Archive for April 2009

Review: HTC Touch Diamond 2

Got my hands on the HTC Touch Diamond 2. Wait, before you run to the nearest Telco shop to buy, let me say that it will only be launched in the market somewhere in mid May. I’m fortunate to get my hands on the review unit before it hits the stores, thanks to Gina from The Right Spin for making this possible.

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Its fun doing review for a unreleased product. While using it on the train, starbucks and McDonalds, I notice a few people keep looking at the phone. I guess they must have figured out that its the unreleased HTC Touch Diamond 2.

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(PS: The white circles are actually reflections from the lights above)

The HTC Touch Diamond 2 looks stunning. The combination of metal and plastic makes the phone looks good and at the same time keeps the phone light. Unlike the first generation of HTC Touch Diamond, the Touch Diamond 2 does not have those cool looking lines at the back of the phone. (OK, I know this is subjective. I personally find the lines at the back of Touch Diamond 1 nice, but there are folks out there who thinks its ugly.) But the back is a fingerprint magnet. Oh well, it seems like good looks and fingerprint magnet goes hands in hands.

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Initially, I thought that there won’t be much changes to the hardware specs. I was so wrong. Almost everything that can be improved has been improved on the 2nd Generation. You get 512MB ROM and 288MB RAM. 3.2 inch touch sensitive screen with 480 x 800 WVGA resolution. 5.0 megapixel camera with auto focus. GPS, WIFI, Bluetooth and HSDPA. All these on a 10.785 x 5.31 x 1.37 cm size weighing just 117.5g.

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While the specs looks pretty good, the best part about this phone is actually the TouchFLO 3D interface that is found on most HTC Window Mobile phone. As most of you already know, I’m not a fan of Windows Mobile. But if you die die must force me take a Windows Mobile phone, I would prefer it to come together with TouchFLO 3D. And the latest version of TouchFLO 3D that is on the Touch Diamond 2 is so good that I almost forgot that this device is running on Windows Mobile 6.1. In fact, the TouchFLO 3D almost replaced all the interface on Windows Mobile 6.1 with their own interface. Cool.

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One of the most interesting aspect of the TouchFLO 3D interface is that it is “People Centric”. Unlike other phone interface where its mostly about application, the TouchFLO 3D is about people. The address book is called “People”. From there, you can see the contact info about the person in your address book and also all your past conversation history (Email, SMS and call log). From the same People page, you can also contact the person via Email, SMS or a call. Its an interesting way to look at how you organise your contact in your phone. In the past, we organise it base on application (Email application, SMS application, Phone application). But on the TouchFLO 3D interface, it organise contact by grouping everything under the person’s contact.

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The TouchFLO 3D on the HTC Touch Diamond 2 also includes new interface for the calender. One useful feature on the calendar is that it includes the weather forecast. This is specially useful if you are planning some outdoor activities for the next few days. Else there is no harm having some extra information about the weather.

The TouchFLO 3D also remove the stupid Windows Mobile bar that you see when you click the start button. Instead, you go straight to the program page when you click on the Start button.

At this point, you might be wondering why does HTC still bother using Windows Mobile 6.1 when their interface has almost overridden everything? Why not just make TouchFLO 3D runs on its own? Well, the good thing about having Windows Mobile as the backbone is that you can tap on the wide range of applications written for Windows Mobile.

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The zoom in and out on the HTC Touch Diamond 2 is different from the first generation. In HTC Touch Diamond, you move your finger in circular motion to zoom in and out. For HTC Touch Diamond 2, there is a zoom in and out bar at the bottom of the screen for user to swipe left and right to zoom. I would say that I prefer this method compared to the circular motion. (Although I still feel that the best gesture is the multi touch pinching)

Oh, before I forget, the HTC Touch Diamond 2 is Windows Mobile 6.5 compatible. How we know? Because Microsoft demo-ed Windows Mobile 6.5 on a HTC Touch Diamond 2 when it was being announced. And from what I understand, all Touch Diamond 2 users will get a free Windows Mobile 6.5 upgrade when it is released.

The HTC Touch Diamond 2 will be available from mid May 2009 and retail at S$1088 without contract.

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In short:
A good looking phone with great TouchFLO 3D interface

Likes:
TouchFLO 3D
“People Centric”
Good looks

Dislikes:
Price tag

Many thanks to Gina from The Right Spin and HTC for passing me the review unit before it hits the store.

Wang Lee Hom is coming to Singapore

Catch Lee Hom tomorrow (23 Apr 2009), 5-8pm at SingTel Comcentre. (31 Exeter Road, near Somerset MRT)

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He is here for the launch of unlimited music from SingTel and Sony Ericsson.

What if this happens in Singapore?

After the Public Order Bill has been passed, I wonder what will happen if this happens in Singapore.

In an ideal world, police officers are supposed to uphold the law and order in a fair manner. But we all know that we aren’t living in Utopia. Not all police officers will follow the law. There are bound to be some black sheep in the law enforcement agencies. And the youtube video is just one of the many examples that not all police officers are good guys. In fact, if you were to browse youtube, you will find more of such video. The recent one was during the G20 meeting where Ian Tomlinson was violently pushed by a police officer even though he was just passing by. He collapsed and died of a heart attack a few minutes later.

Some of the victims are fortunate because there are video camera recording nearby. Complains can be lodge and an independent team will investigate into the matter. At least the citizen has a level of protection against rogue police officer. But with the new Public Order Bill, things might change. Police officers now have the power to stop someone filming any law enforcement activity and destroy the video recording on the spot. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.

I’m not saying that I have no confidence in the Singapore Police Force. But having this law in place makes one feels uneasy. What if one day, a police officer did something wrong and they use this law to stop witness from recording the deed? Are we safe? Is there really a need to have this Public Order Bill?

Another local podcast!

I’m always excited whenever there is new local content in the podcastingsphere. (If there is ever such a word) So when NTT email the Tech65 crew about this new local podcast by linuxNUS, I immediately click the play button and spread the news via twitter. In fact, I’m listening to the podcast while I’m typing this blog entry. Haha.

Check out Episode 0 of the linuxNUS Podcast: Closed on Sundays.

Singnet Maintenance Schedule

Something weird happened to my Singnet internet connection. I am connected to the internet. I can check email and connect to MSN. But strangely, all the website that I visit can’t load. Weird. At first I thought Singnet cut my service because I didn’t pay the bills. But then I discovered that I’m not the only affected Singnet user. My friend also ganna. Heng ah. Its Singnet downtime, not my service being cut because I didn’t pay my bills. (OK, but I seriously need to pay my bills soon before they really cut my service)

The good thing is that only broadband services is affected. Mobile Broadband is still working. I can still surf net from my iPhone and with my 3G mobile broadband. So I took out my mobile broadband modem and plug into my iMac. This is something that I’ve never done before since I always got broadband at home. And I’m glad the 3G modem works perfectly on MacOS.

I went to Singnet website and found a page that says that there is a scheduled downtime tonight (21 April) between 1 to 6am. That explains why I can’t surf net. But funny, how come still can check email and go MSN. Oh well, its impossible for them to keep the service up 24/7. Sure need to have some downtime once in a while to do some maintenance.

I also made another interesting discovery. Singnet has a Maintenance Policy. If the downtime is going to be less than an hour, it will be scheduled on the 1st Saturday of the month between 6 to 7am. If the downtime is going to be more than an hour, it will be scheduled on the 3rd Tuesday of the month between 1am to 6am between 1 to 6am.

Interesting. I didn’t know that they have such policies. OK, will take note and try not to do anything important that requires internet during these days.