Posts Tagged ‘conference’

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MWC 2009 Barcelona – Best of the Rest

February 17, 2009

HTC had a conference of their own at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in which two new handsets were unveiled. The HTC Touch Diamond2 and the HTC Touch Pro2 were presented with the theme that 2009 is going to be about simplifying how we communicate with people. The handsets will both have the TouchFLO 3D interface which has been integrated even further into a customised Windows Mobile 6.1, this should bring features, that were previously only accessible by leaving the TouchFLO interface, into TouchFLO.

Both handsets feature a touch-sensitive area below the screen that can be used as a zoom control for webpages or documents and messages.

As part of the connecting with people agenda, communications between people are shown in a list regardless of how the contact was made. If you received an email from Jim, and then an SMS text message this would show in the one list, rather than having to check your email client and your SMS inbox individually.

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The Touch Diamond2 features a 3.2 inch VGA screen, 50% better battery life and gravity sensor as well as expandable storage. Expected in Europe and Asia in Q2 2009 and global release later in the year.

htc touch pro2

HTC’s Touch Pro2 has a larger 3.6 inch VGA screen and a slide out Qwerty keyboard over the Diamond2. The feature that is most interesting on this handset is the Straight Talk and speakerphone function. Turn the phone over and it becomes a conference call system. Available from early summer in major markets.

Sony Ericsson are showcasing the Idou which ups the camera megapixel race to 12MP although I’d like to see the image quality improve on mobile devices as opposed to the size/resolution. The SE Idou sports a 3.5 inch 16:9 widescreen at a with a resolution of 640 x 320. The screen is touch sensitive and this video at Engadget Mobile gives a great demo of it and shows how responsive the interface is. Also the device has in built in GPS and the whole caboodle runs the Symbian operating system but with the SE interface on top.

Samsung’s touch screen Memoir, whose casing on the front looks similar in design to the Idou (maybe I need my eyes tested), sports an 8MP camera and according to Engadget Mobile is being released in the USA on the 25th of February so that slightly trumps the Sony Ericsson handset for now. As with many handsets of this range, the unit includes GPS and an accelerometer. There is also face and smile detection for the camera. Another hands-on video courtesy of Engadget Mobile.

Staying with touch screen devices, Samsung’s OmniaHD features an OLED screen a whopping 3.7 inch screen at a resolution of 360 x 640. Accelerometer, GPS, face and smile detection on an 8MP camera. This handset also runs a Symbian OS. Expected release sometime Q2 2009.

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Having seen people create concepts for phones that are totally transparent, looking like nothing more than a plate of glass which doubles as an LCD screen with etchings for a keypad, it was surprising to see LG going after such a design. LG have announced the GD900, due for Q2 2009, which features a transparent keypad made from a single piece of transparent material and is illuminated by a ‘glow’ of light. With the transparent and flexible battery already invented and flexible displays available how long before we see a see-through roll-up phone? It would make a nice communicator wrist unit or bracelet, would it not?

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Remember LG’s touch screen watch phone, the LG  G910? Yesterday Orange announced that it would be the first network to carry the device in Europe. No word on pricing in the press release but it says the device will be available “…later this year.” If that’s the bezel they’re going to use, then count me out, I’ll wait for it on another network! On the other hand, you may like it.

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During the rest of the Mobile World Congress, other handsets and services besides those from Nokia and Microsoft were announced. In particular, HTC revealed another handset, one of which may be perceived to be the G2, successor to the T-Mobile G1. The handset hasn’t been labelled as such and is instead the HTC Magic. The Magic will be exclusive for a limited time on Vodafone – thank goodness, last thing we want are network exclusive handsets to limit competition between networks.

The HTC Magic doesn’t have a physical keyboard other than the buttons below the screen, one has to rely on the touch-screen keyboard. It has the trackball as seen on the G1 and a 3.2 inch screen with a 320×480 resolution touch-screen and a 3.2MP camera. As Engadget Mobile noticed, there isn’t a 3.5mm headphone jack on the handset, again.

HTC Magic 

It looks like the Android bandwagon is gaining momentum and a buyer looking for an open source mobile operating system won’t be limited to the G1 for much longer.

Also spotted on Engadget Mobile (since I couldn’t go to the MWC) was possibly the ultimate Android handset, well, it’s more like the size of a desktop calculator. Texas Instruments’ OMAP3420 device has a 4.1inch touch-screen display, 16GB built-in storage and SD card slot, full qwerty keyboard, HDMI out(!), wifi, 8MP camera and the option of a 3G model. It will set you back $1150 for the wifi only model and $1399 for the 3G model and that’s probably data only. Still, I think I have a coat pocket big enough for it. See more of this unit at Engadget Mobile.

tags: MWC 2009, mobile world congress, conference, Barcelona, HTC, Touch, Pro2, Diamond2, Samsung, Memoir, OmniaHD, LG, GD900, G910, Sony Ericsson, Idou, Mobile, touch, screen, concept

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MWC 2009 Barcelona – Day 1: Microsoft

February 17, 2009

At yesterdays MWC conference, Microsoft revealed an expected update to Windows Mobile, now up to 6.5, available later in the year. Changes include a revamp of the home screen, considerations in the interface for touch usage as well as tweaking the way user access features. One such example is the new locked home screen where icons are displayed for emails or missed called and voicemails; users swipe the icon of the feature they wish to access which unlocks the device and takes the user immediately to the chosen function. Behind the new home screen and menu icons are still the same old looking interface menus with the device status icons along the top, Windows menu and close button.

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The menu screen sees a change to the layout of the icons from grid to a honeycomb to improve access using fingers. Separation of the icons helps users with sausage fingers and no access to Homer Simpson’s dialling wand.

Changes to Internet Explorer Mobile claim improved rendering on the go offering a desktop quality rendering.

With the mobile phone carrying lots of important information, contacts, emails, messages, pictures, notes, documents etc, the potential of losing it all either through a software problem or losing the device altogether is ever present. Microsoft announced My Phone, a service to add to the number of mobile data backup services. Direct regular backups from the handset to the service can be setup. Storage will be around 200Mb and the data can be pulled back down to a new handset.

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homepage

To add to the service aspect, Microsoft also announced a software marketplace, a central repository of applications, utilities and games. Nothing new here but as with Apple’s and Nokia’s upcoming marketplace, users will only have to look in one place for the majority of their needs.

Finally, Microsoft unveiled Recite, available as a free technology preview. It allows users to record voice notes and then to search them with their voice. No need to fumble around the menus and type your thoughts, just set Recite as a shortcut and talk away! Available for Windows phones, version 6.0 onwards.

 

tags: Microsoft, MWC 2009, mobile world congress, conference, Barcelona, Recite, Windows Mobile, Internet Explorer Mobile, My Phone, backup, marketplace

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MWC 2009 Barcelona – Day 1 Nokia

February 17, 2009

Yesterday saw the start of the 2009 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. A large number of mobile hardware, software and accessory manufacturers gather to show off their wares to the world, it could be considered the mobile telephony version of CES.

Nokia’s conference revealed a number of devices and services for the coming year further improving on offerings from 2008.

The useless Download app on Nokia phones has for a while now been an after-thought for getting applications and utilities to peoples’ phones. It seems there may be a decent solution in the form of the Ovi Store with a url, publish.ovi.com, for anyone wanting to get their content onto the Ovi Store. Signups for developers/publishers is open now with the Ovi Store available to compatible devices in May. The long anticipated N97 will be the first Nokia to have the Ovi Store software pre-installed.

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The Ovi store will also be location aware and as Nokia put it, can provide “…targeted content based on their social connections and physical location.” How this will be useful beyond the given example of Spanish content items when in Spain, remains to be explored. Perhaps those travel/audio guides would be handy.

 

When it comes to hardware, Nokia devices are universal with handsets available for all budgets and with various capabilities. Yesterday a number of handsets were announced to build on their existing portfolio.

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Nokia wanted to create the worlds thinnest smartphone and why not, what suit-wearing person wants a bulge in their jacket or trouser pocket. In this case, the bulge will only be 9.9mm thick. The Nokia E55 is that handset and claims 28 days of standby time, good if you don’t use your phone, and up to eight hours of talk time. This is the first Nokia handset that I know of to have neither a standard abc, def, keypad or a full qwerty. Instead, the E55 uses what Blackberry users know as SureType, two letters per key in a qwerty fashion. Other features include GPS, digital compass, wi-fi and in this thin handset, a 3.5mm headphone jack. The handset will be available in March, this year, for €265 sim-free, available in Black, Aluminium and White Aluminium.

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Also announced was the Nokia E75, another E-series business smartphone with standard corporate email access and the first to come integrated with Nokia Messaging. It has a horizontal slide-out fully qwerty keyboard. The handset will be available next month for €375 sim-free in Silver/black, Red and Copper Yellow.

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Nokia’s Navigator range of handsets are reinforced with the addition of the 6710 Navigator, which comes with a Nokia Maps and navigation licences pre-installed so the device is ready to use. The 6710 Navigator is a vertical slider handset which will also come with a car holder and is expected to be around €300 sim-free; available during Q3 2009 in Titanium and Brown.

 

The Nokia 6720 Classic was also announced, a candybar smartphone running S60 9.2. It is what I would consider, a common/standard-level smartphone, with 5MP camera and LED flash (LED!…*groan*), TV-out connection and built-in GPS. It has nothing exceptional that hasn’t been seen on previous top end N-series handsets and it probably serves to bring the technology to more people as prices drop. Available in Titanium, Grey and Brown for around €245 in Q2 2009.

 

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N86 is Nokia’s answer to the megapixel race (and hopefully the image quality race too!) at 8mp, it has exceeded their stale 5MP barrier. Is this new 8MP vertical slide handset going to be the new standard for this and next year’s Nokias?

Claims of aperture akin to that of a dedicated digital camera and shorter latency and fast mechanical shutter aim this squarely at the multimedia and photography demographic. No Xenon flash, instead there are two LEDs With all the features one would expect of an N-series device, such as wi-fi, 3g, GPS, TV-out along with 8GB of built-in storage and additional Micro-SD card slot. the N86 also features an OLED screen providing better contrast and colours, important for a phone where the photographic capability is being touted. Expect it to be available Q2 2009 €375 sim-free.

tags: MWC 2009, mobile world congress, conference, Nokia, Navigator, ovi, store, n86, 6720 classic, 6710 navigator, e75, e55, n97, barcelona