Archive for the ‘Mobile & VoIP’ Category

Will It Blend -iPhone

12 Jul 2007

Last year in November I already mentioned the freakish powers of The Total Blender. They’ve been blending all sorts of crazy things in the past time but their recent clip really kicks it big time. They’re blending an iPhone. Pretty neat stuff. I haven’t really written about the iPhone here before, and it’s not because I work for Microsoft. It’s because I think the device is way too limited and has nothing to offer that I can use. I’ll give you some examples of why this fashionable device will (at this time) not be on my wishlist:

  1. It doesn’t support SD (micro)memory cards, no slot present
  2. I can’t install other software (TomTom navigation and so on)
  3. I can look at movies but I can’t record any
  4. I don’t use iTunes, nor an mp3 player function and I don’t care for music support or YouTube videos
  5. The battery is sealed-in so no hard reboot if the device locks (by removing and replacing the battery)
  6. Got to hand in the phone at Apple store for x days if battery breaks
  7. Not ready for over-the-air content delivery (3G and so on)
  8. Sealed deals with operators that require minimum sign-up periods
  9. I don’t store pictures on my phone, don’t have time to show off pictures either, I just use it for work-related things, not during coffee breaks
  10. Compared with Nokia’s N95 5 megapixel snapshot maker, the iPhone has a rather crappy image quality

So, apart from the very cool design and touch screen navigation, there really isn’t much in it for me. I just need a device with easy access that allows me to install what I want, that allows me to chose any provider I like and that improves my mobile experience. And for what it has to offer, I think it is way too expensive. There is no technology progress. A slick interface doesn’t make me happy if the functions behind it don’t live up to the expectations. But yeah, that’s just my humble opinion. What it does pretty well though, is blend!

Video: Will It Blend? iPhone [source]

By the way, you can bid for the blended iPhone on eBay :-) It’s already at $430.

iPhone Expectations

Nokia N95

24 Jun 2007

I promised a review for the Nokia N95, a device I’ve received through the TheseDays agency a while ago which I could keep for three weeks to test it and experience its options. I must say the mini-pc looks very cool and is very ok to take it with you everywhere you go. It weighs only 120 grams, which is not at all that much. I mostly used it as a camera to take pictures while I was in Las Vegas, and with its 5 MegaPixels it rendered 2592 x 1944 pixel images that really stood out to any pictures I’ve ever taken with my mobiles. The Carl Zeiss optics and autofocus made it possible to photograph items really sharp, even though they were hundreds of meters away.

The videos you shoot with it are of good quality and the sound of the things you record is too. With 30fps, it’s a nice experience to play back your adventures. I didn’t use the secondary CIF videocall camera because I didn’t quite know who to call :-)

Scanning for wireless networks, connecting to them and uploading goes very fast. I have nothing to say about that. Holding on to the network has proven to be a little more difficult, I had to reconnect at least once every 10 minutes when I was uploading pictures to Flickr. Once the connection is there, it’s almost as fast as broadband. I like this feature the most. It is, however, VERY battery-consuming.

A few downsides to the device though:

Even though it has up to 220 hours of stand-by time and up to 6.5 hours of calling time, I ran out of power quite a lot when I used the wi-fi feature to upload images to Flickr or to browse sites or make videos. I realize that for regular use this power supply is really good, but if you deliver a mobile multimedia pc and show off with its features, I think there needs to be some more power to it to cover all the fun. If you play some movies you’ve put on the little 1 Gigabyte memory card, you can see the battery power bar shrink almost in real time. That’s a bummer.

The mobile GPS works fine when you’re on foot and you could download maps for free from the website to cover more than 100 countries. The service becomes paid as soon as you want voice guidance added to the road descriptions of your travel route. Here’s something I don’t understand either. It takes a really long time to locate the 5 needed satellites when you’re in the middle of the city. You need to find an open spot to get a signal (took quite some time) and from then on it’s pretty smooth, but it’s only good when you’re on foot. I tried it on a bike and that was about as fast as the thing could go. For usage in a car, it simply is too inaccurate and sometimes it loses contact with the satellites, leaving you stranded and waiting for a signal to continue the quest. Then comes my question: why would you need voice guidance? If you go slow enough to read the map I don’t see a need/market for it, unless the receiver becomes stronger and the service improves.

I’m very satisfied about the speed of the browser and the fact it has RSS built in. It’s also remarkable that it’s not an ordinary WAP browser, but a full browser ‘as is’. It’s the same sort of browser you’d use on your regular pc. That’s pretty cool.

Nokia N95

What I don’t like, or rather, what I miss, is the touch-screen functionality. I’ve been using the HTC TyTN (and still do) and it’s really a super thing that you can navigate with touch. Switching back to a device that needs confirmation keys and has keys that require multiple touch for a character or action is very challenging. I kept pressing the screen, expecting something to happen out of habbit. Sending text messages or answering email is far more time-consuming compared to when you have a sliding keyboard.

If Nokia was keen enough to have a slider in two ways, it would even be so much more cooler if there was a three-way slider or if the regular phone keyboard could be replaced with a small keyboard similar to the one you use on a pc. If they aim to be the leading mobile multimedia device, they need to let go of the old mobile phone functionality and approach pc users with an environment they are more familiar with.

Closing remarks are the items I already mentioned in my first review:

  • Have the phone remember the location of the images, it saves about 4 clicks I think, per image (+ moving the cursor to the right link every time). The images are stored on a micro SD card, so navigating to that time and again… that’s just way too hard.
  • Need more battery power, for real
  • Have the phone remember password settings in the browser. If you have a strong password like $TR0ngPaSSw0rd!, typing it again and again every time your wireless connection drops… Awch
  • Need more battery power, for real

Useful links:

* Full phone specs
* Nseries product site


BenQ/Siemens Black Box

01 Oct 2006

Okay, it doesn’t have the same nifty flaps as the phone in the iTalk clip I posted earlier, but you’ve got to admit: this cell is a beauty made in designer heaven. I’d love to own one of these… too bad concept phones are rarely put into production. This phone has no keypads, no buttons, just a big smooth touch screen. Seeing the picture it looks like the has no fixed interface. It changes as you select the options. If it has video playback functions, this phone is a killer!

BenQ-Siemens Black Box 1

BenQ-Siemens Black Box 2

via Gizmodo



24 Aug 2006

MobiCamp is like BarCamp or FooCamp or CaseCamp, but then for the mobile industry and people who’re interested in mobile solutions. MobiCamp is a no-holds-barred school of mobile thought—and one you can’t buy your way into. Intelligent, forward thinking is your only currency. That said, and in the interest of fairness, there are 3 simple Rules of MobiCamp you need to follow:

  1. You are not speaking at an official CTIA event.
  2. Your presentation is eloquent and relevant to the future of mobile. It focuses on new ideas. It outlines solutions, even if it’s inspired by problems.
  3. You speak for no more than 10 minutes, and are prepared to answer up to 5 minutes of impromptu questions.

Leave behind the approved corporate messages. MobiCamp is where you’ll hear things that need to be said from voices that need to be heard. It’s where you’ll be enlightened by new ideas and inspired by creative thinkers. It’s the stuff we need, but these days so rarely find, at our industry gatherings.

Rather than be subjected to the same old PowerPoint presentations with tired stats and uninteresting samples of “mobile snacks,” come share your stories and your vision with others who will help you shape the future of mobile.

MobiCamp is a community-generated mashup. If you’ve got something to contribute, you can decide how it fits into the agenda. MobiCamp’s US thing is on Sept. 11th 2006 from 7PM to 10PM, 111 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, California. And hopefully it’ll find its path to Europe as well.
(Can we integrate it in ‘our’ next BarCamp, Peter?)

Check out the MobiCamp site



21 May 2006

Wow. I just gotta have this ! Straight to the wishlist you go ! (Google Video)


YouTube Mobile

11 May 2006

YouTube is going mobile, saying you can now upload videos to YouTube from your phone or PDA. User generated mobile audiovisual content is becoming quite big, even in Belgium where there’s going to be an actual Mobile Film Festival. One thing I wonder about is how long it’s going to take, and even more: how much it will cost you to upload a video of let’s say 2 minutes. I know for sure that in Belgium you won’t have to try it because it’ll take way too much time to make a connection and keep it alive as long as the upload is going. What’s going to happen if you walk around and you’re being switched from one antenna to the other? Will it reset the data transmission or will it reconnect and continue to transmit, and what will the effect be on the video you send? We’ll see, once YouTube expands the agreements they make with mobile carriers. For now it isn’t possible for Belgium, yet.

YouTube Mobile

It’s a bit weird to actually have your users create two different profiles I think. On the one hand it’ll generate truly dedicated users, on the other hand it’s not really user-friendly. Perhaps that’ll change too in the future. It’s the first time I hear about creating a new profile for mobile content for a service you’re already using. Suppose Hotmail or Yahoo would do that too… you’ll lose your overview and the data would become unmanagable, unless you can merge the data afterwards, but that would make it needlessly complicated.

You can now upload videos directly from your phone or PDA to YouTube. All you need is a mobile device that can take video and send MMS messages, and an Internet access or data plan from your service provider. We currently support uploads from Cingular, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

To get started, click on “Create Mobile Profile.” Login, or create an account if you don’t already have one. Once you’re logged in, you’ll create a mobile profile to set up the default information for your videos, and then our system will generate the email address where you should send them. This address will be unique to you and your profile, and you can have up to two profiles.

And what about downloading videos to your mobile device? Are the videos going to be ’slimmed’? YouTube doesn’t say anything about that (yet). It would also recquire your mobile device to have a recent Flash player and I can imagine that it might take a while for some videos to be downloaded. Nice move though. If the networks can support the traffic and can offer a smooth and continuous service, I think YouTube might have another boom in content. Citizen Journalism has been taken to the next level, let’s hope it generates some usable content.

On a sidenote, a project called YouTubeTalk (not affiliated with YouTube) is gaining momentum. It looks like an ordinary community forum that adds to the comment function of YouTube. All links from their homepage go directly to YouTube. In 10 days (it launched on May 1st) they gathered 1239 Posts in 118 Topics by 132 Members. Not bad, but I don’t think it’s that useful.


Interactive Billboards

09 May 2006

Textually reports on a new trend in France that’s about to kick in very soon:

Sometime in the next few weeks, French billboards will be able to speak to your mobile phone – but only with your permission . The IHT reports.

"People with certain kinds of phones who download a special software program and say they want to participate will receive digital advertising – when the phone is near the billboards. [...]

Advertisements most common on mobile phones now are self- promotional text messages sent by phone companies to subscribers. The difference with the new project is that consumers consent to receive alerts about digital advertising as they move through the city"

Kameleon Technologies is taking the lead with the smart tag networks for billboards, cinemas and stores. Visit the site and see the Flash animation for more details about this new trend.

Smart Tag Ads

Cross-posted on i-wisdom


Podcasts via SMS

25 Apr 2006

VoiceIndigo launched VoiceIndigo MOBILIZE for Podcasters, which is a free service that enables podcasters to market and deliver their podcasts to the listeners’ cell phones via SMS (‘texting’).

VoiceIndigo is a mobile distribution service for podcasts which enables brands to reach out to the farthest corners of the mobile network edge, the blogosphere, and the audible web to transact with consumers via click-to-call, click-to-request, and click-to-buy.

MOBILIZE for Podcasters let you deliver your podcasts via the mobile phone.
Add a MOBILIZE button to your podcast’s website.

Also worth remarking is:

With over 1.7 billion subscribers, mobile users are by far the largest potential media audience in history. They can also be the best understood. We’ve developed Ambient Advertisingâ„¢, a patent-pending innovative new way to monetize audio content that benefits Listeners, Podcasters, Mobile Service Operators, and Advertisers alike.

via Textually