Posts Tagged ‘touch’

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Opera Mini Beta 5 – Optimised for N97 et al.

September 21, 2009

The previous version of Opera Mini worked well on Symbian S60 3rd Edition handsets but wasn’t conceived in anticipation of the touch-screen version of the S60, S60 5th Edition, which can be found on the Nokia N97 and the 5800, to name two. As a result touch functionality didn’t work and the user had to fall back to the hardware keys of the N97 and the virtual keypad of the 5800.

Opera has now released Opera Mini Beta 5 which is a godsend for those with a touch-screen mobiles and brings with it some great new features that should have been part of the inbuilt browser of the Nokia N97, in particular. So, what does Opera Mini Beta 5 offer besides touch friendly browsing.

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Tabbed Browsing
An awesome feature especially on a mobile device which has a small screen. The native S60 browser doesn’t handle multiple windows well and to force a new window you have to create a custom page/bookmark hack as the feature is not available natively. The way this has been implemented on S60 5th adds to the usability as the thumbnails of the page are shown in the tab, which will work well for those who prefer to see the colours/images of a page rather than read the name of the tab to identify it.

Select Text/Copy
One thing that Nokia have missed the boat on is the copying of content from the web browser with their S60 devices. Opera opens up this feature and is activated by pressing down on the screen until a balloon with “Select Text” appears. Once text is highlighted, by dragging a finger or stylus across the screen, another balloon pops up offering options to “Copy,” “Search,” or “Search with,” which allows you to select a search engine. Nice time saving features allowing information to be freed from the browser.

Save Page
You can save web pages to the device so they can be viewed offline. Another cool feature allowing pages to be saved, just like on a PC browser but for a mobile device, options can be set as to where you would like pages saved on the phone, to prevent those ‘low disk space’ errors!

On-Screen QWERTY Keyboard
A handy feature for the N97 which doesn’t have this natively. Sure, there is a physical keyboard but sometimes you aren’t typing enough to warrant opening the keyboard, but just enough that the on-screen number pad becomes an inconvenience.

Speed Dial
Opera Mini b5 can be set to open up on the Speed Dial page, a grid of 9 thumbnails representing your favourite sites, providing you with quick access to them from start up. This has replaced my Start.io homepage and instead the Start.io page can have a speed dial box.

Password Manager
If you hate signing-in to sites over and over again, the password manager will be a boon, although if you frequently misplace your phones, this feature may be better left unused.

I have been Opera Mini Beta 5 briefly, but some sites aren’t formatted correctly, resulting in text overlaps, yet these pages appear normally in the default S60 browser. There’s no bookmark sync, which might have been the feature to get me to install Opera on my PC! Due to the addition of kinetic scrolling for touch-screen devices, the screen no longer snaps to the edges of paragraphs, so when scrolling up and down, unless you keep your finger, thumb or stylus on a perfectly vertical trail, you will find the page moving horizontally also. On a positive note, browsing on Opera Mini remains snappy, great access to pages using speed dial and tabs adds to the experience. With the addition of the qwerty keyboard, convenience and speed seems to have been the primary focus of this release. This is great progress on a great app and a lot of thought seems to have gone into improving the mobile browsing experience, which can be a chore at times!

Give the app a try if you haven’t used it before: opera.com/mini/next.

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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.

htctouchdiamond2

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?

LG_orange_watch_phone

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.

[update]

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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Google Latitude now lets you stalk friends!

February 4, 2009

I’m trying out a different post method for this one in an attempt to get to the point!

Today, Google launched Latitude, which is a location based feature integrated into Google Maps and accessible from the iGoogle and most expandable mobile devices.

Who: Google

What: Google Latitude – a location aware app that lets you see where your friends/contacts are on a map and lets you provide your GPS location information via a GPS enabled device for others to see. Manual location selection is available.

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