May 26th, 2005

Nokia 770 Internet Tablet


01_770_internet_tablet_lowres-thumb.jpgNokia comes out with a Internet Tablet Nokia 770. This is not a surprise to me but … erm, let me ask: “what’s so special about this?” Other then a better resolution, it is inferior in everyway compared to a Sharp Zaurus C3000.

I know it is cool Nokia, a mobile handset maker going into this direction and I also hear the soft whispering (sshh..wifi/wimax and voip). But erm, tell me why again would I as a consumer buy this?

Regardless, Nokia is pretty gungho in my opinion. As a sign of support for them, I am going to get one when it is available. :-)

April 15th, 2005

Cell phone with onboard video projector



Siemen is working on a phone which can project the screen and a keyboard onto the table (see left pic) (via BoingBoing). This sound very much like an extension of the Virtual Keyboard (see right pic). Unfortunately, the Virtual Keyboard does not work so well, at least for me.

But good to see they trying to fixed the problem by using a styles input instead of fingers :-) And they put it on a mobile phone (yes, that’s what need it most!) and also project the screen (yes!). This is one area of innovation I am watching closely :-) Will influence how UI is changing in the future especially where all the cool stuff is happening on devices.

April 11th, 2005

Nokia N8800



*Drool* (via Joi)

I want one! I haven’t seen one from Nokia which makes me drool so much after 8850.

I just met a director from Nokia last week and complained to him about the lack of nice phones from Nokia lately. ‘Just hang on’, he said. I am glad I waited.

April 5th, 2005

Convergence, Taiwanese style


okwap-i519.jpgVia Yam

i519也是OKWAP第一支無天線設計折疊機,主螢幕為26萬色、三頻通訊、重量105公克,130萬畫素照相功能、數位及光學變焦、180度翻轉上蓋拍照、手寫輸入觸控螢幕、免學習聲控、來電簡訊過濾、JAVA遊戲、FM收音機、MP3音樂、MPEG4影片播放、擴充RS MMC記憶卡、1000組電話簿等多種功能,顏色有黑、銀色兩種選擇,建議售價1萬2900元。

Lets see..260k color, triband, weight 105grams, 1.3megapix camera, twirl-able screen, stylus-input, message filtering, java games, fm radio, plays mp3 music and mpeg4 video and cost ..hmm..US$500. (Yes yes, it still remember it is a phone!)


Okay, another one which comes with (Traditional) Chinese-English dictionary at US$200.

Hats off to Taiwanese :-)

If you are wondering about the dictionary thing, just ask any Japanese or Taiwanese traveller you meet and ask them if they have an electronic dictionary – very high chances they have one with them. This is something most english speakers don’t get it :-)

April 2nd, 2005

Zaurus and Zaurus



My new toy – Zaurus C3000 which comes with a 4Gb hitachi harddisk on the right. The C3000 is slightly thicker then my C760 (on the right) and a bit heavier but otherwise, almost the same. The keyboard feel is also much better.

I love this series of Sharp Zaurus which unfortunately only sold in Japan. It has the best screen for PDA (640×480), 8hrs battery life (yes!), multiple forms factors (you can twirl the screen like the discontinued Sony Clie) and it runs embedded Linux – this means I can run Konquerer, Firefox, Mozilla, Open Office, or even Quake on this little baby (see screenshots). And yes, this little gadget runs mplayer too so mp3? haha, divx my friend. And not like some crippled Creative gadget that can only play wma or Sony PSP that uses their propietary UMD.1

I am going to hack this to run PDAXROM, ie once they figure out how to compile for C3000. :P

1 Incidently, A movie encoded at 320×240 divx with 24khz mp3 (ie, decent handheld quality) would be about 100mb/hr. On a 1Gb SD card, I can store 10hrs of movies, more then the battery life.

March 24th, 2005

Mobile Gadget Form Factors

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mobile-form-factors.jpgRussell has a very good article about all the different mobile gadget form factors. I like the diagram he has particularly as it is a fairly good summary of all the form factors we seen so far.

We already see devices that ‘transform’ itself to multiple form factors. For example, the Motolora MPx or Nokia Communicator that can either be Talking or Typing to the even more extreme Zaurus which can be Typing, Reading, Watching & Listening. (Damn no talking yet!)

As we see more function convergence, I expect we will see more and more of such ‘transformable’ devices. How cool!

March 9th, 2005

VON Exhibits (Part 1)

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Walked a little bit around VON Exhibition in the late afternoon but only managed to half of it before they closed. Anyway, lots of gadgets on displays but a lot of it are just “me too”. But here are also some pretty cool toys.

1) Motorola


They are finally here – GSM + WiFi phone! Not exactly the first in the market (XDA II) but at least MPx is not vapourware. Apparently they are going to be on sale in Asia (including SG) in a few weeks time.

The form factor, while a bit big, are much smaller then XDA II. And it actually looks like a phone rather then a PDA. The most cool part is that it is able to open in two ways, like a clamshell phone or on the side like a Zaurus!
Read the rest of this entry »

February 21st, 2005

Giving out WiFi SIP Phones

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sipphone-rental-small.jpgThis is an exciting day for me. We are giving out Hitachi WiFi SIP Phones at APRICOT 2005. This is part of the APEET ENUM/SIP Live Trial we have been putting together for the last few months. Every wifi phones are assigned with a SIP address which also comes with an ENUM1 number and this allows APRICOT delegates to call each another. Additionally, we also put up PSTN gateways in China, Taiwan and Singapore (US pending) so these phones can also be used to call back to PSTN phones in these countries (free of cos).

We also pre-registered every APRICOT delegates with a SIP account and ENUM numbers which they can used with their softphones with instructions on how to set it up. There is also an ENUM registration system where they could use it to configure the ENUM to associate it with their webpage, emails etc etc. ENUM client is also provided, of cos.

This is so cool to see people queuing up and asking questions about their new phones. It is also fun to see people excitingly calling each another as if they never made a phone call in their life. Most are just impressed that it just works! (out of the box, battery included ;-)


There is also a booth setup where we explained to people how we setup the system and we have some SIP phones on display. Particularly of interest is this phone from Panasonic which comes with ENUM resolution built-in!

Thanks to APEET members who are still hard at work yesterday trying to get things setup. Keep your fingers cross and I hope we survive this week :-)

1 Technically, it isn’t ENUM because we are not using The numbers we gave out is assigned from, ie.

2 Disclosal: I am the chair for APEET. But we are not-for-profit and doing this really to promote awareness of the technology (beside the learning experience). In fact, we did the whole thing with zero budget, thanks to all the sponsors :-)

February 18th, 2005

Notmad Explorer


Sick of the crappy music organizers that comes with Creative MP3 players? Well, check out NotMad Explorer, a software companion for Creative Nomad, MuVo, Zen etc.

It is not iTunes but it probably make it easier to live with a Creative MP3 players.

By posting this, I dunno if I am helping Creative or slaming their bad software. But Sim, your hardware are great (I love ripped out your 4Gb CF) but maybe invest a bit more usability if you are serious into consumer products?

I mean, just look at some of your customer feedback: “I will never, ever use PlayCenter again” “this app is what Creative’s PlayCenter should be” “PlayCenter … is all rather tiresome”.

I am surprise they haven’t figure out that you don’t win the MP3 market by features but by making it fun, cool and easier to use,. Make your customer love you :- it is not about brand – it is about lovemarks.

So please, go buyout the company and start shipping with your MP3 players. Maybe, just maybe you stand a chance against iPod.

ps: I am not affliated with Notmad in anyway.

February 7th, 2005

Feedback on Virtual Keyboard


vkb-mac.jpgFinally got my hand on the Virtual Keyboard I mention two months back.

The manual said it does not work with Mac/OS but I managed to get it to pair with my Mac anyway. Just go to the Bluetooth setup Assistant and instead of selecting “keyboard”, choose Other Device, and the proceed to pair them up. Just note that when you are asked to enter a key to pair up, don’t use something long like ‘92749273921’ and instead choose something strategic like ‘1’ because you have to retype the number on the infra-red keyboard without knowing what you type.

Of course, ‘1’ is insecure but it does not matter because you probably wont want to use it for long. Nope, I have no problem typing on the table, even though it sound kind of werid, I feel quite natural with it. The problem is the finger sensor (see the black patch below?) is overly sensitive – if you bring your finger low enough, it triggers. Of course, this means with some training, you could literally type without touching the table!

But for now, it is too sensitive and it detects key stroke which I didn’t meant to hit or the keys i hit multiple times. Heck, I couldn’t even use it to finish typing this entry.

Nevertheless, It’s still pretty cool. But it is not good enough for daily use yet.

Note: The infrared keyboard is big and clear even though it does not seem so from the picture.