Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Nokia N97 finally on sale

I haven't used a Nokia for years, but I have to say this one looks pretty nice!

On sale through Nokia for $699, but from Amazon for $603 by clicking here.

Vivid 3.5 inch Touchscreen
Full QWERTY Keyboard (screen tilts)
32GB internal memory plus memory card slot
5.0 Megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens and auto focus
Full Support for Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Plazes - a small step towards location-based mobile presence

I just started checking out Plazes, a small company that Nokia just acquired. In general their service is about the same as Twitter, giving the ability to enter (by web or SMS) a quick update of what you're doing. The difference is that they work hard to tag each update with a location.

Yesterday I sent in an SMS update saying "Playing with plazes @ STRI" where STRI is the shorthand for the office I work in. Within a few seconds the following appeared as my status:

It had my status as "Playing with plazes" but more importantly gave me a location: It parsed out the location after the @ sign, compared it to the locations that I had defined previously on the Web, and gave me map coordinates in a town in Israel.

For some reason there's no map of that town at the resolution they're showing, but that's another thing. The key point here is that they've geo-tagged me from a simple SMS.

I assume that this feature will soon be incorporated into other mobile blogging systems, including Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger. In the meantime, check it out!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sony Ericsson rumored buying HTC

Rumours of a Possible Sony Ericsson Purchase of Taiwan's HTC

There are a series of unconfirmed reports that Sony Ericsson may be about to announce the purchase of Taiwan based smartphone manufacturer, High Tech Computer - or HTC. The reports are selective, ranging from a short article in a Swedish newspaper, Elektronik Tidningen to various reports of meetings with HTC being cancelled at short notice and without explanation, and although business meeting cancellations are not uncommon an excuse is usually provided.

HTC is best known for its range of smartphones and being an early developer of Windows based smartphones, although the history of how it leapt into that market is controversial. The company, which initially focused on operator branded handsets has been building up its own profile recently and started selling phones directly under the HTC brand name. The company is also reportedly working on an Android-based phone, dubbed the Dream, that will be on the market by the end of 2008.

HTC has denied the rumours, saying that they "have no truth". However, early last year, Peter Chou the company CEO did say that he thought that Sony Ericsson would make for a good partner should an acquisition occur.

Sony Ericsson's Xperia X1 will be manufactured by HTC - and will be the company's first Windows Mobile smartphone. The company has traditionally stuck with Symbian based smartphones.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

HTC Touch Pro pictures

HTC Touch Pro - announced but not yet available

Touch Pro Press release
HTC Touch Pro Bridges Mobile Work With Mobile Play

Taipei, Taiwan - June 4, 2008 - HTC Corp., a global leader in mobile phone innovation and design, today unveiled its advanced next generation business phone, the HTC Touch ProTM. Bringing a beautiful new angle to mobile business productivity, the HTC Touch Pro utilizes similar styling and functionality of the highly anticipated Touch DiamondTM and introduces a variety of business-focused enhancements that make getting work done on the go quick and easy.

“The HTC Touch Pro and Touch Diamond have created a new generation of HTC touch devices that make the promise of the one-hand, one-touch mobile Internet a reality,” said Peter Chou, president and CEO, HTC Corp. “HTC Touch Pro is for those customers that demand the ease of use and enjoyment of TouchFLOTM 3D and want the styling of the Touch Diamond but also need the powerful mobile business experience that HTC delivers.”

A New Dimension To Touch - One hand, one touch

HTC has taken a great leap forward in touch screen innovation with its 3D touch interface called TouchFLO 3D. TouchFLO 3D provides a stunningly intuitive way to zip through common tasks like messaging, calendar appointments or making calls with just one touch. Delve a little deeper to find that your music, photos, contacts and surfing the web are also responsive to the touch. In addition, the Touch Pro includes a new innovative touch-sensitive control for device interaction.

Making The Mobile Internet Useful and Fun

With the introduction of Touch Diamond and Touch Pro, HTC delivers an entirely new mobile Internet experience that utilizes broadband-like speeds with HSDPA 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA wireless connectivity. Committed to improving Web browsing, HTC provides a new customized mobile Web browser that enables easy viewing and effortless navigation of Websites in the way they are designed to be viewed on a PC. As part of this browsing experience users can zoom and pan Websites with one-hand and automatically view optimized content that has been specially created to fit the display. Turning the device sideways automatically rotates the web page view from a portrait to landscape view.

In addition to Web browsing, the Touch Pro includes an HTC-developed, YouTube application for watching a variety of user generated video content as well as including Google Maps for mobile for mapping and traffic data.

Unmatched Style With Complete Productivity

Like the Touch Diamond, Touch Pro is crafted with precision to fit comfortably in a user’s hand and brings together elegant touch screen response with the direct precision of HTC’s trademark sliding keyboard design. Introducing a new five-row QWERTY keyboard layout that makes typing-intensive tasks like composing email or working on Microsoft Office® documents quick and easy. Built-in TV-out functionality means users can deliver the perfect PowerPoint® presentation from the Touch Pro.

Bursting with Innovation

The Touch Pro delivers an unrivalled combination of features and functionality. The 2.8 inch display provides near-print quality viewing that enables beautiful Web browsing and viewing of photographs. The built-in camera includes an optical auto-focus lens that ensures the photos you take will be clear and consistent. Advanced wireless and auto sensor screen pivoting are just a few of the features that make the Touch Pro experience a stand out.

AvailabilityThe HTC Touch Pro will be available to customers across all major European, Asian and the Middle East markets in late summer. The North American and Latin American versions of Touch Pro will be available later in 2008.

Key HTC Touch Pro Specifications:

  • Size: 102 x 51 x 18.05mm
    Weight: 165 g
    Connectivity: WCDMA / HSPA: 900/2100MHz. HSDPA 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA
    Operating system: Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional
    Display: 2.8-inch VGA touch screen
    Camera: 3.2MP, with video calling
    Internal memory: 512 MB flash, 288 MB RAM
    Expansion Slot: microSDTM memory card (SD 2.0 compatible)
    Keyboard: Slide-out 5 row QWERTY keyboard
    Bluetooth: 2.0 with EDR
    Wireless: WiFi 802.11b/g
    Interface: HTC ExtUSB (mini-USB and audio jack in one; USB 2.0 High-Speed)
    Battery: 1350 mAh
    Talk time: GSM: up to 8 hours
    Standby time: GSM: up to two-weeks
    Chipset: Qualcomm® MSM 7201A 528MHz

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Great sale price on 8gb memory card for TyTN (microSD)

TyTN owners and others using microSD memory cards: There's too good a price to miss at Amazon on 8gb microSD cards on sale for only $48!

And 4gb is only $18!

This much memory makes it possible to carry around a lot of media, both music and movies, on your TyTN or other device that can take MicroSD cards. I recently got a full-length movie down to about 70mb by sizing it for the TyTN, so 4gb or 8gb makes the TyTN a pretty solid media device.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Site for mobile blog browsing:

I'd like to suggest that anyone browsing here on a cellphone or mobile device check out

It's a site for browsing on a cellphone that restructures sites, especially blogs and news sites, to fit well on a cellphone-sized screen. Their biggest innovation is working specifically with blogs and news sites, using RSS to get just the content.

Here's how the Harry Potter and Torah blog looks through Mippin:

Each article can be browsed and read easily, and note that the picture at the bottom is shown at a size that's appropriate for the screen.

But when I browse to the blog directly, instead of using Mippin, I see the following rendition of the blog, as written for a computer screen but shown on the cellphone:

and then when I scroll down, I see this:

All in all, Mippin makes blogs and (reportedly) news sites much easier to read.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Back to mobile blogging...

Got to say, having tried mobile blogging both in this blog and on YouTube, I find mobile blogging on Twitter, by SMS, a heck of a lot easier and faster.... But obviously it's just shorter text, no pix or videos...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dual-SIM smartphone (but not from HTC)

The following looks pretty nice, although it's not enough to budge me from HTC. It sure would be nice if HTC would add dual-SIM to their bag of tricks!

Haier's dual SIM card phone

Haier's booth was way in the back of one of the halls at CES, but we wanted to swing by to see if (and when) the company would be bringing its cell phones to the United States. The PR rep wasn't exactly forthcoming, but we did get a brief tour of the models the company is hoping to bring here. The most interesting of the bunch was the HG-N99, and we can only hope that it actually arrives on our shores (Haier says it is in talks with U.S. carriers).

The Windows Mobile handset may look like your average smartphone, but it ups the ante in a big way by offering double SIM card, double standby functionality. That means you'll be able to put two SIM cards in the phone, which will enable you to use the HG-N99 for two phone numbers at the same time. No, you won't be able to place calls simultaneously, but you can receive calls to both numbers at any time. While such a concept is hardly original to the HG-N99, compatible phones are pretty rare in North America.

Other features on the GSM device include support for GPRS and EDGE, a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, messaging, polyphonic ringtones, a mini-USB port, a WAP browser with Java support, and a microSD card slot.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Amazon released Kindle e-book reader

Amazon just announced that they've developed and are selling their own e-book reader, a device aimed at providing a truly book-like experience reading e-books.

The most in-depth review so far is here in Time Magazine.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Make a recharger from Gatorade and an onion

Can't resist posting this: How to recharge an iPod (or presumably other devices) from Gatorade and an onion:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

HTC TyTN 2 review and differences

There's an interesting review of the HTC TyTN II here:

It's also now been announced by AT&T in the USA, called the AT&T Tilt, here:

Looking at the high points, the basic specs are:

TyTN II Hardware Specification:

  • Windows Mobile 6
  • Tilted 2.8” 240*320 QVGA touch screen
  • Sliding QWERTY keyboard
  • built-in GPS
  • 3 mega-pixel auto focus camera
  • VGA camera for 3G/UMTS video-calling
  • HTC Home menu screen
  • Tri-band UMTS with Quad-band GSM/GPRS/Edge
  • HSDPA up to 3.6 Mbps HSUPA
  • ROM 256MB and RAM 128MB
  • 360 degree 3 way jog wheel paired with OK button
  • microSD card slot
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g , Bluetooth 2.0
  • TouchFLO Technology

The biggest differences from the HTC TyTN (first model) seem to be GPS, TouchFLO technology (although not as complete as on the HTC Touch), Windows Mobile 6, improved camera (3mp with autofocus), faster data connectivity (HSDPA/HSUPA), and the keyboard tilt.

IMHO, the most important of these are GPS, TouchFLO, and camera quality. GPS is simply nice to have, the the review goes into some detail there. Camera quality is important, since I've written before that the TyTN has limitations as an always-with-you camera. As for TouchFlo, it's not clear now much they've included, but any improvements to the interface are good.

Enjoy! Comments welcome, especially links to additional info on the new device!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New TyTN 2 video from another blog

This just in from Tracy and Matt's blog, a good blog for early coverage of new projects:

The new HTC TyTN 2 has arrived to the market.

This video doesn't show it being used, but shows what it looks like coming out of the box.

I'll post more here when there's coverage of the device in action...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

HTC TyTN 2 details released

HTCclub released specifications (here) for the HTC TyTN II, but then took them down at HTC's request.
But bloggers such as MobilitySite write (here) that the device will include the HTC Touch's TouchFlo technology, and built-in GPS.
Other less important features (in my opinion) include a 3mp camera and a business card scanner.
Looks nice!

Funny parody of Microsoft zunePhone

Very amusing, thought you'd all enjoy this...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Second iPhone look: one-handed multi-touch

I just posted a second iPhone clip on YouTube here. While the speed and graphics still seem amazing to me, it's worth noting the difficulty I had with multi-touch when using one hand.

Bottom line, I'll stick with my TyTN for now. Although I'm curious about a future HTC Touch with touch interface on a TyTN... (come on, HTC, let's see it...)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A TyTN-user's perspective on the iPhone

I saw an iPhone last week in an Apple Store in the USA, and I have to say I'm impressed. But not interested in buying one.

I put a short video clip here:

Technically, the biggest deal about the iPhone is the quality of the graphics, not just the resolution, but the amazing speed of response. Scrolling feels like scrolling, 3d effects look fantastic. Screen response is instantaneous. And let's face it, on my TyTN and on other Windows Mobile machines I've seen, it's nowhere near as good.

Most other cool features are a consequence of this -- multi-touch, touch-and-rub scrolling, and so on. The soft keyboard is very cool with pop-up balloon-letters showing what you've typed. And the zooming browser is nice. All are consequences of blinding-fast high-resolution graphics.

But I'm not interested in buying one, because I like the TyTN's keyboard too much, and also like 3g connectivity too much. But if HTC can come out with a version of the HTC Touch with graphics as high-resolution and quick-response as the iPhone, with the HTC-style keyboard and 3-g, I'll be very tempted.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Yahoo OneSearch - very good but not revolutionary

I just tried Yahoo's OneSearch mobile search system at

In general, it seems like a decent mobile search system. But it doesn't seem anywhere near as revolutionary as they describe in articles like this and this. When I put in a search query, I got a list of links. It was a well-structured list of links, roughly 3 screens of scrolling on my TyTN, combining web links, mobile web links, pictures, etc. But it wasn't what they claim, which is "instant answers with no need to sift through a bunch of links."

To be clear, I bookmarked it, and I think it's a good mobile search system. But when they build it up with the "get answers instead of links" kind of pitch, it's disappointing when they don't deliver what they pitch, even if what they delivered is good.

The URL above also has links to Yahoo's other mobile systems, such as mail, address book, calendar, directions, financial info, etc.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mobile webmail on TyTN and other Windows Mobile devices

I've been impressed lately with the improved quality of webmail interfaces for the TyTN and other mobile web browsers.

For my primary e-mail account I definitely prefer POP3, but for other addresses that I don't use as often, or if I want to selectively delete messages from the server, the mobile browser based webmail systems are getting much better.

Hotmail: (redirects)

there's also mobile browser access to MSN messenger and other MSN services at:

Getting better and better!

Comments welcome...