Omio News Blog

Monthly Archives: July 2008

Dynolicious New Software From Tasty App Store

“I live my life a quarter mile at a time.”

“It’s not how you stand by your car, it’s how you race your car.”

“Why don’t you girls just pack it up before I leave tread marks on your face?”

If you knew those literary gems were from the hard-hitting documentary ‘The Fast And The Furious”, then this is definitely an App Store title for you!

Dynolicious is a program which, without any wires or expensive dynamos can measure almost every facet of your ‘sweet ride’. 0-60 acceleration, horsepower, lateral Gs, and the all-important quarter mile elapsed time, all can be recorded with your humble iPhone and saved for posterity.

Apparently Dynolicious has been “track-tested at a major dragstrip against regulation timing equipment, and has demonstrated accuracy comparable to standalone performance meters which cost hundreds of dollars.” Tough to believe, but…

Despite what you would expect for £7.49 and a system cunningly exploiting the iPhone’s accelerometer, reviews have claimed it as fairly accurate, only a little ways off the premium performance analysers in terms of results… Having said that, it does require a lot of prior calibration and a grease monkey level of car know-how before seeing what your Vauxhall Nova can really do.

When set up correctly, accuracy within a tenth of a second and 1.5mph is meant to be possible. Which is either ‘awesome’ or ‘rad,’ depending on how much NOS flows through your veins.

Extra points for being in miles per hour, too. Imperial measurements for the win!

“Thank you for direct-port nitrous injection, four-core intercoolers, ball-bearing turbos, and titanium valve springs. Amen.” Best. Film. Ever.

HTC Touch Pro Gets Turned On…

Following on from the hardware hands-on of the HTC Touch Pro, the::unwired has decided to fire it up and show us the wonder of the TouchFLO 3D interface with keyboard integration. In short…there isn’t any.

The Windows Media powered handset does have a revamped firmware to take further advantage of the landscape mode and keyboard, as predicted. It makes the most of the hardware adjustments, with immediate access to keyboard-y features as soon as it gets slid open. The downside is the lack of any TouchFLO 3D when in keyboard mode, moving back to a very simplistic setup for applications like texts and e-mail. A shame to break that super slick touchscreen experience, the good stuff like mulitmedia can only be accessed when the keyboard is sheathed.

The user experience does seem a lot smoother in the new video, however, and the value of a physical keyboard as well as one on the touchscreen becomes so much more apparent when seeing the device at work. The Touch Pro has certainly done a good job making up for the shortcomings of the HTC Diamond.

Still pencilled in for a late August SIM-free release, it looks to be a real strong entry in the smartphone sector. Whatever will become of the poor old Diamond? Obsolete before it’s time…

Nokia N96 Delayed Until October

Apologies to all those who threw their N95s out of the window in excitement or adopted a panda in an attempt to get their hands on one early. It seems like the sexy multimedia handset needs a little more time before being unleashed on the majors…

Nokia and the Carphone Warehouse have announced the new launch date as 1st October, not August as originally slated. It will be available on all networks though, so no exclusivity deal as with the 6650.

Early hands-on reports and previews have been positive but hardly proclaiming the Second Coming, so if digital tv on the go and a revamped N95 is all you want…you have to wait a little longer.

Source: Electric Pig

Microsoft Enters Mobile Phone Market…Sort Of

Not that oft-slammed bad idea of a Zune Phone, but rather with the launch of the latest Sidekick from T-Mobile, it marks the first handset launch from Danger since Microsoft completed their stealthy acquisition in April of this year.

The Sidekick (née ‘HipTop’) was the number one pre-Blackberry choice for rappers and celebutantes, and gained even more column inches as wily folks gained access to stolen phones and illicit and slightly dull images of our favourite role models.

Whilst never really catching on in Europe, the PDA lite continued to run through many iterations and celeb collaborations including the Sidekick x Tony Hawk. Hardly the most inspired design, but the one man franchise could be a millionaire many times over without seeing another half pipe…

With the famous 2.6″ TFT swivel screen, full QWERTY keyboard and 2 megapixel camera, the 2008 remix of the Sidekick certainly seems like business as usual for the browsing and IM fans. The nuts and bolts may belong to Sharp, but the software and services are now part of the PMX (Premium Mobile eXperience, awesome!) provided by Danger/Microsoft.

The highlight of the handset is super customisable cases, allowing for the look of the phone to be changed completely with a couple of plastic shells, which can further personalised online.

No sign for a UK release just yet, but never say never! With a pretty positive review of the Sidekick on Gizmodo, it may be the kickstart the Sidekick needs to make the jump across the pond…

Source: Gizmodo/Sidekick

Smartberry Targets Entrepreneurs Of Tomorrow

Is your child showing a little more drive and dynamism than the others? Imaginary business contacts instead of friends and planning power lunches instead of tea parties?

Then the SmartBerry is just the device for the young go-getter. Created by Bandai, famous for the cult fad of Tamagotchi and the cult failure of WonderSwan, the SmartBerry is a very impressive little device for girls on the go.

The touchscreen slider phone has a one colour LCD screen, and comes in white. The stylus is provided as an alternative input method, and the Smartberry does not quite make and receive phone calls, but has “Wai-Wai”.

This is a variant of Bluetooth, which allows over-the-air connectivity with other users to exchange personal data including blood type, photo attachments and ‘business’ cards. Instant messaging and multiplayer gaming are also available, making the SmartBerry some serious competition in the lucrative under-10 female demographic.

Due to be released later this week at a cost of approximately £50, Bandai are optimistic of their success on the condition that the summer weather isn’t too good and the target audience do not wander off and play with dollies instead.

Source: Cellphone Hits

In Case Of Emergency, Use Texts

On the 29th of July, an earthquake measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale shook the greater Los Angeles area of California. The natural reaction for many in this worrying time of a potential natural disaster? To send texts and Twitter about it.

The problem was that the mobile networks immediately became too congested as many thousands of Americans attempted to contact one another, so people were quick to find an alternative solution…

CNet has an article highlighting the ability to resort to the web when traditional forms of communication fail us through jammed lines. Think of the impossible task of making a call on New Year’s Day, or the more serious matter of the 2007 floods or 7/7 attacks which resulted in busy networks and calls not getting through to loved ones for many hours, all situations whereby the reliability of online services can come in handy.

A spokesman for AT&T suggests going online in times of need: “If you’re on a wireless network and you can’t get a call through, often the texting network won’t be as congested.” Wise words.

So in an emergency, be a hero and send a text.

iPhone 3G Cracking Under Pressure?

Seems like switching to the cheaper super indestructible plastic/ceramic/adamantium back for the iPhone 3G may not have been such a swell idea. There are reports spreading like wildfire through forums of stress cracks appearing, particularly in the 16GB white model.

This MacRumors forum thread has an extensive bunch of shots illustrating the “fissures” people are experiencing, which range from tiny hair cracks to big ole’ fault lines.

The six pages filled with similar complaints and photos prove that this is far from an isolated incident. Whether this is a problem with the black edition is unknown, presumably these cracks would be somewhat harder to spot on those, if it is occurring at all. With the rarity of the white iPhone 3G it may be tough to see if this issue has made it to the UK, but this problem is quite a concern and the last thing Apple needs.

iPhone 1.0 update – Might be old, but no cracks on my metal shell!

Let us know in the forum how your iPhone 3Gs are holding up! Ready to swap them for a Tocco and some dosh? Me neither.

Garmin nuvifone Gets Lost, Arriving 2009

One of the most impressive fighters for the iPhone crown was the Garmin nuvifone, touting features like a GPS receiver far ahead of the competition.

Unfortunately, months passed and that Q3 2008 release was looking a little late for the nuvifone. Every phone seems to have GPS as standard these days, and robust features like Nokia Maps mean Garmin’s entry might have missed a window of opportunity.

Worse news then for the directionally challenged holding out for the nuvifone, as it has been delayed to the first half of 2009. Making a GPS phone seems to be much harder than they thought as Garmin stated: “…meeting some of the carrier specific requirements will take longer than anticipated.”

Shame that, as it was shaping up to be a strong alternative to the first iPhone, but now the 3G reboot (sort of) does the only thing the nuvifone had going for it. Fear they may have missed the boat with this one…

Source: GPSTracklog

LG Pumps Up The Volume With Dolby Mobile

LG, currently on the crest of a wave of success in the mobile phone market, seems to have picked the right time to make some new friends by inking a deal with audio afficionados Dolby.

The Korean manufacturer intends to incorporate Dolby Mobile into their phones, which means they will produce improved sound quality, have fancy equalizer settings…that’s about it really.

Samsung have already ventured into similarly ear-friendly territory, announcing 5.1 surround sound on the Primera INNOV8 and Bang & Olufsen ICEPower audio on the F400, amazing tech which unfortunately may never get the usage it deserves.

Perhaps it’s due to the lengthy encoding process, but putting music or a movie on one’s phone is never the impulse decision before leaving the house that it should be. Still, it is good news as multimedia smartphones continue to break new ground, rivalling dedicated music players.

LG CEO Dr. Skott Ahn was understandably exuberant: “Being the first company to incorporate Dolby Mobile technology into handsets for the global market reinforces LG’s role as a leader in the mobile industry and in multimedia phones,” he gushed before posing for an Idiot Toys-worthy photo.

It may be as early as the end of this year before we see LG phones with this new stuff embedded within. Higher fidelity sound pollution on public transport, oh joy.

And to think that a mere eight years ago, Snake on a Nokia and custom monophonic ringtones were seen as the height of technological advancement…

Source: Tech Radar

BT Buys ‘Silicon Valley’s 1st Phone Company’ For £53m

The British Telecom Group have announced their acquisiton of Silicon Valley ‘Phone 2.0′ developer Ribbit for just over £50 million, in a conscious effort to speed up their expansion into software solutions and become a major player in the mobile platform game.

Ribbit is a company firmly rooted in voice based communications online, with an open platform that provides a myriad of new ways to work within existing software. For example, their Ribbit application can be added to the popular customer relations program Salesforce allowing for voice-to-text memos, call transcript logging and a ‘virtual mobile’ which allows all calls and messages to be forwarded to a laptop, allowing full functionality on the go. All in an app which can be integrated in a few minutes.

By owning such an important business in the online field, BT have placed themselves in a strong position to counter the efforts of other platforms when it comes to providing a synergy of phones and computers. It is easy to see the practical applications of adding voice chat with simple Flash widgets on a website, simple and cheap software updates as opposed to new handsets could change the world of calling overnight.

BT’s managing director of service and design, JP Rangaswami minced no words in decrying the motives of his competitors: “We could have built a device-specific platform like Apple did, we could have built a platform for creating ads – Google might call it Android but I guess we think it should be spelt Ad-droid – or we could have been like AT&T and just provided the pipes for these people to work from. But we felt telephony and software were now one and the same thing, and we wanted to be with people who had that same vision that it was going to be a converged world.” Fighting talk.

By the same token, the 5,000 odd currently developing for this platform may see their freedoms dwindle, being underneath a corporation as bureaucratic and business driven as BT. The golden handcuffs will need to be pretty loose with regards to bring a truly open platform, or Ribbit may never achieve the mass penetration desperately needs to take off. Fortunately, with a presence in over 150 countries, getting in touch with people is not a problem for BT.

A world without wires no longer seems that far away…

Source : InformationWeek