Monday, November 16, 2009

Satio, iPhone or N900? Help Me Decide!!?!!?!?

Yesterday my dear friend hui xuan asked me what’s my take on the Satio, iPhone and N900. Well i can’t answer with absolute certainty as the N900 is still very new and i have not tested the Satio yet, but based on what i’ve read and seen, here’s what i think


Sony erricsson's Satio is more of a media phone if anything else. Like the iPhone, the Satio is completely touch based. The Satio runs on Symbian platform, so operation will be slightly similar to Nokia touch devices. If I'm not mistaken the Satio also has a 12meg cam and picture quality is pretty good! The Satio will be backed up by Sony’s new PlayArena, where users can go and download games and other content to their phone. Sony is pretty dedicated to bringing quality games and media content to the Satio with the Arena, further enhancing this device’s media capabilities. As with SE phones, the Satio’s speaker quality is good.

Next, the iPhone. I feel the iPhone will definitely please Mac fans or users who want a "fun phone" to show off and share with friends. The iPhone’s user interface is sleek, clean, and very attractive. iPhone's diverse array of games and apps can definitely entertain for hours, and the iTunes player is just superb. With proper headphones and large built in memory, watching movies and listening to music on the iPhone is a pleasure.

However i’ve always been put off by the iPhone because you cannot multitask or share files via bluetooth easily. The only application you can run in the background is the music player. So you can’t.. let say IM with your friends while having the browser or calculator app open. You have to Close this – open that – close this – open that… you get the idea ;)  Also battery cannot be changed, Mac accessories are pricey and the camera quality is iffish. With that said, getting an iPhone will get you noticed and it’s always fun to play games on the iPhone with your friends. It’s capacitive touchscreen is still one of the best on the market!

Now we have the N900. A multitasking behemoth that functions as a mobile computer. You can run as many tasks as you want with the 500Mhz processor and 1GB of RAM so if you're always on the move and want to get things done, the N900 will deliver. The N900 will always keep you connected. Contacts and chat, GPS- positioning, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, photos, texts, emails you can have all of that on your N900 – and if you want, keep them all running at once.

The qwerty keypad makes typing a breeze. However the N900's camera is just good, not outstanding as i would hope for. Currently, most applications can only run in landscape mode but this might be fixed soon. The N900 is based on linux so customization and availability of apps will not be a problem. In fact we’re already seeing loads of applications being ported to the N900. I can’t say too much on the N900 in terms of reliability as it’s just been released.

So, to sum it up
Satio - Excellent Multimedia phone, good imaging device, good sound quality.
iPhone - Fun phone, good media features but can't multitask and sound quality from speakers is utter crap.
N900 - Powerful multitasking mobile computer. (In fact the "phone" feature for calling is actually an app.) Might be a bit much to operate if all you want is to make calls and listen to songs on your mobile device.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nokia’s Maemo Powered N900 Starts Shipping!

Just yesterday there was a tweet from Nokia’s Maemo Team, and today the news of the N900 shipping has literally exploded all over the internet!

According to Reuters’ Tarmo Virki, the shipments of the Nokia N900, Nokia's latest mobile computer based on open source Maemo 5 software, have now started. A real game-changer that will help Nokia to finally turn the tide of smartphone war in their favour and control the mobile market again.

The N900, Nokia’s first Linux powered mobile computer with added phone functions is mostly seen as “the iPhone killer” but to me there’s a lot more going on than that. True, this maybe a partial response from Nokia towards Apple’s soaring iPhone sales but the fact that it’s an Nseries device tells me this is the next generation of high end mobile devices from Nokia - uncompromising processing power, open sourced, touchscreen but with full support of a hardware keyboard, fancy and sleek UI jam-packed with multimedia features etc.. just everything we’ve ever wanted in a device like this.

Nokia claims they spent 3 years on this baby (after the release of the highly successful N95), in that time frame released tonnes of below par Nseries devices and needed firmware fix after firmware fix after firmware fix, so it is crucial they get it right with the N900. Nokia fan boys out there have high hopes for the N900 to lift the Nokia name back to it’s former glory, but can this one device turn the tables for Nokia? We’ll have to wait and see but first impressions are good and solid. (well that was what they said about the N97 and look what a mess it turned out to be!)

Nokia works closely with the developer community and has recently seen significant innovation happening with Maemo. As a result, people will be able to discover a wide range of games, utilities, themes, panoramic wallpapers and service plug-ins for photo-sharing and messaging for the Nokia N900 through Ovi Store and Maemo Select, starting later in the year. In October Nokia announced official Qt port to Maemo 5. This means developers can use Qt software to target the Nokia N900 and that applications can be easily ported to all Qt's supported platforms including the next Maemo 6 release as well as Symbian.

The Nokia N900 will be available in retail stores in November with an estimated retail price of EUR 500, excluding sales taxes and subsidies. The Nokia N900 will initially be available in Europe, Middle-East, Russia and North America. It is also possible to order the device from the Nokia Online Store:

As for me, though the N95-1 was a great buy and it’s still my primary device, it was a bittersweet rollercoaster ride waiting for Nokia’s firmware fixes to build the N95 up to it’s full potential. I’ve had enough Nokia, no more paying 500 euros just to become your beta tester! So while Linux coders and hackers, Nokia fanboys and hopefuls, and those just itching to get the latest gadgets can rush to buy their shiny N900, I’ll sit back here, sip some tea and wait for the reviews (and also my xps 16 ;) ) to flow in before i make my move. :DHow could something kill what is not there?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Guitar Mosaic From Monday Blues..

The holidays are finally here! 2 weeks to unwind and escape the from the busy schedules of college life in the city, 2 weeks to relax, catch up and rejoice with old friends and do what i like to do.

Even though it was the holidays i could still the Monday blues creeping in that afternoon (i usually wake up at noon on holidays and weekends). A hot, lazy afternoon with the haze blanketing the skies to a dull grey. To say the least, i was bored, real bored.

I headed upstairs to take a shower, in hopes of freshening myself into a more uplifted mood and sure enough, inspiration struck me as I opened my eyes after slipping on a fresh shirt. My mom’s guitar, lying gently on the curtains as the afternoon shines through them to give a purple hue that felt like a lazy kind of blues. Perhaps this was my Monday blues after all.

A slide of my N95 shutter, a snap or two and the shot was just right. Admittedly a little dark and grainy so i refined the photo in CS4 and this is the final result. The watercolour one is currently my wallpaper!

Guitar Mosaic (Watercolour)



As you might have guessed it was a great day after all, pursuing my hobby and love for photography!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Exclusive Video Previews Of maemo 5 On Nokia N900

image As we get closer to Nokia World 2009 (1st September 09), there seems to be more leaks and previews of Nokia’s next big bad boy – the N900. Which leaves me wondering whether the event will still have such a kick with one of Nokia’s main announcements already flooding the internet! Perhaps Nokia has something else, even bigger up their sleeve?

The fact that Nokia has put in the effort to create an open source platform on it’s own is nothing short of amazing, some say it’s even bigger than any hardware release we’ve seen over the past years! With maemo 5 Nokia has sprung itself into the frontline of the competition alongside Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android-based devices, something Nokia has vowed to do in past interviews. Looking at these video previews it definitely looks very promising, the ability to multitask is luxurious, and users can even run several browsers simultaneously, just as you would on your desktop!

Speaking of desktops, maemo will have several desktops, which is fully customisable for users to throw in widgets, contacts, browser and podcast shortcuts and so much more. From the looks of it the possibilities and customisation are virtually endless, and users will be able to switch between desktops with just a flick of a finger, just like the N97. I’d like to note that maemo’s multiple desktops seems very similar to the one seen in Ubuntu, which is a Linux based platform as well.

To allow all this heavy multitasking, the N900 comes with some pretty impressive hardware.

3.5" touchscreen, 800x480 resolution. The screen shrinks from the N810's 4.13" but keeps the same resolution. Software won't take a big hit on this since the resolution is the same, but applications that rely on very precise touchscreen use may be more difficult.

TI OMAP 3430 ARM Cortex-A8 CPU at 600 MHz. This is a massive upgrade over the TI OMAP 2420 at 400 MHz. Faster faster!

Up to 1GB Application Memory. This is a plus but not as big as it looks. There's only 256 MB of "real" RAM and the rest is attributed to swap. Still - the RAM amount is doubled over the N810 and the usable swap is six times the size.

32 GB storage. Wow. That's massive. This puts the N900 squarely in the "multimedia computer" space and even has more storage than some SSD netbooks. The N810 had only 2GB internal. Both support MicroSD (through a MiniSD adapter on the N810)

Size: About 113 cubic centimeters and 181 grams. That's down from about 129 cubic centimeters and 228 grams. it will feel better in your hand as a phone.

3-row Keyboard. This part took the biggest hit. The large D-pad and four-row keyboard was replaced by a three row keyboard with a squashed spacebar and arrow keys that can't easily be used for gaming (not that the N810 ever did much of that.)

Wireless connectivity: This is the first Maemo tablet that is actually a PHONE. With that, we get 3.5G HSPA, GPRS, EDGE,WiFi, and Bluetooth 2.1. That's a major boost over the WiFi/Bluetooth that the N810 gave us.

Additional Communication: The N900 now includes TV out, an FM transmitter, a real A-GPS receiver (hopefully destroying the long lock times that the N810 suffered) and a micro-USB connector. The N810 had micro-USB and a GPS. The new features are fun toys, but won't be massive selling points.

CAMERA: The new camera features represent a massive shift from the previous generation tablets. The N800 had a cute pop-out rotating webcam that worked badly. The N810 had a front-facing webcam that worked badly. The N900 has a 5 megapixel Carl Zeiss camera with a digital zoom, dual-LED flash, macro mode, and MPEG4 recording up to 848x480 at up to 25FPS. The Maemo tablets are now on par with high-end Nokia Nseries devices and soundly beat the pants off iPhones and Blackberries.

The star feature of Maemo 5 will probably be the dashboard, allowing users to conveniently switch between tasks in a live thumbnail layout. Response seems speedy from the videos and it definitely adds to a mobile computer feel, which Nokia has been trying so hard to emphasise for the Nseries. Well, the videos will speak for themselves, indulge :D

For more info, tech specs and the original videos visit here!

EDIT: The N900 will probably retail for 500~600 euros, roughly RM2500+


Saturday, August 22, 2009

N900 – Redemption For Nokia’s Disappointing Line Of Releases Lately?


Let’s be honest, Nokia’s line of releases lately has been like my blog updates - a long shot from being impressive. Even the N97, Nokia’s new flagship which was mush hyped about last year turned out to be underpowered with a disappointing processor and insufficient RAM. Hardware wise the N97 even scratches it’s own lens – Come on! Any decent engineer would have tested something first before manufacturing thousands of units and shipping it worldwide right??!

Anyway, i didn’t write this article to give Nokia an ass-whooping (although they deserve one), I wanted to let you guys know about something big that Nokia’s cooking up, presumably to be announced an Nokia World 2009 this September! :D

My oldie N95-1 is a device i was, and still am proud to have because it was a milestone for Nokia, and pretty much redefined what do-it-all smartphones were capable of. I’ve been hunting for a replacement for the past year but nothing promising has surface. Fortunately, from what i understand, the N900 is going to be a game changer for Nokia, due to it’s drastically new OS. ..well, sorta.

For those of you who keep a close eye on Nokia’s releases you’ll already know that Maemo, a Linux based platform isn’t really new to Nokia. In fact Nokia has already released 3 internet tablets that run on this platform, the most recent being the N810i which supported WiMax. For most users however, “Symbian” and “S60” would sound more synonymous with Nokia, and this is where the N900 steps in.

Although sporting a similar form factor with the previous internet tablets, the N900 (codename RX-51) will in fact be a fully functional phone. Hence making it comparable to other multimedia phones from other manufacturers, and bringing it into the “do-it-all-phones” category if you will. Confirming the rumours that have been going round lately about Nokia ditching Symbian for Linux, the N900 will run on a variant of Nokia’s Maemo platform, called Fremantle (aka Marmo 5). I know this sounds totally alien to you, but if what Eldar from Mobile Review predicts is right, this is the OS-to-be for forthcoming high-end Nokia devices. As shocking as this sounds, one look at what Maemo brings and you won’t think twice about switching back to Symbian.

So, why the change after spending so much on Symbian? Well from what i understand Nokia realises that minor tweaks here and there to the Symbian platform just isn’t going to cut it to compare with the upcoming releases of fancy OS and smartphones from it’s competitors. Admittedly, though functional the S60 platform looks and feels dated when compared side by side to the likes of Android and the iPhone. Nokia’s solution: Build it’s own OS from the ground up (Maemo), while completely reconstructing Symbian as well (that’s where the new Symbian Foundation comes in). In short what this means is Nokia will probably be swtiching to Maemo for it’s high-end “multimedia computers” as they call it, while keeping Symbian for the mid-range and lower end devices.

With that out of the way, let’s have a quick look at the RX-51

  • Runs on Fremantle (variant of Linux-based Maemo)
  • Built on ARM Cortex-A8 CPU
  • Internal memory of 32GB (supports microSD of up to 32GB as well, that’s a total of 64 GB!)
  • Slide-out QWERTY keyboard
  • 800x480-pixel resistive touch screen (supposedly much more responsive than the N97’s)
  • Decent build quality comparable to the E75
  • 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and lens cover
  • Kickstand for comfortable video playback
  • Powered by a BL-5J 1320mAh battery
  • GPS, WiFi, 3.5mm jack with TV-out etc. standard stuff


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General Interface

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Task manager



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Web browsing

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Maps & Navigation

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Date & Time management

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Mouth watering eye candy right!?!?! :D According to Eldar there’s plenty of cool transitions and visual effects, while maintaining a quick and responsive UI. I sure love the media player and task manager view, definitely looks more mature and computer-like compared to S60. While this looks like a promising competitor the the iPhone and Android, I sure hope Nokia won’t screw it up like the N97. They really need to make a memorable come back and right now, this seems like just the device to do it. Long live Nokia! :D

P.S. Watch this space for more updates on the upcoming device and announcements from Nokia in Nokia World 2009, it's just a few weeks a way!

For the original article as well as plenty more screenshots, visit Eldar’s site here!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nice Boat :D

Boat lovers here's one for you! Taken during my trip to France in March this year. I've been to France several times but this was probably the most enjoyable one yet! :)
I think it was because my sis actually was with us for most of the trip this time... but then again, hmm... might just be the camera ;D Anyway hats off to her for doing a good job with the planning. Thanks che!

This was actually in nice coastal town called "Nice" (pun intended), towards the South of Frace. Yes, there is in fact a town named "Nice", pronounced 'Nis-a' by the locals. It's a nice town, clean clear waters despite the marina there, hills in the back, cafes all along the coast...what's not to love about Nice right?

The unique thing about Nice is that it doesn't have bright sandy beaches, instead Nice has a long stretch of pebble beach, but that story's for another photo :D

Thinking of framing this photo up this way in my room, what do you think?