Archive for November 2010

Creative enters the tablet battlefield with ZiiO

The tablet market is getting more crowded now with Creative joining the battle. Yeap, the Sound Blaster maker is launching Android Tablet. The Creative ZiiO Tablets (Which I’m still trying to figure out how to pronounce it) comes in 2 sizes, 7 inch and 10 inch.

The ZiiO Tablets is running on Android 2.1 instead of the latest Android 2.2. It has Bluetooth 2.1 EDR with apt-X and A2DP for streaming high fidelity stereo wirelessly to all compatible stereo Bluetooth speakers and headphones. And since the Tablet is from Creative, there is also X-Fi Audio Enhancements. The ZiiO Tablet does not come with 3G version, so WIFI is all you got to stay connected while on the move.

The 7 inch model comes in white colour, weighs 400g and is 20.74 x 13.3 x 1.37 cm. The 10 inch model comes in black colour, weighs 650g and is 26.2 x 17.3 x 1.37 cm. Both models come in 8GB and 16GB memory capacities. The 7 inch version uses microSD while the 10 inch version uses SD card.

There is a front facing camera although there aren’t many Android devices with front facing camera. I wonder if there is any application in the Android Marketplace that make full use of a front facing camera. Speaking of Android Marketplace, there is no mention of Android Marketplace in the press release. Which makes me wonder if the ZiiO Tablets have access to the Android Marketplace. But not to worry, Creative have their own Zii Store.

I find it weird that Creative choose to adopt a resistive touchscreen instead of the favorite capacitive screen. I guess that is to cut down the cost of the Tablet. There is no multi-touch too since it is a resistive screen. It even comes with a stylus. I wonder how does it feel using a stylus on Android.

The 7 inch version cost S$359.00 (8GB) and S$389.00 (16GB). The 10 inch version cost S$429.00 (8GB) and S$459.00 (16GB). It will be available at the Creative online store from end December 2010 onwards.

I guess Creative is positioning the ZiiO as a budget tablet. I must say that the pricing is pretty attractive. I haven’t got the chance to try it out myself. I wonder how is the user experience like.

By the way, anyone remember the Creative Zii MediaBook? What happened to it anyway?

Android 2.1 now available on Sony Ericsson Xperia X10

Android 2.1 is now available on Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. This upgrade was supposed to be released by end of Q3 2010 but was delayed until now. The Android 2.1 upgrade is also available on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini and mini pro smartphones.

Some new features has been added together with this Android 2.1 upgrade. For example, Xperia X10 gets a Larger home screen (5 home screen panels instead of 3), Continuous auto-focus & HD video recording and Improved Timescape usability and responsiveness. (These are not available on Xperia X10 mini and X10 mini pro)

Another interesting feature is the Social Phonebook. The Social Phonebook allows automatically syncing of Facebook, Twitter and phone contacts with photos. The application shows when your friends are online and what they’re up to in one easy-to-use interface. The Social Phonebook is available on Xperia X10, X10 mini and X10 mini pro. I haven’t got a chance to see it in action. Will let you know more if I get the chance.

The Android 2.1 upgrade is available now in Singapore. Existing users can update their phone at Junction 8, Isetan Orchard or Jurong Point Sony Ericsson Service Centres. As usual, do remember to backup your device before heading down.

Note: I didn’t make a mistake on the Android version. We are talking about Android 2.1 Eclair here. Not Android 2.2 Froyo. I know, it’s a bit late. We are already seeing Android 2.2 devices in the market. But better than nothing right? Let’s hope Sony Ericsson catches up with Google soon. There’s already rumors on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Oh wait, I think its no longer a rumor.

Fun Snap Pellets are illegal in Singapore

This news come as a shock to me. The Fun Snap Pellets that most of us used to play when young is actually illegal in Singapore.

Two teenagers where arrested recently for playing with the Fun Snap Pellets. The shop owner was arrested for selling dangerous fireworks. According to The Straits Times article, ‘Fun Snaps’ are a variant of sandcrackers categorised as dangerous fireworks under the Dangerous Fireworks Act.

First-time offenders found guilty of discharging dangerous fireworks can be fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed up to two years. Any person who sells, distributes or imports any dangerous fireworks can be jailed up to two years and caned up to six strokes.

Wow…. this is a pretty shocking news. I thought I saw some shops selling that during Chinese New Year period. Didn’t know they are illegal. So you have been warned.

On the other hand, I felt sorry for the next generation. They are missing out on a lot of fun stuff. Stuff like bubble gums and fireworks. Fun Snap is pretty safe. Oh well….

Review: Huawei IDEOS

When someone mention about the brand Huawei, the first thing that comes to my mind is the 3G dongle that most people use for their Broadband on Mobile. In fact I have 2 Huawei 3G dongle and they both served me well. It’s interesting that Huawei decided to enter the mobile phone industry. Their first attempt into the mobile phone market is the Huawei IDEOS, a budget Android phone.

Perhaps the biggest “feature” on the Huawei IDEOS is the lack of user interface customization. Yes, lack of customization is considered a “feature” in my books. Why do I say so? Because having no customization means that it should be able to roll out new updates faster when a new version of Android version is available. (Note: rightfully it should be able to roll out faster than those with customization. Rightfully lah. UNLESS something cocks up) And besides, the default Android user interface has been pretty good since version 2.0. Navigation is also pretty smooth despite having a slower processor.

I’m not saying that customized user interface isn’t good. They have their own merits and followings. But the only problem is that these customized interface are sometimes the reason for the late release of Android updates. Everything has its pros and cons.

And like I’ve mentioned, the Huawei IDEOS is a budget Android phone. So don’t expect any fanciful specs. 2.8 inch QVGA (320×240) TFT capacitive touchscreen. 10.4 × 5.48 × 1.35cm and weighs 100 grams. 3.2 Megapixel Camera. Wifi, Bluetooth, GPS, Digital Compass. Uses a MicroUSB port for data transfer and charging. There is a circular 5 way navigation pad for scrolling. I’m not a huge fan of it. It’s not easy to use. I find myself using the touchscreen most of the time. Would prefer the 5 way navigation pad to be an optical but I think Huawei didn’t do that to cut cost.

I can’t find the information about the processor speed. But I can tell that it is slower than the usual smart phones that I’ve tried. I notices that it lags a bit when loading large applications. But navigating around menu are perfectly fine and smooth.

And since the Huawei IDEOS is running on Android 2.2, it supports WIFI tethering. Nothing very fantastic since all Android 2.2 phone can do that. But being a budget phone and able to WIFI tether is something pretty cool. Oh, and the Huawei IDEOS does not support Flash even though it is on Android 2.2. Perhaps because it does not have enough processing power to support Flash. Well, not a big issue since most of us have already gotten used to not having Flash on mobile browser.

As a whole, the Huawei IDEOS is a great budget phone. Hardware is pretty decent and the Android 2.2 without customization is awesome. But if you are looking for a higher end phone, maybe you should just pass. Huawei recently announced the IDEOS X6 which looks pretty impressive with the 4.1 inch screen. Oops….. sorry, I digressed.

In short:
A simple and no frills budget smartphone

Likes:
Wifi Tethering
Plain vanilla Android user interface

Dislikes:
Slow processor

Credit Card 2.0

Sometimes I’m worried about Credit Card security. I always find it strange that a simple signature can help you pay for stuff using your credit card. It’s so easy to fake a signature. Besides, some of the cashiers don’t even bother to check the signature. Then, why bother asking customer to sign on the credit card sheet?

I always feel that there is a need to better secure our credit card. Maybe a PIN number or something.

Well, I came across this video about a new type of credit card. The cards have embedded buttons and graphic displays. You need to press the right number before you can use the card.

I wonder when will we get to see this kind of card in the market.

Citibank will begin testing the new card soon. But they will be using it for rewards. I hope they use it for security too.