Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nokia Lumia 900 Review

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Let me start off this review by saying that the Nokia Lumia 900 is what the Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone 7.5 should have been. The Nokia Lumia 800 felt like a rush job and Nokia Lumia 900 felt just right. Unfortunately, Microsoft just killed all the current Windows Phones out in the market with the announcement of Windows Phone 8 by saying that all current Windows Phone will not be upgradable to Windows Phone 8 and that includes the Nokia Lumia series.

If you are still interested in getting a Nokia Lumia 900, it is currently retailing for SGD$849 (including taxes & without contract) at all 3 operators (SingTel, M1, StarHub) in Singapore. I do hope that Nokia have some sort of attractive trade-in offers for current Lumia owners to upgrade to a new Lumia with Windows Phone 8 that will be announced at Nokia World 2012 (wild guess).


Specifications



Operating: Windows Phone Release 7.5 – Mango Commercial Release 2 (Mango + LTE)
Processor: 1.4GHz Snapdragon APQ8055 + MDM9200
Networks: WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100, GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
Speed: HSDPA+ Dual Carrier cat 24 (42 Mbps), HSUPA cat 6: 5.8 Mbps
4.3″ ClearBlack AMOLED display with WVGA 800×480 resolution
512MB RAM
16 GB internal memory (14.5GB user memory)
Primary (Rear-facing): 8MP with f2.2/28mm Carl Zeiss lens and dual LED flash, Auto Focus, 720p, 30fps video capture
Secondary (Front-facing): 1MP with f2.4, 30fps video capture (VGA video call resolution)
A-GPS, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), USB 2.0 high-speed, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, 3.5mm headset connector
1,830mAh battery
Accelerometer, Proximity, Magnetometer, light sensor, Gyroscope
Volume: 90cc
Weight: 160 g (5.6 ounces)
Dimensions (max): 127.8 x 68.5 x 11.5 mm (5 x 2.7 x .45 inches)



The screen is a 4.3″ ClearBlack AMOLED display with a resolution of 800×480 and most importantly, it is visible under direct sunlight!

There are 3 soft keys at the bottom, the back button, the home button and the search button.

Pressing and holding the back button, it will bring you the multitasking sceen as show below.
Pressing and holding on the home button will bring about Microsoft Tellme which is essentially a Microsoft version of Siri (voice control).
Pressing on the search button will bring up the Bing search screen.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Microsoft's first Windows Phone 8 update dubbed Apollo Plus?

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Here's a quick refresher on code names. The Windows Phone team has been all about the o's. Windows Phone 7 OS was code-named NoDo. Then there was Mango (Windows Phone 7.5). A minor interim update arrived next, code-named Tango. And Windows Phone 8 OS was code-named Apollo. Joe Belfiore(o), manager of the Windows Phone Program, said awhile back that the team was finished with code names ending in "o."
So what was Windows Phone 8's successor going to be called?
Winsyde.com posted earlier today that the next release will be code-named "Apollo +," and that it would be available in Q1 2013 -- citing the @Football4PDA Twitter account as the source. The Verge subsequently posted that the code name of Windows Phone OS 8's follow-on would be "Apollo Plus." (Maybe the ban on code names ending with "o" doesn't start till Windows Phone 9 OS?)


The Verge's Tom Warren also reported that Microsoft would share details about the update at the Mobile World Congress show in February 2013. The Verge cited unnamed sources as providing the information and said the coming update could include features like VPN support, a Wi-Fi connectivity fix, and audio improvements.

VPN support is an interesting one, given Microsoft officials said in June of this year that Microsoft had decided against including VPN functionality in the Windows Phone operating system (even though it had been included in Windows Phone OS' predecessor, Windows Mobile). A Microsoft official told me that Microsoft has decided instead to rely on things like Secure SSL to address this need... as they considered Secure SSL "a better, light-weight approach" to providing this kind of functionality in the new BYOD (bring your own device) world.
I've since heard from a number of business users that no VPN support was a deal breaker for their organizations in adopting Windows Phone. I've also heard from users in countries with governments that censor their citizens' Web-browsing that VPN is a much-desired feature for circumventing officially imposed firewalls.
I asked Microsoft whether the next version of the Windows Phone OS was code-named "Apollo Plus" and whether VPN connectivity will be part of it. Not surprisingly, a spokesperson said only that the company doesn't comment on rumors and speculation.
If Microsoft does refer to the minor, interim update to Windows Phone 8 OS as "Apollo Plus," that might help dampen user expectations a bit. With Tango, many users were expecting a lot more, feature-wise, than ended up being part of that update because it had its own special code name.
Meanwhile, I also asked Microsoft about the whereabouts of the Windows Phone OS 7.8 update -- the one that is slated to allow existing Windows Phone 7 users to make use of resizable tiles on their phones. A Microsoft spokesperson said: "More information on 7.8 will be available in the coming weeks."
As to the rumors circulating that 7.8 might be available this week, I'm doubtful. I think Microsoft might announce the release to manufacturing of 7.8 this week, but I'm hearing the update may not be available from the carriers until early next year (maybe even as late as February 2013)





This story originally posted as "Apollo Plus: Is this Microsoft's first Windows Phone 8 update?" on ZDNet.
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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bluetooth Headset That you can Wear on Your Finger

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With a simple twist, The O.R.B. transforms from a ring to a headset worn on the ear that is capable of hands-free calling. Incorporating HiWave™ technology, the O.R.B. is a “Digitset™” that provides high-quality bone conduction audio without the discomfort of placing a device inside the ear. A deluxe edition also features an E Ink display for caller ID, text messaging, and calendar reminders.

To use the ring as a headset, simply remove it from the finger and twist open around the hinged joint. The ring (now a headset) is placed over the upper ear, between the ear and the side of the head. The transmitter end of the headset rests just above the jawbone and utilizes dual speaker “voice annihilation” DSP technology. The transmit exciter transducer rests just behind the outer ear.


The O.R.B. will be available in a variety of sizes, available in styles for both men and women.

All sizes have an expansion hinge, spring prongs and adjustable adhesive soft pads on the interior edge, which provide a secure and comfortable fit on the finger (or thumb) as well as the ear.


The O.R.B. features military-grade seals and gaskets, making it fully waterproof and built to accompany you on any adventure.


The ring vibrates, alerting the user to an incoming call, text message, or event reminder. The user can glance down at the finger and see a horizontal streaming message of caller I.D. or meeting schedules. If accepting an incoming call, the user twists open the O.R.B., slips over the ear, and begins the conversation. If declining incoming calls or texts, or dismissing event reminders, the user can simply push the cancel button with the O.R.B. still idle on their finger. When not in use the ring serves as a time device/alarm clock. If the user would like to silence a call he/she can simply touch a button on the band.



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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nokia Lumia 510

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Today we’re delighted to announce the Nokia Lumia 510. It’s our most affordable Lumia so far: a stylish, entry-level smartphone that comes in five eye-catching colors: red, yellow, cyan, white and black.

Unlike many smartphones at its price point, though, the Nokia Lumia 510 sports a generous 4-inch display. This gives you plenty of space to view pictures, videos and the Internet, and makes precise tapping and swiping easier.

On the back, there’s a 5-megapixel autofocus camera, ideal for snapping pictures of friends and family and then quickly posting to social networks right from the camera interface. You can also send pictures to your Microsoft SkyDrive account, where you can take advantage of 7GB of free, online storage you can access from anywhere.

As with all our Lumia smartphones, the Nokia Lumia 510 is powered by Windows Phone with its signature Live Tiles giving you at-a-glance updates and speedy access to everything you need to do. The power of the People Hub brings together everyone you know in one place, their latest social updates, as well as the ability to get in touch across a whole range of methods, from talking to tweets. There are Microsoft Office Mobile apps installed and the IE9 web browser guarantees a smooth web experience.

On top of that, you’ll also have instant access to the best mobile navigation and location services available today, in the form of Nokia Maps, Drive and Transport.

The Nokia Lumia 510 will be available to buy starting in November in India, China, South America and Asia. It will cost approximately USD199, before any local taxes and operator subsidies.


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Monday, October 15, 2012

Nokia 808 PureView

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When the Nokia 808 Preview was announced earlier this year its 41MP camera sensor (for a maximum output resolution of 38MP) made headlines all over the tech industry. Not only does it feature the highest-resolution sensor of any mobile phone camera, but at the time of writing, the 808 PureView features the highest-resolution sensor of any current camera outside of highly specialist (and very costly) medium format equipment.

We've been eager to gets our hands on an 808 since the phone was announced, and a loan sample finally arrived in our Seattle office recently. We've been using it ever since. Please note though that this article doesn't touch on the 808 PureView's performance as a phone. That's not what interests us. We want to see what it's like as a camera... 
Key Photographic/Video Specifications

    38MP maximum resolution (in 4:3 aspect ratio - output size: 7728 x 5368 pixels)
    1/1.2" CMOS sensor, pixel size: 1.4um
    ISO 80-1600 (+ auto)
    Five white balance presets (including auto)
    Exposure compensation +/-4EV in 0.3EV steps
    Carl Zeiss F2.4 8.02mm lens (26mm, 16:9 | 28mm, 4:3 equiv)
    Focus range: 15cm – Infinity (throughout the zoom range)
    Construction:
    • 5 elements, 1 group. All lens surfaces are aspherical
    • One high-index, low-dispersion glass mould lens
    • Mechanical shutter with neutral density filter
    1080p HD video (up to 25Mb/s) with 4X 'lossless zoom'
    Stereo recording with Nokia Rich Recording - rated up to 140db

Features

The Nokia 808 PureView's large CMOS sensor has 41MP total, outputting a maximum of 38MP (resolution drops to 36MP in 16:9 aspect ratio). Such a high resolution sensor would be little more than a stunt if the camera specifications aren't up to scratch, but Nokia has designed the 808 to be a serious photographic tool. As well as some pretty impressive hardware, Nokia has also included a raft of enthusiast-friendly photographic features in the 808 including manual control over white balance, ISO and exposure (via exposure compensation and bracketing). Exposure compensation is as good as it gets though, in terms of manual exposure control - the 808 does not offer PASM modes (not unsurprisingly).

While it might sound counterintuitive to shoot a 38MP camera at 3MP, it actually makes a lot of sense in a device of this type. Apart from anything else, if you are one of those people whose first reaction to this product was to scream 'you don't need 41MP in a camera phone! The world has gone mad! The sky is falling in!' in a sense you were right - most people simply don't need to capture such high-resolution images on a phone.

But what you probably do want from a cellphone camera is good image quality, decent speed and responsiveness, and wouldn't it be nice to have a zoom, too? That's what the 808's lower-resolution PureView modes are designed to allow.
PureView (3/5/8MP)

Putting optical zooms into cellphone cameras is hard. Really really hard, which is why manufacturers tend to include digital zooms instead. Effectively just cropping and upsizing, conventional digital zoom kills image quality. Normally, the instinct of any serious digital photographer would be to run away from 'digital zoom' features for precisely this reason. But the 808 is very far from conventional.


In Nokia's words, 'pixel oversampling combines many pixels to create a single (super) pixel'. In theory then, at 28mm (equivalent) - i.e., without any 'zoom', the camera's 3MP PureView output should give the best critical image quality, followed by 5MP, then 8MP, and then 38MP. When fully zoomed in, all four output modes will give the same pixel-level image quality, since at this point there is no oversampling going on  -as incated by '1:1' in the graph above.
PureView 'Zoom'

How much you can 'zoom' using the 808 depends on what output resolution mode you're in. If you're shooting at full resolution you can't zoom at all - you're stuck with the lens' native 28mm (equivalent) focal length. In 3MP PureView mode you get the equivalent of a 3.6X 'zoom' - this drops to roughly 3X in 5MP mode, and about 2X in 8MP mode. The table below shows four images, taken at the 'longest' extent of the 'zoom' in each of the 808's output resolution modes.



source:http://www.dpreview.com/
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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Nokia lumia 920

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The Finnish technology company Nokia has many dreams about the success of its forthcoming Windows Phone 8 handset Nokia Lumia 920. To be true, it is among top smartphone going by specs and Nokia has tried to make it as competitive as Samsung’s Galaxy S3 or Apple’s iPhone 5.

So far Nokia was let down by a great mobile operating system and now Nokia and technology analysts believe that with Windows Phone 8, Nokia’s handicap in this regard is going to be history.

Nokia is all geared to launch not just Lumia 920, but its cheaper Windows Phone 8 sibling Lumia 820 early November. A Wall Street Journal report has published full details of its launch schedule in Europe, though US launch still remains a tightly kept secret.

Nokia has been receiving a lot of positive press lately. There are many reasons for this; the excellent maps application which has led to a deal with Oracle, a new parking app, iPhone 5’s totter, which opens up the passage for Nokia’s comeback etc, , but mostly it has to do with the introduction of Lumia 920.

The Lumia 920 – a successor to the Lumia 900 – has garnered a lot of attention. It is Nokia’s second bet at cracking the smartphone market, and one on which Nokia’s hopes of survival as a handset maker rests. The Lumia 920 is a Windows Phone 8 device. Going by what we have seen of the OS so far, Windows Phone 8 is going to be a huge step up from Windows Phone 7.5 Mango.
The fact that Windows Phone 8 supports higher clock speeds more cores, and higher resolutions, (earlier versions of the OS could only support upto 1.4 Gzh single core chips), has sort of unshackled Nokia. The new Lumia phone, 920 has a dual core 1.5 Ghz processor, and has a IPS  display with 768 x 1280 pixels which gives it a pixel density at 332 ppi. It should be remembered that one of the big reasons that the tech press was not so happy with Lumia 900 was that it had a lower resolution and less processor cores than rivals from Samsung and HTC.

Apart from a refreshed OS, the Lumia 920 will feature many custom apps from Nokia, including an augmented reality  app called City Lens. It would also feature a vastly improved camera. Nokia claims that its camera tech would blow away the competition, especially in low light situations. After a brief fiasco over a faked video, a tech website went to Nokia to test out the claims of a better camera, and lo and behold Nokia’s claims, at least about the low light performance was proved right.

But we have not yet talked of the looks yet. The Lumia 900 is one of the nicest looking phones on the market, with its unibody polycarbonate construction, bright hues, and sharp cuts. Nokia decided not to mess with a good thing, and so the 920 also comes with nearly the same look. Only, this time the finish is glossy (except on one model, the grey one). It has added more colours, and at 4.5 inch across, the screen is bigger. All together, the design looks simply awesome.

A host of other features make the Lumia 920 a compelling device. The ability to charge wirelessly, better visibility under direct sunlight due to PureMotion HD technology, offline maps, and the ability to interact with the touch screen with your gloves on being some of them.

Nokia has priced its flagship device at slightly less than iPhone 5, but higher than Galaxy Nexus 3, the flagship Android device. It is clear from the interest the phone has generated that it will sell much better than Lumia 900. But how well? Well enough to rival the sales of Android phones? Well enough to take Nokia out of the woods? That, we have to wait and see.

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