Tag Archive | "3g"

Acer Iconia Tab W4 (3G) Review

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Acer Iconia W4

In our fifth 8-inch Windows Tablet review we’re taking a look at the Acer Iconia W4. Acer were the first to bring an 8-inch Windows 8 tablet to the market but the W3 really wasn’t at all an impressive device. The W4, however, looks a whole lot better and performs a whole lot better thanks to the upgrade from Clovertrail to Baytrail. We’ve also got 3G on board which makes it one of the first 8-inch Windows tablets to have the feature. Read-on for the full Acer Iconia W4-821P 3G 32GB review.

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Windows 8.1 Built-in 3G Hotspot in 2 Easy Steps.

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Windows 8.1 is here and I hope you’re in the process of updating. On Clovertrail tablets it takes 2-4 hours for the download and upgrade but it’s worth it, and not just because of the new Facebook app (video demo here.) No, the most important thing for small screen tablets and mobility was the promised support for 3G in Connected Standby / InstantGo. In combination with the new Hotspot feature, it’s going to allow up to 10 devices to use a PC’s cellular data connection over WiFi, while it’s ‘off.’

There’s a video below but first…

How to use the Windows 8.1 Hotspot feature.

Up to 10 devices can use a Windows 8.1 hotspot (Technically called ICS – Internet Connection Sharing) and obviously you’ll need a Windows 8.1 (or newer) PC with 3G and WiFi capability. If that’s the case then there’s only two steps.

1 – Enable both WiFi and 3G. Make sure the 3G (or 4G) is connected to your carrier.

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Here you see the 3G connected to O2 at HSPA+ speed.

2 – Enable the hotspot.

Swipe in from the right or point your mouse ion the bottom-right corner. Select ‘Settings’ from the charm bar and then , ‘Change PC Settings’ on the lower right of the menu. Look for ‘Network’ in the list on the left and select that.

You should find yourself here. Select the 3G connection under “Mobile broadband”

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At the top there’s a slider under ‘Share this connection.’ Simply swipe it to the right.

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By default the network name (SSID) is the name of the PC and there’s a random (possibly!) password. You can select edit to change that. It takes 10-20 seconds before you’ll see it as a new hotspot.

From this point on you’ll need to make sure your PC is left on…unless you have a PC capable of ‘Connected Standby’ or ‘InstantGo.’ All the Windows 8 tablets on the Clovertrail platform, a few new Ultrabooks on Haswell and most of the Baytrail-T tablets and 2-in-1 ones support this new feature. If you have this feature, feel free to touch the power button. The device will go into a mode where Windows Modern apps continue to run.

Note: If your 3G drops out it may not auto-reconnect. Make sure you select ‘ Connect automatically’ in the 3G network settings.

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Here’s a video showing the process and includes a demo of the InstantGo / Connected Standby mode.

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Samsung N350 – More Analysis, Hands-on Video

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It’s so good to be able to finally bring you some mobile computing news over here at UMPCPortal. The lions share went to our consumer-focused site, Carrypad [see all our consumer tablet news from IFA here] and to be honest, I didn’t see a single UMPC-style product at IFA. It’s telling.

There are a lot of positive points to pull out of IFA though. 1 – Android products are getting better and all the major manufacturers are committed to getting some tablet and smart book products out there. Some will reach the market in the next month. 2 -  As we get nearer towards Android 3.0 the developers must be thinking about the opportunities and i’m 100% sure we’re going to see the productive end of the Android applicaton spectrum blossom during 2011. 3-  We also saw some progress from Moblin. The first Moblin-based product is about to launch [WeTab - Details] and the feedback from the product developers was very positive.  Again, we’re going to see some good developments in the AppUp market here so that’s good news for 2011.  [Sidenote: We're participating in AppUp Elements next week so we'll have the latest info for you then.] Finally, I was extremely happy to see the 1KG Samsung N350 at IFA. Having recently written a report on mobile netbooks, I’m confident in saying that the N350 is the best solution out there. Dual-core Atom is going to bring Windows 7 application fluidity and enable basic use of video and audio editing apps. It might also allow me to finally step up from VGA to 720p in my video process. I’ll be testing it as soon as I can.

Samsung N350 (22) Samsung N350 (2) Samsung N350 (5) Samsung N350 (7) Samsung N350 (11)

Full gallery here.

Previous article on the Samsung N350 here.

When the details have been added to our database, they will be here.

The N350 offers 1024×768 (So say Samsung. More real estate at the expense of vertically-squashed pixels?) with a non-glossy finish. No digital a/v out is offered but VGA is there. You’ve also got an easy RAM upgrade slot and the promise of 3G / 4G (which means there’s a swappable module in there somewhere.) Battery life is said to in the region of 13 hours for the 6-cell battery. The 1KG version will have the 3-cell battery and offer, in real-terms, about 4-5hrs. The screen / price / power / battery life ratio there is unbeatable. Expect about 100-150gm extra weight for the 6-cell battery – still an unbeatable combo in my opinion.

The N350 on the show-floor was only running an N450 so its not possible to tell you about the performance but even the N455 model I tested was smooth. There’s obviously a fast SATA drive in there which could easily be swapped out for an even faster / more rugged SSD if needed.

Base pricing (lets hope it’s not for the N450 model) is 400-450. If the pricing is for an entry-level single core version then you’re looking at 499 Euro for the dual-core version. Add about 80 Euro for the 3G version which might not be available immediately.

How about this: Samsung N350 with Dual-Core N55 and added 3G, SSD and Pixel-Qi screen for about 5-6 hours of 1KG of 10”  productivity. It sounds like a real possibility to me after IFA this week.

SmartQ T7 3G Unboxing and Overview, Video.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Live VIDEO Q&A session on Carrypad.com/live tonight at 2200 Berlin time

(1600 New York, see other locations)

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Just in! The SmartQ T7 3G from Smartdevices (and sent for testing by HOTMID.com, formerly Eletroworld.cn – changeover happening this week.) is a 7” touchscreen tablet running Android 2.1 and offering an 800×600 resolution, Wifi, 3G/BT option, SDHC Card slot, USB OTG in a sub 500gm package. It’s not the highest spec device out there but when you consider the price – $249 (exclusive shipping and possible import taxes) or with CDMA/EVDO (no BT) just $289, you’ve got yourself quite the bargain. We’re testing a WCDMA (UMTS/HSDPA) version here which could be a big seller considering pay-as-you-go 3G in Europe is easy and cheap to get hold of.

Full specifications, links to gallery, news and related products available on the SmartQ T7 tracking page

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We’ve unboxed, turned it on and taken a look around and we’re quite impressed. GPS is something we would pay another $20 for if available (turning this into a great Google Navigation device) but overall, the 3G version is turning out to be quite the bargain. Well built, light, matt (resistive) screen and a suite of applications that, on this buid, include the Google suite. Yes, Market is there. The device also appears to be rooted so beware, this could be a late development version of the firmware. If the final version doesn’t include the Google suite you’ll be looking at alternative app stores and sideloading as your route to apps like Kindle (600-wide screen is going to work well for that) Acast,Listen, Last.FM (excellent quality mono speaker) and your favorite twitter application. We’re testing out some video apps to see how it copes too. We expect to see a few issues (browser speed is certainly one to flag straight away) as we continue testing so stay tuned for more review and testing articles over the next weeks. (Note, due to IFA and IDF commitments and a Toshiba AC100 that was despatched to us today, time is very very tight right now. We’re going to do our best to get the important info out to you ASAP)

ANNOUNCEMENT: Live VIDEO Q&A session on Carrypad.com/live tonight at 220 Berlin time (1600 New York, see other locations)

Lightweight and Mobile-Focused 3G Netbooks (And Alternatives.)

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Long-gone are the days where netbooks were available at the 1KG mark. The Asus 901, Acer A150. Classic 1KG, 8.9” netbooks that worked well as mobile-focused PCs for getting things done almost anywhere. The EeePC 901GO was arguably one of the best mobile bargains around at the time, at least in Europe. No hard drive, sub 1KG, 3G and a great price. Oh how things have changed. All we seem to see now are 10-12” devices at 1.2KG or more with moving hard drives. The 800gm-1KG mark is now a specialist segment.

If you take a long hard look though and are prepared to relax your requirements a little there are a few gems hidden in there that would work well for ultra-mobile fans so I’ve taken a long look at the netbook segment, spoken to a few people (thanks Avram and Sascha) and come up with a shortlist for you. I’ve also taken a look above and below the netbook segment to give you a few alternative options.

Requirements.

Ultra Mobile devices need to be feature-rich, rugged and connected. They are the Swiss army knives of PCs that need to be ready for anything. Getting the best productivity out of any situation is important. 12” devices give great comfortable real-estate. 10” devices can be good value. 7” devices get right under the 1KG mark. Here are some other important features.

  • No Hard Drive. Ideally you don’t want any moving parts at all in a mobile PC. Hard drives and fans can fail or get damaged and even rotating screen hinges need to be thought about very carefully. If an SSD doesn’t come as standard, I’ve looked at the upgrade possibilities.
  • Bright screen. Matt finish. 10 – 12” for comfortable productivity. 7-10” for lighter weight.
  • 3G, Wi-Fi-N and BT 2.x (but not self-upgrade unless the antenna is pre-installed)
  • Long battery life (6+hrs)
  • Lightweight PSU, Car Kit
  • Other useful options – GPS, memory upgrades. Case
  • Latest CPU technology.
  • Weight – 1KG or less. (I’ve looked at devices up to about 1.2KG here.)

The Netbook Shortlist

Based around the 10” form factor, these are the gems that I’ve managed to dig out. Of the 400+ devices that I’ve searched through, these match the requirements the best. Quite amazing that there are really only this many that I would class as truly mobile devices. Note, these devices may not appear in your local market (and there may be others in your local market that I haven’t seen – please lets us know if you find one.)

Off-Both-Grids With the Viliv S10

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I’ve been messing around with Solar energy again today…

It turns out that the Viliv S10 has a 9.5v input. Having an input voltage below 12V is always an advantage for solar work and it’s even better when the X70 car adaptor works on the S10. I’ve connected the S10 up to a 24W solar panel and it’s charging the device even when it’s in-use. Given pure sun (2hrs either side of peak sun) it should charge the S10 in about 5 hours. That’s 10 hours usage in 5 hours charging. Unfortunately the S10, like all other PCs, doesn’t fast-charge so this solution would probably work exactly the same with a 12W panel as only about 7W-10W is needed in charging.

The S10 has 3G built-in, a fast SSD and a great keyboard. It’s turning out to be a great solution for working completely off the power and wired networking grids.

I’ve written up some more details over at my little solar computing blog.

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Warning: Direct solar charging without a regulator and a buffer power store is always a risk to your devices.

Mobile Reporting Kit V8 – Oldies but Goodies for Computex

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Once again, it looks like my trusty Gigabyte Touchnote, my Canon S2IS and my N82 will form the hub of my mobile computing gear at Computex this year. Despite great advances in technology, I’m the mobile-tech-blogger with the old kit and the reason is – process.

See previous editions of my mobile reporting kit here.

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I’ve been using these devices successfully as one process unit for so long that if I replace any of them I’ll break a delicate chain. If I change the camera I can’t hook it up to the the netbook and use the remote capture facility that allows me to drag images on-screen into Livewriter in live-blogging situations. I also won’t be able to record in the simple but high-quality MJPEG format that works with Movie Maker out of the box and allows me to edit without issues on my netbook. If I upgrade the netbook I’ll be using Windows 7 which doesn’t have Movie Maker and will probably be slower than my XP build. FInding a netbook with touch, a fast SSD and good 3G isn’t easy or cheap either. If I change the phone, I’ll be left with something that doesn’t have a Xenon flash, good low-light capability and free navigation without the need for an internet connection. As for the MiFi, well, it’s the MiFi and it’s worth taking everywhere!

Of course, there’s a lot of other bits and pieces that go in the kit bag. Tripod, cables, chargers, USB Mic, toolkit, spare battery etc etc etc. Necessary evils!

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I am also thinking about two other bits of kit. The UMID BZ, a device I’ve been getting great use out of in the last 4 months. That could serve as a backup PC, pocket PC and bedside PC.  I can get away without it though. The other device, and one I’m more likely to take is the Xperia X10. That will serve as a MID, backup camera, phone and comms device and I might use it for quick videos that are in the correct format to be able to instantly send to YouTube. It might become my primary phone too because I really only need the N82 for quick images and navigation.

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For 3G, I’ll be using the same service as last year. I picked up a local Taiwan Mobile 3G SIM at the airport. It was cheap and worked well. I doubt it’s still active so i’ll probably have to sign up again.

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It’s a relatively old set of kit now and at some point in the next year I’ll be looking to upgrade. Battery life on my netbook needs to be improved (I only get about 8 hours total from the two batteries I have) and low-light capability on my main camera needs improving too. As for the mobile phone, I have a feeling that I’ll forever be carrying two devices. One MID-focused, the other a backup device.

If you’re going to Computex, i’d love to hear and write about your kit list. Let me know below (or in a blog post) and I’ll round up the information in a post here on UMPCPortal.

iPad 3G – Not the Ideal Mobile Internet Device

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3G and GPS are technologies that can turn an Internet device into a mobile internet device. While tethering and MiFi are great ways to mobilise your PCs, having a built-in 3G module makes a huge difference and of course, GPS enables navigation, local search, location-based social networking and other mobile-focused applications.

But you can’t just throw these two components into a device and expect to have the same on-the-go usage as a device specifically designed for mobility. You need to have the right form factor, the right input mechanisms and the right OS and software.

Take my Touchnote Netbook for example. It has 3G and a convertible touchscreen but I don’t use it when on-the-go. It’s portable, yes, and works extremely well in conferences and expos but it’s not something that you can USE WHEN MOBILE. It’s not designed for it.

With its size, weight and lack of mobility-focused applications I’m wondering just how the iPad will take off in mobile scenarios. Gizmodo has me worried too. They appear to be experiencing this for the first time…

…nothing quite beats the feeling of ubiquitous internet on a device like this. [Ref]

Nothing, that is, except a device that’s designed for mobility. Like a smartphone perhaps? Or, if you want to GTD while on-the-go, a clamshell/slider UMPC. I’d argue that the Wibrain i1 was way better suited to mobility than the iPad. It looked ugly and the OS wasn’t touch or GPS-friendly but it was designed with two-handed mobility in mind and nothing I’ve tried since has beaten it for use in that scenario.

The point is, adding 3G and GPS doesn’t magically turn a device into a mobile device.

Once again, form has won over function. From our perspective here at UMPCPortal, it’s a real shame. It’s sad to think that hundreds of thousands of customers will learn about ‘mobile computing’ for the first time through the iPad 3G.

If you can afford it, 3G and GPS are nice to have and I’m glad Apple give the customers the option. We’ll have to wait to see if any mobility-focused applications rise to the surface but based on the design and user feedback in the last 24hrs, I don’t think it’s going to be a focus for developers.

Update: Warner Crocker has a similar view that the iPad isn’t a mobile device.

Related: 30 iPad productivity problems.

Viliv S10 Blade 3G Photo Gallery

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I’ve just finished the photo shoot of the Viliv S10….

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View the full gallery (70+images) in the UMPCPortal Gallery.

Joojoo Update: Revamped Interface and hardware color; FCC Docs Show Nvidia ION, 3G inside

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We told you a little while back that the Joojoo got delayed a month due to an issue with the touchscreen. The Joojoo [product page] is expected to be released to pre-order customers on March 25th.

Interface/Video Playback

This convenient delay appears to have given Fusion Garage time to do a pretty major graphical overhaul. They’ve changed the odd, monochrome looking, single-color background to something a little more vibrant, and added a dash of color to the shortcut icons as well. I have to say that I like this move. People seemed confused about the Joojoo’s screen early on, simply due to the original interface design. It appeared as though the screen wouldn’t be able to display more than a few simple colors. Of course we know that isn’t the case, but the original design may have led someone, unfamiliar to the device, to that conclusion. See before and after shots of the home screen below:
joojoo home screen 1 joojoo home screen 2

There are some additional interface enhancements, such as a new, smaller, keyboard that can pop up over content for single handed use. Fusion Garage has also added local video playback support for the following formats: AVI, MPEG-4, MOV, WMV and WMA, FLV (Flash Video), VOB, OGG, OGM and OGV, MKV, DiVX and XViD. Read more about the interface changes (and see pictures as well) over at Engadget.

Hardware

joojoo ion As the Joojoo makes its way through the FCC (hat tip to Engadget for spotting it), we get to see the hardware teardown as well as the manual. Revealed in the manual is the fact that the Joojoo is running the Atom N270 CPU and using Nvidia ION (as we theorized in January), which explains why it is able to handle HD video playback, especially flash HD. It seems odd that Fusion Garage didn’t particularly state that the Joojoo uses Nvidia ION as a selling point.
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In the hardware teardown we can see that the unit is 3G equipped, though it is unclear whether or not pre-order models will ship with 3G. Officially, the Joojoo is a WiFi only device, though the CEO of Fusion Garage has said that 3G was on the way in 2010.

Fusion Garage also saw fit to change the color of the device itself. Instead of black, the unit will be shipping as a champagne color.

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It’ll be interesting to see how the iPad and the Joojoo compete once they finally hit the market. Will the iPad’s, refined — but more limited – web/app experience win over consumers? Or will the Joojoo’s custom interface, with access to the full web, be what the masses clamor for? Only time will tell.

GSMA Agrees With Us and Gives the MiFi an Award.

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Clearly the GSMA have been looking for guidance on what to choose as a top mobile gadget at MWC, saw that we had awarded Mobile Accesory of the Year to Novatel’s MiFi and followed suit by giving their own little award for Best Connected Device (Non-handset)

Or maybe they checked it out and realised it was a damn fine bit of kit on their own.

Either way, Novatel just picked up another award for the MiFi from the GSMA

SAN DIEGO ­ Feb. 22, 2010 ­ Novatel Wireless (NASDAQ: NVTL), a leading
provider of wireless broadband solutions, is pleased to announce that its
MiFi  Intelligent Mobile Hotspot has won the GSMA Global Mobile Award for
Best Mobile Connected Device (non-handset). The GSMA Global Mobile Awards is
the mobile industry¹s leading annual award presentation that honors
excellence and innovation in the mobile communications industry worldwide.

Full press release.

Well done Novatel. Keep that Mifi-love flowing. Our wish-list is below:

  • 10 hours battery life (Bigger battery version?)
  • USB charging without becoming a USB device
  • Easier to understand indicator lights. (After nearly a year, I still don’t understand them!)
  • Less heat
  • Faster cold boot
  • Firmware upgrade for existing owners to enable GPS and applications support.

The MiFi 2352 (HSDPA version) saved our bacon quite a few times at MWC. It was the hotel WiFi, our live podcast feed and we used it countless times around the site and at events with a cheap, 35 Euro flat rate SIM card from Vodafone ES. I even used it for advertising. I set my SSID as ‘Chippy and Carrypad are here’ and people actually found me because of it too.

It goes without saying that we thoroughly recommend it and if you’re interested in the HSDPA version, it’s available through our friends at Mobilx for just 214 Euro inclusive of EU taxes. Trust us, it’s worth it! (Affiliate link.)

DataJack Puts Pressure on U.S. 3G Data Services.

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datajackUnlimited pre-paid 3G data via USB stick for $39 per month might sound like a rather unexciting deal for many Europeans but for the U.S, this is a long-overdue breakthrough. Prices for 3G data in the US have been too high for too long.

The service is being brought to the market by DataJack with very few strings at all. On the contrary, it’s promoted as a truly flat data service (on a GSM/UMTS network  judging by the mention of ‘EDGE’ in the marketing material) along with a free moth of service after using it for 12 consecutive months.

We suspect that this is a locked service but fingers crossed that DataJack brings out a SIM-only version of the product. It would make a nice partner for an unlocked MiFi unit.

DataJack to Launch Unlimited Prepaid Mobile Broadband for $39.



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