Rajesh is a 19 year old nerd, currently pursuing B.Com Hons from Bhawanipore college in Kolkata, India. He loves everything tech, especially Android. You can follow him on twitter @ePandu or mail to him at [email protected]
Sony Ericsson rolled out a new firmware update for its flagship handset Sony Ericsson Satio last week. The firmware update was aimed at fixing numerous problems with the phone. Today Sony Ericsson has rolled out a new firmware update for another phone in its portfolio Aino. Sony Ericsson Aino, like its sibling Satio, has many software stability issues and hopefully this firmware update from Sony Ericsson should fix them. The firmware brings with it lower battery consumption, and certain improvements in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS. The firmware also includes a new game Loco Roco.
The firmware update for Sony Ericsson Satio did improve the stability and the performance of the phone. The new firmware also increased the loudness of the loudspeaker of the phone and the camera quality. Hopefully the new firmware update for Sony Ericsson Aino should also improve the performance and stability of the phone. The new firmware update is currently available for certain regions, and should be available throughout the world in the next few days. It is also believed that Sony Ericsson will soon be launching a new firmware update for another important handset in their portfolio Sony Ericsson Yari.
Playing games can be fun and mobile phones are no longer used to just play “Snake” these days. There has been a huge leap in mobile gaming, and we can now play “First person shooting” and “3D games” on those tiny devices. In the past we have covered games for 80+ awesome games for Nokia and Symbian v3 platform, here are the Top 5 Games according to me for Nokia S60v5 based phones including Nokia N97, N97 Mini, Nokia 5800, Nokia X6 and Nokia 5530 -:
5) Quick Block – Quick Block was one of the most popular game for Uiq phones. After the uiq platform was killed last year, the developers ported the game to Symbian S60v5 platform. The game is a very simple one, you just need to save your block from hitting few other moving blocks on the screen. The game has got decent graphics and it has a very addictive gameplay. Definitely a good game to kill some time! You can download Quick Block from here.
4) Labyrinth – Labyrinth is an accelerometer based game. Here the player needs to guide the ball through a board to a point given on the board. Being a motion control based game, this game is surely fun to play. The graphics of the game is also decent, but the game lags for a second or so sometimes which is irritating. Nevertheless, this is a must have game for your phone. A ‘Lite’ or demo version of Labyrinth can be downloaded from the Ovi Store.
Here are the top 10 Applications for Nokia Symbian 60 v5 based phones like Nokia 5530, Nokia 5800, Nokia X6, Nokia N97 and Nokia N97 Mini.
10) Y-Browser The ultimate File Manger for Symbian based phones developed by Dr. Jukka. Even though the inbuilt File Manager of Symbian phones is quite good, Y-Browser just takes managing files on your phone to the next level. Y-Browser even allows access to System Drives of a Symbian phone which the inbuilt File Manager lacks. Dr. Jukka has even made many plugins, for Y-Browser like the ability to open and edit text files from within Y-Browser and so on. You can download Y-Browser from here.
9) Google Maps – Google Maps from Google is a must have application for your phone. Nowadays, all the latest symbian phones feature an inbuilt GPS chip, Google Maps takes advantage of it and the cellphone towers to pin point your location and to guide you through your city. Even though Nokia phones comes with Ovi Maps pre-installed, Google Maps just blows it away with a better detailed map of your city. The Layers and Street View features of Google Maps act as an icing on the cake. You can download Google Maps by going to m.google.com from your mobile phone web browser.
8) Handy Taskman – The inbuilt task manager of S60 smartphones is quite limited. It does not show the amount of free RAM, process running in the background etc. This is where Handy Taskman comes in. Not only does Handy Taskman shows the amount of free RAM, it even allows you to kill process or applications which might have hung. Handy Taskman also features a ‘Favorites’ tab where you can create a list of your frequently used applications for quick access to them. Here is a link to Handy Taskman official product page.
7) Nokia Messaging This has to be the ultimate email Messaging client for Nokia phones. Nokia Messaging has Kinetic scrolling, can display mails in HTML, and on top of that, the push email feature works like a charm. The only thing missing in Nokia Messaging is the ability to view your mails in Fullscreen, and the developers have said that they will add this feature in the next build of Nokia Messaging. You can download Nokia Messaging by pointing your phones web browser to email.nokia.com
6) Bright Light Most of the smartphones come equipped with at least a Single LED Flash to aid photography in the night. Not many people click pictures from their smartphones and so the LED flash is left unused. With Bright Light one can use the LED Flash of the phone as a torch. The application has a very simple interface like a On/Off “Switch”. The ability to use the LED flash of your phone as a torch is very handy and thus, this application is a must have for your phone. Bright Light is available for free download at the Ovi Store.
Nokia has just released a new firmware for Nokia E71. The firmware is numbered 400.21.013 and right now is available for all the Euro product code based E71.
The official changelog is as follows –
* Gimlet v9.5 (v188.8.131.52)
* Quick Office 5.3
* Ovi Store 1.5 (v1.5.2)
* Ovi Contacts Preinstalled
* Mail for Exchange 2.9.176
CHANGES AND IMPROVEMENTS:
* Email Setup Wizard update
* WLAN Corrections
* Internet Radio v1.16 Increased functionality
* Camera functionality improvement
* Incoming call hang issue fixed
* Turkish SMS character input improvement
* Many functionality and Stability improvements in MfE
* Support for Russian and Ukranian keymats
* Phone activation Baseline updated
* Yahoo account hack fixed
* Stability and functionality improvements
* Email and WLAN functionality improvements
* Increased robustness in handling SMS and incoming calls
* Memory leak fixes and crashes
* Email and WLAN functionality improvements
* Fix for Incoming call hang issue and fast call crash
* Fix for making emergency call when the phone is locked
*Minor Functionality improvements
*Time display correction when the phone is locked
*WLAN functionality Improvements and fixes for crashes
*Improvement in WLAN authentication
*mVPN authentication improvements and general functionality improvement
*Functionality improvements for search functionality
*Email setup wizard updated
*Fix for Yahoo account hack while setting up Gmail account through Nokia Email
*Fix for mails getting duplicated after restoring backup
*Mail for Exchange upgraded from 2.9.158 to 2.9.176
*Many functionality and stability improvements in MfE
*Robustness and functionality improvements in email items.
*Increased application stability
*Keyboard mapping corrections for Russian and Ukranian keymat
*Improvement in Turkish SMS characters input
*Fix for delivery report for SMS with more than 22 characters
*Increased robustness in handling SMS
The last firmware released for Nokia E71 was 300.21.012. The new firmware will soon be rolled out for other product codes of E71 over the next few days.
The future of Sony Ericsson definitely does not look good. The company has been facing heavy losses for the past few quarters. The sales of its mobile handsets has also been decreasing day by day and the company has been unable to launch new handsets which are able to evoke interest among the consumers. The company has also taken some serious cost cutting measures by laying off more than 2000 employees till now. Now in an effort to reduce its administrative expenses further, the company is going to shut down six of its offices across the world. The various offices are situated in Chennai, India; San Diego; Kiesta; Seattle; N.C and Sweden.
Sony Ericsson will also be laying off 2000 more employees by the end of this year. The company will be shifting its headquarter from North Carolina to Atlanta as well. A Sony Ericsson spokesperson said that Atlanta was chosen as the new headquarters since it is “a gateway into Latin America.” Sony Ericsson handsets have been losing market share because of the increasing popularity of smartphones among the consumers. The hopes of the company now reside on its upcoming Android based Xperia X10, Xperia Pureness and Symbian based Sony Kurara handsets, all of which definitely have an impressive spec sheet on paper.
Sony Ericsson had recently launched its first 12MP Camera phone in the market Sony Ericsson Satio. The phone has a impressive spec sheet but has been pulled off from the stores due to software instability issues.
ATi managed to launch their HD5xxx series of graphics card during the end of September, this year. The cards provided stellar performance, consumed only around 28W of power when in Idle and carried a true value for money price tag. The cards also had many new state of the art technologies like Dx11, ATi eyeInfinity and were successful in luring buyers towards them. What these cards failed to do was to get the performance crown back to ATi. In a move to get the performance crown back, ATi today has launched the HD5970. ATi HD5970 is made up of two Cypress cores, and uses a newer PLX chip to make sure the performance of both the Cypress cores are optimally used.
The card has two 40nm based Cypress cores and has double the Stream processors and ROPs of ATi HD5870. The GDDR5 memory chips however run at frequencies similar to that of ATi HD5850, in order to keep power consumption in control. The maximum power consumption of the card is around 295W, and only 42W at idle. The card also features the latest technologies featured in ATi HD5850 and HD5870, like eyeInfinity, Dx11 and many new ones like real time power monitoring, pure ceramic super capacitors etc.
Interested buyers can find the HD5970 immediately at sale with retailers for an MSRP of 599$. With Nvidia, unable to launch their Dx 11 based Fermi cards before Q1, 2010, ATi has been able to get the performance crown back from Nvidia for at least the next 6-7 months.
Asus is soon going to launch a premium motherboard for the upcoming Intel Core i3 Processors named Asus P7H57D-V EVO. The motherboard, when available, will be among the few motherboards in the market to support SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 interface.There are 2 USB 3.0 slots along with 14 USB 2.0 slots and 2 x SATA 6Gb/s, 6 x SATA 3Gb/s ports. The motherboard will be based on the Intel H57 Chipset.
One thing to be noted here is that the USB 3.0 controller used by Asus is not made by Intel, it is in fact, made by NEC. Intel announced few weeks ago that they won’t be integrating a USB 3.0 controller in their chipsets before next year.The Core i3 Processor line-up will feature a 45nm based integrated graphics in the same core as the processor and to take advantage of the integrated graphics, the motherboard must have support for Flexible Display Interface. Flexible Display Interface will allow the user to output graphics via the integrated graphics on the processor through HDMI, DVI or VGA port. The motherboard will also support Intel Clarkdale 32nm CPU’s when launched.
OCZ is undoubtedly one of the largest manufacturers of Solid States Drives currently in the market. They are able to provide SSD’s which offer nice performance and don’t burn a hole in your pocket as well. One of the main reasons behind the success of OCZ SSDs is the NAND controller, ‘Indilix’, used by them in their SSDs. OCZ is now going to partner with another NAND controller manufacturer SandForce, to launch another series of MLC based Enterprise class SSDs. OCZ is looking forward to providing higher reliability and better performance with their upcoming range of SSDs.
SandForce is a relatively new company in the SSD Controller market, but it already has more than twenty patents under its name and has many industry veterans working in it. SandForce has been preparing two new SSD controller’s – SF-1200 and SF-1500. The former NAND controller is targeted at enthusiasts and supports SSDs of capacities of up to 512Gb. The controller also supports Multi Level Cell Flash chips and can provide a maximum sequential read/write speed of 260MB/sec via the SATA II interface. The SF-1500 is targeted at high-end enterprise and workstation class. The SF-1200 and SF-1500 are identical in performance and the maximum capacity they support, except that the SF-1500 also supports Single Level Cell Flash chips for a higher number of write and erase cycles.
Intel and AMD have not only been fighting in the Consumer Processor Market, they have also been fighting over various anti-trust issues which led to Intel being fined a whooping $1.45B by the EU. Just a few days ago, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuom also filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Intel saying “Rather than compete fairly, Intel used bribery and coercion to maintain a stranglehold on the market. Intel’s actions not only unfairly restricted potential competitors, but also hurt average consumers who were robbed of better products and lower prices.Now it seems that Intel and AMD are making amends and are trying to improve their relationship. Both the companies today entered into a 5 year cross license agreement and AMD also dropped all its lawsuits against Intel. Intel although, has to pay $1.25billion to AMD as a part of this settlement.
AMD CEO Dirk Meyer said Today, I am pleased to announce the last major component of that transformation in the form of a transparent and public agreement with Intel to create a level playing field in the x86 processor industry taking us one big step closer to achieving our bold vision.” Meyer also added “Today marks the beginning of a new era… one that confirms that the game has changed for AMD. It is an important milestone for us, for our customers, our partners, and most important for consumers and businesses worldwide. In addition, it represents the culmination many years of litigation and regulatory engagement.”
We all know how bland the default Music player of Nokia S60v5 phones looks. Nokia’s "XpressMusic" branded phones provide exceptional music quality but lack an awesome looking Media player UI as in the Apple iPhone or Sony Ericsson Phones. Being a touch based platform, Nokia should have spiced up the music player with more eye candy as their competitors provide.
Well Nokia is definitely not going to do anything regarding this matter now, but the developers of Landscape Pro, a very popular application for Nokia S60v3 based phones, have been developing an application called ‘iMelo’ whose interface matches the interface of iPhone’s coverflow closely. The application is still under development and will also be available for Nokia’s S60v3 phone, when launched.
I am going to share with you guys my experience with this application based on my couple of days of usage, but readers should keep in mind that this application is still under development and there will be a big difference in performance and even the UI may completely change when the final version is released.
When the application is first launched, you are presented with a static loading screen, and in the background the application scans your whole memory card for audio files. Some people may like it, some may not. The problem here is that since the application scans your whole memory card and if you have a huge collection of songs then the application will take an extremely long time to start and all this while you will be staring at the static loading screen of the application.
Due to this at one point of time I thought the phone hung and was going to remove the battery, but just then the application started working. The application does look stunning and the whole interface is nothing but an exact replica of iPhone’s Cover Flow style.
The CoverFlow style may look pleasing to the eye but the application is definitely slow and also has serious memory leakage issues. For example I had around 51MB of Free RAM on my Nokia 5800 before starting this application, after starting it, my free RAM went down to just 5MB within a couple of minutes. Since I am using a preview build here, I hope all these issues will be sorted out in the Final version. A very nice feature of this application is the inclusion of Kinetic Scrolling throughout the interface. This will definitely be useful for people who have a huge music collection on their phones.
What this application lacks is an equalizer along with Stereo Widening and Loudness Option. Being a preview version I could not use the volume control, so I can’t comment whether the loudness offered by iMelo is the same as the one provided by Nokia’s default Music player.
Here is the a video of iMelo in action –
If you are interested in trying out iMelo, you can purchase Landscape Pro and along with it, you will get the preview version of iMelo free.
Apple was the first one to launch an App Store for iPhone, and it was an instant success. Today iPhone’s App Store boasts of more than 75,000 applications and games, and a huge developer base. Realizing the potential of a Marketplace for Applications, Google and Palm also launched an App Store for their phones.
Though their app store could not match iPhone’s App Store success due to the lack of a huge developer base, but nevertheless they were quite successful. Microsoft has also launched an Application Marketplace for Windows Mobile 6.5 based phones. Currently the WinMo marketplace only has 40 applications, but the official launch is still a day away. Few users have been able to access the WinMo marketplace on their phone from today itself. Users can access the WinMo Marketplace using their Windows Live ID and pay for applications and games using their Credit Card.
Out of the 40 applications available in the marketplace right now, few of the popular ones are Facebook, Street Fighter II and Pac-Man. Reports also suggest that EA has signed a contract with Microsoft and they will be releasing some games for the store including Sims 2 for WinMo Phones.
Have you been able to access the WinMo marketplace? If yes, do share your views about it.
Nvidia today provided information about their upcoming next-gen graphics card along with some pictures of it. The upcoming Nvidia GT300, supporting Dx11, graphics card will be based on the ‘Fermi’ architecture. Cards based on these architecture will be competing directly with ATi’s recently released HD5xxx series graphics card.
The GT300 chip has more than 3 billion transistors along with 512 shaders. It also features a 384 bit memory bus bandwith and will use GDDR5 memory chips. Nvidia GT300 will also be the first graphics core until now to support ECC memory. The card will receive the required power from either a 6 pin connector or a 8 pin one. Nvidia also said that the maximum power consumption of cards based on GT300 core will not be more than their previous generation cards. These cards will also be Tri-Sli capable so you can add 3 of these monsters for an awesome gaming experience.
Nvidia also said that the ‘Fermi’ architecture is highly flexible and it will be used to power Nvidia’s Quadro, Tesla and Geforce based Graphics Card variants even though their consumer base is very different from each other. It is expected that cards based on GT300 will not be launched before Q1 of 2010.
Samsung, the world’s largest producer of NAND flash Chips, of late has been facing poor write speed issues with their 32nm NAND Chips. They recently shifted to 32nm manufacturing process for their NAND flash Chips. The problem is so serious that most of the SSD manufacturers have started sourcing NAND chips from other NAND memory manufacturers. Samsung has been working hard to solve the problem but have been unable to do anything till now.
Toshiba, another manufacturer of NAND flash chips, also shifted to 32nm manufacturing process earlier this year and even they faced some transition problems but unlike Samsung, Toshiba were quick to solve their problems. Even Samsung did not expect the poor write speed issue to last for so long. When a manufacturer shifts to a better and smaller fabrication process, it will face many manufacturing issues but sooner or later the benefits of a smaller fabrication process will start showing up which includes a reduction in the total cost of production along with better yields. The poor write speed issue faced by Samsung basically rules out any hopes of a price cut on the SSDs before the Holiday Season begins in the U.S.
Vodafone and Orange both announced in a press release today that they will be offering iPhone 3G/3GS in the UK. This means that the UK iPhone market is now free-for-all as consumers who decide to buy an iPhone can either buy it from O2, or in the future from Vodafone or Orange. O2 was the exclusive seller of iPhone in the UK till now, but after both the Operators (Vodafone and Orange) struck a deal with Apple, O2 will no longer be the exclusive seller of iPhone in the future.
Vodafone and Orange are both expected to start selling iPhone 3G/3GS in the UK market from early next year. There is no word on the pricing yet.
Asus today officially announced 2 new laptops – Asus M60J and Asus G60J. Both the laptops are built on the Intel Calpella Mobile Platform and are based on the PM55 Chipset. Asus M60J features an Intel Core i7 720QM processor running at 1.6Ghz while G60J features Intel Core i7 820QM processor clocked 1.73Ghz.
The laptops can have a maximum of 4GB of DDR3 1333Mhz RAM along with a maximum HDD capacity of either 320Gb or 500Gb spinning at 5400RPM or 7200RPM. The usual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet Port, Express Card Expansion slot, 2MP Camera, VGA port, HDMI port, Firewire port, 4 USB slots and an eSata port are all present. Both the laptops are also equipped with a 6-celled battery.
The Asus M60J has a 16inch screen with a resolution of 1366×768 and features a Nvidia GT240M with 1Gb of memory. Its sibling, Asus G60J, belongs to the Republic Of Gamers series and also features a 16 inch LED backlit screen which is powered by a Nvidia GT260M featuring 1Gb of memory. The laptop also features the Express Gate technology which enables a user to change the graphics card of the laptop whenever required in the future.
The base configuration of Asus M60J and Asus G60J will cost 1449 and 1899 Euros respectively.