Archive for the ‘gadgets’ Category

Nokia Nseries: Not Selling?
January 28, 2007

“Giga” Om Malik writes about Nokia’s Nroblems. Selling in the US is tough. How are they doing here in Nokia-loving Philippines?

I’ve been curious as to why US consumers don’t want to pay cash for phones, and prefer to get it through carriers instead. Or is it how the market works? There are people here who buy $800 and above phones, a lot of money in the Philippines but (should be) small change in the US. Why is handset purchasing behavior different?

Or maybe it’s because the Nseries using S60 are too complex, and arguably buggier and slower, than Series 40. Maybe Nokia should come out with high end, high margin “feature phones” – that are more practical than the “fashion” phones or other fancy units.

They can’t shake away the “multimedia computer” that easily. The N95, from the early reviews, really has it packed with features and complexity.

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Mobile Phone History
January 18, 2007

The mobile phones I have used through the years…

  • Motorola MicroTAC. Used this with Piltel’s Mobiline AMPS analog service.
  • Nokia 5110. The classic Nokia. Left it in a FX taxi and lost it along with my first prepaid Globe number.
  • Panasonic GD45. This one looked like a toy.
  • Panasonic GD90. This looked like the essential “J-Phone” of the time. Very small and the lightest battery ever, so light on battery life too.
  • Nokia 7110. The first WAP phone. I broke the spring slider at some point.
  • Siemens C45. This had nice ergonomics. I think I killed the battery, though, since it also had bad life eventualy.
  • Nokia 3530. The first color phone from Nokia I believe. My first taste of J2ME and GPRS. This lasted me a long time.
  • Sony Ericsson K700i. This is sossy looking and the GPRS EDGE is fast enough. I was late to camera phones – this wsa my first at 640×480.
  • Nokia N80. Feature-packed, WiFi is great, battery not so. Bulky, but I still managed to lose it.
  • Nokia 1100. This is nice, the utility of the 3310 back in the day but in a small package and a low price.
  • Nokia N70. I wrote the pink N70 is still good, I got this from someone, but I gave it to someone else, because I find S60 too cumbersome and the phone is too big now that I need to carry 3 phones.

The three phones I now use are:

  • Nokia 6233. My main 3G phone now. Used for the office plan.
  • Nokia 6070. This feels like classic Series 40. Heavier but more useful than the 1100 it replaces. Used for my personal number, +639209054981.
  • Nokia 6100. A classic from 2002, still good. Still Nokia’s lightest ever. I use this for a Globe prepaid SIM, for UNLIMITXT.

What phones have you used? Which ones stand out?

Down to Series 40 on the 6233
January 15, 2007

My affair with smartphones is taking a break. I gave up the N70 – why? I’ll share the reason later.

I’m now on the 6233. I followed Abe and Migs. While I could live without the S60 “smart” features,  I miss task switching. Java ME (J2ME) is enough for apps. I don’t think I need flash on the camera.

I haven’t taken enough photos and videos to judge the quality. The stock 64 MB MicroSD card won’t let you record 640×480 video – I should buy a larger one.
Why this phone? I didn’t want to spend too much on a N73. I might save up for an iPhoneN95, or N76.

Why Nokia? To make it easy to text SMS messages on my other phone, which is a Nokia 1110. That’s about the cheapest new handset available. My other phone is only for calling/texting.
Did I lose out by buying a “Featurephone” and not a Smartphone? I hope not. Besides, it seems like the iPhone will be a “Featurephone” without third-party app support.

As a phonecam photographer, I hope Nokia puts autofocus + flash on Series 40 devices, and not just save it for the S60 N73 and N95.

So it’s iPhone.
January 9, 2007

Will Steve Jobs’ latest hit solve both my Mac envy and future phone requirements? Mac OS Mobile – Mac OS for the “masses?”
So there’s iPhone, the N95, the RAZR-looking N76… new phones never stop coming, maybe I should get cheap ones instead.

My Nokia N95
December 26, 2006

I don’t have an N95 yet. Nobody has, at this time. Do I want one for my birthday? If I can afford the $700 (or more) at that time. (What will N95 pricing in the Philippines be?)

I hope the camera is better than the N80’s. The GPS would be useful for building a Manila map, if only you could carry this safely on the street.

If only there were a local Nokia Blogger Relations Program. Would I be on it? I’m sure Abe would – an operator already gave him a review handset.

S60 3rd Edition Envy
December 17, 2006

S60 3rd Edition Envy. Or, N73 envy. While the pink N70 is doing great, web browsing isn’t too great. No, it’s not the small screen. Opera Mobile is fine.

The problem is that Opera Mobile gags on pages that claim to be XHTML but are not. There are lots of those.

I don’t really need mobile browsing… it’s just the “want.”

At least GMail and Yahoo! Mail (care of Yahoo! Go) work.

My Pink N70: Still Good
December 3, 2006

I have a pink Nokia N70.

Pink Nokia N70, Back

Yes, it’s pink. My significant other got it from her brother, then she replaced the casing. I got her the N70 Music Edition.

I’m not changing the case yet. It’s a conversation piece. I’ll wait for it to wear out. Only one bad stare so far on the LRT2.

At first I hesitated in spending money on a phone that’s a year old. Series 60 2nd ed? 3rd ed is already current.

But it seems that the N70 still has a good price niche. It’s fairly common, so there are better chances of bringing it out on the street.

Recto/Divisoria

I was thinking about the Nokia 6233.

Nokia 6233

But Series 40 phones only have a mobile web browser. No S60 browser (only on 3rd ed so I don’t have it). No Opera. Only Opera Mini, the J2ME app with transcoding. The 3G isn’t very useful here – maybe only for laptop connectivity. The 6233 doesn’t even have a front-facing camera for video calls – as if people make video calls?

Last night, I made a 3G data call for the laptop for the first time. I was at a place with no broadband and a noisy phone line – dialup is only 28.8Kb/s or so. For casual use, the Smart 3G 10 pesos/30 minutes plan is not bad.

Through the connection status monitor, I saw that I got up to 17KB/s down, and up to 10 KB up. I couldn’t complete a Flickr Uploader session to upload to my Flickr account. It was HTTP only – no Yahoo Messenger among other things.
It sometimes suspends and disconnects the 3G sessions – maybe because I was in a closed room. I still need to retest under “clear” conditions.

For the N73 imaging/autofocus temptation – I think my shots (in Flickr) are good enough for my phonecam photography. Especially in the daytime.

N70 Music Edition – Broken Camera
November 29, 2006

The N70 Music Edition developed a problem. The camera exits a few seconds after launching it, whether the front or back cameras are used. I brought it to the Nokia Store in Glorietta 3, run by Memo Express. They said it was a physical problem, which I thought it was odd. I decided to come back since I’d have to leave it.

I went back and they said that it was just the battery cover. They had no replacement at hand so I should check back in Memo Express Mall of Asia where I bought it. Fortunately I have a spare N70 housing replaced from the other unit. I’ll go back for the replacement some other time.
I noticed that the black camera slide is starting to discolor into deep purple.

N70 Music Edition Back

Picture saving is slow. Is it because it saves it to the RS-MMC card? Perhaps they should buffer it in memory first then save in the background.

N70 Yahoo! Go and Flickr Integration
November 24, 2006

Yahoo! Go is an app made by FastMobile. They outsourced the development, unlike Google’s in-house GMail Java ME app. I tried it on my N70.

Yahoo! Messenger would be the most useful, but I had trouble logging in until earlier today. It looks pretty much like the familiar desktop Y!M. The response on Smart’s 3G network was snappy. I was surprised when I pressed the “Send” key to send an IM, and it recorded a voice IM instead. A strange side effect is that the Y!M contacts got added to my phonebook.

Yahoo Search worked the first time. The integration with browsing isn’t seamless – clicking on a search result goes to the N70 mobile web browser, but going “back” from there doesn’t return to the search app.

Yahoo! Finance just opens the built in mobile browser, no client side code there. The to-do list is completely in the app, no network integration.

I haven’t tried the Yahoo! Go Flickr uploader. I did try the “Web upload” feature in the N70, which seems to be related to the Lifeblog product. The app connects to Flickr on a separate POST URL, and apparently uses the Atom Publishing Protocol API. To use this, you need to configure a separate login at the Nokia + Flickr page. I tried this with a 300+ KB 2MP picture. It had a timeout error. I guess the Smart 3G network can’t handle large uploads?

Nokia N70 Music Edition and Phone Choices
November 19, 2006

The Nokia N70 Music Edition is just a slightly modified N70. All black housing, bundled 1 GB RS MMC card, a “music” key instead of the “multimedia key,” and extra themes loaded in the card. My guess is that: the N70 and Series 60 2nd Edition are still a viable platform, so Nokia can churn out more units. Or maybe the N91 is a dud so they need to make up.

I bought a new unit yesterday at Memo Express, Mall of Asia at the Equitable/Banco de Oro Card “Grand Gadgets Blowout” installment event. I swapped it for an N70 original edition and took the memory card. This N70 was acquired through Smart and is locked, and the user needed a Globe or open line one.

So, I’m down to a N70 from my previous N80 which was lost last month. In the month without the N80, I went back to my older Sony Ericsson K700i. The only feature I missed was 3G and WiFi, the S60 browser for desktop websites, and the camera. With the N70, I get 3G, but no browser so Opera will have to do. Even if the N70 is 2MP compared to the N80’s 3MP, it’s no big deal because the N80’s cam is noisy at 3MP and I lower it to 1MP anyway. 2MP should be good enough for candid cam photography, better than the K700i’s VGA.

I was thinking about an N73 for the autofocus camera, for But, the price is still too high especially for a unit without WiFi, and I read mixed reviews. I also had a chance to try Abe’s 6233 but it only has the stock Nokia browser for mobile websites. Of course you could use a server-side proxy, like what some operators provide. (Smart has one in their mobile homepage). Another interesting unreleased phone is the E61i, the keyboard/push email machine that some of my colleagues use, this time with a camera.

The last benefit of using an N70 instead of a flashier phone: less chance of being stolen, and less hassle if lost. I hope!