Happy New Year

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Dec 312007
 

Happy New Year to all! 2008 is nearly here in Toronto (but has arrived in other parts of the world) With the all the promises that a new year brings, I would like to wish all the very best to you and yours.

With 2007 now in the books, I’ll spare you yet another top whatever of 2007 list but let me say that I think that the iPhone was the gadget event of the year. Not only did it trigger a frenzy of attention even before being released, but once released, did not let up. From the impressive sales figures to the rave reviews it garnered, it had a profound impact on the mobile phone market. Probably the biggest impact is the way it ushered in touch interfaces. Now everyone seems to be playing catch up. It also changed the way that a hardware manufacturer deals with carriers. Never before had we seen a revenue sharing plan like Apple was able to get from AT&T and the other carriers that offer the iPhone. I’m guessing that others are now looking at such arrangements but whether they have the pull to actually carry it off remains to be seen. And let’s not forget the cat-and-mouse game played between Apple and coders that wanted to unlock the iPhone.

Thank you for your ongoing support. Now, let’s see what 2008 has in store for us.

Pocket PC Dubai reviews the dual SIM Pocket PC Dubao N868

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Dec 302007
 

Dubao N868

Dual SIM card phones are still a bit of a rare breed. Techfaith was expected to have a model out this year but it still has not seen the light of day. One that is actually available is the Dubao N868 which is available in China. The idea behind a dual-SIM phone is that it would allow you to have two phone numbers come into a single phone (for example, one for work and one for personal use).

Aside from the dual SIM slots, the Dubao N868 is not cutting edge technology. It is powered by Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC and a 200MHz TI OMAP processor. It comes with tri-band GSM/GPRS connectivity, a 2.5-inch QVGA display, QWERTY keyboard, 64MB RAM and 64MB ROM, Bluetooth, a 1.3MP camera and a microSD expansion slot.

Pocket PC Dubai got their hands on one and have written a review on their experiences with it. Find out if the Dubao N868 lives up to its promise.

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Weekend fun: Atomic Cannon updated

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Dec 302007
 

Atomic Cannon

Atomic Cannon has undergone a major update. This scorched earth type game is easy to learn but difficult to master. In this strategic tank artillery duel you battle against computers or friends on 25 different landscapes. Players take turns aiming and firing at each other with over 100 weapons of mass destruction including nuclear bombs.

In version 3.0, you will find 18 new weapons, supply drops with credits, health, weapons, or traps, walls and bunkers, sentry turrets and hazmat armor. There is also an online cross platform multiplayer mode, supporting up to 16 players and a game lobby with chat capability. It is compatible with Windows Mobile Pocket PC and Smartphone, Windows XP and Vista, and Mac OS X.

Atomic Cannon 3.0 is available for USD$19.95 directly from Isotope 244. A trial version is also available.

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25 most innovative products of 2007 according to PC World

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Dec 302007
 

Nothing announces the end of the year like the Top Number Of Whatever lists that suddenly appear everywhere. PC World is no exception and it has published its 25 Most Innovative Products of the Year. Web apps that transcend the Web. PCs that redefine what a PC can do. And oh yeah, a certain cell phone you may have heard of. We pick 25 breakthroughs that you can get your hands on right now.

As with any such list, you will agree with some entries and disagree with others. What would you change?

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Use SMS to keep up to date with your favourite sites

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Dec 292007
 

It is now even easier to stay on top of the news from your favourite sites. Web-alerts.com offers a service that will send you a text message when something new is posted on a site that you are tracking. Better yet, you can also select keywords so that only those particular items will trigger an alert.

Web-alerts uses the FeedM8 engine to convert a site’s RSS feed into a mobile web site that you can then browse from your mobile device.

The service is available in both the US and Canada and is free although there may be SMS charges from your wireless carrier.

Source: The Boy Genius

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New rules for batteries when travelling by plane

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Dec 292007
 

Travelling with our gadgets is about to get more interesting starting on January 1, 2008. The US Transportation and Security Administration has issued new rules for spare batteries (defined as those batteries that are carried separately from the devices that they power). The new rules state that:

  • You may not pack a spare lithium battery in your checked baggage
  • You may bring spare lithium batteries with you in carry-on baggage – see our spare battery tips and how-to sections to find out how to pack spare batteries safely!
  • Even though we recommend carrying your devices with you in carry-on baggage as well, if you must bring one in checked baggage, you may check it with the batteries installed.

The new rules are being put in place because, according to the agency, spare lithium ion batteries pose a fire hazard to planes.

If you travel with gadgets, be aware that there are also rules around the maximum amount of lithium that you can bring aboard with your batteries.

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Weekend fun: Pocket Funny Faces

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Dec 282007
 

Pocket Funny Faces

If people around you have a good sense of humour, this could be a lot of fun. It’s time to get in touch with your creative side with Pocket Funny Faces. Create funny-looking portraits of family, friends and celebrities, or just create some random funny faces.

The game will allow you to come up with over a million different faces and promises to be easy enough to learn that even kids can have fun with it. It is compatible with Pocket PC devices.

Pocket Funny Faces is available for USD$9.95 from our affiliate Clickgamer. A trial version is also available.

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North American version of Nokia N95 8GB coming in February?

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Dec 282007
 

Nokia N95

It looks like Nokia will soon release a North American version of its S60 N95 8GB smartphone. Nokia already has such a device but it does not come with support for the wireless frequencies used in North America. The new North American version appeared online at Mobile City Online with an expected arrival date of February 15th.

The N95 8GB improves on the North American N95-3 by adding the aforementioned 8GB of Flash memory and a larger 2.8-inch display. It also comes with quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and HSDPA (850/1900 bands) connectivity.

Mobile City Online is currently offering the N95 8GB for USD$$799.99, a significant premium over the N95-3 which it offers at USD$579.

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Wal-Mart retires movie download service

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Dec 282007
 

Wal-Mart quietly shut down its movie download service on December 21, 2007, about a year after launching it. The decision does not appear to be Wal-Mart’s alone though as its technology partner in the project, Hewlett-Packard, decided to discontinue the service as it did not perform “as expected.”

Those who purchased movies through the service will be allowed to keep them as long as they remain on the computer on which they were purchased (one more reason to hate DRM!).

Source: Engadget

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Warner adds DRM-free music to Amazon MP3 store

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Dec 272007
 

Amazon.com announced today that its Amazon MP3 digital music store is now offering DRM-free music from Warner Music Group. In addition, Amazon and WMG will make available to consumers digital music products such as album bundles containing exclusive tracks.

Amazon MP3 launched this past September with a catalog of about 2 million songs from music labels Universal Music Group, and EMI, and independents. Adding Warner to its catalog is a significant win for Amazon as its main competitor, iTunes, does not offer Warner music in DRM-free format.

Most songs on Amazon MP3 are available for between US$0.89 and US$0.99. Most albums range in price from US$5.99 to US$9.99. All music is encoded in the 256kbps MP3 format.

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SBSH PocketWeather 2.0 now available

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Dec 272007
 

SBSH PocketWeather

SBSH Mobile Software have announced SBSH PocketWeather 2.0, an update to its weather forecast tracking application. Get world wide weather reports directly to your Windows Mobile device using the all new PocketWeather 2!

Among the enhancements are a redesigned Today plug-in that features a set of new layouts and d-pad navigation support, a redesigned WeatherConsole that provides vital weather information such as current/detailed METAR conditions, raw METAR/TAF data, integration with the latest version of PocketBreeze (including forecast details that are embedded in the PocketBreeze Calendar tab display) and more.

SBSH PocketWeather 2.0 is available for USD$14.95 from our affiliate Clickapps. A trial version is also available. SBSH also has information on how to upgrade from previous versions.

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Successful urban test for 4G network

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Dec 272007
 

Nokia Siemens Networks have announced that they have completed a successful set of tests involving Long Term Evolution (LTE), a 4G technology that could replace 3G in the near future. This trial was conducted in a real urban outdoor environment with multiple users using the new 2.6 GHz spectrum. It confirms that LTE performance requirements can be met using 3GPP standardized technologies and it realized data rates of more than 100 Mega bits per second over distances of several hundred meters, while maintaining excellent throughput at the edge of typical urban mobile radio cells. LTE could offer data rates as high as 173 Mbps (compare that to HPDPA which offers about 7.2Mbps).

Aside from the speed gains, LTE promises more efficient use of the spectrum which would allow Nokia Siemens Networks to reach its goal of having 5 billion connected users by 2015.

Deployment of LTE is expected around 2010.

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HTC denies being affected by Qualcomm chipset shortages

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Dec 272007
 

HTC has responded to a story that its device shipment and revenues could be affected in early 2008 due to a Qualcomm CDMA and WCDMA chipset shortage. While recognizing that there is an overall tight supply of handset components in the global market, HTC indicated that it has secured sufficient supplies to prevent any such event.

As a result, HTC expects that its operations will not be affected fundamentally.

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Apple iTunes movie rentals to be announced at MacWorld?

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Dec 262007
 

Apple

The Financial Times is reporting that Apple will unveil a new iTunes movie rental service at MacWorld 2008 (January 14 to 18, 2008). Unlike the current model where movies can be purchased, these downloads will only work for a limited amount of time.

A person familiar with the situation indicates that News Corp’s 20th Century Fox studio is the first studio to sign on. Others such as Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount and Warner Bros are also expected to offer iTunes movie rentals but agreements may not be in place in time for the MacWorld announcement.

It is also expected that Apple will announce new Fox DVD releases will come with a digital file protected by Apple’s FairPlay DRM, allowing the content to be transferred to a computer or to a video iPod.

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Asustek Eee shipments exceeding expectations

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Dec 262007
 

Asustek Eee

The Asustek Eee (which stands for Easy to learn, easy to work and easy to play) is exceeding the expectations of industry experts. During its first quarter debut, the Eee has shipped almost 350,000 units, beating forecasts by at least 50,000 units. Asustek has responded by placing emergency orders with its component suppliers as it expects that January shipments could be as high as 300,000 units.

At this pace, the Eee could reach the milestone of one million shipped units in the first quarter of 2008. Asustek also expects that it will ship five million units in 2008.

The Asustek Eee is a small notebook that comes in a variety of configurations that includes an SSD (up to 4GB), a 7-inch 800×480 display, 512MB RAM, a built-in 300K pixel video camera, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi and support for both Windows XP or Linux.

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