Latest Smartphone Round Robin
It was just over a year ago when I followed all the Smartphone Experts coverage of the Smartphone Round Robin and then contacted Dieter to ask if I could start up a Nokia site so that Nokia could be part of the next Round Robin and it is a bit surreal now that I have completed my first Round Robin event. I want to thank Dieter and all the other Smartphone Experts editors for allowing me to participate and being so open and willing to give S60 and Maemo a try on various devices. I think I opened up the eyes of quite a few people who were previously unfamiliar with Nokia’s offerings since they have such little influence here in North America. The Smartphone Round Robin is now over and the winner chosen here on Nokia Experts has been notified. It will be interesting to see which device David chooses as his prize and I personally recommend the Nokia N900 for T-Mobile and Nokia E72 or N97 mini for AT&T.
Since I write my ZDNet blog I do get the chance to use many of these different operating systems and find strengths in each one of them. In addition to Nokia, I am currently primarily using a Google Android device (the Nexus One) with my T-Mobile SIM. Another BlackBerry Bold 9700 device arrived yesterday and I almost bought one for myself last night before I showed some restraint as I hold out for the T-Mobile HTC HD2 Windows Mobile device that should be coming very soon. I am also testing a Verizon Pre Plus and am pleased to have had the opportunity to use it since it helped me make the decision to not pursue a webOS device at this time. My personal iPhone 3GS gets more useful every week with the extreme number and high quality of applications that appear in the App Store. As you can see, I am impacted by every different mobile operating system on a regular basis and honestly you really cannot go wrong by picking any of them as your primary device. I couldn’t say this a few years ago, but every one of the mobile operating systems has come a long ways over the years and it is awesome that we all have such amazing choices. Each of us has different needs and desires so you can’t tell others that their choice is wrong since it is personal. Most people who read the Smartphone Experts sites are mobile enthusiasts and are passionate about their preferred devices, but don’t forget that they are just phones and there is no need to get angry or too fired up at others who have different preferences than you do. The number of people using smartphones is still quite small and there will continue to be amazing growth over the years with room for all of these platforms to find their niche and satisfy consumers.
I also wanted to thank all of the readers from every site who were very helpful and kind when I made posts on the various forums and asked questions about each platform. Without the enthusiastic readers we would not be able to maintain these sites and write about our passions and interests. I encourage you to tell your family and friends about the sites too since the are helpful to readers with devices from each platform.
The Smartphone Experts editors are wonderful people and I was very happy that Dieter brought us all together for a weekend since it gave me the chance to meet each one in person and get to know them better. With a common passion for smartphones we all have much in common and it was an awesome weekend of geeking out with phones that I hope to be a part of for years to come.
Lastly, I wanted to thank my friend Mickey Papillon for helping us out with the Smartphone Round Robin podcasts. Mickey knows more about the technology behind the cellular networks than anyone I know of and is an awesome smartphone resource. I highly recommend you listen to his The Cell Phone Junkie podcasts and subscribe to his TCPJ Unlocked shows too. He served as an incredible facilitator for the Smartphone Round Robin and produced some very high quality shows that enhanced the entire event.
And the Winners of the 6 Smartphones are…!
And now for the part you’ve all really been waiting for… the winners! Just for posting on the Round Robin forum threads across the Smartphone Experts Network of sites, we gave members the chance to win a new smartphone! Each of the participating sites is giving away a phone to a member who got their lucky post picked from among the thousands posted… and here is the Nokia Experts winner:
Nokia Experts: David
And here are our other winners:
Android Central: droid00
Congrats to the winners! Note to the winners on getting their prize: It’s Mobile World Congress craziness right now… so you’ll have to wait until it’s all over at the end of next week. You’ll receive an email from Dieter Bohn folllowing up with you to pick your prize and work out the shipping logistics. Thanks for your patience and congrats again!
This post serves as your final reminder for the the Smartphone Round Robin contest that will end on Thursday. You can enter to win the Nokia device of your choice by posting a comment in the latest Nokia Experts Round Robin thread. Everybody’s been asking so here’s the news: we are announcing the winners on Friday!
For those of you developer types interested in the webOS platform, Dieter also let me know that they are having a contest for those who fill out the Developer Survey mentioned in this post that Interpret put together to try to collect data on mobile app development. Take the survey here and be entered for your chance to win a Palm Pixi or Palm Pixi Plus. Heck, if those phones aren’t your style, you can also opt for up to $550 to purchase the phone of your choice.
This is the final week of the Smartphone Round Robin event and later in the week I will be posting an article on Nokia devices and platforms. Before we get to that though let’s take a look at some highlights from the past several weeks and see what the other Smartphone Experts site editors had to say about Nokia.
Casey Chan posted an excellent review of Nokia on Android Central in late January. Casey quickly noticed that the Nokia devices I showed him had hardware that was unlike most devices he has seen before and he stated:
There’s an odd button arrangement (what’s up with that diagonal button), the keyboard is strikingly different from most smartphones (there’s a ctrl key, space is shifted to the right side, etc), and even though the form factors are in line with what we’re used to, the overall shape veers from the normal course of smartphones. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just different.
Yes, the hardware is different than other platforms and the keyboards do appear a bit odd. However, I personally find the offset space bar to be more efficient than a center space bar. QWERTY was not designed for
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It was dark and rainy night back in June 2007 while my two oldest daughters and I huddled under umbrellas as the first people in line at the AT&T store waiting to buy the original iPhone. I had my Mac in the car so as soon as I bought the iPhone I went online to activate it and get it up and running. I still remember that first minute when I turned on the iPhone and how it radically changed everything I thought and experienced on smartphones to date. The iPhone just flew like wind with immediate response and reaction to my finger presses. I remember how easy it was to take a call and then switch between Bluetooth, speaker, and headset speakers. Then there was the drop dead way to transfer music and video content to the iPhone and enjoy it on airplane trips. The iPhone has only gotten better over the last two years and I enjoy most everything about my iPhone 3GS, except that it doesn’t work with 3G on T-Mobile. I had the pleasure of talking with and getting to know Rene Ritchie from The iPhone Blog to hear more about the iPhone since he lives it every single day. I posted some questions over on a TiPB forum to see what his readers had to say about the iPhone too. I’ll give my take on the iPhone 3GS and iPhone OS below, but also make sure to check out the TiPB full iPhone 3GS review too.
Hardware: iPhone 3GS
The original Apple iPhone was an elegant device with sleek aluminum back and the first capacitive multi-touch display we were ever treated too. The iPhone 3GS is only slightly different than that first iPhone with an oleophobic display and better 3 megapixel camera. The display on the iPhone 3GS (480×320 pixel resolution) was outstanding a year ago, but with new devices showing higher resolutions that look fantastic Apple needs to update to higher resolution soon. There is a single front button, volume button, ringer switch, and power button on the iPhone 3GS, which is much different from Nokia devices where we see buttons everywhere. I love the fact that Nokia is standardizing on microUSB connectors and wish Apple would adopt this standard, but they are standardizing on a fairly typical 30-pin iPhone connector.
The iPhone 3GS has an ARM Cortex-A8 processor similar to what we see in the Nokia N900 and it is very fast. The 3 megapixel camera takes surprisingly good photos, but is not as good as the 5 megapixel Carl Zeiss cameras we see on higher end Nokia devices. 32GB of internal flash memory is good to have, but the flexibility in also having a microSD card slot is something I would like to see in the future. The iPhone models also all have integrated non-removable batteries and thus you need to have some kind of external battery source for extended periods of use while you can simply just carry extra batteries with Nokia devices.
Software: iPhone OS
The Apple iPhone OS is based on Mac OS X and in the year after its initial release Apple literature stated it run a version of OS X. It is now referred to as the iPhone OS though to differentiate it from what we see on Mac computers. In the first year, there was no support for 3rd party applications and Apple emphasized that you could use “web applications”, web sites optimized for the iPhone, as a way to get added functionality on your device. After the first year they released the SDK and support for 3rd party applications, which has taken off and the Apple App Store is easily the dominant smartphone application store in the market. The iPhone OS is heavily focused on ease of use with support for accelerometers, multi-touch finger manipulation, and multi-tasking limited to only Apple’s own applications.
It’s that time of the week again when I remind you all about the Smartphone Round Robin and the fact that Kevin from CrackBerry.com over is taking a look at Nokia this week. Make sure to help him out with his questions in this blog post every day as it earns you an entry into the Smartphone Round Robin contest for your own Nokia device.
I also started a forum discussion over at The iPhone Blog where I am asking all about the iPhone this week in case you are interested in hearing what their fans have to say about their platform and comparisons to Nokia.
You can also listen to me and the rest of the Smartphone Experts editors chat about the Nokia’s S60 and Maemo platforms on The Cell Phone Junkie show #190.
This is the last week where each of us looks at another smartphone platform for the Smartphone Round Robin and I get to end with the Apple iPhone. I stood in line with my two oldest daughters and camped out overnight for the first iPhone back in 2007 and still remember my shock and awe when I turned on that first iPhone. I had been using smartphones for years and I couldn’t believe the experience that Apple came out with on their first attempt. Everything flew around with simple touch and the whole experience was engaging and so much better than anything I had seen before. The next year when Apple launched 3rd party application support and a 3G model the iPhone popularity really took off and hasn’t stopped since. Other platforms like webOS and Android are pretty hot right now too and others are showing that Apple cannot rest on the success they had the first couple of years. I have an iPhone 3GS right now and have to admit I keep going back to it from time to time because the applications are so awesome.
To get this week with the iPhone kicked off I started a discussion over at The iPhone Blog to hear what Apple iPhone fans have to say and discover what they think as we move into a very exciting 2010 as smartphones gain in popularity.
You will also find a blog post here from Kevin Michaluk of CrackBerry.com seeking your input on S60 and Maemo. I had a great time talking with Kevin about our Nokia platforms since he was so unfamiliar with them and it is always fun to teach people about the devices you are passionate about. Remember that by participating in the discussion you will be entered into the drawing for your own Nokia smartphone (model to be determined) at the end of the Smartphone Round Robin event. Please read the contest details for more information.
Check out a video after the break of me using the iPhone 3GS while talking to Rene Ritchie about them and the iPhone platform.
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I started using Palm devices back in 1997 with the Pilot 1000 and then spent several years moving through a full lineup of Palm devices. I still have a few Palm devices, including the Centro and Treo Pro. I purchased a Palm Pre on the day they were released last year, but had to return it because I just did not have a great Sprint signal and found the hardware to be a bit weak with a wobbly display. I found the operating system to be fantastic while app support was weak at that time. I asked several questions in the PreCentral.net forums and received some excellent responses from the readers there. With the Pre coming soon to Verizon Wireless with a MiFi capability I am going to take a serious look at the devices again because I have a special place in my heart for the Palm name. This week here on Nokia Experts I am taking a look at two Palm webOS device (the Pre and Pixi), the operating system, some capabilities & functionality, a quick comparison to S60 and Maemo, and some closing thoughts.
Hardware: Palm Pre and Palm Pixi
I had a Pre for 11 days and have to admit I miss it now and want to add it to my smartphone collection again. I loved that there was a hardware keyboard with a beautiful touch screen, along with a user interface that blows away what the iPhone provides. The first time I had a chance to see the Pixi was when Dieter brought one to the Smartphone Round Robin event. I was blown away by the miniscule size of the device, while still having a functional keyboard and display. I have a few thoughts on each device below, but recommend you visit the incredible reviews of both of these over on PreCentral.net. Dieter’s Palm Pre review is one of the BEST on the Internet and even includes 12 videos, found in the sidebar. The Palm Pixi review is also one of the few you will even find on the Internet and covers all aspects of this ultra-portable device.
When I first held the Palm Pre in my hand I had the immediate urge to go to a lake and skip it across the glass smooth water. The Pre feels great in your hand and is one of those devices you want to keep flipping around in your hand over and over. I love the way the viewable part of the display rolls right up to the rest of the front for a seamless experience. There is one single button on the front that I understand is removed in the Pre Plus. The display slides up to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard with rather sticky buttons. The keyboard is quite tight, but I found it to still be very usable and prefer a hardware keyboard over a soft input keyboard in most all cases.
There is a 3.2 megapixel camera on the back and it does take decent photos. Video capture will be supported in an upcoming firmware update, but is not yet enabled. I found the battery life to be pretty poor when I tested the Pre out last year and understand that firmware updates have improved the battery life over the last year.
While the Palm Pre feels like a smooth stone, the Pixi is impressive because of its ultra-compact form factors. It is one of the smallest smartphones I have ever held and it is impressive that Palm was able to pack in a QWERTY keyboard, full color display, and more into the device. The Pixi is not a power user webOS device, but one designed for Centro users. The 2 megapixel camera with flash takes decent photos, but not as good as the Pre. The QWERTY keyboard is smaller than the Pre and is one that requires typing more with the sides or ends of your fingers rather than just the flat part of your finger.
Buttons are minimized on the Pixi and I cannot stress enough how extremely pocketable the device really is. I doubt any readers here on Nokia Experts would go for the Pixi since readers of enthusiast sites like this are primarily power users and the current Pixi is not a power user device with no Wifi, limited amount of memory, fairly basic camera, and performance I heard was less than the Pre.
We just passed mid-week of the Smartphone Round Robin week four and I wanted to remind you all that Casey over at Android Central is taking a look at Nokia this week. Make sure to help him out with his questions in this blog post every day as it earns you an entry into the Smartphone Round Robin contest for your own Nokia device.
I also started a forum discussion over at PreCentral.net where I am asking all about webOS this week in case you are interested in hearing what their fans have to say about their platform and comparisons to Nokia.
You can also listen to me and the rest of the Smartphone Experts editors chat about the webOS platform on The Cell Phone Junkie show #188.
There are just a couple weeks left of the Smartphone Round Robin and this week I get the chance to take a look at the newest mobile operating system and one that has me pretty excited. I started my mobile device usage back in 1997 with a Pilot 1000 device and have been a fan of Palm for a long time. I was excited and relieved when I saw Palm come back shooting at CES 2009 with the announcement of the Pre and webOS. It was great to attend the Palm press conference this year at CES and see they are expanding to Verizon and have a very compelling gaming device in the works. As you can see in the video after the break, I had a chance to play with the Palm Pre and Pixi during our Smartphone Round Robin gathering thanks to Dieter from PreCentral.net. Did you know that PreCentral is THE premier webOS site on the Internet and even had a page appear during the recent Palm press conference?
To get this week with webOS kicked off I started a discussion over at PreCentral.net to hear what webOS fans have to say and see if they can convince me to pick up a Palm Pre Plus when Verizon launches them later this month.
You will also find a blog post here shortly from Casey Chan of Android Central seeking your input on S60 and Maemo. Remember that by participating in the discussion you will be entered into the drawing for your own Nokia smartphone (model to be determined) at the end of the Smartphone Round Robin event. Please read the contest details for more information.
Check out a video after the break of me using the Pre and Pixi while talking to Dieter about them and the webOS platform.
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Since the entire SPE team was here at CES in Las Vegas, it made perfect sense to take some time away from ogling gadgets and chatting up our friends in the blogosphere to record a podcast. We talk up what we’ve seen so far, including the Nexus One and
Motorola Backflip; we also chatted a bit about what we’re hoping to see at Palm’s event today.
As you might have guessed, the show was recorded and hosted by our pal Mickey Papillon of TCPJ. Give it a listen!