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Remote IT Support and Computer & Technology Help in Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh NC

Thanko charger is for the ultimate gadget lover

Is this 1) a curious Lego Technic accessory, 2) a post-modernist fridge magnet or 3) the answer to the uncharged masses of cellphones in your desk drawer?

To all who answered 1 or 2, you could easily have been right; we’ve never seen anything quite like this before. For people who have more charging needs than 99% of the population, Thanko has announced this eighty port USB charger.

So if you rent out smartphones by the day or just can’t control your wallet each time HTC releases its latest creation, this may well be the charging solution of your dreams.

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

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Jan 31, 2010 Posted by | Computing, Hardware, News, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

CES 2008 News: Trick Technologies

My CES 2008 news update comes in the following sections: Laptops & UMPCs, Home Entertainment, Media Players, Cellphones, Gaming and Trick Technologies. To read all the CES 2008 articles, click here. Details of dates, pricing and specifications described below are given from the best information available at the time of writing and may change at any time at each manufacturer’s discretion.

Trick Technologies

Solid State Drives

Sandisk, Samsung and Toshiba were all showing off their Solid State Drive technology. Sandisk had several laptops on its stand fitted with SSDs including a MacBook, although this was a working concept rather than a production unit. Samsung were running a video showing the relative merits of SSD versus traditional hard disks, which highlighted SSD benefits in file access timing, battery performance and vibration tests. The company, which has been fitting 32GB SSDs into production Q1s for a while, announced that a 64 GB SSD version will be available in the new Q1 Ultra Premium range. Toshiba had an open SSD on display and as expected the drive simply looks like a large memory board with an array of storage chips in place of a traditional spinning platter. I would expect SSDs to become an ever increasing part of portable commputing and to fall in price as production volumes increase.

Killer SSD fact: SSDs are governed by Moore’s law, which states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles about every two years. We could therefore assume that at a given price point the capacity of an SSD should double every two years. Or, the cost of a given SSD capacity should roughly halve every two years. This means that at some future point I expect SSDs to become cheaper than traditional hard drives and therefore more widely implemented given the relative benefits of SSDs.

Toshiba Hand Gesture Recognition

Giving us hope that Minority Report style hand waving technology may be possible one day, Toshiba demonstrated a prototype Qosmio laptop which responded to hand gestures. By making certain gestures in front of the laptop’s webcam, the demonstrator was able to play, pause and search through a movie. Another gesture turned the hand into a vitual pointer, controlling on-screen mouse movement. This was made possible by development of Toshiba’s SpursEngine, a co-processor which takes processing of certain highly data intensive functions away from the CPU and graphics card. This allows the latter two to concentrate on what they are doing and gives the overall system more horsepower for rendering HDTV and certain other multimedia tasks. The software is already compatible with Windows Media Center. The best news about this technology is that we could see Qosmios rolling into stores with it onboard as soon as this year.

Wireless Rechargeable External Drives

External drives are great…until you want to access them on the move at which point you wish you’d bought a laptop with a bigger hard drive. Not for much longer.

Seagate demonstrated a prototype 1.8 inch external hard drive called the DAVE equipped with WiFi and a battery (rechargeable via USB). So this drive could stay in a bag whilst you access it from a laptop on a coffee table nearby. Seagate is aiming to give it cellphone-like battery life. It is unlikely that Seagate will sell the drive themselves just yet, at present the company is working with third parties to build software and market the product.

Organic Light Emmitting Diode Screens (OLED Screens)

This technology, once emerging, has now definitely emerged and is retail stores. OLED screens were some of the stars of the show, with dazzling screens on display from Samsung and Sony. See the home entertainment section for more details.

See photos and read CES news about: Laptops & UMPCs, Home Entertainment, Media Players, Cellphones, Gaming and Trick Technologies.

To read all the CES 2008 articles, click here.

Neil Berman

http://www.neilberman.com/

Jan 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

CES 2008 News: Cellphones

My CES 2008 news update comes in the following sections: Laptops & UMPCs, Home Entertainment, Media Players, Cellphones, Gaming and Trick Technologies. To read all the CES 2008 articles, click here. Details of dates, pricing and specifications described below are given from the best information available at the time of writing and may change at any time at each manufacturer’s discretion.

Cellphones

It’s a high five from manufacturers who are following on the heels of Nokia’s N95 by releasing 5 megapixel cameras. Both LG and SonyEricsson showed off new models hitting the magic number.

LG’s smart looking Viewty (think ‘beauty’ and it makes sense) is an all black touchscreen navigated multimedia cellphone. The 5 megapixel camera is completed by 120 fps video recording capability and the option to upload directly to YouTube. The Viewty also has a music player and games onboard but the real gem is the camera. There’s red eye reduction, autofocus and this is the first cellphone to get image stabilization. The unit actually looks like a camera with a touchscreen on the back as opposed to a phone with a camera attachment.

There’s no release date set yet, but the Viewty is likely to debut in Europe and the Asia before the US, as the cameraphone market in the US is so under-developed compared to the former two regions.

The same could not be said of Motorola’s stunning new Rokr E8, with its tiny 2 megapixel lens poking out of the back panel. The Rokr’s raison d’être is music and it comes with 6 GB of onboard storage and a front panel which looks more like a media player than a cellphone. It seems everyone wants to make cellphones that don’t look like cellphones any more. The Rokr’s keypad lighting depends on the current mode, a feature Motorola calls ModeShift. It looks great in operation. The whole package is finished off by a proper 3.5mm headphone socket. The Rokr E8 is due out on US GSM networks (at&t, T-Mobile) around March this year.

SonyEricsson seem more keen to stay with traditional cellphone design with its new K850, another 5 megapixel cameraphone release. The K850 bears a strong family resemblance to the K750i, the main change being additional soft keys and an initially confusing joystick implementation. The joystick is actually four navigation buttons sticking out of the middle of the phone. You need small fingers for this one and for the screen soft keys too. It really feels like SonyEricsson have tried to cram too much onto the fascia. Flipping the cellphone over reveals a Cybershot branded 5 megapixel autofocus camera with a Xenon flash. Nice. The K850 is due out early in 2008.

SonyEricsson had a lot of new cellphones to show us this year, with further releases of three other models. The W760 (below) sports a 3.2 megapixel camera, onboard GPS and Shake Control, which allows the user to switch music tracks by shaking the phone. The W350 (below) is a stunningly designed 1.3 megapixel phone with music player, radio and external music controls. Finally the Z555 (below) is a clamshell design with Gesture Control and OLED caller ID, which is obscured from normal viewing by the silver casing on the top of the cellphone. Gesture Control allows the user to control certain functions with hand movements registered by the camera. For example waving a hand across a camera could reject an incoming call.

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All three cellphones have Bluetooth 2.0 and support tri-band & EDGE, whilst the W760 goes further by supporting HSDPA and four bands. Planned release date for the trio is Q2 2008.
See photos and read CES news about: Laptops & UMPCs, Home Entertainment, Media Players, Cellphones, Gaming and Trick Technologies.

To read all the CES 2008 articles, click here.

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Jan 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

CES 2008 News: Gaming

My CES 2008 news update comes in the following sections: Laptops & UMPCs, Home Entertainment, Media Players, Cellphones, Gaming and Trick Technologies. To read all the CES 2008 articles, click here. Details of dates, pricing and specifications described below are given from the best information available at the time of writing and may change at any time at each manufacturer’s discretion.

Gaming

Sony showed off its Skype and GPS add-ons for the PSP. Skype will be a free firmware update and will only work on the PSP-2000 version of the console. It is due for release around late Jan / early Feb this year. The GPS PSP attachment fits to the top of the console and is compatible with both the PSP-1000 and 2000 versions. The screenshot below shows a video rather than actual software as the roof over our heads obscured direct access to satellites. There is no pricing information available yet for the GPS attachment, which should hit the stores around fall 2008.

Many at the Sony stand commented on how light the PSP-2000 (already available) is compared to the original PSP. A Sony representative noted that 33% of the weight of the PSP-1000 had been shed in the newer version. That’s an amazing achievement.

Sony also debuted new games for the Playstation 3, such as Metal Gear Solid 4 (see screenshots) which is due to be released during summer this year. It is first-person gameplay and the graphics look great.

Sony also showed a working demo of LittleBigPlanet, which is a platform game due out on PS3 later this year. The game looked fun and cheeky, with characters moving around platforms with natural-style obstacles to overcome. Mii-style avatars can be created to personalize gameplay.A few times during the demo the frames momentarily froze and at one point the PS3 crashed. The demonstrators noted that this is not even yet an alpha version., so the kinks should be ironed out hopefully by the time it hits the streets around fall 2008.

Dell showed off a World of Warcraft XPS laptop with built-in Logitech Game Control and physical accelerator. View photos and read about it here.

See photos and read CES news about: Laptops & UMPCs, Home Entertainment, Media Players, Cellphones, Gaming and Trick Technologies.

To read all the CES 2008 articles, click here.

Neil Berman

http://www.neilberman.com/

Jan 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

CES 2008

Welcome to my CES 2008 series, which will show and tell the exciting developments in this year’s massive three-venue Las Vegas extravaganza! I’m actually here, so what you read will be real accounts, not recycled material from other sites.

My CES 2008 news update comes in the following sections: Laptops & UMPCs, Home Entertainment, Media Players, Cellphones, Gaming and Trick Technologies.

To read all the CES 2008 articles, click here.

Neil Berman

http://www.neilberman.com/

Jan 7, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dumped due to communication breakdown

Hello to everyone in the Philippines (via SMS). According to Cnet News.com you are a nation who love to text, in fact they reckon you send on average 12 to 15 messages each day.

This could be something to do with the price of texting in the Philippines, with carriers bundling hundreds of free texts on some tariffs. On Globe’s website, SMS charges can get as low as half a Philippine Peso, which is approximately 1 US Cent.

I expect this charging mirrors the actual cost per SMS closer than many countries’ carriers, where charges of 10 to 20 US cents per text are common.

A text uses 140 bytes, which is approximately 0.14kb or 0.00014mb. If we assume 10 cents per text on average then by extrapolation texting costs around $714 per megabyte. That would be an expensive data tariff.

In fact texting doesn’t actually get carried on the data networks. It uses the GSM signalling channels, whilst voice calls travel simultaneously through dedicated GSM voice channels.

The signalling channels are an essential part of GSM infrastructure and send control data, so SMS is basically a bi-product of the voice service…a bi-product which has become extremely profitable for many carriers. So well done to the Filipinos, you’re getting a good deal!

I certainly hope your texts arrive quicker than mine. I tend to find, especially on nights out when everyone’s trying to meet up, that my texts reach their destination late.

Sometimes very late. One friend asked me recently why I texted him at 4.30am just to say how good Tiger Woods 08 is. To placate him I pulled up my sent folder which showed I sent the message at 9.30pm. It took seven hours for the SMS to arrive. The guy only lives four blocks away!

Texts can arrive late because they generally get delivered on a best efforts basis. Voice data has a dedicated channel so once you initiate a call, your conversation happens in real time. Text messages on the other hand are sent using a ‘store-and-forward’ model. They go through a variety of sorting infrastructure devices before they get delivered to the recipient.

So on big nights out when everyone is texting to tell their friends where they are, the high volume of messages places strain on these sorting devices and so your text might take longer to reach its destination.

What does this mean in practise? Your date gets your text about where to meet three hours late and so dumps you by text, which you receive the next morning whilst nursing a hangover.

Neil Berman

http://www.neilberman.com/

Cnet News.com article referenced above can be found here.

Jan 3, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Zap…Wii are surrounded!

I had to search for a while, but I finally found Wii Zapper stock. At an unreasonably cheap $19.99 including Links Crossbow Training from a major retailer, it would have been rude not to buy it.

The ingenious Zapper is simply a plastic moulding with a trigger and housings for the Wii Remote and Nunchuck. Once these two controllers are fitted into place, with satisfyingly secure feeling mechanisms, the Zapper becomes a light gun with joystick control provided by the Nunchuck. A hole at the front allows communication with the Wii Sensor Bar.

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It’s a great design which works well in practise. The experience feels natural and as with all things Wii, it’s a case of pick it up and get straight into the action.

Links Crossbow Training is a fun arcade shooter with a variety of mini games through its levels. The games are amusing, each lasting a brief time before transitioning to the next sprite shooting fest. If goblins, walking skeletons and huge ice creatures are not your thing then the zapper is compatible with many of the Wii shooters out there, such as Ghost Squad.

The packaged game on its own is probably worth the twenty bucks I paid for the whole shebang. At this price the Wii Zapper should help Nintendo to further broaden the Wii’s appeal, if it even needs any help at this stage. As ever when I went into the store the PS3 and Xbox 360 boxes were piled high and a hastily scrawled sign at customer services read “We have no Wiis”. Nintendo seems to have the competition Zapped at the moment.

Click here to read about how the British are dealing with Wii stock shortages
Click here for Wii vs Playstation analysis
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Neil Berman
http://www.neilberman.com/

Dec 31, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Laptop Buying Guide Part 2: CPU Codename Overload – How To Choose A Laptop Processor

Latest: Click here to read the CES 2008 laptop and UMPC news

The main processor is what makes a computer tick. Choosing the right processor (aka CPU) in a laptop is a minefield these days, mainly because names like T2310 or TL-56 don’t tell us anything about speed. For example is a T2310 actually a better buy than a T2300? So as part two of this laptop buying guide, here is the geek-speek translation of what the confusing names mean. (Click here for part one.)

In years gone by, the only spec which counted was the brute speed of a processor (or CPU – Central Processing Unit). This was measured in Hertz and it was simply a case of figuring out whether you could afford a 3 Giga-Hertz or only a 2.5 GHz chip.

One factor changed that: Power consumption. In the world of laptops this impacts all important battery life. As processors became faster they required more power which ate battery life. Intel pioneered laptop energy saving features such as SpeedStep, which reduced processor speed when less horsepower was requied. However as memory prices fell another option became available to chip manufacturers, which was to increase the processor’s on-board memory, otherwise known as the L1 and L2 Caches.

By increasing the L2 Cache in particular, the amount of RAM fetches decreases and so overall system performance goes up. This is because accessing the L2 Cache is quicker than accessing RAM. Since memory uses little power we get increased battery life and good performance by increasing the L2 Cache compared to incresing brute processor speed. Better still, two slow-ish processors (or cores) can be combined on one silicon die to increase performance whilst preserving battery power. See part one of this laptop buying guide for more info about making RAM and Cache decisions.

Why is this important? Because when you go laptop shopping, you now know that processor performance is dependent on both speed and the L2 Cache size. So with this in mind let’s talk about some of the processors on the market currently.

Intel’s premium laptop processor range is called Centrino. The Centrino brand pioneered the use of larger L2 Caches in laptops. At the budget end is the Celeron M range and sitting in the middle is Pentium Dual Core.

AMD also has three ranges. The budget range is called Mobile Sempron, in the middle is the Athlon Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core and the top end is the briefly-named Athlon Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core Mobile Technology.

AMD follows a straightforward range structure:

Budget: Mobile Sempron has one core and a small 512KB L2 Cache. It has a four digit numeric identifier, such as 3400+.

Midrange: Athlon Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core has two cores and a small 512KB L2 Cache. It is identified by the TK prefix, such as TK-57.

High end: Athlon Turion 64 X2 Dual Core Mobile Technology processors have two cores and a 1MB L2 Cache. They go by the TL prefix, such as TL-66.

So making a choice in the AMD range is fairly straightforward as long you understand the three processor groupings. Mobile Semprons are for basic needs and are actually getting harder to find in stores. The TKs are incresingly common in low to mid range offerings and fine for general computing needs. The TLs in the AMD range have more horsepower for really taking advantage of Vista.

The Intel range on the other hand is more complex partly because it has repositioned the Pentium brand, which used to be the premium offering, at the middle of the range. Here’s how it works:

Budget: Celeron Ms have one core and predominantly 1MB of L2 Cache. They are denoted by numeric identifiers, such as 530. Celerons tend to ship with Vista Basic.

Midrange: Pentium Dual Cores have two cores and a 1MB L2 Cache. They are denoted by a T followed by four numbers, such as T2310. Pentium Dual Cores tend to ship with Vista Premium.

High end: Centrinos and Centrino Duos have either one or two cores. The Core Solo and Core 2 Solo models have one core and the Core Duo and Core 2 Duo models have two cores. The processors in the Centrino Duo range have either a 2MB or whopping 4MB L2 Cache. They are denoted with a T, U or L followed by four numbers, such as T2300. I run Vista Premium on a T2050 Core Duo 1.6 GHz with 2MB of L2 Cache and it flies along in general use.

Where it gets confusing is that Pentium Dual Core identifiers appear to cross over with the Centrino Duo range and in some cases slower Pentium Dual Core processors appear at first glance to be higher in the Intel hierarchy than similarly named Centrino Duos.

For example it may be a fair assumption to think that a T2310 is higher in the range than a T2300. The T2300 is a Centrino Duo with dual 1.66 GHz cores and 2MB of L2 Cache. However the T2310 is actually a Pentium Dual Core with slower dual 1.46 GHz cores and only 1MB of L2 Cache. Caveat emptor.

Typically for performance vs. battery life Intel is leading the way in he laptop market. In fact the original Centrino brand, which was Intel’s first foray into significantly increasing the L2 Cache on laptop processors, was so successful that they have recently revived it to be an umbrella brand for their Core ranges.

Interestingly Apple ships its MacBooks with extremely high end Centrino Duo processors. So whilst there seems to be a popular perception that Vista runs slower than Mac OSX, most Vista laptops on the market have massively slower hardware than Apple’s offerings.

That’s the geek-speek tanslation for laptop processors and the end of this two part laptop buying guide. Happy shopping!

Click here to read part one of the laptop buying guide

Latest: Click here to read the CES 2008 laptop and UMPC news

Neil Berman

http://www.neilberman.com/

Dec 23, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Silence is Eco-friendly, Vivid and Fanless

I just upgraded my living room PC’s video card from being VGA only to a dual monitor DVI and VGA NVIDIA card. Crikey what a revelation! My projector image is now so bright and vivid from the DVI PC output that we have to turn down the lamp strength to avoid eye fatigue! In fact this upgrade will have turned out to be a really cost effective way of saving energy and increasing lamp life.

I was already impressed with my MacBook’s DVI output but this NVIDIA card makes the XP Media Center image look so vibrant that sometimes it seems like it’s jumping off the wall. In fact it’s made me question the quality of the MacBook’s DVI output, although to be fair built-in outputs rarely compare favorably to dedicated hardware.

I chose a fanless card, which are becoming more and more rare. The result? A near silent PC…it turns out the fan in my old card was actually generating pretty much all the internal noise in the computer. Better still the new card installled itself in minutes. Silence s eco-friendly, vivid and fanless!

Neil Berman
http://www.neilberman.com/

Dec 16, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Nokia N810 Review


With my Nokia 770 despatched swiftly on eBay, I could switch on my new N810 with an almost clear conscience. The N810 was an impulse upgrade following great first impressions. I think I was one of many, as the tablet ranked #2 in Wired’s December 2007 listing of “Top 10 Gifts We’d Love To Get”. Time to see what it can really do.

What’s in the box?


The slickness of the N810 makes an instant impact. The casing is silver with a brushed chrome color screen surround, buttons fit flush to surfaces and the backlit keyboard glides out smoothly. A built in stand allows the N810 to be used as a close range viewing device on a table. The box also contains a car dashboard holder for using the GPS navigation and a soft pouch. It all looks cool and feels well put together.

What’s it got?

Switching on, the screen is an immediate improvement over the 770. As with the better small devices on today’s market, it’s bright and colors are vivid. Howeve, unlike any ultra-portable computer I’ve used the screen also is genuinely sunlight readable. This is great for working on the move or using as an outdoor GPS navigation device. The idea of working with a laptop in the park is always appealing, but often hindered because nice days in parks tend to involve sunlight. Sunlight is not such a big problem for the N810.


The N810 boots-up in about fifteen seconds into the now familiar Nokia tablet desktop. Status indicators are on the top right and applications are on the left. The user transition from the 770 is seamless. Read about the 770 here.

Loading up the web browser makes the N810 search automatically for a connection. As with the 770, the WiFi search is quick and signal strength is strong. I made a connection straight away and was surfing at full speed in seconds.

The screen resolution is 800 by 480 so the N810 comfortably fits a typical web page across the width of its screen, with the option to specifically ‘fit to width’ if necessary. There is also a full screen mode accessed via a dedicated hardware button. Another dedicated button displays a list of currently open windows/applications for easy window switching.


The sliding keyboard transforms the internet experience on the N810. Whereas the 770 had an iPhone style on-screen keyboard which was fine for a short message here and there, the N810’s dedicated hardware keyboard allows full scale email, blogging and even word processing. Ironically, although the N810’s keyboard is bigger than my HTC TyTN’s, I have found it slower to type on. The keys have a less positive feel and the OS 2008 implementation of word prediction is less user friendly than the Windows Mobile version, which can be used from the keyboard without needing to touch the screen.

There’s a wide range of applications for the Nokia tablet series available for download. A built in software updater also searches for new apps and upgrades. Kudos to Nokia for implementing such a grown-up feature aimed at openly developing the N810’s functionality. This elevates it out of the closed platform space that most small mobile devices occupy and into the wider portable computer space. Skype is now available for the N810, although it does not currently take advantage of the front mounted webcam.


I miss having an office application suite built into the N810, it really seems ripe for it. The extra screen space compared to my TyTN makes it a perfect mobile office tool. Ironically it’s the TyTN which actually has Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, but due to screen size only Word is of practical everyday use. There are some office applications available for the Nokia tablet platform, but a Maemo port of the StarOffice suite would be perfect.

How does it perform?


In general use the N810 performs pretty briskly. The 400mhz processor powers preloaded applications adequately, although I experienced slowdowns when trying to access multiple websites in multiple browser windows. There is 256Mb of Flash memory, 128Mb of onboard RAM with an extra 128Mb assignable as vitual memory from the 2Gb of onboard storage, which is pretty decent for this type of device. The N810 has not crashed on me yet; when applications have slowed down or gotten confused it has always recovered given time.

The Mozilla based browser handles the majority of sites well, although like Safari on my MacBook there are occasional compatability issues with some sites. I became used to this on my MacBook and just reserved surfing certain sites for my Windows PC. Pages load quickly enough and the N810 can handle certain multimedia content such as YouTube videos happily. Given the software update functionality I hope that browser updates will be possible to keep the N810 up to date.

Launching the map program engages the GPS. In Central Park on a clear day, the built-in antenna took around five minutes to get a fix on my location. Once it knew where I was, the N810 was able to show me the location of WiFi hotspots in the vicinity as well as other points of interest. This is a free service, whilst upgrading to full in-car navigation is an optional cost upgrade.

The points of interest are a great facility and of course GPS mapping is wonderful if you don’t know where you are. I expect though I’m more likely to use Google Maps on my TyTN on a day to day basis as it’s interface and zoom implementation is excellent.


Audio sounds great through both the onboard speakers and 3.5mm headphone socket. To their credit, Nokia squeezed a regular size headphone port into the thin N810. Video runs smoothly and the screen is viewable at pretty acute angles so your friends can watch alongside you using the built-in stand.


The 770 is actually more comfortable to hold than the N810 for prolonged periods. This is partly due to its greater depth and also because on the left of the screen there is more room to rest your hand. With the N810 you really feel like you’re holding a fat-free tablet, with the ‘downside’ that there’s precious little places to hold it! So your hand falls naturally at the back giving support at the edges. The weight of the tablet series has remained pretty constant throughout three generations, with the N810 weighing in at a meager 226 grams.

Battery life is claimed by Nokia to be fourteen standby days or four hours of continuous WiFi usage, which is better than the vast majority of laptops. Various power saving features can be configured, such as screen dimming and WiFi disconnection after periods of inactivity.

The recommended retail price of the N810 is 479.99 dollars but some retailers are listing it for less. Net of my 770 sale it cost me just over 300 bucks, which is pretty good value considering the improvements. The price puts it squarely in Asus EEE PC territory, which offers a whole lot more (potential, size and weight) but also a whole lot less (portability, battery life, sidewalk use).

Overall the N810 has been a superb buy. The keyboard and improved browser transform it from its earlier siblings into one of the most complete ultra-mobile computers ever made. Regular software updates and a growing application suite mean that it should have a good lifespan. Given that it can also double up as an in-car sat nav and use-anywhere media player, it is also great value…which is why Nokia’s USA site currently states it is on back order!

Click here to read the Nokia 770 review

Neil Berman

Dec 4, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Brother Eviction: Nokia N810 on order, 770 looking for a home…


Nokia’s third internet tablet hit the stores a few days ago and here it is, running Maemo Linux Internet Tablet 2008.

What does it look and feel like? In a word amazing. Ultra thin and extremely desirable.

The family which started with the 770 and then developed with the N800 now has a big brother in the shape of the N810. Big on features that is, but smaller on size. The N810 is the first in the series to get a super slick slip out keyboard. Yet it feels fantastic in the hand and thinner than its predecessors.

There is 2GB of internal storage and it will also accept Micro SDHC cards for serious memory expansion. GPS and mapping software also come as standard with an optional upgrade available to Waypoint in-car navigation.

The 4.1 inch screen is the same size as the 770 and N800 with an 800 x 480 resolution which allows a good view of web pages. The Mozilla browser has gone through significant updates since the 770 and is now Flash 9 compatible. As a rare feature, the screen is sunlight readable.

With plenty of storage potential, the N810 is multimedia friendly. Initial video tests showed bright and smooth flowing video with solid sound reproduction from the onboard speakers.


Like the N800 there is a built in camera for video calls using Gizmo. The N810 also comes with Skype but it does not seem at this point in time that the cam works for this yet.

And the word ‘yet’ is what this family is all about…These tablets run Linux, so the environment is really open to the user community to do whatever they want with it. Nokia is encouraging developers to build applications for the distro and now that the N810 has a keyboard, I’d expect to see plenty of releases over the coming months. The development forums are alive with excitement over the N810.

Mine is arriving tomorrow; the 770 has been evicted by its (not so) big brother. Watch this space for an N810 interview as soon as I get it into the diary room.

Neil Berman

www.neilberman.com

Nov 30, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Lift me up – at&t Tilt

This is the at&t Tilt, successor to the 8525. Also known as the HTC TyTN 2, the Tilt expands upon its predecessor’s already copious feature set by adding GPS, a 3 megapixel camera and a tilting screen.

See photos and read the latest CES cellphone news here
Get latest CES 2008 Laptop and UMPC news here

Bits on the inside have also changed, with an expansion to 256mb ROM and 128mb RAM. This is pretty sweet as oftentimes I find my TyTN running short of space having installed Skype, Google Maps, AvantGo and all manner of weird and wonderful Windows apps. The processor has also changed from a Samsung 400MHz to a Qualcomm running at the same speed. In general tests performance between the Tilt and my TyTN seemed similar. In fact when accessing web pages both models loaded pages in exactly the same time, even though the Tilt was on at&t’s UMTS network and the TyTN was on T-Mobile’s slower EDGE.
The tilting screen is a novel function which allows typing to be done on a desk surface similar to a laptop setup. Although the mechanism feels well made, it’s difficult to know how long the sliding and tilting mechanism would stand up to prolonged road warrior use. Having said that, I have had no problems with my TyTN’s slider as yet.

The screen itself appears to be brighter but marginally smaller than the original TyTN and less responsive to touch. I had difficulty getting it to respond to finger inputs unless I pressed hard, whereas my TyTN’s screen behaves perfectly. The keyboard has also undergone a minor makeover with a more textured feel to the keys.

I was unable to test the GPS but this feature will doubtless be very useful, as long as the mapping and searching software is well designed.

Overall this is evolution rather than revolution, with the changes pushing Tilt even further ahead of iPhone than the original TyTN was for most things except for web browsing and album art. So if you want to see your album art and surf the web on the move, you’re still better off with an iPhone.

For just about everything else in a smartphone, this is now even more convincing as a one-box solution.

See photos and read CES news about: Laptops & UMPCs, Home Entertainment, Media Players, Cellphones, Gaming and Trick Technologies.
To read all the CES 2008 articles, click here.

Nov 30, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Germanii to the Rescue

Judging by comments on the BBC’s website many disappointed shoppers have been unable to find Wii stock in the UK.

In the US the Wii outsold the PS3 by 3 to 1 last quarter and Sony have now cut the basic PS3 down to $399 to create momentum. Due to high demand, many Wii sales in the UK are based around packages which include games, accessories and inevitably a hefty price tag. So UK buyers seem to have been looking to European neighbors for help…

If the comments on the BBC site are anything to go by then Amazon.de in Germany seems to be the place to buy a Wii if you’re a Brit in need. People have been reporting stock of basic models at a reasonable price. And so Mario’s machine rolls on.

It looks like Nintendo have played this one like a pro. A year since release and no price cut, amazing sales figures and contracts to supply to retirement homes. Who would have guessed it?

Click here for Wii vs Playstation analysis

Click here to read about the Wii Zapper

Neil Berman
http://www.neilberman.com/

Nov 25, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Thirsty Girls

In a bizarre moment of brand creation, it turns out that although St Pauli Girls are from Hamburg, their dirndls and jugs on the beer label are Bavarian and the beer itself is brewed in Bremen, which itself enjoys a local rivalry with – you guessed it – Hamburg!

Thanks to K for the research on this one.

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Sep 26, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Beauty and the Beast

Hey and welcome to my brand-spanking-new blog for random acts of techo-analysis, info-chatter and absolutely no kindness for tech that stinks. I welcome Mac-fans and Windows-worshippers, techno-haters and Linux-lovers.

So I’m going to kick off with a beauty and the beast battle taking place in US stores right now: iPhone vs HTC Tytn

Hope you enjoy :-)

Neil Berman
www.neilberman.com

Jul 8, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

   

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