Archive for March, 2009

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News: Skype will be available on iPhone next week

March 31, 2009

We heard it was on the way, but now CNET says it’s official: the Skype application for iPhone and iPod touch should be available tomorrow on the App Store. As expected, the voice-over-IP app will require a WiFi connection to place and receive calls; it will also handle conference calling as a participant, not an initiator, and the first version leaves out SMS, call waiting and an integrated voicemail tool. Skype text chat, unlike voice traffic, will work fine over an EDGE or 3G connection.

Imperfect? Yes, and there are other apps — Fring and Nimbuzz, for example — that can talk to the Skype voice network… but the big blue S is providing the stamp of approval for VoIP on the iPhone, and you can bet that Skype’s app will shoot to the top of the App Store charts as soon as it’s released.

News source from TUAW

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What is so great about BlackBerry service anyway?

March 17, 2009

blackberry_logo__black

Posting a question like this is basically asking for trouble. Before you prepare to start shooting me with comments. Please allow me elaborate further. I started off using Palm OS many years back and have since migrated over to Windows Mobile. The migration is a whole new story by itself fit for another post, another time. Along the years, I have also tried using Apple OS, Symbian OS, Android OS and even the Linux OS on the Motorola PDA phones.

One thing missing for the list above was the BlackBerry OS.

For some strange reasons, I was never attracted to BlackBerry phones. Although in my line of work, I usually get to test many different kind of phones but BlackBerry was never one of them. Maybe this is because in Malaysia, you can’t just go and buy a BlackBerry phone from a retail shop (nowadays you can, just like Apple iPhone). You have to buy it from our local telco Maxis or Celcom which comes with all kinds of different data packages and commitment. I just had to try it out myself. I need to know why are there 14 Million users worldwide using this device. Is their push email really that great?

So I went and gotten myself a BlackBerry Bold.

First Impression of BlackBerry OS

The OS version is 4.6.0.126 and setting up the BlackBerry for the first time was pretty easy. Then when I wanted to setup my regular IMAP/POP3 work account and was SHOCK to find that BlackBerry do not even offer the choice of POP3 or IMAP (OK, I really didn’t know this!). My feeling at that moment was like, buying a car and later found out that I have to use NGV gas as fuel instead of regular RON91 or RON95 petrol. How stupid of me to think that all PDA are created equal.

Without much choice, I called up Maxis and inquire about their BlackBerry packages. I was offered the below WITHOUT any contract commitment.

Entry Standard Unlimited
Monthly Commitment RM45 RM55 RM120
Data Usage 5MB 10MB Unlimited

I chose the RM120 plan because I already had the RM99 data unlimited plan. I just have to add RM21 to get the BlackBerry service up and running  in 2 hours! I was given a website address (BlackBerry Internet Service) to create my email account and also to link my BlackBerry Bold to the service.

http://maxis.blackberry.com

Inside the BIS page, I have to key-in the PIN and IMEI number of my device. Once that is done, I received the below message in my BlackBerry Bold.

“Your handheld has been registered with the wireless network”

Then I proceed to create the couple of email accounts and in 2 hours as promised, emails started pouring in. Easy!

The good stuff!

Setting up of the BlackBerry after keying in the details in BIS is SIMPLE! My BlackBerry Bold is automatically pre-loaded with a few software after the service is activated. Mind you, all these are automatic without me doing anything. Maxis installed the following.

  • Windows Live Messenger
  • Yahoo! Search
  • Yahoo! Messenger
  • Google Talk
  • BlackBerry Help!
  • Facebook
  • Weather Setup
  • myMaxis Mobile Portal
  • Created individual icon for each Email account

If I ever have any problem, I just need to login to BIS and click on the “Send Service Books”, restart my BlackBerry and everything goes back to normal. Troubleshooting a BlackBerry is so much simpler.

Battery Life

Battery life is amazingly long on the BlackBerry Bold (More review will be done on the individual BlackBerry devices).

Push Email

The core of BlackBerry is the Push Email and without a doubt, it does it job very well. I like the fact that I can setup different POP account inside the BIS to push all my emails. Unfortunately, this also pushed lots of Junk email to my phone as well. However, I can choose to delete the emails from my server and mobile, therefore when I download the email on my laptop, the unwanted email will be deleted already.

Responsiveness

Using the BlackBerry reminds me of the good ol’ Palm days. Everything is quick and simple. Menu is plain and very much text based. Getting things done requires just a few clicks unlike Windows Mobile. Hopefully this will change in Windows Mobile 6.5.

The Nagging Problems.

After couple of days using it, I realized that I had to use the “Send Service Books” button more often than I thought. It will work on perfectly the whole day and the next day, email just stop coming in. Although a simple resend of Service Book fixed the problem, it was still pretty frustrating.

Browser

I use the browser almost daily for work and leisure. I realize that BlackBerry’s browser is slow and quite inaccurate in rendering webpages. There are webpage which I visit daily failed to show up properly in the BlackBerry Browser. The Opera version of the BlackBerry Bold is not available yet so I cannot test it.

Freeze

For some strange reason, the BlackBerry hung twice in the 7 days of usage. This didn’t happen when I was using my HTC Touch Pro.

Email Sync

Although BlackBerry offer push email, it doesn’t offer email synchronization. Meaning, if I sent an email from my BlackBerry, it will not appear in the sent folder on my laptop.

Additional Software

Unlike Windows Mobile devices, there isn’t really many software to try and download for a BlackBerry phone.

Conclusion

Push Email works great on BlackBerry but it is nothing new to me. I have used Microsoft Exchanged and Google Mail’s IMAP services which works great if not better. Maybe there are tons of hidden potential which I am ignorant about.

Maybe you can share with me?

If you are not already using BlackBerry, will you switch over because of Push Email or because Victoria Beckham, Mary-Kate Olsen, Madonna and Anna Kournikova is using?

Anyway, a quick and simple summary of different Email services.

Functions BlackBerry Windows Exchange Google Sync
Push Email Yes Yes Yes (via IMAP)
Number of email which can be configured to push Push up to 10 different email 1 Email per Exchange 1 E-mail per Google Sync
Synchronize Email No Yes Yes
Synchronize Contacts No Yes Yes
Synchronize Appointments No Yes Yes
Cost of setting up and using it Low High FREE

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Random: Common Craft Show

March 17, 2009

 
Now I know where Maxis Advertisement ideas for Maxis Web portal that I always see in Cinema and TV came from.

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News: Hotmail to have POP3 Account

March 16, 2009

Hotmail rolled out POP3 technology, finally! Below are the settings for it.

POP server: pop3.live.com (Port 995)   
POP SSL required? Yes 
User name: Your Windows Live ID, for example yourname@hotmail.com 
Password: The password you usually use to sign in to Hotmail or Windows Live 
SMTP server: smtp.live.com (Port 25 or 587)   
Authentication required? Yes (this matches your POP username and password) 
TLS/SSL required? Yes

Now, go ahead and download your email via Microsoft Outlook or any other email client which supports it.

More information can be found at WindowsLiveHelp.com

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Canon Selphy CP770 Digital Printer on Wah Lai Toi

March 13, 2009

Canon Selphy CP770 is running a 2 months advertisement on Astro Channel 311 “Wah lai Toi”.

Thanks to Professor Qool for sharing!

More info on the Canon Selphy CP760 here!

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Review: HTC Touch Cruise T4242 aka HTC Iolite

March 12, 2009

htc_logo

Price: RM2,199

Available Date: 5th March 2009

Fresh Gear Rating: 7/10

Specification:

  • Qualcomm® MSM7225™, 528 MHz
  • ROM: 512 MB    RAM: 256MB
  • 102 X 53.5 X 14.5 mm (4.02 X 2.11 X 0.57 inches) – 103 gram
  • HSDPA – QUAD band
  • Internal GPS antenna
  • Bluetooth + WiFi
  • 3.2 megapixel color camera with fixed focus
  • Battery 1100 mAh with Up to 400 minutes for GSM and 330 Hours Standby Time
HTC Touch Cruise - Box

HTC Touch Cruise - Box

Un-boxing the HTC Touch 3G

HTC Touch Cruise - Content

HTC Touch Cruise - Content

Like HTC P3300, HTC Touch Cruise comes with load of accessories like below!

  • Screen Protector
  • 2 piece earphones
  • Car-Holder
  • Car Charger
  • Extra Stylus
  • Nylon Pouch
  • Travel Charger (Adapter)
  • USB Cable
  • Manuals + Startup Guide
  • Papago Registration Number
  • 1GB memory card pre-loaded with Papago maps

First Impression

The HTC Touch Cruise looks quite small nimble compared to the previous HTC Touch Cruise. It did inherit the scroll wheel found the previous model, but that’s it. 

HTC Touch Cruise - Front

HTC Touch Cruise - Front

HTC Touch Cruise - Back

HTC Touch Cruise - Back

 

Following the design of Touch 3G, the volume/up down button is just a long sleek line.

HTC Touch Cruise - Side Profile

HTC Touch Cruise - Side Profile

A 3.2MP camera sits behind and the back cover is made from a very rubbery type material with gold dust like effect, unlike HTC Diamond. 

HTC Touch Cruise - 3.2 MP Camera

HTC Touch Cruise - 3.2 MP Camera

Top of the PDA is the ON/OFF button

HTC Touch Cruise - Top

HTC Touch Cruise - Top

Using the HTC Touch Cruise

Touch Cruise Home Screen

Touch Cruise Home Screen

Touch Cruise Weather Tab

Touch Cruise Weather Tab

Touch Cruise Setting Tab

Touch Cruise Setting Tab

HTC Touch Cruise isn’t running on Windows Mobile 6.5. So, there isn’t any much difference compared to say HTC Touch 3G in terms of OS. The Settings Tab however now include an additional “Location”. So what is so special about HTC Touch Cruise?

Footprint

Foot Print Tab

Foot Print Tab

Footprint by HTC

Footprint by HTC

What is “Footprint”? Simply put, Foot Print is a software develop by HTC whereby additional info can be stored on every photo taken using the HTC Touch Cruise. Information like telephone, audio clip, address, notes, coordinates and categories can be store in each of the picture so you know exactly when and where and why you took those pictures.

Step 1 - Take a picture

Step 1 - Take a picture

Step 2 - Set a Category

Step 2 - Set a Category

Step 3 - Add a Coordinate/Location

Step 3 - Add a Coordinate/Location

Step 4 - Enter additional info

Step 4 - Enter additional info

Done!

Done! Picture appears in Footprint

The next time you open up your footprint, you can just click on the image and navigate to the place on the image. Easy and straight forward.

Map Search

Map search function is also new in HTC Touch Cruise. It is actually powered by Google Maps where you can search for nearby restaurant, petrol station and others. It is as accurate as what all other users in the world contributes.

Searching for Japanese Food

Searching for Japanese Food

Found "Momo Japanese Restaurant"

Found "Momo Japanese Restaurant"

Momo Japanese Restaurant on Map

Momo Japanese Restaurant on Map

Papago X3 GPS Navigation System 

Papago! X3

Papago! X3

HTC  Touch Cruise comes pre-loaded with Papago GPS software. It also comes bundled with Maps of Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Maps of different countries

Maps of different countries

Very similar to my previous review on the Papago Z-820 GPS Navigation System, this map also comes with 3D building and landmarks.

Simulation Screen

Simulation Screen

More screen shots of the Papago X3 below. Click to enlarge.

htc-touch-cruise-t4242-papago-111 htc-touch-cruise-t4242-papago-131 htc-touch-cruise-t4242-papago-121 htc-touch-cruise-t4242-papago-071 htc-touch-cruise-t4242-papago-061 htc-touch-cruise-t4242-papago-041 htc-touch-cruise-t4242-papago-031 htc-touch-cruise-t4242-papago-021 htc-touch-cruise-t4242-papago-011

Car Kit Mode

Another feature found specifically on Touch Cruise is the Car Kit Mode. Basically when you fix this PDA to the supplied Car Holder kit, it will automatically changes into Navigational Model catering for GPS. 

Comparing with HTC Touch 3G

So, the closest PDA (in terms of specification) would be HTC Touch 3G. They both about the same size, weight about the same and have almost the same functionality.

Lets compare!

  HTC Touch Cruise (T4242) HTC Touch 3G (T3232)
Memory ROM: 512 MB    RAM: 256MB ROM: 256MB   RAM: 192MB
Processor Qualcomm® MSM7225TM, 528 MHz Qualcomm® MSM7225TM, 528 MHz
Battery Battery Capacity: 1100 mAh Battery Capacity: 1100 mAh
Size & Weight 102 mm X 53.6 mm X 14.5 mm (96g with battery) 102mm X 53.5mm X 14.5 mm (103g with battery)
Camera 3.2 MP (Fix Focus) 3.2 MP (Fix Focus)
Additional Accessories Car Charger + Car Holder + additional stylus + 1GB memory card

– nil –

Additional Software Papago X3 and Footprint

– nil –

Besides the obvious memory storage and button layout difference, everything between the HTC Touch 3G and HTC Touch Cruise is the same. Both have GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi and both don’t come with 3G camera. With HTC Touch 3G now selling at RM1,899, will the difference in RM300 worth all the additional accessories and software?

Other Screen Shots

htc-touch-cruise-t4242-settings-11 htc-touch-cruise-t4242-settings-21 htc-touch-cruise-t4242-settings-31 htc-touch-cruise-t4242-settings-41 htc-touch-cruise-t4242-location-settings1 htc-touch-cruise-t4242-location-settings-11

Conclusion

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Light weight
  • Comes bundled with all the necessary car holder, charger and additional stylus

Cons:

  • Lack of 3G Video Camera
  • Lack of Auto-focus function
  • Sensitivity of GPS signal weak compared with HTC Touch Pro

Available at Fresh Gear Online Store. All major credit cards and Paypal accepted.

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News: Apple iPhone Now Available in Malaysia by Maxis

March 11, 2009

Apple Logo        maxis_logo

 

Today is a very exciting day for fellow Malaysians. Apple iPhone 3G is finally officially available in Malaysia. So what are the rate plans and contracts?

12 Months rate plan & Contract

Maxis ivalue-plan-12mths

24 Months rate plan & Contract

Maxis ivalue-plan-24mths

6 Months rate plan & Contract

Maxis value-plus-plan-6mths

Summary

The price range of the Apple iPhone under the Maxis Plans varies from:

iPhone 3G (8GB/16GB) is FREE/RM260 – with monthly commitment of RM375 for 24 months

TO

iPhone 3G (8GB/16GB) is RM2,540/RM2,960 – with monthly commitment of RM80 for 6 months

Booking starts today (11th March 2009) until 17th March 2009 (11.59pm).

There is also a long list of terms and condition and FAQs to read before you commit to any rate plans or contracts.

A quick check in Lelong shows that Apple iPhone 3G 8GB (Unlock version) is selling for RM2,300 to RM2,500. With a difference of about RM200 only, will you purchase an iPhone from Maxis? 

More information can be found here.

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