Category Archives: gadgets

Ubuntu Edge – Formula 1 in mobile world

Ubuntu Edge

If you never heard of it, you should go check out at indiegogo.com. Basically it’s a canonical team effort to build up their own mobile OS game. How does 4.5″ screen, 4GB RAM & 128GB storage (in May 2014) sound to you? Not to mention, HDMI output acting like your Ubuntu desktop — which is the one I hope they would get it done right. After all, though it looks good and/or sounds great, all we can hope so far is Edge will be up to people’s expectation. IMHO, I don’t particularly like what they’ve done with Ubuntu Unity. (I much prefer Cinnamon when it comes to GUI.) Maybe, this might lure me to Ubuntu. If not, rolling back to Android (AOSP) which is officially supported is an option.

$32M isn’t that easy to reach, but roughly 40,000 Ubuntu Edges in a wild if this happens. Who knows? It might change mobile space entirely.

ps. I had never backed any Indiegogo project before this one. You might like to know that they do work quite different to Kickstarter. They took your money upfront, unlike Kickstarter. I don’t know if I like the idea, but heck, I put my faith into many things already. Why not this one, right?

Apple iPad – too big or just the right size

Apple iPad First of all, how the hell Apple manages to get *4:3 IPS panel* at this time while no others even care to get one. Kudos to Apple for that.

I don’t know what Apple plan for iPad; some says to beat netbook to death; some says to beat tablet pc; some says to create new category; whatever that is, I know Apple will find the way to establish their products well, regardless how big market share would be. When I first saw iPad, my react is like, “hmm they really did that!? I love to buy one,” but  when I got to specification and realized that it is 9” screen; it gave me a big pause, here. 9” is way to big to consider as on-the-go device and one-hand operation, I don’t know really how I’m going to use it if I have one.

Well, it’s iPhone OS. I’m not sure if that is a good choice for such a big device like this. If it were 7”, that would be awesome with iPhone OS. I guess I gotta tryout on this. The only reason why Apple use iPhone OS I see is the thinness since it runs on ARM CPU; I can’t imagine Apple uses such a low end stuff like Atom either. Imagine that Steve Jobs claimed that Apple works with Intel specifically to have such a powerful CPU package named Atom. Nah, it just never works out well.

ipad keyboard God almighty huge on-screen keyboard! That looks good. I think it will beat any on-screen keyboard indeed and yet, it might beat Apple own real physical keyboard as well since I have no clue why the heck they have that uncomfortable, thin and no tactile feedback for bigass iMac.

On the couch, it will be one of the hell device out there—no arguement here. I would love to see how IdeaPad U1 goes too since it’s basically the same thing as iPad, just differrent OS, which Apple already proved their supremacy, while Lenovo is just newbie. However, I can’t see iPad being used anywhere else. We’ll see if my imagination is too short here.

In short, this is just one of million opinions on iPad. We’ll see how it’s going to change when iPad releases.

Lenovo Ideapad U1 – fantastic 2

LenovoIdeaPadU1Hybrid21_thumbIt’s good to see new idea implemented. Now it’s Lenovo’s turn. The idea of having tablet and the base is not that new since always innovating introduced a while ago although they don’t do mass production as of yet [or can’t build enough.] However, Lenovo came up with a similar idea, but it seems to be much more practical. Instead of having 1 machine which can be separated into 2 pieces, they decided to have 2 separated machines that can be merged into 1 device. Really interesting!

A tablet part is running by 1GHz ARM processor, 16GB SSD, Wifi-n, 3G, resistive touch, webcam, and battery. It’s powered by Lenovo-customized version of Linux. A base part is another machine running by Core 2 processor, standard HDD, memory, HDMI, Wifi-n [another NIC for base!!], and battery which is operated by Windows 7. You might wonder if they can really run as 2 devices; They can! according to laptopmag.com. You can use your TV or monitor plug to HDMI for the base while playing with the tablet part somewhere else.

How do they work? There is some sort of synchronizing program when 2 parts are joined. You will not lose anything when running on each device. For example, you are browsing Google Reader on tablet part. When you merge it to the base, that page will show in Windows 7 too. Well, I’m looking forward to it!

Lenovo blog says it is believed to cost $999 as starting price point and will be available in April, 2010. Not too shabby.

More information:
Hand-on video @ laptopmag.com
A lot of pictures @ pocket-lint.com
Inside info @ Lenovo blog

Pandora is real now; so close!

well, I wish I had Pandora with me now. MWeston was showing/playing trying to make us want Pandora even more !!

Like someone in the community said, “take your damn time, but it’s better be damn good.”

Yeah, I can see that’s coming!! hold your breath, it’s so darn close now.

Palm Pixie: epic fail again

You may recall that Palm Pre is kinda sucess, but, in fact, it’s sorta fail. Being in NYC, I usually see any new device being used at all time. Few years ago, Palm Treo was the one. Every time Palm released the new one; yeah, there were tons of them everywhere. For Palm Pre, I honestly say that I haven’t seen one being used yet. The sale figure is just too minimal, esp. when Sprint decided to stick Pre with Simply Everything Plan *only*skull_hero

Palm made news again! Palm Pixie, aka. stripped down version of Pre or Centro series of webOS. It looks badly similar to Palm Centro, but with webOS, it’s much much more interesting (or not?) At the very first, I was about to grab if Sprint doesn’t tie this tiny phone with any plan. Now I just see that it’s missing WiFi. WTH? My best bet would be like Sprint has something to do with it. They just want everyone to have this tying with data plan, so they can get $ more. No-go for me indeed. Why would I have to pay $30 for data while I’m paying $10 a month for data on my Treo and get the same thing. But if Palm won’t release either Pre or Pixie on GSM board + Wifi on board. Then PALM, this 4-letter, will fall out of the market pretty soon. Not to mention whether they are following App store’s policy from Apple or not.

Palm PRE – Will I get it?

I still work on this question after get my dirty hand on tireless Palm Pre at local Sprint Store. Yeah! Although most of Palm powered devices don’t have any much more attention than any other device on the shelf, Palm Pre is an exception. It, honestly, doesn’t seem like a product from the company with 4 characters like PALM that used to know. Almost all people would like to have hand on such a new flashy device like Palm Pre.

I won’t deny that it feels great in my hand. The rubberized texture on the back does help a lot, but I hate to say the qwerty keyboard is too small & too thin—like Centro which I couldn’t even type comfortably and correctly. When sliding the screen up, I almost lost how to control the device between keyboard and the screen. It’s like keyboard couldn’t do anything to control stuffs and screen is way too far. I wish Pre was taller, had larger screen and used only on-screen keyboard or make the keyboard like what we have on Treo! That would be much better, but with only $199, that’s tough decision! haha

On software side, webOS does give such a nice feeling. Although I hadn’t tried to get to know it much, I feel it has potential to be real successor for Palm OS day, but what I couldn’t figure out is where the zen of Palm. Ease of use? Well, let me tell you one thing, Calendar, and all PIM are only the reason why I still wait for Palm. However, when I made new event for calendar, I had no clue how to get out of that page to the day/week/month view. I have to get to main page, throw the card away and call calendar again. At least, one thing I can say is it’s not that intuitive like what I’m waiting for. Learning curve is definitely helping here, but it’s sad somehow losing all that feeling from this company. Other than not quite intuitive UI like what we have on iPhone, I don’t feel Palm Pre has the edge over iPhone much. Honestly, I don’t like iPhone much, but it still rule mobile’s world.

Time… is the factor here. This is only first time—10 mins perhaps. I might not know the OS and the phone enough to say that it’s worse than iPhone, but the smaller screen, below-par keyboard, not any notification besides screen doesn’t help Palm Pre cuts the edge over iPhone. We’ll see how 3rd generation of iPhone looks like. Then I definitely make a decision whether I will be Palm fanboy like old days or turn myself to be cool carrying iPhone.

I still wish webOS found the way to have PDA-style device on its own. I would buy it in matter of second for sure =)

Verizon Hub – VoIP Renamed

Verizon hub Well when I first saw the ads about Verizon Hub as “the Home Phone Reinvented.” I thought it was such a good idea integrated some sort of little computer into home phone. With a nice interface, that could really help technology grow exponentially into non-geek folks.

Verizon hub

That’s really neat. I couldn’t wait figure out what is running behind. As a result, it comes with unknown processor, 128MB RAM (as storage??), 10/100 Ethernet, WLAN, support most video and audio codecs, and 7” (800×480) touch screen. On application layer, it has sort of gadget for weather, traffic, movies, traffic, calendar, contacts, tracking system w/map, and messaging (I assumed that it is e-mail?)

Yeah, sounds nice, but when it comes to the price and how to hook it up, that really kills the deal since it basically is VoIP phone and you need *your own* broadband to do so. $200 for device and $35 more a month for service. That is about $420 a year excluding all surcharges. If it really is home phone with DSL + access point, that would be fine. However, this thing uses up our internet. Nationwide free unlimited call is what you can find for free or much cheaper, e.g. Google Voice, or ~$15 for 4 months free US call with VoipBuster, $10 with T-mobile@home, etc, thus this is not counted. That’s just too much $ for Verizon to ask.

Briefly with this setup, I guess $15 or $19.99 for service charge would be an okay point, $25 maximum! For me, I would love to have Eee Top thing + T-mobile @Home over this any day, but hey! this would be nice replacement for Vonage-like users though. In the end, Verizon hub is just another toy with premium price basically, not any innovation or evolution as I expected. You still can’t make a phone call when blackout. If you want more info then jump to VerizonWireless.com/hub [This is not even on Verizon.com]

note: This setup costs $620 for first year + $420 more next year, while Eee Top 15” touch screen costs $600 + $120 a year for T-mobile @home. That’s 7” with limit vs 15” with almost anything :-P

SmartQ Q5 – the most affordable MID in town!

200903230021I am not exactly sure how good it would be, but its official price tag is as low as I ever see—900 yuan (around $130) That price was on smartdevice.com.cn press release, so it should be reliable enough although it might hike up a bit when across the ocean to the US, but it should be under $200 anyway!

Look at the spec you’ll get from $130:-
- 4.3″ 800×480 capacitive touch screen
- SDHC support
- Wifi A/B/G/N
- Bluetooth with phone tethering support
- USB 2.0 host with full OTG driver stack and support for USB ethernet, 3g modems, and GPS. USB gamepads, as well
- Dimension: 120 * 74 * 14mm
- CPU: Samsung ARM11 S3C6410 667MHz
- 128MB DDR RAM
- browser: WebKit [here]

SmartQ Q5 - WebKit

This ARM CPU has quite good feature, MPEG4 codec, h.264 codec, OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 (datasheet) From the spec and price tag, I wonder how they can make this cheap. I hope it would be available pretty soon. I would give it a try indeed.

There are also applications for Q5 already; as far as I know, SDK will be available right after this product releases officially. It looks promising and it indeed makes MID much more interesting than “Intel” MID. I hope this would give a new low-cost trend for all MID in the future as well.

SmartQ Q5 - media player SmartQ Q5 - e-mail client

Check it out smartdevice.com.cn & more screenshot at mp4nation.net

Fennec – ready to try

fennec

Fennec – Firefox mobile if you say – is ready to try on almost every platform: Maemo, Windowns, Mac OSX, Linux. It’s basically the binary files, ready to run.

 Fennec -- browser tab [left bar] Fennec -- Navigator[right bar]

It’s really nice interface for touch environment if you ask me, really clean, pretty nice for small screen device like Nokia N8xx – Maemo platform. I’m really happy to see another good browser engine on mobile device, besides WebKit.

Give it a try if you have <7” device, here, otherwise, you won’t find any advantage of Fennec over Firefox ;-P

iPhone OS 3.0 – Major update to crash Pre?

image

No matter how Apple wants to say this is a big update. It looks like updating features waiting for Palm Pre to me.

* copy & paste
* SEARCH!!
* finally more Bluetooth support!
* Apple Push notification service [seems like Apple wants taking control of everything to me though]
* more GPS support
* etc.

Apple Push Notification Service Apple SDK iPhone 3.0

Although there will be thousand of new API, I still don’t think it will change anything and make anything more exciting to well-established platform like iPhone. Jail-breaker one still is the way to go anyway—more apps, much cooler apps without any interferer. However, there is one thing that could make a difference—search. I would love to see how Spotlight goes in this update, that’s probably the only thing that makes Palm Pre look so great over iPhone to me. With the delay of Pre, I bet iPhone will rule mobile arena for another year comfortably. But $9.xx bucks for iPod Touch user again? That’s a lot. Thinking of $20 last time for 2.0 and a few more for minor updates. Such a greedy Apple.

All in all, I hope there would be a lot more “potential opponents” like Palm Pre over the next year, so iPhone 3.5 or 4.0 will catch up all iPhone 1.0 promise such as Flash eventually. What the heck are you doing Microsoft?? You were better than this  :-P I was so wrong; Windows Phone (formerly Windows Mobile) and all RIM army are still out there standing firmly—we shall see if they will be over hype of Jesus phone or not.

Q4 2008: WM beated iPhone in term of sale, not hype; also RIM shipment over last 2 years never go down a bit [over iPhone always of course]

That’s going to be much more interesting this year. If I were Palm, I would quickly unleash Palm Pre before the *hype* was gone although there still are several bugs or unfinished work—just disable/hide it like Apple did to iPhone.