Contact Me By Email

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Engadget > Chi Mei's UCP-100 may or may not be Moto's next Smartphone, but we do know it has 802.11g

EngadgetChi Mei's UCP-100 may or may not be Moto's next Smartphone, but we do know it has 802.11g

Posted Feb 17th 2005 9:01AM by Peter Rojas
Filed under: Cellphones
Chi Mei UCP-110 UMA Windows Mobile Smartphone

Are you ready to rock? Because PhoneScoop got the scoop on the Chi Mei UCP-100, a promising new Windows Mobile-powered smartphone which could possibly end up being the successor to Motorola's MPx220 (Chi Mei made that phone, too). This clamshell-style handset has quad-band GSM, EDGE, 1.3 megapixel digitial camera, Bluetooth, and a miniSD card slot, but the best part is that it sports built-in 802.11g WiFi. Oh, and it also has Kineto's new UMA software we wrote about the other day, which'll let you seamlessly hop between WiFi and cellular networks, automatically switching you from one to the other depending on how close you are to a hotspot. No word on when this might arrive over here or what it might be called when it gets here.

Treonauts | Dedicated to your Treo 700 & 650. The Perfect All-In-One Communications, Information & Entertainment Tool.: Treo 700w Review: Part 1

Treonauts | Dedicated to your Treo 700 & 650. The Perfect All-In-One Communications, Information & Entertainment Tool.: Treo 700w Review: Part 1Treo 700w Review: Part 1

I’ve now had the opportunity to play around with my Treo 700w for a little over a week and I’m slowly getting a sense of what it can do and how well and easy (or bad and complicated) it is to use on a daily basis.

First I must state that I have no previous experience whatsoever with Windows Mobile or Pocket PC devices and so I will be unable to compare the performance of the Treo 700w to competing devices powered by this OS. Instead I will be using my beloved Treo 650 running PalmOS as the benchmark for evaluating the forthcoming Treo 700w.

My intention is not to write about “the battle of the OS’” pitching PalmSource against Microsoft but to evaluate both pragmatically and neutrally. It is evident that some Treonauts will categorically prefer either PalmOS or Windows Mobile without much consideration for performance and usability while others will carefully weigh the pros and cons of each to decide which Treo to purchase. There is no doubt that both the Treo 650 and Treo 700w have unique pros and cons that will each be more or less appealing to different Treonauts and as you’ll discover in my review the ‘perfect’ solution combining the best of both worlds is still not in sight.

Below are the main areas of performance and usability of the Treo 700w that I will be taking a closer look at and review in the coming days:

1. Synchronization (Microsoft ActiveSync 4.1)
2. Today (Home screen)
3. Phone (Calls, Speed Dial)
4. Contacts
5. Calendar
6. Tasks
7. Notes
8. Email (part of Messaging)
9. Browser (Internet Explorer)
10. SMS and MMS (part of Messaging)
11. Pictures & Videos
12. Windows Media Mobile (Movies, Music, TV, Streaming Audio & Video)
13. Word, Excel and PowerPoint Mobile
14. Pocket MSN (Messenger, Hotmail)
15. Verizon Wireless Sync
16. Programs
17. Settings
18. Bluetooth
19. WiFi

In this first part of my review I will be taking you through my experiences with the Synchronization and Today functions. Additionally, in parentheses I have added my opinion of how each function compares to our Treo 650.

1. Synchronization with Microsoft ActiveSync 4.1 (Better)

Installing ActiveSync on my PC was done in a few minutes and after following the simple instructions and setting my preferences (I chose to sync my Outlook Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Notes leaving out the email, IE Favorites, Files and Media options) I was ready to sync my Treo for the first time using either my existing Seidio Retractable Sync & Charge cable or the standard Treo 650 cradle.

There are a number of things that I particularly liked about ActiveSync such as the fact that it syncs in the background without the annoying, distracting and even stressful Hotsync progress windows that appear on screen under PalmOS – I could easily keep working without noticing that a sync was in progress.

Additionally, the Explore button in ActiveSync easily allows me to view, add or delete files on my Treo 700w. Similarly, you can also access the files on any SD card inserted in the Treo 700w so that it becomes a useful USB card reader – I really love this and wish that it was available out of the box in our Treo 650 instead of having to use a third party program such as Softick Card Export II.

Under Tools there is also an option to quickly Add/Remove Programs and perhaps more importantly was the very cool finding that once your Treo 700w is connected to your PC it can automatically share its Internet connection saving you from having to use data minutes if you don’t happen to have an unlimited wireless data plan (it’s kind of the same setup that I use with reverse BT DUN on my Treo 650 but much, much easier).

2. Today (Better)

There is much to like about the Treo 700w’s Today screen even if it could be considered to be somewhat cluttered with too much information if you decide to add all of the options that you can have which include: Lookup Field (Type name or number), Date, Speed Dial (Text + Picture), Owner Info, Messaging, Tasks, Web Search, Pocket MSN, Calendar and Picture. I personally chose to add everything except Owner Info and Picture (which was making my Today screen run extremely slow…).

As on the Treo 650, typing any character will automatically start a Contacts search. However, the Treo 700w has a few minor but neat additions such as the fact that the contacts begin to appear in a pop up (see below) within the Lookup Field and that it also has a smart feature which allows it to determine whether you are trying to dial a number (below right) or search a contact.

Next is the Speed Dial section which offers you the option of dialing via either Picture or Text as well as a Quick Key for any existing or new contact that you want.

Below this I have added the Email and Tasks which I can access via either the 5Way button or simply with my thumb on the screen to open each respective application.

One function of the Today screen which I particularly like and which immediately makes the most of its high speed data connection is the Web Search box in which you type anything then hit the return key to see a couple of seconds later your query results from Google… very neat.

I haven’t yet properly setup my MSN account and so I will have to slightly skim this part but I can quickly tell you that the icons for the MSN butterfly, house, messenger and mail respectively open 1) an MSN jump page; 2) the MSN Mobile web page in IE Mobile; 3) MSN Messenger and 4) your Hotmail account. Any existing MSN user will undoubtedly be absolutely delighted to see such a tight integration on the Treo 700w.

I can also tell you as a bit of a preview that I was able to follow a link here from which allowed me to perfectly stream both TV and video on the Treo 700w…

Lastly I have my Calendar function at the very bottom of the Today screen which like the Email and Task will take me to the application with either the 5Way or my thumb on the screen.

I hope that this will have given you a good overview of how ActiveSync and Today work with the Treo 700w and how it compares to the Treo 650. Also, even though I write that I consider both these functions to be ‘Better’ overall than the similar ones under PalmOS in our Treo 650 there are nonetheless other ones which I will review in the coming days that are definitely not so.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

T-Mobile Hints At 3G Plans (MobileBurn)

T-Mobile Hints At 3G Plans (MobileBurn)T-Mobile Hints At 3G Plans

Newsbrief by Brad Kellett on Tuesday December 20, 2005.

Note: Sponsored advertising links, if any, are in green.

In an interview with BetaNews, T-Mobile's senior vice president of Engineering Operations, Neville Ray, hinted at T-Mobile's plans for 3G services. Ray also revealed that the company is currently undertaking 3G testing in some markets, though he would not reveal specific locations.

"We are very hopeful that by the end of 2006, and definitely in 2007, we'd be able to bring 3G services to the market. Some of this is auction dependent," Ray stated, referring to a cellular spectrum auction to take place next summer. The article notes that while Ray does not talk about which 3G technology T-Mobile will be utilizing, it is likely that they will head to UMTS - the same technology used by T-Mobile's sister companies in Europe.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Verizon’s Treo 700w to launch at CES in January? - Engadget -

Verizon’s Treo 700w to launch at CES in January? - Engadget - www.engadget.comVerizon’s Treo 700w to launch at CES in January?

Posted Dec 19, 2005, 4:30 AM ET by Paul Miller
Related entries: Cellphones, Handhelds

Treo 700 small

It seems Handango, the mobile software provider, might of let the word slip in a letter to developers requesting applications a certain forthcoming phone on VZW, stating that “in early January, Verizon will be exclusively launching the new Windows Mobile 5.0 Treo 700, and we need YOUR applications to feature on our Verizon sites.” Early January would lead us to believe that they’re targeting this for the one expo to rule them all: CES.

[Thanks, Kerunt]

Resco Explorer: Another Program With Registration Code Problems

Resco Explorer: Another Program With Registration Code Problems
A few months ago I posted a rant about Travelmate and its subscription services not being user friendly.

It is now time for another software to join the list: Resco Explorer 2005.

I have installed the software on my Windows Mobile 5.0 device, and entered the registration code. This was one week ago. Today I tried using it to be greeted with an announcement that I was running a demo version. I then tried the registration code I have here and it showed a dialog:

"ERRORL The code does not match with this Owner name. Legal owners can obtain a valid code at:".

What? What a pain... Ok, so I entered my email address on that page and got the registration code. The same one again. And again the same stupid error message.

When are companies stop using this registration procedures that are so non user friendly?

This is not free software, Resco did not send it for a review, and like many others I paid for it and I am being tortured by this stupid thing.

I don't want my worst enemy using this kind of mind torturing software.

What type of software authentication would you like to see in use, knowing that most of these devices must be connected to a network (via Activesync at least) when installing new software?

Would something like a centralised repository where all the software keys are stored and your software is authorised based on your emal address, owner name and password be a good solution?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Click Online | Microsoft's vision of the future

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Click Online | Microsoft's vision of the future Microsoft's vision of the future

By Dan Simmons
Reporter, BBC Click Online

Everyone has a different idea of what fun gadgets they would like to see in the future, and some of Microsoft's researchers have been demonstrating in Brussels what they hope might take off.

Those familiar with the Harry Potter books and films might recognise the first idea - called the Whereabouts Clock.

It shows you where people are, and its inventor Abigail Sellen thinks its best use is in the home.

She said: "We noticed in our studies of family life that it was important to know - when you come home from work for example - are my kids still at school, have they left school yet, has my husband left work yet, shall I get the dinner on? This kind of thing. Actually knowing where your family is very important to family life."

This is more a new concept than a new technology, and the real version may still be a year or two away.

It would track the mobile phone signals of loved ones, then cross-reference which mobile cell they were in with pre-programmed locations, like the home, school, or workplace.

Let us know which of these tech toys you think will take off

Ms Sellen added: "This is not very specific at all about where people are, and that's deliberate. We don't want to invade people's privacy too much, so we deliberately keep things very coarse grained.

"If I'm at home I might want to know if my kids have left school, but I don't necessarily want to know exactly where they are."

Though targeted at home users, this technology could be very tempting to some bosses wanting track the whereabouts of their staff.

Home front

Getting the future of domestic technology right is notoriously difficult: whatever happened to the idea of putting the internet on the front of microwave ovens?

Homenote is a 21st Century version of the Post-It note, whereby you can text or e-mail your messages to a place rather than a person. Some might wonder, though, whether we really want e-mail in the kitchen.

Andy Reinhardt, a technology correspondent for Business Week magazine, says: "Everything takes longer than you expect, and people hold onto their old ways of doing things. There are sometimes good reasons for that.

"The danger, in a sense, is that we fall in love with the technology and we don't ask enough questions about its usefulness, or whether or not it actually improves life; it often does but sometimes it just makes things more complicated."

The next idea that really bowled us over at Click Online was a kind of interactive video and image bowl that reacts to touch. However the final product, if there is one, is still few years away.

Microsoft researcher Alex Taylor explained: "What we hope to be able to do is take still images and video and be able to see them in the bowl and possibly also listen to music.

"We also hope to be able to drag the images around the bowl, making use of the physical properties of the bowl to be able to display things in certain places, and possibly let them sit at the bottom of the bowl for storage."

Microsoft's Cambridge research labs reckon that such objects could be covered in touch-sensitive "skins" next year.

The processors and projectors would be housed in the base of the bowl, and Bluetooth is already capable of transferring data from mobile devices wirelessly.

It could make an inspired, if expensive, addition to any coffee table, but dirty fingers or items scratching the touch-sensitive surfaces could mean the novelty factor might not be the only thing that wears off.

Picture this

The Digital Tapestry, an application created by Carsten Rother, automatically creates a tapestry from your favourite snaps.

Mr Rother told Click Online: "This software takes, fully automatically, a large collection of images, then takes the important bit from each image by doing optic recognition.

"For instance we do space detection, we detect other objects, like cats and dogs in home photographs. Then we stitch these objects together and collage them automatically into one image.

"This process will typically take a user about one hour with image editing software, or even longer to get great results. And this software does it fully automatically for you."

You can remove unwanted objects at a stroke, or even change the way they look simply by drawing in a few lines.

And although you can already achieve these results manually with existing software, this tends to be a time-consuming process.

The trick here is to find algorithms that do all the difficult work for you, even to the extent that you can view images in 3D.

Both these utilities are expected to be available in late 2006/2007.

Already released in Japan and due for wider release next year, Personalised Facial Sketch Technology creates a caricature of any portrait snap.

It identifies key parts of the face, like the edge of the lips or eyes, automatically to create a cartoon version.

You can then use the results as emoticons for personalising instant messaging or e-mail.

Getting social

A final application, Snarf, may not be much to look at, but it attracted a lot of attention at the show.

It helps manage your Outlook inbox, and rather than sort by date, with the most recent e-mail appearing at the top, Snarf prioritises your messages based on your relationship with the sender.

So mail from the people you deal with often is automatically flagged up for your attention.

Marc Smith, the researcher working on it, says: "It's a lot like the experience I have when people come to my door at home.

"When strangers come to my door, my dog is likely to bark at them, but if you visit frequently my dog knows that you're a friend of the family and it'll stop barking and wag its tail.

"E-mail tools should know the difference between strangers and people you interact with frequently, and help you sort and prioritise your mail accordingly."

The automatic sorting can be overridden by various manual controls.

And you can also can check out this free application for yourself. As of December a beta version is available at the Microsoft Research website (although you should be aware that beta versions are not finished, and can cause problems on your computer).

Only a handful of projects were on display for just a few hours in Brussels to give Euro MPs and other VIPs a sense that Microsoft is not just churning out operating systems.

Whether the company is seen as a major innovator will depend in part on the whereabouts of these ideas in the years to come.

Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 2030, Sunday at 0430 and 1630, and on Monday at 0030. It can be watched on the website from late Friday afternoon. A short version is also shown on BBC Two and BBC News 24 as part of BBC Breakfast: Saturday at 0645. Also BBC World .

Story from BBC NEWS:

Addicted to Digital Media - iMate SP5m = My new favorite phone... almost

Addicted to Digital Media - iMate SP5m = My new favorite phone... almost

iMate SP5m = My new favorite phone... almost

Click here to know more about the latest i-mate™ SP5mI've been a long-time user of the HTC-developed Audiovox SMT-5600 Windows Mobile Smartphone (a.k.a. Scoblephone in some circles). It's dependable overall, syncs my mailbox, I can browse the web (to my wife's chagrin at times) and of course, sync my contacts and music directly to the phone.

But there's a new kid in town. A follow-up to the SMT-5600, HTC has partnered with iMate to create the iMate SP5m. With a QVGA (320x240) brightly lit screen, faster data service w/ EDGE, built-in WiFi and carrying over Bluetooth support, the phone has to be experienced when turned on. While EDGE isn't as fast as EV-DO or other true 3G high-speed networks, with T-Mobile, I get an unlimited data plan and can use it in most places as a wireless modem in a pinch.

Then there's the software- after beta testing Windows Mobile 5.0, I just couldn't go back to anything else. Simple grid layout of applications, snappy response, and sync improvements top my list of inviting features. I do wish that the WM Player was a bit more updated, but it plays music, and I can set songs as ringtones to really annoy folks at meetings.

Michael Gartenberg recently commented on the iMate's looks being sub-par when compared to a Motorola Razr. Sure, the Razr looks nice, but just about everyone has one. My wife has one- she likes it, but she's a different user from me. She likes the style, the Gwen Stefani ringtone that makes me want to strangle a cheerleader every time the phone rings, and doesn't mind the oddities of the keypad or clearly inferior screen. She's not interested in email or serious web browsing. She just wants a phone, and that's what the Razr is.

That's not to say the iMate is without its own warts. The keypad is ridiculously small. If I forget to lock the keys, the rolling stones start blaring out of my pocket, courtesy of the somewhat trivial playback buttons on the main screen. Someone decided to take 3-4MM off the main keypad to put these buttons in. Big mistake because now I'm fat-fingering the display if my fingernails are trimmed too short to use to select and tap a button. A big frustration IMO, but manageable over time. Battery life is good, provided you keep WiFi turned off most of the time (which I do- there just aren't any compelling services for it yet).

Gartenberg may give the Razr his cellphone of the year award, but I think it's time to split his categories. Michael does acknowledge, "If you're looking for a candy bar phone, with all the features of the Smartphone platform, this is the device for you. It just isn't much to look at."

And there I agree. The device has heft, but lacks the tactile/emotional response of the Razr. Texture and materials matter, even if it raises your BOM cost. Some understand this (in Cupertino among other places).

Next up: Using Cingular's EDGE service integrated w/ a Sony Laptop- a trip around the NJ coast & Manhattan.