Dell announced the latest in its line-up of ultra-portable laptops with the thinnest and lightest 14-inch Vostro laptop to date, the Dell Vostro 5460. Measuring a mere 18.3mm and weighing in at just 1.54kg, the ultra thin Vostro 5460 delivers more power and portability for value-conscious customers and professionals, and IT decision makers looking for mobility and performance at the right price.
“Dell’s Vostro line of laptops has always focused on delivering computing performance in a portable package, and today we are proud to bring that promise a step further,” said Lackshmindra Fernando, Dell Country Manager for Sri Lanka. “The thin and ultra-lightweight Dell Vostro 5460 offers users a much sought-after level of mobility, performance and support together with business-friendly features to enhance everyday productivity.”
Sporting an expansive 14-inch high definition widescreen LED (HD WLED) True Life display that supports up to 1366 x 768 pixels, the new Vostro 5460 comes with integrated stereo speakers and a dedicated subwoofer powered by HD audio with Waves Maxx Audio 4.0. Users get to enjoy 720p video content in immersive audio and visual detail.The laptop also features an integrated 720HD 1MP camera with microphones for high-definition web-conferencing.
The Vostro 5460is equipped with a full-sized Chiclet keyboard, a multi-touch gesture touch pad allowing users to fluidly navigate through either Windows or Linux operating systems, and a sophisticated cool-to-the-touch aluminum palm rest to ensure comfort for users. All these rich features are encased within a sleek brushed-aluminum chassis in graphite silver and supported by a 3-cell integrated Lithium Ion battery providing up to 5 hours of battery life.[i]
Connectivity is a breeze on the Vostro 5460 with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0and RJ-45 Ethernet port. Users can enjoy and share multimedia through three USB 3.0 ports, including one with Power Share, a SD Card Reader slot, a headphone/microphone combo jack and a HDMI port.
With third generation Intel Core i3 and i5 processors and integrated HD4000 graphics at its core (or optional 2GB DDR3 NVIDIA GeForce GT630M graphics), users can opt for either the standard or Ultrabook configurations of the Vostro 5460. The 500GB HDD allows for plenty of documents and multimedia files to be stored and accessed on the go; and the 32GB SSD in the Ultrabook configuration delivers speedier performance and added storage.
The Vostro 5460 comes standard with Dell’s In-Home Service after Remote Diagnosisii, as well as Dell Backup and Recovery Manager for reliable and fuss-free data protection. For added security of personal data and system files, the Ultrabook configuration also comes with Intel Anti-Theft Technology and Identity Protection Technology.
Consumers can opt to choose either the “Standard” or “Ultrabook” configuration depending on their needs. Below is a summary of the possible specifications of the Vostro 5460:
- Processor: Standard configuration – Intel Core i3-3120M (2.5GHz), Intel Core i5-3230M (2.6GHz, up to 3.2GHz), Ultrabook configuration – Intel Core i3-3227U (1.9GHz), Intel Core i5-3337U (1.8GHz, up to 2.7GHz)
- Operating System: Windows 8 or Linux Ubuntu
- Memory: 4GB DDR3 1600MHz
- Graphics: Intel HD 4000 Graphics or NVIDIA GeForce GT630M 2GB GDDR3
- Display: 14-inch LED (1366 x 768)
- Hard Drive: Up to 500GB HDD and 32GB SSD (for Ultrabook configuration only)
- Battery: 3-cell Lithium Ion
Availability and Pricing:
The Dell Vostro 5460 is available today, starting from Rs. 125,000.
[i]Tested system equipped with 2GB memory, Intel Core i3-3227U, Intel HD graphics, 500GB HDD, 32GB mSATA Mini SSD, and Windows 8 operating system.
Yesterday on Google’s press event, they announced “Chrome Cast”, a USD 35 device that plugs into any HDTV in your house to bring online entertainment and video on it. This is a two-inch-long dongle that looks more like a USB flash drive than anything else, but in fact it plugs into the HDMI port on your TV. This is not an interface module like Apple TV, in fact this does not have any remote. You find the content on your phone or tablet and stream it to the Chromecast, so Chromecast is plugged in your TV and you can enjoy Youtube, Netflix, video on TV.
In the Youtube, Netflix, music, or video app on your phone, there’ll be a little icon on the “now playing” screen. Tap it and a list of places to send the song or video will pop up. Select the device’s name (The name you have given to your chrome cast device) and boom, it will start playing on your TV. While content is playing on TV, a user can multitask on their device. For example, a user can search for a video on their phone’s YouTube application and then send it to their TV via a Google Cast device. They are able to play, pause, seek, and control volume using their phone and still be able to check their email while the content keeps playing on the TV.
This supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 802.11. It can play back 1080p video with 5.1 surround sound. Currently, the Chromecast on iOS supports Netflix and Youtube, and adds in the native music and video player if you are using an Android phone or tablet. Google says they will try to add more services like HBO and Hulu Plus. Chromecast beams the highest available resolution of the video to TV.
There is one odd thing though. HDMI port is not the power supplier of Chromecast, so you have to get power from somewhere else. Most of the modern TVs coming with HDMI port has a USB port so you can use it as the power supply. Luckily this device comes with a USB power cable and a power adapter, so no worries. Chromecast is available in USA from yesterday and will come to other countries later.
For developers, you can use Chromecast SDK to enable your web and mobile apps to cast content on TV. The sender may be a phone or a tablet running on Android or iOS, or it may be a laptop computer running Chrome OS, Mac OS, or Windows. The sender application on senders device uses the Google Cast API appropriate to its operating system to discover and transmit to the receiver application running on the receiver device. Adding Google Cast support to an existing application requires less than 200 lines of code.
A diagram on how Chromecast works
The receiver API lets you customize the messaging between the sender and receiver applications for authentication and other scenarios.
So it looks like Google has figured out a pretty smart way to alter the way we are entertained.
LG’s premium 4G LTE smartphone Optimus G Pro received the ‘Best LTE Device/Handset Award’ at the recently concluded LTE World Summit 2013.
This prestigious award comes in recognition of LG Optimus G Pro’s superior LTE capabilities, wide range of consumer-centric features, ease of use, seamless inter-device connectivity and elegant design.
The LTE World Summit which was held this year in Amsterdam from 24 to 26 June is now in its ninth year. Widely viewed as the world’s leading 4G event, it attracts the mobile industry’s key decision makers and strategic leaders.
With over 3,000 attendees, 250-plus guest speakers, more than 125 exhibitors and a large contingent of print and online media, this year’s event was one of the biggest and most widely covered LTE World Summits to date.
Thanks to the rapid proliferation of high-speed LTE networks, more and more consumers are now able to enjoy high quality content on their mobile devices. Correspondingly, there has been a sharp increase in the demand for premium LTE smartphones capable of delivering an immersive viewing experience.
Equipped with a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, a 5.5-inch 1080p Full HD IPS display and a host of convenient UX features, LG’s award winning Optimus G Pro delivers speedy performance, unsurpassed picture quality and an intuitive user-interface. “The Optimus G Pro is a clear example of how LG is offering consumers the very best in mobile technology and user experience. Far from resting on our laurels, we are already hard at work developing the next generation of advanced LTE devices and network technologies,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company.
The Optimus G Pro incorporates a number of LG’s world class LTE Technologies. The superior device also supports all LTE frequency bands, making the device compatible with any 4G LTE network in the world. With a quad-band mobile antenna, the handset is able to secure the fastest LTE speeds, supporting both 2×2 and 4×2 multiple-input (MIMO) channel configuration.
The Optimus G Pro also delivers fast, seamless data transmission, thanks to its ability to perform packet switch handover between W-CDMA and LTE networks. What’s more, a lightning quick 1.7 GHz CPU provides the highest LTE data available, enabling consumers to enjoy outstanding multimedia experiences. Advanced LTE network speeds and powerful CPU also gives the Optimus G Pro superior multitasking functionality.
The amazing LG Optimus G Pro, a genuine and award winning 4G mobile phone, packed with innovative features, will be available very soon, only at Abans.
Samsung Electronics, the number one smartphone provider, announced the launch of a plethora of new Galaxy phone to the Sri Lankan market. The Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy Star, Galaxy Pocket Neo and theGalaxy Young have been launched to offer users an enhanced smartphone experience at a very affordable price point.
Powered with ultrafast, speedy processor, intuitive motion UI and smart multimedia features, these Galaxy phones offer seamless all-round performance, greater flexibility, freedom and content sharing possibilities to its users.
Announcing the launch of the new Samsung Galaxy phones, H. K. Chang, Managing Director, Samsung India Electronics Limited, Sri Lanka stated,”In line with our commitment to providing Smartphones to a wider set of consumers, I am happy to announce the launch of these Galaxy devices that provides superior value to consumers based on their features, intuitive performance and superior design features.”
The Galaxy Note 8
The launch of the Note 8.0 in Sri Lanka heralds a new era of intelligent ‘Note’ technology. Providing unrivalled multimedia performance within a compact one-hand-grip screen, the Galaxy Note 8 has the power and advanced technology to evolve the tablet experience and ensure you achieve new levels of efficient multi-tasking while benefitting from superb voice call functionality. Furthermore, the intelligent S Pen brings together the latest innovation and the ease of using a traditional pen and paper; creating a sophisticated mobile experience that will enhance life on the go.
The Galaxy Young
Also known as Samsung Galaxy Young, this stylishly compact phone brings everything you want in a smartphone straight to your palm. High-end performance meets compact portability and convenience in Samsung Galaxy Young Advanced features, fast connections and incredible usability, this mobile has everything you want in a form that fits as easily in your hand as it stows away in the pocket.
The Galaxy Young features a 3MP camera and a 3.27 inch display and is powered by a 1GHZ processor processor the phone comes with the latest Android OS, Jelly Bean, so everything feels fast, fluid and smooth. The ‘must have’ for easy picture taking control, actionable notifications, and customizable widgets. It is also armed with intuitive and innovative Motion UI understands simple motions for convenient mobile tasks.
The Galaxy Pocket Neo Packed with powerful performance and intelligent features, the new device is perfect for the younger generation of mobile users. The device features a compact, curved form factor and feels natural to operate using one hand. The Galaxy Pocket Neo is powered by a 850MHz processor, for powerful performance, smooth UI transitions and fast internet, which makes watching videos, navigating apps, playing games, surfing the web and multitasking quick and easy. It also features 4GB of internal storage to store all your favourite apps, music, videos, photos and more.
The Galaxy Pocket Neo features a 2 MP camera, 3.0 TFT display and combines the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) experience with the user-friendly Touchwiz interface, making it easy to navigate the Galaxy Pocket Neo, switch between apps, take and share photos and customise the home screen with just a few taps. The advanced software also facilitates more efficient CPU use for improved battery life, meaning you can enjoy longer talk time and multimedia use. Built-in widgets offer one-click shortcuts to weather and other recently-used applications for quick and easy access to real-time notifications.
The Galaxy Star
The Galaxy Star comes bundled with several smart features that enable users to control and connect with the device. Intelligent Motion UI maximizes smart features for the most responsive, intuitive user experience. For example, shake the device to refresh and update, mute volume by simply flipping device, etc. It’s innovative Smart Dual SIM feature provides total communication flexibility, allowing users to manage two phone numbers from a single phone, thus maintaining personal and professional life with ease. The feature enables the user to receive calls on one SIM number while taking a call from the other, ensuring efficient management of personal and work commitments without ever missing a call. Enhanced Smart Dual SIM UX is designed to manage both accounts with safe call dialler and message composer.
Powered by A5 1GHz processor and the latest Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system, the Samsung Galaxy Star provides the user with exceptional performance for an enhanced multi-tasking and connectivity. With 3″ capacitive touch screen, the device comes loaded with a 2MP camera and the latest Bluetooth 4.0 technology for on-the-go Internet and effortless sharing.
Source: Daily News
Singer Sri Lanka (PLC), national distributor for Huawei, has launched the much anticipated Ascend W1, and also simultaneously launched the Huawei Ascend G510 and Y300 smartphones in the local market.
Packed with enticing features, including a 4-inch display, 1GHz dual core possessor, a 5-megapixel AF dual camera with flash and 4GB onboard storage (with expandable storage up to 32GB), the Ascend W1 also has a powerful battery which gives users up to 470 hours of standby time, considered the longest among all smartphones in its class and considered extremely practical for users on the go.
“The Windows 8 mobile platform is considered the most intuitive and streamlined interface, placing focus on ease of use with the introduction of its innovative Modern UI, a key feature of which is the user’s ability to multi-task efficiently,” stated Asoka Pieris, CEO Singer Sri Lanka PLC. “The Ascend W1 is a smart and stylish alternative for consumers looking for great technology at a competitive price.”
“The Ascend W1, powered by the intuitive Microsoft Windows 8 operating system and featuring cutting-edge design, ensures that this is a smartphone geared for productivity and functionality to complement the consumer’s lifestyle,” explained Daniel Sun, CEO Huawei Technologies Lanka Ltd. “Seamlessly integrating Windows applications and tools from the familiar desktop Windows operating system, users will find that the Ascend W1 is akin to a personal computer in the palm of their hand.”
The Ascend G510, which was also launched with the Ascend W1, possesses great functionality; equipped with 1.2GHz dual-core CPU together with 512MB of RAM and 4GB internal memory, the smartphone boasts outstanding specifications in a smart and stylish package. In addition, the Ascend G510 also comes with a 4.5-inch 850×450 IPS display, 5-megapixel rear camera and 0.3-megapixel front camera and is powered by a 1750mAh battery utilising HUAWEI’s leading battery optimization technology, thus giving users 30% longer standby time. A key feature of the Ascend G510 is the NFC (Near Field Communication) capabilities. Huawei’s Ascend Y300, targeted at youth, brings users the very best technology and smartphone experience in its class. The smartphone has a 4-inch screen, a 1730mAh battery, five megapixel camera with auto-focus, flash, panorama function and video record at 30 frames per second.
The Ascend Y300 runs Android 4.1 Jellybean, giving users access to hundreds of thousands of apps via the Google Play store. Face Detection is a new and exciting feature of Jelly Bean products which can be enjoyed by consumers in both the HUAWEI Y300 and G510 models. “We are excited about the introduction of this range of HUAWEI smartphones to the local market and to see our strong partner, Singer brings the Windows Phone 8 experience through the HUAWEI Ascend W1 to more Sri Lankans,” noted Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager – Microsoft Sri Lanka who was a special guest at the event.
The range of smartphones will be made available at Singer Mega, Singer Plus and Sisil World stores and dealers island-wide and are available with a two year warranty. Singer Sri Lanka PLC is exclusive distributor for the Huawei range of smartphones and devices in the country. With a 161 year tradition of service excellence, Singer is recognised for its diverse multi-brand product portfolio.
The company has a strong presence and expansive network island-wide in order to make Singer’s range of products easily accessible, and presently stocks a range of world-renowned Huawei devices. Singer is the No. 01 destination for smart phones, stocking the world’s leading brands which are made available at over 390 Singer Mega, Singer Plus and Sisil World stores island-wide and offers the best range and value for money.
Source: Huawei Ascend G510 and Y300 simultaneously launched in the country DailyFT
Mozilla announced the first two smartphones based on its operating system, Firefox OS on Monday: the ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch Fire.
The two devices will soon be available through Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom. Telefonica announced that the ZTE Open will be offered in Spain starting on July 2 for 69 euros ($90).
Individual partners will release the dates of availability for each market. Mozilla said that the first Firefox OS will launch in Central and Eastern Europe under the wing of Norway-based Telenor “this year.”
Mozilla’s Firefox OS, which was one of the main topics during this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, is a HTML-based, open source mobile OS that should provide a user-friendly alternative to Android, especially on entry-level handsets. Mozilla hopes to conquer much of Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America with Firefox OS — most of which are currently dominated by cheap Android devices.
ZTE Open is a 3.5-inch smartphone with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 256MB of RAM, a 3.2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, A-GPS and Wi-Fi.
Alcatel One Touch Fire boasts nearly identical specs, but is powered by a Qualcomm processor.
Image courtesy of ZTE
Samsung Wave was the first phone to be released with the Samsungs’s new BADA OS (which apparently means ocean in Korean). In a time when the mobile OS’s are consolidating around 3 or 4 major platforms Samsung was bold enough to put their money on a completely new OS. To add muscle to their effort they threw in a developer challenge worth US$ 2.7 million and managed to get major online players like Twitter, EA, Gameloft, Blockbuster to develop for Bada platform.
Bada is designed to be a platform that can be used for both Smart phones and non smart phones alike. With this middle of the road path, Bada incorporates a lot of smart phone and conventional phone features.
The first thing that strikes you about the Wave is its super crisp AMOLED screen. It is just a pleasure in your eyes and was the crispiest display I laid my eyes on. My old iPhone 3G’s screen was pale compared to the screen on the Wave. Just slide your fingers across the lock screen and you are taken to the home screen with your widgets. The unlock action is swift and it feels like sliding a glass door.
It is a powerful phone with a 1 GHz processor which is a step ahead of many smart phones in the market. Multi-touch is another feature that making the user experience on the phone a breeze. The phone features just three buttons on the front panel: Call, End and Menu which seems to be the common defacto standard on smart phones these days, apart from Apple. Then apart from that your get the volume up/down buttons on the left hand side, a camera button the right hand side and the 3.5mm audio jack and Micro USB port on the top which comes with a sliding cover, which I thought was neat.
You can add widgets to your home screen and you can go up to a maximum of 10, in case you are a widget freak. Its a breeze to add a widget, its all drag and drop. And the screens slide nicely under the touch. You can organize the widgets according to your preference and bring the ones you use most.
The top of the screen sports the quick menu and notifications. The quick menu gives you access to three of the most frequently used features: WiFi, Bluetooth and Silent. Below that you get the list of notifications for your email accounts, Twitter and Facebook ets, which shows how many new messages there are in each. This notification screen is pretty neat, giving you a dashboard view of notifications, which I found to be very helpful.
I managed to sync up the contacts with my Google Contacts account, along with mail and calendar for my primary mail account. And you can also sync up the contacts with your social networks where the phone can then start showing you contact’s pictures picked from Facebook, etc. However this integration with social networks doesn’t happen right out of the box.
But when I tried to sync it up with my other email accounts, all of which are Google apps hosted accounts, it didn’t allow me to sync the calendars, which I found to be disappointing. Apart from that, multiple email accounts can be configured. The messaging screen on the Wave was well thought out as it gives you an access to all your email accounts along with Facebook in-box and your Twitter account, all in one place.
The call quality was pretty good. I didn’t get to test it in very noisy surroundings to test its noise cancellation features. While you are on a call, Wave offers you six options in all: Keypad, Contacts, Mute, Speaker, Headset and End. The speaker phone was also pretty loud, and can be heard over the radio in a car.
One area that I was not very happy with was the Keyboard. In portrait mode, in which I tend to use the phone more often, the keys were a tad bit too small for my fingers. And I didn’t see any predictive typing kicking in and the spell checker was limited in terms of not allowing me to type in words that are not in the dictionary. Apart from that it is standard keyboard which gives you contextual keys, such as @ and .com when you are entering email addresses etc.
Also the menu was a bit complicated. I was given the phones without the user guides, so I was left to configure it on intuition. While I pride myself in being able to configure most gadgets without reading the user guide, Wave made me hit the Internet to figure a few things out.
The first issue was in configuring a data connection on the phone. While the connectivity menu showed me that there were no configured connections, it didn’t allow me to add a connection from there. The connection needs to be defined someplace else. Also, even with just one connection defined on the phone, you need to select the connection to use for each service. I think Bada can become a bit more intuitive in this department.
One area that the Wave shines on is the Camera and Video recording. The camera is pretty sharp and the images are a pleasure to look at on its AMOLED screen. Another nifty feature is the ability to select the focus point in the picture with a touch on the screen. Wave supports HD video recording. This was another cool feature I loved, coming from an iPhone 3G, which does not support any video recording, the HD video on wave is something I can get used to. Also the ability to plug-in a micro SD card, is a boon to the video and photo snappers.
The media player on the Wave is also boosted by its super display. Everything on the Wave, be it a picture or a video, is a pleasure to look at. The music playback was also pretty good, though I am not a heavy user of music, I did try out the radio and it gave me pretty good quality playback, something close to what I get on my HiFi.
The foam factor of the phone was ideal. It was pretty slim and light weight. With its curved edges, it fits nicely in your palm. And it was a nice fit in your pants and even in jeans pockets.
It is a major move to introduce a new phone OS as it stands today, it is the developer/application eco- system that will determine the success of a mobile platform. It is questionable whether the Samsung’s app store will ever reach the volume and diversity of Apple’s App Store or Android Market place. And the applications currently on offer were somewhat limited. Apart from an app for Twitter and some games I was not able to find any apps that can bring the Wave closer to the diverse applications that I use on the iPhone.
I would give a thumbs up for the Wave as a phone, for messaging, camera, HD video and above all for the screen.
Author: Sampath Dassanayake
Sampath is a Sri Lankan entrepreneur and a software engineer by profession. He is currently building a world-class development team in Sri Lanka to prove that Sri Lankans posses the talent and the skill to build world-class IT solutions. Prior to founding his company Sampath worked in the several IT companies building and managing web applications. He has a BSc from University of Colombo, a MSc in IT from University of Keele and an unfinished MBA from University of Colombo. He is also a Project Management Professional (PMP)
A phone has not wow’d me in a long time like the Galaxy did!
The first impressions of the Galaxy are impressive. With its big 4-inch, colorful and crispy AMOLED screen, you have a hard time taking your eyes off the screen. Made in a form factor which closely resembles the iPhone, but a little larger but lighter phone just made me want to switch to a Galaxy! After all, it resembles the iPhone!
It’s not just the display. The Galaxy packs a 1 GHz processor inside its tiny, lightweight form factor. Come to think of it, it’s half the speed of my laptop! And I can definitely remember my first computer which was just one tenth the speed of the Galaxy! This phone packs quite a load of computing power into your hands.
Galaxy S was also my first hands on experience with the android OS. And I have to admit, I dispelled most of my skepticism. The Galaxy S comes with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI skinning over Androids native UI.
The UI has a dual home screen concept, which is very similar to what you get on Samsung Wave as well. There is the home screen with the widgets which can span to multiple screens based on the number of widgets. And then there is the application screen, which lists the applications. The widgets sometimes can take up one whole screen based on its size. But the applications screen is very iPhone’ish.
The Galaxy had some interesting Widgets. The ones I particularly liked was the Buddy Messenger and the Twitter client. With back ground services running, this widget can is always upto date, just like a streaming client. I loved this as it no longer required me to refresh the Twitter client to see the latest updates from the tweeps I follow.
The notification bar on the top of the phone, apart from showing the usual notifications for new mails and other application notifications, also has buttons for WiFi, Bluetooth and Silent/Vibration. This is a very handy feature. On the iPhone I use a jailbroken app to get this functionality. But one little irritant I experienced was once you view an SMS, it doesn’t always clear the notification. Seems like a little bug, but confusing nevertheless and somewhat defeats the purpose of the notifications as after a while you tend to ignore the notification.
Calling on the Galaxy was pretty standard. I like the iPhone’ish phone menu. One thing I noticed was the need to keep the answer and end buttons pressed for about 3 seconds to answer and terminate a call. Maybe this is done to prevent accidental call answering and terminating with the unintended touches on the screen. But I am not sure whether this is a smart move or a nuisance. But it sure needed some getting used to.
Galaxy S allowed me to sync up all my four email accounts and 500 odd contacts from my Google Contacts. The email interfaces were very intuitive and thanks to the larger screen, the keypad was also more thumb friendly. One thing I still noticed was the lack of predictive text support while you type. But this phone being an Android, you are able to replace the default keypad with something that does have predictive text support. But I think this is something that should have been enabled out of the box.
And the phone tended to slow down with my mail boxes, contacts and the calendar synced up. Given that it is a brand new phone which was in use for just a couple of days, and also the fact that it is powered by a 1GHz processor, this was something I did not expect. When I researched, I found a few complains on line as well and the answers generally pointed towards the Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. Maybe if it had the default Android UI things would have been better.
One area that the Galaxy really shines is the Camera. It is a pleasure to snap away on the Galaxy, with its 4-inch AMOLED screen. I had more fun taking pics on this phone than I do on my digital camera. It is a pleasure to take pictures on this. With the ability to select the area that you want focused on the picture with a tap on the screen, and the multitude of camera modes, and the decent 5MP camera, if you are a person who carries a digital camera along with you, with the Galaxy S, you can leave your camera at home, during the day. But sadly, due to the lack of a flash, you may still want to take your camera during your night escapades. But the Galaxy gave me pretty decent picture in the night in well lit up spaces.
The other feature that goes along is its video recording capability. With the HD video recording can capture pretty amazing footage. With video playback the Galaxy S shined as well. It supports a multitude of video formats MPEG4, DivX, Xivid being the formats I tried out. According to the specs the Galaxy also supports H.264, H.263, WMV, AVI, MKV formats among others. The audio playback on the Galaxy was decent. I tried it out with a third party audio headset as I was not given the Samsung headset that comes with the Galaxy.
One more handy feature I liked was the radio with auto-scanning and the ability to preset radio stations. This is something I would have used, as I prefer the radio to my own music collection.
My data connection is on my phone is a Dialog Broadband Data package. The Galaxy indicated a little H instead of the usual 3G on my iPhone, which means that the Galaxy supports HSPA, which is a pretty cool feature. I did not try tethering, but it will be a boon for those who want to tether Internet connections.
One limitation I faced was the inability to sync multiple calendars with the phone calendar. This is something the iPhone does beautifully and since I have four different calendars, on four different Google apps domains, I rely on my phone calendar to show me the consolidated view. But I was told by an enthusiastic android fan that there are third part apps that can accomplish this.
One big disappointing factor of the Galaxy S was its battery life. Though the phone packs a ton of features, it drains the battery like a express workout. It hardly lasted 8 hours on a full charge. Of course I had the background (push) services enabled and did a bit of data usage. But I hardly made any calls. It was mainly twitter and emails. It’s awful battery life made me nervous about the phone. I like my phone battery to last a day with me. That means staying alive for at least 12 hours. But the good thing is, unlike in the iPhone, you can swap the battery. So if you are going to use data services heavily you might as well get additional batteries and a stand-alone charger.
On a final note, it is phones like the Samsung Galaxy S that will allow Andriod to gain its market share in the smartphone showdown. It is a well designed phone that will sure win many converts to the android platform.
The first decade of mobile business communication was in the hand of one and only device, the Blackberry. If you were carrying a Blackberry you were a top executive of a company who is travelling around the world very frequently. It’s added Blackberry services together with the secure messaging protocol; it was the best device a businessman could have. The only close competitor that they had was the windows mobile devices but the game has changed drastically since then. With the introduction of iPhone and the ever expanding universe of android devices, it is either live or die situation for Research in Motion (RIM).
RIM, the makers of the Blackberry devices launched its latest operating system recently together with its flagship device, the Blackberry Torch. RIM is expecting the revamped operating system to help Blackberry devices to break free from the issues its previous operating system has. The main issue with the Blackberry devices has being its browsing experience. The new WebKit-based browser is expected to improve the user experience in leaps and bounds. RIM has also reduced the number of menus inside menus together with a powerful search tool. It is also comprised of a social networking tool (surprise, surprise) which enables you to aggregate RSS feeds from any social networking site.
At the first glance, you see that the menu has gone through a cleanup and is more smoothened out in its icons and text. The menu looks bit more elegant and sleek compared to OS 5. The list of menu is a window that slides up from the bottom with a default of four apps in a row which can be changed according to user’s preference. The apps are separated by type such as media or frequent apps so you can just flip left and right to browse through them. Almost everything in the menu is clickable. You can change your sound profile, check messages, network connections and apps. But still moving from place to place can be confusing as you don’t end up where you started if you go back. For who are familiar with Blackberry, there seems to be less clutter in OS 6. The operating system is fairly fast compared to the Storm and other Blackberry devices but if you are running it on a fairly slow CPU it doesn’t help too much to convince us on the operating system. Even if it is not running anything which is CPU intensive it stalls wondering the limits of the operating system.
The best feature that RIM managed sneak is the universal search. This feature allows you to search any item within the device whether it is a text, song or an app. You can set preferences to choose what to search and not to search. This one of the best features that I liked and it is kind of like spotlight in Mac or Google desktop but much faster. Blackberry email and messaging services is the primary strength that RIM has. If you plug into the RIM services the user experience is brilliant. If you are using Gmail as your primary email, you just need to log into Gmail and it will sync in the contacts, the calendar and the spam filters. Searching within the emails is much better with real time filtering.
The new app – social feeds allow the users to combine all your Facebook, Twitter and instant messaging such as AIM, Yahoo and Gtalk and RSS feeds into one place. But this is where it gets ugly. The idea of one place to have them all is brilliant but when you want to view them you actually need to go to the respective app which kind of sucks. So it is kind of a half-baked cake with a nice coating.
The Blackberry browser was the biggest pain for the users. So this browser is not a new version of the old but a completely new one altogether. The pages are coming up reasonably better and the experience is far better. But how does it fair with the other top end smart phones. Not so well. RIM browser is still noticeably slower than browsers in the iPhone, HTC EVO or Palm Pre for that matter.
The media section is much improved. But still it has problems when transferring media files to the phone. I believe they did not really do well with certain media files. The coolest thing in this section is that it allows the user to sync the media wirelessly between the PC and the phone using Blackberry desktop. Although it says on the web that this feature is inconsistent, this is kind of neat.
If you are an app person who wants to get your favorite apps in your new Blackberry, you are in for a shock. OS 6 is not backward compatible which is kind of shocking but I would allow sometime until they sort this one out. If you are a gamer the experience is heartbreaking when compared to the iPhone, Palm Pre and Android the game is experience is nowhere near.
So would OS 6 take RIM to the next generation of mobile phone fist fight? At this stage it is kind of iffy. I should say that it has improved a lot but I’m not sure if has changed enough to stay in the competition. With controversial but successful iPhone 4G release and with Android devices coming out faster than mushrooms this maybe the last straw RIM gets to be in the game. With trouble they are having in the Middle East and India, a mediocre OS would not do any good.
Author: Isuru Wijeyaratne
Isuru Devaka Wijeyaratne is currently a graduate student of Rutgers Business School
studying towards his Masters degree in Quantitative Finance. Isuru is a product of Royal College and D.S.Senanayake College. He is also a graduate of Computer Science and Engineering from University of Moratuwa
. He also carries 2 years of experience as a business analyst for capital markets at Millennium Information Technologies
. He was also the first Microsoft Student Ambassador of Sri Lanka from the year 2004 to 2006 working to develop the technical enthusiasm in students. He is a tech lover and has written regularly to technical magazines. He loves to read DC and Marvel comics and enjoys watching Japanese anime.
Apple is making a habit of putting out new versions of their mobile devices every single year. But this year Apple was not able to keep the level of secrecy that it had for its previous versions. Thus Apple’s next generation iPhone was neither a surprise nor a secret. The phone was surrounded by scandals where a prototype was left at a bar by an Apple developer and leaked photos of the stripped iPhone from Vietnam was a nail to the coffin of the iPhone surprises. So before the device was introduced, it was photographed, stripped in and out, man handled enough so that the announcement was just a mere formality.
By now you should know that I’m not a big fan of the Apple products. But finally Apple released an iPhone which looks brilliant from outside. This is exactly what a mobile phone should look like and I hope its followers would take a lesson. Here in United States, it is pretty boring to see all the people carrying the same type of mobile phone. From the 1st generation to the 3rd the iPhone design hasn’t changed much. It is the same slate design with a curved back which was very feminine. The iPhone 4G is much more appealing towards the less fairer sex with its bold edges and minimal curves. It is bit on the heavier side with 4.8 ounces, with a form factor of 115.2mm x 58.6mm x 9.3mm. The plastics and the glass has being replaced by aluminosilicate glass which said to be scratch resistant and also about 30 times harder than plastic.
Enough with the looks; lets dig deep. The heart of the device is the new A4 processor which was also used in the iPad. Even though it is clocks a 1GHz with the iPad, it is said that the processor is down clocked to conserve the battery. One of the biggest marketing points of the iPhone 4G is it is display which is branded as “Retina display”. This is simply adding more pixels to a 3.5inch display to keep a 960 x 640 resolution. This results in a pixel density of 326ppi (pixels per inch) which is much higher than a human eye can perceive. The display uses LED backlight with 800:1 contract ratio. Apple claims this technology is year ahead of its time but I’m skeptical of that statement. The battery life has improved marginally from 5 hours to 7 hours in talk time and 9 hours to 10 hours in 3G WiFi data. The iPhone is capable of 40 hours of audio playback and 300 hours of standby.
Apple has replaced its 3.2 megapixel camera with a 5 megapixel which is capable of capturing 720p video at 30 frames per second. It has two cameras in rear and front and the latter can be used to take self-portraits without much hassle. “Face Time” feature allows the iPhone users to communicate with others visually in real time. Its “backside illuminated” image sensor captures more light but by its choice of the sensor would be tested against Nokia N8 and HTC EVO which boast of much higher resolution. This time Apple has improved upon its compass to include a gyroscope which will be very neat for the iPhone game community.
If you think there is more in the new iPhone, I’m sorry to disappoint. This is not a revolution; it is a simple evolution of the device as they say. They improved its processor, battery life, screen resolution and camera. The biggest impact that it has is on the gyroscope which will enable very interesting games to be developed on its platform. The best features I can say it is design which feels much more solid in your hands. The aluminum frame is actually the antenna which is a beauty of engineering at its best.
So buy or not to buy? With over 600,000 iPhones preordered the last time I checked these features are enough for the public to go gaga for months to come until Apple releases another sugar coated device.
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