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HTC UMPC February 13, 2008

Posted by fvter in Hardware, Mobility, Technology.
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The French distributor of HTC, Brightstore, was present at MS TechDays 2008. One of the devices presented was the UMPC. I won’t discuss the UI as this is pretty standard as they are all based on Vista.HTC Display Cabinet
The hardware however is one of the best I have seen in this category. The overall frame is slightly bigger than the screen and has a nice rubbed plastic grip feel (easy to hold & feels right). The 7″ screen is a good size, full tactil and good on the eyes. Keyboard is a slide under like the TyTN2 and it provides a full keyboard the length & width of the device. Best part however is the good tactile respons it provides.
This is definitely the best UMPC out there (I have tested the Samsung & Toshiba) so far!

EeePC HSPDA Bundle for €199 January 21, 2008

Posted by fvter in Mobility, Technology.
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Well it seems that the mobile operator I use here in France (SFR) is having a special deal to purchase the EeePC with an inclusive unlimited 3G+ account, see this Register HW post.

As tempting as it might seem, I have a number of qualms:

  • It doesn’t have integrated HSPDA (3G+), in fact the support for HSPDA is provided by an external USB key;
  • It’s actually a rebate if you agree to sign-up for a one or two year contract (see next);
  • (see previous) I already have 3 SFR accounts in various forms… I would prefer to just upgrade one to the new contract;
  • Finally, It’s still not clear what they mean by unlimited 3G+ access (the terms and conditions on data download are sketchy – at least IMHO).

Anyway its not really an issue, they apparently are already sold out!

Live MobVideo Streaming… Mobile Web2.0 Here? December 19, 2007

Posted by fvter in Mobility, Technology.
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Yep it’s all coming together, with more and more «relatively» in expensive multimedia mobile phones that do video, photo and much more (hint hint Apple) such as the Nokia N95 as well as a myriad of smartphones like the HTC P3600. We are starting to see some serious attempts to bring web 2.0 and make ubiquitous in the sense available anywhere and at anytime.

My mate monkeyleader is trying one of the latests solutions called Qik. Check out his blog post on the subject here. Unfortunately I can’t join the party as the site currently only supports Nokia type phones… Can’t wait till they open up to the HTCs!

This brings to mind that Nokia recently launched itself into the content arena as well with OVI.com. Nokia is announcing it as the «mobile social networking experience that encourages collaboration, creativity and communication»! Definitely something to keep a watchful eye on…

Localization Beyond GPS December 15, 2007

Posted by fvter in Mobility, Technology.
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GPS is quite common now and is found more and more in mobile applications via the integration of a unit inside smartphones (such as the HTC P3600). GPS for the moment is seen as the better technology for localization for mobile phones versus its alternative which is to use signal noise ratios combined with the cell the phone is registered on (BTW this is how the My Location option works in Google Maps on mobile when no GPS is available).

A Utah based company, S5 Wireless aim to change this  dependence on GPS by introducing what they call a new disruptive technology in the localization domain. Their technology is based on a set of proprietary wireless emitters and receivers that can be deployed anywhere (both indoors and outdoors). They claim that they will be able to achieve a 10m to 15m accuracy! Nice!

To be honest, there is nothing really new technology wise in what they are doing. It is still a type of triangulation (using multiple radios sources, time to receive and signal noise ratios) to determine the device location. However what seems to be innovative is that they will be distributing/releasing the radio components for very little or zero cost. Their business model is that they will provide and resale acess to the back-end database that controls and ensures data integrity for the location data! A sort of federate or trusted data model, or as the company says the equivalent of Lojack or Onstar.

More information in this CIO Today article.

iPhone Not so Happy for Apple in France = unlocked October 5, 2007

Posted by fvter in Mobility, Rants, Technology.
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It’s started! The iPhone is not even officially released yet in Europe and more specifically France than Apple is already facing trouble with its selling methodology.

In fact Les Echos recently reported that Apple has forgotten one fundamental principal that stands in Europe and specifically France today: You can’t screw the customer! Consumer law prohibits the sale of any good and service that are dependent on each other in France and some other EU countries. For mobile operators this translates into the fact that they can no longer tie a phone and mobile plan together.

Because of this law, Orange in France the official iPhone carrier, may in fact be forced to sell it without a data plan and carrier lock! Of course this is a big problem for Apple as the current price of the iPhone with «subsidies» is still very expensive and gives no real motivation to buy a locked version… Besides why would you want to buy such an expensive multimedia phone with no 3G+ and no video, when you can buy cheaper and better multimedia phones  like the Nokias, Samsungs and others!

France may be the first place where Apple is in fact forced to sell the iPhone unlocked!

Full Web Browsing on Mobiles October 1, 2007

Posted by fvter in Mobility, Technology.
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According to this interview with some HTC folks, we could be seeing better browser support coming up on mobile devices.
The new mobile browser would support a complete set of functionalities from AJAX to XML via touched based zoom-in and zoom-out.
For example, Peter Chou from HTC indicates that:

HTC will have very good browser for full web browsing next year.

Mobile Internet is getting better and better…

Yet Another Text Input Method September 24, 2007

Posted by fvter in Mobility, Technology.
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During Demo Fall 2007, Kannuu presented what they claim is a new and more intelligent way of entering text on a mobile device (or other small footprint system).
The web site description as well as a review on Crave, presents the system as an input method that is unlike others as all it uses is the «joystick» or navigation pad of the device.
The idea is to that the solution will present initial letters and then word completions (like other such systems based on  predictive text) that you select through the navigation pad (up,down,left,right). Their claim is that this will work better as they have built contextual predictive text based on the application or desired input goal. So for example in a GPS activated application (such as Google Maps), the input would be based on place or location names.
This may indeed be a better way to input text but it will have to rival with the existing knowledge and habits of people who are now quite use to using the traditional text input on a mobile device.
Definitely a technology to watch!