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Sanyo makes the best overall mobile phones (in the US)

Posted On: Thu, 01/06/2006 - 02:48 by Alex

Gosh. As can be seen from the chart above, which was extracted from a press release about the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Wireless Mobile Phone Evaluation Study, Sanyo did the best, smacking down more established players.

These figures are based upon a surveys, in the US, conducted around October 2005 and February 2006, with 18,740 participants who had mobiles newer than 2 years old. Satisfaction was based on five factors: physical design (24%), operation (22%), features (20%), handset durability (19%) and battery function (15%).

What this really means, though, is open to question. There is a rather high degree of subjectivity involved in determinations of "satisfaction," and while the reasonably large number of survey participants may alleviate issues such as the differing numbers of customers using each brand, without sighting the entire report it is difficult to make any certain conclusions. So all we can really say is what the press release states:

(1) customer satisfaction ratings have increased most significantly from 2005 in phone
operation (increasing 5%) and features (increasing 5%);
(2) average reported handset purchase price in 2006 is $86—a decrease from $99 in 2004;
(3) average replacement cycle for a typical handset is 17.6 months—a slight decrease from 18 months in 2005;
(4) the most-used features on the handset include the speakerphone (26%), send/receive short messaging services [SMS] (22%), camera capabilities (19%) and gaming (16%); and
(5) more than 40 percent of all current wireless users compared other handset brands before selecting their current wireless phone. Those who did compare phones during the selection process were significantly more likely to be satisfied overall with their current handset than those who did not.

Whether any of this can be extrapolated outside the US is difficult to predict, as certain brands (notably Sony Ericsson and Nokia) have very different models elsewhere.

[via Arstechnica]

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SugarMama - for all the little Virgin Mobile users

Posted On: Wed, 31/05/2006 - 07:43 by Alex

Virgin Mobile US will partner with Microsoft's Xbox, Pepsico, and the American Legacy Foundation's anti-smoking "Truth" campaign (www.whudafxup.com!!!) to show it's customers ads in exchange for free airtime. The advertisers apparently want access to Virgin Mobile's young userbase...

Here's the deal: Watch a 30-second ad on the Virgin Web site, then answer a few questions to show you were paying attention. Or, if you prefer, answer a few multiple-choice questions through a brief text-message exchange. In return you get one minute of talk time.

Um. While we don't see how this would be appealing at all. Perhaps if you had no idea what Xbox, Pepsico or the "truth" campaign was about (plus if the ads themselves are great), and very very free, it might seem like a good value proposition.

Just make sure you're not using the mobile phone when you watch the ad...

[via Businessweek]

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EU lawmakers consider taxing emails, SMS messages

Posted On: Tue, 30/05/2006 - 13:26 by Alex

Reuters is reporting that European Union lawmakers are investigating a proposed tax on emails and mobile phone text messages as a way to fund the 25-member bloc in the future.

We don't know what they mean. It's clear that emails and mobile phone text messages are already taxed (at least indirectly) - and not just in Europe. Every country with a VAT (or equivalent tax) already draws tax revenue from mobile phone services and internet access services.

It's hard to imagine how email or sms messages could be taxed in any other way - while the "per message" charging for SMS does facilitate this, to some extent, tracking emails would probably cost more than whatever charge could reasonably be levied upon the e-mail. And what happens if the EU citizen uses servers entirely outside of the EU? (e.g. Gmail) There's also some substance to Techdirt's point that "just about everyone would rebel against it."

However, perhaps there's some really intelligent solution. Who knows? We're quite sure, though that the following quotation from Alain Lamassoure, the prominent French MEP who tabled the suggestion is simply... silly.

"Exchanges between countries have ballooned, so everyone would understand that the money to finance the EU should come from the benefits engendered by the EU,"

Oh yes, thank you so much, EU, for modern technology!

[Image Credit: RP Online]

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Hun Sen sez - ban 3G or moral turpitude will ensue!

Posted On: Mon, 29/05/2006 - 13:55 by Alex

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has banned 3G phones in Cambodia for ten years, because his wife received pornography on her mobile.

I have written to the Minister of Telecommunications to delay the use of certain mobile phones. We can wait 10 more years until we have managed to improve morality in society. - Hun Sen

Good luck with that, particularly since there are far graver problems. Perhaps Hun Sen should ban child sex trafficking instead. Or maybe that's a more difficult target than 3G handphones...

[via uberphones, Image Credit: BBC

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iPod nano 2G OEM version?

Posted On: Mon, 29/05/2006 - 13:41 by Alex

Looks sweet, no?

Also packs quite a punch, with features including 4GB of memory, a 2.4in screen, a microphone plug for voice recording, FM support of some kind, USB support and MP3/WAV/OGG/WMA for audio, Xvid for video, 20 hours of battery life for audio and 6 for video.

[via Gizmodo]

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Looking for S60 3rd Ed. compatible software? It's pretty rare.

Posted On: Mon, 29/05/2006 - 11:58 by Alex

It's like July 2002 again. The Nokia 7650was just released and expectations for it were high - the first real smart phone! but-but- there were no applications to be seen...

This anomaly was corrected, eventually, and by the time 2004 swung around there was a healthy freeware community providing applications to compatible devices, as well as a whole slew of commercial applications capable of doing almost anything, in spite of the fact that each particular S60 device released was just a little different and required just a little tweaking.

Then came the S60 3rd Edition with exciting new features like WiFi. Of course, it also broke application compatiblity; this time almost completely (although arguably "security" is a pretty good reason for that, in this day and age.)

So, that lack-of-application malady which afflicted the Nokia 7650 so is back with a vengence. Things are getting better, with every passing day, but as a quick comparison shows that the difference is still stark.

At least now sites are starting to list S60 3rd Edition games in their own category... see my-symbian and the Symplification application and game stores...

[via Darla Mack and Tommi's S60 blog

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Nokia releases S60WebKit under the BSD

Posted On: Sun, 28/05/2006 - 20:00 by Alex
This initiative will attract a critical mass of open source software developers to build a consistent, web browser engine as the clearest path to minimize fragmentation in the mobile browser market. With nearly 100 million smartphones deployed worldwide, a common open source solution driving mobile web browser consistency will deliver on the long-awaited promise of full-web browsing and a true web experience for smartphone users around the globe. - Lee Epting, vice president Forum Nokia

Hopefully that happens. We think that it might, not because of the open source initiative, but because the browsers based on the S60webkit (see review here) might be the best (mobile) browsers on the market now and for the forseeable future. Opera Mobile took the early lead, but that was because Nokia's offering of the time was pretty abysmal.

The biggest threat is probably still Opera - with the release of Opera Mini 2.0, which is compatible with almost all java-enabled phones, it seems that fragmentation might be about to come to an end. If, however, S60webkit is ported to java... (although from a technical perspective that seems unlikely; part of the reason Opera Mini works is that it is partially predicated upon thin-client mentality.)

This is the beginning of the mobile browser wars; only now is most of the world beginning to get access to the 3G (and other) wireless broadband technologies which will eventually allow an acceptable (roughly comparable to the desktop) user experience.

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Upgrading! (Drupal 4.7.1 ahoy!)

Posted On: Sat, 27/05/2006 - 11:19 by Alex


Upgrading in progress!!!

We're about to move to Drupal 4.7.1 (which has finally been released! Our tests with the beta 1 version didn't go very well...)

So - anyhow - the point is that the site may be unavailable, look weird, or entirely different, for awhile. When it gets back, however, there should be reviews of the 7370, 6280, and an A2DP bluetooth headset up. And we might even begin to start posting regularly again!

We know we've said stuff like this before and been hopelessly late, but that's because we're awfully busy. The big plan was also to purchase an N80 (which is actually extremely affordable, at least in Singapore) and create the definitive guide for that (much like our nice nice Nokia 7610 Guide, bless its traded-in soul), but we're draggng our feet a little because the 6280 is pretty good, and the addition of working life and a blackberry kinda make the N80 rather otiose. We'll decide around June 9th. :D
Update 1: Code updated. Now running on the basic 4.7.1 with no modules. The base theme we're going to start working from is meta; a shockingly excellent piece of work by Ken Collins, released under the GPL. Much like our previous theme, it uses orange and green (partially why we like it)! We'll be making changes, but the excellent general style will probably stay, as well the ability to switch between "expanded" and "normal" views via javascript.

Update 2: After much pain, the database seems to be largely in order. Will be adding modules and things soon, and the theme is not yet entirely up to scratch. Must sleep.

Update 3: Adding modules and things. If there's anything which you're dying to have, well.. erh. Ask? Thanks for the comments...

Udate 4: Certain links will be broken. We're going to have to comb through th site manually to find and update them. Please DO NOT mail us about broken links to files or images for the moment (this might take some time). If you're desperate, the images are probably in either http://www.symplification.com/images/* or http://www.symplification.com/files/* Also, a ctrl-refresh might help. I've noticed that my web proxy is being terribly aggressive.

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