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August 29, 2006

Apple, Google Friendly

Dr. Eric SchmidtDr. Eric Schmidt, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Executive Officer, Google Inc. joined Apple Computer’s board of directors, brining to Apple board one of the most respected executive in the business.

"Apple is one of the companies in the world that I most admire," said Dr. Schmidt. "I'm really looking forward to working with Steve and Apple's board to help with all of the amazing things Apple is doing."

About Google's Eric Schmidt

Schmidt elected to Google's board of director from Novell (where he led the company's strategic planning, management and technology development as chairman and CEO) as Google chairman in March 2001 and soon after that as the company's CEO in August 2001.

Prior to his appointment at Novell, Eric was chief technology officer and corporate executive officer at Sun Microsystems, Inc., where he led the development of Java, Sun's platform-independent programming technology, and defined Sun's Internet software strategy. Before joining Sun in 1983, he was a member of the research staff at the Computer Science Lab at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), and held positions at Bell Laboratories and Zilog. Eric has a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University, and a master's and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California-Berkeley. In 2006, Eric was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, which recognized his work on "the development of strategies for the world's most successful Internet search engine company."

To know more about Dr. Eric Schmidt; I strongly recommend reading his 2003 interview with AlwaysOn. >>

Google Talk: Hello Skype!

GtalkEarlier this year Google connected us to Gizmo Project, and while we where waiting for Google to connect us with AIM and ICQ, Google decided to take a bigger jump to bring us closer to Skype. Google announced that they've signed an agreement with eBay, and the two companies plan to explore the interoperability between Skype and Google Talk via open standards to enable text chat and online presence.

Read more; "Talking with Skype" by Lewis Lin, Product Marketing Manager, Google Talk >>

August 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Google Talk!

GtalkI noticed that Google Talk have a candle in the logo today so I thought to wish Google team a very happy first birthday for the great work they doing with G.Talk.

We recently switched our email service provider, and now our PalmDubai.NET email service is Powered by Google, and its integrated very well with G.Talk and G.Calendar thanks to Google team for keeping us connected and organized.

For more inside about the Google Talk visit the G.Talk team blog "talkabout";

"... what I really love is the collaboration between people and teams to produce the best experience for our users. The most recent version of Google Talk is a classic example of this team effort."
- Jeanne DeWitt, Online Operations Associate, Google Inc.
- Read more; "You talk we listen" >>

The latest version of Google Talk features file sharing, voicemail, and music status and Google promise even more for the next version, the most notable experience for us was the integration with hosted email service, now when I receive an email in my Google powered PalmDubai.NET account I can simply click on the Google Talk email alert to open and read my new emails.

August 21, 2006

Qool Labs Plan to Launch New Smartphones and Accessories Line in Dubai

It’s been awhile since we posted updates from Qool Labs, and last night we had the chance to meet with Qool Labs CEO once again here in Dubai the city that Qool Labs management selected to launch their 2007 line of smartphones and accessories.

If you joining or visiting this year GITEX Dubai (the world third biggest IT exhibition) this coming Nov. 18-22, at DICEC (Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Dubai-UAE), Qool Labs announce officially to PalmDubai.NET their plan to participate and launch their new accessories and smartphones line (due to confidentiality of the product we are not allowed to post any photos of the devices yet).

Stay tuned to PalmDubai.NET as we plan to cover exclusively the announcement of Qool Labs new smartphones line which will include the first smartphone with 4MP CCD camera, and the real Q (Motorola Q smartphone) killer.

August 19, 2006

Etisalat & du: UAE Telecom Evolution

After two years of using my EDGE (2.75G) enabled Treo 650 smartphone in a 2.5G Etisalat network with slow GPRS connection compared to EDGE network, du announced that their network will support 2.75G which was a good news to all Treo users and raised our expectation and excitement for the new service provider, for awhile I thought that du support for 2.75G and 3G will signal technology war between the two service provided to attract more users, which we really need here in UAE, however, I accidently discovered while testing my Treo against the M600 (the review) that Etisalat network already support EDGE, and the network is covering all the Emirates.

After couple of days of testing I found that my 3G SIM card work perfectly when inserted to my Treo with notable speed when downloading larger emails and or surfing the web, and since the Treo doesn’t support Etisalat UMTS network, the download speed pushed me to start researching that Etisalat do have EDGE network, and it was exciting to know that the current service provider Etisalat support EDGE, but it was shocking too since Etisalat marketing department never advertised for the network which is why all of us Treo users in the Emirates using the slow 2.5G, and that’s not all, after doing more researches I discovered that Etisalat network also support HSDPA (3.5G) which is even more exciting since Palm planning to launch HSDPA enabled Treo the 750w, along side large number of handset models, to be available in fourth quarter this year, and shockingly I found no reference to the new network in any of Etisalat websites although the network setup was completed since last April according to official documents we obtained legally, Etisalat also tested the network capacity in the world cup final by offering live stream of the final to our mobile handset free of cost, again I met only one guy who heard that Etisalat planning to show the world cup live in our mobiles, which drive us to think that Etisalat internal departments suffer from serious short of communications, and that will defiantly hurt Etisalat in the long run specially that the new comer du Telecom seem to have a stronger marketing department and made all the effort to let us know about their new 2.75G and 3G network which will go live after Etisalat and du sign the network agreement next month.

Etisalat strongly need better advertising campaign, not just boards in the street, or pages in the news paper, as we see more and more 3G handset in people hands, with more than 90percent doesn’t know how to subscribe to use the services, or how it work, with some even having wrong idea, telecom providers need to open small stands in malls and public places with coordination with handset manufacturers and or the many IT shops around the country to help average mobile users in UAE understand the many confusing technology terms they run into, and help users decide which technology is right, and which smart or feature phone needed to make everyday life less confusing and easier, that will defiantly result in higher 3G adoption across the country, we are really looking forward for Etisalat and du to step up the game so we can see a true telecom evolution in the country, driving by passion for technology and attractive packages for users, and ofcourse unlimited mobile data plan to improve UAE mobility future.

Setting up your Treo 650 for Etisalat EDGE network

To start using Etisalat EDGE network you’ll need to visit your nearest Etisalat Center to exchange your 2.5G SIM card with 3G enabled SIM card, your new SIM card will have the same number, plus 50AED (13.5$) connection fee, only for postpaid subscriber, unfortunately prepaid subscriber can’t use the service unless they switch their service to postpaid which is easily done by visiting your nearest Etisalat service center with your complete documents (passport copy, bank statement or salary certificate), and you’ll get to keep the same number.

Select your preferred package for data download, current packages; 10MB, 50MB, and 200MB, if you wish to use your package for emails and light surfing I suggest the 10MB package which cost 50AED (13.5$) monthly, which I’m currently using, other plan cost; 195AED (53$) for the 50MB, and 495AED (134$) for the 200MB, additional usage will be charged 1AED (0,3$) for every 100Kb.

The card will be activated within an hour, and your 3G subscription within 24hr, once its activated you’ll receive a welcome SMS from Etisalat 3G network, now you can setup your smartphone manually or call the number in the welcome SMS message to obtain the setting.

Manually: in your Treo go to Prefs, under Communication select Network, and use the following parameters;

• APN: Etisalat.ae
• Username: (_blank or you can use APN)
• Password: (_blank or you can use APN)

And you’re done; now you can enjoy surfing and reading your emails 3G style in your small mobile screen... as soon as du launches its mobile service will post the guide to configure your smartphone with du EDGE and 3G network.

August 16, 2006

UiQ 3 and the Palm experience (Part VI)


Everyday Life - Part II


Treo 650 vs M600i

Phone app

The phone app in the M600 is tightly integrated as part of the UiQ platform which makes it closer to mobile-phone than to PDA, I know a lot of you think the same about the Treo, but my experience with the Treo 650 I have to say that the Treo is the ultimate PDA we all been wishing for, and its far a PDA than it’s a phone, and don’t get me wrong, the Treo 650 is the bridge between the PDA and the mobile-phone world and right after the Treo, but closer to mobile-phone category fall the M600.

If you ever used any of Sony-Ericsson feature-phones you’ll notice that SE slowly bringing the smartphone and feature-phone lines together and you can almost see it with every smartphone and feature-phone they release its getting closer and closer to each other, and with UiQ3 support for touch-screen-based smartphone and non-touch-screen-based they’ll eventually reach this point.

Like the Treo 650 the M600 is capable of storing huge call history, and group it to category for answered calls, dialed calls and missed calls, but with few extra feature the M600 standout. One of my favorite feature is that when you reject a call its marked with an X in top of the incoming-call-arrow making it easier to differentiate rejected calls from answered calls. The M600 also add a feature we been enjoying in our Treo for awhile now which allow you to add note, reminder, or send a defined SMS to rejected calls, however, not as powerful as Tyler (Ludus Technologies) - SharkMsg, but it’s a very nice touch from Sony-Ericsson, and hopefully developers will start from there and create something more powerful, from predefined messages to auto sending for specified group.

M600 is tri-band (GSM 900/1800/1900) and UMTS (3G) smartphone, and since I do a lot of traveling between cities in my daily life; I can tell that the smartphone work amazingly well when handing the calls from 3G network to standard 2G network -in places where theirs no 3G network coverage- without losing the call, specially when driving in the high-way in between cities (please remember to use Bluetooth headset while driving) compared to my Treo in the high-way I mostly loss the call in the network-handover-process specially when passing under a bridge and Dubai high-way is full of interchanges and bridges. Also I’d like to mention that although the M600 is missing the GSM850 frequency support the smartphone is working fine operating at GSM1800/1900 in north America (special thanks to Mo’de for the test result), unfortunately no US carrier drafted the smartphone to their roasters yet, so users have to wait a little longer for the “a” version of the M600 which will defiantly include GSM850.


Contact

Theirs no smart or feature-phone out there that fall closer to the Treo 650 contact app (correct me if I’m wrong) with huge contact list we trying very hard to manage in our daily life in our smartphones the Treo made it really easy to do just that, but unfortunately the M600 fall a little short, for example, both the Treo and the M600 can sort contact by last name, or first name, or company name, but the different is that the Treo 650 integrate search feature right into the contact app; making it easier to find the contact with couple of clicks, like, if I’m searching for Jamal Jones in my contact list I can just type JJ and my Treo will find any contact that his name, and/or his family name, and/or his first letter from his first and last name start with J, and/or I can just simple start typing my contact name or JJon and Treo will easily find it for me, and almost to perfection, a nice touch from the Treo side is that if I’m searching for Kevin for example and I have no contact name start with K or KE or KEV in my list the Treo will stop with the last letter it can match against the nearest contact from my contact list and when I try to type more letters it’ll give a sound warning to signal not-found or no-match in the contact list, although it’s not 100percent perfect, but this should be a standard feature in all smart and feature-phones (or at least in my book form Palm Treo smartphone).


Online and security

The M600 web browser is powered by the most advanced mobile browser ever created Opera Browser, Opera web experience in small screen devices is unmatchable, and if you looking for any mobile device with the best web experience always look for Opera logo in the box. In the Palm world we petitioned Opera for Palm OS support unfortunately Opera Software ASA didn’t see enough market demand to support Palm OS specially that many users settle for the built-in browser, however, Opera did add support to Treo 650 users in their Java version Opera-Mini.

With the high-speed 3G mobile internet access you are in for a desktop experience in the M600 screen. I remember a lot of Treo users specially users trading in the stocks market use to complain a lot that they can’t access the java web-portal to see their stocks status, well, with the M600 Opera browser (with HTML 4.01, xHTML 1.0, CSS and Java script (ECMA script), WAP 2.0 support, and SSL/TLS security protocols) you can do just that, and amazingly the Opera browser support tab browsing as well just like in your Opera desktop version of the popular browser, so you can keep your stock market update page open and start a new page to check your email or open a page for each of your main stocks, now how cool is that!?

I’d like to also point out that the M600 perform well with heavy web usage, and didn’t lose connection at all, and most importantly; I didn’t miss any of my business calls while surfing or using IM, as when you receive a call the smartphone automatically place the GPRS connection on hold allowing you to answer the call, and once you done it automatically activate your GPRS connection to continue what you been doing, and in many cases specially where 3G connection is available my M600 was able to download messages while I was in a call, also in areas where 3G network is limited the M600 handed over the connection to normal GPRS network with no problem at all, however, I noticed that while am using instant messenger in areas with no 3G coverage it didn’t hand it back to 3G network up ‘til I dropped the running connection (not really sure if this is normal or how it work, but you won’t really feel the different unless you downloading a lot of emails).

Sony-Ericsson included RSS reader with the M600, RSS came a long way to become the standard for many news, multimedia websites, and blogs replacing all earlier formats, the M600 RSS reader is quite good and with auto scheduling and integrate well with the UiQ platform allowing you to continue reading the rest of the story in Opera browser or use Opera browser download manager to download podcasts - which reminded me of Wi-Fi; unfortunately the M600 doesn’t include Wi-Fi, but with the small design and smaller battery I believe Sony-Ericsson done just right not to include Wi-Fi, and if you really looking for M600 with Wi-Fi support then the P990 is what you asking for, I didn’t really miss Wi-Fi at all even in my region where GPRS charges still over board compared with most of US service provider, the M600 3G support is as fast as Wi-Fi can get in a smartphone, I don’t mean that 3G is faster, but in real life smartphones with 3G connection is as fast as you can get out of Wi-Fi smartphones, and if you at home and don’t wish to use up your 3G limit SE included m-Router to allow you easily to connect your smartphone online via your Bluetooth desktop or laptop network, and for music lovers the M600 support A2DP Bluetooth profile that enables you to transmit high-quality stereo music wirelessly from the smartphone to your A2DP enabled Bluetooth stereo headset and other devices.

Sony-Ericsson VPN application will be available for download free of cost to all M600 and P990 users, and regarding the SSL security issue with the M600, Sony-Ericsson took no time to address the issue, and released update for it, the new M600 update improved the e-mail security and solved my earlier issue downloading and sending e-mails from my gmail account, the update also improve the overall system performance, and faster restart time, and speaking of restart I believe all Symbian and UiQ smartphones include no reset button! no matter how stable you think it is, you still need easy access to reset button, but hey, since I need to remove my Treo 650 styles and battery cover to reset my smartphone I think I’ll have no problem removing my M600 battery cover and the battery itself to reset it ;-)

One important feature from the Palm side I missed in my UiQ3 smartphone is the built-in security app, in Palm OS after a delay you specify the phone will get locked with a password you created with the option to encrypt your information, so you’ll feel safer incase you miss placed or forgot your smartphone some where.

Continue reading "UiQ 3 and the Palm experience (Part VI)" »

August 04, 2006

UiQ 3 and the Palm experience (Part V)


Developers


Treo 650 vs M600i

There is no platform easier to develop for than Palm OS, and the huge developer community is the reason why Palm OS been around this long defining the trends and expectations for mobile computing handhelds and smartphones, a definition Palm is working hard to keep alive with a bigger passionate community behind, and the Palm story is what every other platform trying to reach, and porting your apps from Palm OS to UiQ 3 platform isn't an easy task, and require a lot of efforts to understand and start developing for the platform, but thanks to the amazing effort of UiQ Technology and Sony Ericsson its now easier to develop for UiQ and you can see that clearly by the number of Palm OS developers who already have UiQ version of their apps, Sony Ericsson also running their own UiQ developers community along side UiQ developers community and not to forget Motorola UiQ developer community, each offer reference/guidance materials, SDKs, white-papers and tools for developers to start.

The M600, UiQ based, amazing interface, complement your applications, and with the growing number of UiQ handsets and the bigger UiQ users community your application and solutions will easily find its way home to users handsets and the enterprise as well since its easily integrated with your enterprise emails and solutions thanks to DataViz RoadSync engine built into the M600 (Read more about it in Part III of the review), also read EPOCWARE (a division of Paragon Software Group, the creator of the Palm OS based SlovoEd, and many others Palm OS games and apps) UiQ developer success stories, porting their apps to UiQ platform.

And if you wish to focus in developing and improving your apps with the platform you know best and still wish to make your apps and solutions available to UiQ users there is some companies who help you develop and port your apps to the UiQ platform saving you time and money, and with the growing list of UiQ and Symbian partners, you can easily find a training program to join, companies like; EMCC Software (UK based mobile solutions provider) offer development, testing, training, technical resource and signing process for your solutions not only in Symbian based UiQ, but also Windows Mobile, Linux, and Palm OS.

UiQ 3 is Symbian OS (v.9) based, the UiQ SDK contains binaries and tools that makes it easier for developers to building, test and deploy their apps for UiQ-based smartphones, and it also contains examples, documents, and PC-based emulation of the UiQ platform, and support development in both C++ and Java, for more information and development options for the UiQ platform visit; UiQ (Getting started), UiQ Developer Community web-portal, and Sony Ericsson Developer World.

August 03, 2006

UiQ 3 and the Palm experience (Part IV)


Everyday Life - Part I


Treo 650 vs M600i

Screen

The M600 has an amazing crisp and clear QVGA touch-screen, but not as bright as the Treo 650 which surprises me since I know Sony provide screens to Palm along side Sharp, and my guess they do provide screens for Sony Ericsson as well (I can't confirm that), but comparing the two screens side by side made me believe that the Treo 650 screen was provided by Sharp (no offense Sony), the M600 screen is hardly readable in direct sunlight.

The M600 240x320 pixel screen is very clear for users who enjoy reading ebooks in the go, but the text size is smaller than the Treo 650 which make the Treo more comfortable to the eyes with 320x320 pixel, however, the amazing interface of the UiQ smartphone made the screen even more colorful and vibrant than the Treo 650, oh, which is a fact by the way since the M600 support 262K color to 65K for the Treo 650.


One handed operation and usability

There is nothing I love more about my Treo 650 than the one handed operation, the nature of my job require me to be in the phone, in my laptop, in some one desktop, and taking notes all the time, and the one handed operation is my only way out to multitasking so the Treo was like a blessing to me (thanks to Palm), and the M600 is pretty close, UiQ is amazingly getting easier and easier to use with every release, and the M600 combining some of the best elements to support the one handed operation such as; touch-screen, alphanumeric QWERTY keyboard, and the famous Clié jog-dial.

Working with the M600 you'll touch the screen more than you ever used to do with any smartphone, but the bigger, easier to reach and organized button layout made it very easy to do so with your finger, so you'll need the styles less, but unlike the Treo 650 where you work with your smartphone without touching your screen at all ‘til you remember that you do have one.

The jog-dial (scroll navigation device with press function) helps a lot with the one handed operation, and made it very easy to read and navigate through my emails and ebooks, its just an amazing experience, and require zero learning, you pick it up and start using it naturally that got me wondering; how come I never owned a Clié before!

I'm a right handed, and while typing in my Treo I feel very comfortable holding and typing with my left hand or with my right hand, as for the M600 it feel good to hold it in your left hand if you reading emails or ebooks, or doing any light operation, but once I started replying emails or IM messages the smartphone felt better in my right hand. I'd like to also mention that for some strange reason I find my self using my two hands to type with the keyboard without feeling that I'm doing so, I mean it still feel good to do so although the phone feel smaller when you holding it with your two hands.


Battery life

The M600 is powered by a small 950mAh battery, and if you manage to finish your day with your phone still charged I like to hear how you managed to do so, at brightness 80percent, and moderate data usage, and few hours in the phone, the M600 will hardly make it through a normal work day, in a busy day I need to charge my smartphone twice before I finish my day, and since the M600 still new in the market its very hard to find additional battery to help me out, so I decided to arm myself with additional charger for the office, and car charger since I'm always in the road.

It's totally different story with the 1200mAh Treo 650 battery (provided by Samsung), with one full charge and moderate usage Palm smartphone easily finish two working days, and with heavy usage or busy business day my Treo finish the day with more than 30percent of battery life, and with an extra battery you can get away with a weekend trip without a charger.


Camera

It's very handy to have a camera around, but sacrificing the camera for a better design and lower price, wasn't a bad idea at all, plus I wasn't impressed at all with the Treo camera, specially after using some of Sony Ericsson feature-phones camera, and while most of smartphone just reached the 1megapixel line, most of new feature-phones battling for the 3megapixel line.

Note: photos in this review taken with Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot K800i (Special thanks to Teddy for the help).

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