Archive for the ‘Smartphones’ Category

With 2011 touted as the year of the tablet, the tablet war has begun with Apple unveiling iPad2 and BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM)speculated to be following soon with its PlayBook. Here’s is my point of view on how Apple Inc’s iPad 2, stacks up against iPad 1 and competing tablets, with just simple features and less jargons so everyone can understand with a scroll :0.

Apple iPad 2

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* Price: $499-$829

* Camera: Has front and rear-facing camera, Sports a magnetic cover

* Weight: 1.33 lbs (603gm)

* Screen: 9.7 inches LED display; width: 7.3 inches; depth: 0.34 inches

* Processor & OS: Runs on 1GHz dual-core A5 processor, iOS 4.3

* Availablity: March 11

Apple iPad

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* Price: $399-$729

* Weight: 1.5 lbs (680gm)

* Screen: 9.7 inches LED display, width: 7.5 inches, depth: 0.5 inches

* Processor & OS: Runs on 1GHz A4 processor

Motorola Mobility Xoom

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* Software: Android

* Weight: 1.6 lbs (725gm)

* Camera: Has a 2 MP front-facing camera for video calls and a 5 MP rear camera that takes still photos and captures high-definition video.

* Screen: 10.1 inches diagonally; width: 6.6 inches; depth: 0.5 inches

* Processor & OS: Runs on 1GHz Dual Core processor with Android 3.0 Honeycomb

* Availability: Since February

* Price: $600-$799

Research In Motion PlayBook

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* Screen: 7 inches display; width 7.6 inches, depth 0.4 inches

* Weight 0.9 lbs (408 gm)

* Camera: Dual camera, 3 MP camera in the front, 5 MP camera at the back

* Processor & OS: Runs on 1 GHz dual-core processor with BlackBerry OS

* Price: To be announced

* Availablity: March likely

LG Optimus Pad

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* Weight: 630 grams

* Screen: 8.9 inches display

* Processor & OS: 1GHz NvidiaTegra 2 dual-core processor, runs on Android 3.0

* Camera: Two separate cameras on the back for shooting 3D video. A 2 MP camera on front for conferencing.

* Price: To be announced

* Availability: Middle of March

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

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* Screen: 10.1 inches display

* Weight: 1.3 lbs (589gm)

* Camera: Front- and rear-facing cameras

* Processor & OS: Runs on 1 GHz dual-core processor with Android 3.0 Honeycomb

* Price: To be announced

* Availability: March

HP TouchPad

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* Screen: 9.7 inches multitouch screen

* Weight: 1.6 pounds (0.7 kg)

* Camera: There’s a front-facing 1.3 MP camera for video calling. However, there is no camera on the back panel.

* Processor & OS: Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-CPU APQ8060 1.2-GHz processor; will be the first to use WebOS OS which HP got when it acquired Palm.

Price: To be announced

Availability: Middle of the year likely

Mobile Web browsers are fast catching up with their desktop counterparts in terms of functionality and features. Until a few years ago, internet access on the cellphone mainly meant being able to chat or send and receive e-mail on your handset. Yes, you could browse the Web on your phone as well, but screens were small and the browser – the software that let you access websites – was not really designed to let you see websites in all their glory, but instead showed you watered down “mobile-friendly ” versions of the originals.

All that changed with the arrival of the iPhone with its powerful Safari browser. This not only signalled an era of larger phone screens, but also positioned the handset as a device that was as capable of browsing the Web as a computer. The iPhone’s popularity led to not only more touchscreen devices (which is another story altogether), but also spurred a significant improvement in cellphone browsers. Prior to the iPhone, browsers like Opera Mini had managed to deliver a decent browsing experience on handsets, but had often been hampered by relatively small (2 or 2.2 inch) displays.

All this has now changed and the first thing that many users do when they get a cellphone is often to download a new browser to be able to surf their favourite websites with minimum fuss – ironically, the default browsers in most smartphones (barring the iPhone and Android devices) still remain on the weaker side. Here, then are some of the mobile browsing options available for those wanting a slice of the Web on their phones:

Opera Mini

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It can claim credit to having started the mobile browsing phenomenon when it allowed users to access desktop versions of websites on their handsets as far back as in 2005. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength and now even comes pre-installed on many handsets. One of the reasons Opera Mini works so well is that it uses a server to compress Web pages and then sends them to a handset – this can wreck havoc with images, but more often than not provides a very quick browsing experience, even on relatively slow connections.

Recent years have seen additions like tabbed browsing, an icon-driven interface, the ability to share bookmarks with desktop browsers, and support for just about every phone (including the iPhone) in town being added. All of which make it the best mobile browsing option on a handset to this day, notwithstanding the absence of support for Flash websites. In fact, it is so good that it has overshadowed and at times even cannibalised a sister product, Opera Mobile, which provides similar functionality, but runs totally off the phone and does not access pages through a server!

Available on http://www.m.opera.com

Bolt

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It is a relative newcomer to the world of mobile browsers, but Bolt has already started making a name for itself with its extremely fast browsing and the fact that it allows users to access streaming Flash websites like YouTube and MySpace. Bolt also lets you use Web applications like Google Docs and games like Mafia Wars, all with minimum loss of formatting. There is also a widget platform for those who would like to access sites without the fuss of typing out URLs (never an easy task on handsets).

Top that off with the fact that the browser runs on any handset that runs Java (it does not run on the iPhone and while Android versions are being tested out, it is not on the Android Market) and you can see why the browser is gaining so much popularity. It still loses out to Opera Mini in terms of sheer speed and stability though.

Available on http://www.boltbrowser.com

SkyFire

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There are many who complain about its (lack of) speed, its tendency to shut down abruptly at times and its less-than-intuitive interface. But all said and done, Skyfire has made a name for itself as being, perhaps, one of the most powerful browsers to run on a cellphone. It is one of the few browsers that lets you access a number of Flash sites without too many hassles (there’s even a workaround for this on the iPhone which does not support flash) and gives near desktop-style performance for almost all websites on most popular smartphone platforms.

What holds it back from cellphone browser domination is its tendency to be buggy and the fact that it is a bit of a resource hog – it can really slow your phone down sometimes. For this reason, it works best on devices with a little more power under the hood.

Available on http://www.skyfire.com

Dolphin HD

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There are many who will frown at the need for getting a third-party browser on an Android handset, which generally has a version of Google’s mobile Chrome running on it. It, therefore, speaks volumes of just how good Dolphin is, that many consider it a must-have application for Android users. Apart from handling Flash and HTML 5 sites very well, it also brings in the convenience of gestures, letting you access websites by just drawing a shape on the screen.

For example, you can assign the letter ‘F’ to access Facebook. Draw the shape on the screen and you’ll instantly be taken to that site. There are also various addons and extensions available; a password manager and screen capture to add further functionality to the browser, if need be. For example, it also supports downloading of YouTube videos. A pity it is available only for Android devices running software version 2.0 or later.

Available on Android Market

Firefox Mobile

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Do not get fooled by the name. The mobile version of Firefox has, so far, failed to match the performance (and hence, popularity) of its desktop counterpart. While it does offer a fair bit such as support for HTML 5 and add-ons, it has been found wanting in several departments, most notably those of speed and stability. When it does work, though, it works very well indeed. Alas, it has been a work in progress rather than the finished article for way too long. So far, it is available only for Android and Maemo devices.

Available on http://www.mozilla.com/en-US /mobile

iCab Mobile

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For many iPhone fanatics, downloading an additional browser when they have the superb Safari broswer pre-loaded on the device seems like a waste of time. However, iCab Mobile has emerged as one of the main challengers to Safari on the iPhone, just as it continues to be one of its rivals on the Mac OS platform.

iCab Mobile brings tabbed browsing, three finger scrolling, and most interestingly, a download manager that can not just be opened by apps on the iPhone, but can also be transferred to a computer. The built-in search function can be extended by adding more search engines, just like a browser on a PC. It also has some unique features like filters to block ads or other unwanted elements on a webpage. One of the two browsers in this feature to come with a price tag ($1.99), but in terms of performance, iCab is one of the best we have seen.

Available on Apple App Store

Xscope

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Xscope is not just a Web browser for Android devices; it also functions as a task killer (to help close apps running in the background) and as a file manager. You can long press on a link or an image for additional options like downloading. It is noticeably faster in rendering pages as compared to the default Android browser. Additionally, tabbed browsing is possible, and you can switch between tabs by simply swiping left or right on the tabs toolbar. Like Dolphin HD, Xscope also allows you to download YouTube clips for later viewing.

Other features include pinch-to-zoom, various customised skins and URL sharing. You can share the link to any website you visit using G-mail, Facebook or SMS; just long press on the URL bar and the sharing options come up. The latest version only works on devices running Android 2.1 or later. It is priced at $2.99 on the Android App Market, but there is a free, lite version available too. The lite version has all the browser features, but omits the task killer and file manager.

Available on Android Market

UCWEB

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If you are using two or more email account of Google or Yahoo then doing it from one browser could be more hectic as it is little difficult to type username and password from mobile key pad . So, Lets move towards our second option, UCWEB. Its well and good browser which have option to resume download if it fails due to any reason. Beside that it provides convenient way to copy and paste any urls or contents. Most reliable function of UCWEB is its tabbed browsing which allows you view separate websites at one time unlike opera mini.

Available @ http://www.uc.cn/English

Mobile Safari

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On January 9, 2007, at Macworld SF, Jobs announced Apple’s iPhone, which would use a mobile version of the Safari browser. Display rich websites like YouTube, zoom feature, excellent touch-based user interface. The iPhone was formally released on June 29, 2007. It includes a version of Safari based on the same WebKit rendering engine as the desktop version, but with a modified feature set better suited for a mobile device. Apple surprised everyone by approving the Opera Mini web browser for the iPhone and iPod touch, bringing one of the most popular mobile browsers to the most popular smartphone.

Available on iPhone platform.

Blazer

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Blazer is a web browser available for Palm handhelds running Palm OS 3.1 or higher with 8MB of free memory available. The original version of Blazer was developed by Bluelark Systems and was released in November 2000. Bluelark Systems was acquired by Handspring a month later. Has all Standard browser features, Video is streamed via the Kinoma Video Player. It supports many formats, including Windows Media. Blazer does not support Adobe Flash Player – meaning you cannot view popular videos on sites such as ESPN or YouTube. This issue has never been addressed by Palm.

Available Free with Palm OS

You may have seen a lot of mobile phone concepts, but the one you are going to see below will blow you away, seriously this is one of the best concepts ever made. The concept is made by the masterminds over at Mozilla Labs, and they are calling it Sea Bird. The Sea Bird is running on Android, and there are a lot of amazing features in the concept phone. Since Mozilla Labs launched the Concept Series with an open call for participation they have had thousands of people join in, share ideas and develop concepts around Firefox, the Mozilla projects and the Open Web as a whole.

Overview

The Mozilla Seabird, part of the Mozilla Labs’ Concept Series, is an experiment in how users might interact with their mobile content as devices and technology advances. Drawing on insights culled from the Mozilla community through the project’s blog, a focus quickly developed around frustrating physical interactions. While mobile CPUs, connectivity and development platforms begin approaching that of desktops, the lagging ability to efficiently input information has grown ever more pronounced.

Interaction

Interaction Seabird

Interaction Seabird

The Seabird, then, introduces a few possibilities into how user interaction might evolve with the advancing motion capture and projector driven innovation in the market. First out, the Seabird imagines how a multiple use dongle might augment the crowded gestural interface with greater precision and direct manipulation of content in 3D space.

Pico Projector

Pico Projector in Seabird

Pico Projector in Seabird

With mobile phone companies such as Samsung, LG and Motorola moving towards display applications for projectors, the technology remains open for expanding user interaction and input at the same time. The Seabird, on just a flat surface, enables netbook-quality interaction by working with the projector’s angular distortion to deliver interface, rather than content. With the benefit of a dock, each projector works independently and delivers laptop levels of efficiency.

Design

Design of Seabird

Design of Seabird

The form development took its cues from various aerodynamic, avian and decidedly feminine forms. Its erect posture intends a sense of poise while its supine conformity to the hand reconciles that with the user’s desire for digital control. The curvature of the back also serves a functional role in elevating the projector lens elements when lying flat.

So all that means does Mozilla have plans to produce a mobile phone?
As per Mozilla themselves the answer is “No”, The idea is to get Firefox on your Android phone, Seabird is not a Mozilla or Mozilla Labs project but part of the Mozilla Labs Concept Series. The Concept Series provides a place for the wider community to create and collaborate on projects which push the boundaries of the Web and the browser. To get the complete answer to this let’s wait and watch, in the meantime share your thoughts with us on this new concept phone…