14/01/2010

Google Nexus One 2nd impresions

Here's a video of the main screen and some applications including installing Rummble click here to view.

The NExus One is a nice phone, but Google have got a lot of catching up to do in terms of getting developers on their side and beefing up the App Store.

More as it comes.

Qualcomm Snapdragons to snap ever faster

In an interview with Hexus by Luis Pineda, SVP of product management for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, Qualcomm have indicated new versions of the Snapdragon processor (used in mobile devces like the HTC Touch HD2 and Google Nexus One).

Initially the Snapdragon 8X50A will come out which is a more compact version of the chip and lower power, but its speed increases to 1.3GHz, later the8X72 will be introduced which has two cores (ARM Scorpion) and runs at 1.5GHz.

The faster speed CPU's will allow decoding of HD video in 1080p format which will become prevalent on new tablet and slate devices (and high-end mobile phones).

Intel of course are also in the game with new versions of the Atom CPU on the table and it's use in a smartphone. Marvell has announced 4 core ARM chips and NVidia is also boasting multi-core mobile chips, Samsung are also offering their own CPUs.

The mobile market is likely to see more and more powerful 'superphones' (to use a phrase from Google) as computing power will no longer be the issue, now all they need to do is increase the battery life so these super fast devices actually stay alive all day.

Google Nexus One first impressions

Well Google's Nexus One arrived today Here's a little video of the unveiling or at least it being taken out the box.

Android 2.1 (Eclair) doesn't look that different to other versions of Android, but some applications acted a bit weirdly and hung for a while and Android then noticed and offered to "kill the offending program" or "wait", sometime waiting would work, others not.

It's definitely a pretty phone and the screen is very nice to look at, however it takes getting used to, especially pressing it as you seem to have to be holding the phone with the hand that's pressing a button/etc or it may not respond. Lying the phone on a table and hitting buttons on screen doesn't seem to work.

The phone is pretty fast and the Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU running at 1GHz is noticeable, but some applications still seem sluggish.

The Nexus One comes with a Facebook client, which can sync data between Facebook and contacts on the phone, either all FB contacts (which will just be used in the FB app), just those in the Android contacts or none. You can upload or view pictures, notifications etc. However when a mail notification comes in, you're sent to the mobile Facebook website to actually read it. Even the Blackberry FB client can read and compose FB mail within the app itself.

In order to run things properly you MUST have a Google Email account, this hooks into Mail, Contacts, Calendar etc. Anything that requires sign-in will use that Google address if available. That can make life very easy, but does mean Google know exactly what you're doing on the device (there's a surprise).

The 5MP autofocus camera works well and the LED flash is a bonus. It can do photos and video.

It's a nice slim design and looks good. When setting the system up it defaults to 2G only, though in a modern data centric world that's a bad thing, it does make a huge difference to battery life which gets sucked dry in 3G mode. Having charged the unit fully at about 6pm, there was significantly noticeable drainage by 11pm (just under a 1/3 was gone). Another user reported their Nexus One had completely lost charge and was running around trying to find a charger (it uses the microUSB interface - which is the new 'standard' for phone agreed by several manufacturers, but it's only modern phones that seem to have adopted it.

More info as it comes in.

12/01/2010

Kindle DX goes global

Amazon's larger format Kindle the DX with a 9.7" 1200 x 824 pixel display will going on sale on January 19th, but they are accepting pre-orders now. It will cost $489 and can hold 3,500 books.

It comes equipped with 3G and there are NO network fees, just browse for a book, download it and 60 seconds later you're done. The free 3G services are available in most European countries (over 100) though not all countries with 3G will support it.

As well as supporting Amazon's book format the unit will also support PDF files, so it can be used to browse standard documents. The Kindle also supports Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX), PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC and MOBI files though documents may have to be sent to Whispernet (Amazon's network/storage system) and that can incur extra fees.

Though the Kindle is a nice device, it will be interesting to see how other contenders do such as Skiff and Plastic Logic with their QUE it's going to be a crowded market and that should be good for consumers. Though many people still prefer to read books, eReaders are perfect for travellers or people who need to read lots of technical documentation.

Plug Computer 3.0 is the new Sheevaplug

Marvell will be introducing it's latest Plug Computer 3.0 which was previously called the Sheevaplug later this year based upon their ARMADA 300 processor running at 2.0GHz. The units are generally small and plug into the home mains socket. The new units will contain a hard disk and WiFi.

Around 10,000 Sheevaplug development kits have been sold already.

The units run Linux and are extremely power friendly and designed to be left on all the time, when in operational mode they consume around 3W and in standby a few 10's of mW.

The new units will be priced at $99.