Tag: mobile

You wait for ages then along come three!


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.

Congrats Pat

Pat Phelan’s Cubic Telecom company has been selected to be one of the finalists in TechCrunch 20 for their Roam4free product. What is TechCrunch 20? From the site:

Twenty of the hottest new startups from around the world will announce and demo their products over a two day period at TechCrunch20. And they don’t pay a cent to do this. They will be selected to participate based on merit alone. In fact, we’re even offering a $50,000 cash award and lining up other in-kind services and awards from a generous group of corporate sponsors.

There were over 700 submissions from 26 countries so making it to the last 100 finalists was a considerable achievement. In fact, as far as I know Pat’s is the only Irish company in the final 100. Well done Pat – go for it boy!

I have spoken to Pat at length about their new Roam4free product set due out in the coming weeks and if they deliver half of what Pat is promising, it will set the mobile world on its head.

iPhone reviews out – overwhelmingly positive

Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal and David Pogue of the New York Times were both given iPhones to trial for the last two weeks. Today they (and others) published extremely positive reviews of the phone in their respective publications

The phone does indeed appear to live up to the hype with a game changing interface. There are, of course, a few issues with the phone (more of which later) but it has to be remembered that this is version 1.0 of the phone and many of those issues will be ironed out in the coming months. Can anyone remember the first version of Windows Mobile and just how terrible that was? With that in mind, what Apple have done with their first phone is indeed creditable.

Nokia and Microsoft must be very concerned now with the appearance of this new player on their territory. Especially since the phone’s interface beats anything they have ever produced!

Apple have announced that the phone will be updated over the ‘net – similar to how the iPod’s firmware is updated one assumes. This will allow Apple to quickly address faults or bugs found in the phone’s software as well as adding extra functionality.

David Pogue, after outlining all the phone’s strong points in detail goes on to point out some of its flaws –

So yes, the iPhone is amazing. But no, it’s not perfect. There’s no memory-card slot, no chat program, no voice dialing. You can’t install new programs from anyone but Apple; other companies can create only iPhone-tailored mini-programs on the Web. The browser can’t handle Java or Flash, which deprives you of millions of Web videos… it can’t capture video. And you can’t send picture messages (called MMS) to other cellphones.

Apple says that the battery starts to lose capacity after 300 or 400 charges. Eventually, you’ll have to send the phone to Apple for battery replacement, much as you do now with an iPod, for a fee.

Then there’s the small matter of typing. Tapping the skinny little virtual keys on the screen is frustrating, especially at first.

Two things make the job tolerable. First, some very smart software offers to complete words for you, and, when you tap the wrong letter, figures out what word you intended. In both cases, tapping the Space bar accepts its suggestion.

Second, the instructional leaflet encourages you to “trust” the keyboard (or, as a product manager jokingly put it, to “use the Force”). It sounds like new-age baloney, but it works; once you stop stressing about each individual letter and just plow ahead, speed and accuracy pick up considerably.

Even so, text entry is not the iPhone’s strong suit. The BlackBerry won’t be going away anytime soon.

The bigger problem is the AT&T network. In a Consumer Reports study, AT&T’s signal ranked either last or second to last in 19 out of 20 major cities…
Then there’s the Internet problem. When you’re in a Wi-Fi hot spot, going online is fast and satisfying.

But otherwise, you have to use AT&T’s ancient EDGE cellular network, which is excruciatingly slow. The New York Times’s home page takes 55 seconds to appear; Amazon.com, 100 seconds; Yahoo. two minutes. You almost ache for a dial-up modem.

These drawbacks may be deal-killers for some people. On the other hand, both the iPhone and its network will improve. Apple points out that unlike other cellphones, this one can and will be enhanced with free software updates. That’s good, because I encountered a couple of tiny bugs and one freeze. (There’s also a tantalizing empty space for a row of new icons on the Home screen.) A future iPhone model will be able to exploit AT&T’s newer, much faster data network, which is now available in 160 cities.

But even in version 1.0, the iPhone is still the most sophisticated, outlook-changing piece of electronics to come along in years. It does so many things so well, and so pleasurably, that you tend to forgive its foibles.

In other words, maybe all the iPhone hype isn’t hype at all. As the ball player Dizzy Dean once said, “It ain’t bragging if you done it.”

Nokia N95 initial impressions

Courtesy of Paul Giltinan of Choice Communications, I have a loan of a Nokia N95 to try out for the next couple of weeks – excellent!

The first thing which strikes you when you pick up the N95 is how light it is. It is quite bulky (99 x 53 x 21 mm), so you expect it to be heavier than its 120g.

The next thing which hits you is the quality of the 2.6″ screen. At 240 x 320 pixels and up to 16 million colours it is the same resolution as my E65 but because of the larger size, it just looks way better!

A lot has been written about the poor battery life of the N95 but I haven’t found that to be the case. That may be because the N95 and the E65 use the same battery and I am used to its short life (!) but I suspect it has more to do with my not having the Wireless Scanning enabled.

The one time the battery levels did drop sharply was when I was following my Twitter Stream over 3G (instead of the usual WLAN at home).

The GPS application which ships with the phone is of limited use as it can never seem to find the satellites!

I tried a Fring call using the Skype client on the phone today to Conn O’Muinechain but the call quality was appalling and we had to revert to a normal call. This is more likely a problem with Fring, or Fring’s Skype implementation than the N95.

The camera in the phone takes very high quality pics (see photo below) and video but be aware that the 160 onboard memory will run out quickly. You will need to supplement it with a Micro SD memory card (it supports up to 2gb).

The bi-directional slider and the way the screen flips from portrait to landscape automatically is very impressive.

Overall, the N95 is a lovely phone and if I could afford it…

N95 test pic

Irish mobile broadband becomes more compelling

Several of the Irish mobile operators now have mobile broadband offerings and the offerings are getting more and more compelling!

Irish Mobile Broadband offerings

All the operators are using the same Huawei external USB mobile broadband modem. O2 claim that unlike their competitors, their version will have drivers for Windows Vista when they launch.

The data for O2 is speculative as their offering won’t be officially launched until July 2nd but their roadmap, according to O2 spokesman Kevin Heffernan, is to ramp from an initial 3.6Mbps to 7.2Mbps by year end and then 14.4Mbps next year! Also, initially they were to roll out with a 6Gb download cap but it is now looking increasingly likely that this will be revised up to 10Gb.

O2 are saying that they are positioning this to compete with similar offerings from Vodafone and 3Ireland but if I compare these figures to my current Eircom DSL broadband connection, it is: 3mb, €40 per month (ex VAT), and a 40GB download cap. The biggest difference between the two is the download but I don’t download that much so that shouldn’t be an issue.

As I see it, the O2 mobile broadband product could easily start to replace DSL connections either for home users or for Solo Soho setups. The mobile broadband obviously has the advantage of being mobile so you can take it on the train, for example and work away while traveling! And with Ireland having the most expensive line rentals in Europe (€9 per month more than the EU average), this is one more nail in the coffin of fixed lines here.

O2 are also rolling out an EDGE network which should be fully rolled out by q1 2008 according to Heffernan. This means wherever the 3.6Gb HSDPA (or 7.2 or 14.4) is unavailable, the modem should fall back to EDGE’s semi-respectable 256kb. This is at least twice as fast as GPRS.

Finally, starting in 2008, O2 will start on building a HSDUA network – this will give upload speeds of 14.4 Mbps eventually!

Are DSL’s days numbered in Ireland

Nokia N95 availability in Ireland

I was looking around this morning for Irish mobile operators who stock the Nokia N95.

  • I asked O2 and they said they will be stocking it in a number of weeks and couldn’t give me an idea of a price point. However, I have it from an unofficial source that they will offer it for €399 for the Active Life 250 plan.
  • I asked 3Ireland and they told me that it had failed their network tests and so they wouldn’t be selling it for the moment! and
  • I asked Vodafone and Vodafone are selling it currently. The shop I was in (Oliver Plunkett St., Cork) didn’t have any in stock but can order it in. For the Perfect Fit 200 plan they sell the N95 for €439.

Online it is available from Expansys for €739.95 and from Mobilefly from €619.32

Zinadoo enables easy mobile site creation

Zinadoo.com is an online website creation tool specialising in creating websites for mobile devices! When you register with Zinadoo, you are setup with a free zinadoo.mobi subdomain. .mobi is the top level domain created specially for mobile devices.

The timing of this is very coincidental as I did an interview with Neil Edwards, CEO of dotMobi, on Friday which I will be publishing as a podcast on PodLeaders.com later this week.

The online website creator makes constructing mobile aware websites really easy. You can do all the usual stuff like adding links, creating pages, click to call, etc.

The only thing I couldn’t figure out was how to rename the About Us page to simply About!

Zinadoo's mobile site creator

Zinadoo also offer the ability to upgrade to your own .mobi domain (so I’d be tomraftery.mobi instead of tomraftery.zinadoo.mobi).

Best of luck to Zinadoo with this, it seems like an interesting app in a rapidly emerging space.

I see James has a piece up about Zinadoo as well.

Nokia N70 and E65 cameras compared

I took a couple of close-up photos of my bookcase to compare the quality of the cameras in the Nokia N70 and the Nokia E65

Here is a copy of the photo the N70 took:
Nokia N70 photo of bookcase

and here is the E65’s photo of the same bookcase (in high quality mode):
Nokia E65 photo of bookcase

As you can see from these images, the N70 photo is higher quality! The colours from the N70 are richer and there is a lot of noise in the image from the E65.

The fact that the N70 takes better photos than the E65 is strange given that the N70 was released well over a year ago and the E65 has just come out.