Tag Archives: mobile

Teen dream machine

THE SAMSUNG CORBY: For nimble-fingered tech savvies

Samsung CorbyTHE iPhone has certainly set the standard for new cellular descendants with newer mobile releases favoring the larger, full-touch screen. There is also a major focus on making cellphones exclusive social networking devices.

Samsung has followed suite with the release of a few touch-friendly iPhone clones – one of which is called the Samsung Corby. The device is specifically aimed at the youth market and it’s easy to see why; it takes a tech-savvy youth to get to grips with it. However, touch technology is amazingly intuitive and it shouldn’t take long for anyone to learn to use a Corby – provided you have thin and nimble fingers and thumbs.

Social features
On the plus side the Corby is certainly a very social phone. It is fully Facebook, Twitter and MySpace compatible and can be used to upload content to a variety of sites, such as YouTube, Flickr, Picasa and Photobucket. One is also able to receive updates and live feeds via Facebook, MySpace and Twitter through a simple pop-up SNS (Social Networking Service) notification feature.

With a Corby, users can upload photos and videos and view such content on these sites through a feature called Communities. However, community access is only granted after an extensive disclaimer is displayed, which includes the clause that any content uploaded may be accessed and used by third parties. Be warned that there is a risk of being spammed with adverts once your personal details are divulged.

The screen
The 2.8-inch QVGA screen is large and crystal clear – something that Samsung certainly gets right. I thought the screen would get smudgy after a few hours of fingering and was surprised to find that it didn’t leave a single fingerprint behind. Apart from three buttons found on the front, the phone is entirely operated with the screen using one’s fingers and thumbs.

This may pose a problem for some as the Corby does not favour users with fat fingers. You have to use your thumb to type / touch anything comfortably and I’m sure that the average thumb is not as small as most of the keys on the touch-screen. A better option is to use a stylus (a phone-poking pen with a thin, touchy tip). Yet the Corby comes with none.

What’s on the menu
The Corby has an elaborate menu – two and a half screens worth. These all have a function and purpose but Samsung could have easily gone for a minimalistic approach by combining some of these. For example, there are separate synonymous icons for “Google” and “Internet” as well as separate “stopwatch” and “timer” functions. I guarantee that consumers would agree that less is more and imagine that a lot of the Corby’s multiple functions would go unused.

Apart from the 27 pre-installed widgets an additional 75 are available for download from Samsung’s online Widgets Store (not unlike the iPhone App Store). The Corby makes use of quad band connectivity to download content and browse the web, which is no 3G experience but is still sufficiently fast.

Nonetheless the Corby is easy enough to navigate and it doesn’t take long for all the mysterious symbols to start making sense. There does, however, seem to be a slight misunderstanding between the scroll and the zoom functions – often confusing themselves with each other. What also lacks is an on-screen QWERTY keyboard – making message-making rather difficult.

Other features
The Corby has an impressive memory and can support up to 8GB of external storage. Battery life is said to be 9 hours of talk time and an incredible 730 hours of standby time. It has a camera yet this is a mere 2 megapixels and has no autofocus or flash. It does have a “smile shot” function which is becoming all the rage – i.e. the phone will only take a photo of a person when he/she is smiling.

There are two unique features belonging to the Corby, namely “one finger zoom” and “smart unlock.” As the name suggests, one finger zoom enables consumers to zoom in and out with one finger, while smart unlock is a feature which enables users to unlock the phone by drawing a letter on the screen. One can choose from 9 letters with which to secure their phone from teenaged trespassers.

The verdict
The S3650 Corby would definitely appeal to youngsters that are keen on technology and consider themselves as active social networkers. It is also a phone for those who like to personalise and customise and comes with extra covers slanged “fashion jackets”. The relatively low price of R1500 implies no fancy stuff, but the wide range of features and downloadable content is certainly relevant to the target audience. Tech-savvy and mobile-intuitive traits required.

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Bring on Broadband Baby!

NEWS: Motorola ships 10 000th WiMAX access point base site

WiMAX leader’s second WiMAX shipment milestone follows shipment of one millionth CPE device, helping further its efforts to bring broadband everywhere.

Motorola, Inc.’s Home & Networks Mobility business announced that it has shipped its 10 000th 802.16e WiMAX Access Point (WAP) base site. This milestone shipment represents more than a 40% compound annual growth rate since Motorola’s first WiMAX access points were shipped in 2007.

Motorola’s WAP portfolio includes a variety of solutions designed to meet specific needs for coverage and capacity. The 2.3GHz, 2.5GHz, and 3.5GHz models currently shipping include the WAP 400 with 2×2 antenna technology and the WAP 450 – a higher power 2×2 unit. In addition, the WAP 800 in the 3.5GHz has the versatility to support both coverage and capacity models with 4×8 beam-forming antenna technology.

The recently announced 4×4 WAP 650, which is an easy field upgrade from the WAP 450, offers operators 30% reduction in total cost of ownership compared to average 2×2 base stations. Each new generation of the WAP product line is designed with improved energy efficiency to be eco-friendly and reduce operating costs. For example, there is a more than 100% relative energy efficiency improvement from the first to second generation radio frequency (RF) unit.

“This shipment milestone is further evidence of the success we’ve achieved in delivering mobile WiMAX,” said Bruce Brda, senior vice president and general manager of  Motorola Home & Networks Mobility. “Motorola, the No. 1 market share leader in WiMAX, is committed to 802.16e mobile WiMAX and to the future path of WiMAX 802.16m. In fact, Motorola is on the IEEE 802.16m Task Group m leadership board and helped design the 16m standard.”

Motorola has been a pioneer in developing mobile WiMAX since 2005 when it was one of the first companies to declare its support solely behind 802.16e. Motorola now stands poised to help launch the next iteration of this mobile broadband technology, 802.16m – also known as WiMAX Release 2, with continued development of its WiMAX portfolio.

Motorola has more than 35 WiMAX contracts in every region of the world, in 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz, and 3.5 GHz, including the recently announced deal with Imagine in Ireland. Its WiMAX customers, which range from Greenfield to mature operators, are delivering fixed, nomadic, and mobile service to meet their unique market needs and business requirements.

For more information on Motorola’s WiMAX solutions, please visit www.motorola.com/wimax. For updates visit www.mediaexperiences2go.com or follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/motomobilemedia.

iPaint on my cellphone

SOME of the latest hype arriving in the wake of the new iPhone 3G S is an Apple application for the device called Brushes, which allows users to do more than just doodle on their iPhones. The images are “painted” freehand, using fingers and thumbs.

The app allows users to make use of various painting tools and brush sizes and pick up previously applied colours using the eyedropper tool.

The standard “pinching” gesture, which has become a feature of the iPhone, can be used to zoom in for detailed work, and there’s an undo and redo function on the Brushes app as well.

Professional artists, such as Susan Murtaugh, have applied themselves to the task of creating iphone art and some of their works have received such vast amounts of global attention that there are plans afoot for exhibitions in bricks and mortar art galleries.

In a new craze sweeping the world, iPhone and iPod Touch users are producing extraordinary 'paintings' on their Apple devices. All the images were created using an application called Brushes and 'painted' freehand using fingers and thumbs

In a new craze sweeping the world, iPhone and iPod Touch users are producing extraordinary 'paintings' on their Apple devices. All the images were created using an application called Brushes and 'painted' freehand using fingers and thumbs

Brushes, created by Steve Sprang, also records every brush stroke while you are painting - allowing you to watch how your painting builds up

Brushes, created by Steve Sprang, also records every brush stroke while you are painting - allowing you to watch how your painting builds up

Artist Susan Murtagh said: "It took me a little while to get the hang of it but once I figured out my work flow it was almost like painting on canvas"

Artists Susan Murtagh said: "It took me a little while to get the hang of it but once I figured out my work flow it was almost like painting on canvas"

"It's easy to use - just take your finger and doodle. Next thing you know you've made the background blue and you're doodling in orange - it's fun"

"It's easy to use - just take your finger and doodle. Next thing you know you've made the background blue and you're doodling in orange - it's fun"

Mike Miller, a 32-year-old from Colorado, America, thinks he had mastered the art of digital painting after a week of practice. He added: "The more I use the application, the more it feels the same as the real thing"

Mike Miller, a 32-year-old from Colorado, America, thinks he had mastered the art of digital painting after a week of practice. He added: "The more I use the application, the more it feels the same as the real thing"

Priced at £2.99 Brushes can be downloaded through Apple iTunes

Priced at £2.99 Brushes can be downloaded through Apple iTunes

Fellow digital artist Mathew Watkins finds "painting on the iPhone more immediate and pleasurable than painting on the computer with mouse or pen tablet"

Fellow digital artist Mathew Watkins finds "painting on the iPhone more immediate and pleasurable than painting on the computer with mouse or pen tablet"

"Physically drawing on the touch screen is the same method I use on pad and paper, except it isn't messy and fits in my pocket"

"Physically drawing on the touch screen is the same method I use on pad and paper, except it isn't messy and fits in my pocket"

Classically trained artist Susan Murtaugh, from Wisconsin, America, is already selling prints of her digitally-created art for around 15 pounds

Classically trained artist Susan Murtaugh, from Wisconsin, America, is already selling prints of her digitally-created art for around 15 pounds

First Android phone in SA

MTN has teamed up with HTC distributor Leaf International Communications to launch the HTC Dream mobile handset. This mobile device is the first in South Africa to make use of the new open source Android operating system, which is owned by one of the world’s best known brands, Google.

The HTC Dream gives users one-touch access to their favourite Google products such as Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail and YouTube. Unlike other operating systems that treat search functionality as an “extra”, the entire Android operating system was moulded around the core of search functionality.

HTC Dream

The software is completely open source and allows users to download a host of free applications as well as customise every facet of the HTC Dream – from the dialler, browser and photo viewer, to the core applications normally locked into the operating system.

“MTN is proud to be the first operator in South Africa to offer its customers a revolutionary smartphone that will change the way we use mobile technology,” says Donovan Smith – General Manager of Consumer Segments at MTN SA

FEATURES
The HTC Dream features a large, sensationally crisp 3.2-inch (8.1 cm) display with a resolution of 320X480. The touch-sensitive screen navigation is finger-friendly and super intuitive. The display switches from portrait to landscape mode when the keyboard is opened. It has a sliding five-row QWERTY keyboard that comes with a set of six navigation buttons.

The HTC Dream includes a GPS receiver and a microSD card slot that supports storage capacities of up to 16GB. The device comes standard with a 1GB microSD card. A fast, full web browser brings the power of the web to your phone and displays up to eight web pages simultaneously to open networks.

All applications integrate seamlessly with one another, alert you to events occurring in other applications and allow you to switch in and out of functions while on a call.

“The HTC Dream with Android will cater for any type of user whether you are a university student or the CEO of a company. By giving our customers instant access to Google services, we are ensuring that MTN sets the pace with innovative and convenient product offerings in both the local and African telecoms market,” says Smith

In view of the advanced data capabilities and applications offered on the HTC Dream, MTN is offering it to customers on the MTN AnyTime 350 package for R529 per month, which includes R350 worth of airtime and 100MB worth of data per month. With MTN’s new broadband offer, once the inclusive 100MB is used up, customers can buy as many additional data bundles as they need.

Sweet!

The world at your finger tips

REVIEW: The Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Stick

Monique Tyrer

ALTHOUGH I missed my monthly phone fix from Vodashop Midlands this month, the outlet provided something different to satisfy my techno cravings that was just as fun to review — the Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Stick.

Slightly longer than your average USB flash drive, this handy Internet stick gives you a mobile Internet connection via your phone’s sim-card for either your laptop or desktop computer, allowing you to work from anywhere through a speedy Internet connection.

The “plug and play” capabilities of this nifty device work on both Windows and Mac computers through three different network connections — HSDPA, 3G and GPRS. The light on the stick also flashes a different colour to let you know which signal you are connected to, although all the connections are faster on average than a normal dial-up.

The Vodafone Mobile Connect USB StickThe installation data is stored on the actual USB stick itself, so there is no need to worry about installing the software with a CD, which means you can take your Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Stick with you anywhere and install it on a number of computers — a truly mobile solution for business and pleasure on the go.

The installation process was painless, and within a few minutes, the stick was ready for use. The stick also doubles as a flash drive to store information, with an additional microSD card slot available that can hold cards of up to 4GB.

Once the programme was installed, Internet browsing was quick and painless, and viewing websites such as YouTube was no problem for this small, but powerful, device. Downloading information was also really fast, and I was impressed with how this broadband USB stick had no problem handling the data.

With the programmes that come with the device, I was able to send and receive smses from my laptop, as well as view information such as signal strength, length of connectivity and the volume of data being received or sent.

This is really handy to monitor your usage, as you are charged according to how much data you use.

Monique Tyrer writes for the Natal Witness newspaper and other publications in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Article supplied by Mall Talk.

Archived in Gadgets & Tech

Garmin launching Mobile XT

THERE is an ever-increasing number of mobile devices (phones and PDAs) being launched on the South African market that include global positioning system (GPS) receivers as a standard feature.

However, these devices rarely come bundled with accurate, high-quality GPS and mapping software – a deficiency that often makes the GPS feature an underutilised mobile option.

A GPS in your pocket
Garmin Mobile XT Version 5 is a new product Garmin are launching in 2009 specifically for cellphones with GPS receivers.

The product is installed on an SD card and transforms GPS-enabled mobile phones or PDAs into full-featured navigation devices, with all the functionality of conventional GPS devices (such as turn-by-turn voice prompts).

This is according to Andrew McHenry, head of mobile and content for Avnic Trading (the official South African distributor of Garmin and Garmap), who says that for very little cost users can take full advantage of having a “go-anywhere” navigation device in their pockets, which is as convenient and beneficial to use as it is easy to set up.

To enable South Africans to get the most out of their GPS-enabled devices, Avnic Trading has announced the retail availability of Garmin Mobile XT version 5 – the company’s full navigation application, which utilises the very latest Garmap Africa Series 2008 mapping data.

Points of interest
Garmap Africa Series 2008 Second Edition now includes over 750 000km of routable map data for 1 700 cities, towns and villages, as well as 55 nature reserves, in nine countries. To date, the map set also includes over 190 000 points of interest (POIs) and the list is growing on a regular basis.

“Garmin Mobile XT gives users the ability to check weather forecasts for their destinations, access flight details for many major airlines, and call a point of interest (such as a restaurant or coffee shop) using the phone feature.”

Social / community feature
“There are a number of community-focused features in Garmin Mobile XT that aim to add even more benefit to having a GPS in your pocket,” says McHenry.

Users can send a location message to another mobile phone – detailing their exact location in GPS coordinates. If the receiving mobile phone also has Mobile XT installed, the message translates into a destination point and allows the receiver to easily and quickly navigate to that point.

Safety feature
Being able to find someone also plays a huge role in safety and security. Mobile XT includes a “panic button”, which automatically fires off an urgent location message to three emergency contacts whenever the # key is depressed for more than 3 seconds in certain Samsung and Nokia handsets.

Panoramio
For tourists and pedestrians in South Africa, Garmin Mobile XT also includes a useful social feature called “Panoramio” – a tool that allows consumers to access user-generated content that has been uploaded to the web.

“Utilising Panoramio, users can download a list of photos that were taken by other users who had visited the same area before and uploaded these geo-tagged photos to the Panoramio website,” says McHenry.

“In Garmin Mobile XT, users see a list of photos, a short description of the photo and the distance to the place where the photo was taken. Users then simply select the attraction that they want to see and Garmin Mobile XT shows them how to get there.”

“This makes it easy to navigate cities and tourist destinations, using landmarks and tourist attractions without having to know the exact address,” McHenry adds. “It’s a great new way of discovering attractions in foreign cities, or maybe even in your own backyard.”

From point A to point Z
“There is so much more to the GPS feature on mobile devices than the glorified map book,” McHenry says. ”It’s not just about navigating from point A to point B anymore. There’s so much to discover out there, and you may just be carrying the very tool in your pocket to help you find it.”

• Garmin Mobile XT version 5 will be available in retail blister packs at leading retail outlets from the beginning of 2009, for a recommended retail price of R990.

Compatible handsets include:

  • HTC: Touch Diamond, Touch Cruise, Touch Pro, P3300, X7500, TyTNII, P3470, X7500
  • Sony Ericsson: Xperia X1
  • Nokia: E90, E71, E66, N96, N95 8GB, N95, N85, N82, N79, N78, 6220 Classic, 6210 Navigator, 6110 Navigator
  • Samsung: i560, G810, i8510, i780, i900

As someone who is somewhat renowned for getting lost in his own backyard, I’m writing to Santa and asking for one of these babys as a late Christmas present!

– issued on behalf of Garmin and Tribeca Public Relations

Will e-readers end the Age of the Book?

E-READERS: Electronic reading devices being developed in different shapes & forms at a rapid pace could galvanise the market for digital text in the way the Apple iPod did for digital music

THESE gadgets are small and light enough to fit into a small suitcase or handbag and eliminate the need to carry around overweight books and over-sized newspapers. Particular texts can be accessed on the Internet to be read on a display screen at the user’s convenience.

Amazon's kindleSome e-readers come with wi-fi, and the choice of devices on which to read e-content, ranges from e-readers and PCs to digital watches. It’s a matter of simply downloading the content to whichever device is preferred for reading those books.

Green enthusiasts may also be swayed by the argument for e-readers, as they are not backlit, use little energy and could contribute to reducing paper consumption. A Sony spokesperson explained that energy is only used when a page is turned electronically.

PUBLISHING COMPANIES GO DIGITAL
Sales of electronic readers such as Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader have been growing fast, prompting smaller companies to introduce their own prototypes and encouraging publishers to step up the digitisation of their books.

Publishing giant Penguin announced that they will now be publishing all new titles both as printed books and e-books and will further digitise its backlist.

At the recent Frankfurt Book Fair, Penguin publishers Chief Executive John Makinson said: “They [e-readers] have become mainstream in the sense that they are a genuine consumer product for which there is real appetite, so this is not the province of geeks any longer.”

Up till now e-readers were mainly used by scientists and early adopters, but are ideal for reducing the carry loads of commuters, students and travelers.

THE GLOBAL E-BOOK MARKET
Technology research firm iSuppli predicts that global e-book display revenue will grow to $291 million (roughly R2.3 billion) in 2012 from just $3.5 million (roughly R28 million) in 2007.

At present an e-book reader costs anywhere between $300 and $400 (roughly R3 000 and R4 000), which is why book enthusiasts are confident that e-readers will not replace printed text too soon.

However, specialists have already considered cheaper alternatives for South African consumers. They believe mobile phones could prove more popular as a display for reading digital content than e-readers as most people already have cellphones. Furthermore, cellphones provide opportunities for readers to interact.

South African publishers such as Penguin announced at the Book Fair that they are already preparing content for mobile phones.

In Japan, short stories especially written for cellphones are already being sent to readers in installments, and Apple’s iPhone are also allowing users to read their novels on a mobile.

THE DEATH OF THE PRINTED BOOK?
Many readers and writers say that the practicality and novelty of e-books will never replace what printed books offer to the senses. Nobel-Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk, who has collected 70 000 tomes told the press:

“When I look at the standard of today’s technology, then I can’t imagine using an e-reader, no. But one day … when technology manages to create the perfume of books, of old books, then yes, maybe” – Nobel prize winner Orhan Pamuk

Whatever the case may be this is certainly not the day and age to become burdened with poor eyesight!

– original text supplied by Reuters

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