Category: mobile

iPhone and iPod Touch leading to huge increase in mobile web browsing

Two stories being reported today point to how Apple got it right with the iPhone/iPod Touch.

In the first story, coming out of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, EE Times is reporting that:

A blue-ribbon panel of human behavior and technology experts at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain agreed that the best recent advance in the mobile telecommunications user space came not from a mobile telecom company but from Apple Inc. — the iPhone.

Anup Murarka, director of technical marketing for Adobe, cited a study showing that 77 percent of iPhone purchasers described themselves as “very satisfied” with their user experience

Going even further than that, AppleInsider today published a story about how Google said it has seen

50 times more search requests coming from Apple iPhones than any other mobile handset — a revelation so astonishing that the company originally suspected it had made an error culling its own data

So despite the fact that the iPhone is only on sale in 4 countries and is significantly outsold by Nokia et al handsets, the vast majority to Google from mobile devides is from the iPhone.

Why is this? Because Apple made it easy to do. Not only that, they made it a fun experience (turn the device, the page reformats to the new orientation, two finger zoom, etc.).

The iPhone/iPod Touch user experience is so far ahead of anything the competition (Symbian, Windows Mobile) are producing that it will take them several years to catch up. If, in the meantime, Apple can add features like Bluetooth, and 3G and sign deals with more mobile operators they have a strong chance of becoming the dominant handset manufacturer as well as the dominant mp3 player.

Updating the firmware on a Nokia N95

According to Nokia, the latest version of firmware (the phone’s operating system) for the N95 is 20.0.015. This was released in November 2007. According to AllAboutSymbian, this was a significant update which included:

demand paging (!), so 30MB plus free RAM after booting, faster operation, N-Gage game store previews and portal stub, new camera software, integrated Search, new Welcome apps and more

You can check your firmware version by entering *#0000# on your phone and you can update using the Nokia Software Updater .

However, sometimes even if you do have the most recent firmware, the software updater can’t update the phone. This is usually because there is a version of the firmware on your phone specifically for your mobile operator. This typically has some aspect of the phone’s functionality disabled (i.e. the SIP stack).

To get around this you can download an application called Nemesis Service Suite (NSS). This is an application which allows you to change the product code of the firmware version on your phone.

Nemesis Service Suite

I found the following list of product codes for generic (non-mobile operator altered) firmware on Nokia-N95.net along with more detailed instructions on changing the product code:
0534841 EURO1 – Sand
0534842 FRANCE
0534843 ALPS
0534844 EURO2
0534845 TURKEY
0534847 SCANDINAVIA
0534848 BALTIAN
0534849 RUSSIAN
0534850 UKRAINE
0534851 CIS, Bulgaria
0534852 EURO3
0534853 BALKANS
0534854 GREECE, CYPROS
0534857 ISRAEL
0536058 BELARUS/MOLDOVA
0534833 SINGAPORE

0536062 EURO1 – Plum
0536063 FRANCE
0536064 ALPS
0536065 EURO2
0536066 TURKEY
0536068 SCANDINAVIA
0536069 BALTIAN
0536070 RUSSIAN
0536071 UKRAINE
0536072 CIS, Bulgaria
0536073 BELARUS/MOLDOVA
0536074 EURO3
0536075 BALKANS
0536076 GREECE, CYPROS
0536079 ISRAEL

Once youhave edited the firmware’s product code, you can now run the Nokia Software Updater once more and this time it will update the firmware on your phone.

Be aware with all these hacks that there is always the possibility of bricking your phone and always back up all your info before updating your phone.

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet review

I received a present of a Nokia N810 recently from a client. This was in lieu of payment for some work I did for them.

To say that I am underwhelmed with the device would be putting it mildly!

The N810 is an internet tablet. It has a browser and a radio and GPS built-in. It accesses the internet over wifi or using your phone as a modem over bluetooth. Sounds cool enough, so why am I unimpressed?

A number of reasons. First off the maps for the GPS are terrible. They don’t include many Irish addresses (including Rushbrooke, the townland I live in) and the GPS application doesn’t plot routes either – one of the most useful functions of a GPS device, I would have thought.

Next is the low memory of the device. I was trying it out yesterday when I got a message that it couldn’t open the Welcome program because there wasn’t enough memory! I closed one of the running programs and the Welcome program opened no problem. I only had around 3 applications running at the time so I was surprised that this consumed all the RAM on the device.

The UI is really clunky. I mean really clunky! In this regard I have been spoilt by my iPod Touch experience.

It is slow opening/running applications and the browsing experience is painful compared to Safari on the iPod.

The display doesn’t change orientation if you turn the device through 90 degrees.

It is a brick – big and heavy. Am I likely to carry this and my N95 with me when I am traveling? I don’t think so!

Compare the size of the N810 with the N95 below
N95 and N810

to my iPod Touch with the same N95
N95 and iPod Touch

I have most of the same functionality with the combination of the iPod Touch and the N95 as I do with the N810 and the N95 for a fraction the pocket real estate!

And given that the iPhone Developer Kit is being released in the coming weeks, my iPod Touch is likely to become even more useful!

On the plus side it has an Internet radio!

Is there some useful functionality of the N810 that I am missing?

Flash competition

Fellow BlogTalk 2008 organiser Thomas Burg is running a pre-launch games contest over on his new Playoo site.

The competition is to create flash lite games for mobile phones and there is a top prize of $10,000 and a total prize fund of $25,000!

Mobile phone gaming is going to be a huge area and Flash Lite would seem to be an ideal delivery mechanism.

Adobe have a page on their site listing the mobile handsets which support Flash Lite.

Good luck to all the participants

First Gphones shipping?

Rumour has it that the first 50,000 Gphones will ship from Taiwanese handset-maker HTC‘s manufacturing facility before the end of the year.

While 50,000 may seem like a modest number,

“These initial phones are not going to be for sale,” Benjamin Schachter, one of the [UBS] analysts who worked on the report, said in a phone call earlier today. “These are going to be available for developers only to understand how the software works.”

There’s all kinds of speculation about the Gphone and the business model which will come with it. Some are postulating that it will be free but will display ads.

There’s no news yet on if/when it will come to Europe.

The mobile space is a no-brainer for Google though. Of the 6.billion people on the planet, only 1 billion have easy Internet access. Google’s long-term intention is to use these phones as a cheap way to Internet enable billions more people.

MaxRoam Launch today

MaxRoam was launched today by Pat Phelan’s Cubic Telecom.

MaxRoam initially offers a sim card for your mobile phone which you use when roaming. The sim card costs €29.99. You can add multiple numbers to the sim card so that, if you live in Ireland, for instance but visit Spain frequently, you can have Irish and Spanish numbers mapped to the phone. You give the Irish number to your Irish contacts and the Spanish number to your Spanish contacts and everyone is making low cost calls.

This is great. €29.99 is about 1/10th of my last Vodafone bill when I was abroad!

Where it is even more impressive though is when you are in Spain (again, for example), receiving calls, the cost is far lower than receiving calls using your standard mobile operator.

Consider the Spanish MaxRoam charges
MAXroam pricing for Spain

Now compare them to the Vodafone costs (I choose Vodafone as they are my mobile operator)
Vodafone pricing for Spain

If I send or receive texts in Spain on Vodafone’s network they charge me 49c (on any other Spanish network they charge me 65c). With MaxRoam receiving texts in Spain is free and sending texts on any network is 37c.

Call charges with MaxRoam are similarly cheaper. Receiving a call is 25c (per minute, I assume), making a call is 33c p/m. Vodafone charge 29c p/m to receive call, 59c p/m to call within the EU €1.19 p/m for calls to the Americas and an eye-watering €3.19 per minute for calls to the rest of the world.

I choose Spain for this example ‘cos I have family living in Spain and go there regularly but you will get similar numbers for other countries.

What I am not clear on is when you are in another country, are you locked to a particular local mobile provider or will any work.

I know Pat well and while he’s a lovely guy, I know he’s not doing this out of the goodness of his heart. If Pat can charge these low rates and still make a profit, how much are the mobile operators coining in?

Whoop their asses Pat!

UPDATE – In Pat’s post about the launch he says:

What we will do is put YOU first, here’s my mobile +353872049121, if we leave YOU down in any way call me up and give me a piece of your mind.

And renowned Technology writer David Pogue gives MaxRoam a great write-up in the New York Times.

Now that’s impressive.

iPhone EU launch limited to 3 countries

I spotted an article in the Financial Times last night which said Apple has succeeded in persuading 3 mobile operators to sell the iPhone in Europe using the same revenue share as AT&T in the US.

The three mobile operators mentioned are T-Mobile of Germany, Orange of France and O2 in the UK. According to the article:

The operators are set officially to announce the partnerships at the IFA trade fair in Berlin at the end of August

The article goes on to say that

[Apple] will continue the roll-out elsewhere in Europe next year, when it will also launch in Asia

Damn! I realise it is unlikely but is there any chance the UK O2 launch will include Ireland?

Nokia BL-5C battery replacement page broken!

Nokia have issued a product recall for 46 million of its BL-5C batteries.

Seemingly a short-circuit, while charging can “in rare cases” cause the battery to overheat and “dislodge”.

The battery is used in the following Nokia phones:
Nokia 1100, Nokia 1100c, Nokia 1101, Nokia 1108, Nokia 1110, Nokia 1112, Nokia 1255, Nokia 1315, Nokia 1600, Nokia 2112, Nokia 2118, Nokia 2255, Nokia 2272, Nokia 2275, Nokia 2300, Nokia 2300c, Nokia 2310, Nokia 2355, Nokia 2600, Nokia 2610, Nokia 2610b, Nokia 2626, Nokia 3100, Nokia 3105, Nokia 3120, Nokia 3125, Nokia 6030, Nokia 6085, Nokia 6086, Nokia 6108, Nokia 6175i, Nokia 6178i, Nokia 6230, Nokia 6230i, Nokia 6270, Nokia 6600, Nokia 6620, Nokia 6630, Nokia 6631, Nokia 6670, Nokia 6680, Nokia 6681, Nokia 6682, Nokia 6820, Nokia 6822, Nokia 7610, Nokia N70, Nokia N71, Nokia N72, Nokia N91, Nokia E50, Nokia E60

Nokia have set up a web page where you can check to see if your battery is one of the 46 million affected batteries – however, the page is not functioning.

When I entered the 26 digit number from the BL-5C battery of my Nokia N70 and pressed Submit, as instructed, the page simply refreshed with no information on whether the battery needs to be replaced or not. 😦

I assume that means the battery is not affected but a piece of text confirming that would be nice.

UPDATE: – This site is not related to Nokia in any way. Please don’t leave details of your battery here. I have no way of telling if your battery is faulty.

3 Ireland's Mobile broadband offering – slow and unstable?

Getting broadband from your mobile operator is a very tempting proposition as I have mentioned previously. It allows you to finally get rid of that landline you so rarely use (and pay a fortune in monthly charges for) and mobile broadband means you can take it with you when you travel – no more looking for wifi hotspots.

However, reading FrankP’s experience with 3 Ireland’s mobile broadband offering I think I’ll hold off on going the 3 Ireland route for mobile broadband for now.

I spoke to Frank this morning after reading his post and I asked him about the speed of the connection – he said:

1288 kbps right now

yesterday it was 504 kbps when I checked

10th it was 612 kbps / 1141

9th 334 kbps

8th from 30 to 70kbps

This is quite a bit different from the promise on the 3 Ireland Broadband page:

speeds of up to 3.6Mbps – smooth surfing guaranteed

Is Frank’s experience with 3 Ireland unique or have others had similar issues?

Paul Giltenan of Choice Communications has promised me a review O2 broadband modem to trial so I’m looking forward to seeing how that works. I wonder are O2 customers having similar problems – they are, after all, using the same Huawei usb modem.

And if this is a more general problem than 3 Ireland Mobile, should Comreg be getting involved? Of course we all know the telcos find Comreg about as intimidating as Bambi.

You wait for ages then along come three!

iPhone

I have read a lot about how great the iPhone is but I hadn’t seen any until last Friday; and then I saw three!

I was at a lunch in Cork with Britt Blaser and Sean O’Mahoney (amongst others). Both had iPhones.

I had a chance to try the phone out for myself and see just why people rave about it. It is spectacular.

Later that day I met Patrick Collison. Patrick also had an iPhone.

He was meeting Damien and myself. During the meeting he had to leave us briefly to collect someone. He left his iPhone for us to play with. It really is an incredible phone (although Patrick, after about 25 minutes the sound deteriorates on calls to the speaking clock in Hong Kong 😉 ).

There is no question but that Apple have re-defined the mobile phone.