It looks like Microsoft has had a change of heart as of late and decided to play friendly with other mobile devices with the release of the beta version of their new Phone Data Manager software. Aside from supporting Mobile Windows flavored devices, it's likewise compatible S60 2nd and 3rd edition based phones making it a usefull tool in syncing with a variety of Nokia and Samsung devices. However, unlike the usual Nokia PC Suite, the Phone Data Manager stores all your contacts online with the use Windows Live Contacts which, in turn, means you’ll have to create a Windows Live account if you don’t already have one. The good thing about it is that, while it is necessary for you to have an internet connection, if ever your PC suddenly konks out on you, all your backed-up data will be saved and you can gain access to it once you can get connected to the internet again. Other files such as music, pictures and video are saved on the PC only for now, but who knows, maybe in the final version it will also have online support. Nevertheless, as good as it seems, it's still not perfect. As compared to Nokia’s data sync software, the Phone Data manager does not allow you to save settings and messages. This is another thing we can look forward to if and when Microsoft decides to incorporate it. Interested to try it out? Go ahead. It's free to download, and while you're at it, tell us what you think about it. Love it, hate it, we'd like to know.
September 2008 Archives
If you’re on Globe, regardless if you’re on postpaid or prepaid, you can make every peso you consume work for you. Globe has an ongoing promo called Watyawannawin where every P5 you use, whether it be on a prepaid load or your postpaid monthly bill, you earn 1 point, and after accumulating a certain amount of points, you can then either redeem it as a rebate or use it as raffle entries to win great prizes such as iPods, Macbooks, and even P1 Million cash. This promo will run until February 28, 2009. So better register now, so that you can do more with the money you spend on your Globe subscription than just calling and texting. For more details, head on over to Globe's site. With the heated rivalry between Globe and Smart, I won't be surprised if the latter comes out with a similar promo of their own for their loyal subscribers.
Nokia Philippines has just recently launched two new handset models that will surely give you your money’s worth, the 7210 Supernova and the 2680 Slide The 7210 Supernova is part of the Supernova collection which is likewise available locally. It features a 2-megapixel camera, 2-inch QCGA display, Bluetooth, FM radio, 30MB internal memory and microSD card support up to 2GB all housed in an ultra slim form factor measuring in just 10.6mm in thickness. Sure, it doesn’t have 3G or WiFi, but for a SRP of P7500, it’s a well featured mobile device that provides you with all of the basic functionality of a phone with a host of entertainment features on the side. The 2680 slide, on the other hand, is another compact phone that proves that good quality products need not come with a hefty price tag. Priced at only P4990, this clamshell gives you Bluetooth capabilities, VGA camera, FM radio and GPRS connectivity. It cuts back on the camera, but it still provides you with all the essential functions you’ll ever need in a phone without putting too much strain on your wallet. Both phones are already available in your local Nokia stores.
Finally, the first-ever Android phone, the T-Mobile HTC G1, has been launched and we’re giving you the rundown on this latest smartphone. It’s a touchscreen-enabled mobile phone with a full QWERTY keypad hidden underneath its decently-sized screen. While it has indeed been launched, it only go on sale starting October 22 and will be exclusively available on T-Mobile only. So now that we’ve gotten those important details aside, let’s head on to the good and bad aspects of the phone itself. The good news is that it’ll only cost $ 179 making it one of the most affordable mobile phones in its category. For that price, you get a phone equipped with a 3.17-inch HVGA 480x320 display, 3.1-megapixel camera, WiFi, A-GPS, 3G/HSDPA and of course, the Android OS. It’s a pretty loaded phone based on its specs alone, but as much as we would like to believe it’s perfect, it’s definitely not. The not-so-good side of it is that there’s no desktop sync app for you to use. Everything will be done online through Google contacts and cal, and even though it does have a camera, it doesn’t allow you to record videos much less support video playback. It also lacks a simple 3.5mm headphone jack which might not bother some, but will definitely be a hassle for those who prefer using their own headphones on the phone. A microSD card is also a requirement for you to download music. Without one present in the phone, you can’t perform the said task. Nevertheless, Google isn’t closing the doors on improvement with regards to the Android OS system. Aside from the missing 3.5mm headphone jack, most of its misgivings are software related which can easily be address by 3rd party applications or future updates to the OS. So, given this balanced preview of the HTC G1, are you still inclined to get one or are you willing to wait for the rest of the Android-based cavalry to arrive first?
As a response to one of our readers’ request, we are pitting the latest smartphones in the market against each other to see which one really stands out in this elite group. Actually, we are also quite curious ourselves to find out which is the best among the bunch as each one has a unique feature to offer that the others don’t have. As you can see in the table, there isn’t one phone that clearly dominated in all the categories. Take for example the Nokia E71. It does win in the camera, size and weight divisions, but it has the smallest display in the group with the best one goint to the 3G iPhone. While the iPhone may also be considered a winner in terms of internal memory, all the others support memory expansion which makes their total memory flexible although I doubt there’s an SD card available now that’ll match the iPhone's 16GB capacity. On the user interface side, QWERTY is still the most efficient way of entering long messages and composing e-mail, which makes the iPhone the blacksheep of the group albeit its highly advanced touchscreen. However, the Palm Treo Pro manages to incorporate both a touch screen interface and a QWERTY keypad into its design offering users a taste of both worlds. As far as the OS is concerned, that is a matter of preference. While the Mac OS X mobile version is relatively new in the market, it is fast gaining popularity and many developers are now releasing apps for the iPhone. Both Windows Mobile and S60 have been around for sometime now and they have their own respective community of developers. The Blackberry, on the other hand, also has its share of software developers though they're quite limited and not so visible as opposed to the others. Nonetheless, all of their respective mobile OS are equally capable and can get the job done at hand. It all boils down to how much you would like to expand its capabilities through 3rd party applications and additional software. Clearly, there’s no one way to call this competition and it will all rely on what you need. If it’s a simple internet mobile device, the 3G iPhone is what we would recommend simply because the mobile Safari is unmatched in terms of performance. If it’s a serious business phone you’re after, you can’t go wrong with the Blackberry Bold, but considering its limited availability worldwide, I’d say its better to get the Nokia E71 or Palm Treo Pro instead though the latter is yet to be released. If you want an all-around performing device, the Nokia E71 gets my vote. However, if availability is a major concern, you'll narrow down the playing field to the iPhone and the Nokia E71 as both the BlackBerry Bold and Palm Treo Pro are not yet out in the local Philippine market. But hey, this is just my opinion, how about you guys; which one's the best smartphone among the group for you?
Still remember that LG Viewty 5-megapixel camera touchscreen phone? Well, here's the follow up to it, the LG KC910 or otherwise known as LG Renoir. It features a large 3-inch WQVGA 240x400 touchscreen display, an 8-megapixel camera with Schneider-Kreuznach lens and Xenon flash, GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi, and 3G/HSDPA. The specs are undeniably impressive, but unfortunately, there's no mention about its OS and from the looks of it, it doesn't appear to be Windows Mobile 6.1. While we're not exactly thrilled at the performance of the mobile Windows OS, it's the most decent mobile OS out there that's available for touchscreen devices aside from the Mac OS X mobile. The LG Renoir is expected to be released in October with specific availability dates, region and price yet to be known. Sure, the specs are good and all, but its similarity to the iPhone in terms of design is really a big turn off for me personally. Sure, it's a touchscreen phone just like the iPhone, but does it have to looks so much alike Apple's mobile phone? It would have been better if LG came out with a more original design so that the Renoir will truly stand out and be recognized as a unique product in the market.
Nikon may have been the first to offer an HD video-capturing DSLR, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be the only ones to do that. As a matter of fact, Canon’s brand new EOS 5D Mark II also offers that same feature but does it much better with full HD 1,920x1,080 video recording capability. Video recording files size caps off at 4GB per clip, and is saved in .MOV format. Another neat feature is that you can likewise connect external stereo mics to the camera making it a very capable DSLR video recorder. On its SLR attributes, it features a 24x36mm 21.1-megapixel CMOS sensor coupled with a DIGIC 4 image processor. It’s not as massive as the Sony Alpha A900, but it’s pretty close and is definitely more featured-packed. Other specs include a 3-inch Live View LCD, 15-point AF with 9 selectable AF points, 3.9fps burst rate for unlimited JPEG images and up to 14 RAW files. Those looking to upgrade to the EOS 5D Mark II better start saving up as this one sure won't come cheap. It’s expected to come out at the end of November with a body-only price of $2,699. The one bundled with a Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens will sell for $3,499. I guess HD video is the in thing for SLRs these days.
Even though the unit you see in the picture is still just a pre-release model, it’s hard to deny that the HTC Touch HD does look better than the iPhone 3G thanks to its bigger and brighter display. As for the lack of flash, an interesting side-by-side comparison of the same photo taken indoors reveals that the Touch HD does quite a remarkable job in ambient lighting as opposed to the iPhone. However, the iPhone still has a slight advantage in terms of
thickness ergonomic design although it looks a bit longer and wider than the Touch HD.
So, aside from visual comparison of the two, how does HTC's latest device stack up to Apple’s mobile phone? Shown in the table below are the major areas where the two are completely different aside from the OS, of course.
So which is better? While the HTC Touch HD does get my vote this early on, it’s still hard to say which one is exactly better due to how different Windows Mobile 6.1 is from Mac OS X mobile OS. The HTC Touch HD does have a bigger and better display and camera, but there’s more to a mobile smartphone than just those two features combined.
We'll wait for the final product to come out before we make any final decision on this face-off, but I must admit, the HTC Touch HD does look quite impressive.
Remember that Sony Alpha A900 digital SLR we featured in our Camera issue? Well, it’s now up for pre-order in the US. For those not familiar with it, this is Sony’s latest digital SLR which showcases a massive 24.6-megapixel 35mm full frame Exmor CMOS imaging sensor. Yup, it’s not holding back on the megapixels, but unfortunately (or not) everything else looks pretty much standard fare. There’s not even a mention of Live View or a sensor cleaning mechanism built into it which has become almost a standard feature in most of the new DSLR releases. They must have decided to skip out on those features since it’ll just add to its already hefty price tag of $2,999.00, and that's just for the body only. However, if money isn’t an issue for you and you’ve been dying to get a DSLR with 20+ megapixels for whatever reason, then treat yourself to the Sony Alpha A900. It’s expensive, but it’s definitely cheaper than a Hassleblad.
HTC is probably one of the first to release a salvo of iPhone contenders into the market, and while most of them have failed to put up a decent battle with Apple’s premier mobile phone, it looks like they've kept their secret weapon hidden from the public eye for the past couple of months just waiting to be unveiled at the proper time. The HTC Touch HD is not your typical HTC Touch. It’s actually the granddaddy of the entire line boasting of features that will put to shame every little model they’ve already unleashed to the public. First of is its huge and brilliant 3.8-inch WVGA widescreen display. It’s the biggest so far in the HTC Touch line and beats the iPhone which only comes with a 3.5-inch screen. Other notable specs include a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus, a secondary camera in the front, 3G/HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth, AGPS, 288MB RAM, 3.5mm headphone jack, Google Maps, and Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional OS with HTC TouchFLO 3D. All of this combine for the speediest and most feature-packed Touch to date. It’s expected to hit the European market in the last quarter of this year and other global markets thereafter. Unfortunately, no pricing was mentioned. Hopefully, it'll reach our shores before the year ends and I highly doubt it'll be more expensive than the current price of the iPhone.
It looks like Nokia-rival Sony Ericsson is going to battle it out with the Finnish company in the realm of the music download scene. While Nokia may have struck the first blow with their Comes with Music service, Sony Ericsson has been reported to be considering going the same route. If Nokia has chosen to bundle their servic with their Nokia 5310 XpressMusic phone, word is that Sony Ericsson is planning to offer theirs with their Walkman series of phones. No word though if it'll be available for the entire line or specific models only, but we'll probably hear an official announcement within the month. If everything goes accordingly, it might be offered in Europe before the year ends. The rest of the world will probably have to wait until next year for the service to roll out in their region. As for the here and now, Sony Ericsson currently has an existing mobile download service with around 5 million DRM-free songs at their disposal. With that massive collection at their beck and call, Nokia might be in for some stiff competition as far as the music download scene is concerned.
Those who already own an iPhone, whether it's the 3G version or the 1st gen, can now update to firmware 2.1 through iTunes 8. Although you'll lose whatever jailbreak privileges you may have by updating, you can, however, expect the following improvements in your iPhone:
- Decrease in call set-up failures and dropped calls
- Significantly better battery life for most users
- Dramatically reduced time to backup to iTunes
- Improved email reliability, notably fetching email from POP and Exchange accounts
- Faster installation of 3rd party applications
- Fixed bugs causing hangs and crashes for users with lots of third party applications
- Improved performance in text messaging
- Faster loading and searching of contacts
- Improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display
- Repeat alert up to two additional times for incoming text messages
- Option to wipe data after ten failed passcode attempts
- Genius playlist creation
Sony Ericsson has finally announced the release date of their first Windows Mobile-powered phone, the XPERIA X1. It's actually rolling out on a per-batch basis similar to how the 2G iPhone premiered all over the world, but this time around, the Philippines is included in the first batch of countries. Below is the complete list of those who are included on the September 30, 2008 release date of the XPERIA X1: Asia: Indonesia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam Western Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal Central Europe: Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic Middle East: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait Africa: South Africa Latin America: Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia Aside from the UK, Germany and Sweden which were initially the first countries only, those not included in the list above will have to wait for further announcements. The confirmation of a release date is all well and good, but there's still the question of price. My guess conservative guess is that it be offered at the P25-30K price range though a more realistic estimate would be P30K++. Anyway, September 30 isn't that far away so let's just wait and see how things will pan out for the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 here in the Philippines.
iPod fanatics will have something to look forward to as Apple has unloaded a bag of iPod goodies for them to enjoy. First off is the improved 2G iPod Touch. It may look the same as the 1G Touch, but if you look more closely, you’ll notice that it now sports a contoured rear design similar to the 2G iPhone. It’s also thinner and comes equipped with hardware volume controls, a built-in speaker, Nike+ receiver and a redesigned WiFi antenna cover. The minimal changes in the design is greatly compensated by the added functionality provided by the new features in this latest iteration. The 2G iPod Touch will cost $229, $299 amd $399 for the 8GB, 16GB and 32GB respectively. Next is the iPod Shuffle. While there may not be any major improvements in this line of iPods, Apple has unveiled the new colors of the Shuffle. The 1GB ($49) and 2GB ($69) capacities are, unfortunately, still the same. Last, but not the least, the 4G iPod Nano finally made its public debut. It looks like a cross between the 3G and the 2G Nano, and is touted as the thinnest iPod ever. The curved design is likewise carried over to this model, and packs in a large 2-inch display despite its already compact size The capacity of the new Nano is now bigger than ever at offering 8GB ($149) and 16GB ($199) models and will be available in 9 delectable colored variations to choose from. On the software front, there's the new iTunes 8 which features the new Genius sidebar, album art grid display option, and faster back-up and sync time. The new Genius feature basically monitors your listening habits and based on the data collected, creates custom playlists and recommends possible music content you may like to download and purchase from the iTunes Store. While some people may find this new feauture a bit intrusive, it's a nice option to have especially if you don't want to decide on what tracks you want to listen to at the moment. The iPhone/iPod Touch 2.1 firmware update was also announced during the event which should fix the various problems brought about by the previous updates. It is expected to hit iTunes worldwide this week. iPod Touch users will have to pay $10 for it, but those who have upgraded to 2.0 won’t have to pay a cent as it’s free for them. While we wish there was something more significant announced regarding the iPhone, the new iTunes, 2.1 firmware update and the various iPods that Apple debuted is enough to suffice nonetheless. Better start saving up because these new iPods sure make for a very sweet addition to any Christmas shopping list.
Nokia has announced that they will start offering their Comes with Music service next month in the UK and will have an official launching on October 2. After the debut in the UK, the rest of Europe and Asia will follow thereafter. If you still remember this service we reported a while back, the Comes with Music gives Nokia users free music downloads along with their phone. Now, it's more concrete and specific. UK Carphone Warehouse will sell Comes with Music Nokia 5310 XpressMusic phones that include a year of unlimited music downloads. Too good to be true? Well, sort of. The service isn't actually free and the cost is already included in the price of the phone which makes it more expensive than an ordinary Nokia 5310. As for the music downloads, yeah, it's unlimited alright, but the DRM limits playback to the phone only so say goodbye to music sharing. However, once your subscription expires, you'll still be able to play the tracks you’ve downloaded to your phone. Locally, the new Nokia 5320 and 5220 XpressMusic phones come bundled with vouchers that allow you to download 100 free music tracks from a Nokia website. I don't know if its also comes with DRM, but it's a nice inclusion nonetheless. It could be a prelude to the whole service before it's launched in the Philippines, or it could be its local counterpart. Whichever the case maybe, it's a nice way of marketing a particular product to a target audience. I'm not happy with the DRM, but hey, if that's as good as it gets, I'll take it.
You've got iTunes for your iPod, but why not use it also to transfer music to for your mobile phone or other mp3 players as well? With Media Sync by Salling Software, you can now do just that. Media Sync currently supports a variety of Nokia, Sony Ericsson phones and the HTC Diamond as well as several Sony Walkman products too. If you're not sure if you're gadget is supported, check out the list of compatible devices here. I am optimistic, though, that more devices will be supported in the near future. The basic product is free to download and there's a version available for both Windows and Mac. The fast sync version, however, will set you back $22. It's expensive for a piece of software, but I guess if you like how the Media Sync app works, then I guess its worth it in the end. Try it out for yourself and share with us your experience while you're at it.
While Sony Ericsson has yet to release the XPERIA X1 to the awaiting public, they have recently announced the availability of a free SDK tool for the XPERIA X1 which will allow developers to take advantage of the X1's Panel Interface. As for the Windows Mobile-powered phone itself, they've assured the public that they're on track for a 4Q release. So, aside from the promise that it'll be available this year, the release of a SDK paints a pretty interesting picture ahead for those waiting to get their hands on the XPERIA X1. With the SDK, 3rd party apps can likewise utilize the Panel Interface and will not only be limited to Sony Ericsson developed software. This way, you're almost guaranteed that the whole user-experience in the X1 will be completely unique as opposed to other Windows Mobile-running devices. That is, povided of course, if developers will download the SDK tool first and use it on their apps. Unfortunately, in the greater context of things, these are all just empty promises until the XPERIA X1 is finally release. We're keeping our fingers crossed that they'll keep their promise of a 4Q release.
Dell maybe a tad late in joining the netbook party, but they sure didn’t disappoint with the Inspiron Mini 9. It features an Intel Atom Diamondville processor that’s accompanied by 512MB/1GB RAM, 4/8/16GB SSD options, webcam, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a bright 8.9-inch glossy LED display. Everything looks more or less standard if you compare it with other netbooks, but the LED display is nice departure from the rest. It’ll come in two variants: black or white. The Windows XP version is available now and cost $399, while the Ubuntu based version will come at a later date with a tag price of $349. Based on the press release, it’s available now in the US, Japan, and select countries in Europe. Other regions will be on a country-by-country basis. Considering that Dell is relatively new in the local tech industry, it would be wise for them to launch the Inspiron Mini 9 as soon as possible so that their presence can be felt by consumers. After all, the Inspiron Mini 9 does look good enough to be a decent alternative to the popular HP Mini-Note and Acer Aspire One. Update: It will be go on sale in stores in October.
If you're an iPhone/iPod Touch owner who's music collection greatly surpasses the capacity of his/her iPod, might we offer you a solution that will not only grant you access to your iTunes library on your PC/Mac, but will also allow you to acess the collection of your friends as well. The Simplify Media app is a free software available at the App Store that'll allow you to stream your entire music library through the internet. All you need to do is install the application both on your iPod and your PC/Mac, and you're on your way to enjoying limitless fun. Likewise, if you've got friends who already have Simplify Media running, as long as they're part of your contacts list and they're online, you'll aslo be able to access their shared music as well. This app has been around for quite sometime now, and prior to the App Store, it used to be exclusive to jailbroken units only. Aside from accessing your iTunes library remotely, it also now gives you information regarding the song such as artist info (by Last.fm) and song lyrics (by LyricWiki). Album art is also taken online but if the song title, artist and album title don't match their records, then don't expect it to display the right one or anything at all. As good as it is, it's still not perfect. Remote access is limited only to audio files so you won’t be able to watch your favorites TV shows and movies through it. Buffering time is somewhat inconsistent, but most of the time, it's pretty tolerable. So, if you've got everything set up, get ready to enjoy countless hours of music just as long as you're connected to a network (Wi-Fi, 3G, or even EDGE).
This is probably one of the smallest sliders out in the market today. The Nokia 6600 slide might not shout out in terms of design, but its simple yet clever design that’s equally complemented by a bevy of features makes it a nice alternative to the iPhone-crazed market of today. Aesthetically, it exudes a certain amount of sophistication with its glossy, high-quality steel covers and aluminum center key. As a testament to good design, one can easily slide it open with one hand to reveal its equally plush keypad. It comes with a 3.2-megapixel camera, GPRS, FM radio, and large 2.2-inch QVGA display. It also comes with the Nokia Maps application, but you’ll need to pair it up with an external GPS unit to take advantage of its navigation features. With a suggested retail price of PhP16,330, it might seem a little bit expensive considering how the more functional, 3G capable slim Nokia E51 is much cheaper than this one, but I reckon that this will have its own little following that’s not too critical about price nor features.
With the exception of Apple's AirPort Express, we have yet to see the 802.11n WiFi standard implemented into mobile devices and here comes a new standard that has recently been approved by the IEEE. WiFi 802.11r is the latest wireless standard to join the like of 802.11a/b/g and n and it looks pretty promising as it's expected to provide less than 50ms of downtime when switching from one access point to another. That makes it a pretty ideal wireless solution for mobile devices that used for VoIP as it will ensure zero dropped calls on it as a result of downtime. So, what will happen now to 802.11n with the approval of 802.11r? Well, we could still expect a number of products that support the standard to come out as it does take time for manufacturers to fully implement new technology into their products. However, I do hope that 802.11r support will be available already as early as 2009 primarily because of its superior features over the 802.11n standard. This is one technology we should all watch out.
Last week, Nokia unveiled Two new Nseries phones that might not look so original in terms of design, but definitely ups the ante in terms of features. The N85 is an upgrade of the N81, and like its predecessor, will also come in a slider form factor and be Ngage compatible as well. While it does look like an identical twin of the latter, it does, however, feature better specs with its 5-megapixel camera, GPS, longer battery life, and a brilliant 2.6-inch AMOLED screen. Meanwhile, the N79 is the replacement of the N78. While it does retain the candybar design, its gotten a more modern look and updated features too. A 5-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, and changeable front and back covers are only some of the more notable changes in this new phone. Of course, we can’t forget to throw in the 3G, WiFi and GPS to complete the rest of its specs. Both handsets are set for a debut this month in the UK, and will roll out in the rest of the world thereafter. Engadget already got a chance to get up-close and personal with these two new multimedia phones, and they’ve managed to included the long-overdue N96 in the process. So far, everything looks up to par, but one can’t help but notice how the N85 outshines the N96 thanks to its superior AMOLED display. A bit of a shame since the N96 is supposed to be the cream of the crop, but as a result of its prolonged release, current technology has caught up with its supposed cutting-edge features making it seem like an ordinary phone these days. Ironically, these two new phones are replacing what could be considered the contemporaries of the N96. Funny how long it took Nokia to finally release the N96. I guess that's probably why they didn’t waste too much time in announcing and releasing the N79 and N85. Lessons to be learned here folks.