New Vonage Mobile Application for Android and iPhone#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

 

The folks at Vonage have stepped to challenge the folks at Skype and Tango with a new Vonage Mobile app for iOS and Android that promises free app-to-app calls, free text messaging, and 30-percent cheaper VoIP than Skype. Also using the Vonage Mobile app you will save 70-percent less than “major mobile carriers” the company claims, with in-app payments via the Android Market and iTunes account.

vonage mobile

Users can add calling credits in top-up increments of $4.99 and $9.99 and if your friends and family use Vonage VoIP accounts for their home or business line then you might not need to bother spending a dime. Calls to those numbers are also free and you don’t need to be a Vonage subscriber to use the new mobile app.Vonage users can view their existing credit and look up international rates in the app before making a call which this eliminates the need for credit cards, PIN entries and the need to leave the app when the user wants to make a call. Another cool feature is that your existing mobile number shows on Caller ID, so there is no need to create and share a new username, and friends and family can know who is calling.

Vonage Mobile doesn't limit calls to people with the app, or even to people who have a smartphone. You can call direct from Vonage Mobile to virtually any phone number on the planet. You can dial internationally without needing to activate special services with your mobile carrier. And most importantly, you can do this with the address book on your phone and your existing mobile number.

For more information on Vonage Mobile app, which works on the iPhone and Android smartphones along with the iPad and iPod touch and Android tablets, head here.

 

Note: for a limited time calls to any phone in the United States, Canada or Puerto Rico** from anywhere in the world will be FREE!!!

02/09/2012 19:10:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Sonos is now Playing at Target Stores Near You#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

Sonos has traditionally been mostly available at online stores, several high-end Audio/Video stores and BestBuy, but they have just announced they are now going to be available at Target 

sonos target

You can order the SONOS PLAY:3, SONOS PLAY:5, and SONOS BRIDGE online now. If you have an Android or iOS based device you can control your Sonos system via the free downloadable app.

If your device supports DLNA you can stream music directly from your device to the SONOS system including different zones over your WiFi network.I have been successful in streaming content from several Windows Phones the LG Quantum via the Play To app, HTC HD7 & Surround via and Samsung Focus & Omnia 7 via the AllShare app.

10/12/2011 12:34:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

T-Mobile America’s Largest 4G Network - Doubles its Speed to 42 Mbps#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

T-Mobile has announced that they have doubled it’s 4G speeds (HSPA+ 42) in 56 additional markets for a total of 152 markets, reaching more than 170 million people across the country including Baltimore; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Hartford and New Haven, Conn.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Lancaster, Pa.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Providence, R.I.; and Washington, D.C., among several others.

image

T-Mobile’s currently offers a variety of 42 4G enabled devices like:

  • 4G Smartphones: the Galaxy S™ 4G, the T-Mobile® myTouch® 4G, the T-Mobile® G2® with Google™, the T-Mobile Sidekick® 4G™, the T-Mobile® G2x® with Google™, HTC Sensation™ 4G and the upcoming T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide and the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9900.
  • 4G Tablets: the Dell™ Streak™ 7 and the T-Mobile® G-Slate™ with Google™ by LG.
  • 4G Laptop Sticks: the T-Mobile Rocket™ 3.0, T-Mobile’s first HSPA+ 42-capable device, the Rocket™ 2.0, T-Mobile’s first HSPA+ 21-capable device, the T-Mobile Jet™ 2.0 and the prepaid T-Mobile Rocket 4G.
  • 4G Netbook & Mobile HotSpot: the Dell™ Inspiron™ Mini 10 4G netbook and the T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot.

I talked with John Diefenbach, Vice President and General Manager, of T-Mobile USA yesterday about this boost in HSPA+ and it’s benefits for consumers:

  • By doubling the speed of its 4G network in more than 150 markets across the country, T-Mobile customers will have access to the fastest 4G speeds available from T-Mobile.
  • T-Mobile has seen average download speeds approaching 10Mbps with peak speeds of 27 Mbps on the T-Mobile Rocket 3.0 laptop stick – the company’s first 42Mbps device.
  • T-Mobile’s increased network speed capabilities will benefit its customers using 3G and 4G devices for data services, as the backward compatible network pushes the limits of 3G and 4G devices to achieve maximum speed performance as a result of expanded network capacity without having to upgrade customer’s current devices. Customers have to do nothing to receive this speed increase.
  • Increase in speed may result in an increase to an individual’s data speed limit,which can be bumped up for the remainder of the month to mitigate throttling and switched back the next month with out change in contracts or additional fees.
  • T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 4G network is poised to continue its aggressive evolutionary path to deliver speeds on par with LTE.
  • 80% of T-Mobile’s towers have been aggressively upgraded with fiber backhaul links to its cell sites with a total of 1200+ 4G sites online and an additional 500 4G sites to be upgraded in the next year in the New England area.

T-Mobile 4G markets where 42Mbps service is launching today:
Allentown, Pa.; Anderson, S.C.; Asheville, N.C.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Baltimore, Md.; Barnstable, Mass.; Bellingham, Wash.; Bloomington, Ind.; Boise, Idaho; Boston, Mass.; Bremerton, Wash.; Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.; Brunswick, Ga.; Carson City, Nev.; Charlotte, N.C.; Charlottesville, Va.; Chico, Calif.; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Eugene, Ore.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Flint, Mich.; Greensboro, N.C.; Greenville, S.C.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Lafayette, Ind.; Lancaster, Pa.; Laredo, Texas; Lynchburg, Va.; Manchester, N.H.; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.; New Haven, Conn.; Ogden, Utah; Providence; R.I.; Provo, Utah; Raleigh-Cary, N.C.; Redding, Calif.; Reno-Sparks, Nev.; Richmond, Va.; Roanoke, Va.; Rockford, Ill.; Salem, Ore.; Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Spartanburg, S.C.; State College, Pa.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Terre Haute, Ind.; Tucson, Ariz.; Washington, D.C.; Wichita Falls, Texas; Winchester, Va.; Winston-Salem, N.C.; Worcester, Mass.; and York, Pa.

*T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 4G network, including increased speeds, is not available everywhere. See coverage details at T-Mobile.com for the official press release head here.

07/13/2011 00:01:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

FrameChannel Shuts Down Service#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

Sadly yesterday I received an email from FrameChannel that they are no longer providing their service that my family has loved on several digital picture frames. If you are not familiar with FrameChannel they aggregated Facebook photos, Twitter Tweets, Sports scores and RSS feeds from your favorites sites and newspapers right to a wireless enabled picture frame, iPad, television, etc. running their application. Today after serving up news about the Boston Bruins winning the 2011 Stanley Cup, it displayed this image:

framechannel down

Here is the letter I received from them yesterday

FrameChannel Users -

Due to challenges with the economy and our company's financial situation we've been forced to make a tough decision and will be shutting down the FrameChannel service this month.

We have provided a mechanism for you to download any of your photos that are hosted with us in the My Photos channel or that have been emailed to your device via the My Friend's Photos feature.

You may log into your account at www.framechannel.com to download your photos, but the service will soon stop delivering content to your devices. To download your photos, log into your FrameChannel account, click the Download My Photos tab, and follow the instructions there.

For those of you using your devices for commercial applications, you may wish to take a look at the SignChannel service. That service is owned an operated by Scala, Inc., a worldwide leader in digital signage. For more information, please visit www.signchannel.com or email info@signchannel.com

We thank you for your support of the FrameChannel service.

-The FrameChannel Team

It is sad to see this company that had a great service that made my Mother happy everyday with pictures from loved ones and local news from hometown bleed through investment money after raising $2 million in funding from Scala last April bringing Thinking Screen Media,(formerly Frame Media) to a total funding to $7 million. Hopefully they can make a comeback or provide an alternative for its current users, instead of just closing up shop after just after 1 days notice.

06/16/2011 17:40:25 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

MiFi Hack to Charge over USB & Still Use it as a WiFi Access Point#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

I was running low on battery with my MiFi and I needed to charge it, but I didn't have an external USB/AC outlet adapter or even a plug for that matter with me. I did however have a MicroUSB to USB cable that fit the MiFi,but when I plugged it in to charge I could no longer use the MiFi as a Wireless hotspot and the MiFi was only seen as a local modem. That is great if you want to use it for yourself and charge, but its no fun for your family and friends that are used to sipping off of the Wi-Fi internet access you are always providing them with, which can eat through a MiFi battery right darn quick. What I wanted to continue to do was upload photos to my computer for direct viewing at a family event via my EyeFi card in real time and both were working well until the MiFi had run out of juice. So while drinking a beer I figured I would dabble with the configuration of the MiFi if possible.

I was able to charge the MiFi long enough while getting my beer and a something to nosh on to have it run as a Wi-Fi AP for a brief while I nosed around and was able to log onto the administration menu like a standard home router.

screen

To Connect to your MiFi just type in 192.168.1.1 in your favorite browser and use the password is admin (I guessed at that so you may want to change that later to something else if you don't trust the people you are sharing your MiFi with.) Note you won't be able to access the admin screen unless you are connected to the MiFi via the password on the back of the device.

screen(1)

To reconfigure your MiFi click on Advanced->Config File and

screen(2)

choose download configuration file and remove the .sav file extenstion  when you save it so it is just a .XML file.

screen(3)

Launch your favorite text/XML file editor - Notepad will do.

Change the  routeroverusb value from a 0 (zero) to a 1 ->save it.

screen(4)

Next upload the modified file.

Restart your MiFi, now it won't act any different you can still connect to it via the Mobilink software that pops up when you plug it in, but you can now share your Wi-Fi connection and charge over USB at the same time. YAY!

03/02/2011 11:27:58 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Rethinking Device Convergence–The Video Experience#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

If one is to consider using a single mobile device for all their multimedia needs, serious consideration has to be paid to the capabilities of the device for video purposes. In my first article on my decision to give mobile device convergence a serious try for the first time in many years, I listed video viewing as a key reason for carrying and using a dedicated portable media player (a Zune HD). In all honesty, video viewing takes up a small portion of my usage on a mobile device, especially when compared to listening to audio (described in my last article on this topic).  When the desire arises, though, I have always been a bit picky when it comes to the viewing experience.

From a video perspective, there are basically two major usage scenarios for me -

  • Viewing video stored on the device.
    Whether it is recorded TV, movies or home video, I like having the ability to store video on the device for watching “on demand”. While I don’t expect “theatre-quality”, I do expect a pleasurable viewing experience. The video should not be constantly subjected to stutter and buffering (this is as annoying to me as pixilation when watching live TV), and the audio quality should be at least acceptable stereo quality.
  • Viewing video streamed through the Internet.
    While the first thought that comes to most people’s minds when viewing Internet video is YouTube. For me, this is actually a rarity. I have a slightly more unique requirement in mind, and it is something I could not do with a dedicated media device. More on this in a moment…
    As with local video, I do have some expectation of quality of the video. I am a realist and understand that streaming video (especially when using a cellular connection as opposed to a WiFi connection) can suffer due to bandwidth. That doesn’t translate to blind acceptance, however.

In my previous attempts at device convergence and video usage, I seemly always came upon the following limitations -

  • Inadequate hardware.
    Limited CPUs and memory often meant stutter, buffering and occasional device freezes. I also include the limits of storage in this category. While storage cards did exist “in the day”, they were very limited in capacity and very expense. As a result of hardware and storage limitations, I found myself encoding video to compensate for the limitations. The result – grainy video and diminished experience.
    I should also note that displays on phones have often left a bit to be desired with regards to video. Small screens, lower resolutions and restricted display technologies did not help in making video viewing a pleasant experience.
  • Inadequate software.
    While hardware was a primary culprit in the mobile phone video experience, it was not entirely to blame. Native applications were limited in video codec support, and third-party applications often complicated matters by requiring extra hardware and memory usage on top of the video requirements.
  • Inadequate bandwidth.
    This was far and away the greatest constraint when it came to streaming video through the Internet. While many devices had WiFi capabilities, I rarely found myself in a location where WiFi was available when I wanted to view video. And cellular networks were nothing like they are today. For those that complain about network speeds and quality, think back 5 years ago. 3G networks were barely in existence. EDGE and 1XRTT were the norm, with sub-100Kbps speeds and unstable connectivity a way of life. Trying to watch video through the Internet was often painful at best.

With the painful memories of the converged device video experience still fresh in my mind, I was prepared to give this experience another try in 2010. A lot has changed over the past 5 years. I still could not help going in to my experiment that this would be the greatest challenge for a mobile device convergence test.

Gather Up Requirements

The requirements for a positive video experience on a mobile phone basically boiled down to the goal of overcoming past limitations. That meant -

  • Appropriate device hardware.
    Big screen, fast processor and lots of storage capacity. For me, the device is my T-Mobile USA HTC HD2. With a 1Ghz Snapdragon processor and a large WVGA screen, the basic needs appeared to be met. From a storage capacity, the T-Mobile USA variant of the HD2 came with a 16GB microSD card. Remembering the days when a 256MB Compact Flash card was considered a luxury, the 16GB total seemed like it should suit my needs Winking smile
  • Appropriate software.
    Be it native to the device or via third-party, I would need software that made it easy and enjoyable to view video on the device. There were 3 pieces of software I would try -
    • Windows Media Player for Mobile
      Standard on Windows Phone devices, it would be interesting to try the “out-of-the-box” video solution to see how it would fare.

      WMPMobile
    • Kinoma Play
      In my previous article covering the audio experience, I discussed Kinoma Play as an audio solution. Well, from a video perspective, Kinoma Play works as well.

      KinomaPlayVideo01
    • Sling Media Sling Player for Mobile
      Here at BostonPocketPC.com, we have talked about Sling Media’s fantastic Slingbox solution many times in the past. Providing a hardware solution that allows you to “placeshift” (watch and control a home system while outside the home), the Slingbox and associated Sling Player software allow you to access your home TV no matter where you are. Slingbox is flexible; it allows you to connect in to any number of home entertainment configurations.

      SlingPlayer01
      For me, a Slingbox is connected to and controls a Comcast cable receiver. While this box is not a DVR (if you hook into that, you could watch your recorded shows remotely), it does provide me access to all of my Comcast channels as well as Comcast On Demand.  

      SlingPlayer02
  • Appropriate bandwidth.
    I would need a device and carrier that could provide acceptable speeds, coverage and reliability to allow me to watch video through the Internet when I wanted. As a longtime T-Mobile USA customer, the issues of bandwidth and coverage were rather numerous over the years. From a bandwidth perspective, even as T-Mobile rolled out 3G coverage they did so on the 1700Mhz spectrum. My problem? – most of my devices (unlocked) did not use this frequency, leaving me on EDGE data speeds. My first T-Mobile 3G device was the MyTouch 3G. While it gave me the bandwidth I desired, it lacked in other performance areas.
    With the HD2 I get 3G capabilities and 3G performance. While the Greater Boston area has yet to receive the nationwide HSPA+ upgrade (which will also increase performance for 3G devices), I still am receiving data throughput rates worthy of effective streaming.

With my tools now in hand, it was time to try to live the converged device experience with video.

Evaluating The Video Experience

When you consider the fact that I consider video to be the toughest challenge for a converged mobile device experience, I will say that the HD2 exceeded most of my expectations.

When it came to local video viewing, the HD2 provided a wonderful experience. T-Mobile USA and HTC knew this would be the case, including copies of both the first and second Transformers movies on the included microSD card. Something I did notice – the video quality in terms of framerate and lack of stutter was far better using the native Windows Media Player than the third-party Kinoma Play. I suspect the combination of the higher encoding rate for the movie, combined with the age-old issue of third-party software running on top of the OS and the CPU/memory requirements made for a bit of degradation of performance. I used my Motorola HT820 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones (discussed in my previous article) for the audio, and the quality was very good.

From a streaming video experience, it was – well, spectacular! I had become accustomed to a low-bandwidth experience with past devices. Slingbox and the SlingPlayer for Mobile do a wonderful job of adjusting and optimizing to bandwidth, but the result was typically grainier and often required pauses for buffering. On the HD2, however, I rarely (if ever) had issues. This is as much a credit to the T-Mobile network as it is to the hardware and software. In addition, the higher speeds of the network allowed the SlingPlayer to stream higher quality video. The SlingPlayer is one area in a converged device scenario that really can’t be duplicated with dedicated media players. While there are newer solutions on the market (FloTV, for example), they are highly specialized and limit you to the content they provide. The SlingPlayer lets me watch whatever I have access to via my Comcast cable subscription (I am a bit embarrassed to say that means quite a lot Smile).

While a wonderful experience, only longtime issue around using a phone as a converged device still exists – battery life. While things have improved on this front, I will say that the video experience makes the battery issue most obvious. I could get about one two-hour movie in on my HD2 before becoming concerned about battery life. By comparison, I could watch at least twice as much video on my Zune HD. Being the realist, I understand why this is the case as the phone is doing so much more behind the scenes than a dedicated media player. Still, my feeling is that planning on using the HD2 regularly for video would require either a second battery or a portable charging solution.

The Final Verdict

Honestly – the jury is still out Winking smile There is no doubt that the HD2 is more than capable of handling my video needs. While I believe I lean towards using it on a regular basis, I will remain cautious in situations where battery life is important. Aside from that, I believe the score is now 2 – 0 in favor of going with a single device.

Next up (in my next article) – GPS navigation and trying to eliminate the need to carry a dedicated GPS device.  

08/07/2010 11:51:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Rethinking Device Convergence–The Audio Experience#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

In my quest to try once again to use a single device for all my needs, I decided that the first real test for my T-Mobile USA HTC HD2 would be with regards to the audio experience. In my previous article on the subject, I laid out what I thought were the needs, criteria and requirements for what would be deemed an acceptable experience. With all of this in hand, I set forth to put everything in motion.

Gathering Up Requirements

There were a few criteria for the audio experience that needed to be addressed from a hardware and software experience. They were -

  • Vehicle mounting.
    I wanted to be able to have a device mounting solution that allowed me to easily put the device in place where it was accessible when in my car. In all honesty, the greatest amount of audio usage for me has been while driving, be it during commutes or on business-related trips in the New England region. Fortunately, I have had the solution to this requirement in hand for quite some time – the ProClip Vehicle Mounting Solution.

    Longtime readers of this website have seen past reviews regarding ProClip solutions. I won’t rehash that all here, but I will restate what I have said to many time and time again – ProClip provides some of the most professional and easy-to-install solutions for vehicles you will ever find. I have used ProClip with a countless number of devices over the past several years and have never been short of completely satisfied with the results. The two-part aspect of the solution (one mounting bracket and device-specific holders) combined with their Move Clip enhancement have made switching between devices an absolute pleasure. My wife, who at one time used ProClip with her vehicle with an older phone, quickly remembered the convenience of the solution herself recently. When she asked me about using ProClip with her new T-Mobile USA Touch Pro 2, my answer was simple – “Your mounting bracket is still there. It’s just a device holder away, honey.” Smile

    For my vehicle needs, the ProClip HD2 holder was the obvious answer. ProClip provides variations of holders for some devices, and the HD2 was no exception. In addition to a basic holder, ProClip also provides a holder with a built-in DC cigarette lighter adapter. This is perfect for the user who intends to use the device heavily in scenarios that increase battery drain.

    IMG_2782
    ProClip HD2 Holder with built-in charger.

    The holder also includes a swivel mount, allowing for adjustment to meet viewing needs.

    IMG_2783
    ProClip HD2 holder attached to bracket with swivel mount.

    The end result – the HD2 is in a position for easy access and “at-a-glance” readability.

    IMG_2784
    ProClip HD2 Holder with device (driver perspective).

    This is not as important for audio experiences as it is for GPS navigation and incoming call perspectives, but is important nonetheless from an overall driving perspective.

    All in all, ProClip once again proved to be an invaluable component for using a device while driving. If you are interested in ProClip for your vehicle and device, check out all of the information at the ProClip website.
  • Device-Friendly Car Stereo. 
    For any driving scenario, a device-friendly car stereo is always a big plus. Such solutions come in many forms today, from Bluetooth integration to device-specific solutions. I’ve long had a flexible solution – a car stereo with a 3.5mm auxiliary input jack in the stereo faceplate. When combined with the 3.5mm output on the HD2, I can have full stereo sound with a minimum of difficulty.
  • Audio software.
    While there are a number of pre-installed and third-party audio solutions for Windows Mobile devices, I have some rather unique requirements. My audio comes in multiple “flavors” -
    • Music. This comes is a variety of formats, including WMA and MP3.
    • Podcasts. Usually, this comes in MP3 format, but there is the occasional WMA file thrown in.
    • Audible audio books. This is the really tricky part. Audible books come in a proprietary format and require authentication. Usually, this means installing Audible’s Audible Player software. While this works, Audible Player has not always been my favorite software.

Ironically, it was my audio book requirement that led me to look into a third-party solution that helped me to deal with Audible – and provide me with so much more. The solution – Kinoma’s Kinoma Play

KP01

Kinoma Play is a virtual “Swiss Army Knife” solution for media on your Windows Mobile device. A complete review of all of Kinoma Play’s features would probably be worthy of a book Smile. There were several features which did catch my eye.

  • Audible support. Kinoma Play supports Audible audio content without the need for the Audible Player. You can authenticate with your Audible credentials from within in the interface. That’s not all, however.
    Kinoma Play allows you to download and listen to your content, but also allows you to stream your audio books and subscriptions!

    KP02
    Audible support in Kinoma Play.

    My Audible plan includes a daily subscription to the Wall Street Journal Daily Edition. While I could download it (the Audible Player includes Audible Air, allowing you to schedule downloads over-the-air), it is often simpler to just stream it while driving during the morning commute.

    Kinoma Play also allows you to sbuscribe to podcasts. Similar to Audible support, Kinoma Play allows you to either download or stream podcasts as well.

    From an music perspective, Kinoma Play provides you with everything you would expect from a music player. Sorting by song, artist, album or genre, album art – you name it, it’s there.

    KP03
    Song view in Kinoma Play (with album art).

    While a full-blown equalizer isn’t present in Kinoma Play, there are audio settings available.

    KP04
    Audio settings in Kinoma Play.

    All in all, Kinoma Play exceeded all my needs and expectations. I will say that this does come at a rather hefty price – Kinoma Play retails for $29.99 USD. For all that it provides me, the cost was well worth the investment. If you are interested in finding out more, be sure to visit the Kinoma Play website.
  • Bluetooth stereo headphones.
    I admit it – when it comes to my devices, I hate wires. I avoid them wherever and whenever possible. As a result, a good set of Bluetooth stereo headphones are a must for me. I have been a longtime user of Motorola’s HT820 headset and have been reasonably satisfied.

    MotoHT820

    My only complaint has been not with sound quality and performance, but with comfort. The headset’s “around the ear” design without passing can get a bit uncomfortable over time. From a technical perspective, however, the sound quality is good and the fact that the HT820 also serves as a hands-free headset, allowing me to answer phone calls, makes for a big plus.

Evaluating the Audio Experience

In short, I can say that the audio experience using my combination of device, hardware and software has met or exceeded my expectations. The only complication I have experienced thus far is the in-car experience. using the 3.5mm auxiliary jack works great for music, but answering a call has complications. As it turns out, the speaker phone on the HD2 works rather well, so I can leave the device in the cradle. I will say that, ideally, a complete integrated Bluetooth car kit would be perfect.

My audio experiences have also worked well when dealing with incoming phone calls. Software has recognized the incoming call and responded accordingly. Phone functionality has not suffered as a result of my device convergence.

The bottom line – I am now using my T-Mobile USA HD2 as my primary audio device Smile My Zune HD has not been entirely abandoned; there are still times when I prefer to save my HD2’s battery life (this is still a major inconvenience with convergence, especially when using Bluetooth and streaming from the Internet at the same time). However, the first device I reach for now is my HD2 when I want to listen to music, podcasts or audio books.

Next up (in my next article) – device convergence and video. Stay tuned… 

08/01/2010 12:42:48 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Boston Pocket PC RingCentral Giveaway Winner#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

Congratulations to Pamela Curry, she won the Boston Pocket PC RingCentral Giveaway one year of free service with RingCentral Mobile a $300 value! Pamela will also be entered into a chance to win one of the 5 Grand Prizes (out of 25 entries), an Ultimate Small Business Start-up Packages from Ivy Worldwide valued at over $1100!

 

 RingCentralBPPCgiveaway2_thumb1

The Ultimate Small BusinessStart-up Package includes:

  • Virtual Phone System by RingCentral ($300)
  • Company incorporation services by LegalZoom ($339)
  • Logo Design services by Logoworks  ($339)
  • 1000 premium business cards printed by Vistaprint  ($40)
  • One year web hosting with BlueHost . ($84)

Again Congratulations Pamela and Good Luck!!!!

05/03/2010 11:08:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

RingCentral Mobile Contest Giveaway#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

RingCentral Mobile is a cloud-based virtual PBX service that enables small businesses to enjoy the same level of PBX service that large companies do without the expense of purchasing and maintaining expensive hardware and software licenses. RingCentral furnishes you with a toll-free number at signup or you can forward your existing phone service to RingCentral that will handle and deliver phone calls to multiple numbers any way you wish. All incoming calls are re-routed as you choose, sending calls to the relevant receivers depending on parameters you have set for them, using its built-in auto attendant. This call routing can be done by groups or as a directory. It can be as simple as having a certain extension for sales call going to a person in your company that handles sales by ringing their office line first for a set number of rings, then their mobile, and then their home office line before going to voicemail or another person. You also have internet fax and voicemail capabilities from any PC you log onto as well as full management capabilities with an easy to use web interface.

 RingCentralBPPCgiveaway2

 

Main Features:

Toll Free Numbers
Choose a toll free number that’s right for you: regular toll free (866, 877, etc.) , or a true 1-800 or vanity number (e.g., 866-MYPHONE).

Local Numbers
You can live and work in one city and get a local number in another. Choose the area codes(s) that makes sense for your business. Find out how you can save on inbound voice calls.

Voicemail
You get professional greetings, multiple delivery options and alerts. Pick up voicemail via email or in your online account and play over your computer speakers — or pick up by phone. Calls to local numbers to leave or listen to voicemail are FREE.

Internet Fax
Send and receive faxes by email and online in a snap — even from Microsoft Office and your phone. You’ll also get free fax software to electronically sign and edit faxes.

If you are interested in trying out RingCentral for yourself, you will get 50% off your first 3 months with RingCentral. If you would like to win a year of service to RingCentral Mobile read on. :)

We will be choosing at random 1 winner for 1 year of service at RingCentral Mobile for those that send an email to: ringcentral@bostonpocketpc.com with the subject Boston Pocket PC RingCentral Giveaway explaining why you would like to win 1 year of Virtual PBX service along with your full name and mailing address. It could be something simple, such as not missing that all important call from a loved one or that must-make-important business call. We will choose 1 (one) winner at random from all valid entries.

To gain additional entries be sure to Tweet the following via Twitter (be sure to email ringcentral@bostonpocketpc.com with your Twitter user account to be counted if you don’t have your name listed in your Twitter Profile):

I entered a contest to win 1-yr subscription to RingCentral Mobile by @fyiguy & @DPSJ at BostonPocketPC http://bit.ly/b0uSR4

AND/OR

Like BostonPocketPC on Facebook.com

Each additional entry, will gain one additional chance to be chosen at random (maximum of 3 entries per person) via Random.org. All entries must be in on May 1st by 5PM EST. The winner will be announced on May 2nd. If the winner doesn’t respond via email in 24 hours another winner will be drawn.

The prize that will be given away is a one year of free service with RingCentral Mobile a $300 value. Non US-Based winner will be compensated with a cash payment equal to the value of the prize package.  As one of the 25 winners of the RingCentral Giveaway you will be entered into a chance to win one of the 5 Grand Prizes, an Ultimate Small Business Start-up Packages from Ivy Worldwide valued at over $1100.

The Ultimate Small BusinessStart-up Package includes:

  • Virtual Phone System by RingCentral ($300)
  • Company incorporation services by LegalZoom ($339)
  • Logo Design services by Logoworks  ($339)
  • 1000 premium business cards printed by Vistaprint  ($40)
  • One year web hosting with BlueHost . ($84)

If you want to increase your chances of winning head to the following websites that still have their contests running here:

  • Chip Chick – Helena Stone (tech, gadgets): April 23-27
  • Daddy Forever – Ken Cheung (geek dad blog): April 24-28
  • Absolutely Windows - John Obeto (microsoft windows, businesses): April 25-29
  • GeeksRoom – Hector Russo (software, hardware, gadgets): April 26-30
  • BostonPocketPC – Steven Hughes (mobile, technology, news): April 27 – May 1
  • Jake Ludington’s MediaBlab - Jake Luddington (gadgets, movies, music, podcasting): April 28 – May 2
  • PlanetAMD64 – Carlos Echenique (64-bit drivers, applications, utilities): April 29 – May 3
  • The Gadgeteer - Julie Strietelmeier (gadgets, gizmos, mobile): April 30 – May 4

    List of the rest of the 25 participating websites in the Ultimate Small BusinessStart-up Package :

  • TechVirtuoso –Frank Owen (information technology): April 6-10
  • The Digital Lifestyle – Ian Dixon (windows, media, lifestyle): April 7-April 11
  • Clintonfitch – Todd Cochrane (technical information): April 8-12
  • Geek News Central – Todd Cochrane (technical information): April 9-13
  • TCT Podcast  – Norbert Davis (cool tech): April 10-14
  • Mobile PC World - Terri Stratton (mobile pc information): April 11-15
  • Mobile Gadgeteer – Joel Evans (mobile gadgets): April 12-16
  • Mobility Site - Eric Hicks (windows mobile, pocket pc, smartphones): April 13-17
  • GottaBeMobile - Xavier Lanier(tablet pc, mobile pc, multi-touch): April 14-18
  • Neowin – Brad Sams (technology news): April 15-19
  • HackCollege - Chris Lesinski (student lifehacking): April 16-20
  • OSNN - Bert Regeer (windows, linux, macintosh news): April 17-21
  • The LazyAdmin – Daniel Nerenberg (lazy admin): April 18-22
  • Slashdot Review  – Andrew McCaskey (tech news): April 19-23
  • GearDiary – Judie Lipsett (mobile, technology, gear): April 20-24
  • Mobile Jaw – Mike Temporale (mobility, mobile): April 21-25
  • Mobilityminded - Johan van Mierlo (windows mobile, iphone, android, netbooks): April 22-26

    If you don’t visit or already read these websites, I highly recommend it!

    Good Luck!!

  • 04/27/2010 12:00:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Free Jawbone New Fit Earbuds#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    I had the misfortune of losing my New Jawbone 2 falling out of my ear and having it run over by a car, because I was wearing it without the earloop and thought the earbud would have been good enough, but I was wrong. :(

     P1000584

    Passing car 1 / Jawbone 0

    Luckily I still have an older version of the Jawbone as a replacement, but it had a broken earloop(actually several) - after being placed in my pocket the earloop snapped off wear it slides into the pivot hole-it takes a bit of work to get the broken piece out too. I went through them all and tried to get a replacement from Aliph, but they don’t sell them anymore. I contacted them and received swift reply that they could ship me a set of earloops for free with a proof of purchase. I got it as a gift so I have no proof of purchase just a broken Jawbone. However all isn’t lost they have a New Fit Earbud that is also free and just costs $2.99 shipping and handling. I sprung on it and got it in a few days via postal mail.

    new fit earbud

    It comes in a nice plastic bag with directions on the back.

    Descriptions from Jawbone website:

    You Ask, We listen

    • Because every ear is unique, we developed a new earbud to give you more options for personal fit and comfort.
    • Want to wear Jawbone without an earloop? For most users, our New Fit Earbuds make using the earloop optional.
    • Our New Fit Earbud comes in 3 sizes (sm, md, lg).

    The Science

    • The New Fit Earbuds are a different shape, made from a US Pharmacopoeia grade material and a rear mounted integrated loop that provides a suspension-bridge effect to fit snugly into your ear.
    • The body of the earbud is a suspended form that acts like a pneumatic cushion (or tire), proving to be more conforming and consequently comfortable than the traditional solid round (doughnut)-shaped earbud.
    • The rear mounted integrated loop acts like a spring to help orient the headset, gently pushing the headset toward the user’s cheek so that the Voice Activity Sensor touches your face to feel when the user is speaking.

    P1000537

    You get three different sizes in the bag and I have found it secure enough to hold my original Jawbone. I personally found the large size to work best for me and it still remains easily pocketable and can fit many makeshift storage cases, where the earloop presented many storage problems.

    Many people have modified their Jawbones with Jabra Softgels, but usually required some sort of adhesive to keep them on. Most used CA - cyanoacrylate aka SuperGlue. I am not too keen on having that near or in my ear, so I passed on that mod. If you own or have used the Plantronics Discovery 925 headset, they will look pretty familiar to you because they are simply black versions of the 925 clear ear gels.

    It’s enough to hold me over until the Jawbone 3 with Bluetooth 3.0 comes out. :)

    I think its great when companies see a flaw and correct it and evolving their product to keep their customers happy.

    04/19/2009 10:08:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Atlona Technologies HDAiR-Wireless USB to HDMI or VGA#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    Atlona Technologies has announced a new wireless USB to HDMI or VGA converter, the AT-HDAiR.  This Converter is both XP and Vista compatible, and will allow users to connect any USB enabled computer or laptop wirelessly, to any HDTV or projector via VGA or HDMI.  The AT-HDAiR is designed to transmit high-resolution content up to 30ft and resolutions up to 720p or 1440x1200. With quick and easy installation, this unit is perfect for any consumer and commercial application. I can see alot of home theater enthusiasts and gamers using this for easy install to their projectors.

    HDAiR 1

    The AT-HDAiR uses chipsets developed by Wisair to transmit USB protocol over Ultra wide band (UWB) frequencies.  Various new products featuring "Ultra Speed" by Wisair will all be fully compatible with each other, allowing users to connect to various devices such as printers, displays, audio receivers, human input devices, and more.  Atlona will release the AT-HDAiR with an MSRP of $199.00 in early May.

    04/18/2009 10:06:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Eye-Fi - WIFI enabled SD card uploads your pictures instantly #
    Post By Johan van Mierlo

    During CntrStg at CES 2009 I got introduced to Eye-Fi. Eye-Fi did a presentation about heir WIFI enabled SD cards for digital Camera’s at CntrStg. With a quick set-up on your computer you can have the card connect to your private WIFI or have it set as well to connect to any open network. Why would you think?

    Let me tell you why. Most of us do have an online photo album account. Eye-Fi  is able to upload your pictures directly from your camera to many of these sites like SmugMug, Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Shutterfly and even sites like Costco,Wal-Mart, Kodak, etc. To see a full list of their partners go here .

    Instead of only directly upload your pictures it will as well upload your pictures instantly. Once you are connected every picture you take will upload immediately to your favorite sites.  With an account created on the Eye-Fi website you will have access to their Eye-Fi manager where you can see the history of the uploaded pictures. Here you can change your settings to include the website you would like to upload your pictures, but also select a folder for your computer or external hard drive where these pictures will be stored as well. 

    Another feature that is available is to add Geotagging. Geotagging adds location data, including latitude and longitude coordinates as well as city and state details, to photos you take with your camera and Eye-Fi card. These metadata are added to the photos existing EXIF metadata. Certain software applications and websites (Eye-Fi Manager, SmugMug, Picasa Web and flickr) can use these metadata to make searching for photos easier or to visualize your photos on a map.

    If you are not connected to a WIFI net work it will start uploading the pictures you took the moment you are having a connection. Just make sure your camera stays on for that time. The Eye-Fi manager will be able to send you a notification by e-mail, text message (SMS) or Twitter that the uploading has started of your pictures to your favorite website.

    We were using the Eye-Fi card during our event at CntrStg and it was amazing to have instant gratification of showing the pictures directly on our big screen to all attendees. I did not do the set-up of Eye-Fi myself that time but did it yesterday to set it up for my own private camera. Really it took me only 10 minutes and I was up and running. My wife loves it. No more hassle in connecting the camera to the computer. Just organize them online.

    What do I see in the future for Eye-Fi? I hope that camera manufactures will see the need of adding a menu in their firmware where users are able to use the camera to connect to a new WIFI network. This way you don’t need a computer with the Eye-Fi USB card reader to set up a new private WIFI Network.

    Another thing I would like to see to have the pictures uploaded to more than 1 account. For example I would like to upload to SmugMug and Facebook at the same time. Now you can only choose one. You can set up more in the manager application. But only one can be active.

    Eye-Fi already announced an iPhone application, Video capabilities. I hope it doesn’t stop here and Eye-Fi can make more applications for other platforms which will allow build in camera’s on devices to instantly publish their pictures.

    For me this is a real winner.

    Eye-Fi is available starting at $79.99 for the Eye-Fi Home version.  You are able to upgrade your service later on as well to more services listed here

    01/27/2009 09:55:57 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Radio Shack offers AT&T subsidized Acer 3G netbook#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    Radio Shack with the help of  AT&T are offering people a pretty good deal in the form of the Acer Aspire One, an ultra-small laptop with built-in 3G connectivity for $99 with qualifying new 2-year AT&T AirCard agreement on rate plans $60/mo. or more or for $499.99 unactivated.

    radioshack_acer_netbook

    The 2.44-pound  Acer Aspire One features an 8.9" display, Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, webcam, WiFi (b and g) and a 160GB hard drive in an ultra-compact size measuring 9.8" x 6.7" x 1.1" (W x D x H). The Acer Aspire One runs Windows XP and also features a built-in webcam for video conferencing.The Acer Aspire One includes a built-in cellular modem with quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz) support in addition to tri-band UMTS (850/1900/2100MHz) support, with HSPA for high-speed data.

    The deal is available in Radio Shack stores, as well as through the Radio Shack website, through December 24th, 2008.

    Not a bad deal, which is about the same price as a wireless card was last year.

    12/15/2008 12:34:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Celio Introduces Two New REDFLYs#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    The folks at Celio Corp (the maker of the REDFLY Smartphone Terminal, unveiled two new models: the REDFLY C7 and REDFLY C8N after hearing tons of feedback from early reviews and customers of the original REDFLY, the folks at Celio Corp took that feedback and produced these new models. The REDFLY C7 is a new, more affordable model with a power-saving seven-inch display, light-weight five-hour battery, and feather-light design under 1.5 lbs. The REDFLY C8N is the next evolution of the original REDFLY design, enhanced to allow the use of the eight-inch screen by an iPod™, iPhone ™, Zune™, or digital camera. These new Celio products continue to support the smartphone, the most successful mobile computing platform available today, and enable the smartphone’s Internet-based and cloud-computing applications.

    REDFLY_C7_m REDFLY_C8N_m

    As you can see in the pictures above it looks like they have the same size and footprint, but the C7 on the left sports a smaller 7 inch display.

    REDFLY_C7_m_ports REDFLY_C8N_ports_m

    On the back you can see that the C8N (N for NTSC) – the one on the right has an additional port for video (located between the 2 USB ports and the VGA out) in via an accessory cable shown below.

    REDFLY_Media_Cable

    The cable looks to support composite video (RCA) only and looks to have an additional USB port receptacle for charging a portable device such as an iPod or Zune.

    Available the week of December 1, 2008, REDFLY C7 and C8N can be pre-ordered today from select Celio resellers listed at www.getredfly.com for a suggested retail price of $229 and $299 respectively. 

    “REDFLY has taken off in the smartphone market and these new models are designed to extend this success,” said Kirt Bailey, CEO of Celio Corp. “The REDFLY’s larger keyboard and screen brings the right functionality to the smartphone, making it the netbook of choice without the additional TCO (total cost of ownership) and data loss risk of a UMPC or laptop. Combined with the REDFLY device, the smartphone has become the center of mobile virtualization and mobile cloud-based computing.”

    The REDFLY C7 is the result of a customer-driven plan for a power-efficient, lightweight and more affordable solution. With a power-saving seven-inch display and power-efficient features, the REDFLY C7 uses a lightweight battery that provides up to five-hours of performance, perfect for many mobile users. The REDFLY C7 weighs less than 1.5 lbs., lighter than any mobile computer with a seven-inch display. 

    The REDFLY C8N evolved from the original REDFLY design to meet overwhelming customer demand to use the larger screen as an external display for media players such as an iPod, iPhone , Zune, or digital camera. A new REDFLY Media Port and REDFLY Media Cable provide a simultaneous connection as a third USB port and composite video input (NTSC/PAL compatible). Now the REDFLY’s 800x480-pixel screen can be used to view photos, show demos and even watch movies. The REDFLY Media Cable is available for a suggested retail price of $19.95.

    Available the week of December 1, 2008, the REDFLY C7 and C8N Smartphone Terminals can be pre-ordered today from select Celio resellers listed at www.getredfly.com including: Amazon.com; Enterprise Mobile; Expansys; MyTreo.net; Treonauts.com and WMexperts.com. For more information about REDFLY, visit www.celiocorp.com.

    11/30/2008 11:25:35 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    HP Breaks the 24-hour Battery Life Barrier & How They do it.#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    OK I have been contemplating this press release I received a while ago and I am wondering what constitutes 24hrs of battery life of the HP laptop with the longest battery life of 24hrs and what the profiles are. Granted there has been a lot of tweaking going on by manufacturers to squeeze out extra battery life out of laptops, right?!. Don just got a new Toshiba Tablet PC at work  and was amazed that the laptop had a long battery life and performed well even at the Power Saver level. I too was amazed at how well the HDX Dragon did in battery and usage tests (granted it was only 3hrs, but it also had a 20 inch display and some pretty powerful hardware that goes to sleep as it should. So I don't disbelieve this claim by HP, but would like to see it for myself in a real world setting.

    hp6930p

    Today I got to talk to an HP Product manager on how they were able to achieve this.

    HP had announced an unprecedented milestone in mobile computing: up to 24 hours of continuous notebook operation on a single battery charge. As measured by an industry-standard benchmark Mobilemark 2005 for Windows XP, the new HP EliteBook 6930p configured with an optional ultra-capacity battery delivered up to 24 hours of battery runtime.

    When ordering your 6930p HP also offer’s the option of having the computer downgraded to Windows XP with an upgrade to Windows Vista Business disc included or it can ship with Windows Vista Business Edition. The timing for battery life running Windows Vista is of course different, not only because it is a more robust OS, there was a different testing software involved that puts the system under more real world scenarios using Mobilemark 2007. Using the same hardware configuration it was able to net 20 hours and 40 minutes using Vista with the modern testing software.

    Surprisingly there was no tweaking in Windows Power Management. HP has a set of HP Optimized power settings that optimizes performance and battery life and this what was used and what they recommend.

    During the tests both the wireless radios for Bluetooth, WiFi, (and if equipped with 3G radio card) were all off for best case scenario as a mobile user would use to eek out the longest battery life. So if you are using any of these, (which you aren’t supposed to do on any airline) your mileage will vary depending on usage.

    The Elitebook 6930p used in the tests did have some hardware not yet available for the buying public, but will be soon. The greatest energy saver was the use of an HP Illumi-Lite LED Display (planned to be available October 2008) that is a $50 option that nets an energy savings of 4 hours additional runtime compared to traditional LCD displays as well as an 80GB X25-M Mainstream SATA Solid-State Drive from Intel, which nets another 4%.

    hp6930p battery

    So in order to achieve this 24 hour benchmark HP utilizes a 12 Cell Ultra Capacity Battery and customer download of the latest Intel graphics driver and HP BIOS. Notebook must also be configured with optional Intel 80 GB SSD drive, HP Illumi-Lite LED Display and requires Microsoft Windows® XP operating system. We were told that battery life will vary depending on the product model, configuration, loaded applications, features, and power management settings. The maximum capacity of the battery will decrease with time and usage. The Ultra Capacity Battery can also be charged with a separate AC adapter minimizing charging time before a long trip and it will also be compatible with other laptops in HPs lineup. The battery also has charge level LEDs to let you know when you have topped it off. It is also designed to give a comfortable working angle for the laptop when added to the bottom.

    Designed and tested to last, HP batteries benefit from a combination of HP engineering and energy-efficient notebook components such as Intel solid-state hard drives (SSD) and mercury-free LED displays. For example, the highly efficient HP Illumi-Lite LED display boosts battery run time by up to 4 hours compared to traditional LCD displays, while the Intel X25-M and X18-M Mainstream SATA SSDs provides up to a 7 percent increase in battery life compared to traditional hard drives.

    So in this day it is entirely possible to get 24 hours out of your laptop today with the right configuration of hardware and software and sets a pretty high benchmark.

    Here are some excerpts from the press release you may find interesting:

    “All-day computing has been the holy grail of notebook computing,” said Ted Clark, senior vice president and general manager, Notebook Global Business Unit, HP. “With the HP EliteBook 6930p, customers no longer have to worry about their notebook battery running out before their work day is over.”

    Use an HP EliteBook 6930p continuously on the world’s longest scheduled commercial airline flight – linking Newark Liberty International Airport and Singapore Changi Airport – approximately 18 hours, 40 minutes.

    Inspired by aircraft construction and designed for style-conscious mobile professionals, HP EliteBook notebooks feature the latest mobile technologies.

    In October, customers will be able to purchase an HP EliteBook with the new Intel high-performance SSDs – HP is a launch customer for new Intel X25-M and X18-M Mainstream SATA SSDs.

    In addition to helping achieve outstanding battery life, these new Intel SSDs provide greater durability and reliability as well as faster system responsiveness. Internal HP benchmarks show overall performance boosts of up to 57 percent on industry benchmarks, and data transfer rates almost six times faster than traditional hard disks.

    “Intel architected its new line of high-performance solid-state drives specifically to bring a new level of performance and reliability to the computing platform and make significant impact to the way people use their PCs,” said Randy Wilhelm, vice president and general manager, NAND Products Group, Intel. “The HP milestone is an example of the impact of this new level of performance that specifically delivers on lower power consumption for longer battery life.”

    The initial ENERGY STAR®-qualified HP EliteBook 6930p configuration starts at only 4.7 pounds (2.1 kilograms). It features a 14.1-inch diagonal widescreen display and is available with an optional, mercury-free Illumi-Lite LED display.

    The HP EliteBook 6930p is built for the corporate road warrior as it features a shock-resistant hard drive, enhanced display panel and spill-resistant keyboard to help defend data against bumps, drops and spills. It was designed to meet the tough MIL-STD 810F military-standard tests(2) that measure levels of environmental reliability and operation at extreme temperatures, while withstanding vibration and high humidity.

    The inner magnesium shell of the notebook’s HP DuraCase is equipped with a honeycomb pattern that is thermally bonded to anodized aluminum for a solid construction.

    All HP notebooks are designed with the environment in mind, with energy-efficient features and select materials for easier recycling. For example, HP has set a goal to remove all mercury – a material commonly found in notebook screens – from its entire notebook line by the end of 2010.

    10/21/2008 05:07:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Celio REDFLY Special Offer $199!!!#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    I saw this over at jkOnTheRun and couldn’t believe my eyes Celio Corporation, makers of the REDFLY have incorporated a special “seeding program” where you can get the REDFLY at 50% off the MRSP of $399 for a limited time. We saw a recent price cut back in August and were told, when I got my unit for review that it would be possible to offer the REDFLY for even less, but I didn’t believe it would be this soon.

    redfly special offer

    Celio Corp. found that a REDFLY Mobile Companion device in the hands of media, developers or mobile enthusiasts has a tremendous viral marketing benefit. So they decided to offer a a limited amount of REDFLY devices for placement into the market atn this special marketing seed program at $199 until October 31, 2008 so you can help spread the word by using the REDFLY at a very low price directly from Celio as well as other retailers like Amazon.

    Don told me that you can get it even cheaper, $195 directly from Enterprise Mobile and you get free tech support too! Also check out their unlocked Windows Mobile devices they have for sale here  like the - HTC Touch Diamond, HP iPAQ 910c Business Messenger, Palm Treo™ Pro smartphone, and MOTO Q™ 9h business edition and some mobile PCs like the HTC Shift X9000 and HTC Shift X9501 also with free support. :)

    Edit: It is now $199 at Enterprise Mobile.

    09/25/2008 19:09:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    iPhone 2.0 and MobileMe - Very "UnApple-Like"#
    Post By Don Sorcinelli

    On the heels of friend Chris Leckness' post at MobilitySite regarding recent iPhone issues (Chris, BTW, references another great article by Matt Miller on the same subject), I thought I might chime in with some observations made through all of the recent events.

    What has transpired with regards to the iPhone, and MobileMe over the past weeks has, in my opinion, been very uncharacteristic for Apple as an organization. Let's face it - like it or not, Apple may understand the concept of "user experience" better than any software or hardware vendor in history. I regularly reference Apple as the standard-bearer for insuring that any given user experience is complete, well-defined and thoroughly tested before public consumption. It is this mindset that plays a large part in Apple's brand loyalty. The iPhone 2.0/MobileMe issues seem to fly directly in the face of these very principles.

    I sincerely believe many of the issues related to the iPhone were avoidable if not for another aspect of Apple corporate culture; unbridled secrecy. Most are familiar with Apple's zealous approach to "keeping things under wraps" until product launch. Few are ever given access to Apple development in its earlier stages, and are sworn to eternal secrecy if they are. While this approach works well in scenarios where the number and diversity of testers are not critical to true validation of the product, it can be the "kiss of death" in scenarios where diversity and number of testers makes all the difference in the world. Keeping that in mind, let's look at some of the issues and how a limited testing group can be a major factor -

    • Cellular signal strength/quality issues. While we all often laugh at the Verizon "Can you hear me now?" guy, there is an important principle here. Anyone who works in or around the cellular industry or is tied to a mobile phone while traveling extensively can tell you - what works in one area doesn't necessarily work in another area. The more geographically diverse a testing base, the better the gauging of a cellular radio stack. And no, you can't cover every square foot of North America, Europe and all of the places which have access to the iPhone, but a large testing group is statistically going to be better than a small one. Remember also that with varying geography comes varying carriers and varying cellular networks. Again - the more diversity, the better.

      Some recent finger-pointing in all of this is now blaming the radio chipset as the culprit. Even if so, more extensive testing results in more reported issues which results in identifying the culprit - before product launch. Whatever or whomever the final cause is regarding this issue, the bottom line is that a primary user experience with a cellular phone - using the cellular radio - has been far from desirable for many users.
    • Third-Party application issues. there have been any number of issues reported with the running of third-party applications on the new iPhone. As Chris L. pointed out, many quickly blame the developers. If "bad code" is truly to blame, then so be it. However, with all of the restrictions placed by Apple in relation to third-party developers and the AppStore, a testing/certification process should catch the most flagrant issues. I cannot help but believe that Apple was either unprepared for a large number of applications being submitted or simply did not test the applications as thoroughly as they should have (if at all). What strikes me as most surprising in all of this is the fact that Apple gave a strong impression that a primary reason for the AppStore approval process was to ensure quality control was in place. That being said, a larger testing base may once again have facilitated any QA process.
    • MobileMe. Honestly, I believe many of the issues here exemplify how any company can struggle when leaving their "comfort zone". While iTunes shows that Apple can managed large-scale connectivity and distribution models over the Internet, synchronization of thousands (if not millions) of computing devices is a far different beast (remember - MobileMe is not an iPhone or even Apple-exclusive technology). MobileMe likely should never have been launched until after the iPhone was launched, and then only in controlled testing modes to ensure reliability and scalability.

    There have been other issues surrounding the iPhone floating around the Internet, but I think I'll stop here. The point that I am trying to make is that Apple appears to me to have drifted from what has always made it such a vastly popular company -

    User experience took a back seat to a product launch date.

    As someone who has worked with and for companies that take this approach to doing business on a regular basis, brand loyalty will only last as long as a new or cheaper competitor doesn't arrive on the scene. In Apple's case, recent events are an exception, not the rule. Moving forward, Apple can (and likely will) return to its tried and true ways. If not, "unApple-like" practices will really test the patience of what is arguably the most loyal customer base in technology history. In addition, people and companies new to Apple (iPhone and the enterprise, for example) are definitely being given an initially unfavorable impression of Apple. To these folks, there is no "unApple-like" thought process; there is only a "bad product launch" thought. Gaining trust with this market is probably going to be even rougher than first thought.

    I believe that Apple will correct many of the issues around the iPhone and MobileMe. History proves they are responsive. What will be interesting to see, however, is whether or not Apple is willing to accept the fact that venturing into new businesses and technologies may require a change in corporate culture. In the case of the iPhone, third-party applications and MobileMe, that change may require steeping away from the isolated and limited world of product testing and moving towards more open and expansive testing programs. This would definitely be the most "unApple-like" thing that Apple could do, but likely would allow them to be most "Apple-like" in terms of customer satisfaction.

    08/14/2008 12:29:23 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    zzzPhone Update: "Windows for Mobiles"?#
    Post By Don Sorcinelli

    Back on Feb. 6th, Steve Hughes posted on some... um - "irregularities" regarding the now-infamous zzzPhone, which promised a fully-customized phone with lots of bells and whistles, including Windows Mobile for the OS, for only $149. At the time, Steve made some very valid points that led to the conclusion that this was in fact a scam - at least from the point of the price including a licensed copy of Windows Mobile on board.

    Turn to today, when I decided to pay a visit back to the zzzPhone web site. Lo and behold - the specs now list the operating system as Windows for Mobiles.

    zzzPhone

    Folks, this is the third time I have seen this operating system change. First, it went from Windows Mobile to Windows Mobile 6. This was not long after there were some inquiries to the "manufacturer" regarding whether or not Windows Mobile 6 was included. On a side note - the radio stack frequencies supported conveniently changed early on after it was noted in some forums that the frequencies listed would not support all US networks. Timing is everything, they say... ;-)

    I still encourage people to take a good look around the zzzPhone web site. Try to find any copyright notices for operating systems. Any partnerships with OS licensers. Take a good long look at the mockups of the screen for the zzzPhone. It could very well turn out that these phones are running a legitimate OS on them, but Windows Mobile or Symbian? I don't think so.

    I will be curious to hear from those who have spent the $149 to find out what they discover. Hopefully, they aren't expecting a refund if Windows Mobile is not on board. You see - the "service guarantee" on the zzzPhone web site states the following:

    We guarantee our products to be free from manufacturer defects and will repair or replace your order within 30 days if there are any manufacturer defects in your phone.

    A different operating system that works likely won't be considered a "defect", and there is no money back - only a replacement.

    As always, ladies and gentlemen - Caveat Emptor...

    02/19/2008 22:19:10 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Live TV on your PND Navigation System is on the way#
    Post By Johan van Mierlo
    The next step in the PND navigation systems is the integration of live TV capabilities using your data connection of your Phone/laptop or even maybe with an integrated Mobile Data Connection(Sim data card). See below the press release and the full specs of this new AvMap PND
    AvMap introduces Geosat 6 TV, the world’s firstPND featuring DVB-H TV, connected navigation and tri-band GSM phone options

    AvMap, the Italian GPS company, today presented the most complete and versatile stand-alone GPS unit in the market: the new Geosat 6 TV. Geosat 6 TV is a Do-It-All Personal Navigation Device (PND) featuring DVB-T and DVB-H TV (Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld) on the move, connected navigation, a tri-band GSM phone and multimedia player functions. Geosat 6 TV includes an unmatched integration of technologies and functions in a single all-in-one GPS device. The multimedia engine and TV middleware are provided by Cidana Corporation and the device will also feature digital maps and content from Tele Atlas. AvMap is previewing the world premiere of the Geosat 6 TV at the 2008 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the Tele Atlas stand, Hall 2, Booth 2B69.

    “Geosat 6 TV is a connected device capable of enriching the navigation experience with dynamic information on-the-go.” said Simone Lazzarini, Managing Director of AvMap “Geosat 6 TV represents the result of the most advanced converging technologies and it opens the way to limitless opportunities of partnerships with location-based services (LBS) and content providers to offer innovative solutions for the mobile user.”

    “Rich, live mobile TV is the next key feature for navigation devices,” said Ioannis Katsavounidis, Chief Technology Officer of Cidana. “Geosat 6 TV is the first of a new breed of devices that combine portable navigation with live media entertainment. Its light-weight form factor and GPS location-aware features, coupled with the many services that DVB-H TV signals carry, will make it a natural success. Cidana is excited to provide our universal DVB-H/DVB-T and PMP solutions to AvMap for the Geosat 6 TV.”

    “Consumers seek a content-rich experience from their mobile multimedia devices, so it is natural they will also want to leverage navigation information and features as a part of their complete on-the-go environment,” said Jack Reinelt, Tele Atlas’ Managing Director and Chief Operating Office of Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We’re pleased to partner with leading companies such as AvMap, which are focused on providing innovative solutions for the mobile user.”

    Advanced GPS Navigation
    The new Software by AvMap makes navigation easier thanks to advanced functions such as the stop planner, the trip computer an FAQ and on board user guide.
    Dynamic contents
    Find out how connected navigation makes the difference when planning your journey: receive real time weather info, then take a look at the gas prices to decide where to stop and refuel, look for free parking and get some tips on events to plan your night in town. Geosat 6 TV will be the first connected navigator in Europe of its kind, finally bringing Location Based Services capabilities into a PND device.

    GSM and emergency Calls
    With Geosat 6 TV, AvMap enters the mobile phone market. Thanks to the built-in tri-band GSM, Geosat 6 TV works as a mobile phone. The SW interface includes a quick access button for emergency calls, which can be configured for special services (such as car insurance support).

    DVB-H and Multimedia Functions
    Geosat 6 TV includes numerous mobile entertainment applications. Geosat 6 TV is equipped with a DVB-H and a DVB-T module to ensure an optimal reception of Digital TV in any condition. This portable multimedia device also includes a picture viewer and an Mp3 and Mp4 player.
    Hardware & specs
    AvMap Geosat 6 TV is 100% designed and made in Italy. The new stylish design features a slim metallic case which is robust and elegant. The large, high-resolution 4.8” wide-screen ensures recognition at a glance and can be viewed in horizontal or vertical mode. The innovative smart magnetic holder holds the navigator with 4 powerful magnets and lets you rotate the navigator from landscape to portrait mode with a simple gesture to choose the best point of view on navigation.
    The AvMap Geosat 6 TV features a 520 MHz processor, a Sirf Star III GPS receiver, sensor for automatic brightness control and a master/slave USB port.

    Preloaded with the Tele Atlas maps for 34 European countries and with more than 2 million POI’s (Points of Interest), Geosat 6 TV comes with text-to-speech technology that announces street names and live contents with the AvMap dynamic info service. AvMap Geosat 6 TV adds a digital media player to play Mp3 and Mp4 files.

    AvMap Geosat 6 TV will be compatible with Geosat Updater the desktop application that helps people manage their GPS maps, Points of interests, Welcome images, Voices and other content and easily synchronize it to their devices. The Geosat Updater allows free download of the latest software release, helping customers to keep their AvMap devices up-to date. Through the Geosat Updater, which is a free download from http://www.avmap.it/ , AvMap customers can personalize and expand their GPS experience.
     
    Availability
    AvMap Geosat 6 TV will be displayed at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, 11 – 14 February 2008 in the Tele Atlas stand in Hall 2 at booth B69; visitors to the AvMap corner of the stand will be able to view demonstrations. AvMap Geosat 6 TV ships in Q2 2008 with a smart magnetic mount, a cigarette lighter power supply cable, A/C power supply cable and USB data cable.
    02/08/2008 07:56:11 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    CES 2008 - BLUETOUCHmusic – we hold the car door open for any phone#
    Post By Johan van Mierlo

    At one of the press events during the CES. Pieker Acustic was showing of their Bluetouch at the Show Stoppers Event. This carkit has so many options with an easy to use interface. It requires an installation, but onces installed it will be so multifunctional and easy upgradable.

     

    With BLUETOUCHmusic, the car door is open for any phone and MP3 player. The multimedia system from PEIKER acustic and ALAC supports all of the cult favorite cell phone’s functions. From telephony to music – all of the features can be operated conveniently and confidently via touch screen and voice.
     
    Universality and ongoing optimization are the terms that best describe BLUETOUCHmusic. And rightly so: Free software updates published regularly on the
    homepage ensure that this development from PEIKER acustic and ALAC is always up to date. Its USB connection makes it all possible, enabling not only compatibility with the latest mobile phones, but also the integration of a whole spectrum of new functions. So it comes as no surprise that BLUETOUCHmusic is one of the first multimedia systems to fully support the Windows Mobile 6 devices and others. Users can talk on the telephone conveniently via Bluetooth, and thanks to the new software, rapid telephone book downloads via SyncML are now also possible. Another new feature is the telephone book search function. Any entry in the entire address book of the mobile phone that is hooked up can be found quickly. Depending on the mobile phone, a pop-up screen also indicates when a new SMS message has been received. Seamless communication is the guiding principle.
     
    And yet the factor for which BLUETOUCHmusic is most popular is its music function: Users can play their favorite songs in MP3 format directly from USB sticks or SD cards. Those who prefer their music the old-fashioned way can connect their music sources using a 3.5-millimeter stereo jack. And the Bluetooth A2DP profile (if it is supported by the mobile phone) makes it possible to transmit songs directly and wirelessly to the car’s own stereo system.
     
    BLUETOUCHmusic makes pulses quicken, particularly among fans of the Apple iPod. All of the current models, including the new iPhone, fit the specially developed interface. Once the device is connected, the user can use the touch screen or voice commands to browse titles, artists, albums, and playlists. The iPod or iPhone also charges at the same time. With features like this, you can feel right at home even in your car.
     
    This is a multimedia car kit that supports almost any possible inputs.

     

    For more information you can go to MyBluetouch.com

    01/13/2008 21:41:06 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    CES 2008 Slogan should be...#
    Post By Johan van Mierlo

    Many thoughts are going through my mind after returning from the CES in Las Vegas. But as Steven Hughes here at BostonPocketPC is recapping the show in a few words that says it all.

    "Evolutionary but not Revolutionary"

    With many things to see nothing was that exciting that would give the vibes. A Lot of the technology out there was put towards new and good uses.

    For example:
    - Live HD radio captioned for the hearing impaired.
    - Live video conferencing for the hearing impaired. Maybe next year they will probably be joining together and the hearing impaired will be able to conference with anyone in any way and it won't be a handicap anymore.

    With the technology out there that we always wanted, this was the show where the applications using these technologies were able to catch up before a new technology will replace it and everyone can go back to the drawing board

    01/11/2008 19:40:13 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    New Rules for Lithium Ion Batteries in Air Travel#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    I was told this by Don when he came over for a movie viewing night between the holidays with some friends and their families. Yes I have known Don for over 7 years and never met his family, until now. Anyway one conversation that came up were the new laws for traveling with lithium ion batteries. According to Safetravel.gov effective January 1, 2008, you now have to carry your spare with you and can't pack it in your suitcase (in my opinion defeats the whole purpose anyway unless you are looking to lighten your load racing through the airport. :)

    Here are the new policies so be aware of them before traveling this new year:

    • Spare batteries are the batteries you carry separately from the devices they power. When batteries are installed in a device, they are not considered spare batteries.
    • You may not pack a spare lithium battery in your checked baggage
    • You may bring spare lithium batteries with you in carry-on baggage – see our spare battery tips and how-to sections to find out how to pack spare batteries safely!
    • Even though we recommend carrying your devices with you in carry-on baggage as well, if you must bring one in checked baggage, you may check it with the batteries installed.

    For more information on the new regulations head here:

    http://safetravel.dot.gov/whats_new_batteries.html

    The new rules are kind of confusing because what is permitted is based on the actual weight in grams of “equivalent lithium content.” 8 grams of equivalent lithium content is approximately 100 watt-hours. 25 grams is approximately 300 watt-hours:

     

  • Under the new rules, you can bring batteries with up to 8-gram equivalent lithium content. All lithium ion batteries in cell phones are below 8 gram equivalent lithium content. Nearly all laptop computers also are below this quantity threshold.
  • You can also bring up to two spare batteries with an aggregate equivalent lithium content of up to 25 grams, in addition to any batteries that fall below the 8-gram threshold. Examples of two types of lithium ion batteries with equivalent lithium content over 8 grams but below 25 are shown below.
  • For a lithium metal battery, whether installed in a device or carried as a spare, the limit on lithium content is 2 grams of lithium metal per battery.
  • Almost all consumer-type lithium metal batteries are below 2 grams of lithium metal. But if you are unsure, contact the manufacturer!

    All my batteries are safe to travel with me including my large Valence slice battery. As it is my Valence battery has been pulled aside and swabbed 19 out 37 flights taken since I owned and used it. I can only imagine how much longer lines will be at security checkpoints leaving Las Vegas from CES or heading there. To my surprise there were no longer lines leaving towards Las Vegas and TSA folks kept things moving along as normal, granted I opted to leave the Valence at home. :)

  • 01/06/2008 09:46:37 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Attacks are opened on Google's Android#
    Post By Johan van Mierlo

    Wow, It has been quiet from the non-partners of the Google's Android mobile platform. But this week we have seen 2 responses one from Microsoft in the name of Steve Balmer and one from Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo .

    Basicly both reations are down grading Android to either mere a press release and the other says they are just newcomers but credible. Android has a strong group of partners and definitly is credible. Just look at Google's history.

    The amazing thing that the mere press release of Android has done is that other platforms are speeding up the way mobility will be presented to us through the carriers. Or as Nokia says "But now the U.S. market may in fact be adapting to Nokia…and other newcomers. Insofar as Apple (with its iPhone and lucrative revenue sharing deal with AT&T) and Google (with the OHA and Adroid) are the harbingers of a new cellular landscape, Nokia finally stands to win a halfway decent chunk of the U.S. market without all that bothersome 'adapting.' Who cares if it happens to be a competitor that's paving the way for these changes."

    So who is paving the road map for who? Time will tell.

    12/12/2007 21:36:11 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    No new Treo 800w under the tree#
    Post By Johan van Mierlo

    After reporting the overall poor financial performance at Palm, they now blame certification issues for the delay of the new Treo 800w. But there statement is: " We are pleased with recent improvements in our product delivery engine, the early success of Palm Centro."

    Palm has been struggling now for a long time and the excuses are piling up. Palm still has his place, but it needs to keep its customers happy. Without proper timely releases I would go to explore and try new devices. Maybe wait for the Google androids which are also linux based.

    12/10/2007 13:21:20 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    China To Control Future of Satelite Mobility Opportunities#
    Post By Johan van Mierlo

    According to the annual report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, released last week, listed among Beijing's goals that of ensuring that Chinese space weapons are "conducted covertly so China can maintain a positive international image." China has called for a ban on space weapons at the United Nations.

    The report said that China is also developing civilian technology that can be applied to military space programs and is acquiring the "ability to destroy or temporarily incapacitate every enemy space vehicle when it is located above China," the report said.

    According to the report this will include the right to deactivate the American GPS technology using their anti-satelite and other weapons on Chinese soil. Of course if that ever will happen a battle will start which is will include the Chinese Beidou, Russian GONASS-system and maybe even the to be developed European Galileo-systems. Not to talk about all the other commercialized uses we have with our flying unmanned vehicles circling around the earth.

    This almost seems to be a new outer space warfare in communication technology. Just think about .....now we need stealth satelites...or is this report needed as a backbone for our approval for the space defense system

    Read more using this link.
    http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2007/ea_china_11_29.asp

     

    12/10/2007 09:58:22 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Sling Media Goes SOLO with New Slingbox, Symbian S60 Player#
    Post By Don Sorcinelli

    Well, the announcement of EchoStar's acquisition of Sling Media hasn't slowed down what has already been in the works for some time. Sling Media today announced the release of a really slick-looking new Slingbox and support for Symbian S60 platform with SlingPlayer Mobile -

    Foster City, CA September 27, 2007 Sling Media, Inc., a leading digital lifestyle products company, today announced the retail launch of the new Slingbox™ SOLO, a freshly designed new Slingbox that can connect to a standard definition or high definition set top box and features increased streaming performance for less than $200. Slingbox SOLO transforms PCs, laptops, Macs and a variety of smartphones into personal, portable TVs and builds upon the goals of the original Slingbox – giving consumers the freedom to view their home cable, satellite or digital video recorder (DVR) programming on a wide range of devices anywhere they can access the Internet. Slingbox SOLO is available in retail stores and at www.slingmedia.com for a suggested retail price of $179.99.

    ”Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of place-shifting their favorite TV and DVR programming, and are demanding products that are both attractively designed and future-proof as they look to upgrade their TV service from standard definition to HD in the coming year. Slingbox SOLO has all of the right features built-in, making it an ideal fit for a wide range of customer needs,” said Blake Krikorian, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Sling Media. “The Slingbox SOLO fits the digital media needs of both new and existing customers, giving them the flexibility and capability to enjoy personalized content from any of their home entertainment devices - virtually anywhere.”

    SOLOprofile SOLOfront

    Slingbox SOLO is designed to meet the varied requirements of today’s multi-faceted TV-viewing households. The product includes standard (4:3) and widescreen (16:9) video support and increased streaming performance (full VGA resolution, up to 8Mbps around the home). Slingbox SOLO accepts inputs from either standard definition or high definition set top boxes, giving customers the ability to connect virtually any Audio/Video device via component video, S-Video or composite video connectors and features integrated looping outputs for each input.

    Slingbox SOLO will be available nationwide through Sling Media’s retail partners, including Amazon.com, Best Buy, Buy.com, Circuit City, CompUSA, Fry’s, J&R and Micro Center as well as www.slingmedia.com for a suggested retail price of $179.99.

    Sling Media also announced a new version of its SlingPlayer Mobile software today that is compatible with smartphones that run S60 software on Symbian OS™ including Nokia Nseries and Eseries devices. Customers who purchase an N95 receive a free version of the SlingPlayer Mobile software, a $29.99 value. For a list of compatible smartphones and more details on the Nokia N95 offer, please visit www.slingmedia.com/go/nokia.

    Nokia_N95_Opened

    I like the thinking on the feature set and price point for the SOLO. Position it between the AV and the PRO, provide built-in component connections for high definition and price it in an attractive fashion. All this and just in time for the holidays :-)

    I wish I could take this as an indicator that things will not change now that Sling Media is a part of EchoStar (as I mentioned in my post earlier this week). However, both the SOLO and the S60 SlingPlayer Mobile have been in the works for quite a while. I still hold the hope that EchoStar's acquisition does not result in a change of direction for Sling Media's independent hardware. The ability for Slingboxes to work with just about any other piece of hardware out there has always been a huge plus for the consumer.

    09/27/2007 08:13:57 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Tell HP what you want in your next Laptop#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

     

    The folks at HP and BuzzCorps want to know what has been missing in the laptop market today and want to fill that void by asking you what you would like to see in your next laptop and what has been missing.

    There have been plenty of new laptops recently introduced and there is a great video by Andru from GearLive featuring an interview with Stacy Wolff director of product design for HP, on what goes into great Industrial Design of HPs laptops as well as some of the innovative features in their next line of laptops.

    Stemming from this a website was formed by Gnomedex attendees to get a pulse on what power users and shapers of the blogosphere want in their next laptop. Feel free to add any comments and wish list items and we will pass this link along with links from other community sites participating in this wonderful feedback forum. Tell us if you want DVI-D as a standard so with a little adapter you can use VGA, DVI, etc.; modular bays for optical drives and extra batteries; all day battery life; modular WWAN, processor, and GPU cards; both active and passive touch screens; memory up to 8GB; lightweight package with a lightweight power pack (why should the power transformer and associated cords weigh more than your laptop?)

    This is your chance to let your voice to be heard on what you want in your next laptop. Make your opinions heard!!!!

    08/21/2007 13:51:01 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Bank of America launches Mobile Banking service#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    If you do alot of online banking with Bank of America you may have noticed several blurbs about their upcoming service for mobile phones. I know this has been a sore point in many peoples sides for some time. Well, they now  launched their new Mobile Banking service to enable its customers to manage their personal finances on the go. Best of all it is free!

    The new BOA's new service gives users an ability to check balances on their accounts, mortgages and home equity lines, pay bills, and transfer money between accounts and to other customers of the bank. One of the key issues with mobile banking is security, and Bank Of America promises highly secured environment for all mobile transactions — customers are protected with the bank's SiteKey security service, as well as its Zero Liability Online Banking Guarantee.

    To access Mobile Banking, customers simply go to the web browser on your mobile phone and enter www.bofa.mobi. Once on the site, customers enter their Online Banking ID and passcode to access their accounts. For more information and the terms of service head here.

    05/24/2007 13:43:38 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Cingular 8525 now becomes the AT&T 8525 with some added updates#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    Good news for all you Cingular 8525 owners out there waiting for an update to your phone to actually use that push to talk button. More good news your Windows Mobile 6 update will be available soon... I have a review of the 8525 in Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine available here in case you missed it.

    Today AT&Tannounced today the availability of a re-branded and upgraded version of its popular Cingular 8525 now called  the AT&T 8525 Pocket PC (you may have seen the new branded unit in several television comercials for other products like DHL - the one on the golf course)— boasting additional services that will appeal to business customers and consumers alike. 

    Now, the AT&T 8525 also comes with AT&T Push to Talk functionality pre-installed as well as the latest multimedia music and video services from AT&T.  AT&T boasts the largest Push to Talk network in America and its PTT service includes several differentiating features, including "availability" icons, quick group-calling and the ability to easily switch a PTT session to a regular wireless voice call.

    To turn downtime into playtime, the AT&T 8525 provides access to AT&T Mobile Music — an integrated, on-the-go music experience that delivers "your music, your way" by providing simple access to the most robust collection of music content available today, including XM Satellite Radio, which comes pre-loaded on the device. 8525 users can easily access and enjoy 25 commercial-free music channels from XM Satellite Radio through the XM Radio Mobile service.

    With AT&T Mobile Music, AT&T 8525 users can connect to a one-stop shop for everything music on the handset, such as full-track songs, music videos, ringtones, music news, MusicID, music chat rooms, streaming music and more. AT&T is the first U.S. carrier to offer subscription music to the handset, including music from leading online retailers, Yahoo! and eMusic.

    The 8525 will also feature AT&T’s on-demand streaming video service, Cellular Video. Customers can watch a large selection of video clips of their favorite television shows, sports, news and weather, entertainment and premium content, including such hit HBO programs as “The Sopranos,” “Entourage,” “Sex and the City,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and exclusive mobile content from World Wrestling Entertainment.

    Those customers who own an existing Cingular 8525 can download the same software upgrades found on the AT&T 8525. The software upgrade can be found at: www.america.htc.com/products/8525/default.html. The AT&T 8525 will also be upgradeable to the latest version of Windows Mobile, Windows Mobile 6, later this year. 

    “Our enhanced version of the AT&T 8525 Pocket PC provides an exciting new array of features that will allow our customers to do more during both work time and downtime,” said Cathy Quaciari, director of wireless B-to-B devices for AT&T. “The lines between work and personal lives are blurring, so end users now not only need a device through which they can access their work e-mail or other corporate applications, but also they want something that has music, video and other entertainment capabilities as a way to unwind at the end of the day.”

    The first UMTS/HSDPA-enabled PDA in North America, the AT&T 8525 still features Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 with Direct Push Technology — which allows users to retrieve their important information in the familiar environment found on most desktop computers. 

    In addition to Microsoft Direct Push e-mail for business customers, the AT&T 8525 also supports other popular wireless e-mail solutions, including Good Mobile MessagingTM and AT&T Xpress Mail. 

    The AT&T 8525 provides users with both domestic and international 3G capabilities.  In the U.S., customers can use the AT&T 8525 on AT&T’s BroadbandConnect network in more than 165 major metropolitan areas with seamless access to AT&T’s nationwide high-speed EDGE network outside of 3G coverage areas. When abroad, customers can use the AT&T 8525 in 125 countries where UMTS/HSDPA, EDGE or GPRS networks have been deployed.

    “AT&T and HTC continue to bring the best of mobile hardware and software innovation together with one of the most advanced wireless networks in the world,” said Todd Achilles, vice president of HTC America. “With the addition of Push to Talk and the latest multimedia services from AT&T on the 8525, customers are able to get the most powerful, fastest 3G-connected phone experience available anywhere in North America, Europe or Asia.”

    Pricing and availability

    The AT&T 8525 Pocket PC will be available exclusively from AT&T for as low as $399.99 beginning May 14, in Cingular (now AT&T) retail stores nationwide, select national retailers, http://www.cingular.com/, and through AT&T’s B-to-B direct sales team.

    05/09/2007 15:42:18 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    AT&T Announces New International Smartphone and PDA Data Plans#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    Accessing e-mail and other data wirelessly while overseas is now much more cost-effective as AT&T Inc. announced today the availability of international data plans that offer greatly reduced data roaming rates to customers using any AT&T-powered smartphone or PDA. The new global rate plans range from $44.99 to $69.99 a month, depending on device class and e-mail platform. They include 20 megabytes (MB) of international data use in nearly 30 countries with UMTS, EDGE or GPRS wireless data networks, as well as unlimited domestic access.  The plans apply to such devices as BlackJack™, the Cingular 3125 Smartphone, Cingular 8525 Pocket PC, HP iPAQ hw6920 Mobile Communicator, Palm® Treo™ 680, Palm® and Treo™ 750.

    With AT&T’s new Global Smartphone and PDA plans, customers now have plan options to cover international data usage on any business-oriented wireless device sold by AT&T.  AT&T also offers international data plans for BlackBerry® and wireless laptop connectivity.          

    “AT&T already has the broadest international voice and data roaming footprint of any U.S. carrier, and now it is the only wireless provider in the nation to offer global data plans to its entire portfolio of business-oriented devices,” said Jeff Bradley, vice president of wireless business data services for AT&T. “These new plans give our customers much greater control over their international wireless costs. They provide a large enough allocation of data and significantly reduced overage charges so that employees can use their smartphone or PDA to check e-mail, browse the Web or access other data applications when abroad without incurring higher pay-per-use roaming charges.”

     AT&T’s new international data plans for smartphones and PDAs can offer customers significant cost savings over traditional, per kilobyte (KB) data charges for use outside the U.S.  For example, 20MB of international data usage at a standard $.0195 per KB rate would result in a charge of $399.36, some $330 more than the highest tier combined monthly domestic/international charge under the new AT&T plans.

    Smartphone Connect Global monthly plans start at $44.99 with a voice contract and PDA Connect Global plans begin at $64.99 a month with a voice plan. Customers can sign up for AT&T’s new international data plans for smartphones and PDAs at any Cingular Wireless retail store, or through AT&T’s wireless business-to-business sales organization.

    For more information on the new plans, please go here.

    To view countries included in the new international plans, please go here.

    04/19/2007 14:01:32 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    CBS to be "Sling"ed to Mobile Devices#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    CBS Corp. announced today that it has signed a new deal with Sling Media to create the CBS Interactive Audience Network along with several other significant companies including AOL, Microsoft, CNET Networks, Comcast, Joost, Bebo, Brightcove, Netvibes, and Veoh.   This announcement is set to position CBS as the most widely distributed professional content provider online. Can you say a move in the right direction?

    Sling Media’s role will be to distribute free, ad supported, full length as well as clip-based video content from CBS via Clip+Sling and enhanced SlingPlayer software, which will be launched for both Slingbox and non-Slingbox customers this summer. In addition, Sling Media plans to integrate the same CBS content into additional platforms including its forthcoming SlingCatcher.

    "We are excited to extend our business relationship with CBS by offering our current and future audiences access to great long form programming from CBS that covers the spectrum from drama and comedy to sports and news," said Jason Hirschhorn, president of the Sling Media Entertainment Group. "CBS is proving they are a leader in the digital media space by embracing new platforms for content distribution. The announcement is an example of true ubiquity as evidenced by the cast of both new and established partners. We are proud to be working with them on this endeavor."

    I can see in the future other Viacom entertainment properties moving in this direction as well like MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1,etc. Content will not be no longer be available as live only, but this brings a whole another direction to place-shifting television and Video on Demand. I have been watching "On Demand" CBS content on my Comcast cable box and I am assuming the same content will also be available. Me and my wife were able to catch up on the whole series of Jericho (a season and a half)in a single weekend and we watched it in HD!  I can't wait to see more and via my Slingbox optimized for my Windows Mobile device no less!

    04/12/2007 15:31:39 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Have you heard of ZenZui?#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    I received several emails asking what ZenZui - (where Zui is short for Zooming User Interface) was after it was mentioned by Peter Knook at CTIA a few weeks ago. Some are asking is this Deepfish on steroids? It may be, but it looks more like some of the same technology which also heralds from Microsoft Live Labs technology with very similar code that looks to be used in both Deepfish and Windows Mobile Live Search for their maps and directions currently in beta. ZenZui is a Microsoft backed startup that looks to deliver content to subscribers with mild advertisements geared toward the consumers interests that they indicate via a web portal.

    I have yet to use it in person, but the video on YouTube I have seen looks interesting as well as playing with their flash demo here. The opening screen shows a flower-like ZenZui logo, with petals corresponding to the number keys on the phone. When a user presses a number, a corresponding collection of tiles appears and each subsequent keypress zooms the user into more detailed tiles or links to a specific Web site. The cool thing is that the tiles aren't just websites, but can be linked to applications like widgets and gadgets for weather, traffic, sports,etc; games and other media rich content. There can be a maximum matrix of as many as 36 tiles that serve as portals for content partners including Avenue A | Razorfish, Kayak.com, Traffic.com, Nike and the Fox Network (like The Family Guy). The company hopes to offer as many as 1,000 content partners in the coming months, allowing users to go online to pick their favorites and personalize their handsets.

    It has an open API and they are looking for developers both large and small to partner with. The way it works is that applications can be suggested as well as sent and received in a "viral" fashion from other ZenZui users, and since everyone's getting paid based on the ad revenue their tiles generate. Could this be the next revenue stream for music and digital content where everyone gets paid? Its also an untapped market for large companies that have mobile advertising dollars, but don't know where to spend it. A few hours to program a ZenZui widget could prove very profitable for them and even a nice revenue stream.

    From their products page they encourage developers:

    If you’re a developer, bring your coolest mobile app ideas to life using our SDK (available summer 2007), and publish your best Tiles into the ZenZui Ecosystem. If it’s hot, it’ll get sponsored, and we’ll pass along a share of the advertising revenue (we believe in sharing the love). Or, if you’re not out to make a buck but just want to flex your talents of self-expression, just select “Ad-Free” when you publish, and we’ll pair-up your Tile with a message from a non-profit. That way, you can help us create a new mobile channel for community awareness and support charitable giving. At ZenZui, we believe good karma = good business.

    The differences in Deepfish and ZenZui is that ZenZui is target toward websites that have been designed to interact with it and have specialized "tiles" of information. Deepfish technology actually allows mobile users to access existing Web pages in their original layout with Zoom,Pan, and a cue map functionality as well as interactivity with links. Basically ZenZui does away with complicated url strings and focuses on content the user is interested with a simple interactive iconized UI.

    ZenZui's goal is to reshape the way people interact with and use their mobile devices by marrying the power of the Internet with the personalization of the mobile phone. ZenZui tiles transform the handset and give users the power to acquire information, conduct transactions and share experiences quickly and easily. More information on ZenZui is available at www.ZenZui.com.

    Renata Almeida, a spokesperson for Microsoft at Waggener Edstrom, said that the ZenZui technology will be available this fall after a limited, invitation-only beta test.

    John SanGiovanni the founder of ZenZui also has a great podcast that is also worth listening to called "sangiocastshere.

    There are alot of other cool technologies percolating over at the Microsoft Live Labs, a research partnership established in January 2006 between MSN and Microsoft Research. Some that look really cool are Photosynth, (which is something I have been waiting for since I saw the demo at SIGGRAPH 2006 in Boston check out the cool video here or download the tech preview here) a tool for compiling large numbers of photographs into zoomable 3D images; Seadragon, a project designed to optimize the way information is displayed on screens, regardless of their size-yes desktop and mobile devices; and Entity Extraction, a technology already built into the Windows Live Toolbar to help surfers find information related to the web page they are currently viewing.

    04/12/2007 14:58:55 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    MobilitySite: CTIA First Look Videos#
    Post By Don Sorcinelli

    Our good friend and Mobility Guys associate Chris Leckness was fortunate enough to make it down to Orlando, FL this week for the CTIA Wireless 2007 Conference. It has been a while since I have had the opportunity to attend this conference, but I can tell you it is a must-see for anyone interested in the cellular industry.

    Chris was good enough to post some great "First Look" videos while he was there and post them MobilitySite, including:

    If you want to check out the "latest and greatest", this is a great chance to do so.

    Great work, Chris!

    03/28/2007 19:58:47 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Getting Your 'Hands on' Windows Mobile 6#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    At our last meeting we talked about the decision making process of choosing the correct Windows Mobile device and new naming conventions for Windows Mobile 6 and the differences between Classic, Standard and Professional. If you get confused one of our members came up with a simple mnemonic for remembering the differences P->Professional=Pocket PC Phone, S->Standard=Smartphone, C->Classic=Is just simply that, a Classic Pocket PC. I know its helped me remember which was which. There is a great breakdown of the differences of WM5 and WM6 that we disscussed at the meeting with images here and the PDF is posted up by Jason Langridge here

    Now to get you hands on using and testing an Windows Mobile 6 device is a bit hard now a days since there are no devices shipping with it yet. To see the new features of Windows Mobile 6 you can use the Windows Mobile 6 Flash demo to get a handle of the new features, UI and how it works. If you want to test your applications you will have download the Windows Mobile 6 Software Development Kits and if you are developing for both the Smartphone, I mean Standard and Professional (includes Classic) there are two separate SDKs to download. Here is the breakdown of the emulators included in the SDKS:

    • Windows Mobile 6 Standard SDK
      • Windows Mobile 6 Standard (176x220 pixels - 96 dpi)
      • Windows Mobile 6 Standard Landscape QVGA (240x320 pixels - 131 dpi)
      • Windows Mobile 6 Standard QVGA (320x240 pixels - 131 dpi)
    • Windows Mobile 6 Professional SDK
      • Windows Mobile 6 Classic (240x320 pixels - 96 dpi)
      • Windows Mobile 6 Professional (240x320 pixels - 96 dpi)
      • Windows Mobile 6 Professional Square (240x240 pixels - 96 dpi)
      • Windows Mobile 6 Professional Square QVGA (320x320 pixels - 128 dpi)
      • Windows Mobile 6 Professional Square VGA (480x480 pixels - 192 dpi)
      • Windows Mobile 6 Professional VGA (480x640 pixels - 192 dpi)

    In order to install the Emulators unlike in the past, this is not a stand alone install and requires Visual Studio 2005 even though some blogs said it was, you will also need to install the following:

    1. Device Emulator 2.0 Beta
    2. Compact Framework 2.0 SP1
    3. Windows Mobile 6 Professional SDK (Standard, Professional or both)

    So make sure you have Visual Studio 2005 with SP1, the programs will even prompt you if don't have it and will help you along. Note this will not work with Visual Studio Express. Hopefully a newer emulator will exist that is standalone, but I wouldn't count on it coming soon. I am hoping something will be available after MEDC. Also if you are installing it to a Vista machine you may encounter the following: 'Getting Installation Issue --> Could Not Access Network Location Common7\IDE\ProjectTemplates.' Frank Zandona has a solution by re-registering the VBScript.dll:

    regsvr32 %SystemRoot%\system32\vbscript.dll

    With the SDK there are some very cool tools included here are some of them: CabSignTool signs a .cab file and all its executable content; Cellular Emulator v1- emulates voice and data connections; Device Emulator v2 - new and improved SDK emulator, FakeGPS & GPS Settings-allows you emulate a GPS from a text file of NEMA data, Hopper- for stress testing; Local Server Framework- allows development of test application servers that run locally over localhost on the device;

    Also for more information on developing applications for Windows Mobile 6 be sure to read this fabulous whitepaper: What's New for Developers in Windows Mobile 6  and check out the Windows Mobile Developers Wiki.

    03/28/2007 09:27:38 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Windows Mobile 6 Coming to Cingular/the new AT&T Windows Mobile Devices#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    At CTIA Wireless 2007 keynote Microsoft's Peter Knook announced that Cingular aka "the new AT&T" will provide free updates to new and existing customers to three of their Windows Mobile Devices from Windows Mobile 5 to Windows Mobile 6. The devices that will be getting the free update will be 3 of their newer and popular devices: the Samsung Blackjack, Cingular 8525, and the Palm Treo 750. Palm made their offical announcement here.

    The update will be a downloadable update (you will need to flash your device) with a projected date of availability being around 2H of 2007. All new devices sold after proper testing is performed will ship with Windows Mobile 6. So if you were waiting on which devices will be supported this may make your decision making process a bit easier. For more CTIA 2007 coverage and pictures of some nice phones and devices revealed be sure to check out the blogs provided by Jason Dunn here and Chris Leckness here.

    03/28/2007 07:29:51 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Motion Launches Industry’s First Tablet PC Designed Specifically for Medical Use#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    Motion Computing is gearing up for some business at the next HiMSS conference(booth 5137) in New Orleans that is coming up next week with a release of a Tablet PC designed to turn some heads in the clinical field, by announcing the new C5 Mobile Clinical Assistant (MCA) at UCSF Medical Center during a joint conference with Intel. The MCA is a new computing category, created by Intel with support from Motion to enable nurses, physicians and other clinicians to do their jobs on the move.


    The Motion C5, the first product in the MCA category, which was designed from the ground up to be durable and to simplify workflows, ease clinician workloads and improve overall quality of care. The design is based on input from thousands of clinicians worldwide, the C5 brings reliable, automated patient data management directly to the point of care. Intel and Motion conducted extensive user level, ethnographic, human factors, time/motion and clinical workflow research. This research resulted in clear requirements for a purpose-built mobile device.

    This collaborative effort resulted in development of the Motion C5 – designed with and for clinicians – that is now being implemented in clinician usability studies worldwide. The C5 is the first highly sealed, fully disinfectable computer to integrate into one durable device the relevant technologies important to clinician workflow and productivity. The C5 combines multiple devices into one -- including a built-in barcode and RFID reader for patient identification and supply, specimen and medication administration verification; a built-in camera; and a fingerprint reader to improve security and simplify clinician authentication.

    Key Features:

    Genuine Windows® Vista™ Business or
    Genuine Windows® XP Tablet PC Edition Intel® Centrino® Mobile Technology
    - Intel® Core Solo Processor U1400 (1.20GHz)
    - Integrated Intel® PRO/Wireless 3945 ABG network connection 512MB RAM (Upgradeable to 1.5GB max) 30GB HDD (60GB option) 
     
    Key Features and Options
    - Highly durable design with magnesium-alloy internal frame
       and elastomer overmolding
    - Highly sealed, disinfectable chassis
    - Optional integrated 1D/2D barcode scanner
    - Integrated 13.56MHz RFID reader
    - Integrated 13.56MHz HF passive RFID tag
    - Integrated 2.0 Megapixel Camera
    - One-year standard warranty
       (upgradeable to two or three years) 

     For more information head to Motion's website here

    02/21/2007 08:48:43 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    What's New in Windows Mobile 6#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    If you are wondering what is new in Windows Mobile 6, Jason Langridge has a great writeup on some of the new features with screenshots called Windows Mobile 6 - What's Cool and What's New. Jaap van Ekris also covered a few things Jason left out in his article, What will Windows Mobile 6 bring for the highly mobile people? over at Modern Nomads. Chris Leckness has put together a pretty good video that is definitely worth checking out at MobiltySite on Windows Mobile 6.

    Geek.com and Pocket PC Thoughts have some great gallery of shots and screen captures of the OS in action. Also Darius Wey has found some great news pertaining to the new imate ultimate devices and Windows Vista Sideshow, in that they can be used to display video as Windows Media Center Extenders with special docking stations.They will also be utilizing the AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) band, which T-Mobile took the lionshare of in last year's spectrum auctions.

    There are a smorgasbord of new devices coming out on the Windows Mobile 6 platform. Some were covered very well by Engadget, MobilitySitethe::unwired ,  Jason Langridge, GearDiary and others from HTC, imate, and others. There is also a great video with Derek Snyder from Microsoft at on10 covering all the new mobile devices in all their glory. It is great to see so much choice of Windows Mobile Devices. A few years ago you couldn't even purchase one in the United States now I am wondering if too much choice may confuse many and cloud the market for some consumers.

    Either way there is much more to come...

    02/13/2007 14:11:46 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Opera 9 Goes Mobile#
    Post By Don Sorcinelli

    Opera Software announced plans to upgrade mobile Web browsing by developing Opera 9 for mobile phones in all major platforms. Opera 9 has enriched Web use on the PC with new technologies, and now the leading browser innovator will deliver the same groundbreaking functionality to mobile phones. The upcoming Opera Mobile edition includes the latest in PC browsing features such as Widgets and Intelligent Zoom.

    Opera for Pocket PCOpera 9 on mobile phones will add completely new dimensions to navigation. Users can seamlessly alternate between viewing modes to get a birds-eye perspective or dive into the content they want. Users have the choice to see an overview of a Web page or adapting the page to the width of the screen. As first seen with the Opera browser for Wii, Intelligent Zoom allows users to then zoom in directly to a selected area.

    Widgets will also debut on mobile phones with the upcoming release of Opera Mobile. These small Web applications running outside of the browser allow users, manufacturers and operators to create and personalize services derived from Web content such as weather and traffic information, news and e-mail. Widgets offer Web applications that are instantly accessible on the phone without having to launch the Web browser, presenting dynamic and engaging content directly to users.

    "We are impressed with the constantly evolving experience of browsing the Web," says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. "Bringing Opera 9 to mobile phones will present new capabilities in mobile Web services that will be exciting to see defined."

    Opera's JavaScript and rendering engines are built for speed while enabling dynamic AJAX-based applications. Driving standards compliance, Opera Mobile has full DOM support and can smoothly run advanced Web applications on mobile phones.

    Opera Mobile is currently shipped on more than 50 million phones from major manufacturers such as Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. For more information, visit
    http://www.opera.com/products/mobile/.

    02/13/2007 13:21:22 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    smart2go Beta#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    Well, the smart2go beta is now live and you can begin downloading now. About a year ago I had reviewed smart2go for both the Pocket PC, Smartphone and System 60 phones and met with the folks bringing it to the United States before it was acquired by Nokia. It was pretty good and loved the natural zooming in and out as you made turns and the small footprint of the maps. The next version so far is free (Navigation upgrades and guides look to be $7.99) and it now has updated maps and a cleaner UI. It has the same Find See Do, City guides available as well.

     

    It is definitely worth checking out if you are looking for an affordable GPS system. You can download it directly from here.

    02/13/2007 13:06:04 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Google Maps for Mobile#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    I saw this over at jkOnTheRun yesterday and gave Google Maps for Mobile a quick go on my trip home with one of my bluetooth GPS units. It worked pretty well and is more designed for a co-pilot or navigator to use than a driver. Since there is no voice direction. It requires an always on data connection like Windows Live Local and Virtual Earth Mobile.

    Directions work well with data provided by NAVTEQ and TeleAtlas for the GoogleMaps that many love with live traffic updates. You are represented on the map as a blue icon. GMM also lets you know how many satellites are fixed on you in the upper right-hand corner.

    To start using a GPS just select Menu->Track Location(GPS). Here is what it looks like before it gets a fix inside of a building on an overcast day. :(  (If I can screen cap an image outside I will update it) It then downloads the map for your current position and lays it underneath.

    You can choose to view with either the map or satellite like in Google Maps.You can Zoom in fairly close and can move around the maps with your directional pad. The center directional pad brings up directions if you placed them in before.

    Here is a satellite view of Boston.

    A little closer.

    Maximum resolution of Fenway Park.

    What Google Maps Mobile is really designed for is finding things on a map.

    Here is a quick search for pizza around Fenway.

     

    You get detailed information on the place including an address and phone number to call for reservations.

    You can also look up other things like Location, Nearby Businesses, Directions based on GPS location, address,etc.

    Under the options button you can even lookup contacts.

    So far Google Mobile Maps looks pretty good for free.

    To download it to your Windows Mobile device go here and it will sniff your browser and give you proper CAB file to download. For more info on the project head here.

    02/02/2007 11:28:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    DEMO 2007#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    DEMO is a paid to present conference for 68 companies in 6 minutes present their new companies, products and technologies. The presenters are picked by hand picked by Chris Shipley and a board of experts and they do a pretty good job of bringing all this technology in nice simple to understand forum. All the presentation are available online for viewing and are pretty impressive. I really like Apollo from Adobe , BlingSoftware, TeleFlip and Zink.

    As with CES most of the products are now geared toward the Web and Mobility. If you have the time it is definitely worth checking out.

    An alternative "free conference" is in the works by Mike Arrington of TechCrunch and Jason Calcanis here are the details so far a few other members of the board are showing up like Robert Scoble:

    1. It will be in the San Francisco area.
    2. We will have around 250 people at the event.
    3. 20 companies will present over two days.
    4. The event will take place in the fall.
    5. We are looking for a location that can fit 250-500 people. We arehoping we can find a a University that would host the event, or an affordable conference center. Any ideas please let me know.
    6. We hope to put together an advisory board of people we really respect to suggest companies.

    I would love to see more Unconferences like this spring up in multiple locations like Boston, NewYork, Chicago,Austin,etc, but no so many that it dilutes the content. More like an East and West like VON does.

    02/01/2007 12:12:58 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Isolated number of TomTom GO 910's may be infected with a virus#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    The folks at TomTom have issued a notification that an isolated number of TomTom GO 910’s, produced in one week in the last quarter of 2006, may be infected with a virus. The virus is qualified as low risk and does not affect the navigation performance of the TomTom GO 910 in any way. The virus can be removed safely with virus scanning software. Appropriate actions have been taken to make sure this is prevented from happening again in the future.

    Affected devices
    It has been confirmed that a small number of TomTom GO 910 devices, produced between September and November 2006, and shipped with software version 6.51, may be infected with a virus.

    Known risks
    The viruses that were detected present an extremely low risk to customers’ computers or the TomTom GO 910. To date, no cases of problems caused by the viruses are known.

    How to detect the virus?
    In the isolated cases that a virus was detected, it was found when the TomTom GO 910 was connected to the computer and for example, a back-up of the content on the device was being made.

    What to do when a virus is found?
    TomTom highly recommends that all TomTom GO 910 customers update their virus scanning software, and if a virus is detected, allow the virus scanning software to remove the ‘host.exe’ file, ‘copy.exe’ file or any other variants.

    The above identified files or any variants can safely be removed from the device with virus scanning software, and are NOT to be removed manually, as they are not part of the standard installed software on a TomTom GO 910. The good news is that they present no danger whilst driving with the TomTom GO 910.

    02/01/2007 10:19:35 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Have you seen D.A.V.E. ?#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    Robert Scoble has a pretty cool video of a new wireless hard drive called the Digital Audio Video Experience aka D.A.V.E. from Seagate that looks like it will come in both 10GB and 20GB sizes that communicate and recharge via USB and the wireless capability comes via Bluetooth 2.0 andWiFi in the flavors of b and g. Battery life lasts up to 10 hours of continuous use and it measures in at 3.5 x 4.7 x .47 inches and 2.5 oz.

    Definitely worth checking out. A software API on the device is available so software developers can write programs that use DAVE, which was "already used ... to build an interface for Symbian and Windows Mobile cell phones". We should see them on sale in May for around $150-$200.

    Here is the official press release. I can see myself pocketing one of these and subscribing to URGE or another subscription sevice for my Windows Mobile device as well as synching the drive to my media center to watch 320x240 video streamed to my device at 768 kbps via its built-in media streaming.

    01/31/2007 13:46:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Avis To Offer In-Car Hot Spot?#
    Post By Don Sorcinelli

    According to IHT.com, Avis Rent-A-Car is planning to offer an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot solution sometime in March -

    ...Autonet Mobile, a start-up wireless technology company based in San Francisco, is expected to announce soon that it has reached an agreement with Avis Rent A Car System to provide an optional wireless access point — better known as a Wi-Fi hot spot — to Avis customers by March. For $10.95 a day, Avis will issue motorists a notebook-size portable device that plugs into a car's power supply and delivers a high-speed Internet connection to passengers.

    For now, the service is intended for business travelers. But Autonet sees its service appealing to families traveling with their children, although its unit is expected to cost $399, about twice as much as current cellular card technology, plus $49 a month for service.

    This does potentially make for a desirable (albeit more pricey) solution for less tech-savvy users. Using USB dongling to a cell phone with data access and then using Internet Sharing is not for the faint-of-heart (or knowledge).  

    01/03/2007 11:01:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

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