Harshdeep 2.0

February 11, 2007

The BluXone blog

Filed under: BluXone, Mobile — harshdeep @ 8:31 am

BluXone

Mayank has finally created the official BluXone blog. Check it out for all related news and discussions.

Introduction to BluXone

Get BluXone

February 10, 2007

Attack of the iPhone-Killers

Filed under: Mobile — harshdeep @ 7:38 pm

Now that companies have got tired of announcing iPod-Killers, iPhone-Killers are very much in. Every major phone manufacturer has something to offer here.

Apple iPhone         LG KE850

LG, in fact, had announced an uncannily similar phone, LG KE850 even before Steve God Jobs announced iPhone in the last Stevenote. (Digression – ever heard of the Reality Distortion Field?) So, an iPhone killer was planned even before iPhone was announced. LG has almost been psychic in this. The two phones look so similar in the sample shots, that they seem to have been designed by the same people.

Microsoft Zune Phone
Microsoft of course has not been sitting idly through the iPhone hype and is all set to convert it’s (unsuccessful) iPod-Killer, Zune to it’s iPhone-Killer, Zune Phone. CrunchGear reports that the device could actually be available in May – a month before iPhone!
Samsung Ultra Smart F700

Samsung is not to be left behind. It will show off its iPhone killer, unimaginatively named Ultra Smart F700, at next week’s 3GSM World Conference in Barcelona, Spain. However, it’s not solely touchscreen-based, and has a pull-down qwerty keyboard, and 3G which is conspicuously absent from the iPhone.
Nokia N800

Nokia’s very own iPhone-killer, according to PC Pro, is it’s internet tablet, N800. However, the catch is that it’s not exactly a phone. It is primarily meant to browse the internet through WLAN, and does not come with GSM, or 3G connectivity. So, if you wanna make calls, you are limited to VoIP.
Google Switch

There have also been rumors about Google and Samsung teaming up to create Google Switch, another iPhone-Killer. The pictures of the device, however, have a distinct Photoshopped feel, and not many people are buying the rumors.
FIC Neo 1973

The best thing that can happen for a new phone is to be touted as an iPhone-Killer. Like FIC Neo 1973, based on OpenMoko Linux. Indeed, here is an explicit comparison of Neo and iPhone.
Meizu M8

A picture of Meizu M8, an Oriental look-alike of iPhone is getting it’s share of hype on gadget blogs.

Whether it’s Steve Ballmer shrugging it off as too expensive, or Nokia calling it too ambitious, iPhone has had a very tangible effect on the industry, at least in the short term. Interesting times ahead.

December 31, 2006

Textonyms

Filed under: Mobile — harshdeep @ 4:12 pm

Can you figure out what’s common in the following sets of words?

On, no
Me, of
Good, home
Kiss, lips

You have most probably used the predictive text feature on your mobile phone to reduce the number of keystrokes as you type a long SMS. But one sequence of keys may correspond to multiple words, and these words are called Textonyms.That’s +1 for your vocabulary. Have a wonderful new year! May you be showered with more useful information 🙂

December 12, 2006

Integrated GPS on Nokia phones

Filed under: Mobile — harshdeep @ 7:27 pm

I officially stopped programming for mobile devices, Symbian in particular, over an year ago. Since Nokia is the strongest proponent of Symbian, the single biggest factor for Symbian’s popularity, I used to keep an eye on everything that it was doing at that time.

But recently, I think I’ve started losing touch. I missed an important announcement by Nokia. It’s next N-Series phone, N95, will have integrated GPS. This is a big step. I strongly believe that GPS is going to be as ubiquitous on phones as cameras are today.

Now, I know this is not a first. HP iPaqs have had GPS for ages, not to mention phones from Mitac, Garmin, Motorola and a whole lot of bluetooth-based standalone GPS receivers. But the number of such phones sold is still limited. Nokia, being the biggest phone company, has the potential to push GPS phones to a much larger set of consumers. And since it’s going to be on Symbian, developers will have a platform with large enough user base to develop location aware applications for.

A lot of location-based services need a critical mass of consumers owning such devices for them to catch on, for example, location-based blogging. I think this is the right step forward from Nokia, and should actually have been taken much earlier. But all is not rosy. N95 is priced at $799. For GPS to catch on for purposes other than navigation, it has to be available on lower range cell phones. I’m sure Nokia is at it.

November 12, 2006

WiMax coming to India in 6 months

Filed under: Mobile — harshdeep @ 9:12 am

“If the required spectrum is available”, says VSNL.

WiMax trials have been carried out previously in some small patches of the country like Baramati near Pune.

It should make it possible to take broadband to the rural areas, where the geography or low population density does not warrant relatively expensive wired connections. Cheap connectivity to rural people alone can be instrumental in their development, opening up huge volume-based markets.

WiMax offers faster speeds than UMTS but less than Wi-Fi (which, however, has a very small range of 30 meters) . Quoting from a Computer World story:

The nonprofit WiMax Forum has predicted on its Web site that the technology will offer throughput of between 15Mbit/sec. and 40Mbit/sec. over a range of six miles. By comparison, today’s best cellular EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized) networks max out at 700Kbit/sec.

Here is a graph from Wikipedia placing WiMax with respect to other competing standards in terms of speed and mobility

November 3, 2006

GMail Mobile

Filed under: Mobile, Web 2.0 — harshdeep @ 8:25 pm

Google just released a J2ME application to get GMail on the mobile phone. You can get it by pointing your browser here. Since it’s J2ME, there is a very high possibility that you phone is supported.

I installed the application on my Nokia 6630. It downloaded the mails quickly and browsing through them is quite fast. They say it keeps downloading messages in the background. The UI is pretty neat, and it can also display word and PDF files.

There are some issues though. If your message is too long, this app would just truncate it. If you want to read the entire message, you have to open gmail on the browser.

MobleCrunch reports that on Nokia S60 3rd edition phones, you should go to the app download page through the WAP browser (for some reason called “Services”) and not the Safari-based browser (called “Web”). Apparently, there is some issue in identifying the model of the phone when you are using “Web”.

It’s never really been a problem to check out my GMail account on my Nokia 6630. I can use the factory installed web browser, or I can pop the mail directly to the inbox and get SMS-like alerts for each mail (which generally is more irritating than useful).

But the UI and speed improvements are enough for me to switch to this app.

July 17, 2006

Mobile Monday comes to Delhi

Filed under: Mobile — harshdeep @ 10:57 am

Delhi is finally getting it’s share of geek events. August 5 will see the first gathering of the Delhi chapter of Mobile Monday (yea, it’s on a Saturday) at Adobe campus, Noida.

Mobile Monday, or MoMo, is a community of professionals related to the mobile domain. Sometimes they meet (not necessarily on Mondays) and talk geek. It was founded in 2000 in Helsinki but now has chapters all over the world.

Quote:

Mobile Monday’s Delhi Chapter aims to bring together mobile enthusiasts, developers, technologists, business folks, entrepreneurs, VCs under a common forum. The chapter would channelize efforts to develop an active mobile community that can network and share information.

MoMo plans to follow the “unconference” methodology wherein it will provide a platform for freewheeling discussion bitween everybody* interested in Mobile Technologies

A must attend event for mobile enthusiasts. Goto http://momodelhi.pbwiki.com for agenda, list of participants and registration (it’s free).

July 7, 2006

New avatar of Abazab

Filed under: Internet, Mobile, Video — harshdeep @ 10:21 pm

Some time back, I talked about Abazab and Umundo – these applications let you upload videos from your mobile (and desktop too) to your blog.

Looks like Abazab has got a face lift – the playbox looks much better now and it’s more functional. One thing that I like is the clip browser on the right hand side.

I’m still using my old blogspot blog to host my abazab playbox.

Sharing of uploaded video clips has also been enhanced. If you happen to like a video in someone’s playbox, just hit the share button while your mouse is hovering over that particular video in the clip browser and enter your friend’s email id. Your friend doesn’t need to go through any registration process to view the video – all he has to do is visit a static link that is mailed to him – pretty straightforward and very usable.

July 3, 2006

Mobile subscribers “growth” – India set to take over China

Filed under: Mobile — harshdeep @ 10:50 am

Anything that we do here in India, inevitably gets compared to China – at least things that are related to economics, governance and population growth (thankfully, they haven’t started playing cricket yet)

Now, it seems like India is all set to take over China in the “growth” in the number of mobile phones sold. Touchy, but that’s just the bright side of the story. China had around 5 times the number of mobile subscribers compared to India at the end of 2005. So, lots of catching up to do. Can’t let Sehwag’s Maa down.

June 16, 2006

WidSets – Fancy RSS Reader for mobile phones

Filed under: Mobile — harshdeep @ 3:47 pm

When I first read about WidSets (Widget Sets),  I was expecting something like Yahoo Widgets for mobile phones. But “widgets” in WidSets (Widget Sets) are limited to RSS feeds that are displayed in a nifty way. Apart from tweaking the look of the feeds and their placement, you can’t really do much with them.

Even the RSS capability is very limited right now. When you click on a story from your phone, it shows first few characters and there’s no way to read the entire text if it’s longer than that limit. No embedded pictures are displayed either. But then, the service is in Beta right now – maybe this will change.

You select which widgets you want and how they should be placed relative to each other on your desktop browser. This is how my configuration screen looks –

This arrangement then gets reflected on the phone. This is how it looks on my Nokia 6630 (Viewing in WidSets client, available for free download) –

Did I mention that you can create your own widgets? It’s pretty straightforward – just enter the feed URL and optionally, tinker a bit with the look of the widget. I created a widget "Harshdeep 2.0" that links to the feed of this blog. This is how it looks on the phone

You can publish your widget on WidSets so that anyone can use it.

I think WidSets should be spending time on filling the gaps in the RSS functionalilty of widgets by, for example, displaying full text with images.

But it would definitely be cool to have something like Yahoo widgets for mobile phones in the not-too-long run.

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