Tag Archives: mobile-phone

What Do You Think About Windows Phone 7?

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One of our sponsors during Gnomedex just happened to be the Windows Phone 7 team. Larry was on site manning the booth, showing off the device and letting people get their first hands-on look! It was announced today (finally!) that Windows Phone 7 will be released on October 11th.

Windows Phone 7 is the new mobile phone operating system from the folks at Microsoft. It has a completely different start screen, filled with what they call “Live Tiles.” These give you real-time important information, such as for weather and stock markets. You can customize your tiles to make them relevant to your life. For instance, Larry has a tile set up just for his wife. Anytime she updates one of her social networks, the tile will let him know right away. This appears to be a great way to keep track of the people you want to stay in touch with on a continual basis.

If you click on the People Hub, you will see all of the contacts in your social circle. You can click on them separately to find out what they’re up to, or choose to check out an overview from all of them.

Larry is a product manager for the Application Platform. They’re providing people the ability to create their own applications which leverage these same concepts. They’re giving devs a free copy of Visual Studio to build Windows Phone 7 apps. These apps will be the key to the succcess of the operating system.

The email and calendar service on Windows Phone 7 is being touted as the “best in class.” It’s tied in to Microsoft Exchange, which many of us (myself included!) use for business. Larry says that this phone represents a drastic change from the way Microsoft built phone systems in the past. Historically, they were focused on being a good partner and on delivering something that the OEM companies wanted to use. The problem with that is that while the people in Redmond love their various partners, it was taking too much away from the end user… from YOU.

There was zero control over what the end user was receiving. What Microsoft did was to take direct control over the user experience. The most important focus of the project was to deliver outstanding end user experience. Larry admits that Microsoft has had trouble in the past with focusing on something. Instead, they’ve been all over the map with various aspects of projects. Windows Phone 7 represents a very focused effort to bring you what it is you want in a phone.

The free developer tools are available on the Windows Phone site. If you already have Visual Studio, it will simply update your install to include the various elements you will need to develop apps for this phone. Apps are only available through the Windows Phone Marketplace, and revenue is earned in much the same way as with other phone platforms.

Have you taken a close look yet at what’s in store? What are your thoughts about Windows Phone 7 so far?

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Samsung Galaxy S Initial Impressions

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Samsung Mobile. All opinions are 100% mine.

The Samsung Galaxy S will be available soon in the AT&T network. I’ve been able to play with it for the past week or so. Despite moderate usage, I haven’t had to charge it since first turning it on. The battery astounded me, to be quite honest. I’ve been pretty happy with this phone. Despite a few negative remarks I’ve seen elsewhere about this phone, this is the best Android device I’ve tried to date. This will definitely be my default Android phone from now on.

It is extremely lightweight. It feels good in the hand, and the screen is large and gorgeous. The screen is super SUPER bright and vibrant. It’s so bright, in fact, that I had to turn the brightness down. The touch screen is extremely responsive. This means that the processor is fast, and everything is speedy out of the box. I feel this is quality hardware on a quality operating system.

In terms of resolution and capabilities, the camera on the Galaxy S is fantastic where HD video is concerned. If you didn’t already notice, I had uploaded a video review of an iPhone screen protector that I wasn’t happy with. That video was shot using this Galaxy S phone. For some reason, in a low-quality setting, I tend to get these “bars” on the video. I’m not sure if you detect that, but I did through the viewfinder. This is some small lines that appear in videos and photos. I’m not sure if this is a hardware or software issue, though. Hopefully Samsung will look into it.

This phone is running the TouchWiz interface, which is nice for helping you to quickly connect up your social networks. The out-of-the-box experience is honestly very good. For instance, swiping the screen in any direction will automatically open up the lock screen. Hello! That, my friends, is what intuitive is all about.

This is a fantastic Android device, no doubt about it… especially when it will only cost you $200 with a new contract. What I like beyond the price and screen is that Samsung paid attention to what a user might actually want when they turn their phone on for the first time. They added some very popular apps right into the phone, including Layer. Layer is so good that it will get a future video all of its own.

More than anything that impressed me, when I launched the Apps application, I saw a few of these default apps. Normally, apps pushed through a manufacturer’s site or service kind of suck, to put it bluntly. However, I was pretty impressed with many of the ones that I found within Samsung.

Again, my summary is that this is the best Android device I’ve used to date. There are a few negatives, but in my opinion they do not detract from the overall performance of the phone. Yes, there is a replaceable battery. However, in order to get the back of the phone off to GET to said battery you’ll need long fingernails or some type of very thin tool to pry it open.

As Apple pointed out, many other phones lose signal when using a “death grip.” It’s honestly not just the iPhone 4 that does this. The same thing happens with the Galaxy S, as shown in a video on YouTube.

Just about anything you would want in an Android device can be found in the Galaxy S. Are you thinking of grabbing one for yourself?

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Do you Practice Proper Mobile Phone Etiquette?

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We’re all guilty at some point or another. We break one of the golden rules of phone etiquette. Come on… admit it. You do it too! Here are Gordon’s top five ways to become an annoying mobile phone user. DON’T do these!

  • When talking to a friend face to face and the phone rings, abruptly stop talking and answer the phone, and talk as long as you like. It doesn’t matter if it ‘s your mother, your boss or a salesman trying to sell something. Your friend will understand.
  • Leave your ringer turned up while at movies, church, or funerals. When the inevitable phone call comes in and everyone has to listen to the latest rap or country song try not to be noticed as you fumble to turn it off. Everyone will understand.
  • Talk on your phone while driving, weave in and out of traffic lanes, stop abruptly, tailgate and force other cars out of their lanes, while glaring at the other drivers with a “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?” expression. The other drivers will understand.
  • Send text messages and treat them as if they were some kind of top secret military information that if anyone saw them the security of our nation would be compromised. When receiving a humorus text, laugh loudly and don’t tell anyone what is so funny. They’ll understand.
  • Brag to your friend how much better your new phone is than everybody elses, and try not to look too disappointed when a month later your friend gets one that is cheaper and has more features. You’ll understand.


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What Else can your Mobile Phone Do?

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Yes, you can do more than make calls and send messages with your phone. But can it do anything more than that? One viewer claims that the following are possible:

  • Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network in an Emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you. Keep in mind, 112 can be dialed even if your keypad is locked!
  • Have you locked your keys in the car? Does your car have remote keyless entry? This may come in handy someday. If you lock your keys In the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. This saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, but if you can reach someone who has the other ‘remote’ for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk). This is something that I believe is highly suspicious.
  • Hidden Battery Power Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve, and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell phone next time.
  • How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone. To check your Mobile phone’s serial number, key in the following Digits on your phone: *#06#. A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down, and keep it somewhere safe. If your phone get stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won’t get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can’t use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones. This is your IMEI number!
  • Free Directory Service for Cells Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 (or more!) for 411 information calls when they don’t have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800)FREE411, or (800) 373-3411 to get any number you need… for free. Program this into your cell phone now.


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Cingular BlackJack Phone Problems

Before I came down to San Francisco for the Web 2.0 and Podcast Hotel conferences, I stopped by my local Cingular dealer and upgraded my phone and data plan. I had been using the relatively-solid 2125, but craved 3G network speed. Their Windows Mobile selection was paltry, reminding me once again about how corrupt and misdirected the entire wireless carrier ecosystem really is. Why can I only use this phone with that service? Asinine.

Anyway, I decided to get the BlackJack largely because it was thin – and all the other Windows Mobile devices had dumbass keyboard/screen locking mechanisms. I don’t want to put the phone in my pocket unless there’s a serious “simple” sequence for unlocking the phone without necessarily requiring a password. That’s one thing that drove me nuts about my old Pocket PCs.

While I’m complaining, what the hell is up with mobile devices not using mini USB for charging and connecting to anything and everything else? WTF?!

So, I take the BlackJack home – play with it for a bit, try to set it up as a modem for Vista (no workie), etc. Discover that it won’t charge by USB unless it’s set up to connect via ActiveSync (WTF?!). Everything seems to be working fine and fast enough. I take the phone with me to SF, etc.

Last night, it just died. Seriously. I get nothing when I try to turn it on. The battery died – should have been charging by USB like it did before, etc. Now I’m stuck in San Francisco without a cell phone. I’m not going to buy another damn proprietary charger for it because I’m strongly considering taking it back to Cingular when I return to Seattle. I hear the thing doesn’t have a great battery life (even with the extended battery pack), anyway.

Why must every single mobile phone on this planet SUCK?! Don’t tell me the iPhone is going to rescue us from this living hell, either…

The iPhone is Going to Kill

So, here’s what my brother (who wants to start blogging at some point) had to say about Apple’s iPhone:

This is one of the coolest pieces of technology to come out in a while… it’s like having a mini-laptop in your hands. The ultimate media device. The catch? Cingular has the rights at this point in time (they have the worst wireless phone service). If Apple had any brains, they would get this product in the home of every American family. After 6 months of exclusive rights to Cingular, they should release an iPhone on Verizon, US Cellular, every wireless provider.

If Verizon got this phone, I would find a way to buy it… takes the place of a phone, iPod, portable DVD player, Internet and email station. Oh, let’s not forget the 2 megapixel camera built-in.

What’s next? They are going to have a phone that does all of this – but then you can project an image on a wall and hook up a small keyboard and mouse and use it as a laptop, run Photoshop and Illustrator, or catch up on your spreadsheet work while in a airport.

My brother Adam isn’t a geek – and he’s never written to me about any other device (from Apple or any other manufacturer). It’s not even out yet and I already hate the iPhone… largely because someone else didn’t make it four years ago. Seriously. Apple gets the consumer in ways that no other company ever will. It makes my new Smartphone seem so… ancient.

Talk about Talking

Remember, I’ve been almost completely incommunicado for the past couple of weeks (inadvertently and intentionally). I mixed metaphors in a recent entry, but I hope to redeem myself in this one. Minutes after whipping up my communications communication report, Vik Dendi blasted me a URL with a screen capture of the potential iPhone device. It’s the first semi-legit presentation I’d seen of Apple’s alleged entry into the telecommunications arena. “Many functions. No buttons.” Sounds interesting, but I gotta say that I’ve always disliked (to an extreme degree) any phone that lacked tactile feedback. When I want to mash “5”, I don’t want “4” or “44” or “45” or any other digit series! Then again, I argue that an input device is diseased if it doesn’t have at least two buttons and a scroll wheel.