Tag Archives: mobile

The Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone

So as we gear up for Windows 8 with new phones and tablets a few thoughts on the current Windows Nokia Lumia 900 phone after using one for a few weeks.

Positives

  • Really liked the form factor.  Nice phone in the hand for shape, weight and size and easy to operate.
  • The device was very fast.  Never felt the device was struggling to do anything with always quick response in apps.
  • A nice touch screen that was very responsive. The slightly curved aspect made interacting with it very easy (pleasant even!).
  • Excellent integration with Windows Live, Office 365, Twitter and Facebook. E.g. from a text message I could jump onto my Live skydrive and attach an image. Posting to Twitter or Facebook from within apps worked better without logins such as those you get on the iPhone.
  • The OS was very clean with a real Windows 8 feel to it based on my exposure.  I really like the minimalistic aspect.  In parts it made the iPhone feel dated and clunky (and I love my iPhone!)
  • Phone piece of it was excellent with very nice interface and excellent call quality – a piece Apple all too often have forgotten.
  • Good battery life.  Better than both Blackberry and iPhone in recent comparison.
  • MS Office mobile such as Word, Excel, Onenote and Powerpoint.
  • Really liked the customisable tiles on your home screen.

Negatives

  • While I liked the OS it did have an unfinished look and feel to it at times.
  • Poor Camera – especially indoors and in poorer light compared with other phones.  It  often was quite difficult to take a good quality picture, or a picture with the same quality as the iPhone.  The camera app does has a lot more ‘real’ camera settings that many may like but for me I want to point and click and not spend 10 mins picking from 20 different settings just to get a good picture.
  • Obviously not the same volume of apps available for it so I could not replicate everything from my iPhone.
  • The phone was expensive.  The same cost roughly as recent iPhones or other devices we have got.  Considering it can’t quite offer what other devices offer they should be cutting their margins to make it more appealing.

So overall I was very pleasantly surprised with it.  I will seriously consider switching to the new Windows 8 version when it comes out if the camera is better and once the selection of apps improve.  Personally it would work better for me as my email is with Microsoft Outlook.com and work is on Microsoft Office 365.  The excellent integration with these products that the Windows phone offers might just get me to give up my iPhone!

The Blackberry 9900, an iPhone too late.

 I was initially a big Blackberry fan but unfortunately in recent years I lost faith like many others.  However, for anyone out there looking to Blackberry the newish model 9900 is the first one in a while that seems worthy of a recommendation.  Forget the Torch, or Curve or any other model and get the 9900 (if that doesn’t sound too arrogant!) .  So it’s not full screen like the Torch but it is a great little performer and its back to Blackberries best if a little too late.  The Torch (in its various guises) always feels a little lagging and I don’t like the size and balance of these devices.  The 9900 however is very well-built, nicely weighted and perfectly balanced in the hand. Thus a great device for typing with its superb keyboard.  The screen resolution is very good and the screen touch sensitivity\responsiveness is the best on any BB in my opinion.  It is also a very fast little device with items opening up immediately on touching.  Combined with a very good camera it’s almost perfect or at least for many who like a proper keyboard and can live with the resulting smaller screen.

The main downside is a lack of serious apps or at least serious options in apps.  However if apps are not your focus then this may just be the best business partner for you.  Pity it wasnt around a year or so ago it may have stopped many a person from jumping ship.  All in all it is a great little device and worth a consideration.

The need for more power and the recharging dilemma.

How frustrating is it just when you have to take a call you notice you have 1% left and no plug or charger around.  Yes every so often days don’t go to plan and that full charge the previous night didn’t get time to complete or you are out of the office using the iPhone all day and by 4pm it’s on 3% and you are still a few hours from home.  What are your options?

With the iPhone 3GS I bought one of those battery covers as the battery life was terrible.  Flicked a switch on the bottom and it started charging my iPhone and it was good for another few hours.  However I like the size, weight and shape of the 4S too much to compromise it with a big batter cover.  That combined with the fact I use my iPad so much meant I really wanted a solution that could work for both.  So off I went for a search.

After a bit of reading I decided on the Proporta USB TurboCharger.  It has a capacity of 7000 mAh which when translated means it has enough power to recharge a device a few times.  It has connectors for most devices so whether its my iPad or my kids Nintendo DS this will work.  It has an LED display that will show you how much power is left and at just 175 grams I can throw it in my bag and not even know it’s there.  It comes with 2 little extendable cables, a car charger (not shown above as it’s in my car), plug and little velvet case. Most days it just sits in my bag but those days when there is excessive travel involved or its jut been a busy day on the device this has come to the rescue.  It even has 2 charging ports if you really want need to charge 2 items at the same time. So if you sometimes find the need for more power then this little device is a very handy one to have sitting in your bag.

The future of mobile and what it might mean for us.

Over the last week I cleaned up a number of blog posts that I had started at various times over the last year but never got around to finishing. Some were just out of date, a few I didn’t have the cojones to publish and others were just something about nothing (which may actually be a good title for this post – something about nothing….).  One of them from October I want to particularly shine a light on.  I sat on my high horse ridiculing those that were running out to upgrade their iphone 4 to 4S when something else I felt was more important and should have been their focus.  That being the new iOS 5 and the iCloud offerings and not the little physical shiny new piece of tech(OK yes there are many levels to this but upgrading seemed ove the top!).

I then saw Siri in action.  A piece of tech not available on the older models with a simple iOS upgrade.  Feel in love with it and just before Christmas I bought a new iPhone 4S.  Glad I didn’t publish that post or I would have looked kinda foolish now. (Yes yes I know!)

Arrogant unfinished blog post aside and ignoring the fact of the hypocracy as I succumbed to the marketing and fell in line to get the latest tech I do think the basic premise of my post still holds true.  The premise being that soon the device in our hand will be somewhat irrelevant, not that we won’t need it, but that they will all offer closely the same functionality be it Android, Windows or iOS.  Very fast, touch screen with voice recognition\control.

So what then? Well it’ll be the data and services that the device can tap in to (and how) that will be the difference (and this obviously is also true at present but at varying degrees of integration and success).  Amazon are offering a service via their Kindle.  Sony (and the relatively recent Sony Ericsson news) are heading the same way.  Apple obviously have their offering.  The Microsoft, Skype, Nokia tie up have their effort of cloud services.  It’ll be the data in the cloud that we will want to access.  Materialism will take on a whole new meaning as the items that once clogged our houses, the picture albums, music CDs, DVDs, box sets, books, magazines, newspapers, will all disappear.  We will want access to everything but yet will not physically be able to touch the vast majority of these things.

Mobile when combined with the cloud is not just about handheld devices.  Its about, strangely enough, mobility.  Access your music from any device such as your TV not just your mobile phone.  Access your data from any computer, read your local newspaper anywhere in the world.  This is not new and the tech is not in the future its now.  However the impact on materialism is an interesting one to ponder.  Materialsim is a topic that has been on my mind a while now as for many others in this post Celtic Tiger era.  Don’t get me wrong I am not about to donate all my worldly possesions just yet but I do think we might be taking a big step in a positive direction even if not fully intentional and not even fully realised at present.  The more we put into and access online the less we will clutter that space around us with physcal things.  The more we are online and share, communicate and seek information the more the data becomes important and not the device we use to access it.  When the information, collaboration and sharing is what we crave and not the physical device or tactile object won’t that be a exciting time?

Microsoft, Nokia, Facebook, Skype. The teaming of tech companies makes the future look bright!

So with the Facebook announcement yesterday it ties Microsoft, Skype, Facebook and Nokia all together into a big hot-pot of giant technology developers working together.  Talking with a colleague today we were trying to imagine if there was anything they were missing.  You could possibly say Twitter but as with Apple they could simply build its integration into any future developments of a new operating system.  Imagine if they get things right what their future mobiles, pads, laptops or computer devices could be like?

  • Microsoft gives you XBox gaming with over 50 million users.  Windows 7 has over 350 million licenses sold and when you consider the amount of XP or Vista still in the market place that adds a few hundred million more.  The Office365 platform offers web apps for the user but more importantly is offering some great options for business with hosted services and Sharepoint is one of the better if not best collaboration technology for the enterprise out there.  That combined with all the other obvious pieces such as Bing search, 350 odd million Hotmail accounts and Windows Live it’s a very impressive list.
  • Nokia gives you fantastic mobile hardware experience and build quality with the infrastructure to deliver high quantities of high quality devices.  They shipped 450 million devices in 2010 (YES 450 million!) and while their market share has slipped of late the ability to deliver that volume could be very important if they get the hardware and user experience right so as to meet consumer demand in the future.
  • Facebook gives you currently 600 million users in a platform that is constantly used to share massive volumes of information and something a large portion use regularly from their mobile device.
  • Skype has over 500 million users, is already now integrated with Facebook and again a product regularly accessed from mobile devices.

So that is a very simplistic view but you can see the numbers are just huge with true global penetration.  There is a huge population that already know these companies and their products.  Imagine if they keep the best bits of what they already have, that link to a product well used and they deliver with it the user experience of an iOS device with single sign on at home, at work, at play with everything in the cloud if you wish so your experience is the same irrespective of where you are.  That is an awesome package.  That is something has been fantasized about by us techies for a while but honestly thought it was a bit further away but getting closer with the likes of iCloud (which I can’t wait for!).  Yes you can get a sense of it now by using different apps and pieces of software but imagine a platform that delivered it all seamlessly automatically with one ID and this is something they can deliver now or at the very least in the very near future because as they said in an old favourite 70’s show of mine ‘We can rebuild …. We have the technology’

NOTE: Ok yes so I am a little optimistic and I realise combining these behemoths of industry will not be easy and integrating the different tech will be even harder so it wont be next month that they deliver devices but what I have seen of Windows 8 is very impressive so if they can combine that properly with the other pieces the future looks bright and might mean better competition and more options than just an iPhone or Andriod device.