Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 gets software update

Good news for X10 owners – Sony Ericsson has announced the release of a major firmware update for their Android flagship.

From The Sony Ericsson Product Blog:

This update will be gradually rolled out across our markets over the coming weeks, pending the completion of quality approvals for individual markets and operators. The first updates are now live across selected markets. Please check with your local Sony Ericsson customer support when the upgrade will be available for your market and network.

When the update is available in your market you will receive a message in the notification bar of your X10. The easiest way to get the new software is to accept this update – you can use your mobile network connection or a WiFi connection for the download. Alternatively you can update your phone using your PC – please visit www.sonyericsson.com/update and follow the instructions.

This update focuses on improving the general performance, speed and responsiveness of Xperia X10. For example, there are speed improvements in messaging tasks and camera UI. In addition we add a free back up and restore application so you’ll never lose your settings and information. In selected markets, PlayNow™ with premium apps and games will also be added.

If you own an X10, this is your baby!

Via

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Skyfire cuts off most countries

Mobile Royale reports that Skyfire sent out a notice to the effect that their proxy-based browser will be focused on only Canada, United States and United Kingdom for now.

As such, they are cutting off the rest of the world. I have not been a big fan of Skyfire, but this is bad news for lots of mobile web users.

An excerpt from the mail reportedly sent by the Skyfire team:

As, of July 1st, 2010 Skyfire will no longer be providing service in your country for the windows mobile and symbian browser. In order to offer the best possible service level for our officially supported customers and countries , Skyfire is consolidating the countries in which it operates. We apologize for this inconvenience and hope you have enjoyed the Skyfire will work on your phone until July 1st 2010,at which time the service will be de-activated and your browser will no longer function.

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Nokia N900 gets Android 2.2 (Froyo) ahead of many droids

You have to give it to the Nokia N900. It ranks among the most versatile phones ever – if not actually sitting at the top of the list. While many droids are still stuck on version 1.5, 1.6 and 2.1, the Maemo-powered device has had Android 2.2 (codenamed Froyo) ported to it.

This dude has had OSx, Ubuntu and now Android ported to it. Perhaps we will see Windowsphone 7 when that is available? Who cares anyway? This device is a true herald of what mobile computers will become – open hardware on which an OS of the user’s choice can be installed.

If you are looking for something geeky to pass the time, take a look at the video below of Android 2.2 running on the N900:

Yes; I know you want to ask if I will be giving this a shot. Let’s see…. Nah! I prefer Maemo 5 to Android 2.2. Sorry to disappoint you, guys.

If you are interested in pulling this off though, head over to the NitDroid V2 Development page.

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Nokia says you can hold your phone anyhow you like

You have to give it to the guys over at Nokia Conversations. They have a tongue-in-cheek article in which they go into details about how you are free to hold your Nokia phones in a variety of ways without impacting signal reception.

By now, you know what iDevice the jab is at. And it is a pretty good one too. An excerpt:

The key function on any Nokia device is its ability to make phone calls. After all, that’s why we know them universally as mobile phones (or smart phones, feature phones or mobile computers – though the same grip styles work for those, too). One of the main things we’ve found about the 1 billion plus Nokia devices that are in use today is that when making a phone call, people generally tend to hold their phone like a…. well, like a phone. Providing a wide range of methods and grips for people to hold their phones, without interfering with the antennae, has been an essential feature of every device Nokia has built.

How’s that for some light relief?

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Etisalat Nigeria hits 3.5m subscribers

Etisalat logoTechnology Times reports that with the expansion of its network across the 36 states in the country, Etisalat Nigeria has gained over 3.5 million active subscribers.

According to the report, CEO, Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans, made this disclosure to attendees at an international forum when he made a presentation on “Enhancing Competition to Extend Connectivity to as Many People as Possible” at the West and Central Africa Com held recently in Dakar, Senegal.

Read the full news report.

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Thousands line up for Nokia C3 launch

If you think only Apple can pull out crowds on phone launch days, you’ve got to think again. Nokia launched the C3 QWERTY messenger in Indonesia and pulled out thousands who lined up for hours to pick up their copy of the device.

The full-QWERTY, candybar Nokia C3 sports a 2.4-inch display with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels, Wi-fi, GPRS/EDGE, 3.5 mm audio jack, MicroSD card slot, Bluetooth and USb connectivity, 2mp camera, Opera Mini web browser, and social network integration.

The device is also out in the UK already and costs 80 pounds without a contract. That’s should put it in the N20,000 – N25,000 bracket. This is the most affordable QWERTY by Nokia yet and is set to be a bestseller.

One thing is predictable, judging by the sales of the E71 and E72 in Nigeria, the C3 will sell by the bucketfull here in our own country.

Credit: Props to deoladoctor for the tip-off.

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When you cannot access certain sites on your internet connection

In the last two days, different people across different internet connections have been unable to access MobilityNigeria.com at different times. This is inspite of the fact that the site was online all through.

This sort of scenario happens when there are issues with DNS resolution. They also occur when there are annoyances in your ISP’s (or IT department’s) default name server. In some cases, ISP DNS are slow or not so reliable.

You can attempt to solve it by manually setting the DNS servers your connection will use on your mobile (and also PC). In doing this, you can speed up the time it takes to look up any given website and also bypass ISP issues.

I recommend that you use public IPs from OpenDNS (208.67.222.222, 208.67.220.220) or Comodo (156.154.70.22, 156.154.71.22). Here are thee instructions for doing this on both mobile and PC.

On Mobile

Locate your internet connection settings, usually under “Advanced”.

Look for DNS settings. Unselect “auto” and enter the two provided IPs as primary and secondary respectively.

On PC

The following guide is for Windows XP:

For Users on a Dial-up Connection:
Go to My Computer>Dialup Networking.

Right-click your internet connection and select Properties.

A window will open – click the Server Types tab. Click TCP/IP Settings.

For All Other Users:
Go to Control Panel > Network Connections and select your local network.

Click Properties, then select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).

Click Properties.

You will see a window titled “Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties”.
Select “Use the following DNS server addresses” and enter the desired DNS server(s) in the space(s) provided.

Happy browsing!

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Mobile Streaming on YIEVOIP

YIEVOIP™ defines itself as a global communications company which owns and operates Nigeria’s largest Live video & Audio Content delivery 24/7 networks, plus LIVE Encoding of Nigeria local TV & Radio stations for WAP Mobile phone users, Laptops and PC user or via IPTV worldwide.

The YIEVOIP website has a page with information for mobile users which says:

Mobile Phone users can Now view their favourites Local Tv programs from anywhere around the world with Yievoip Video contents service. also local Radio station audience is now the entire world even in space.

Website Layout
The site has a fixed-width layout, and looks like an amateur job. Being fixed width means that many mobile users will need to side-scroll to read all text on each page, a real pain on those tiny screens. I visited the site on the LG GW550 and had to keep scrolling right and left.

Apart from the homepage, all the other pages have a background image that makes reading on PC difficult, and reading text on mobile even more difficult. That image needs to be removed for sure – or given more transparency.

Channels
The site has a number of channels listed, but not all had streams available.

Some of the available streams had the options of streaming with or without ASX. The Advanced Stream Redirector (ASX) format is a type of XML metafile designed to store a list of Windows Media files to play during a multimedia presentation.

It is used frequently on streaming video servers where multiple ASF files are to be played in succession. Both RTSP and MMS streaming protocols are supported, as well as HTTP.

ASX files have MIME type video/x-ms-asf (as do ASF files). I am not sure what the benefits and demerits of ASX are, but the options are there.

Streaming on the N900
Of the few that had streams available, I was able to get only one to work on my Nokia N900 – ACBN Live. The channel was a video that requires Flash player.As such, it isn’t really streaming. It is just like watching a YouTube video off a webpage.

It played smoothly on the N900, but you can be sure that any mobile device without Flash support is left hanging.

Streaming on the LG GW550
On the GW550, I wasn’t able to stream any audio or video at all. Some of the channels simply returned Not Found or some other error messages.

Conclusions
The idea of mobile streaming is a good one, but more needs to be done to make the website and service mobile-friendly. For one, the YIEVOIP website needs a professional make-over. Secondly, the streaming channels need to be put in order.

Some of the channels simply return an error that says that a connection to the server cannot be established. Some of the streaming links certainly need checking.

The service is a commendable effort, but it looks like it needs a lot more work.

Try it on your phone
We would appreciate if other regulars try YIEVOIP on their sites too and return feedback in the comments section.
URL – http://www.yievoip.com/channels.aspx

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Engadget Reviews the iPhone 4

iPhone 4

Engadget has a review of the iPhone 4 ready. Here is their wrap-up on the device:

We’re not going to beat around the bush — in our approximation, the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone on the market right now. The combination of gorgeous new hardware, that amazing display, upgraded cameras, and major improvements to the operating system make this an extremely formidable package. Yes, there are still pain points that we want to see Apple fix, and yes, there are some amazing alternatives to the iPhone 4 out there. But when it comes to the total package — fit and finish in both software and hardware, performance, app selection, and all of the little details that make a device like this what it is — we think it’s the cream of the current crop. We won’t argue that a lot of this is a matter of taste — some people will just prefer the way Android or Symbian works to the iPhone, and others will be on the lookout for a hardware keyboard or a particular asset that the iPhone 4 lacks — but in terms of the total picture, it’s tough to deny that Apple has moved one step past the competition with this phone.

iPhone 4
Now, we all know that the guys at Engadget can be nitpicky, so if they are happy with iPhone 4, I’m betting that its really a good device.

Go read Engadget’s complete iPhone 4 review.

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Microsoft Windowsphone 7 and Windows Embedded OS; Is it failure before it actually kicks off?

Hot on the web on Sunday from Mobile-review.com and PocketGamer.biz is an interesting news item about Microsoft’s mobile strategy. PocketGamer.biz reported that Microsoft have been convincing them to port their games over to Microsoft’s Windowsphone 7 platform.  PocketGamer stated in clear terms that “Microsoft is contacting successful iPhone developers, offering them upfront cash to port their games to the new platform”. PocketGamer described the monetary amount involved as being “substantial”, but was not in any way tempted.

Microsoft is clearly trying to achieve the robustness of Apple’s apps store which is one of the major attractions of the iPhone. Microsoft are thus offering to pay developers to re-engineer their games and possibly other applications to be compatible with their Windowsphone ecosystem. This strategy is interesting and noteworthy because it gives some insight into part of the Business Strategy of the Redmond Company.

“The iPhone application store has been a monumental success for Apple and a huge part of that success has been the large choice of quality game titles available”, says Mobile-Review. What this shows is that Microsoft has an uphill task to surmount especially seeing that developers are not just tempted even by “substantial” amount of upfront cash.

Realistically speaking, the conversion process of an iPhone app to a Windowsphone 7 app is a difficult process involving a lot of resources. In the light of these, no developer would undertake this job lightly, no matter the “substantial” monetary inducement. The iOS apps are based on Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, while Windowsphone 7 apps are written with Silverlight or C#.

My suggestion is that instead of Microsoft inducing developers, that they should make the Windowsphone 7 platform impeccable with good UI, enterprise compliance and mass appeal. If the phone itself is good with tremendously good sales, surpassing the iPhone, Android and Blackberry (Nokia has too much distance), then they do not need to convince developers to create apps for them. Developers would just troop there in droves and Microsoft can then call the shots.

Another option is that since Microsoft has DEEP pockets, they can just offer developers bigger offers to induce them. I believe everyone has a price, especially if the price is even more “substantial”.

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Modern Smartphones and Battery Life – the Champions

Back in May, I did an article titled Modern Smartphones and Battery Life. In that article, I mentioned several factors that have resulted in many modern smartphones not having exemplary battery lives:

  • large, bright displays
  • powerful processors
  • always-on 3G connections
  • long list of features

However, having taken a critical look at my own experiences as case studies, it looks like there are simply two factors that have impacted battery life more than any others. Interestingly, those two factors have to do with only one aspect of our devices – the display.

The two factors:

  1. display size
  2. touchscreen functionality

I will also add that it takes more powerful processors to run the user interfaces smoothly on those large displays.

The Culprits – Large Touchscreen Displays
Before you dismiss my submission, consider that the smartphone champions in terms of battery life are ALL devices with smaller displays (usually 2.6 to 2.8 inches), and without touchscreen functionality – e.g. the Samsung B-series devices (B7320, B7330), Nokia E-series devices (E71, E72), BlackBerry devices, etc.

Now consider that those guilty of guzzling battery power the most and leaving you looking for a charger after a few hours of fairly hectic use are ALL touchscreen devices with huge displays (3.5 to over 4 inches) – HTC EVO, iPhone, HTC Hero, Nokia N900, NexusOne, etc.

Note that all the above devices – the power efficient ones and the power hungry ones – all have the other factors present – always-on 3G connections and an endless list of features.

Yet, the non-touchscreen, smaller display devices run for much longer than their big display, touchscreen devices.

I remember that one of the outstanding points of the Samsung B7320 which I used recently is that it just doesn’t run out of juice. Other B7320/B7330 users have corroborated this. This is probably another reason why BlackBerry devices are popular in the corporate environment. Which busy executive wants to worry about their phone running out of power by 2 p.m. on a hectic workday?

I have to strategise how to manage power on my device on days that I am going to be out of the office for long periods, because I have to do more on my smartphone then than on the average day. The distraction is not something that I enjoy when it happens, especially when there is work to be done, places to go, clients to be attended to, and meetings to be had.

While so far, I get through a fairly busy day without my N900 dying on me before I get back home, the fact that I have to worry about how fast the battery is draining is just not pleasant. With the B7320, I wouldn’t even have had to think about it at all.

Battery Life Champions – Enterprise Devices
Profiling these smart devices with really good battery lives, a trend can be seen – they are devices targetted primarilly at the enterprise market.

Typically, we see a compact form factor, usually fairly rugged, a QWERTY keyboard, and typical smartphone functionality. They are usually not multimedia monsters. Their cameras are not necesarilly the highest specified. They don’t play a huge catalogue of video and audio types. But they are dependable. They’ll be there when you need them.

Well, if you have a hectic schedule and power management is important to you (you’d like to charge your smartphone and not think about a charger for another one or two days), do consider what I have presented here. I can assure you that you will be better off with a QWERTY or regular keyboard smartphone.

Until manufacturers start putting in higher capacity batteries in those huge display devices, or better power management is invented, or some other miracle happens, large touchscreen device owners will continue to play chess with power management on their devices.

If you’d rather not get bogged down worrying about battery life on your device but need a smartphone, now you know the kind of devices to avoid.

Yes; you will miss that huge, bright, fancy display, but you will get some measure of peace of mind with regards battery life as you go about your daily tasks.

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