Saturday, 15 December 2007

Nokia N81 Music Smartphone

Nokia have recently released the N81, a 3G mobile multimedia entertainment studio with an impressive 8GB of memory.

The N81 is music focused and includes a new 3D multimedia menu that is intended to make music and digital content easier to access. The Nokia "navi wheel" feature is also included which turns the square navigation pad into a touch pad allowing fast scrolling through menus and songs. This is also one of the first phones from Nokia to provide access to their over the air, online music store. The N81 provides integrated stereo speakers and a 3.5mm jack for headphones.

The Nokia N81 also has smartphone status and runs the Symbian OS 9.2 operating system providing a range of applications that include a calendar, notebook, calculator and PDF reader.

A camera is included with the Nokia N81 but its nothing to get excited about at 2.0 megapixels. It supports 20x digital zoom and MPEG-4 VGA Video capture up to 15 frames per second.

If you're into games, you will be pleased to know that the N81 comes with Nokia's N-Gage gaming studio, providing landscape gameplay with dedicated game keys.

- Display: Active matrix 2.4” QVGA (320 x 240 pixels), up to 16.7 million colors
- Memory: 8GB
- Camera: 2.0 megapixels, 20x digital zoom, MPEG-4 VGA video capture up to 15fps
- Music formats: MP3 (VBR), AAC, eAAC+, AAC+, WMA/M4A, WAV, OMA DRM 1.x, 2.0, Windows Media DRM (OTI/OTA with Nokia Music Store)
- Connectivity: WLAN IEEE802.11, Bluetooth 2.0, Micro USB 2.0 Full Speed, Nokia AV Connector 3.5mm
- Operating System: Symbian OS ver. 9.2
- User interface: Multimedia key & Navi wheel, dedicated media keys, dedicated game & volume keys, device hold key

Monday, 10 December 2007

What is a SmartPhone?

What is a SmartPhone? I'm sure you have all heard of smartphones by now but there seems to be a bit of confusion about what exactly a smartphone is. Are they simply "smart phones"? If this is the case then who decides if a phone deserves to be called smart? Surely there would need to be an industry standard to separate smartphones from the rest of the pack. In this post I will attempt to define what a smartphone is.

For a start I will try to find out if there is a universal 'smartphone' standard. It appears not, well not yet anyway. I found an article from 2004 that stated that Intel and Symbian intended to team up and create a 3G smartphone standard, but nothing appears to have come to fruition from that.

Ok, so there is no smartphone standard, but who decides if a phone deserves smart status? Surely due to the lack of a standard, all phone manufacturers will jump at the opportunity to brand their phones as smartphones. It appears that this is not always the case. Take the new Samsung i620 - no where on Samsungs website is this phone called a smartphone but if we type "Samsung i620" into google, the first three non-Samsung websites all call this phone a smartphone.

So what is the universally accepted definition of a smartphone? It appears that a phone gets smart phone status if it runs a recognised operating system such as Symbian OS, Windows Mobile, Palm OS, etc, that provides rich computer like functionality such as allowing the user to install/uninstall programs, send emails and store information.

The definition of "what is a smartphone" will most likely keep changing over time but currently I think the most defining factor is the operating system that the phone runs. The operating systems that are currently recognised as smartphone operating systems all support most of the functionality that you will find on the latest computers and PDA's, giving your phone a rich functionality.

What are the smartphone operating systems? The main players at the moment are Symbian OS, Linux, Windows Mobile, RIM BlackBerry, Palm OS and OS X(iPhone). So if your phone runs one of these operating systems then it is probably a smart phone.

Finally, what is considered a smart phone today will probably not be considered a smart phone in a few years time. The latest technology and functionality that is available on computers and PDA's is probably going to keep re-defining what we consider to be a smartphone.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Nokia 3110 Evolve - Nokia goes green

The 3110 Evolve from Nokia, featuring bio covers made from more than 50% recycled materials, is an example that the company is serious about their pledge to "go green".

Nokia has also made an eco-effort with the packing for the 3110 which features 60% recycled materials.

The 3110 Evolve comes with Nokia's most energy efficient charger to date, using 94% less energy than the Energy Star requirements for the US. The AC-8 charger minimizes the "no load" energy consumption in case you forget to unplug the charger from the power socket.

It is pleasing to see big companies like Nokia setting a positive example for helping the enviroment. It's now up to the consumer to play their part and start choosing products that make a difference for the environment such as the 3110 Evolve.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

BlackBerry Pearl 8130 - SmartPhone with GPS

The BlackBerry Pearl 8130 is one of the latest smartphones phones released by RIM and their first smartphone to run on CMDA networks.

The 8130 Pearl sports a range of new features that include rich multimedia capabilities, a new software interface, communications enhancements and built in GPS and support for high-speed EV-DO networks. Existing smartphone features that BlackBerry users will be used to such as web browsing, organiser, email and messaging (SMS, IM, MMS) are all still included.

The BlackBerry Pearl 8130 features an enhanced software interface that includes a new font rendering technology to provide enhanced legibility across all font sizes. The email client, calendar, address book, task list, memo pad, web browser and other applications all benefit from the new software interface and font rendering technology.

A new "Page View" option is included with the BlackBerry web browser that displays a full web page on the screen and provides a magnifying glass to let the user point and zoom on a specific part of the page.

The BlackBerry Pearl 8130 includes a new 2 megapixel camera with a 5x digital zoom and flash is included. 2 megapixels is now towards the bottom end of what is available from camera phones but at least it is an upgrade from the existing 1.3 megapixels for BlackBerrys. A nice feature of the camera is the support for video capture in two resolutions: 240x180 or 176x144.

The media player in the 8130 Pearl allows the user to create and edit playlists on the handset and also manage their media files from their PC with the BlackBerry Roxio Media Manager.

The BlackBerry Pearl 8130 also includes built in GPS to provide out of the box support for location based applications and services. BlackBerry maps is included and now supports a local search function that allows the users to find local businesses such as banks, hotels and restaurants, within a short driving distance.

Advanced phone features include Independent Speaker Voice Recognition (SIVR) for Voice Activated Dialing (VAD), Bluetooth 2.0 support for hands-free use with headsets, car kits and Bluetooth peripherals, dedicated send, end, and mute keys, smart dialing, speed dialing, conference calling, call forwarding, a low-distortion speakerphone for hands-free conversations and support for polyphonic, MP3 and MIDI ring tones.

- Size (LxWxD)mm: 107x50x14
- Display: Colour, Backlighting, light sensing, font size adjust
- Memory: 64MB flash, support for microSD card
- Data input: Trackball, QWERTY keyboard with backlighting
- Media Player: Supported audio formats: MP3, MIDI, AMR-NB, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA,
- Video: Supported video formats: MPEG4 Part 2 Simple Profile, H.263, WMV
- Voice I/O: 3.5mm stereo headset capable, earpiece/ microphone, Bluetooth v2.0 Mono/stereo headset, hands-free
- Battery: 900mAh, 9 days standby, 3.7hrs talk time
- Wireless network: Dual-band 800/1900 Mhz CDMA2000 1X Ev-DO

BlackBerry Pearl Website

Sunday, 25 November 2007


GSM or CDMA? We often hear GSM and CDMA technologies being used as one of the main marketing points for mobile phones, but how many of us actually know what these technologies are? And why would we choose one over the other?

For a start, I will give a brief overview of the two technologies:

Short for Global System for Mobile communications, GSM is the most widely used cell phone technology in the world and is though to have somewhere between 75% and 85% of the market share. It was first launched in Finland in 1991 and is currently available on more than 690 mobile networks in over 200 countries. GSM phones support SIM cards, which give the phones owner great freedom with global roaming and changing to other phone operators. Security is a main feature of GSM technology and it uses several cryptographic security algorithms.

Short for Code Division Multiple Access, CDMA is a digital cell phone technology used in second generation (2G) and third generation (3G) mobile phones. It is currently a very popular network in Asia Pacific and North America with popularity starting to grow in other parts of the world. CDMA phones do not support SIM cards, the account information and the owners address book and details are programmed into the phone. CDMA is a form of multiplexing that allows multiple signals to exist on the same channel, optimising the available bandwidth.

Which technology should you choose? If both GSM and CDMA networks are available in your area, your decision should come down to data transfer speed, global roaming and whether you are likely to change your phone all that often.

Data transfer speed
CDMA currently supports data transfer speeds up to 2Mb/s thanks to EVDO (EVolution Data Optimised) technology. This is currently superior to what GSM can offer although I should mention that GSM is fast catching up.

Global roaming
GSM is the obvious winner here due to the ability to change a phones SIM card for local providers.

Changing phone
If you are likely to change phone quite frequently and would like to keep your number and personal contacts, GSM would again be obvious choice due to the ability to change SIM cards.

Another factor may be the quality of your local networks. If you have a choice between GSM or CDMA, it may pay to do some research and see which network has the best coverage in your area.

CDMA Development Group Website
GSMA Website

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Motorola RAZR2 V8 - Enhanced Multimedia features

The Motorola RAZR V8 is the next generation RAZR focused on a thin design and enhanced multimedia experience.

As an owner of the older RAZR V3x model, the first thing I noticed about the RAZR V8 was that the external display has been made much larger. After further investigation, I discovered that Motorola have made the external display touch-sensitive with support for music player controls and the ability to read and reply to texts. Once the music player has been started, there is not need to open the phone.

My biggest disappointment with the RAZR2 V8 is that the camera has remained at 2.0 megapixels. This is the same resolution that was provided on the V3X model which is now about two years old.

But what the Motorola RAZR2 V8 lacks with its camera resolution, it makes up for with looks. This is a sleek looking model that features a stainless steel frame, vacuum metal housing, chemically hardened glass and spun metal and chrome.

- External display: 2.0" Touch - QVGA (320 x 240 pixels) and 262k colours
- Internal display: 2.2” QVGA (320 x 240 pixels), 262K colours
- Camera: 2 megapixels with 8x digital zoom
- Music player: Optional stereo micro-USB headset and stereo Bluetooth wireless technology
- Internal Memory: 420MB or 2GB
- External Memory: No
- Video - MPEG4 capture and playback
- Connectivity: Class 2 Bluetooth 2.0 and high speed micro USB 2.0

Friday, 9 November 2007

LG Viewty KU990 - 5 Megapixel camera

The LG Viewty KU990 is one of the latest camera phones - featuring an impressive resolution of 5-megapixels. If you are considering purchasing a digital camera in the near future and could possibly do with a mobile phone upgrade too, then you may want to consider the Viewty KU900.

Not only does the camera support a high 5-megapixel resolution, it also has a touch screen and supports a range of other features that you would expect to find in a standard digitial camera. On top of the convectional auto-focus, the Viewty KU990 is the first ever camera phone to support manual focus. A xenon flash is included although I have heard reports that it is not all that bright.

Other image enhancing facilities include digital stabalisation, ISO 800 and SmartLight for taking quality pictures in low-light conditions.

The LG Viewty KU990's photo editing software provides a range of useful features including picture size adjustment and a scattered photo viewer that allows you to drag photos around the screen with the flick of a finger.

HIgh speed video recording at 120FPS is also supported which allows you to catch objects in motion with a high detail and then view them again later in slow motion.

An MP3 player is included and supports most of the features that you would find on a standalone MP3 player.

- Camera - 5MPx, manual and auto focus
- Digital zoom - 16x
- Optical zoom - no
- Video Encoding - VGA 30fps, QVGA 120 fps
- Video Codec - (MPEG4/WMV/H.263/H.264) - plays divx video up to 640 x 480
- Audio Codec - (MP3/AAC/AAC+/AAC++/WMA)
- Memory Slot - Micro SD 2Gb
- Internal memory - 90MB
- Bluetooth and USB connectivity
- Display - 3 inch touch screen
- Dimensions L,W,H(mm) - 103.5 x 54.4 x 14.8

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Samsung i620 3G SmartPhone

The Samsung i620 is one of the latest 3G smartphones to be released by Samsung. The i620 features a wide design to accommodate its QWERTY keyboard and comes with a range of smartphone capabilities.

The i620 supports HSPDA (High Speed Download Packet Access) which makes it ideal for streaming video and chat using video telephony. It runs the Windows Mobile operating system which gives it a range of multimedia options including Windows Media Player.

A user-friendly PC environment is provided with the Windows Mobile 6.0 operating system, providing support for Crossbow, Message Smartifier, IRM email access as well as a range of other applications.

A range of connectivity options are provided with Bluetooth, WAP, Outlook Sync, PC Sync Application and an Internet HTML browser.

It includes a standard 2.0 megapixel camera with digital zoom, brightness adjust, shot mode and photo effects and quality settings.

Smartphone functionality includes a scheduler, document viewer, mobile printing, offline mode, file explorer, voice memo and voice mail.

- Platform: Windows Mobile 6.0
- Browser: Opera
- Display: TFT, 2.2", 320x240 resolution
- Battery: Talk Time - 4.2hrs, Standby - 350hrs
- Input device: QWERTY keyboard
- Camera: 2.0 megapixels, digital zoom, no optical zoom
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, WAP
- Memory: 30MB internal, mircoSD external memory up to 2GB
- Model number: SGH-i620

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Nokia 6555 - Slick 3G flip phone

The recently released Nokia 6555 (August 21, 2007) is an attractive 3G phone featuring a smooth-back fold design and stylish analog clock.

The main selling point for the 6555 is the smooth-back fold design. It has recessed hinges which means that when the phone is open, there is no obvious line at the join.

An additional attraction of the Nokia 6555 is a QVGA 16 million color internal display, providing a crisp resolution on a large 240x320 screen. This will be very useful for viewing and editing photos and videos on the go.

For a stylish, mid-range 3G phone, the 6555 is reasonably priced at around €200.

Other features:
- Display: 240 x 320 pixels - QVGA with 16M colours
- Sub Display: 128 x 160 pixels with 262k colours
- Camera: 1.3 megapixels
- Connectivity: Bluetooth version 2.0, USB
- Memory card: Micro SD memory slot up to 4GB
- Internal memory: 30MB

Monday, 1 October 2007


Welcome! This post serves as an introduction to all of my "Insight" blogs on blogspot.

I am a technology junkie who lives in the UK and have spent the past ten years of my life working as a software/electronics engineer. Recently my employment has required that I should keep up to date with the very latest mobile technology. Without going into the exact details of what I am working on, I will say that it involves quite a bit of Bluetooth and USB development.

I decided that an online blog to would be a good way to keep up to date with mobile/Bluetooth/USB technology and remember any interesting news that I have discovered. I started out with the intention of running just one online blog through blogspot but that soon changed into three blogs when I realised that I couldn't categorise the content of my blogs. The three blogs that I am running are Mobile Insight, Bluetooth Insight and USB Insight.

I intend to write about each topic at least once a week. If I get time, I will probably write more.

I hope you find something of interest!