Tag Archives: iOS

Hash phone looks like Nexus One, feels like iPhone probably performs like neither

24 Jul

Colors Mobile W7 HashNondescript cellphone companies vying for their share of the cellular boom in India are an inspired lot. Yeah, we have our share of BlackBerry look-alike phones from every vendor with them claiming that there is only one design for a bar phone with a QWERTY keypad, but this one takes the cake. Say hello to the W7 Hash from one Color Mobile that rehashes the best of all worlds. So you get the look of the Nexus One complete with the four soft keys for back, menu, home and search (we are not sure if these keys perform the same functions as on Android) and you have the iPhone UI with icons lifted from Apple’s iOS (our favourite being the Opera logo in Safari colours). The vendor claims that this baby has a 3.2 inch HVGA touchscreen display (320×480 pixels), Wi-Fi and supports Java. In all likelihood, it would also have Dual-SIM capabilities. Priced at Rs 6,500, the W7 Hash phone will be available in India soon. If it were running Android, we would have probably not complained about the inspirations behind its existence. Or probably we still would have…

Yahoo! releases Mail, IM app for Android; HTML5 site for iOS

1 Jul

Yahoo! has announced a couple of apps for Android and a new HTML5, iOS optimised site for iPhone and iPod touch owners.

The Android apps for Y! Messenger and Y! Mail will be available in the Android Market and will work with all devices running OS 2.0 and above. Users will be able to receive push notifications for new mails; will be able to access contacts both from their Yahoo! account as well as those stored on their device; search mails by subject, sender’s name and even upload images stored on the phone as mail attachments. Users will be able to send and receive pictures even from the IM app for Android. In addition to this, Yahoo! has also released a search widget for Android phones.

For iPhone and iPod touch users, Yahoo! has released an HTML5 web app for mail. Users will get desktop like experience in terms of speed and features and will be able to access their mails even when they are offline and carry out local searches thanks to on-device local caching. The web app will also display HTML messages along with images or videos that come as attachments. The web app can be now previewed by going to m.yahoo.com/mail from Safari browser on your iPhone or iPod touch and selecting ‘Preview the new Yahoo! Mail’ link.

Google releases Docs Viewer for Android and iOS devices

29 Jun

Google has released a new feature for Android phones as well as the iPhone and iPad that will enable users to view documents stored on their Google Docs account without having to first download the files to their phones.

The Viewer will support pich-to-zoom on the iPhone and iPad. Users can also switch between pages quickly. With Docs Viewer, users will be able to view files in PDFs, .ppt, .doc and .docx formats.

I have been viewing MS Excel files on my iPhone via its Safari browser without downloading it for some weeks now without even realising that it is a new feature. Yes, it comes in quite handy, expecially if you have a file that has been shared with multiple people and gets edited frequently. You can try it out today by pointing your supported phone’s browser to docs.google.com.

Source: Google Mobile Blog

How Google should change Android in wake of the iPhone 4

9 Jun

It has been over 24 hours since Apple announced the iPhone 4 and this is the first post I’m making about the device. My thoughts about the iPhone 4 have changed from sheer disappointment (heck, it is the same device that we had seen a couple of months ago) to unparalleled enthusiasm (I’d have probably started making arrangements to camp outside an Apple Store, had I been in the US). Call me a fan boy but after analysing what the iPhone 4 has to offer and after going through numerous hands-on posts, I’m convinced that Apple has really outdone itself and has changed the rules of the superphone game, again. (For the record, I’m a die-hard Android fan.)

However, even Steve Jobs agrees that if there is one OS that really competes with iOS, it has to be Google’s Android. Jobs could be seen comparing device shipment and web browsing stats of the two operating systems during his keynote. This says a lot about Android, which shipped its first device more than a year after the first iPhone and has already gone past the incumbents – Windows Mobile and Symbian.

While Android is still no where close to iOS in terms of apps (both number and quality), multimedia (it is the weakest OS  in multimedia department in my books) or sheer quality of hardware when compared to iOS, where it scores is its openness and multi-tasking abilities. Apple is bringing multitasking to the table with iOS 4, but it does not seem to be as convenient as Android’s drop-down notification bar on the top.

Now, I expect Google to devote more resources on the Android Market to ensure that there are more quality apps available. Google would also like to introduce paid apps to more countries as soon as possible to encourage developers to churn out as many interesting games and high-quality apps as possible. The sheer number of Android devices being sold in the world (about 100,000 devices everyday!) makes it very attractive to developers. It would also help if Google looked into cr-apps that have flooded the market and did some housekeeping rather than taking potshots at Apple.

Secondly, I would like to see Google change the way it releases OS updates. Considering that there are all sorts of phones at all possible price points and hardware configuration, it would help Google (and Android) if it classified which categories of phones run on which version of Android. This could be based on the processor/memory configuration of the phone. What this would do is ensure that the highest-end segment of phones  run on the most advanced OS version while the phones in the lower-end of the spectrum run on a more basic/lite version that gives most features but skips the processor-intensive stuff. By doing this, users will get a more refined user experience suited to their choice of hardware, which has been one of the main reason for the iPhone’s success. It would also mean that developers will be able to target high-end devices with better quality apps.

I won’t be surprised if we see Android phones from certain handset vendors to sport their equivalent of ‘retina display’ before the end of this year and include other key learnings from iPhone 4. Now only if Google can take care of its app store and OS update mechanism, I believe that Android can still take on the iPhone phenomenon.

Aye, there's a new iPhone in town

7 Jun

For once, all the speculation about what Steve Jobs would reveal at the WWDC was spot on. After some remarks about the iPad, some jibes at Google (“A friend of mine wrote this, and he sent me an email and he said I could use it. I earned more in the first day of selling Elements than I did in the past 5 years of Google ads on periodictable.com.”) and demos of a few games, the Cupertino Czar gave the tech world a glimpse of what it had been waiting for – iPhone 4. And this is the first one that marks a really radical departure from the original godphone in looks and design, unless you are talking of the one the folks at Gizmodo dug up. Jobs called it the “most precise thing and most beautiful thing we’ve ever made” and frankly it did look an eyeful, although some might miss the more rounded feel of the previous iPhones.

Although Jobs hailed it as the slimmest smartphone in town at a mere 9.3mm thick with a metallic band that (surpirse!) doubled up as an antenna, what really grabbed eyeballs was the 3.5 inch “retina screen” (jargon alert!) with an amazing density of 326 pixels per inch and a resolution of 960×640, which gave looking at pictures, videos and even text a whole new dimension – in simple terms, this baby has 78% of the pixel count of the much bigger-screened iPad. As if that were not enough, the demand for the front facing camera was met too, the processor under the hood was an A4 with 1 Ghz clockspeed, a gyroscope was added to the playing mix, the battery was beefed up, and to round things off, the megapixel count of the back camera was ratcheted up to 5MP, with HD video recording thrown into the mix to make this one multimedia monster.

But of course, hardware is only part of the charm of what has become known all over the world as the Godphone and sure enough, Stevie J was pulling rabbits out of the hat, highlighting the multi-tasking ability of the device, welcoming apps like iBook (with PDF support) and iMovie (which we frankly think is the most devastating video editing app ever seen on a handset, if videos are anything to go by) to the iPhone, highlighting the potential of iAds (evidently $60 million has been committed for the second half of the year from iAds advertisers), and even making some Apple faithful wince by rechristening the Apple OS as iOS 4. We should have expected it from a company that has a fixation with the word “i” when it comes to products – iPod, iPhone, iLife, iMac, iPad, iTunes,…igiveup!

There was even a “one more thing” moment – only it ended up with Steve talking to design wiz Jonathan Ive on Apple’s video calling app, FaceTime, which worked just dandy without requiring ANY set-up of any sort, but also works only if both users are using iPhone 4s and are on Wi-Fi – steep requirements for some.

At the end, it was time for the price – and this time, we got it right. The iPhone 4 would come in two colours, black and white, and would carry price tags of $199 for 32GB 16 GB and $299 for 64GB 32 GB. It would start shipping to five countries on June 24 – USA, France, Germany, UK and Japan – and would be available in 88 countries (including India, we hope) come September. In the meantime, users of the iPhone 3G and 3GS as well as iPod touch can upgrade to iOS 4.0 for no cost at all (yes, even for iPod touch owners) on June 21.

When the dust had finally settled, we were left pondering about the new iPhone and while our opinions will riddle the pages of this web site for many days to come, our initial feel was that while there was no real “killer app” (to use Jobspeak) on the iPhone 4, it certainly was the first of the Godphone range that can hold its own in the tech spec department against most of the competition in smartphone town. Combine that with its staggering array of apps (more than five billion downloads already) and you will understand why we are having second thoughts about our decision to buy iPads. Come September…and come fast, please.