Jun 012011
 

For all the users of Samsung wave series phones who are eagerly waiting for BADA 2.0, watch this video and keep your hopes high.

 

BADA 2.0 running on Wave II. Awesome!!

 

And now the “Leaked” screenshots have surfaced on web. Check them out here.

I too hope it comes to WAVE sometime soon!!

May 302011
 

The television, rather, the idiot box as it has been called for decades, has been a major source of entertainment and the media for information in our lives. So much so that it has become an integral part of our life. You reach home and it would be a horror to find it missing from it’s corner. It has made a couch potatoes out of many. And it has also inspired people when it beamed the first step by a man on the moon.

Television has seen its fair share of innovations. Right from the black and white picture tubes to the latest LED screens beaming motion in 3D, they never fail to mesmerize us. The quality of transmission and display resolutions have refined to such an extent, that the boundaries between the real and the broadcast have gone thin. So much is the emphasis on quality and viewer experience, that we tend to forget some truths when we buy one. And in current times, the myth about the LED TV is leaving us duped.

Rear projection CRTs were the thing during the 90’s. Getting a bigger one was the symbol of status in those days. But a big TV presented some space  utilization problem. The back side, which was of no use to the viewer, hogged up lots of premium space. And the curved screens did not provide any worthwhile experience. Manufacturers in those days, came out with some gimmick called as “Flat Screen”. The front screen would be a flat glass, but if you looked carefully, the front glass was just a filter glass with no specific use for display purpose while the inner display screen was as curved as ever.

Lots of people fell for it.

Then to reduce the back space utilization, they came out with something called as the “Slim TV”. While using some extra focusing coils(that was too much technical), they managed to bring the rear projection coil nearer to the display screen, while keeping the picture sharp at the corner. Flat or slim, rear projection had run out of steam. While manufacturers were trimming the dimensions, Plasma displays had already entered the market, and though not a huge hit, they paved the road for the current generation LCD and LED TV. LCD TV, as the name suggests, uses the Liquid Crystal Display technology to reduce the screen to a thin panel, not wider than 10 cms in most cases. LED TV, as per the name, is supposed to use Light Emitting Diode technology in the screens. These screens are supposed to have a great colour reproduction, better brightness and longer life compared to LCD.

Note the use of the word “supposed to” in the previous sentences. That’s because, what is marketed so openly is not entirely the truth.

LED TV

LED TVs, sold under that name, are not LED TVs at all. They are purely LCD TVs with some LED technology used, which the manufacturers and retailers find as the outright license to sell those TVs under LED banner. Let me explain. But before I start, let me clarify that there is only one manufacturer who has made some kind of breakthrough in OLED TV. But the prices will be astronomical.

LCD screens have two components. The screen for displaying the scene. But the LCD screen is incapable of illuminating. It requires some external source of illumination. Hence the second component, CCFLs(cold cathode florescent lamps) are used to provide the backlight. But these lamps have a disadvantage. It is not capable of emitting bright light evenly, for a longer period of time. It is big in size and though the LCD panel and circuit board takes minimal space, the CCFLs require larger space, hence the 10 cm thickness. So manufacturers needed shift to a more efficient form of illumination. LED, which have a longer life, better illumination power, and consume less light, were found to be the obvious alternatives. And, them being very small, was an added advantage. So manufacturers moved towards LED as the source of illumination, without giving much thought to the development of actual LED screens. Organic LED(OLED)s are able to self illuminate, hence they will do away with the necessity of external source for that. If you want to compare LED with LCD screens, check out the AMOLED screens on various mobiles available, against those with LCD screens.

Using LED backlit has given a good boost to the picture quality as compared to LCD screens. The power consumption and the space utilization has reduced. The contrast in the picture is much better. The only negating factor is the price. Though LED illumination is not so new, the manufacturers ask for a huge premium for a small improvement in picture quality. Though the quality has improved, it is nowhere compared to the display quality which the OLED phones have, hence the extra premium and the false branding of the product is not justified. With the manufacturing cost coming down due to large scale production, the benefits should be passed on to the customers. But then, the manufacturers have established themselves to make profits out of occasions. So its up to us to decide what we actually need.

So, before you buy that LED TV, think, compare, and decide whether you want to pay the extra bucks for some gimmick.

Apr 182011
 

For all the Samsung Wave series phone users, there a good news. Samsung had made good their promise of updating Wave 8500 with the BADA 1.2 upgrade. Anyone who wishes to move on to the upgraded version, connect the phone to kies, and the upgrade will be available there.

The upgrade bring to us the much hyped Trace function while typing. Also it is said to cause less of those low memory messages.

Cheers to Samsung….Now we wait for BADA 2.0 in September!!

Apr 132011
 

For all the Bada smartphone users, check your samsung apps. You might get Sygic Mobile Maps for your country, listed in navigation section if your device is compatible. It is said to be one of the best mobile navigation application available for smartphones. And guess what, they have quite a good introductory offer for licenses.

1-sygic-mobile-maps

For us in India, we get the maps for 600 rs. as compared to the retail price of 3000 rs. So  thats 80% discount. Grab the offer while it lasts!!

Mar 202011
 

Android has been around for quite some years now, and though it was supported mostly by Motorola, it has survived to see the light of 2010. And it did raise itself with a bang I would say, looking at the number of Android based phones launched in the market by various companies in recent past. So much so that Nokia had to dump their plans for MeeGo, the OS they were developing, and looked towards windows to power their future smartphones.

Samsung has not kept itself aloof from the smartphone revolution, and to keep itself in competition, they have embraced Android for their Galaxy line of smartphones. And they have done pretty impressively with the Galaxy series, starting from Galaxy i9000, about a year back, to Galaxy TAB and Galaxy ACE, which were launched very recently.

But ACE is not the only ace they are banking on. Because they have another “ace” under their sleeve, which they introduced to the market at the Mobile World Congress a year back. It was the Wave series of smartphones, powered by BADA(meaning ocean) OS, bada_osan open source Operating System developed in-house by Samsung. When it was introduced a year back, though it looked a decent OS to many, critics and tech geeks were skeptical about the commitment from Samsung towards BADA. Wave s8500 was a very successful phone with its 1GHz processor and the Super AMOLED Screen, which was the USP of the phone. Then they had introduced lots of more wave series phones(cheap and high priced ones) to the market, forcing the competition to enter the competition in terms of pricing and specifications. They held a developers challenge and made good their promise of giving out about 2,700,000$, including a 300,000$ top price, for the top rated applications created for BADA by developers worldwide. And after all this, they announced the BADA 2.0 OS, which is said to be a true Smartphone OS, with real multi-tasking and many other features. With all these developments, the commitment on the part of Samsung towards BADA is unquestionable. Infact, they are believed to be working in the direction of making BADA, a platform independent OS. They want all its smart gadgets to work on BADA in future, starting with televisions. So even though they have an Android device line up, it might be just to stay in he game while BADA is developed fully. It seems that Nokia forget to use this trick when they dumped the development of MeeGo, and the support to Symbian while embracing Windows. It might be some time till Nokia completes a successful product cycle of Windows phones.

And now Samsung has announced that, BADA application download center is reaching the 100 million download mark very soon!! The last count was above 99.8 million. And to celebrate the 100 million mark, they will come out with a very good offer for the Wave phone owners very soon. I just hope to grab the offer on time.

Who would have thought a year back, that BADA would have survived the Android Onslaught!! Long Live BADA!!!

Mar 052011
 

For those with some know how of a computer, installation of the windows operating system has been a daunting task up till now. Windows has been known to crash a lot due to all the buggy developers employed by them, and we have suffered through these kind of windows “glass pane” crashed all throughout our technological life. The worst fear of any technical guy is a misplaced windows cd, or a corrupt cd, which has been a very normal occurrence. Then the struggle to get hold of a clean copy from a friend ensues, and finally windows comes back up in 2-3 days.

CD’s have been considered as one of the most non reliable installation/storage media. And the developers of the other operating systems have taken this in to consideration long back. Though the installation of any OS is still distributed through a CD or a DVD, most of the mature operating systems have an option to back up the installation in bootable format on a USB storage media, usually a flash based pen drive. And windows has lagged behind in this but efforts have been made to make this right, and at this point of time we have some methods to port a windows installation to a USB device. Let’s check the method.

P.S. I have tried this method on windows Vista installation and it works for windows 7 too. I cannot guarantee it’s proper functioning for windows XP and below, and a backed up installation created for such OS should be tested before being considered as final.

Do not, I repeat, do not port the installation to any hard drives unless you know what you are doing. The data on the drive will be deleted permanently.

Misplacing the USB device with the ported OS, cannot result in misplaced license, unless the license key is stored in the same USB device.

Finally, use genuine operating systems. Avoid piracy. Those guys at these big software giants are trying hard to put bits and pieces together. If you are not satisfied with windows, throw it out of one. Get Ubuntu.

For a windows vista installation you need a 4 GB Pen Drive and for windows 7 you need a 8 GB device.

  • Ensure that the copy of windows installation that you have is virus free.
  • There are lots of methods of of copying certain files to the PD then tweaking with some of them. Let’s stick to a very simple method of using the DVD, a pen drive and a simple program to do all the things.
  • You will need an utility called as WinToFlash. Download it from here.
  • Insert the installation DVD in to the DVD drive and the pen drive in the USB port.
  • Run the WinToFlash utility after download.
  • Click on the “Windows Setup Transfer Wizard” button.
  • In the application, select the source path(the path where the windows installation is available i.e.. DVD in this case), the destination path(the path where the installation is to be ported i.e.. Pen Drive in this case) and click next. Authorise the process in the next dialogue boxes.
  • After the procedure is completed, restart the windows. Go to BIOS setup(most of the older computers will get the BIOS setup upon pressing the DEL key just after startup, and new computers have it on F2 key.) In the BIOS, change the first boot device to “USB device”.
  • Save settings and restart(Make sure no other USB HDD is connected else the computer will take it as the first boot device and will not find the master boot record in it.)
  • Windows installation should start at this point. Abort the installation once it is confirmed the it is working fine.
  • Check the video for easier understanding. Please note that I had copied my DVD to a HDD space so I took the source path on D drive.
Windows Setup Transfer to USB Storage Device

 

That’s it. You are free from the clutches of the unreliable optical drives.

Feb 092011
 

Well, that flip phone is an amazing concept, and am sure most of the rich kids are looking forward to lay their hands on it. But speaking(or writing rather) about phones, there is one model which caught my attention when it was announced for sale in India this week. The new smartphone from the Samsung stables is the Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830. For people who have been following the smart phone development in Samsung, the model number might be just an anagram of numbers(remember that Samsung had launched the Wave II S8530 very recently), and you might mistake one for the other. But there is nothing to get confused about. The galaxy and the wave series are two different smartphone lineages, with a clear distinction between. The former runs on Android OS by Google while the later runs BADA OS which is developed by Samsung.

Samsung Galaxy ACE

As soon as I read about a launch/release of new smart phone, I immediately checked the specifications, and compared it against the price, and though I am not an expert in this matter, I am confident that Samsung Ace, priced at around 15000 rs. in India, will give other smart phones, including those from nokia(huh!! smartphone!!!), and Sony Ericson(I was one die heard fan of Sony Ericson, and would swear by their phones some years back. Not any more.), something to think about. I am sure that, had this phone been launched a few months back, I would have been an owner of it now, since it suited most of my requirements, and fitted within my budget P-E-R-F-E-C-T-L-Y!!

I was truly amazed that Samsung has cared to launch a smartphone with Android 2.2 Froyo, out of the box, at this price. Even their flagship phone the Galaxy i9000 doesn’t get the update out of the box.The specifications are no less-interesting either.

For beginners, the screen is a good 3.5” TFT capacitive touchscreen, with accelerometer control, multi touch and swype text input. A 2GB card is bundled in the box while the phone supports 32 GB(if you buy this phone, get at least 16GB card. Smartphones deserve huge storage).

The Froyo is run on a 800 MHz ARM 11 processor, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm MSM7227 chipset. The previous 800 MHz phone around this price was Spica, which vanished from the market quite early.

On connectivity front, Ace supports GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA @ 7.2 mbps, wifi 802.11 b/g/n with Digital Living Network Alliance Support(DLNA), Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, and micro USB version 2.0. No HSDPU!!

The camera has quite impressive specification, that of being a 5 mp one with LED flash. The ACE records videos at QVGA@15fps. What this phone misses is a front camera for video calls. Radio, music player, video player and all the other stuff and software, associated with an Android phone, are standard.

The battery provided is a 1350 mAh, which the company claims to give more than 6 hours of 3G calls and more than 11 hours of normal calls.

Though the phone doesn’t manage all the features which a standard smartphone should pack, ACE does provides enough for the price. Anyone who is looking for a smartphone experience, at an earthly price, can think of this phone.

This phone manages to fill the void that was created by the stoppage of production of the Samsung Galaxy Spica I5700.

Pros:

  • Android 2.2 Froyo, out of the box.
  • 800 MHz processor.
  • 2GB card included.
  • Multiple connectivity options.
  • Value for Money.

Cons:

  • Missing front camera.
  • No HSDPU.
  • Video recording at low resolution.
  • Screen resolution 320 x 480 pixels, bit low for a 3.5” screen.
  • No FM recording.

All in all, a good entry level smart phone for the price. At 112.4 x 59.9 x 11.5 mm and 113 gms, this phone should fit nicely in you pockets, without lightening your wallet. Check out at your local stores.

Check the specifications at gsmarena. And here’s a good video.

Feb 062011
 

The word lens application was a discovery from the stumble upon web application. If you remember I had posted about what stumble upon is and how I love to use it to pass my time on the web. Also I have come across quite a few very interesting websites and extraordinary products while stumbling. Here is another masterpiece upon which I recently stumbles.

Idkul has come up with a three screen flip phone which redefines the concept of smart phones. Idkul stands for Interaction Designer Kristian Ulrich Larsen. Designed to work on Android OS, this is poised to be one object of desire. Though it is just in the design stage, and no company has yet been licensed to manufacture it, I am sure there won’t be a shortage of manufacturers ready to buy the patent. And the iPhone designers might be sweating in their air conditioned design centres.

flipphoneIDKUL1

Check out the innovation yourself.

And FYI, I have achieved a personal milestone in the blogging world. The 200 mark has been achieved and crossed!! Hoping to improve by leaps and bounds.

Feb 052011
 
  • Do you have and iPhone(3GS or 4) or a iPod touch(4th generation)?
  • Are you interested in Spanish to English translations or vice versa?
  • Do you like trying out new applications on your iPhone?

If your answer to the above questions is yes, well my friend, you have reached the right place for a very good news. Now there exists an application in the iTunes store that translates between English and Spanish on the go, with your iPhone or iPod camera. The ease with which it functions is quite astonishing. You just have to point your camera to the text and it displays the converted text at that very moment. You will see the actual text for fraction of time and immediately the translated one is shown at that very place.

image

In iTunes, it is places under category Travel and can be downloaded on your iPhone. The only requirement is that your Apple gadget should be running iOS 4 or later.

So why wait!! Check it out on their website and download it on your handheld!!

Jan 272011
 

This is more of a comparison with the original Samsung Wave, of which I am proud owner, than a review. I managed to get my hands on Wave II, at a local electronics outlet and had some time at hand, so spent checking out the features. Here’s the comparison laid out for you.

 

The Box :

If you compare the packaging of the original wave(S8500) and Wave II(S8530), it looks almost the same, except for the big letters proclaiming WAVE II instead of WAVE and the addition of the feature Quick Type on the back of the box. Missing from the back of the box, is the big circle with Super AMOLED written within it, since the Wave II features Super Clear LCD. The production of Wave was said to be stopped due to shortage of Super AMOLED screens. Other than that, the entire specifications, as declared on the box are exactly the same. On opening up the box, we can find the handset, placed perfectly fitting in its casing. Once the phone is taken out from its place, the inner portion can be opened up to reveal the accessories boxed with it, which include the 1500 mAh battery, USB cable, a stereo hands free kit which is quite ordinary, the microUSB charger and the user manual. Depending on the country, we may find a memory card bundled along with it(But seriously, mine is lying around somewhere in the house unused, right from day one. I invested in a 16GB card which seems fit for a smartphone). Sadly, no TV out cable in the box, which was the case with Samsung Wave too. Also, I would have been glad, had Samsung provided a good quality hand strap. I am currently using my camera strap, for the fear of the phone dropping out of my hands.

 

Physical Differences :

      S8530     S8500                

The Wave II looks almost exact copy of the Wave. Except for the Menu button, which is flush with the surface as compared to the protruding diamond shaped button on the Wave. Actually I was quite impressed by the original Wave’s button design. But may be, this one is for good. We’ll find out when we use.

The screen of Wave II is 3.7” as compared to 3.3” of Wave. This gives the designers a nightmare, when they are called upon to fit a larger screen without changing the size of the phone much, but keeping the functionality levels very high. The Samsung Wave II team has done a good job in fitting the 3.7” screen in to the phone of it’s size. The screen now becomes broader then Wave and a bit longer. The Wave II handset if bit thicker than Wave. But the difference is just visible.

Looking all around, we find no other differences. The battery cover is not of a different shade any more. You may remember that the battery cover on the Wave had a slightly different shade, which made it feel out of place. The front panel houses the screen, call speaker and the three keys(Menu, Call and End key). On the left side is the volume key and on the right is the phone lock and camera key. The top houses the phone speaker, 3.5 mm output for headphones and TV out, and the microUSB port for charging and PC connectivity. The sliding cover for the microUSB port has been retained, though I feel it has issues of getting jammed if lots of dust gets settled on it. The bottom portion has a visible hole for the microphone.

The back has the very easy to remove battery cover, camera and the LED flash. Upon opening up the battery cover, we find that the micro SD card will be hidden below the battery, and the SIM has to be inserted in the slot near the battery terminals. So no hot-swapping of memory card. Just like Wave. I do not understand the design in which, to remove the memory card, the battery has to be taken out.

 

Boot up :

It’s time to pop in the 1500 mAh power house, and the SIM and memory card. The battery cover fits very nicely and there is no feeling of a loose panel or battery in the phone.

The End key below the screen doubles up as the power(on/off) key. Once you power up, the entire boot procedure, similar to Wave is carried out, with the same splash screen. The major software difference between Wave and Wave II is that Bada 1.2 comes preinstalled in Wave II, while it is just being released for Wave in various countries at this moment. The home screen is preconfigured with a very nice and fresh wallpaper.

 

Comparison :

On comparison, the screen of the Wave II looks definitely bigger than that of the Wave. On operating the menu key, I found that the feel was definitely better than Wave, soft and flat. This is the case even with the Call and the End key. Time will tell which one is better. Operating the phone one handed is bit difficult due to its size. But with a right kind of securing measures, like a good hand strap, we would be more confident to operate it one handed.

On opening up the menu, we find the same applications pre-installed. The screen on the Super Clear LCD version is very close to the glass, just like the Super AMOLED version. This makes us feel that the images are displayed right on the glass itself. The glass is anti scratch type. And true to its words, I have not used any scratch guard till now and don’t have even a single scratch after 4 months of use. The display quality is almost the same on both the mobiles. I had a chance to compare it with a Motorola mobile(I forgot to check the model), and upon increasing the viewing angle, the Motorola screen tries to washout, while the Wave II screen has the same viewing ability as if it is viewed-at directly, and not from the sides. Upon comparing both Wave and the Wave II, I found that the viewing angle for both the phones is almost the same. The white on the Super Clear LCD is whiter than that on Super AMOLED, while the black on Super AMOLED is blacker than that on Super Clear LCD. How’s that for a comparison? It all depends on what you want.

The lock screen on Wave incorporated the current wallpaper. Not so in Wave II. It uses another wallpaper for the lock screen. The memory issues with the original Wave are carried on to the Wave II. I had hoped that Samsung would pack in that remaining bit of RAM, which they forgot in their first BADA powered smartphone. But it seems that the Wave II too packs in 256 mb ram, which is quite insufficient to run the factory supplied widgets. Even a simple task of changing wallpaper through widget, becomes a source of the insufficient memory popup. Yes, BADA is a new OS, and has a lot of teething issues. But I am impressed by its functionality.

The speed of the phone is said to improve on BADA 1.2. I decided to test it by performing a simple task on both the phones simultaneously. By experience on my wave, I know that changing a theme takes lot of time. So I tried that on both phones simultaneously. I selected the default theme while changing. I was amazed to find that BADA 1.2 does the task in 1/3rd of the time as compared to Bada 1.0.2. Yes, BADA seems to be improving.

The battery life of both the phones is claimed to be similar by Samsung. I do not hope to find otherwise.

The keyboard is quite big, and easy to use. The only flaw is the send button which can be accidently pressed. The best way to avoid this is to add the contact details after creating the message.

The black background calendar is now replace by white background, with black characters. It looks much better than that on Wave.

The Facebook and the twitter client bundled with the phone are the same ones as those on Wave. So if you are a heavy facebook and twitter user, they are insufficient for your needs. The instant messenger bundled along is Palringo, which I personally hate.

The browser has changed quite a bit. Actually it has gone worse now. The bottom toolbar cannot be hidden. I tried accessing a website via the wifi network at the outlet on both the phones, and the Wave II takes some time loading he page. Was it a network problem? Can’t say. The zooming is quite smooth, but when you scroll a large page, you get lots of checkerboard. The scroll speed is not so fast. Whenever you touch the screen, the address bar pops up, which is quite irritating, and inconvenient to use. As in Wave, no Flash 10 in Wave II, which is bit disappointing as I was expecting it in 1.2.

I couldn’t get a lock on the GPS, but I expect that it to take about 5 minutes, same as I get on my Wave, since the hardware is the same. It requires you to be out in the open, for GPS to lock to it.

The call quality was very good, just like Wave. Sound is quite clear. The Music player and the video player are the same as Wave, quite easy to use and good in performance. I would have loved a graphic equalizer in BADA 1.2. The camera is the same as Wave. Video recording can be done at 720p which is very good.

 

Conclusion :

As a a whole, the phone is quiet good. Absence of Super AMOLED is not felt on it. For anyone who is looking for a quality smartphone, will do a good job, other than impressing onlookers. The only drawback as compared to any Android phone is, lack of quality applications. Yes, the application store is building up quite steadily, but it will take some time for it to get there. So if you are on a lookout for a good quality smartphone, Samsung Wave II can be taken in to consideration.

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