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Week In Review 8W2009

/wir | edited on 2009/02/22 -- permalink, click to comment

MWC09 in review

  • App Stores: Nokia is launching in May, Android is already with us and WinMo’s is comming with 6.5. The standard fee is a cool 30% off the top but Android got some extra game with app returns and no stupid bling apps.

  • Google: Nvidia, Huawei, are on the Android parade. Offline gmail has finally come for Android and iPhone (except not with gears like I predicted) so the final phase of googlification of everybody’s life is underway. And as offline HTML5 stuff wasn’t enough Google also showed off Maps on the Pre.

  • Nokia: N97 seems yummy and will be probably be pricey too. It certainly looks much snappier than my 5800. There’s also an interesting tidbit about Nokia preloading phone with Skype. Somehow I don’t see that happening for branded phones.

  • There will be Flash for all, except the iPhone that is. Witness the birth of crappy annoying flash applets being pushed everywhere.

  • WinMo: My Phone is just a sync service with a bunch of lipstick on and not much to offer (200MB! cause you know, disk is expensive) but everybody’s pretty amazed it actually works. WinMo6.5 top feature seems to be stupid hexagons though so that counterbalances it. The 6.5 UI is just a rehash of 6.0 crap (seriously MS, mandatory stylus and no multitouch ?) and honestly I’ve seen better home screens from OEMs. Also, Microsoft lost. WebKit+Google+HTML5 is basically the way of the future. k

/mobile | edited on 2009/02/22 -- permalink, click to comment

Love Nature ? Use Cork.

Cork is extracted from the sobreiro trees are the key element of the montado, a type of forest that constitues one of the most sustainable and balanced natural areas of southern Europe.

By using cork bottle stoppers you make montados commercially viable and help protect the sanctuary of dozens of birds, mammals and reptiles that only exist in those areas. If cork’s commercial value drops the montado in those areas will be replaced by intensive cultures that will destroy the natural habitat.

Cork is nature’s way.

/green | edited on 2009/02/22 -- permalink, click to comment

Week in Review 7W2009

  • This is the week of AppStore. Google is on and Nokia and Microsoft is rumoured to be on board to. And of course, 30% is the standard tithe.

  • While Wimax is dying a slow death LTE is on the rise with Verizon deployment.

  • The cloud’s ugly storm is starting to show. After the ma’gnolia snafu, Nokia lost three weeks worth of Ovi. We need to be keeping our data with someone who values it and we know won’t lose it, like Google!

  • Microsoft in a clear 640k move will [limit the basic Windows 7 version to three apps running at the same time( (except antivirus). Way to pump up those “Windows 7, from $99” ads eh Microsoft ? This has been a rough week for MS, really. We discovered not only people don’t want to buy Zunes but they don’t even want to steal Zunes. “Sh*tbrick” does come to mind.

/wir | edited on 2009/02/17 -- permalink, click to comment

Google Latitude

There’s a lot of talk in the unwashed media about Google Latitude, all of it clueless drivel from people who heard about it in, well, the unwashed media. Now it reached TWiT so it got to stop.

First of all Latitude isn’t “broadcasting your whereabouts 24/7” like most unwashed media says. It can be setup to do that, but it will probably drain your cell battery in about 30 minutes and run up your data usage so you’ll notice. Latitude has 4 modes of operation, share always with everybody, share always with specific friends, don’t share and lie. And “always” means when Google Maps is active on your cellphone (so S60 users, watch out, S60 has backgrounding has opposed to certain phone OSs so you can leave Maps open by mistake but again you’ll notice the battery draining). And you can lie. You can say you’re where ever you want. Simple as that!

Another thing people fail to realize is Google Maps gave away their location to Google since the beginning. It was just tricky for them to figure out exactly who you were while now you can tell them by signing into your google account to use Latitude. The only thing I’m concerned about is Maps not letting go of my account id after logging out of Latitude but a brief packet inspections shows that’s not the case.

/tech | edited on 2009/02/16 -- permalink, click to comment

Nokia 5800

nokia 5800

The Nokia 5800 has been reviewed and videoreviewed to hell already so I’m not going to repeat the intarwebs and I’ll just give the highlights. Don’t get confused by the rant further down, this is the best phone in it’s price range. It’s a plastic phone so it’s got a plastic feeling to it but it’s not cheap and feels solid enough for a non-N phone. The screen is clearly the strongest point, bright and crisp, and if you have good sight you can cram quite a lot of info into 640x360.

The UI clearly isn’t on par with the iPhone for two main reasons, sometimes the interface gets a bit slugish and there’s no multitouch. On the other hand you get backgrounding with real multitasking and haptic feedback by way of a gentle bump from the ringer errrr vibrator. The UI is more Android-y than iPhone-y probably because the Android UI was designed to work in everything from non-touch and single-touch resistive to multi-touch capacitive screens. There’s also a clever notification area that keeps track of events and hardware status (functionally similar to Android’s notification area) and working handwriting recognition which is always a plus for old Palm diehards.

There are some areas needing work on the UI. The first is a long standing S60 problem, lack of customization of the home screen. You get the useless blank screen option, the classic screen with media and calendar view and a third option which lets you speeddial four contacts and is also fairly useless unless you use it as a photo frame or only know four people. There’s one hidden gem on that screen, a rss reader that might be useful if you’re into following feed on your mobile. The new upcoming flagship N touch will have much more interesting webruntime driven homescreen widgets but Nokia always used the home screen as model diferentiator and there’s not much hope for improvement there on a xpressmusic class phone.

Other point that needs work is the browser UI which clearly needs to be brough up to par with the engine’s quality (webkit). The soft menu buttons take up a quarter of the screen in landscape and to make things worse there’s no timeout to autohide the menu and go into full screen. Of course when that happens Nokia will have to figure out a better way of navigating prev/next and through tabs. Something involving finger swipes preferably :).

But the real sticker are the services. Before the iPhone the services were an afterthought, something that hapened after launch and if at all possible pushed to the carriers. Apple leveraged its iPod experience to deliver seamless desktop integration (by its own rules at least), an app store with all existing 3rd party software and mobile syncronization (most of the time). Nokia is trying to follow with Ovi and truth be told they’re clearly ahead of the pack (at least until Google gets Gears going flank speed with Android). But back to the Nokia experience, it all started when i tried to migrate my N80 to the 5800. Ovi doesn’t know about that and as far as i can tell doesn’t even know about sms either. So it ended up back on Nokia Desktop a some fighting and fidgeting.

Next there isn’t such thing as a software market. There’s a download app on the phone that gives access to some extra downloads, some clearly 3rd party extras that Nokia doesn’t want to integrate into the firmware while others are full fledged commercial apps. The thing is they’re all similarly marked ‘Free’ but some end up not free at all and demand payment right download. This puts the user off with the app download thing and might hurt nokia’s future atempts at a software market.

Another that didn’t quite work or was the music store but simply because Portugal isn’t covered yet. The interesting thing about the music store is it focus on N series and the bad country escape hatch sends me to nseries music downloads despite me being on a xpressmusic phone. That’s probably because its web store and there’s previous 5000 phones with decent browsing.

Update The 20.0 firmware came out with more snapiness in the interface (particularly the orientation changes which lagged a bit), a faster browsing experience and some relatively useless new stuff like an application updater.

/mobile | edited on 2009/02/15 -- permalink, click to comment

Week in Review 6W2009

/wir | edited on 2009/02/09 -- permalink, click to comment

Week in Review 5W2009

/wir | edited on 2009/02/02 -- permalink, click to comment
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