Monday, July 30, 2007

The Asus Eee and Wireless Email

From Asus Eee News, Mods and Hacks -

ccording to Om Malik, he checks his email on his iPhone-Nokia E61i-Blackberry while in the bathroom, crossing the street and during dinner at a busy restaurant. And he is not alone in his email obsession.

An AOL survey shows that checking email on the portable devices has doubled since 2004. Americans who carry a mobile email device have some really strange addictions:

* 59% are checking email in bed
* 53% in the bathroom
* 37% are checking email while they drive.
* 43% check their email first thing in the morning.
* 40% have checked their email in the middle of the night.
* 83% have checked their email while on vacation.
* An average email user checks mail about five times a day.

With so many users requiring just about 24/7 access to email wherever they are, it is little wonder the global market for wireless email is projected by Palo Alto-based research firm The Radicati Group to grow from US$6 billion in 2007 to nearly US$25 billion in 2011.


To date, the dominant player in wireless email has been RIM, whose Blackberry was the first device to enable users to check their email effortlessly while mobile. Their handsets resemble mobile phones and PDAs and are just as easy to use. However the service is not free and is often bundled with mobile phone service operators' subscriptions.

While the Blackberry supports email attachments, viewing these can be a pain with the limited small screen. Editing, if possible, is even more tedious.

Now here comes the Asus Eee. It is actually small and light enough to toss into large ladies' bags, trendy messenger bags, or students' backpacks. Meaning it is likely to be carried around by users. Well, not exactly the way they would bring a mobile phone along without thinking twice. But at a price point that is actually cheaper than most smartphones, chances are if the user usually totes a bag, the Asus Eee will be inside.

While the Asus Eee, with its projected 15 second boot-up time, does not offer the always-on convenience of the Blackberry, coupled with Wifi, it clearly can be used to do email. So what if I have to wait a few seconds longer to access my email? If I have a few minutes to kill and I have access to free WiFi, the extra seconds won't hurt. Moreover, the Asus Eee might even have a hibernate mode that will reduce the boot-up time even further.

Of course, the Asus Eee obviously does not provide as smooth a user experience for email as the Blackberry does. But it clearly provides a very interesting alternative - and a free one at that. It even allows for more efficient viewing and editing of attachments.

With services like Mobigram and Muztah popping up that offer free international text messaging on mobile phones/handsets via WiFi, 3G and GPRS, suddenly international communications have become extremely affordable - as in free (well assuming the WiFi service used is free). Use the mobile phone to text short messages via Mobigram or Muztah, use the Asus Eee for longer email messages, especially those with attachments. Of course, for some users, the Asus Eee can arguably replace mobile phones, what with its ability to do IM and VoIP. But that's for another post.

Follow Up on Medison Celebrity's US$150 Laptop

The backlash on Medison Celebrity's incredible US$150 notebook offering has intensified with readers after readers posting precautionary warnings in popular forums and sites such as Gizmodo, Engadget, and Slashdot.

One blog was even specifically created to expose the alleged scam. Named Medison Scam, it attempts to disproves countless claims on the Medison Celebrity's website with detailed explanations and facts. If anything, it provides a lot of interesting information.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Social Networks - the new email for teenagers

According to a CNET article by Stefanie Olsen, teenagers today message each other not by email but via texting and social networks such as MySpace and Facebook. They only use email when communicating professionally or with adults.

While email has remained the choice for corporate communications despite the annoyance of spam, the increasing popularity of IM, VoIP, and text messaging have given rise to alternate services. Of all, social networks appear to be the most potent. With tens of millions of members, the two leading networks, MySpace and Facebook, wield great influence over a generation living online, either through the cell phone or the Internet. And just as IM is being replaced by text messaging, social networks are replacing email for communicating with friends.

More and more, social networks are playing a bigger role on the cell phone. In the last six to nine months, American teens have taken to text messaging in numbers that rival usage in Europe and Asia. According to Jupiter Research, 80% of American teens with cell phones regularly use text messaging.

Still, the age group is a fickle bunch. They're constantly looking for the next, new thing to stay current with friends; and they often use different social networks and tools to keep up with different sets of people. They are often on lots of sites and picking and choosing activities from each one, concerned that if they subscribe to only one social network it would mean losing out on friendships with people who are active in other rival social networks.

The two major social networks don't interoperate, leaving an opportunity for a new social network that could act as an intermediary to aggregate friends in one place much the way Trillian did for IM applications like Yahoo and AOL.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Top 10 Unofficial Gmail Apps and Add-ons


Gmail's huge success owes itself in large part to the wide range of applications, browser add-ons, styles, scripts and bookmarklets that work with it. From the get-go Google's stayed out of developers' way and turned a blind eye to unofficial Gmail add-ons, even ones that may very well violate its terms of service. But Google's high tolerance for third-party apps have only helped Gmail win the hearts of power users and tweakers everywhere and countless apps have been released since then.

The popular Lifehacker site recently listed the top unofficial ten apps here.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Google Readies $4.6 Billion To Enter Wireless

July 20, 2007 12:40PM -Google has allocated $4.6 billion for the upcoming auction of wireless spectrum in the 700 MHz band, putting it in direct competition with AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and others. The company says that its participation in the auction depends on the FCC adopting "open access" to the spectrum, a notion strongly opposed by several telcos.

Open access, according to its proponents, could mean that you buy a cell phone, load any software Relevant Products/Services you want on it, and then choose your carrier. This is different from the current system of "locked" cell phones in the U.S., where you get your phone and services from the carrier.

More at NewsFactor Network.

$298 Wal-Mart PC features, bloat

July 18, 2007 - 05:00PM CT. Wal-Mart has begun selling desktop Everex IMPACT GC3502 for only $299. It comes with Windows Vista Home Basic and 2.2 installed on a system that includes a 1.5GHz VIA C7 CPU, 1GB of DDR-2 SDRAM, an 80GB hard drive, a DVD burner, and integrated graphics, as well as a keyboard, mouse, and speakers.

Cost aside, the two centerpieces of the Everex are the inclusion of 2.2 and the absence of bloatware typically bundled with low-cost PCs.

While the price may be right for budget-conscious shoppers, the replacement of familiar brands like Intel, AMD, and Microsoft with VIA and may give some would-be buyers pause. And as the price and specs indicate, the machine is going to find itself on the very low end of the performance spectrum. That said, for basic word processing, e-mailing, listening to music, watching video, and web surfing, the machine should be adequate, and Windows Vista Home Basic doesn't have the graphical overhead of the other versions.

Full details at ars technica.

Multi-gigabit wireless "within three years"

Thu, 2007-07-19 15:21 -Multi-gigabit wireless technology using extremely high radio frequencies (RF) to achieve broad bandwidth and high data transmission rates over short distances will be ready within three years making wired computers and peripherals obsolete, a team of Georgia Tech scientists announced today.

Scientists at the institute's Georgia Electronic Design Center (GEDC) are confident the approach could result in a range of personal area network (PAN) applications, including next generation home multimedia and wireless data connections able to transfer an entire DVD in seconds.

The research focuses on RF frequencies around the currently unlicenced free-for-all 60 gigahertz (GHz) range.

GEDC team have already achieved wireless data-transfer rates of 15 gigabits per second (Gbps) at a distance of 1 meter, 10 Gbps at 2 meters and 5 Gbps at 5 meters.

Full details at Press Esc.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

EU Backs Nokia-Led Mobile TV Standard

July 18, 2007 -BRUSSELS - The European Commission backed a Nokia-led mobile television broadcasting standard in a move that could spur growth in the fledgling but potentially lucrative sector.

The lack of a single technology has held back wider take-up for television on cellphones and the EU's support for digital video broadcast handheld (DVB-H) could be the decisive factor in the battle to establish a global standard.

The European Union executive made GSM (global system for mobile communication) mandatory as a cell phone standard in the 1990s, opening the door for rapid growth in that sector in Europe. GSM is now the standard in many non-EU countries.

The choice is a blow for Qualcomm and South Korean vendors which have promoted their own technologies. So far only DVB-H has a global presence, while South Korea, Japan, the United States and China are embracing local rivals. Some of the other technologies are also making a play for the global market, preventing services being offered worldwide under a single standard.

Commercial DVB-H broadcasts have started in India and Vietnam, in addition to some European countries, while Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia are to open networks this year.

More details at Extremetech.

Fujitsu Unveils World's Slimmest Waterproof Phone


Fujitsu has unveiled the world's slimmest waterproof phone, the F704i. It's an updated version of the F703, which is yet another excuse for a cute Japanese girl to wear a bathing suit and hold a phone. At a mere 1.8mm thick, it is able to survive under a few feet of water for up to a half hour. Other features include a music player, MicroSD card slot, 3G, 1.3-megapixel camera with image stabilization.

Details at Gizmodo.

Hong Kong MTR To Get WiFi’d Up


Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway through PCCW will start offering WiFi inside the trains themselves around Hong Kong very soon.

The service will first be introduced in station concourses and on platforms this summer, with trains the next step.Connection speed will be 54 megabits per second, fast enough to watch videos on the internet. It will cost HK$20 a day for unlimited access.

Details at Butterboom.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Microsoft To Buy Facebook For $6 Billion?

From InsideMicrosoft -

Rumor is that Microsoft is looking to close a deal to buy Facebook for $6 billion dollars as Steve Ballmer is desperately trying to make a big splash play to counter Google in the internet game.

Facebook actually fits into Microsoft’s portfolio, since the latter doesn’t have a social network. What Microsoft does have is Windows Live Spaces, a blogging service and the two should complement each other.

Ballmer arguably should be willing to go as high as ten billion, since Facebook can make their Google competitor reality. If Facebook makes Windows Live work, they may see a billion dollars a quarter in revenue, more if they reach Yahoo levels. That six billion could be earned back real fast.

Sigbritt, 75, has world's fastest broadband

From The Local (Sweden) 12th July 2007 11:07 CET -

A 75 year old woman from Karlstad in central Sweden has been thrust into the IT history books - with the world's fastest internet connection.

Sigbritt Löthberg's home has been supplied with a blistering 40 Gigabits per second connection, many thousands of times faster than the average residential link and the first time ever that a home user has experienced such a high speed.
Related Articles

But Sigbritt, who had never had a computer until now, is no ordinary 75 year old. She is the mother of Swedish internet legend Peter Löthberg who, along with Karlstad Stadsnät, the local council's network arm, has arranged the connection.

Sigbritt will now be able to enjoy 1,500 high definition HDTV channels simultaneously. Or, if there is nothing worth watching there, she will be able to download a full high definition DVD in just two seconds.

The secret behind Sigbritt's ultra-fast connection is a new modulation technique which allows data to be transferred directly between two routers up to 2,000 kilometres apart, with no intermediary transponders.

According to Karlstad Stadsnät the distance is, in theory, unlimited - there is no data loss as long as the fibre is in place.

Intel, `$100 Laptop' Project Make Peace

After an initial lashing at Intel for coming out with its Classmate PCs, OLPC proponent Negroponte appears to have make peace with the company, as reported in an AP story dated Jul 13, 4:34 PM EDT and posted at Wired -

As Nicholas Negroponte stormed the developing world trying to drum up buyers for the innovative $175 computers designed by his One Laptop Per Child education nonprofit, he encountered a persistent obstacle: competition from Intel.

Intel's chair Craig Barrett had derided Negroponte's machines as mere gadgets. And Intel was signing up international governments for its own little "Classmate" PCs, which follow more conventional computing designs than OLPC's radical "XO" computers.

Negroponte was suspicious of Intel's motives, since the XO runs on processors from Intel's fiercest rival, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Negroponte said Intel had hurt his mission and "should be ashamed of itself."

But in recent weeks, Negroponte and Intel CEO Paul Otellini began peace talks and on Friday, the two sides annnounced Intel will join OLPC's board and contribute money and technical expertise to the project.

Intel will continue to sell the Classmate, which has fallen in price to the low $200s, attracting buyers in Pakistan, Brazil, Mexico and Nigeria. OLPC still hopes its machines reach schools in several countries this fall. But now, Intel and OLPC might seek ways to package their computers together. OLPC also expects help from Intel in their efforts to perfect the XO machines - and get their cost closer to the originally stated goal of $100.

The initial wave of XO computers will still use processors from AMD which has been a major partner, along with such other big names as Google Inc., News Corp. and Red Hat Inc. But without a doubt, Intel would love to oust AMD as the processor supplier. After all, that is Intel's core business - not selling little computers.

Several countries have expressed interest in the $175 XOs, but OLPC has backed away from predicting which governments will be first to officially sign contracts to buy the machines. The project needs orders for 3 million laptops before its low-cost supply chain kicks into action.

One possible selling point for the Classmate is that it can run a version of Microsoft Windows in addition to the open-source Linux. XOs use a homegrown, open-source setup uses a new approach designed to be intuitive to children.

Microsoft has been working to get Windows to run on XOs. But it still doesn't appear that will be ready soon. The main reason is that it is hard to tweak Windows so it can interact with the nonstandard XOs.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Will Mobile WiMAX Crack Fortress Europe?

From Businessweek July 11, 2007, 12:32PM EST -

For the past 15 years, American firms Intel and Microsoft have been largely shut out of the European-dominated mobile phone industry. Not that they haven't tried—Intel made processors and memory for handsets and Microsoft have been pushing Windows Mobile. But the business was still largely controlled by telecom companies such as Nokia, Ericsson, and Vodafone.

Now, with the pending arrival of Mobile WiMAX, the U.S. crowd stands its best chance in years at knocking down Fortress Europe. A kind of Wi-Fi on steroids, Mobile WiMAX delivers data at speeds comparable to conventional third-generation (3G) mobiles but promises to be cheaper to implement because it uses newer, more efficient technology.

More importantly, because it's based on Internet protocols, WiMAX lets carriers offer a single data service—akin to wireless DSL—that can carry any kind of traffic, from voice calls to Web surfing to video. That's a significant advantage over the separate voice and data services now delivered by mobile operators. WiMax allows service providers to become full telcos.

The implications for Europe's existing mobile players are enormous. Operators who have sunk billions into 3G spectrum licenses and speedy new networks will likely face significant competition from new entrants, including fixed-line telcos such as Britain's BT Group that could add WiMAX services and compete with mobile carriers. Already 345 operators around the world—including 57 in Eastern Europe alone—either have acquired WiMAX licenses, launched trials, or begun commercial services.

Nokia, Motorola, and Samsung all have said they will make a WiMAX-compatible handset by 2008. The market for WiMAX-enabled devices could amount to $4.7 billion in 2012.

Equipment makers Alcatel Lucent, Nortel , and Nokia Siemens Networks have also committed to delivering mobile WiMAX gear. But the industry's No. 1 seller of wireless networks, Ericsson, is skipping WiMAX entirely and betting its whole future on 3G and telecom-style successors.

The biggest potential opportunity lies for companies like Intel that have ached for years to get a piece of the mobile action. The chip giant is aiming for a repeat of its success in driving adoption of Wi-Fi: Starting next year, it will build support for Mobile WiMAX directly into computer chipsets used in PCs and laptops. And to seed the market, Intel also is tossing hundreds of millions of dollars into wireless operators that are building WiMAX networks to compete with conventional cellular operators.

Among the most prominent: A $600 million investment in Seattle-based Clearwire which already holds the No. 2 position in WiMAX frequencies in the U.S. after Sprint Nextel, and now has snapped up WiMAX spectrum rights in Germany, Spain, Belgium, Ireland, Poland, and Romania. If Clearwire blankets Europe with WiMAX service, it could become the Vodafone of wireless data.

Intel also has invested in Britain's Pipex Wireless and Heidelberg-based Deustche Breitband Dienste, which is spending $1.3 billion on a nationwide German WiMAX network.

The opportunities for WiMAX are likely even greater in emerging economies, where the existing infrastructure of wired broadband service and 3G mobile isn't as well developed. Russian telecom provider Synterra said it had awarded a contract of undisclosed value to Alcatel Lucent to build a mobile WiMAX network covering more than 1,000 Russian cities and towns by the end of next year.

The role of governments in awarding wireless licenses highlights an important caveat. In the end, analysts say, the question of whether 3G or WiMAX wins out over the long term—or indeed, whether they peacefully coexist—will come down to spectrum allocation and license fees.

In Britain, for instance, U.K. Broadband, owned by Hong Kong-based PCCW, has asked communications regulator Ofcom to let it bid for a swath of spectrum near the 2.6 GHz frequency band that's currently set aside for future evolution of 3G. If U.K. Broadband wins, it could signal an end to a policy of mandating that certain frequencies be used only for particular technologies.

Similarly, a group of European leaders meeting in Gothenberg, Sweden, this week is weighing how to reallocate the analog TV spectrum that will be taken out of service after digital TV catches on. If regulators sanction the use of the 500 MHz and 800 MHZ frequencies currently used by analog TV in Europe for WiMAX, it would be a big boost for emerging operators. Lower frequencies allow for greater coverage at less cost, thus lowering the barriers to entry, says CCS Insight. But if traditional mobile operators grab the frequencies to improve their 3G coverage, it'll take a bite out of WiMAX's opportunity.

So it goes in the high-stakes race for the future of European wireless. The incumbents are hoping for regulations that keep them in the driver's seat. And the American interlopers are waiting for a crack to open in the walls of Fortress Europe.

DIY Linux Mobile Phone

From LinuxDevices July 11, 2007 -

Linux-based SBC vendor Gumstix will soon begin accepting pre-orders for cellular networking and GPS daughtercards. Its Goliath daughtercards target remote data applications such as fleet tracking, as well as "hobbyists who want to build their own phone.

Gumstix Verdex with Bluetooth, top and bottom

The Goliath daughtercards will work with Gumstix's Verdex (pictured at right), a minuscule SBC about the size and shape of a stick of chewing gum. The Verdex is powered by an Intel PXA270 SoC (system-on-chip) -- probably the most popular mobile phone processor in today's crop of Linux-baed mobile phones.

Two Goliath models will be offered initially: the Goliath-vx, which implements GPRS/EDGE functions based on a Siemens MC75 wireless module; and the Goliath-GPS-vx, which adds a u-blox Neo-4S GPS module, both pictured below.

Additionally, Gumstix will offer a 4.3-inch LCD module based on a Samsung LCD. The LCD module will measure 4.2 x 2.6 inches (106 x 67 mm) -- the same dimensions as the Goliath boards, according to the company.

Both Goliath modules will interface with the Verdex SBC via full-speed (12Mbps) USB, with GPRS signals redundantly routed to a serial interface. Additionally, both daughtercards will integrate a USB hub controller, enabling one off-board and all on-board Goliath USB devices to be simultaneously usable by the Verdex board.


Gumstix plans to ship the Goliath-vx and Goliath-GPS-vx in volume in "late July." It will begin accepting pre-orders through its online store on July 16, it said.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Samsung Youtube Phone SGH-L760

From I4U News Tue, 10 Jul 2007 05:30:00 CDT -

Samsung Youtube Phone SGH-L760
Hi-Res Photo Gallery

Samsung is introducing a Youtube enabled mobile phone for the European market. The SGH-L760 is a 3G phone lets you upload video recorded with the phone's camera directly to Youtube, uBlog and Buzznet.

The phone features a 2MP video camera, TFT screen with 176 x 200 pixel resolution, FM radio, Bluetooth, MP3 player, web browser, RSS reader and microSD card. Dimensions are 100 x 47 x 15mm.

Samsung will release the SGH-L760 Youtube phone still this month in Germany and other European countries. Carrier O2 will offer the SGH-L760 in Germany.

Ultra-thin and ulra-light notebook coming before the end of the year - sources

From MacScoop July 10th, 2007 04:18:26 PM -

Apple is headed towards the release of a notebook that is so small and light that it could redefine the standards of ultra-portable computing.

The new notebook is likely to complete the MacBook Pro line-up with a smaller version featuring a 12" display — a form factor that was formerly used on the PowerBooks' entry-level but was discontinued when the line-up made the switch to the Intel architecture in 2006.

Compared to the original 12 inch PowerBook, which is Apple's smallest notebook released so far, the new notebook is said to be half as thick, or something between 0.6 and 0.7 inch (15 to 18 mm). It will also be, by far, the lightest computer Apple ever released, or less than 3 pounds (<1.36kg).

Mock-up below is based on the 12" PowerBook advertising material.

ultra-thin Apple notebook

The $300 Linux-Powered 'iPhone Killer' Arrives

From Wired Blog, July 09, 2007 | 1:41:33 PM -

Ficneo1973_small After seemingly endless delays, the OpenMoko phone is here. The first version of the unlocked Linux-based NEO 1973 mobile phone is available for purchase from It's not as jaw-droppingly pretty as the iPhone, but it shares a design philosophy -- no buttons, just a screen -- and it's ready to be loaded with any number of open-source software applications.

The base NEO sells for $300. It has a 2.8" VGA touch screen, a micro SD card slot, a USB port and 2.5G GSM quad band capability.

Keep in mind that this unit was pushed out early so developers could begin writing device drivers, custom GUIs and some cool apps for the phone. The next revision, which will be available starting at $450 in October, will be ready for the mass market. It will have WiFi, 3-D motion sensors and added graphics accelerators. So this phone isn't exactly an iPhone killer -- the next one will be a contender.

When it comes to devices, more choice is almost always "a good thing." But will consumers respond to the NEO? Developers are going to dig this phone. But what's more important to consumers -- a super-sexy status item that's locked to one carrier and one set of functions, or a less sexy look-alike with a fully free and open software system?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Trillian Astra chat / IM software for iPhone

From the Cerulean Studios' blog -

This week was pretty slow at Cerulean Island. July 4th came mid-week, and we decided to put out a quick build on Monday to address some important bugs that would have negatively impacted some of the new alpha testing team’s first impressions. This, unfortunately, didn’t leave us with an incredible amount of time to work on new features and bugs.

Instead, we decided to add roughly 3000 new testers to the team, our largest expansion yet! This aggressive headcount increase was due in part to the launch of our upgraded fleet of shiny Astra servers on the backend - as we’ve been repeating all along, we’re putting alot of effort and focus into ensuring that the servers can support the load of our entire userbase once we launch. One of the unique challenges we face with Trillian Astra is that once we hit the switch, we need to support a large number of concurrent connections to our backend very quickly. As anyone who has done serious server development can tell you, this isn’t the easiest thing in the world.

Given our limited development time, we decided to take a small break from our standard development roadmap. It was important for us to continuously watch the servers, add new testers, and make the small changes we noticed necessary as they cropped up throughout the week.

Ultimately, we ended up finding some time to work on some “alternative” interfaces to connect to the servers of Trillian Astra. We think some of you might have a unique need for this one…

Trillian for iPhone (thumbnail)

Currently the contact list and message windows are up and running. You can see the status of your contacts they update. You can send and receive messages in real-time, as long as your browser window is open. There is no need to move Windows around on the phone, as everything is compact and fit tight to the screen. This beauty is completed with a smooth and true-to-the-pixel user interface done right. This interface of Trillian Astra is designed for iPhone; it doesn’t just “happen to work” with it.

Friday, July 6, 2007

South Koreans Connect Through Search Engine

From New York Times -

SEOUL, South Korea July 4, 2007 — Park Hye Ran, a 15-year-old high school student, wanted to know the shortest route from a bus terminal in the southern port city of Busan to a fish market to the east.

That is precisely the kind of question that Cho In Joon, 50, a seller of lottery tickets in Busan, loves to answer.

Sitting at a computer installed at his street kiosk, Mr. Cho posted a reply for Ms. Park — and for other users who might one day ask the same question — with instructions on where she should switch trains, which station exit she should take and how long it would take to walk from there to the market. He even attached a map of the market area.

Thanks to tens of thousands of other volunteer respondents, Web users in Korea seldom Google anything. They “Naver” it.

Tapping a South Korean inclination to help one another on the Web has made the undisputed leader of Internet search in the country. It handles more than 77% of all Web searches originating in South Korea, thanks largely to content generated by users, free of charge., another South Korean search portal, comes in second with a 10.8% share, followed by Yahoo's Korean-language service with 4.4%.

Google, the top search engine in the world, barely registers in the country’s online consciousness, handling just 1.7% of South Korean Web searchesl

HTC Omni

From the::unwired comes this post regarding information on the forthcoming HTC Omni. According the leaked details and specs, the device looks indeed impressive and if the info turns out to be true, it's really the legitimate follower of the HTC Universal. Release date is planned for October:

Feature Highlights:

  • Windows Mobile 6.0 OS
  • Samsung SC244X at 400 MHz and Qualcomm MSM 7200
  • WiFi b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • WVGA 4" 800 x 480 main display with sub-display
  • TV and VGA out
  • 256 MB ROM, 128 MB RAM and microSD memory card slot
  • Full QWERTY keyboard
  • Dimensions: 130 x 81 x 16 mm

Maverick Systems' First Portable Gateway, Super Router

From Gizmodo -

Japan-based Maverick Systems has just announced their development of the world's first portable wireless internet gateway.

A USB card/device, the gateway functions much like a wireless router. But it can support up to 32 simultaneous connections, meaning that pending your base computer finding a proper bandwidth connection, it could supply a 32-person hotspot in a quasi-mobile operation. Or better yet, using a WiFi hotspot, you could extend said hotspot to your friends sitting at a cheaper cafe across the street.

iPhone Adobe Flash Support Coming


According Gizmodo, reviewer Walter Mossberg, Adobe Flash is rumored to be coming to the iPhone. So was the original exclusion a technical decision or a business decision?

Apple had originally announced YouTube support but then suggested that only those videos that had been rolled over to the Apple-favored H.264 codec. While arguably a technical hurdle, the iPhone's ARM processor has sufficient power to use the approach taken by Archos' demonstrated Wi-Fi media player that could easily browse YouTube, and queue up any video on the site, using an Opera browser with Flash plug-in.

Or was a Flash-friendly iPhone not sufficient leverage to convince Google to adopt the codec crucial to the YouTubin' success of the browserless Apple TV platform. By giving YouTube special favoritism in the iPhone launch, Apple got Google to do its codec swaperoo. But users (and developers) have demanded more, because this isn't just about YouTube. People want Flash for non video stuff, too, such as site menus and games.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

OpenMoko's Neo 1973 Open-Source Smartphone Ships In October at $450 to $600

From Gizmodo -


The world's first open-sourced Linux GSM mobile phone known as the FIC/OpenMoko Neo 1973. It will be ready for customers in October, in two configuration, the USD450 Neo Base and the USD600 Neo Advanced.

Original Specifications:

• 120.7 x 62 x 18.5 (mm)
• 2.8" VGA (480x640) TFT Screen
• Samsung s3c2410 SoC @ 266 MHz
• Global Locate AGPS chip
• Ti GPRS (2.5G not EDGE)
• Unpowered USB 1.1
• Touchscreen
• MicroSD slot
• 2.5mm audio jack
• 2 additional buttons
• 1200 mAh battery (charged over USB)
• 128 MB SDRAM
• 64 MB NAND Flash
• Bluetooth (2.0)

Updated Specs

* 802.11 b/g WiFi
* Samsung 2442 SoC
* SMedia 3362 Graphics Accelerator
* 2 3D Accelerometers
* 256MB Flash

Developer kits will be available starting July 9 and will include -

Neo Base ($300)

• Neo 1973 (GTA01B_v4)
• Battery

• Stylus
• Headset• AC Charger
• Phone Pouch
• Lanyard
• SanDisk 512MB MicroSD Card
• Mini USB Connectivity Cable

Neo Advanced ($450)

• Neo 1973 (GTA01B_v4)
• Battery (2x)
• Stylus
• Headset
• AC Charger
• Phone Pouch
• Lanyard• SanDisk 512MB MicroSD Card (2x)
• Mini USB Connectivity Cable (2x)
• USB Host Mode Cable
• Debug Flex Cable
• Debug Board v2 (JTAG and serial console)
• Ruggedized Toolbox with shoulder strap
• Guitar Pick (for opening case)
• Torx T6 screwdriver

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Using Gmail as Online Drive

From Asus Eee News, Mods, and Hacks -

A rather old trick but one that may prove useful with the Asus Eee is using your Gmail account(s) as an on-line hard drive for your notebook. Details can be found at Bleeping Computer.


Actually the trick works for generally any computer running Windows.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Nokia Touchscreen Phones to Add Tactile Feedback

From Extremetech -

Nokia has licensed the right to use Immersion's VibeTonz Mobile Player technology in any of its mobile devices sold worldwide. Immersion said it will begin supplying the VibeTonz software developer's kit (SDK) to Nokia's developer community starting this month. In turn, that community will be able to create downloadable applications and future content for VibeTonz-enabled cell phones.

According to Immersion the system can provide tactile cues for mobile touch screen interfaces, as well as be used for mobile games with touch feedback. It is currently used in more than 4 million LG and Samsung phones worldwide.

With Apple's iPhone leading a new wave of touch-sensitive phones, industry analysts are predicting optical sensors and touch will be the next big things.

The tactile cues are obviously intended to provide as close a simulation to the user experience of typing on standard mobile keypads. But without a base reference like the protrusions on the F and J keys on QWERTY keyboards and on the 5 key on standard mobile keypads, how will users be able to touch type on touch screens when entering SMS messages?

Google Purchases Web Phone Service

From The New York Times -

Google has GrandCentral Communications, a Fremont, CA-based service that lets people use a single number for all their phones. Its users can also create a single mailbox, accessible over the Internet, for all their phone messages.

GrandCentral was founded in 2005 by Craig Walker and Vincent Paquet, two executives who worked for Dialpad Communications, a Web phone company that was acquired by Yahoo in 2005.

GrandCentral’s investors include Minor Ventures, a San Francisco venture capital firm. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

Rival Manufacturers Chasing the iPhone

From The New York Times -

Now that analysts and industry executives are getting their first good look at the iPhone, many are concerned that Asian manufacturers may have underestimated the Apple threat.

Analysts say that the iPhone, with its full-scale Internet browser and distinctive touch screen with colorful icons, is more than just another souped-up cellphone. They fear the Silicon Valley challenger could leap past Asian makers into the age of digital convergence by combining personal computing and mobile technologies as no device has before.

Their fear is that the iPhone will become the prototype of the future of mobile phones. And that Apple may repeat in wireless communications what it accomplished in portable music with the iPod: changing the industry.


Personal take - For iPhone to succeed (and redefine the standard) in Asia, it will have to support prevalent SMS texting habits in the various countries. Text input is by no means standard, given the myriad of different languages. For languages such as English and Tagalog that use primarily the phone keypad to enter text and allow straightforward memorization of keystrokes, physical keys that provide tactile feedback are practically a requirement.

Thus under its current configuration, iPhone will not capture significant market share. The irony, of course, is that if future generations of iPhones were to incorporate physical keypads in order to gain additional market share, the resultant design would make them conform more to present phones and therefore less revolutionary.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Asus and Intel slaughters OLPC with Eee-ase

From Asus Eee News, Mods, and Hacks -

Over at ZDnet, George Ou seems to have whipped up a storm after comparing the Negroponte's OLPC to the Asus Eee. As the title implies, Ou thinks the latter will beat the digital hell out of the OLPC. Based on the comments, he is being criticized for making conclusive statements without actually test driving both units. Following is part of his review:

ASUS and Intel have created an alternative for Negroponte’s OLPC called the “Eee PC”. The difference is that the ASUS Eee PC is actually something that looks usable and perhaps even desirable for everyday use as a super cheap UMPC.

The ASUS Eee will cost a mere $199 whereas the so-called $100 OLPC costs $175. Given the fact that Eee can run Linux or Windows XP and it can boot off NAND flash memory in a mere 15 seconds, the Eee slaughters the OLPC with ease.

The OLPC was originally slated to be the $100 PC but the actual production cost is somewhere around $175. I had a chance to get a test drive of the OLPC at the CTIA wireless conference and it was probably the worst computing experience I’ve had in a long time. The rubberized keyboard was virtually stuck to the surface with almost zero tactile feedback and the Operating System of the OLPC spends a painful 2-3 minutes to boot. Even launching a new application seems to take an eternity.

The user interface of the OLPC doesn’t even feel worth of a cheap fisher price toy. If I were to rank it, it would be somewhere above DOS and far below Apple’s Lisa. I can’t wait to test drive the Eee PC.


Well, we will see if Ou is proven right once Asus starts selling the Eee. Personally I think he is. Actually I am an avid fan of Negroponte, having read and re-read his The Architecture Machine and the Soft Architecture Machines upon which the OLPC's Sugar OS seems to be loosely based. In fact, I apply a lot of the principles in designing UIs for our mobile apps.

However, in sheer practicality, if I need to procure units for our educational outreach program, I would opt for the Asus Eee. Why? It is more versatile. Since it supports Windows XP and comes bundled ready to use with Xandros and OpenOffice, adults can also use it as well. Somehow I just can't picture teaching adult public school teachers website design while they labor on colorful, toy looking OLPCs.

Granted, the OLPC's OS might be more appropriate for children. But that is just UI software that can be developed for the Eee. Where OLPC will have an advantage is in areas where electricity is not available. But it also follows that if electricity is not available, chances are the infrastructure for Internet access will likely be not available as well. These days, no computer-oriented educational program would be complete without the Internet. Thus, the effectiveness of such programs in remote areas is at best questionable.

Piper Jaffray: 500,000 iPhones sold over the weekend

From Crave -

Piper Jaffray reported that Apple sold about 500,000 units from 6 p.m. Friday through the close of business Sunday. Despite low supply at AT&T stores and activation issues, it appears that the iPhone era at Apple got off to a good start. Piper Jaffray said Apple had iPhones available in each one of its stores on Saturday, and in 84% of its stores Sunday.

Significantly 95% of iPhone buyers in San Francisco, New York and Minneapolis purchased the 8GB model, according to a survey conducted by the firm. About half were new customers for AT&T.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

iPhone Unlocking Services

From iPhonetics -
Companies have started to offer their iPhone unlocking services. One site, iPhoneunlocking, claims to have unlocked 3459 iPhones at the time of this post. (Click on image to enlarge it.)