Archive | November, 2007

CLIO200 ‘mystery device’ (P.S. It’s an HTC Shift)

Posted on 30 November 2007

This is fun. Some people are reporting that there is an interesting new mobile device going through FCC approval.

shift back shiftback

Admittedly I hadn’t spotted that it was being lined up with a EDVO modem and that it was called the CLIO!

BTW. Craig Pringle has an HTC Shift for the weekend and is reporting on his blog.

More info on the Clio/Shift here.

UMPC News summary. 30th Nov 2007

Posted on 30 November 2007

I’m in the middle of a family visit at home right now so its a little difficult to get time to focus. The HTC Shift has helped as I’ve had that with me and have been able to do some coffee shop work while the ladies have been clothes shopping. Right now though, I have about an hour and want to go through the list of ‘starred’ items I have.

First on the list is that Ctitanic is testing the Avox UMPC which is also sold under the Gigabyte and AHTEC brands. It was also planned to launch under the Medion brand and I got a review sample before Medion went quiet on it. I liked the form factor and capability but didn’t really like the quality of the components. Frank doesn’t like XP Home on the device (on smaller screened devices, tablet edition is useful. If you ink, its more than just useful!) Frank has put up some images and bullet-point first impressions so keep an eye out for a fuller review.

Microsofts mobile blogger get-together, Mobius, is taking place up the road from me in Amsterdam at the moment. I would love to go to that just to meet all the bloggers but alas, no invite for me :-( There’s some news coming out of Amsterdam that Microsoft have a rather tasty Windows Mobile 6 update in the pipeline. Gear Diary is blogging lots of details about the meetings but there aren’t any more details about this new WM6 update as everyone has shaken hands on a non-disclosure agreement. Shame, but I don’t think we’ll have to wait long. CES is round the corner and I guess Mr Gates will have something to say. Windows For Devices has a nice post on the subject.

Just 2 hours drive from here, the iPhone has gone on sale in France. You can buy an unlocked phone, officially, for 750 Euro. That’s far cheaper than the 1000 Euro that T-Mobile are asking in Germany. I wonder if the price will come down here. (Its still too expensive to tempt me tho.) I’m sure it will when the 3G iPhone comes (confirmed for 2008)

Kornel sent me a link to some FCC testing docs for the HTC Shift. (30th Aug) He was looking for proof of the GPS that is rumoured to be in the US model but there’s no mention of it there. I’m not sure that a receiver would be part of those tests though. I also took a look to see if there’s any proof that it can make phone calls but no, I couldn’t see anything obvious.

Layne Heiny announced the 2008 CES tablet and UMPC gathering. I won’t be able to go to CES so I hope that the mobile cam tablet PC is there again so that we can send rude messages!

Finally, Rob of GottaBeMobile is testing a U810. I wouldn’t mind testing it myself to be honest as I’m interested in comparing its capability to the HTC Shift. I’ll be watching for more from Rob.

So that’s it for now. I’ll be back to full speed blogging in from Sunday afternoon and preparing myself for the WiBrain that should be here next week. I have the Shift for a few more days so if there’s anything else you need to know, let me know in the forum here and i’ll take it on.

Oh, one other thing. I’ve been in contact with Simon Dale of ‘Have That’ and I’m trying to get him to join me on UMPCPortal. He’s done some great reports on the Sony UX and OQO and I’ve sent him an Everun to see how he gets on with that. If all goes well there’ll be a new member of the team here soon and I think his first duty will be to take the train up to London to attend the OQO launch next week. Don’t drink too many cocktails Simon!


HTC Shift. First impressions review.

Posted on 29 November 2007

In order to write my hands-on report about the HTC Shift I’ve brought myself down off Carrypad hill and down into town. I’m in Starbucks and am connected via HSDPA on the Shift. Actually I’m the only person here with a PC. There’s a guy sitting across from me sending a text but, as it often is in Europe, people seem to be using that old, tried and tested method of communication – speech. I feel quite embarrassed to be working in this place of rest! [Edit: 1st public iPhone sighting. (Germany) It had to be in Starbucks!]

Read on…

OQO is #2 most important business product of 2007

Posted on 29 November 2007

The extremely cool and extremely well engineered, but rather expensive OQO Model 02 has been placed at #2 in a top-ten list of important business products by TechRepublic.

"…it simply feels like a device that combines the best mobility and connectivity features of a high-end smartphone with the computing power of an ultraportable notebook."

OK, I could argue about the connectivity features as the E2 version in Europe doesn’t have built-in 3G yet but in terms of  UMPCs, yes, the OQO 02 is the most important. Its the device that has complete portability and yes still retains usability with enough power to run business applications.

The fact that its #2 is hugely significant. Only the iPhone beats it!

More about the OQO here (UMPCPortal in-depth review, gallery) and more about this TechRepublic list over at Carrypad….

Source via Mobility Site

OQO model 02. more top marks!

Posted on 27 November 2007

Image4 I think that about concludes the marks from the UMPC/Mobility bloggers for the OQO and I think all of them have said ‘yes’! Frank Garcia is the latest and in his video, a great lesson in Spanish, he gives it the ‘macho es por chiqi chiqi mal et querra anni abtu eqe mara mula mare quesa tapas bonita’ (or similar) which translates to ‘I liked this machine.’

Joking aside, OQO appears to be getting it right in terms of handheld productivity and I too love the machine but as I said before, there are few challengers at the moment meaning that OQO have a big luxury space to play around in. When smaller chipset designs come next year however (Intel’s Menlow in particular,) the design process is going to be simplified and costs will come down. OQO will have to find a way to give their device something more than just the edge over other devices.

Franks video can be found at Mobility Site. Worth watching.

More OQO news links available on the product details page.

WiBrain B1 up at Dynamism

Posted on 27 November 2007

Dynamism are going to sell the WiBrain B1. They have pricing already and estimate a mid-late Dec delivery time.

The pricing looks pretty good. Very good! $699 for a 30GB 1.2Ghz handheld PC is actually $100 cheaper than the competing Raon Digital Everun. You get more processing power, a bigger keyboard a webcam and, although i’m not sure how much of an advantage this is, many more pixels! There’s even a hint that HSDPA will be included but for that price, I doubt it. I’m checking.

I wonder if we’ll see Raon respond with a price cut. In Europe there are already hints that this is happening because CarTFT is offering a special 600Mhz 60GB Everun for 690 Euros. Cheaper and more powerful than the 500Mhz 30GB version from other retailers.

I should be getting the B1 for testing next week. I wonder what the battery life is going to be. I very much doubt it will beat the Everun but if its well made, it should be in the region of 3 hours (real-use, wifi-on) because of the 4-cell battery.

Dynamism WiBrain page. (Thanks Glenn)

More info on the Wibrain B1

HTC Shift saving my bacon.

Posted on 27 November 2007

Its 18 hours before my mother turns up here and that means I need to get a lot of work done today. I dragged myself out of bed at 0730, made a cuppa and turned the PC on only to find the Internet down. The TV and phone is out too (triple play, triple away) Luckily, it doesn’t kill my working day because instead of paying for software, I use free online versions (Google docs, Meebo, GMail etc) and I put the money into a cellular data contract. It gives me the perfect backup for situations like today and also enables Internet mobility.

The Shift is working like a dream over HSDPA. Its the fastest built-in 3G data connection I’ve ever experienced and the signal strength is excellent. It feels completely transparent. The 1.8mbps on the Q1b HSDPA and even the 7.2mbps on the Everun dont feel as ‘connected’ as this.

I have LiveWriter running with Firefox in the background (5 tabs, one running Meebo, one running Gmail, one running Google Reader) and I’ve got Aero enabled too! At 800×480 the font size is perfect. The keyboard is working out well (I haven’t even bothered to plug in a full size keyboard yet!) but I suspect ill do that after hitting ‘publish’ on this.

Its not without its problems though. After one and a half hours, I need to plug in a bigger screen because I can already feel my back hurting from looking down. UMPC-itis! One other little issue I have to be careful of is my data usage. I only have a 200MB per month data plan and I’ve already used 12MB in 1.5 hour.

If they don’t fix the connection in two days its going to start costing a lot of money!

This is exactly the sort of situation where an HTC Shift is going to be perfect. Not only will it make a nice slate UMPC and a nice mobile UMPC but as a backup Internet connection/PC its a great solution. I’m seriously considering buying one for that reason alone.

[Written using LiveWriter on the HTC Shift]

More info on the Shift here.

ASUS R2E in the wild!

Posted on 26 November 2007

Image1MPCTimes has got hold of an R2E, the new, MCCaslin-based UMPC in the R2H body. Images show the HSDPA module (no voice, 3.6mbps down, 384 up) and a different color casing. Then, further into the article………nothing more! Er! They had an R2E and only managed to report on two aspects of it? Come on guys. We need battery life figures (with that extended battery I’m guessing that there isn’t a great improvement.)

If the battery life is improved to near 3 hours (standard battery) and they’ve retained the heavy touch screen (I hope they’ve improved it to LED backlighting) then it will make a good ‘inking’ UMPC. With the extended battery it could be on the heavy side though.

Via JKKMobileOriginal article (translated) – R2E details and specs. – Track product

ASUS R2E/R2H News and Review Links. (Click here to view all links) Date:
ASUS R2E official info. Website. 15/11/07
McCaslin-based Asus R2E launched 10/10/07
Official Asus R2H Vista version 21/05/07
How to improve performance on the ASUS R2H 11/05/07
Installing Vista on the R2H 21/03/07
All Asus R2E links.

HP planning UMPC products for H1 2008.

Posted on 26 November 2007

Its a one-liner but its enough for me. HP Taiwan is "planning to launch several UMPC (ultra-mobile PC) products in the first half of next year."  [Digitimes]

The question is, what do they mean by ‘UMPC’? Will it be a device coming from the ‘pc’ camp or will it be a new PocketPC-style device. I’d like to see one of each to be honest!

The short article also quotes Dennis Chen, personal systems group general manager at HP Taiwan as saying that touchscreen technology will become mainstream with some appearing on home desktop PCs. Again, its good. The more touchscreens, the better in my opinion!

HTC Shift. HSDPA performs well. Video playback too.

Posted on 25 November 2007

Im just having some fun this Saturday evening. HSDPA performs very well. Not only in the speed test (result below) but the antenna seems very good too.

That’s about the maximum you’ll see on a 3.6Mbps HSDPA link.

Video below…

HTC Shift testing. Hacking. Breaking. Videos. images. Opinions

Posted on 24 November 2007

IMG_5473A lot of questions are coming in now on the HTC Shift. Thanks. Nice to see so many people interested. I’m actually tracking questions on this forum thread and pulling them out into an FAQ so please continue to ask even the simplest questions.

Since doing the unboxing and live session, I’ve been testing, videoing, doing a new photo-set and breaking the HTC Shift. Yes, no-one tests like Chippy tests! I appear to have messed up SnapVue and have lost the home screen leaving it pretty much useless (although email is still running in the background and giving me notifications which is pretty much all it does anyway!)

[more after the jump]

Retail Nokia N810 unboxed.

Posted on 24 November 2007

ARS Technica had me a little worried about the keyboard input on the N810. I think the form factor is near-perfect for a MID (bar 2 cm on the screen diagonal) but a ‘mushy keyboard’ is not what’s needed.


Nice to see that Nokia have included the car mount in the retail pack though. If you think about UMPCs, those accessories run to $80 or more but how about this….”the free mapping software is disappointingly limited” They don’t say why it’s limited. Is it mapping detail, speed or what? I need to know more!

Here’s what Ryan Paul, the reviewer, says about the keyboard: “I was extremely frustrated with it at first, but after a day of typing I’ve gotten used to it and my accuracy has improved considerably.” I think this is a common issue with UMPCs. All the keyboards have a different size, a different feel and a different layout. It takes a lot of time to get used to one. Weeks in most cases. Take the OQO and Everun as examples. The OQO keyboard was frustrating to use for nearly a week but then it turned out to be one of the best thumbing keyboards I’ve ever used! The Everun keyboard is confusing but once you get used to shortcuts, its also fast.

More images and chit-chat over at ARS Technica. Looking forward to the full review and looking forward to getting an N810 myself in a few weeks.