facing in toward the body for protection. The phone clip is able to be rotated around the belt clip pivot. Samsung also included a second stylus in the package.

Imgp0971_1 Fig. 1: The PalmOS Treo 650 (left) next to the Samsung i730.

The PalmOS-based competitor to this is the new Treo 650. Figure 1 shows the Treo 650 and Samsung i730 side by side. Although the i730 is slightly thicker, it feels great in the hand. The screen resolution of the i730 (240 x 320 pixels) is less than the Treo (320 x 320), however the i730 displayed my webblog in better detail. The Treo is a great form factor but the hidden keyboard of the i730 really gives this a WOW factor. I love the fact that the i730 gives me choices for doing input by using the QWERTY thumb keyboard or directly writing on the touch screen using the powerful handwriting recognition capability, which isn’t available on the Treo.

Imgp0871You can see the i730 here stacks up very nicely to the small Smartphone and imate JAM. The imate JAM which was by far the smallest Pocket PC not to mention Pocket PC Phone Edition.

Built-in software

The device is based on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition software for the Pocket PC Phone Edition. This suite includes the Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition OS and “Pocket” versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and Windows Media Player 10. In addition, it includes a Phone Dialer to interface with the phone technology, a variety of configuration utilities, and a few other apps. A user-installable version of Microsoft’s desktop PC synchronization program ActiveSync is found on the Companion CD.

Srs_wow Fig: SRS WOW XT lets you fine tune the i730’s audio.

In addition to the standard software from Microsoft, the i730 comes with SRS WOW XT, an application that noticeably improves the audio on the device using its SRS 3D Effect, Focus, and TruBass settings. You can access the SRS feature directly from an icon at the bottom of the Today Screen. Also contributing to the enriched audio experience is the amazingly loud and clear sounding audio / phone speakers on the back of the device.

I730_008I730_014 Samsung added a number of cool applications to the i730, including a TV/VCR remote controller (left), Ringtone manager, and Launcher (right). Samsung also added Launcher (great way to use the device with one hand using the 5-way directional pad) CarKit Volume, Ringtone Manager, Today Screen Wireless plug-in, OBEX FTP, Remote Control (turns the i730 into a programmable universal infrared remote), Sprite Backup (an award winning way to backup your data and programs), VoiceSignal (use your voice to call and lookup contacts or even open a few apps) and the radically cool Picsel Browser.

Picsel Browser can easily show a full Web site screen as well as zoom in very close with superb detail by tapping the screen. I saw the early version of Picsel Browser ( demoed a while ago, but this is the first time I have seen it incorporated into a Windows Mobile device. It is hard to describe how easy this is to use—it must be experienced to be truly appreciated. Picsel Browser allows you read most common document types and browse the Web. You can “pan” the viewed page by stroking the screen in any direction as if you were pushing around a piece of paper on your desk. You can zoom in or out by simply tapping on the screen, let go and then quickly touch the screen again with an up or down stroke. You can easily control the amount of zoom by keeping you pen on the screen as you stroke. Say “bye-bye” to those horizontal and vertical windows scroll bars when viewing with Picsel.

Under the hood

The processor is the Intel PXA272 running at 520 MHz. Combined with 64 MB of RAM (57 MB available), the unit runs applications very quickly. I can’t wait to send an i730 over to my buddies at Pocket PC Techs ( to see if they can upgrade it to a full 128MB of RAM. The i730 ships with a whopping 128 MB of flash ROM, 86 MB of which is available to the user. Data stored in this “SafeStore” is non-volatile—secure even if you loose battery power.

The power/sync connector located on the bottom is the same as the i600 or i700 models, which means you should be able to use i600 or i700 accessories with the device. My SPH-i700 Series Lil Sync Pro Retractable Sync-N-Charge Cable from Pocket PC Techs worked like a charm, allowing me to sync the device and power my device from my laptop’s USB port. However, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth draw too much power and I had to turn them off to recharge the battery. I also highly recommend the screen protector for the device. I am very picky about screen protectors and I feel the WriteSHIELDS from Pocket PC Techs are the best on the market.

The well-engineered spring-loaded QWERTY keyboard slides smoothly down from the bottom half of the i730. This slide is much better designed than on the HTC membrane keyboard of the MDA3 line. The feel of the keys is very nice, and it’s easy to distinguish between them because of their raised button feel. The keyboard is backlit in blue, so you can see them in poor lighting conditions. Press any key and the back lighting comes on. You can adjust how long you want the backlight to stay on.

Wireless via Integrated WiFi, EVDO/1xRTT, Bluetooth, Infrared or CDMA

The WiFi runs just as you would expect with auto-configuration of Windows Mobile. When you are outside a Wi-Fi access point you get online with the blazing fast EVDO services. I wasn’t able to test out the high speed wireless data EVDO because my hometown of Albuquerque isn’t up yet. I have read I can expect it to check in at over 600 Kbps. I ended up connecting on using 1XRTT with speeds around 100 Kbps. I will be in Atlanta and Orlando so I will give it a go there.

Bluespoonax I used the Bluespoon AX headset to answer calls and control the operation of the i730 via the built-in VoiceSignal software. The built-in Bluetooth worked fine for me also. I was able to pair up immediately with my Bluespoon AX headset and answer incoming calls by tapping the AX’s receive/call button. However the coolest thing was being able to use Bluespoon AX with the VoiceSignal software. I simply tapped the receive/call button and I could use my voice to directly dial any of my existing contacts or tell the i730 to dial any number. Although VoiceSignal isn’t as powerful as Microsoft’s VoiceCommand, the capability to use my Bluespoon AX is SWEET!

Bluetooth_stowaway__1 I had no problem getting the Think Outside Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard to work with the i730. The Bluetooth Manager even includes a HID Connection Manager. It allowed me to connect to the i730 with my Think Outside Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard without the need to install additional software drivers. The built-in thumb keyboard, but it’s easier to input data quickly with this full-size mobile keyboard.

One very amazing Pocket PC

The i730 does not come with an integrated digital camera. It appears that Samsung left room on the back of the device for a camera. I hope they decide to include one in a future version of the device. The huge SafeStore size is great for secure data storage.

The keyboard was nice, but with Second Edition’s landscape viewing capability, I would love to have seen the keyboard slide out from the side of the unit, to be used with landscape mode. This would have allowed for larger keys, or for the existing ones to be slightly farther apart and easier to hit. Although I know many people who prefer thumb keyboards, I still find it easier and faster to use the touch screen interface to enter text.

Finally, Microsoft just released the latest version of its OS and application suite, Windows Mobile 5.0. Devices with integrated phone capability face a long testing period to insure that they work with the wireless networks they are designed for. Yes, it would have been great if the i730 had Windows Mobile 5.0 built into it. But if that were the case, we’d probably be waiting for this excellent device for another six months. Still, I noticed that the user interface for the VoiceSignal software has the two Smartphone-like “soft keys” at the bottom of the screen; a feature found on all Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PCs. Hopefully, this bodes well for a future upgrade.


Putting the minor things aside, the Samsung SCH-i730 is an amazing product. Its small size and QWERTY keyboard will attract many users, as will its fast wireless capabilities. Although I’ve been very satisfied with my i-mate JAM, I can hardly wait for the i730 to be released.

Updated since original writing;

Stuff to Love;

- Bunch of dedicated extra buttons; It has the expected Send and End phone buttons not to mention the 4 dedicated buttons on the front surrounding the 5-way Nav button. PLUS...

- The "Back" function button between the phone Send and End buttons. This makes for a greatly improved one handed operation of the device and again shows the forward seeking hardware design of the product. This hopefully bodes well for the potential upgrade to Windows Mobile 5 someday.

- The VoiceSignal button on the right side below the SD slot. This makes initiating the app very easy.

- The sliding spring loaded switch on the left side that in one position keylocks the phone int he up position. This gives you visual confirmation that the phone is locked to prevent accidental operation and it also triggers a small red KEYLOCK icon the home screen... This same switch also puts the unit in suspend mode and blanks the screen when slid in the down position. I typically slide it down to turn off the screen and then immediately up to keylock the device before I put in in my pocket.

- The earphone jack is more of the universal standard instead of the unique i700/i600 version with the wierd collar.

Stuff to wish for;

- The WirelessSync app that Verizon ncludes on the device makes it a little confusing if your intent is to directly sync to a Windows Exchange 2003 Server ExchangeSync directly using the Windows Mobile ActiveSync on the device.

- The battery life on this unit seems to drain faster than I would have liked although having the two batteries has been a super blessing and prevents me from running into any problems. I am only able to run two days before a recharge is necessary. I don't have the official released product so I don't know how this translates to the final product.