Lenovo and Skype Enter the Cellular Market

12 12 2008

Not much going on, so I thought I would just report a few small pieces of news. First of all, a mysterious picture showed up on the Web of an unknown Lenovo cellphone. I am a big fan of their laptops so this picture caught my attention. The phone will supposedly run on Android, which makes it the G2?


I am calling it the G2 because it will be the second Google phone, but from the looks of it, it cannot possibly have very much in common with the G1 or the HTC Dream, so to even put them in the same category is a little funny.

Absolutely nothing else is known about this device, but I say, if Lenovo is entering the cellular market, that means more players, cheaper prices, and better phones for us.

In other news, I do not usually take interest or post about these little cute inventions, but this just struck me as borderline genius, so I figured I would share it.

23441-450x-spycoinsYes, that would be a hollow coin, in which one can store/hide their Micro SD cards or any other really small memory card. I just thought that was really innovative and pretty cool.

Lastly, looks like Skype launched a beta version for Windows Mobile devices. Not sure what took so long, but I guess this is a good development. On the other hand, not sure why anyone would want to use this, with programs like Fring and others that include Skype, MSN Messenger, AIM, Gtalk and more, why would someone use an application that limits you to your Skype friends exclusively?



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Nokia: This is How it Starts

9 12 2008

There  is a picture of an unknown Nokia touch screen device floating around the Web.  The picture is actually taken from a Nokia presentation given in Nokia’s Capital Markets Day 2008, so you know it’s not fake. The phone looks pretty awesome, and I am hoping Nokia is really taking its gloves off and getting in the ring with Apple. The N97 is nice, there is no doubt, and the addition of a full QWERTY is a blessed one, but in terms of hardware, it does not compare with the iPhone. Very few phones do.

However, this new phone, pictured below, does compete, and in my opinion, blows the iPhone out of the water. It also looks like it offers some pretty cool features. Sorry there is no more information available yet, but knowing Nokia and the way they work, there will be an announcement soon. I hope.



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Walmart and G1 News Have Me Asking; “So What”?

8 12 2008


Just two quick updates that are apparently very big news in the cellular world. Walmart is officially going to be selling iPhones for Christmas and the unlocked G1 is now available for $399. I say apparently because I personally am not overly excited about either one of these developments.

Let’s start with the first one. Walmart is selling iPhones. Why is this big news? Walmart is the most popular retailer in the U.S and the iPhone is the most popular cellular device. So my only question is why did it take so long? Why is this a big piece of news? If the rumors were true and Walmart was going to offer a $99 iPhone, now that would be exciting.


On to the G1. Well, I was not overly excited about the HTC Dream from day one and this doesn’t change anything for me. I honestly would never consider buying the G1 in its current form factor. Maybe HTC and Google should put their thinking caps on and get things moving for the G2 and release it unlocked. Now that would be exciting.


Just to summarize, the only thing that would possibly make today’s news any more boring is if someone would release the news that Target is going to be selling RAZRs and that Motorola announced  a new phone.


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Steve Jobs vs. The Simpsons

8 12 2008

simpsons-mappleBy now, I am sure most of you have seen The Simpsons’ take on Apple and their products. If you haven’t, you can watch it here.

When I initially watched that episode of the Simpsons, I thought to myself, are Apple products really that exclusive and expensive? After all, the amazing iPhone is only $199, so what are they talking about? Well, I found myself an answer to that question when searching for a better pair of earphones for my iPod Touch. The ones they come with are just not what they should be for so many reasons, so I turned to Apple.com to see what else they offer.


Here is where I almost fell off my chair. A pair of in-ear headphones that have a simple mic and remote on the wire (the 2nd gen iPod Touch needs a mic to use apps like audio recorders and VOIP calling), will set me back, $80??!! OK that’s a little ridiculous if you ask me. I guess Lisa was right.

OK so Apple is a little exorbitant, but here is the catch, here is where Apple’s genius comes into the picture. These $80 earphones received amazing reviews from anyone and everyone who had a chance to review them. CNET, for example, concluded ” If you own a new iPod, the Apple In-Ear headphones are a great value. Owners of iPhones and older iPods will have to decide whether the mic and remote compatibility issues are worth overlooking for the substantial boost in sound quality”. So they charge a lot, but at least they back their prices up with great products.


The even bigger catch than these earphones being worthy of everyone’s praise, is the fact that even though the price is outrageous, I want them! Not only do I want them (I want that Bentley too), I am seriously considering purchasing them in the near future (let’s hope my wife doesn’t read this).

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Nimbuzz: The Ultimate IM App… Almost

7 12 2008

After hitting the 10,000 apps and 300,000,000 downloads mark (yes, there were 300 million downloads so far), you would think there would be at least one app in the app store that offers an instant messaging experience somewhat similar to the desktop one. Take Digsby, for example. Besides its lack of Skype support, it is a user friendly, clean and fun interface that offers all the functionality one needs in a messaging application on a PC. What about the iPhone? Does such an app exist?

Digsby's Different Skins

Digsby's Different Skins

There is definitely no shortage of messaging apps in the app store, I wouldn’t even say there was a shortage of free ones. There is however, a very severe shortage of IM apps that offer it all, until now. Let me explain.

The available free IM apps include Fring, IM+, Palringo,  AIM, Facebook, and Nimbuzz. Out of all of those apps, there is only one that offers all the needed capabilities of a good IM app.


So what does one need in an IM app to make it good? Here is a little list:

  • Multi Platform Support: I need it to support AIM, MSN, GTalk, Yahoo, Facebook, and Skype.
  • Landscape Keyboard: So much easier to type on.
  • VOIP: It needs to not only support Skype, MSN, or GTalk chat, but why not take advantage of their VOIP capabilities as well?
  • Separate Buddy Lists: I want to see my contacts separated by network and not all on one very long list.
  • Easy to navigate interface: It has to be user friendly to be an app I would consider using.

OK so that is a short list of characteristics I am looking for in an IM app.

There is only one app that I have found to offer pretty much everything in that list; Nimbuzz.


Nimbuzz is a great app I discovered recently, after using Fring, IM+, and Palringo for a few weeks, and Nimbuzz has em all beat. It is not perfect yet, as there seems to be some buginess with Facebook chat sometimes working and sometimes not. I also occasionally get an AIM error that too many people are signing on at the same time, but it eventually signs me in.

Another issue I have with Nimbuzz is the login takes a little too long for my liking, but given all it offers, that is something I can deal with. I am really liking the quality of the audio when using the VOIP functionality via Skype, GTalk, or MSN, it is leagues above Fring or Truphone. The email integration is a little unclear to me, it notifies me when I have a new email in my Gmail account, but I cannot access the new message. Not getting that.

To sum up, I am really looking forward to the next Nimbuzz release, hopefully they’ll fix the minor issues and make this one of the most feature packed, fun to use apps in the app store. For me, Nimbuzz gets a 4.5/5. I am liking it.



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Best iPhone/iPod Touch Apps

3 12 2008

iphone-app-store2Apple recently passed the 10,000 apps downloaded from the App Store, which led them to the decision that releasing the stats about the most downloaded apps is a good idea. The apps are split up into categories including Top Paid Apps, Top Free Apps, Top Games (free and paid), Top Social Networking Apps, and many more. You can read the full breakdown here.

I was not really surprised by any of the apps on the list, I already had most of them, which leads me to the topic I want to write about, my apps.

I am not going to write about the useless and ridiculous apps that are on my iPod like Bubble Snap or istethescope, not to in any way detract from the huge amount of entertainment they provide, but I will focus more on the great utilities and games that I think you will enjoy. So let’s get started.

Scramboni: I just found this game last night and I have to say this game is almost as addictive as Labyrinth. It is definitely more sophisticated. It basically presents you with scrambled words that you need to unscramble in 30 seconds. Your contenders are people from all around the globe so you need Web access (Wifi, Edge, or 3G) to play. Based on the level you choose, you are presented with words of different levels of difficulty and receive points accordingly. Great game. I give it a 4/5.


AppVee: A very useful app that gives you information on new and popular apps in the app store. Its added value is that it provides a video presentation of each app. I am actually surprised Apple did not implement this in the App Store. I actually found Scramboni using AppVee, so just for that, it deserves a 5/5.

Google Mobile App: I am very disappointed in this app. It generated lots of hype and it just does not do it for me. It might have if the voice search feature was implemented in the iPod Touch, but Google disabled it for some odd reason. Other than that, I would appreciate it if anyone would tell me why one would use this app as opposed to using the built in Google search bar in Safari. I would say 2/5, unless I am missing something.

cooliris: I am not sure what I think of this app yet. I mean it is a very cool concept to display news items as a 3D wall of thumbnails.  I have yet to find a use for this app, I guess if you are a news enthusiast, you can just scroll through the wall and read news items. OK, I guess it is pretty cool. There is also a search function that allows you to search various sites and the app displays the results as thumbnails on the wall. For me this app gets a 3/5.


Joost: Joost was one of those companies that when it came out, people thought was going to be the next huge thing. Then came Hulu, which outdid Joost in every category and really did become the next big thing. Until now, that is. Joost’s iPhone app basically gives you TV service and access to many many channels, categories, and specific videos on your iPhone and iPod Touch. There are 46,000 videos on Joost now and the inventory is only getting bigger. The app is a great idea, no question about that, the only problem is, there are still a few quirks that need to be worked out. I give it a 4/5.


Remote: A very cool app made by this small company called Apple inc. This app allows you to control your iTunes library and Apple TV from your iPhone or iPod Touch. Yea, that is pretty much it, but I have to admit, it does it really well, and really impressed me. I give it a 4/5, after all, I cannot really think why someone would need to do this. OK the Apple TV I get, but who has an Apple TV?

I am going to conclude this post with one app that really blew my mind, and I would very much appreciate if someone explained to me how this app works.

midomi: This app is simply amazing. You can search  for any song by typing the name of a song, at which point you are presented with a few options. After you choose the desired song, you can hear a preview of the song, and then quickly download it from iTunes. No big deal, right? Wait! You can also say the name of the song and the same thing happens, but here is the cool part. Hum a part of the song into your mic and it will detect the melody and give you the results. Gets even cooler, simply put your mic near a radio or any audio output of the desired song and it will tell you the song details. Every search, whether typed, hummed, spoken, or grabbed gives you all the information about the song and allows you to quickly download it to iTunes. The app works flawlessly and is one of the most innovative apps I have used so far. This is the kinda app that I would pay for, if it wasn’t free that is. I give this app a 5/5, and if I could, I would give it a 6/5. Check out the video below, it is amazing.


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More Details About the N97

2 12 2008


As more details emerge about this cellular giant, I found myself wanting to keep adding to the last post, so instead I figured I would just post again about the N97.


The N97 will be the first high-end device powered by the latest touchscreen Symbian S60 OS and will include goodies missing from other high end devices, such as a 3.5mm headphones jack (cough cough, G1), full QWERTY (cough cough iPhone and HD), stereo bluetooth (cough cough iPhone, OK I think you get the coughing thing), an FM radio, Nokia Maps enabled by touch, a digital compass (similar to the G1 I am guessing), an accelerometer,  and a proximity sensor so the screen turns of during calls.


Usually, when a new phone is announced, my first instinct is to try and determine what it is missing. WiFI, 3G, good camera?


The N97, as far as I can tell, is not missing anything. Who said there is no such thing as a perfect phone?

That's the iPhone 3G on the Left

That is the iPhone 3G on the Left

I think it is safe to say that until someone invents some sort of new technology for cellphones, the N97 will remain on top.


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