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mtvoid's Calcium calculator freeware released for new Symbian phones

Posted On: Tue, 11/07/2006 - 13:05 by Alex

Unfortunately, as you all know, S60v3 (Symbian 9.1) broke compatibility with all existing symbian apps, rendering the Nokia 6280 a decent choice. We've lamented the lack of S60v3 apps before, but the tide is changing.

And at the frothy bits right in the front of the rising crest is mtvoid's Calcium, which we've included in our much downloaded Symbian S60 Freeware bundle for the longest time.

We've previously lauded Calcium as a "Replacement for the standard phone calculator ... (which) ... sets new standards for usability, and is also very very pretty. ," and really, there's simply nothing more to add, except to note that this port not only includes the same spiffy functionality but also a (we think?) newly rendered UI which, while fundementally identical, is nevertheless even gummier. Mac OS X fans will be pleased.

So - go forth and download it! (We'll be creating a Symbian S60v3 Freeware bundle in short order, but for now just hit mtvoid's site ;) )

[Source: Michael Ahokas from mtvoid! Thanks mate!]

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Sync your phone/blackberry with Google Calendar

Posted On: Thu, 01/06/2006 - 05:59 by Alex

Thomas Oldervoll from Zenior AS has developed GCalsync, a java program which synchronizes phones. Currently at version 1.04, it supports basic sync functionality, although there are still a couple of rough edges, and not all java capable phones are totally supported.

Possibly worth a look though, if you use Google Calendar. We prefer outlook + Nokia PC Sync. :)

[via mobitopia]

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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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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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Nokia N80 and N71 shipping ...

Posted On: Thu, 04/05/2006 - 11:16 by Alex

... in some parts of the world. Availability of the N80 seems to be rather low, but it's pricing is not too surprising. If you have no idea what the N80 is - read this, or just take it from us that it's a good phone.

Whether it's a good buy is not so clear-cut; In a comparison with the recently released Nokia 6280, you're basically paying more for:

  • Symbian compatibility (which may grow to be more important, but because Symbian 3rd edition phones are incompatible with older phones (6680/N70) is not an issue now)
  • Wifi (killer feature; unless you can get a unlimited 3G data plan which would be even better)
  • +1MP camera ( particularly because of the addition of macro functionality)
  • marginally better screen resolution (alrightttt. but the 6280 screen is quite gorgeous anyhow)
  • seriously superior browser (check out this excellent preview by Eugenia Loli-Queru at OS news)

So - if you're going to be using those features, bite. Otherwise.. perhaps not? Take special care to take note of the offers available for the Nokia 6280 - we've seen some rather attractive deals. Also remember that the S40 V3 UI is pretty good stuff.

We're not recommending the N71 because we don't like clamshells. :)

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