As if YouTube via your desktop or laptop wasn’t enough, the popular video service is now available on your mobile phone. Provided you’re using one that’s capable of streaming video and runs on a 3G network, YouTube Mobile can now be accessed even when you’re at work, on the road or plainly put, wherever. What’s good about this one is that, at least for now, it’s free of advertisements and is much closer to the web version. With a comprehensive collection of videos that are often times hilarious with some educational ones available too, it’s hard not to get hooked and addicted with the service. So if you can’t get enough of Renaldo Lapuz singing his original composition on Americal Idol or Happy Slip, then just type m.youtube.com in the web browser of your mobile phone for some on the go fun. Of course, data charges still do apply so do exercise some restraint when accessing the service through 3G.
January 2008 Archives
Not so long ago, Mozilla made an announcement that they plan to go into the mobile web business by coming up with a mobile version of FireFox. This new portable version of the resurgent browser, however, won’t be available until FireFox 3 is completed. Well, FireFox 3 still isn’t out yet, but Mobile FireFox has a couple of screen shots available already of what it would look like so as to gather feedback which they can, in turn, incorporate into the final version. So far, we know that it will come in two variants: a touchscreen version ideal for PDAs and smartphones with touchscreens, and one for traditional keypad-input mobile devices such as mobile phones. Based on the screen shots, the navigation controls are located at the bottom and looks to also support page tabs similar to FireFox’s full version. While nothing is really certain with this project until its full release, it’s good to know that it’s already in full swing. For the hardcore fanboys who want more, the XUL mockups for both touchscreen and normal devices are available for download for your geeky pleasure.
By now, everyone has their own opinion on how great or utterly ridiculous the Macbook Air is due to the lack of some inherent features we’ve come to grow accustomed to. Since we’ll have to wait a couple more months (hopefully less) for the Air to arrive, let’s hear out those who are fortunate enough to have gotten theirs already. The undeniable source for everything good and bad about Apple is probably this quartet of gentlemen: David Pogue, Ed Baig, Steven Levy and Walt Mossberg. If you do have the time, you can check out their individual reviews, but if you’re in a hurry, Gizmodo gives a summary and comparison of each one's take on the anorexic Air as shown in the table above. They've also released some benchmark results as compared to a Macbook and Macbook Pro. There’s nothing new really to report as we already expected the Air to be less powerful than its pumped-up well-chiseled brute sibling, the Macbook Pro. What’s surprising though is the Mp3 encode test which should have gone the Pro’s way. Head on over to the Giz to check out how they conducted their tests and see some Xbench results for your own indulgence if you want to compare the Air to your own system. Engadget, on the other hand, has released a more comprehensive stand-alone review of the Air. For us, we'll reserve judgement once we get our grubby hands on one of this beauties ourselves.
Here’s a treat for Samsung BlackJack owners. If you feel that you’re a bit left out with all the Mobile Windows 6.0 smartphones out in the market, Samsung has finally decided to release an update for your mobile device. The original ROM and instructions on how to update the OS of your BlackJack phone can be found at the following link. A word of caution though, back-up all your data as the process will complete erase all the contents on your phone. The entire process will take some time too so better have everything prepared to make it as fast and smooth as possible. This time around, Vista users are the ones left out as the update only works with Windows 2000 and XP. So, if you want to spruce up your relatively old Windows Mobile 5.0 running device, follow the link and install the update now. DISCLAIMER: The update is meant for US customers which is why you'll notice that the site refers to the model number of the BlackJack as i607 (the local version is i600), but I don't see any reason why it shouldn't work with phones purchased in other countries. The only way this restriction will occur if they limited the update to work with serial numbers corrsponding to units sold in the US. To be on the safe side, try to get in touch with the local Samsung Service Center to get confirmation if this update will indeed work with locally distributed units.
It looks like the end is near for the long-running battle between HD and Blu-ray. As Warner jumps ship and boards the Blu-ray bandwagon, the same could be said of consumers as the latest NDP report showed the huge difference between HD media player sales the week before and after the announcement. From a better-than-average 60 percent to a dominating 93 percent, Blu-ray seems to be headed towards the finish line, lording it over its rival HD DVD format. While admittedly it’s still too early to make predictions, the overwhelming figures are hard not to notice. However, the data shows only sales within a period of one week. Putting things into perspective, comparing sales from a month ago, Blu-ray is nearly 70 percent which is nonetheless pretty still impressive. So, in essence, if Blu-ray players continue to increase in sales and dominate the market, then it would be profitable for companies to produce content in the Blu-ray format. Personally, I wish this whole fiasco is done and over with so I can finally buy a media player that will have a standard format for HD content because quite honestly, this whole rift in the HD format wars is actually holding me back from making any purchases for now due to the fact that my chosen format might not be supported in the future anymore. With the way things are going, I'll probably have to wait a couple of months more before I decide and for now, the choice is pretty obvious.
Unwired View has come out with some spy shots of what could be the next Sony Ericsson Cybershot phone. They got their images and info from PCOnline.com.cn, a chinese website, which provides some details as to its possible specifications. With Sony Ericsson updating their Walkman line at CES, I say it's just about time they do the same with their Cybershot line of phones. Based on what Unwired has gathered, it's a 5-megapixel camphone with auto-focus and flash. The display is a 16M color QVGA and will come with a built-in GPS sensor. Looking at the images provided, it’s like a redesigned T650i with a ton of imaging features if it is expected to carry on the Cybershot title in its name. Design-wise, nothing seems to stand out at the moment, but since these are still unconfirmed and more importantly, unofficial, so nothing's for sure until it’s finally released. Heck, we don’t even know what name it will have, but if we were to follow Sony Ericsson’s numbering scheme, possible model names are K870i, K830i or K780i. For now, let’s just wait and see, and dream up our fantasy specs for this soon-to-be-released unit. Judgment can be rendered later on when everything's for sure and certain already.
We probably all know by now that the Macbook Air is by far the slimmest laptop there is, but how does it fair specification-wise with other machines in the market? Gizmodo, made a quick round-up of the slimmest laptops from various manufacturers and came up with very intriguing results. Amazingly, Apple’s engineering wonder ranks second to the cheapest in the short list, and the cheapest, Dell’s XPS M1330, seems to be the most power-packed of the bunch. It’s almost a pound heavier, an inch thicker and has a shorter battery life span than the Air, but a lot more powerful in almost all categories. Sony’s VAIO TZ is the most expensive, and ironically, weaker than the Air in almost every aspect except for the HDD capacity and speed, and inclusion of an optical drive. I guess Sony does have valid reason to feel a bit defensive when it comes to the comments about the TZ. Is it safe to say that the Air is a great deal? Hell yeah! Is it for you? If you can live with 80 GB HDD capacity and do without the built-in optical drive, then this one is highly recommended. Oh, I forgot to mention, probably the biggest upside to the Air is the efficient and reliable Mac OS X Leopard which has proven to be the biggest bane to Microsoft Vista's campaign. All the rest run on Vista which, in my opinion, is their biggest weakness.
Ever thought of using your PSP for making international calls? Well, now you can with the made-for-PSP version of Skype. This latest iteration of the infamous IM application was unveiled at CES with Sony reps making demo calls to one another (which in reality is just a few feet away). Theoretically possible considering that the PSP is equipped with Wifi for easy connection to the web, the question now lies in how well voice encoding is done since that is now part of the arsenal of features the gaming console has. According to Kotaku, the pictured headset shown in the picture is not the finally product which is good since the author deemed it to be a bit on the bulky side. According to the press release, the Skype for PSP feature will be part of a firmware update for the PSP Slim which will be released this January 2008. The latest firmware update may turn off home-brew fanatics, but those looking for more features to cram in this gaming device will be greatly pleased to know of this latest development.
With a doubt, Steve Jobs latest wonder, the Macbook Air, got the tech world all abuzz once more, and his comparison to Sony’s own pride and joy, the VAIO TZ ultra portable, during his Keynote got the company’s attention. Now, it's Sony's turn to share their thoughts on the Macbook Air. The senior vice president of VAIO product marketing, Mike Abary, commended Apple for creating an engineering marvel with the Macbook Air, but quickly followed it up with the results of their own research done way back in 2004 which revealed that thinness is not the key in winning the hearts of consumers. Back then, they had the X505, a 0.16-inch laptop that had a carbon fiber body minus the optical drive. A lot thinner than the MB Air, but obviously not as well-received. Unfortunately, their vision back then wasn’t quite apt for the time. Four years ago, people couldn't imagine computers without optical drives. Considering how technology works today, users can do away with the optical drive and live happily ever after with flash drives and Wifi. Apple, of course, provided a solution for those who just can't live without optical media with the Remote Disc feature. If Sony was able to come up with a similar feature back in 2004, maybe the x505 would have been a succes, but then again, the technology wasn't there yet for the development of such a feature. I guess Sony was years ahead of Apple in conceptualizing a slim laptop, but it was a case of having the right idea at the wrong time. Apple, for their part, is on a roll with the success of one hit product after another.
Microsoft has released Origami Experience 2.0, an update to its Origami Experience pack of applications that run on Windows Vista-enabled UMPC devices. It consists of three core elements: Origami Central, Orgami Now and a Picture Password. Origami Central revamps the browser, media interface and RSS reader look, while the Origami Now provide a one-stop portal for all the information that’s important by integrating weather, RSS feeds, e-mail, calendar and to-do widgets in one screen. The Picture Password is a new security feature which allows you to log-in by tapping on a sequence of points in a picture that does away with the traditional text-input method. It not only makes logging in a bit more fun, but makes it more of a personal experience since you can select a picture of your choice. There are only a handful of UMPCs available locally so I figure only a minority will take notice of this development, but hey, who’s to complain when it’s a free upgrade?
Where do I even begin with this post? The picture probably speaks for itself, and if you are one of the fortunate ones (such as Gizmodo and Engadget) who were present at Macworld 2008 to witness first-hand the unveiling of this sexy piece of computing equipment, I’d bet you’d also be at a loss for words. Measuring mere 0.76-inches thick when it’s closed, the Macbook Air is by far the slimmest laptop there out in the market. Just imagine how thin it really is when you open it and use it. It also comes with backlit keys for easy usage even when you’re working late at night and a multi-touch pad, a first in the market. It comes with 2 GB of DDR2 RAM, 80 GB HDD and WiFi and Bluetooth communication. Of couese, Leopard is now standard with all Macs, especaially this one. Toning down its size does have its drawbacks. The optical drive has been scratched from the standard features and the number of ports has dwindled down to less than a single hand can count, but despite all these alterations, what you get is a very slim yet efficient laptop that’s armed with more or less the basic features one will need in their day-to-day activities. Though this is a bit far from what was rumored to be a multi-touch screen laptop, this one will surely appease fanboys and geeks alike.
Sony has habit of making their various products complement each other. Just take a look at how their portable imaging devices all make use of Memory Sticks instead of the vastly popular and affordable SD card. The ability to seemingly integrate various products under the Sony name is one attribute which, in one way or another, makes users s bit more loyal to the brand. Now, their taking this philosophy a bit further with their gaming consoles. Sony has officially announced the availability of transferring Blu-ray movies to the PSP via the PS3. The movies will be stored on a Memory Stick (no-brainer here) which can then be played on the portable gaming device. No exact details were given as to the restriction on the copying of the movie, but expect limitations to be present. Sony has been at the forefront of the Blu-ray vs HD battle, and it seems this can only add fuel to the flame. In the reality, I’m not sure that you can actually enjoy the clarity and quality of Blu-ray on a PSP, but it sure beats the hell out of waiting several hours downloading the same copy of a movie you already have in Blu-ray format.
If you haven’t heard the news, 6 Power Mac Center branches were raided by the NBI for allegedly downloading/using illegal copies of digital music. An active discussion is on-going on this matter in Apple-centric forums such as Podcentral and Philmug. While various opinions are being raised as to the validity and underlying intent of the operation, the whole fiasco of such a renowned establishment being bannered on television and being branded as a criminal has gotten the attention of local tech groups. A statement coming from the owners of Power Mac Center is yet to be released and those loyal to the Apple brand are waiting with much anticipation. Whether the whole raid was legit or not, it just goes to show that, in one way or another, the local authorities are slowly cracking down on the illegal trade of digital content. Unfortunately, the lack of a direct means of purchasing online music to our country makes it an arduous task for both officials and owners to verify the legitimacy of downloaded content. Thus, almost all digital forms of music may be considered illegal. This, in turn, raises the question, if the law is now being enforced on the crack-down on illegal music downloading and distribution, should online music distribution companies such as Apple/iTunes rethink their stand on opening their services in our country?
Its Sony Ericsson’s turn this time around at CES 2008 to show off two of their latest models: the W760 and the W350. The W760 is the latest Walkman phone from Sony Ericsson to sport the latest interface which is by far the best one yet. This is according to Gizmodo who was fortunate enough to be at CES in Las Vegas and got a quick hands-on with the phone. It’s a slider that’s equipped with a 3.2-megapixel camera, GPS, 40 MB internal phone memory and twin speakers so that you can share the music wherever you may be. It’s already available in Europe and is making its debut in the US. The W350, on the other hand, is a built with simplicity in mind. Sporting a retro-feeling yet stylish keypad cover, its 10mm slim body makes it one of the slimmest Walkman phones available. It likewise comes with a 1.3-megapixel camera, 14 MB internal phone memory and EDGE capability. Not as feature packed as the latest handsets, but it provides you with the necessities with a little entertainment on the side. Both handset are already listed in the Philippine Sony Ericsson website, but are categorized as coming soon.
Better late than never. That saying has never been as apt as to the release of Axiotron’s Modbook tablet computer. It was first unveiled in Macworld 2007 and won Best of Show for its intuitive integration of a touch screen thanks to Wacom digitized LCD display. It’s a full functioning Mac system in a whole new package bringing to reality the concept of tablet computer system that works on Apple’s infrastructure. It also comes with a built-in iSight, 24x DVD combo drive or an 8x DVD superdrive whichever suits your taste. It doesn't come pre-installed with Leopard, but you can easily upgrade the Tiger OS to the latest version. Those living in the US can place an order now for this $ 2290 piece of computing hardware, but since Macworld 2008 is just around the corner and rumor has it that Apple will be unveiling their own multitouch Mac system, I think it’s best to wait and see before making any impulse buy at the moment.
Are you an owner of a Nokia N95? Are you sick of its sluggish performance? Are you too lazy to go a Nokia Service Center to have its software updated? Well, this little bit of news is just for you. Nokia has released an update to the N95’s software available directly from the Nokia Software Updater. If you’re not familiar with this little nifty application, its already bundled with your Nokia N95 as a CD-ROM but if you wish to download it from the net, its available at Nokia’s website. The Nokia Software Updater allows you too easily download the latest software for your mobile phone which will help improve and fix existing bugs and glitches in the system. According to Nokia, the latest N95 software improves performance levels and provides an N-Gage preview application which will surely delight gamers. It also adds up to 30 % longer playback time for the music player feature and adds speed to Nokia Maps with faster positioning times. So don’t trouble yourself with the horrendous traffic of the Metro just to have your phone’s software update. Take advantage of what’s already included in the boxed set of your phone and update it yourself. It’s as easy as clicking several buttons and you’re done.
Motorola showcased their two new handset models at the CES 2008 in Las Vegas: the ROKR E8 and the Moto Z10. These two models are a refreshing change from the close-to-be-sickening line of RAZR phones. The ROKR E8 continues Motorola’s line of music-centric phones, but what sets this new unit apart from its ancestors is that it flaunts a touch keypad that does away with the traditional mechanical keys. This new innovation allows for the controls to change depending on the function of the phone: from music player to camera to phone. Haptic feedback is provided for tactile response and employs navigation control dubbed as the Omega Wheel for menu navigation. It comes with a built-in 2.0-megapixel camera and is quad-band, but data communication is limited to GPRS and EDGE only. The Moto Z10, on the other hand, is a kick-slider with a 3.2-megapixel camera and built-in video editing tools that allow you to add soundtrack to your video or even overlay text and directly upload them to video sites such as YouTube. These are cool features for the video freak always on the go. It comes loaded with 8 GB of memory and supports up to 32 GB of additional storage. This one is 3.5G ready which will come handy especially when uploading videos to the web. With 30 fps video recording and a bright 2.2-inch QVGA display, this baby is meant for the budding videographer. No sign of the 5-megapixel Z12, but these two will suffice for now. For more pics, check out the photo gallery of Gizmodo's trip to CES.
Here’s something to kick of a whole new year in technology, Gizmodo gives us a hands-on review of the much awaited Office 2008 for the Mac. Of course, it wouldn’t be Microsoft if it weren’t available in different packages which, true to its name, do come in three variants to choose from: Home & Student Edition, Standard and the Special Media Edition. The Home & Student Edition comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage while the Standard package comes with all those mentioned plus Microsoft Server Exchange Support and Automator Actions for Workflows in Microsoft Office. The Special Media Edition adds one more thing to the table: Microsoft Expression Media which was formerly known as iView. If budget is a concern and you just need the basics, you’ll manage with the Home & Student Edition. Aside from the ability to export PowerPoint content to the iPod through iPhoto, Office 2008 also employs a more traditional interface as opposed to Office 2007 which turned off a number of users due to its radical change in look. For beginning Excel users, a Formula Builder is available for those who need help in inserting calculations. This inclusion can be attributed to the lack of Visual Basic support in this latest Office Suite. The greatest advantage, though, was that it runs great on a MacBook Pro. Compared to its predecessor which had many glitches and incompatibility issues, this latest version offers more stability. Based on this preliminary review, it would seem that it's safe to say that upgrading to Office 2008 is recommended if your using one of the newer Mac models. However, feedback on usage with older Macs and newly found bugs is still greatly appreciated. Microsoft haters need not apply.
Due to irreconcilable differences, as failed marriages go, Intel is pulling out of the idealistic One-Laptop-Per-Child program (OLPC). CNN reports that Santa Clara-based chipmaker has decided to finally end its long-simmering spat with the organization handling the program. Coincidentally, this all happened just a few days before the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas where it was expected that an OLPC prototype running on an Intel chip would have been unveiled. This is another blow to the OLPC program which is already facing pricing woes with their initial laptop offering costing $ 188 which is way off the $ 100 target price. Intel, however, maintains that they are committed in developing inexpensive mobile computers for consumers. Dubbed as the Classmate, their own version of the affordable laptop is being marketed in the same areas where the OLPC is expected to become available. While this ends the partnership between the two, both companies undeniable have their work cut out for them as Asus has already made headway with their Eee PC. Looking ahead, this brewing competition can only bring greater things to the market: greater devices at more enticing prices. Hopefully, this philosophy will also apply to Intel.
Getting into the groove of the Olympic fever, Lenovo has formally launched a flash memory USB drive that’s specifically designed for the sporting event. Nice is my first impression, but thinking about it a bit longer, since this will be coming from Lenovo and being marketed as a special Olympic edition device, this will be tagged with a higher price than ordinary flash drives. I would expect (or wish) that this would include more-than-the-usual features, but as for now, the only thing confirmed is its availability soon and the design which hopefully won’t be limited to just one. TNo exact date was given as its release, but this should definitely be out in the market right before the games begin. The idea of an Olympic Games themed device is something not exclusive to Lenovo and I bet as the date of the China 2008 Olympics come closer, other manufacturers and companies will soon join the band wagon. It’s nice to see that souvenirs now will not only serve as mementos but are functional as well.
Mobile Philippines Yuletide Issue Tech geeks are in for a treat this Christmas. Mobile Philippines' New & Notable is stuffed with new gadget goodies to satisfy your tech tooth. Share your photos with your loved ones, but first, Mobile will teach you how to edit your photos online...for free! Take a peek at the luscious lappies we have in store for you. Best of all, Mobile Philippines has put together a gift guide of sorts, from point-and-shoot cameras to music phones down to portable music and video players. Mobile Philippines is definitely your ultimate gadget gift guide. Mobile Philippines is published monthly and distributed for free by Hinge Inquirer Publications. For subscriptions, call 759-2286 or 813-6848 loc. 815.
Out of all the many devices that have evolved out of the USB phenomenon, this has got to be the icing on the cake. Shinhan, a Korean company, has come up with the first ever USB type credit card. It aims at providing users with the ability of making easy transactions via its built-in IC chip which allows for no-touch payments in IC card reader-equipped establishments as well as the convenience of having pertinent credit card information entered automatically for online transactions just by simply plugging it into the USB slot of your computer. However, as grand as their announcement to the public, they are quick to note that they won’t go full steam ahead with this project and will still provide the conventional plastic cards until a greater number of establishments become equipped with the IC chip readers. I guess when this does become mainstream, online fraud will be as easy as plugging in a hijacked USB credit card, but I guess they've already thought of this possibility, or have they?
An alliance that seems doomed from the very beginning, Nokia is opening its doors to Apple in an effort to entice the Job’s empire into joining the Finnish company in its latest endeavor. Anssi Vanjoki, a Nokia board member, has boldly gone on record to say that the “door is open” for Apple to join them in Ovi, their online multimedia-centric portal which delivers content direct to consumers handsets. There’s no doubt that the inclusion of iTunes will be a great asset to Nokia with its comprehensive collection of music and videos, but with Nokia rivaling iTunes at the same time with its own music store, I wonder how they will manage such a collaboration. Add to the mix the Apple-directed ads of Nokia in the past, this has the makings of one turbulent relationship right from the get go if it ever does materialize. But hey, this is business, so I guess anything’s possible.
With the start of a brand new year, we usually come to terms with letting go of the past and looking forward to a fresh new start. I guess this is the same scenario with those who managed to stay loyal with the original rival of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, the Netscape Navigator. It was first commercially launched back in October 1994 and is set to be laid to rest on February 1, 2008. According to Tom Drapeau, Director of AOL/Netscape development, most of their current efforts are now aimed at creating a Firefox browser with the appearance and feel of the Navigator. Forced out of business due to poor market performance against Internet Explorer (and other browsers), version 9 will be the last iteration of one the forefathers in internet browser history. Support will cease to run on February 1, 2008. Thank you Netscape for providing us with an alternative to the Microsoft Internet Explorer back in the days, your efforts did not go to waste.