Kamis, 31 Maret 2011

April 2011 Smartphone buyers guide

Prices updated on April 7, 2011

The dual core phone are not here yet...,

No high end phones...

We are not recommending you buy anything over Php25,000 unless it comes with two cores. Right now, we have nothing to recommend.

Best mid-range smartphones in the market - Samsung Galaxy S i9000 and SL i9003 and the HTC Desire

1. Samsung Galaxy S i9000. With Php30,990 Samsung Galaxy i9000 now being availale at Php23,250 it knocks our favorite HTC Desire HD off our list. The Desire HD has further gone down in price, now at just Php24,000. Buth the Desire HD's 4.3-inch screen and 768MB of RAM is not enough to beat the 4-inch Super AMOLED display, superior SuperVR graphics and the 16GB of internal storage of the Galaxy S. The Galaxy S biggest weakness is that it has no flash for the camera, which is kind of perplexing for such an expensive phone, but since the Desire HD's camera is nothing to crow about, this won't save it either. 

And yes, this phone is getting Gingerbread. 

2. Samsung Galaxy SL i9003. The Samsung Galaxy SL i9003, the lower end replacement of the Samsung Galaxy S, is still an amazing phone and our second best choice. Available now an evewn lower for a price of Php18,700 this is the best value for money proposition smartphone right now, bar none. 

The Galaxy SL has a 4-inch capacitative touchscreen with 480 x 800 pixel resolution S-LCD  screen The screen is protected by the near scratch proof Gorilla Glass. Inside, the Galaxy SL i9003 is powered by a 1GHz Cortex A8 centrial processing unit and PowerVR SGX530 graphical processing unit. Basically, it is a Samsung Galaxy S with no AMOLED display and a slower GPU at a much lower price.

Despite being a new release, it unfortunately still comes installed with Froyo (Android 2.2) instead of Gingerbread. The Galaxy SL 5MP camera is decent and can take 720p video, but like the Galaxy S still has no flash. The case is still made of plastic. The missing flash and all plastic case, will not stop it from becoming the best mid level Android, and the vest value smartphone in the market right now.

3. HTC Desire. The HTC Desire is an Android powered smartphone with a 3.7-inch screen and is powered by a first generation 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and equipped with 512GB of RAM. This phone is the oldest model on our list. 

It also come equipped with a 5MP camera with a LED flash. It is regarded by many as the best smartphone for 2010The HTC Desire is running Android 2.2, Froyo. But HTC has committed to give this phone a Gingerbread update by June 2011 so the phone will be current for 2011.

At the lower price of Php19,500 price with a HTC warranty, we think it is still a viable option despite, the lower priced Samsung Galaxy SL i9003. But make no mistake about it, the Samsung Galaxy SL i9003 is the better deal. You should only consider the HTC Desire if you really need to have a flash with your camera and if you really like the HTC Sense UI. If not, get the Samsung Galaxy SL i9003.

Best budget smartphones in the market - Samsung Galaxy Ace, LG Optimus One P500 and Samsung Galaxy Mini

The budget class just got much more interesting.

1. The Samsung S5830 Galaxy Ace. The Galaxy Ace combines a 3.5 inch 320 x 480 screen with a low Php13,990 asking price. Inside is an 800MHz ARM 11 processor and Adreno 200 GPU. The ARM 11 processor means no flash support in the browser. Internal storage is a scant 158MB but you do get a 2GB MicroSD card with the package.  You get all the usual wireless connections. At the back, you get a 5MP auto focus camera with a LED flash.  It runs Android 2.2, Froyo, and not the latest Gingerbread release. But this is the budget category after all.

But lets go back again... it has a 3.5 inch screen. That is the same size as many of the higher end phones in the market. With touchscreen phones, screen size is everything. With the 3.5 inch screen, this budget phone does not scream cheap.

2. HTC Wildfire. At the new price of much lower price pf Php12,000 the HTC Wildfire makes our list.  The HTC Wildfire has a 3.2 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen display with a 240 x 320 pixels screen resolution. The lower screen resolution is the main point against it, with both the Samsung Galaxy Ace and LG Optimus One having crisper displays. The Wildfire runs also still runs on Android 2.1 (Eclair), but is upgradeable to Android 2.2. 

Inside it does have the best processor if the budget class. The Wildfire is powered by a 528 MHz Qualcomm processor, which is slower than the ones found in the Galaxy Ace and Optimus One, but this is actually a higher class processor. Clock speed is not everything. The 528 MHz Qualcomm supports flash, and this is the only budget phone which supports flash in the browser. It has a good amount of RAM at  384 MB. Internal storage is also the highest at 512MB. Another good reason choose the Wildfire is the camera. It has a decent camera, a 5 MP auto focus unit with a LED flash. The led flash plus the nicely built case and building quality makes it look and feel more like a high end phone. 

3. LG Optimus One P500. For Php11,000 you get a phone running Android 2.2 (Froyo), with a 3.2 inch capacitive touchscreen display with 320 x 480 pixel resolution, a 600MHz ARM 11 processor, 419MB of RAM and 170MB of internal storage. For the camera, it has a 3.2MP autofocus camera. Connectivity options are the expected: GPRS, EDGE,  HSDPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, a micro USB port and as well as a built in GPS transceiver with A-GPS support. All-in-all not a bad package, for 11K. 

4. Samsung Galaxy Mini. Nothing great here. A 3.15-inch 240 x 320 screen, a 600MHz ARM 11 processor and Adreno 200 GPU. Internal storage is a scant 160MB but you do get a 2GB MicroSD card with the package.  You get all the usual wireless connections. At the back, you get a 3.15MP fixed focus camera.  It runs Android 2.2, Froyo...

Not a lot to get excited about, but more than enough for the Php8,990 asking price... this thing will fly out of the shelves. There are a lot of 2.8-inch offering coming out in the market at less than 8K. But with the Mini at just 1K more, we recommend going for the larger 3.15-inch screen. 

Need a physical QWERTY keyboard?

Some of us cannot make the transition to pure touchscreen, and the manufacturers are happy to meet our needs:

1. HTC Desire Z.  HTC offers a 3.7-inch Android with one killer feature, a phyical keyboard with an innovative z-hinge. While some have felt that the z-hinge may be flimsy, so far no horror stories have come up about someone breaking one. The z-hinge is innovative because instead of sliding the keyboard straight out which results in a flat keyboard, it "lifts" the phone over the keyboard allowing for raised keys. Basically, is it is the best slide out keyboard I have ever tried.

Equipped with a 3.7 inch 480 x 800 resolution screen, a 800MHz Qualcomm processor and 512GB or RAM and 1.5GB of memory with a bundled 8GB MicroSD card. The price of this one varies wildly from seller to seller. But you can find it Php22,000 with an official HTC Warranty. 

The screen is smaller than the Desire HD or Galaxy S, but since the keyboard does not clutter the screen, it does give you more effective real-estate.

2. Samsung Galaxy 551. Another physical QWERTY option is the Samsung Galaxy 551, priced at Php11,900, the Galaxy 551 is a budget priced phone as Android smartphones go. It is current though, running Android 2.2 and equipped with a 3.2 inch 400 x 240 resolution screen and powered by a 667MHz processor and 256MB of RAM.

BlackBerry users

A smartphone is only as good as the services supporting it, if you rely on BlackBerry services...

BlackBerry Curve 9300. A QWERTY messenger is still todays standard for a business phone, and BlackBerry's still make the best messaging phones. BlackBerry's top of the line QWERTY messaging phone is the Bold and the Torch. The Bold and Torch would set you back between 21,000 to Php28,000. Priced at Php12,950, the Curve is the best choice. You lose the higher resolution screen, get a lower end camera and a host of other features. But the BlackBerry Curve 9300 will allow you to avail of the BES or BIS service, or avail of the BlackBerry Messaging and Social plans offered by local service providers. Basically, that is what you get a Blackberry for. Its 90% of a Blackberry Bold, at 60% of the price.

If you want to spend more, it is probably best to just save the difference, and buy the BlackBerry PlayBook when it comes out in April. The PlayBook will make a nice companion to your Curve. 

Delayed iPhone 5 release rumours

There have been numerous reports that the iPhone 5 will not be released in June 2011, but will be delayed to later in the third or fourth quarter of the year. Granted, the recent disaster in Japan will affect the ability of many manufacturers to shipped existing offerings and may delay the release of future offerings. But Apple has said nothing about this, and I for one, am not going to believe it until the news comes from Cupertino itself. 

With the Apple iPad 2 release, the company doused water on its Google Android based rivals by offering a equivalent or superior product, based on your point of view. With a dual core processor and a updated graphic processing unit, it does not allow the Android devices to take the technological high ground. On the iPhone front, in 2010 Apple did not bite into the trend of larger displays, but it continued with its  3.5-inch display but offered the highest resolution in the market with hardware to match the latest and greatest Android can offer.

In many ways, the iPhone is in danger of falling behind. Android has a slew of dual core phones hitting the market, with many being 4G or LTE capable. Some will feature NFC technology. The iPhone's icon driven interface is not as functional as Android widget capable UI and does not look as slick as Windows Phone 7 new Metro interface. Granted, not everyone cares about widgets and Metro is a love it or hate it proposition, but I do not think anyone will contest, that after four years, the icon driven interface is starting to feel old. iOS 5, is needed. 

In 2007 Apple introduced innovative technology with it's iPhone, which lacked things like 3G capability. The phone was so innovative, and behind the curve, that it was written off by many. The years 2008 and 2009 would see the iPhone was the undisputed best in the industry. Last year, the iPhone faced it strongest challengers, with the Nexus One coming out and seriously upping the numbers game against the iPhone 3GS. Had Google found a better way to market its Nexus S, things could have been very different now in terms of market share. Not that this stopped Android from climbing to the top.

A June 2011 iPhone 5 release would put a up to date, dual core phone in the market just as Apple's competitors products hit the shelf. A delayed iPhone 5 release. by two or three months may not seem like much, but it move Apple from the leader, to following the Android pack. I do not see Apple letting this happen, and I think they would move heaven and earth to get their iPhone 5 in the market at the expected date. Let's wait and see... 

Rabu, 30 Maret 2011

Optimizing your wireless connection speeds

This article was first posted in Mobility Philippines on June 27, 2007. To some degree it is still relevant today so I am reposting it here.

Some people get good speeds with their wireless connections some do not. Sometimes the problems are network related and at other times they are simply settings. Last night, as I was about to connect to Smart 3G's network with a Sony Ericsson P990i as a modem for a laptop from Seattle's Best Tomas Morato I noticed that Sony Ericsson's PCSuite Mobile Networking Wizard it reported that it was connected to the Smart GSM network.

All 3G devices will connect to either a GPRS or 3G network depending on the signal detected by the device. By default, our devices are set to auto select. If I allowed the mobile phone to auto select, than instead of running on the 384kbps 3G network, it would run on the 62kbps GPRS network. If I let it do that, than I would have a slow connection with a maximum speed of 62kbps and complain that the network is slow.

Now, the P990i allows you to select between three connections options, GSM only, 3G/GSM and 3G only (UMTS only in other brands). I selected 3G only. This usually requires the device to reboot, but the P990i's Symbian UIQ software allows it to go to 3G only without a reboot. While I have my reservations about this phone as a hand held web browsing device, as a laptop modem it is perfect (except for the absence of HSPA support). The P990i went from the 5 bar GSM signal to a 3 bar 3G signal. But a weaker 3G signal is better than a strong GSM signal.

With 3 bars, I got these results using Speedtest.net:

If I let the phone auto select I would be getting 62kbps or less even with the 5 bar signal.

So if you want to maximize your connection speeds select a device with a 3G only setting and learn how to use this setting. On Globe's HSDPA network I kept my Huawie E620 Data Card on "3G only" all the time, setting it on GRPS/EDGE only when needed. This is a dedicated internet device. With the P990i, it is a mobile phone, so I let it autoselect and set it to 3G only as needed, as 3G only signals are weaker than GSM signals.

Wireless is great, it allows you to go anywhere, but be reasonable. Seattle's Best, Tomas Morato is a challenging location for both Smart 3G and Globe Visibility. Tonight I sat near the entrance of the shop facing the road and place the mobile phone as near to the window as possible. That allowed me to get a 3 bar 3G signal. If I sat further from the door I would get a weaker signal, and if I went all the way back into the smoking area, I would not be able to get a 3G signal at all and would only be able to connect via a poor GPRS signal. Ten meters changes my 330kbps to 38kbps.

Wireless devices are line of sight, so put them as close to clear air as possible. Don't expect to be able to connect from the basement of your house or from the interior room of a building and get good speeds.

If you are having connections problems from your home try different areas in the house and see if you can get a better signal or place the modem or mobile phone in different locations. The Huawie e220 comes with two cables to connect with your laptop. A short one and a long one, the latter to allow more options on where to place your modem.

Two simple tips. I hope this improves your wireless browsing experience.

Selasa, 29 Maret 2011

The slow pace of the Nokia plus Microsoft

Nokia is in a tough position. Having announced in February 2011 that the company will be moving to the Windows Phone 7 platform, it basically killed Symbian^S3. Than came the second part of the announcement, that Windows Phone 7 devices would not be available till the 4th Quarter of 2011, and most likely not commercially till the 2012. So for the past six weeks, Nokia has been promoting their Symbian S^3 operating system, promising a new user interface, a new web browser and other improvements before it finally phases out the operating system. 

It would have made more sense for Nokia to delay the announcement of migration to Windows Phone 7 until Nokia was closer to being able to release a Windows Phone 7 device. Now they have the though job of trying to convince buyers that it is still viable to buy their Symbian based devices even if they will be but phased out by the early next year. 

Microsoft also have been better off with a bit of a delay. While Windows Phone 7 viability benefited greatly with announcement of its adoption by Nokia, the special concessions made to Nokia might deter other manufacturers from continuing Windows Phone 7 production. Of the companies that manufactures Windows Phone 7 devices, HTC, Samsung, LG and Dell, only HTC and Dell have new Windows Phone 7 devices for 2011, and nothing very innovative. But that may have been the case whether or not a partnership with Nokia had been announced. 

Ultimately, the early announcement probably did more good, than the late Nokia implementation will cause harm. It keeps the platform viable until we see the Nokia devices. In other fronts, Windows Phone 7 is looking good. It is getting its cut and paste updates, and the Windows Phone 7 market it now 10,000 applications strong. But by the time Nokia get around to producing Windows Phone 7 devices, Apple will have their iOS 5 and Google should be in the process of integrating Android 3.0 Honeycomb as a mobile phone OS. BlackBerry will probably have their QNX software on their way to mobile phones. In other words, it will be a dual core world, looking at quad core devices in the horizon.

Can Nokia leapfrog one generation of hardware to deliver current Windows Phone 7 devices, or will Nokia and Microsoft emerge in 2012 as one generation behind the curve? And we aren't even talking about the tablet market.

PLDT to buy 52% of Digitel...

GMA News reports that PLDT will buy 52% of Digitel. When the deal is done, this would effectively place Sun Cellular under the control of PLDT. This would put PLDT in control of its third Telecom, as it already owns Smart Communications and Red Mobile.

Given how much Sun Cellular change the industry, especially in terms of pricing, having it go under the control of PLDT is a bit of a worrisome thing. 

Minggu, 27 Maret 2011

The Apple iPad 16GB WiFi versus the Samsung Galaxy Tab P1010

Both of the Apple iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, are no longer the latest and greatest, with newer more powerful dual core tablets set to come out in the Philippine market in the next few months. On the other hand, these devices are also now cheaper than ever, and their current price points are so reasonable, we do not expect to see them go down further. If you have been waiting for a good deal on a premium tablet, now is the time to get one.

Also, while these tablets are no longer the "latest and greatest" I do not think most users will miss the power provided by the newer dual core tablets. 

The size. While these two tablets have been set off as direct competitors, that is really not the case. In deciding which one is best for you, the size will most likely be your primary consideration. The Apple iPad has a 9.7-inch screen. This might sound just a little bigger than the Samsung Galaxy Tab's 7-inch screen, but it is not. The iPad's screen is twice the size of the Galaxy Tab screen. Remember we are talking horizontal measurements. The iPad is also almost twice the weight at 1.5 pounds, versus the Galaxy Tab's 0.8 pounds.

This how you will be using the iPad, not while standing or walking.

Despite all the hype you hear about mobility, make no mistake about it, the iPad is best used on a table. It is a little too  big to use it while standing up or walking around. You would have to cradle it in your arm for use while standing or walking. You also need to get a nice stand or a case with a stand for it, to give it a comfortable viewing and typing angle. All-in-all consider it to be a 2 pound device. 

The Galaxy Tab on the other hand is small enough to actually be used in hand, like an e-Book reader. Not that you want to do that for a very long period of time. The 0.8 pound weight is not as light as it sounds, but yes you can hold it in one hand and manipulate it with the other. Once on a table, the drawback of the 7-inch screen is clear. It is smaller, and too small to do two handed typing  on landscape keyboard.

Basically, if you are looking for a device to grad from coffee table to coffee table, the iPad is the better choice. If you are looking for a handheld computer, the Galaxy Tab is it. No winners here. It really depends on what you want.

The ecosystem. The Apple iPad has 65,000 apps built for it, and its 9.7-inch screen. There is some software designed for the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but for the most part you use the same software optimize for 4-inch smartphone screens. Still most of the software in the Android Market works, but sometimes buttons and elements look a bit bigger than necessary on the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The Apple store gives you access to both free apps and paid apps. The Android Market does not give you access to paid apps in the Philippines. Luckily, 80% of Android apps are free (or add supported). 

If it came down to app support, I would give round to the iPad.

Power. In sheer power, the Samsung Galaxy Tab has the advantage with 512MB of RAM. The Apple iPad has 256MB. Both have 1GHz processors and powerful graphic processing units which can play 720p content and do a fair amount of gaming. But they runs different software, so the additional RAM of the Galaxy Tab is not all that important. Both work well enough.

Battery life. In real world use, browsing and gaming, the Samsung Galaxy Tab will give you 5-6 hours of use. The Apple iPad will give you 9-10 hours of use. Nothing more needs to be discussed in this regard. This round goes to the iPad.

Storage and file transfer. The entry level Apple iPad comes with 16GB of storage, which is non-expandable. In order to access the 16GB from a computer you need to use Apple's iTunes software.  While the iPad does support Bluetooth, but not file transfer to other devices. It is used for peer-to-peer connections with wireless headsets and keyboards. The Samsung Galaxy Tab comes with 16GB or internal storage, expandable to 48GB via a MicroSD card. The Galaxy Tab can also operate on mass storage mode, so it can be accessed from any computer via USB cable without any particular software. You can also transfer files via bluetooth.

The Galaxy Tab has much better storage and file transfer options.

Camera's. The Samsung Galaxy Tab has two, a 3.15 MP at the back which can do 720p video recording and a 1.3 MP camera at front. The 3.15 MP camera is not all that great, but good enough for decent 720p video recording. The Apple iPad has no cameras.

Price. The Apple iPad will set you back Php19,990. The Samsung Galaxy Tab will cost you Php15,999. The Galaxy Tab is cheaper, but the iPad has a larger screen and battery which justify the price. I would call this a draw. 

So which one?  The Apple iPad, its operating system and available apps give it a more polished feel. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is the more versatile device with more hardware (MicroSD Card slot and camera's) but lacks support in terms of dedicated apps for the 7-inch screen.

If there was a 7-inch iPad, I would pick that in a heartbeat. But we do not have that choice. So, we got a Galaxy Tab, and have not regretted that decision. In the end it depends on whether you want a 9.7-inch device or a 7-inch device. 

Google updates new commenting feature for Google Docs

Google Docs is an excellent product from Google company which helps to user to edit the document in online without any use of special software’s. The latest news from Google is they are going to update new commenting feature for Google docs, so it’s like a real time chat between the users which are editing the same document with comment feature. Whenever user comment on the document and that comment will appears on right side of  the document including with their profile pictures and timestamps. Even you can use “@” to interact and reply with particular user comment or discussion on that document.
Read more »

Sabtu, 26 Maret 2011

Tips: Rooting LG Optimus 2X On Android 2.2 Froyo

This is another tips on how to root the LG Optimus 2X with Android 2.2 Froyo OS.
Disclaimer: You may proceed at your own risk. We are not responsible if your device gets bricked or damaged during the process.

First connect  your LG Optimus 2X and via  computer's USB port. You may also need to install LG Drivers on your computer.

1. Download Z4root App on to your computer and unzip the contents.

2. The z4root App comes in APK format. Install the App on your phone. If you are new for installation of APK format apps, follow our guide on how to install Off market Apps in Android phone.
3. After installation, launch the z4root app on your phone.
4. Z4 Root gives you two options of rooting. Tap on “Permanent Root”.

5. The app will automatically root your LG Optimus 2X.
Note: Many users have faced problem at this step. The device hangs up at first stage saying “Running exploit in order to obtain root access…”. If you are also struck up at this stage, simply reboot your device and launch the app again.
6. This will follow with following messages: “Acquiring root shell…” and “ Please wait while root operations complete…”. Don’t do anything at this point.

7. You phone will automatically reboot.
After reboot is complete, you will see a new icon “Superuser” in the screen. This means your device is successfully rooted. Enjoy!

See the complete methods on Dkzone .

Jumat, 25 Maret 2011

Netbook versus Tablet: Acer Aspire One 522 v. Samsung Galaxy Tab P1010

With the price of the entry level Apple iPad having dropped to below Php20,000 earlier this month, we decided to do a netbook versus tablet comparison, between the AMD Fusion powered Acer One 522 and the WiFi only 16GB variant of the Apple iPad. People have been comparing netbooks and tablets for a long time, christening the tablet as the netbook killer. 

With the recent price drop of Samsung's 7-inch  3G Android tablet to just over Php20,000 and the release of a WiFi only version for just Php15,999 put more options in the price range dominated by netbooks, a reader posited the question:

"What about the Samsung Galaxy Tab? The wifi only version now sells for only P16,000. Won't this be a good deal against the netbook?"

The answer is yes and no. When we did our last comparison, we concluded that it was like comparing Apples and Oranges. The two devices are so dissimilar, as straight up comparison is really not possible. However, it does not mean that tablets do not threaten netbooks. While the two devices are rather different, they target the same market segment: those looking for low cost ultraportable computers. 

In a one-on-on comparison, the netbook will win on specifications, for now at least. It was more power, more storage and more ports. The second generation tablets do, close the specifications gap between netbooks and tablets. The tablet provides better portability and generally better battery life.

On the other hand, the use different operating systems and software so differences in power are notall  that important. 

We could repeat the system we used in our earlier Acer One 522 versus iPad article, but after writing that article, I realized how pointless it was. We will take a different approach this time. This time we will be putting up the 7-inch WiFi only Samsung Galaxy Tab in the ring against the 10/1-inch Acer Aspire One 522 netbook.

As a standalone device. If you are planning to buy one of these two devices to be your primary computer, which would be best. Someone on a budget, looking for a standalone device is best of with a netbook. A tablet, for now, is still an accessory to another computer. 

Why? Mainly the absence of a physical keyboard and storage. The biggest drawback of the tablet, and advantage of the netbook in this regard is storage. The absence of a USB port so it can hooked up to am external drive really makes it an accessory to another machine. You are limited you to 16GB of storage which can be expanded through MicroSD cards.  The Aspire one 522 has 250GB of storage. Matching this would mean seven 32GB MicroSD (well almost anyway). Seven 32GB Micro SD card will cost you more than a Aspire One. So if you need more storage than 16-48GB, you might as well buy both a tablet and a netbook.   

As a multimedia device. The Acer Aspire One 522 can play and output 1080p HD video through an HDMI port. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is limited to 720p playback and has no HDMI out. Because of this, we think the netbook makes a better multimedia device. But unless you plan to hook it up to an LCD TV, the Aspire One's advantages, 1080p play back ability and HDMI out, is of little important.

As a daily companion. As light as the Acer Aspire One 522 is, it still will weight almost 3 pounds. You can carry it everyday, but you will know you are carrying a netbook. At a bit more than 10 x 7 inches in size, and an inch thick, it is also still fairly large. The Samsung Galaxy Tab at 0.84 pounds and about 7.5 x 4.7 x 0.47 inches, and is  less than one-fourth the size of a netbook. 

Aside of being smaller and lighter, the Galaxy Tab will give you more endurance. It should give you six hours of real world use, while the Aspire One 522, a little more than four hours. The camera on the Samsung Galaxy Tab is nothing to crow about, it takes decent 720p video, so it doubles as a video camera. 

Decisions. We could go on, but it depends more on what you want, than what it can do.  So, which is best for you? I can only draw on personal experiences.

Having bought a netbooks myself, in 2008, and a second one in 2009, I finally ditched netbook for good replacing it with a very light full powered laptop. If you want a highly portable laptop on a limited budget, than get the netbook. If is still a laptop, just a smaller less powerful version. A tablet, never cross my mind. It is simply really, I wanted a keyboard. As a laptop alternative, netbook is a better choice than a tablet, and the main reason is the physical keyboard. 

My wife and a friend of mine, both early tablet adopters, never owned netbooks. One uses a 14-inch HP laptop, and the other a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro. In selecting their laptops, they did not go with the most portable options available. Portability of the laptop was not the number one priority, and they both do not in-fact carry their laptop around much on a daily basis. So why did they get tablets? Tablets are small and light enough, that carrying them around is not longer a chore. 

If you want a small but powerful machine like a Sony Vaio Z, MacBook Air or Lenovo X200, but are on a budget, the Acer Aspire One is your best bet or one of the low cost AMD Fusion laptops is you. If you have never felt the need for a light but powerful laptop, but want something more than your smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Tab may be more appealing. A tablet is a nice handy device for someone that does not need a laptop on the go. 

The two devices cater to different needs. But in the low cost and light weight arena, previously the only option was the netbook. Tablets are not netbook killers, because they are more capable or better. The tablet gives an alternative solution.  Many would be netbook buyers, will become tablet owners instead.

Kamis, 24 Maret 2011

WiFi only Samsung Galaxy Tab P1010

Browsing over at CMK Cellphones I noticed they now have the WiFi only Samsung Galaxy Tab P1010 available. Specifications are identical to the Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000 except for the absence of the 2G/3G radio, which means mobile data (except via WiFi) and no phone functionality (no calls and text). The price is a very inviting Php15,999. This makes it almost 4K less than the entry level Apple iPad.

Around the Web: 7-inch tablets get a new lease on life

I thought 7-inch tablets were dead with Google Android Honeycomb tablet OS being design around a 1280 x 800 10.1-inch screen. But it looks like that has changed. PC Magazine reports that "Google has been working closely with tablet manufacturers to get the Android Honeycomb UI running on seven-inch, 1024-by-600 single-core devices, said Raymond Kim, vice president of sales and marketing for device maker Anydata. This is a change from the first round of Honeycomb tablets like the Motorola Xoom, which have all been dual-core devices with 1280-by-800 screens that are eight inches or larger."

Looks like our Samsung Galaxy Tabs may get a second lease on life.

Seven inch options are also getting more interesting. GigaOM reports that "Research In Motion’s plans for its PlayBook tablet became a little more focused today: The company just announced that its tablet will run Google Android applications through a special 'app player.'"  This would make the BlackBerry PlayBook a very appealing option.

Rabu, 23 Maret 2011

Around the Web - Of monster phones and mini tablets

Monster phones. Last year, Steve Job's commenting on the 4-inch and larger Android phones which had than just hit the market said  "no one's going to buy that" x x x "you can't get your hand around it". Engadget reports that 24% of Smartphone purchased by US Consumers have a screen size of 4-inches or larger. 

Frankly, no pure touchscreen phone with a screen size of less than 4-inches really excites us these days.  When you are tying to do on your handset a task that you used to do on your 12 to 17-inch laptop, or desktop, every tenth of an inch counts. But, we do agree that phones with 4-inch screens can get a bit ungainly. 

Will the sales figures convince Apple that it is time to introduced an upsized version of their iPhone? An iPhone 5 and an iPhone 5 EVO :) 

Playbook pricing.  Laptop Magazine reports that RIM's 7-inch tablet, the PlayBook will be available by April 19th. Initially all the PlayBooks will be WiFi only models. The 16GB PlayBook will retail for $499. The 32GB and 64GB versions will sell for $599 and $699 respectively. The pricing is competitive with Apple's iPad 2, though it is half the size.

While 7-inch tablets appear to be going out of style (well they were never really in), personally, it is my favorite size for a tablet. Will give this one a look, when (and if) it becomes available here.

Selasa, 22 Maret 2011

Samsung strikes back

At the Mobile World Congress in February of this year, Samsung announced its Galaxy Tab 10.1, which looked like it was designed to beat the Motorola Xoom. When the new ultra thin Apple iPad 2 was launched it look like the Android tablets were doomed to continue in obscurity. But it looks like Samsung will not be stopped. It is amazing what the engineers at Samsung can do in three weeks and a trip back to the drawing board.    

At CTIA Wireless 2011, Samsung announced two new tablets, The 10.1-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 we saw at the Mobile World Congress has been slimmed down. It now measures 256.6 x 172.9 x 8.6 mm. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 used to be 10.9mm thick. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 weighs in at just 595g with a 6800mAh battery. This makes it thinner and lighter than the Apple iPad 2.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 also has a smaller sibling, the Galaxy Tab 8.9. It has a 8.9" screen and measures 230.9 x 157.8 x 8.6mm. It weighs at just 470g with a 6000mAh battery. The rest of the features are very much like the ones on its bigger brother, 800 x 1280 resolution screen, dual core processors and Android 3.0.

The hardware is iPad 2 grade. It is now a question of the price. And the price, is match Apple's iPad pricing. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 starts at US$499. The smaller Galaxy Tab 8.9 starts at US$469. Will this be good enough? In any case prepare for a battle royale, again Samsung provides a legitimate iPad contender. Samsung has really arrived. 

Mac OSX 10.6.7 update out

There is a new updated version of Snow Leopard out. If you have one of those new 2011 MacBook Pro's with the Intel HD graphics who have been having problems, this should resolve the issue.

"The 10.6.7 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac, including fixes that:

- Improve the reliability of Back to My Mac
- Resolve an issue when transferring files to certain SMB servers
- Address various minor Mac App Store bugs
- Addresses minor FaceTime performance issues (2011 MBP only)
- Improve graphics stability and external display compatibility (2011 MBP only)

For detailed information on this update, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4472.
For information on the security content of this update, please visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222."

Senin, 21 Maret 2011

iOS 4.3 Review at The Borg Colletives

The Borg Collectives says that the iOS 4.3 "seems geared to enrich the Media sharing experience of the user, and further cement the iPhone and iTunes into consumer's lives. Best of all, especially for me, this update strengthens the iPhone + iPad combo." You can read the rest of the review here.

BenQ R100 Android Tablet Specs

A well know company BenQ entering into tablet wars with their new BenQ R100 Android Tablet. The new BenQ R100 Android is equipped with quite impressive Specs like a 10-inch LCD resistive touch screen display with 1024x768 pixel resolution and runs with advanced 833MHz Samsung S5PC100 processor and 512MB RAM in order to handle all kind of high-end multimedia applications without any lagging. While comes to the internal memory it is included with 8GB storage which can expandable up to 16GB via micro SD card slot and it has integrated mini USB 2.0 connectivity to transfer the data from pc to device, mini HDMI jack, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n connection and Bluetooth 2.0 respectively.
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Yes, we are living in a Post PC world

Steve Jobs has declared the era of the PC over during the Apple iPad 2 launch. We are now, apparently living in the Post PC era. It is important to understand what Mr. Jobs means by the PC. Mr. Job's said PC's will become like trucks. Useful for certain tasks, but not for the general market. By PC is meant the x86 personal computer running Windows, Linux and even Apple's own Mac OSX operating system. Tablets and mobile phones are actually personal computers. What Mr. Job's is really saying is that it is the end of the Wintel domination.

Steve Job's latest creation, the iPad 2

After reflecting on this on and off for the past few weeks, it donned on me, by gosh, Jobs is right. I really cannot speak for the industry or even a class of consumers, but just for myself. I want to take you back fifteen years. I had just finished college and took my first full time job. Back than, I used personal computers at home and at work. There was nothing very “personal” about the PC at home. Our home PC was a shared device which really just served a modern day typewriter. Weeks might go by without me using it. At work I would use a PC to access data stored on local hard drives, and I could type documents on them too. I really did not have to type though, I had a secretary to do that, and we actually had a pool of encoders, a “typing pool”, at work for longer documents. If we go back fifteen years, PC were like trucks, at least to me. My need to a PC was limited to the demands of work.

I had a cellular phone back than too, which really did nothing other than allow you to make calls. That was a more personal gadget which I took with me everywhere I went. It truth, I wanted one more than I really needed one. It was really just cool toy to flash around. Dragging a phone around with me was cool. I would not have wanted to drag a laptop around with me.

Two years would change everything. From a type writer it had morphed into a portal to the World Wide Web. I got a 60-hour dial connection, and my very first own PC. Back than there was no Wikipedia or You Tube. I have no even heard about Google and used to do searches out of a search engine called Alta Vista. Back we did have email, forums and ICQ (an instant messenger), and the world became a much smaller place overnight. In an odd way, the PC was important to me not because of its ability to crunch data, but as a communications device.

In 2001, I went on my own. Personal computers allowed a small business to exist where previously, only large organizations could be competitive. For both work, and for entertainment, I was now dependent on the personal computer and the Internet. I got my first portable computer, two years later in 2003. It was a HTC Tanager powered by Windows Smartphone 2002. Back than I really did not think of this device as a pocket computer, but more of a personal data assistant.

In 2005, with laptop prices having gone down, I retired my last desktop and my PC went mobile. A laptop kept me connected to the Internet, between a fixed cable connection at home, and WiFi hotspots in the field, on demand 24/7. These are what I like to call the ball and chain years. Each year since 2005, I have been acquiring lighter and lighter devices, and my original six pound ball and chain went down to less than three pounds by the end of 2008.

Accompanying my laptop was a smartphone, but ultimately, when it came to expenditure, from 1998 until 2010, the personal computer was the item that I would devote the largest budget too. The smartphone was fine for as long as it could make calls, send and receive SMS and keep track of your schedule. The PC took care of everything else. But in the end, it was really something I wanted to get rid off. Either you have a desktop or large laptop which you have to go to when you want to send and email or check some information on something, or you have a three pound device on a shoulder bag or back-pack or tucked under your arm the whole day.

I realized, that 2010 is the last year that the PC takes up the largest portion of my gadget budget. The core function has not really changed much in the past decade I have owned a PC. Between Windows 95 and Windows 7, there really is no revolutionary functionality. I upgraded operating systems in search of stability. I upgraded hardware, to keep up with ever more demanding operating systems. But in the end, my current laptop does pretty much the same thing as my desktop in 1998. PC technology for all the advances in speed and capacity, has pretty much remained stagnant. To the point now, that I am willing to let it become a truck again. I paid for faster, because it was a slow inefficient device, and I paid for lighter to reduce the burden of this self-imposed ball and chain.

Steve Job's was referring to the advent of the tablet, or more particularly the Apple iPad when he announced the end of the PC era. Converting my laptop in to a iPad, does not necessarily seem like an interesting prospect to me. It really is just a smaller laptop, without a keyboard. And it won't replace your mobile phone either. In many ways, the iPad is a distraction from where the industry is headed.

It is the smartphone that will end the era of the PC. I still go back to a PC to type things like this article. Or to attach documents to emails. The PC is a productivity tool, and that is the only reason I still need it. The PC is still the favorite accessory of my Digital Camera, but even that is getting less use these days. Yes, there are those who need a true workstation for serious crunching, but for the rest of us, the era of the PC is truly coming to an end.

Instead of browsing the web to visit my favorite haunts, I use Twitter to direct me to articles of interest to me. That are a whole bunch of Apps and services that are focused on "correcting" a lot of the deficiencies of the smartphone as a web browsing device. Communications whether the traditional voice and text, or the computer based emal, instant messaging or social networking, now is the province of my smartphone. Photographs are taken by my smartphone, cropped and enhanced by the same device, and are sent up into the cloud, all from one device.

The Web now belongs to my smartphone

In fifteen years, the personal has gone from being a typewriter, to going back to being a typewriter. I do not yet see myself ever not owning a laptop. But you will not see me paying for Intel fastest processor, or Microsoft's latest operating system. My MacBook Air, is the last of its kind. When it is time to replace my expensive little laptop, it will be replaced by a low cost functional laptop. If it can run a word processor and can be used to blog, it will do fine. I am not willing to pay for lighter or faster anymore. The cheaper the better.

The web, which made the personal computer so important to me now belongs to the smartphone. This is where my gadget budget is going to now. How much? Show me what it can do. There are really no fixed limits. The smartphone is now the most important gadget. Give me a plug in keyboard and let me plug it into a LCD TV or portable LCD screen, and I may finally retire laptop, the same way I did the desktop, six years ago. The smartphone will rule. Tablets? Their true future is as a smartphone accessory.

The PC has gone back to being a truck. 

The ironic thing is that, this is now a truck
for an Android device. But Apple iOS devices still need the truck.

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