It’s not the first time we’ve heard about Windows Mobile 6.5, and we know that it'll debut this year. However, based on the latest news, we can now look forward to the 3rd quarter as the period when we could see the first Windows Mobile 6.5-based devices come out. The much needed update to Microsoft’s aging mobile operating system is expected to be announced at the World Mobile Congress this February where further details about what enhancements it’ll come with should be disclosed as well. While the first batch of handset is expected to debut as early as the third quarter, the greater bulk of the phones that will be bundled with Windows Mobile 6.5 should arrive in the last quarter of this year. With Microsoft making the Beta version of Windows 7 available to the public this early and now a somewhat firm date on when Windows Mobile 6.5 will finally hit the market, it seems that Microsoft has finally decided to clean up their act for 2009. How competitive Windows Mobile 6.5 will be is still unknown, but if they remain true to their word, we should know the answer to that question before the year ends.
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If you've been out of the loop for the past couple of days, it might interest you to know that Microsoft has made available a public beta version of their upcoming operating system, Windows 7. You can download a copy by clicking here and installation is pretty easy. Just burn the Windows 7 image to a DVD, boot up from the DVD discand run the installation . However, if you're planning to dual boot Windows 7 on your Win XP/Vista machine, want to run it on a Mac, or on a netbook, Gizmodo has come out with a step-by-step guide on how to accomplish this with Windows 7. Just remember, the minimum system requirements include a 1GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB HDD space, support for DirectX9 wih 128MB memory for Aero features, DVD-RW/W drive and internet access. This beta trial version which will expire on August 1, 2009. Likewise, the Windows 7 beta version is only available for download until January 24th unless they decide to extend it. So, if you’re already raring to give Microsoft’s latest OS a try, then by all means download it now and tell us how it goes for you.
Asus can be credited for the huge success of netbooks in the market today thanks to their groundbreaking Eee PC laptop, and it seems that they’re once again poised to set a new trend this year with the unveiling of the Eee PC T91 and T101H. As their name implies, both new netbooks belong to the continuously growing Eee PC family, but unlike previous releases, these two feature a touchscreen display allowing it to function as a tablet PC as well. The T91 comes with an 8.9-inch display and an Intel Atom Z520 processor. The Eee PC T101H, on the other hand, comes with a bigger 10-inch screen and a new keyboard design that greatly resembles that of Apple’s Macbook laptops. Aside from the details mentioned above, further information regarding specifications and more importantly, price and availability were not disclosed just yet. Considering that Asus has decided to out not just one but two tablet netbooks this early on in the year, the question on my mind is; will tablet netbooks be the next big thing as far as netbooks are concerned? If these two pioneering models become successful when they're released, I have no doubt that tablet netbooks will indeed be the next phase in the continuing evolution of the netbook.
Sony has officially joined the netbook bandwagon with the announcement of the new Vaio P laptop. It sports an 8-inch display, Intel Atom Z530 1.33GHz processor, 2GB RAM, WiFi 802.11n, Bluetooth, 3G WWAN, GPS, webcam, Windows Vista OS, and 60GB HDD, 64GB SSD and 128GB SSD storage options. It also does away with the usual trackpad and features a pointer instead to save up on space. The Sony Vaio P also boasts of being the lightest netbook weighing only 1.4 lbs and has enough juice in its battery to last up to 4 hours which is still unheard of as far as 3-cell battery-running netbooks go. It’s expected to start shipping in February in 5 colored variants (garnet red, emerald green, onyx black, crystal white and classic black) with a starting price of $900. Here's a hands-on video showcasing the Sony Vaio P courtesy of Engadget. With such a steep price and awkward design, I doubt the Sony Vaio P will actually draw much attention from the usual netbook-buying public. I personally find an 8.9-inch display already too small, and I can’t even begin to image how people will get their work done on a smaller 8-inch display. Anyway, for what it’s worth, the Sony Vaio P is indeed a technological wonder cramming in all those features in an ultra-small form factor, but as far as practicality and functionality are concerned, it’s still got a lot of room for improvement.
While Vista may have been a bit too much of a memory hog for the popular ultra-portable laptop of today, it seems that Microsoft has decided to address this problem in their upcoming Windows 7 OS. Accepting the reality that netbooks are here to stay, Windows 7 has taken into account the existence of this segment in today's laptop market, and based on a test run of a beta version installed on an Asus EeePC 1000H, the company has done well to make it more netbook-friendly. With no apps running, Windows 7 manages to use 485MB of RAM which is a huge improvement as opposed to Vista. Now, if we only knew when to expect this new Windows OS, then we can really get excited about Windows 7, but unfortunately, it’s still anybody’s guess as to when it'll finally be ready to hit the market. Nevertheless, this gives netbook users a glimpse as to what they can expect if and when this new OS does become available. Hopefully, this won't also be a reason for manufacturers to ridiculously jack up the price of their new netbook offerings as well.
Those looking to juice out more performance out of thier MSI Wind netbook will be happy know that aside from adding RAM, you can now likewise overclock its processor beyond its normal rated speed. This is thanks to the latest BIOS v1.09 update released by for the Wind. With a simple press of the FN and F10 buttons, you can speed up performance speeds up by 8%, 15% or 24%. According to someone who has already tried this new BIOS out on the Wind, the update allows up to 30% added performance which will come in especially handy for processor intensive programs such as Photoshop and some games. With most netbooks featuring almost similar specs, this new BIOS update might just give the MSI Wind the upper hand in the fast growing netbook market. If you're already an MSI WInd owner, download the new BIOS here. For those of thinking of buying a netbook, this latest news might convince you to get the Wind as opposed to the other more affordabel options available.
There's no doubt that we the rise of netbook models flooding the market, the ultra-portable and affordable laptop industry is flourishing, but how well is it exactly doing? A recent study done by IDC took into account the combined sales in the European, Middle East and African market and found out that netbook sales made up 7% of total sales for laptops and desktops in the 3rd quarter of 2008. That's roughly 2 million units sold in those regions alone, with Asus and Acer bagging 80 % of units sold. Asus comes as no surprise since they practically gave birth to this new industry, but Acer's inclusion only goes to show how their positioning of the Aspire One, the inclusion of 3G capabilities and tie up with local telecoms in certain regions has led to their success. The IDC also predicts further growth in the market, and considering how the entire world is facing a global economic crisis, we believe in their prediction. As consumers become more wary of their expenses, the netbook is providing hopeful laptop owners with an affordable option that is capable of meeting the daily computing needs of the average user. With the findings of this study, manufacturers will now be more reassured that all their efforts are not going in vain. I guess it's also safe to assume that we can expect better and more affordable products in the months to come. I can't wait to find out what 2009 has to offer as far as the netbook industry is concerned.
While it's already confirmed that both Globe and Smart will offer the BlackBerry Bold in the local market, we have yet to receive news of when and if the touchscreen-equipped Storm will make it to Philippine shores. Now, to further complicate things for the frugal shopper, word on the net has it that RIM has a 5-megapixel camera phone and a successor to the Storm already in the works.
According to two independent sources, the 5-megapixel phone will feature an auto-focus camera, 1GB RAM and a "near HD quality" display. If everything goes according to plan, this will be the best imaging BlackBerry device to date. Design wise, it could look like a fusion between the Storm and the Bold which could mean a touchscreen phone that's equipped with QWERTY keypad. No details were divulged regarding the Storm 2, but we're guessing it's the one that will support 850MHz and 1900MHz 3G spectrum bands for use in more countries. So, with this bit of info regarding new and better BlackBerry devices in the pipeline already, are you still interested in getting the BlackBerry Bold when it comes out? Personally, I'd wait, but hey, in the world of gadgets and technology, everything will eventually become outdated anyway so it's really all up to you if you'd rather get what's available right now or wait for the next batch of device to come out first.
Everybody's been wondering when Flash will become available on the iPhone, and while speculation has been in the air for quite sometime now, it was just recently wherein everything was finally confirmed. Yes, Adobe does have intentions on releasing a Flash player for the iPhone, but as Jens Brynildsen, a Flash expert, reports, it's not up to Adobe on when to release it, but rather, Apple still has the final say on it:
"Upon a direct question from the audience, Paul Betlem for the first time publicly confirmed that Adobe is actively developing a Flash Player for Apple’s popular phone. He said (not direct quote) ‘My team is working on Flash on the iPhone, but it’s a closed platform.’ He noted that Apple makes all the decisions, so in other words, the ball is in Apple’s yard at this time. If Apple says yes, Adobe will have the player available in a very short time."Paul Betlem is Senior Director of Engeneering for Adobe Systems, and based on his revalation, it is all up to Apple when they will give the go signal for the Flash player to become available for the iPhone. Why the heistation on Apple's part? It could be in part on how Flash-based applications on the internet might rival existing apps offered in the App Store which might lower their income from their own revenue-generation feature. However, I personally don’t think that Flash will have any major effect in total app sales. On the contrary, if and when the iPhone becomes Flash-compatible, it will make the iPhone a more serious contender in the market. I'm just hoping that Apple also sees it this way so that Flash will finally make it to the iPhone.
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?