Go, Yahoo! GO

0I'm sure you'll have all heard the news about Yahoo! GO by now. It a new product from Yahoo! that allows you to access the information and content you want, when you want and on the device you want. Your email, photos, news, music and more can be connected using Yahoo! GO and accessed on your desktop, TV and, most importantly, your mobile (for now limited to Series 60 handsets).

1_1I've installed the app and the first thing that struck me was how easy it was to set up Yahoo! Mail and Y! Messenger. In minutes everything was set-up and ready to go. The process was so painless that even the worst technophobe could have managed. All the user has to do is choose which content they want Yahoo! GO to access and then enter their Yahoo! user-name and password (if you don't already have one, you can sign-up using the program). After that everything is good to go. No need for the user to input pop3 settings or the like, the program does it all for you. (I've uploaded a photo album of screenshots which show the setup process and the program in action.)

3The applications other features include bookmarked links to online Yahoo! services like news, finance, ring-tones and games. I assume the content you see in these sections can be linked with your My Yahoo! account. Of course there is also a search field which will let you search the Internet or your photos. Since this is just V1.0 of the product I'm sure we can expect support/bookmarks for other Yahoo! services to be added in the future. The only thing I feel is missing is support for connecting your music to Yahoo! GO. Having a Playlist you could sync between your devices would be pretty neat but perhaps the bandwidth needed to do it would put most users off. Some sort of Internet Radio section would also be ideal and could be linked to Yahoos Launch service.

8For the services it does support, the product cleverly makes use of the native Series60 applications. Yahoo! Mail is set up as an inbox in the messages folder, the Calender application uses the existing calender to display appointments and the address book uses the phones contacts to display you yahoo! contacts which includes your Messenger contacts. This reduces the amount of memory needed to store the programs files (though the whole app is still rather large!) as it just makes use of what is already installed. On top of that users will be used to the UI of these applications making them instantly usable.

9 Yahoo! have obviously put a lot of time and effort into this application and I think it will really start to pay-off when support for a wider range of phones is introduced (such as a Yahoo! GO LITE version for J2ME phones). It's great to see the big players finally taking mobile seriously. This week also saw Google announcing a deal with Motorola to include a 'Google Button' on their handsets which will load up pre-installed Google mobile software. The rumours of the Yahoo! branded phone don't seem to be going away either. All I can say for sure is that 2006 is really going to be exciting...

January 7, 2006 by Tarek Abu-Esber | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Flash Lite 2.0

Flashlite20_1Adobe have announced that the latest version of Flash for mobile devices will be released this month. Macromedia have already shipped-out copies of Flash Lite Player 2 and the Flash Lite 2 Update for Macromedia Flash Professional 8 to some developers.

For those of you who might be interested there is an hour long video preview of Flash Lite 2 available on the Macromedia website. Adobe have also put up a Wiki page for Flash Lite 2.0 which contains links to documentation, code samples and lots of other goodies for developers. I'll be trying to get hold of a copy of this over the weekend because from the screenshots I've seen it's a great improvement on Flash 1.1.

The new features Flash Lite 2 brings include:

  • Flash Player 7 support
  • ActionScript 2.0 support
  • Loading and parsing XML data
  • Ability to store and retrieve persistent data
  • Improved display and handling of fonts
  • Shape drawing and animation through ActionScript
  • Dynamic loading of multimedia content and playback using device-based codecs

Adobe Press Release

January 7, 2006 by Tarek Abu-Esber | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Nokia 770

N770I've been playing with Nokias Internet Tablet, the Nokia 770, over the last couple of weeks and I've been pleasantly surprised by it.  Fantastic screen, great UI, connecting up is simple, handwriting recognition isn't at all painful and most importantly it's usable.

But no, this is not going to be a review. There are already many good reviews around the web which say most of what I would have said. No what i want to talk about here is what really makes the Nokia 770 usable; The great free software maeomo developers (maeomo is a platfrom for developing software for the Nokia770) have been releasing for it.

Intro_4

The Nokia 770 has barely been released (Nokia are taking orders for delivery this month) but there is already some great software available for the device. The reason for this may be that the 770s Operating System is based based on Debian (Linux) making it easier for developers to port existing Linux apps to the device. Whatever the reason, the maemo developer community has had a great start and interest seems to be growing. Their homepage already has an impressive list of available software for the 770 all of which are freeware applications. Most of these apps can be used to fill in the gaps that Nokia forgot to fill. Here are a few that I've picked out and have been using this week (After the jump).

GAIM

Gaim2_4
The first thing I noticed the 770 was missing was a chat client. Chat is one of the most used 'web' features, especially by the younger generations, and GAIM was constantly connected when I was using the 770. It's strange that Nokia missed the importance of chat, though they did hit the nail on the head with the RSS reader and Internet Radio apps.

This app is basically a port of the GAIM client to maemo and it really shines on the device. I tested it with MSN, Jabber and IRC and connecting up was quick and easy.

Gaim_2

The program is practically identical to using GAIM on a Linux machine. Tabbed viewing and connections to multiple accounts is simple to set-up and easy to navigate. The resolution of the screen means the text looks great and is easy to read (though perhaps some might find the text a bit small). This will easily become one of the most used pieces of third-party software for the Nokia 770.

Load Applet

Loadapp_2

This has been described as the "Swiss-Army Knife" applet and it really does live up to that name. This little app is packed with features including, Screenshot taking with an adjustable delay setting, a CPU Load monitor, a Memory monitor and the ability to list and kill open applications.

This app opens when the phone starts up and sits in the panel at the top of the display (next to the sound and display settings bar). Right now the latest version, which supports the more advanced features, is in Beta so users might bump into some problems when using the app. If all you want to do is take some screenshots I would recommend installing the early version which is more stable.

ABIWord

Abiword_1

Nokia also decided not to include any office software on the Nokia 770, which is understandable as this wasn't what the device was designed for. However for those of you who might find a use for it, AbiSource have released a maemo version of their ABIWord software.

There is nothing fancy about the program and to be honest not much is needed. It's a basic text editor with the usual editing options which is ideal for writing quick notes or editing an existing file. I can't really see anyone doing much more than that unless they were using a Bluetooth keyboard (there is a bit of software you can install so you can use one) with the device (which again is stepping away from 'Internet Tablet' vision). Having said that though I'm sure this and other office application will be quite popular. Office programs are already coming pre-installed on some Smartphones and more and more users seem to be using them on tiny screens (compared to the 770S) so why not on the 770?

X-Terminal

Terminal_1

X-Terminal is a command terminal for the 770, plain and simple. Now this app will probably be useless for most 770 users and will mostly be used by developers. However for those of you who might be interested in being on the bleeding-edge of the maemo software scene then you'll need this to install and run some application (usually beta/early versions). It's definitely a must have if you want to get the most usability out of your Nokia 770.

Maemosweeper

Maemosweeper_1

So I had to throw a game in here as well. The pre-installed games (Chess, Mahjong and Marble) made me realise how great the screen was for gaming so I went in search of a game that was really playable. Having played Minesweeper on Windows for years I thought this maemo version would be ideal.

The game uses the full-screen mode during game-play and it looks great. Game-play is, of course , quick and simple and it is very easy to get through a few quick games to kill some time. There are 3 difficulty levels so you can either keep it quick and easy or change it so that it would need a bit more concentration.

The Rest
I hope this has been a good introduction to what is out there. It's important to say that this is only a small amount of the great software that is out there and the one I've chosen are by no means the best. When picking them I just chose the ones that caught me eye and I thought I'd like to test out.

The maemo site has a great WiKi-page of available software which I would recommend to you all. There are loads of games on there and a full PIM Suite. I'll be looking through more of the software that's out there so look out for more Nokia 770 freeware post on Mobile Tech.

December 30, 2005 by Tarek Abu-Esber | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

O2 To Release i300 and N70 In October

I300I was looking around the O2 website today and was happy to see both the Samsung i300 and the Nokia N70 on the "Coming Soon" page. Both phones are listed as coming out in October '05 so they should be hitting stores in the UK pretty soon.

To be honest this is the first time I've been more excited about a Windows Mobile phone than a Series 60 model. I've been waiting for the Samsung i300 since i saw live pictures of it in Scobles video interview with the Windows Mobile team. O2 have scooped up the exclusive rights to the phone and there has been some news that the phone could start from around 80 Pounds (roughly $140) with a contract which is a great price for a newly released smartphone (One with a 3GB HDD no less). The bottom line is that i want to try out the Windows Mobile experience and the i300 seems like an ideal place to start.

N70The i300s biggest selling point for me is the fact it's a smartphone handset with a hard-drive. "But the N91 has a bigger hard-drive and Wi-Fi" you say. Yes, but the i300 (If O2 stick to their word) is being released alongside the Nokia N70 not the N91. Plus the N91 has been delayed till January '06 and it's quite possible that it won't hit stores in the UK till a month or more after that. But hey, I'll probably get the N91 anyway.

This isn't to say that the N70 isn't interesting; it will be one of the first handsets to run Symbian v8.1a with Feature Pack 3 of Series60 Version 2 (Sadly we'll all have to wait for the N91 to see Series60 Version 3). Nokia have kitted this 6680 look-a-like with a 2 mega-pixel camera (though they've kept the silly slide-cover for the camera) and more on-board memory upping it to 22Mb from the anemic 10Mb the 6680 had. It's also a 3G phone and it is that feature as well as it's better camera that are going to be the main selling points against the i300.

So what would you buy if you were in the market for a new phone come October?

September 23, 2005 by Tarek Abu-Esber | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

More N80 News

N80bottomMore news has been circulating about the rumoured Nokia Series 60 Slider the N80.

It turns out that the picture i posted about wasn't a real phone but a mobile lovers idea of how the N80 might look. He took a photo from an N-Series presentation of what looked like the bottom part of a Nokia slider and photo-shopped the rest (The slide can be seen on the left).

The important news however is that the photo may be fake, but the phone does actually exist. Engadget posted a story about a slide that was produced at a Macromedia (see Flash Lite) presentation in Taiwan which not only included a picture of the N80 but also had a picture of 3 other N-Series phones one of which is a clam-shell. Lets hope some specs for these new N-Series phones will be released soon!

September 15, 2005 by Tarek Abu-Esber | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The World of N-Gage

NgageAll the recent N-Gage related news made me curious about the whole platform so i decided to get myself one to see what all the fuss was about. A quick E-Bay auction win brought a classic N-Gage to my door for 35 Pounds (around $65) and I've spent the last two days putting it through its paces.

Expect some game reviews in the near future. You may have to wait a bit longer for a full review on the whole n-gage experience though as I have something planned for that. More later.

September 15, 2005 by Tarek Abu-Esber | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Scoble Interviews Windows Mobile Team

95972This is a few weeks old but still worth a look. It's a video of an interview Robert Scoble did  with the Microsoft Windows Mobile team for Channel9.

The video contains lots of information about Windows Mobile Version 5.0 (Formerly known as Magneto) from the mouths of some of the guys who helped develop it. It is a must-watch for Windows Mobile Developers as it  contains some great information about what developing for Windows Mobile 5.0 will be like.

There is also some great footage of a couple of the upcoming Windows Mobile Handsets including the new Samsung SGH-i300 (Yes Samsung again), which has a 3GB HDD inside it, and the HTC Universal. The next generation Windows Mobile Handsets are really upping-the-ante in the Smartphone Market and this video shows just what Nokia and Sony-Ericsson will be up against towards the end of the year.

August 17, 2005 by Tarek Abu-Esber | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Samsung Series 60 Redux

D730Remember when Samsung unveiled the D720 at 3GSM? Remember when nobody ever saw it again just like the other two Series 60 phones Samsung had announced?

Well today Samsung not only announced that the D720 will soon be released in Europe (Starting with Germany) but they will also be releasing the D730, a clam-shell Series 60 phone. But now that there is a chance Samsung will actually become a new player in the Series 60 market, I'm not as excited as i was when i first heard the D720s specs.

I hadn't heard much about the D730 apart from the details posted on Series60.com. I had it pegged as the S60 phone Samsung announced at the CeBit Show to create some media interest, and then would never be released (much like the D720 at 3GSM). At 97 grams for the D730 and 107 grams for the D720, these are two of the smallest and lightest series 60 phones to date. And the small packages come well equipped. The D730 boasts an identical feature-set to to the D720 which includes Tri-Band, GPRS class 10 data connection and a 1.3 mega-pixel camera with flash LED and 4x digital zoom. Both handsets also support mp3, ACC and ACC+ for music playback and MPEG4 and H.263 for video.

Samsung really seem to have put together a great package though perhaps it would have been more perfect 6 months ago when the D720 was first announced. With Nokia releasing their N-series phones later this year the Samsungs will have some stiff competition. The Nokia N-Series phones have taken the next step by implementing features previously unseen in S60 devices such as Wi-Fi support and internal hard-drives (the N91 will have both) as well as improving camera and lens quality.

All that's left now is to see if Samsung stay true to their word and release the phones, and if they do, how they will compare to other S60 phones which might be available by the time they hit the market? Their package is good enough that it won't be out-dated (after all compare the D720 with the Nokia 6680) but Samsung will have to really commit to a Series 60 development program if they want to stay competitive. I for one hope they will as it would bring some much needed competition to the S60 market.

August 16, 2005 by Tarek Abu-Esber | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Back In Business

Mobile Tech is back after a 4 month long break.

In April I moved back to the UK and was staying in temporary accommodation where i didn't have any Internet access. I didn't even have a GPRS connection on my phone; It was like I was living in the dark-ages ;)

However I've now settled down for a few months and have finally managed to get a broadband connection at home so expect regular service to resume. I've already written up a couple of posts to get the come-back started (they are listed at the end of this post) and have a few more in the works. I've also got some new ideas for which direction I want Mobile Tech to take so expect to see some changes in the next few weeks.

It's good to be back!

August 13, 2005 by Tarek Abu-Esber | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Smartphone Show 2005

Smartshow_1

Symbian have announced the dates and venue for The Smartphone Show 2005. The show will run from the 11-12th October in the Excel Center, London.

I'll be there as will a lot of the #mobitopia crowd and the AllAboutSymbian Crew. There will be a large exhibition open to the public which is a great place to see all the latest Symbian-related products. There will also be some free seminars over the two days which will give visitors a chance to try out the latest phones and see some of the latest software demonstrated. Some separate seminars and training sessions for developers have been planned as well.

I've set up a wiki for the show which Jim has generously let me host on his wiki pages. Head over there and add your name to those attending if you are planning to go. The AllAboutSymbian boys are arranging a pub-meet in London on the 10th which i will also be attending. The details haven't been finalised yet but I'll post more information to wiki when i have it.

August 11, 2005 by Tarek Abu-Esber | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack