Toys and Gadgets

January 17th, 2006

HP Pavilion DV4000 and Dopod 900



Yes, I switched back to the darkside again a few weeks ago. No, I haven’t give up on my Macs but playing WoW on Powerbook for the last few months, the conclusion is: Sorry, it just didnt cut it. So alas, time to went shopping for a notebook with enough juice.

Sad to say, none of those ultra-portable notebooks from Sony, Sharp, etc have any interesting 3D card. The smallest notebook I can find that has any decent 3G is Acer Aspire 5500 that comes with ATI Raedon X700, 128mb VRAM and 14.1″ widescreen and weights 2.5kg. But for the same price, I could get HP Pavillion DV4000 that comes with ATI Raedon X700, 256mb VRAM and 15.4″ widescreen and weights 2.9kg. In the end, I decided that the 400g isn’t a big difference and so I got my first HP computer. And so far, I have nothing but praise for it. Lovely machine!

Then, a week after, Acer launched their dual core notebook Aspire 5670 which comes with X14000 and 512mb hypermemory1 retailed at the same price. And Apple launched their dual core Intel-based MacBook Pro that comes X16000! :-(

dopod900.JPGSpeaking of gadget, I got to play with Dopod 900 over the weekend. Not many people heard of Dopod but their phones has been sold under various OEM brands. For example, Dopod 818 is more well-known as O2 XDA mini.

Anyway, Dopod 900 has a form factor like my Sharp Zaurus C760, a clam-shell which opens up a full keyboard and a twirling screen! Its a 3G phone with 640×480 screen and comes with build-in Wifi and a 1.3mpg camera. The specs alone makes me drool…Promising device because it could potentially replace my phone and the zaurus I carry around. I could even overcome the fact it runs Windows Mobile and not the more hackable Linux.

But sadly, Dopod 900 didn’t meet my expection at all. Selling at nearly US$1,000, you will expect to have a nice finishing either like an iPod or at least Dopod 818. Instead, you get this cheapo looking grey plastic cover… I guess design is a secondary problem as the main problem is the CPU. Every keypress has a noticable delay of 500ms or more. So even simple thing like dialing to make a call is a tedious process of pressing one number, wait, then press another number, wait… I gave up playing with it after a while…didnt even try to see if I can do any SIP calls with it *sigh*

A very promising device, with a form factor I really like, but I guess I will have to wait for the next version tho. Hopefully they will fix these problems by then.

1 I was told ATI Raedon X14000 performs actually only like an X600 where as Apple X16000 is closer to X700.

June 20th, 2005

Logitech MX1000


MX1000.jpgThanks to a friend1 who gave me a Razer Viper last year, my wife is so used to the 1000dpi high precision mouse that she cannot stand any normal optical mouse anymore.

So when I was shopping for a new mouse two weeks ago, she warned me ‘nothing less then 800dpi’. Now, when your wife talks to you about mouse dpi, you better listen cos this is not something you expect from a non-geek. Heck, even geeks don’t talk about the dpi of their mouse.

I was really tempted by the Razor Diamond, 1600dpi mouse but I hesitated because I don’t want my wife to come back next year to tell me ‘nothing less then 1600dpi’. That would be so wrong. Beside, I was also looking for a wireless mouse so Razor Diamond was out.

Anyway, to cut the whole story short, I settled on the latest Logitech MX1000, the world first laser mouse with 20x more sensitivity. Although only 800dpi, it is really really smooth compared to other 800dpi mouse. After using it for World of Warcraft for more then a week, I can vouch for it. And I really love it.

As for my wife, she still stick to the old Razer Her complain? “Too heavy” :P

1 Actually my friend owns Razer (the company). Sorry. I promise the next mouse I buy will be a Razor.

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 :-)