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New Picasa released - Get it Now!

Posted On: Wed, 19/10/2005 - 09:26 by Alex

Picasa is arguably the best windows photo album software available, with a previous version garnering the only perfect score in a test of photo album software by Arstechnica, and an interface which looks beautiful.

I'm sure that you're destined to take lots of pictures with that nice new shiny cameraphone (and now with 2.0+mp resolutions those pictures might actually be worth keeping) so do download the new Picasa 2.1 and try it out.

New features include support for multiple languages (Chinese (simplified and traditional), Dutch, English French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish), enhanced RAW support, and the ability to post a picture to your blogger.com site with a single click.

Get it now.

[via dpreview]

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Implications of the E-series for Series 60 Upgraders...

Posted On: Wed, 12/10/2005 - 17:56 by Alex

It's clear that the Nokia E-series (see specifications here) will have an impact upon smartphone phone purchasing decisions, particularly if you're not in a rush. The announced date is Q1 2006 - so expect releases by June 2006.

We are not (really) considering price; only announced features and expected delivery dates. Also, only smartphones are considered. Observations are divided into US and non-US; US readers do not need to read about the rest of the world, but the rest of the world should read about the US. (Ed: The US market is a subset.)

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Remember that news about a Symbian Treo?

Posted On: Wed, 12/10/2005 - 13:46 by Alex

Jimmie Geddes of gadgetsonthego.net today reported: "I just heard from a ***very reliable source*** that there is indeed a ... Symbian Treo in the works for both CDMA and GSM networks." (emphasis in original)

This statement, in and of itself, does not help. It revolves around the definition of "in the works", and we cannot help but note that the existence of a prototype Symbian Treo would render his statement absolutely accurate. That such a prototype might exist is eminently believable, simply because Palm would appear to have had difficulty adapting the Palm OS into a smartphone platform, it has at any rate lost control of it's OS, and building a prototype would seem prudent.

However, two other factoids make the idea that Palm is indeed striving to release a Symbian OS Treo (along with a Palm, and Windows Treo) eminently believable. First, recall that two weeks ago Guy Kewney said: "the problem is that there's some core Symbian code, which Nokia says belongs to Nokia. And Symbian is caught between UIQ and Nokia in this, and so the phone is, politely, a bodge." Second, Nokia has just released the Nokia E61 (pictured above) - a Symbian Series 60 device with quadband, WiFi, and a seemingly solid competitor to such a Treo.

Kewney's comment did not seem to make sense, since Symbian OS is supposedly open to new licencees, and Nokia does not even make UIQ phones. (Note: UIQ and Series 60 are different user interfaces for the Symbian core OS; applications are not (yet?) cross-compatible.) It does not even make sense for Nokia to be baulking even if Palm wanted to use Series 60 - this has been licensed to multiple other manufacturers (although there are only three shipping products; the Panasonic X800, X700 and Siemens SX1; note that the Samsung phones are also scheduled to arrive soon).

However, looking at it from the perspective of business advantage, Palm would have gained plenty of mindshare were it able to announce and ship a Symbian OS device in the Treo form factor first. There would simply be no competition, and Palm would thereby leverage upon both it's existing brand equity as well as the reputation of Symbian. Again, this is not a problem - unless Nokia was about to reveal a competing device.

Given the past history of Symbian, it seems that Palm will eventually obtain a licence - we bet that Nokia will stop raising objections soon after the Nokia E61 ships in quantity.

If that does happen - Ewan Spence was right all along.

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Dear Mr. Rubenstein, there is a toaster which brews coffee!

Posted On: Fri, 30/09/2005 - 15:44 by Alex

Apple vice president and iPod division head Jon Rubenstein said: "Is there a toaster that also knows how to brew coffee? There is no such combined device, because it would not make anything better than an individual toaster or coffee machine. It works the same way with the iPod, the digital camera or mobile phone: it is important to have specialized devices."

We're glad to be able to conclusively say that there are such devices. Two, in fact. Each picture to the right links to an online store where the product may be purchased (caveat emptor), and image on the far right is from Gizmodo.

Having said that...

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The Rise of Mobile Gaming

Posted On: Fri, 30/09/2005 - 08:35 by Alex

It has been quite obvious for some time that gaming on the move (or at least- portable gaming) is big business - ever since Nintendo released it's first Game Boy in 1989. By 2000, 100 million Game Boys had shipped, and obviously other players were itching to get into the market.

The result has been a slew of new portable gaming devices - the Sony PSP and the Nintendo DS (or Micro) form the avant garde of portable gaming devices today; while the way is littered with various failed devices ...

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YASV: Yet Another Symbian Virus

Posted On: Thu, 22/09/2005 - 17:37 by Alex

F-Secure posted information about a new Symbian virus on it's weblog yesterday:

SymbOS/Cardtrap.A is otherwise unremarkable Symbian trojan, except that it also tries to infect users PC if user inserts the phone memory card to PC.

When infecting Symbian phone the Cardtrap.A copies two Windows worms (Win32/Padobot.Z and Win32/Rays) to the memory card of the phone. Padobot.Z is copied with autorun.inf file in attempt to start automatically if the card is inserted to PC using windows. Rays is copied with filename SYSTEM.EXE and same icon as the System folder, this is done as social engineering attempt so that user would click on Rays instead of System folder.

To our knowledge, no Windows version supports autorun from a memory card, but it still might work with some Windows version and third party driver combination.

At least the "threat" is not being overblown. Look at this article by Steve Litchfield regarding the real "threat" of mobile virii... Basically, if you don't accept and run unknown software on your phone, you're safe.

[via Slashphone]

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Nokia 7370 and 7360 about to be announced?

Posted On: Thu, 22/09/2005 - 12:51 by Alex

There are a variety of methods through which impending handset releases may be sussed out, including the FCC approvals and Bluetooth qualification.

Another method is through looking at UA Profiles. UA Profiles, or UAProfs, are a method through which mobile device capabilities can be confirmed. These are regularly published by most vendors; see for example the UAProf profile repository. (For more technical information, look at Mark Butler's site.)

What's interesting to us is that a UA Profiles for two devices, the Nokia 7370 and the Nokia 7360, have been made available...

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Budget Nokia phones and Data Synchronization

Posted On: Thu, 22/09/2005 - 12:14 by Alex

We have recently become aware of the fact that a number of Nokia phones which we've reviewed (Nokia 1600, 6030) do not in fact support data connectivity. This means a few things:

1. No calendar/contact synchronization with outlook via PC Suite.
2. The only method of acquiring new software/ringtones is via GRPS / WAP.

Therefore, if you do indeed have a windows computer compatible with PC Suite, and use outlook or use multiple java applications, we strongly recommend that you puchase the Nokia 3120 (pictured right) rather than the Nokia 1600 or 6030. This is the last released budget phone which implements PC Suite connectivity.

Please also be aware that you will need a data cable (not included in the box): the Nokia 3120 is fortunately compatible with two - The DKU-5 and the CA-42.

The other obvious alternative is to skip Nokia phones altogether...

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