Tuesday, September 29, 2009

MAEMO 5 Reviewed - Nokia N900

It's one thing to read a product preview here and there, but if you really want the Maemo 5 experience before you're even able to set foot in a store and buy an N900, look no further than mobile-review's characteristically exhaustive look at the platform. From the endless array of screenshots, you quickly get the impression that this is an attractive shell -- evolutionary and familiar for owners of the 770, N800, or N810, yes, but significantly freshened nonetheless. Here are a few big takeaways from the War & Peace-esque compendium:
There's apparently an N920 in the works that lacks a QWERTY keyboard. We've heard rumors in the past that the N900 will remain Nokia's sole Maemo 5 phone for at least a few months, so we might look to see this in 2010.
Process management invokes a curiously webOS-like card view which looks great. Helps when you have a beefy OMAP3 in there, doesn't it?
The call log effortlessly aggregates GSM and VoIP calls -- a neat trick, and a tip of the hat to Maemo's roots as a VoIP-friendly platform.
MMS isn't supported, strangely, though the platform's SMS support handles both threaded and traditional views.
While chatting up Maemo's calendar services, Eldar specifically says that he "Palm's WebOS-powered organizer much more enticing and promising." Lack of Google Calendar synchronization sucks, but we're not sure what that's all about -- Maemo does support Exchange ActiveSync, after all.
Eldar his the nail on the head regarding Maemo's Mozilla-based browser: it's always been good, just way too slow. The N900 cures those ails on better hardware, though "it hasn't caught up with the rest of the pack yet." Flash support seems wonky and performance isn't always great -- it depends on how many apps are running.
The music player is pretty bare-bones (typical Nokia), though anyone happy with the N97's sound quality will feel right at home here -- it's the same hardware.
The integrated Maps app apparently lags way behind the bar that Ovi Maps has set over on S60 -- super slow and "resource-hungry."Of course, the beauty of Maemo is its wide-open philosophy, so many of the niggles here that aren't corrected by Nokia proper will hopefully be handled by the community at large -- and the good news is that by the time you get done reading this review, the N900 should be on store shelves for you to try yourself. (http://www.engadget.com/)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Windows Mobile, Sign Up for the Waze Alpha

Waze is a new mobile social application which provides maps, real-time traffic updates, and turn-by-turn navigation directions for mobile phone users. What’s interesting about this application is that it uses crowdsourcing to deliver both the map and traffic updates.
When launching the app, you’ll see an onscreen map which looks very much like any map in any other application. However, Waze’s dynamic map is created and constantly updated by its users who leave the application open while they drive. Using the phone’s GPS, the service learns where the roads are and this information is uploaded to the Waze.com website. There, members of the Waze community can make improvements to the map, adding in street names, fixing errors, and more.
Waze users can also add information to the Waze application about congestion, accidents, road construction, and other hazards or issues that are causing traffic delays. This info can be added while the app is open, but thankfully, Waze has had the foresight to disable typing while the car is in motion. Users can report map problems with a report button and even take photos of road hazards to share with other users. (Although hopefully they won’t do this while driving.)
Right now, the Waze app is only available on certain mobile platforms, but Windows Mobile users are encouraged to sign up for the Waze alpha program to help test the upcoming version of the Windows Mobile app. (http://www.on10.net/)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nokia Location-Aware Windows 7 Netbook

At this week’s Nokia World 09 event, the mobile technology company introduced a new netbook computer called the “Nokia Booklet 3G.” As its name implies, this small form-factor laptop comes with built-in 3G/HSPA technology for easy mobile access in addition to Wi-Fi. Plus, it supports hot-swappable SIM card slots which makes it very appealing to world travelers who often carry multiple phones and cards around. However, the coolest feature of the netbook has to be its A-GPS functionality. With this, it can take advantage of theWindows Sensor and Location Platform for “location-aware computing.” What that means is that both your computer and your applications know where they are.

The computer also includes other great features like a 12-hour battery life, an HDMI port, 3 USB ports, a headphone/microphone jack, a front facing camera, a 10.1-inch HD glass display, Bluetooth, and an SD card reader, all within its small 2 cm thick aluminum shell. No word on pricing yet, but the netbook will become available in the 4th quarter of 2009.(www.on10.net)