Tag Archives: android

A week with the HTC Sensation

HTC Sensation: A1 bringt erstes Dual Core Smartphone von HTC =A week after giving up on the the Blackberry Torch as a clunky not-quite-there-phone, my brother-in-law has given up on the dual-core Android 2.3 megadevice, the HTC Sensation. He much preferred it to the Torch, but, as I suspected it might, the iPhone has ruined him for even marginally less intuitive mobile devices, and the freedom of choice on how to customise the platform was more than he wanted. His thoughts below; which chime neatly with my own thoughts on the Android platform. Powerful, but not ready yet.

Bil’s review:

So, the htc phone…. Well, perhaps the reason I’m writing this note on the iPhone probably says it all……!

Sure the bigger screen, amazing camera & great graphics will win you over, plus the speaker phone is also strong but as an everyday practical device there are still too many minor flaws. Writing a simple note, a reminder, a calendar entry all involve too much ‘faff’. It’s just slightly tedious, your thumb precision is really tested (ok, sure you can rotate the phone for a wider grasp but that requires readjustment and hassle). Perhaps the htc is overengineered? Flexible gingerbread platforms and custom home pages allow you to create and personalise the phone to fit your preference. Fine. But then what?? If it doesn’t do what you want it to do what good is a sexy layout?

iPhone 5 or whatever it’s going to be labelled, will bring something new to the Market…. again, so i’ve decided go reacquaint myself with the iPhone platform ahead of what’s round the corner.

So, here’s to Apple and their product, it’s good in all areas rather than being spectacular in some and letting itself down in others…..

Sent from my APPLE mobile device

Google Android maturing fast

If you read my earlier post on the Android vs IOS debate you’ll understand many of the reasons why I feel that Google’s platform isn’t quite ready for the mass market yet, despite its increasing sales success and technical brilliance. However, at Google I/O some news dropped that will make a difference to this.

In brief: Google is unifying the platform – which will mean fewer different versions in the wild, simpler and more regular updates for all phone (and tablet) users, and a marginally more tightly controlled user experience!

The conflict between open and closed, open ideals and ‘being evil’, tends to get polarised to extremes. In my view, complete choice is just too confusing for the average Joe, so am massively pleased to read that Google seems to have understood this (to some extent) – albeit from the perspective of the developers. Hopefully it’ll bring Android into contention for me the next time I review my handset choice… Which might give Google a little time to thrash it all out if the rumours of supply chain disruption to Apple’s iPhone5 production line bear true!

In unrelated news, my brother-in-law is trialling a Blackberry Torch for a week, having used an iPhone 3GS for the last 18 months. May well get his thoughts for another blog post, whichever way it goes…

Features I want to see in iOS5

Dear Mr Jobs (and also FAO the nice folk at Google).

Five months into my iPhone 4 and a few days ahead of the release of iOS 4.2 (which I don’t imagine will fix any of this), here’s some things I’d like you to do in iOS 5.

1) Fix the on-screen notifications. One notification at a time only? With a multitasking phone with push notifications on dozens of apps? BORKED.
2) Swype. Android and Nokia do it for text input, and its pretty awesome.
3) Proper Gmail client. Y’know, again, like Android. Your threaded conversation is ok, but not great. Google, don’t be petty about the platform. Plenty of loyal Google users use iPhones, get over it!
4) Proper Gmaps client. Y’know, again, like Android… with turn-based Nav and other good features. As above to Google folks.
5) Pre-emptive dialling. This was the only thing I missed from Windows Mobile 6.x (and earlier) – where you typed in a number and it used pre-emptive entry to work out who you wanted from your address book. Much easier than searching for a name in the contacts…
6) A more dynamic home screen. This time its Windows Phone 7 that has stepped up its game.
7) Speed up Appstore browsing. It’s a little slow.

I’m happy for you to leave out Flash. It sucks, and the sooner the world realises that HTML5 is the way to do things, the better.

Well, that’s it from me for now. What do you think needs changing in iOS?

Running technology (or Nike+ vs Garmin vs Runkeeper)

I’m not a naturally fit person. Exercise has never been an easy thing, and I’ve never really ‘trained’ as such. Talking to Sensei Paul about his marathon training, it became incredibly apparent how aware he is of things like his own pace, heart rate, the distance and time he’s trained for, his energy levels… well, there’s an app for some of that, I discovered.

Nike+, a combination heart-rate monitor (HRM), wireless pedometer and reasonably clever iPhone app seemed a sensible first port of call. It was relatively cheap (about £40), it would help work out pace, duration, etc., and there’s a HRM with the sportsband. By working to improve my pace and trying to get my training heart rate up, I’d gradually improve. However… after reading a couple of articles like this one it became apparent that the Nike+ tool isn’t massively accurate. Worse, there were mixed reports on the (non-replaceable) battery life of the sensor, some saying it lasted as few as 30 miles (other saying it lasted for 2 years). And worse still… I gave up Nike shoes about 5 years ago, so would have to use it in a shoelace pouch… which according to fellow B2L runner Susannah makes it less reliable.

So that got scratched off the list.

Next up was the Garmin Forerunner 305; £133 worth of giant-ass GPS watchery. Now; other than cost and the fact that the watch face was the size of a small heli-pad (you should read some of the Amazon reviews), this seemed like a better idea. Runners loved this; even Sensei Paul, who only got a mobile phone about 6 months ago (seriously, its true!), thinks this is a good idea. Everyone wanted me to get one so they could play with it… but, I’m saving up for a house and an iPad, and it was a lot of dosh… so I decided to try an iPhone app first and see if it matched the features in any way without draining my iPhone’s battery down to zero.

Enter RunKeeper Free. It is, erm, free, uses the iPhone’s GPS to track your pace, duration of run, route of run, elevation and everything else.

And it is awesome – amazing for something that costs zero pounds and zero pence. It does drain the iPhone battery quite quickly – I run listening to music and a 30 minute run takes off about 15% of the battery life of my 3GS. A 50 minute run took out 25%, so there’s some proportionality. But given that my longest run is going to be a couple of hours, and the iPhone charges up hella fast, I don’t think its going to be an issue. The GPS lock is quick (assuming you turn Wifi off, which apparently interferes). The app keeps tabs of all of your previous runs – here’s one of mine.

The only problem I have with RunKeeper is that the iPhone needs to be out in hand… so I’ve had to invest in an armband – we’ll see how much difference that makes when it turns up.

I’ve used RunKeeper three times and its proving effective in motivating me to improve my efforts (my slightly obssessive personality kicking in again, trying to beat my previous paces on similar runs)… I have been followed on Twitter by the makers of an App called SprintGPS which I might try out as it supports other exercises too (cycling etc). Will keep blog-readers posted on progress…

Do you use running technology? What’s your view?

Vital tech purchases of 2009 and anticipating 2010

2009 marked the year I stopped buying any old gadget that appealed to me (due to an increased awareness of how tiny my flat is and the need to save for the wedding) but there were a few vital gadget purchases made which makes me glad to be an inhabitant of the future.

1) The iPhone 3GS. Never loved a phone before; now I do. Invaluable piece of tech as a productivity and entertainment tool. Am an addict, apparently, or so says Amanda. I’m still not a full blown member of the cult of Jobs, but this device I love.

2) Sony PRS 505 e-Book reader. Now an old model, this e-Book reader, with e-Ink, long battery life, effectively infinite storage capacity and usable open-source software has made travelling much more relaxed for me. Gone are the days of carrying multiple books on short trips (I read too fast!).

3) The MSI Wind netbook. For when the iPhone is not enough… it’s good to have a bit more edge in a package that weighs about 1.5kg with a battery life of about 5 hours.

4) Dell Studio XPS 13. For when the Wind is not enough. Beautiful LED screen, keyboard, sculpted design and great speakers for a laptop. Finally let me retire my 5 year old IBM Thinkpad R40.

5) Not really a purchase, but I traded for a Nikon D80 with Arvind. I’m not much of a photographer but the D80 makes things look really classy. I just need to work out how it works properly now…

In 2010… the only piece of tech I’m excited about is the new Apple tablet (if that happens), though I’ll be watching what happens with Android in anticipation of my next phone upgrade in early 2011. That said, if 3D TV becomes affordable and more compelling (having seen Avatar, I’m intrigued but not sold on home 3D TV), if people come up with some tech that I haven’t even imagined rather than just a “faster horse”, well, then, I won’t be held responsible for my actions…

Waiting to upgrade

I’m over 8 months into my latest mobile contract, which means an upgrade is less than a third of a year away, but, unusually for me, I have no idea what my next phone is going to be. Usually at this point in the year, I’m desperate to chuck the old thing in for virtually anything… but this time around, (1) my existing handset, the MDA Touch Plus / HTC Touch Dual has proved remarkably resilient against decay or technological out-innovation and (2) all the new devices I might consider have been stubbornly refusing to include keypads. My current phone has HSDPA, a 2MP camera, Windows Mobile 6, a touchscreen and a keypad. I’d like the successor to have most of the above (I’m more open on operating systems with the launch of Android) PLUS GPS (maybe, see earlier post…), Wifi, a higher resolution camera and maybe even a flash.

Front runners? The HTC HD (not announced on any UK networks yet AFAIK, no keyboard), the T-Mobile G1 (tempting, but can I cope after the pain that was the HTC Tytyn 2 – I need a keypad, not qwerty!) and maybe some variation on the HTC Diamond. Garrh – none are ideal – don’t people like physical keypads on smartphones anymore? I’m hoping that HTC comes out with a successor to the Touch Plus with the enhancements that I’m after. Maybe even one running Android… That would be ace, though sounds like they’ll be banking on the G1’s success for a while…

Any recommendations from anyone out there? How’s the new SE Experia X1? What about the Samsung Omnia? Or should I just stay with my existing phone, try to negotiate a discount on the tariff and hold out for the duration of the economic crises/credit crunch/soufflé deflation of the financial markets? Thoughts on a comment appreciated.

This post was inspired by my learning some new features on the HTC designed skin on Windows Mobile, ‘Touchflo’, that really makes me enjoy using it as a camera too.

Oh – T-Mobile is an agency client, but I don’t know anything you don’t and I couldn’t leak it on here if I did… Consider yourself disclaimed.


They launched the T-Mobile G1 today (they being T-Mobile, Google, HTC and everyone else, but also the T-Mobile team across the office from me).

It looks pretty awesome, the screen is really responsive, the long touch thing is cool, the UI is lovely, the browser is nice, the screen is pretty.. it’s generally cool. Register your interest here.

I want:
– one handed texting
– pre-emptive dialling
– video messaging

…and I think it needs Exchange support (much as I think Google Apps is awesome — and yes, they’re a client too) for those business users. But maybe someone can write an ‘app’ for the phone to provide this functionality…

On Shy iPhones, Flo’ Windows Mobiles, and World-eating Androids

Right, so much as I enjoyed Stephen Fry’s epic opus on the iPhone*, my general love for fully specced** devices and general contempt for Apple’s hype machine (how can a company with such a good rep have such an arrogant approach to PR?) means I don’t really give two hoots about the launch last Friday. No idea how many iPhones they’ve sold and unbothered that it doesn’t sound like too many

More interesting to me is the Android launch from Google. No idea, really, what the devices will look like but there are lots of elements of the software that look awesome. In particular, the 3Dness of it all, the full technical spec (and I love that HTC is behind the platform because I love their phones)… Check out this video, via Kat at Tech Digest:

Annoying as the American marketing speak and repeated references to the “power of the platform” are, it does look like it has some good stuff in there.

As to Windows Mobile? Well, I’ve been on that platform since 2002 and would love it to do well — but ‘TouchFlo’ probably won’t cut it in the long term. They need to do some proper innovating on the UI there. That said, I’m up for contract renewal in February, and given that I have no intention of buying an iPhone in the near future and that the first Android handsets will miss my upgrade window by about 6 months, I will probably be trying to pick up an HTC Touch Dual in February…

* His ‘dork talk’ column on the subject is actually less enjoyable, IMHO…

** Rory Reid on Cnet.co.uk, speaking wittily on the rumoured Apple tablet PC:

So, can Apple turn the Tablet PC into a success when previous attempts have failed? The short answer is ‘yes’. Any company that can make a mobile phone with no buttons, no picture messaging, slow Web access and no video capture into the most desirable phone on the planet can easily make tablets popular.