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Cool tricks of Google Android OS

Andy Rubin, Google's director of mobile platforms.

He's the man behind Android, the open source operating system that is at the heart of the Open Handset Alliance.

He was kind enough to give me a demo of Android running on a handset and the video is here. I've written up my interview with him and you can read it on the BBC News website.

The software stack, I was told, was Alpha, so not even Beta; but what I was shown gave a good indication that Android should be taken seriously by competitors like Windows Mobile and Symbian.

Google says they are driving the Android initiative because they want to see internet-style development on mobile platforms in the way that the openness of the web has given rise to Facebook and the Web 2.0 movement which should be able to migrate to the mobile phone.

Of course, coming in at the ground level of Android will give Google plenty of opportunity to tailor its own applications.

No-one company dominates the mobile web as yet - perhaps this is Google's chance.

Google has committed to being a multi-operating system company and they will continue to produce services for all phones on all platforms.

It will be interesting to see how the firm differentiates the same services across different platforms - just how much better will they be on Android as opposed to Windows Mobile or Symbian?

The worlds best laptops


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The 665SU is the little brother to the M670SU, but don't call it little. This laptop may be only 15.4" but it has the attitude of a 17" laptop. Imagine, a Dual Core CPU and a Dedicated RAM Video card starting at $905. Size does matter, the less you spend the better.


Buy an MTECH D900C built any way you want and get a MTECH 665 at a reduced rate

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Bring the power of visual computing to the palm of your hand. Make your mobile phone your most personal computer.

The NVIDIA APX 2500 applications processor is key to building the next generation of smartphone for Microsoft Windows Mobile devices, enabling an intuitive, enriched, and connected user experience.

Key features:

  • delivers the industry's first mobile 720p HD video capture and playback
  • one of the industry's lowest power requirements
  • 3D user interface that enhances browsing
  • premium HD video playback with NVIDIA® PureVideo® technolog
  • ability to access visually intensive online applications like mapping and video.

Enabling intuitive user interfaces with advanced 3D technology and delivering the industry's first 720p HD video through an ultra-low power applications processing platform, the NVIDIA® APX 2500 delivers the ultimate visual experience on a mobile device.

  • NVIDIA® HD AVP (High Definition Audio Video Processor) with PureVideo® technology
    • Capture or playback of HD 720p movies with your mobile device
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  • NVDIA ULP (Ultra Low Power) GeForce® technology
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    • Personal – show your favorite photos on the television while previewing them on your phone
Processor and Memory Subsystem ARM11 MPCore
16/32-bit LP-DDR
NOR and NAND Flash support
HD AVP (High Definition Audio Video Processor) 720p H.264, MPEG-4, and VC-1/WMV9 Decode
720p H.264 and MPEG-4 Encode
Supports multi-standard audio formats including AAC, AMR, WMA, and MP3
JPEG encode and decode acceleration
ULP (Ultra Low Power) GeForce OpenGL ES 2.0
D3D Mobile
Programmable pixel shader
Programmable vertex and lighting
CSAA support
Advanced 2D graphics
Imaging Up to 12Mpixel camera sensor support
Integrated ISP
Advanced imaging features
Display Subsystem True dual display support
720p (1280x720) HDMI 1.2 support
SXGA (1280x1024) LCD and CRT support
Composite and S-Video TV output

Google Android phone

Google's Android mobile phone platform has been receiving a lot of attention lately, and we're all eagerly awaiting to see what features the phones based on the new platform will offer. Fortunately, we won't have to wait too long, as rumours suggest that Google will be showing off some early Android phones at the 3GSM Conference in Barcelona in February.

Until then, though, we can get a sneak preview of what's to come courtesy of Google themselves and a video preview they've posted on YouTube that shows off some of the features of an Android prototype.

Rumours persisted through most of 2007 that Google were working on a Google phone, called the GPhone. Speculation mounted when it was suggested that Google had working prototypes of the GPhone that were being constantly used within its offices at its main campus.

In reality, there was no such thing as a GPhone. What Google were working on instead was the Android software stack, a platform for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications, and which enables software developers to build new mobile phone applications with unprecedented access to the phone's core features.

However, this all sounds pretty abstract and nebulous, and doesn't really give much of a flavour of what Android can actually do. To rectify this, Google released a video of an Android prototype phone - and it's this phone that the rumours of a GPhone actually being in existence were mistakenly referring to, as it's been tested by Google engineers for the past six months.
Android Features

The prototype Android phone is ugly, but then, it is just that: a prototype. Of far more importance is the features, applications and user interface it offers, as this gives us an insight into what we can expect with Android phones.

The first thing that hits you about the Android phone is its interface. Nice touch screen, little icons at the bottom that you scroll through and click on with the touch of a finger - all very iPhoney. What's more impressive, though, is how well integrated the various features are.

For example, click on a contact, and you get the name, mobile phone details and address of that person. Click on the address, and you'll go directly to Google Maps, showing you exactly where that person lives. All of this is seamless, which is a lot better than the majority of location-oriented services available today.

For example, on my Nokia E90, I can find the address of a pub through Google, but I then have to locate its postcode, remember it, and then go into the E90's SatNav feature and type it in manually. It works, but it's not exactly seamless. With an Android phone, however, all this can be achieved with a simple touch of a finger.

Better still, Google have also implemented Street View into Android, enabling you to see real photos of the areas you wish to navigate to, and move the view around with your finger.

Android is also optimised to take advantage of 3D graphics, as it uses the OpenGL graphics library. This can either be used purely in software, where it'll be slow, or sped up with dedicated OpenGL hardware from the likes of nVidia (who are also on board the Android bandwagon).

Not only does this give Android phones the ability to play 3D games such as Quake, you also get a beautiful mobile version of Google Earth, complete with a 3D Earth that you can spin and twist at will with your finger.

Google Android mobile phone browser

Finally, we have the Web browser, which is intended to be Android's piece de resistance, principally because Google wants to merge the Webtop experience with the mobile domain (so it can generate even more cash from advertising!).

Google Android mobile phone browser history

Android's browser is, ironically, based on Apple's Safari web browser (as used in the iPhone), as it uses Apple's WebKit, which enables Web pages to be viewed in the same fidelity as if they were on the desktop. The result is gloriously rendered Web pages, plus a neat history mechanism that flicks through the pages you've already viewed in a similar way to Apple's CoverFlow technology.

In summary, then, despite the initial disapointment at Google not actually developing their own phone, the Android platform looks set to cause more of a stir in the mobile industry than the iPhone did. the iPhone may look pretty, but in typical Apple fashion it's a completely closed system that does not permit third party development in any serious sense. Consequently, any innovation on the iPhone must now come purely from Apple.

In contrast, the Android platform is completely open, meaning that application developers and even mobile manufacturers can adapt it any which way they please. With its tight integration of existing Google technologies, such as Maps, Earth and Search, and its completely open architecture, Android phones have the flexibility to become any kind of device the market wants, which should only accelerate the already break-neck speed at which innovation is occurring in the mobile phone field.

As if 2007 wasn't exciting enough with the launch of the iPhone, 2008 is already looking like quite a year in mobile phone land!

iPhone gets 16 gigs worth of storage

Apple announced the new monstrous 16GB version of the famous iPhone. Currently the new Apple iPhone 16GB is available through the Apple store and AT&T stores in USA. The European carriers offering the iPhone expected to start offering it as of tomorrow .
As far as European carriers are concerned, O2 UK will be selling the new 16GB model for GBP 330, which is around EUR 440 or USD 650. The other interesting announcement today is that the iPod Touch, the iPhone's cousin, also has received a doubled storage space. The new iPod Touch 32GB will be selling at a USD 500 price tag (before taxes). The 16GB version which has been available for quite some time retains the USD 400 price, along with the 8GB model, which is still priced at USD 300.


The Apple iPhone has a stunning display, a sleek design, and an innovative multitouch user interface. Its Safari browser makes for a superb Web surfing experience, and it offers easy to use apps. As an iPod, it shines.

The Apple iPhone has variable call quality and lacks some basic features found in many cell phones, including stereo Bluetooth support and 3G compatibility. Integrated memory is stingy for an iPod, and you have to sync the iPhone to manage music content.
The bottom line: Despite some important missing features, a slow data network, and call quality that doesn't always deliver, the Apple iPhone sets a new benchmark for an integrated cell phone and MP3 player.



Motorola’s RAZR is an icon of cellphones, technology, and design in general. The V3 and all of its brethren collectively became the second most successful mobile handset in history, and the word “RAZR” has become synonymous with “thin flip phone” in gadget parlance.

But the RAZR eventually grew a little long in the tooth, and Motorola’s dominance in the cellular world eroded over time. After a legion of “four letter phone” offshoots - - Moto finally released the long awaited sequel to the RAZR: The RAZR 2.

RAZR 2 dropped on nearly every major US network at the same time, and while there are differences from carrier to carrier, the new RAZR’s overall look and feel is the same across its variations. RAZR 2 is thinner but heavier and taller than the original, and its traded those razor-sharp edges for rounded corners and curvier lines throughout. The new RAZR is also built like a tank - it feels luxurious and nearly indestructible in hand.

But in a world where handsets let you do everything from watch TV to parse RSS feeds to find your way when you’re lost, is Moto’s new RAZR too little too late? I took the Sprint variant - the RAZR2 V9m - for a spin to find out.

Just 11.9mm thick, the RAZR 2 V9m is one of the thinnest clamshell handsets currently available, and thinner than the RAZR V3m by more than 2mm. The V9m is 103mm long by 53mm wide and weighs in at 117g, which is a surprisingly big number for a RAZR. But this RAZR doesn’t feel heavy in a bad way - instead it feels solid like a luxury class product should. The handset sports a stainless steel internal frame and hinge, which accounts for both that weight and the feeling that the handset could stand up to a pretty good lickin’ and keep on tickin’.

In find this RAZR much more attractive than the original, as well. The combination of rounded corners and hardened glass on some exterior surfaces is modern and sexy. And while some folks find the V9m’s pearly gray a little drab, I think it looks understated and classy (RAZR2 variants from other carriers are available in other colors).

A clamshell phone, the front panel of the V9m features a huge 2” external display with three touch sensitive controls along the bottom edge that provide haptic (vibrational) feedback when you press them. The lens for the two-megapixel camera is center mounted along the top edge of the panel. There’s a volume rocker switch and softkey along with a usb/charger port the left spine of the handset and a camera key on the right spine. Removing the battery cover on the back panel of the handset provides access to the microSD memory card slot as well as the battery. While it’d be nicer to have an externally-mounted memory port, at least it’s not hidden behind the battery itself.

Flip the V9m open and you’ll find a familiar, if updated, layout: screen on top, buttons on the bottom. The main display is larger than the external screen, though barely, at 2.2 inches. The button layout is a flush mounted, etched metal affair, with font faces that echo the futuristic vibe of this newest RAZR. A 12-button dialing array is topped with a navigational layout built around a shiny circular D-pad flanked by two softkeys, speakerphone and back keys, and call and cancel keys.

While all of the buttons on the inside of the V9m are flat, they offer better tactile feedback than most other flat/etched keypads I’ve tested. The buttons here have a bit of a slippery feel to them, but they have pretty good travel. Brushed metal on the D-Pad makes it rather nice to use, even without looking.

I give MOTO a general thumbs-up on their RAZR redesign. Obviously the original was a huge hit, but I never really liked the way it felt in hand. RAZR 2 fixes that issue by rounding over sharp edges and using pearly glass and a stainless steel hinge to give the handset the feel of a fine object from the near future.

The V9m’s external display is so big, and can do so much, it almost makes me wonder why there are two screens at all. And then I remembered that flip phones are cool, and generally quite comfortable to talk on. Still, a handset with two displays running at nearly the same size and resolution is either approaching the pinnacle of utility or total overkill.

On the outside of the V9m is the 2” secondary display running at QVGA (320 x 240) resolution across 65k colors. As mentioned, you can use this display to watch TV, browse your music collection, and do all kinds of other things via a row of three touch-sensitive controls aligned along the bottom edge. Pressing any of the touch controls results in a jolt of vibration that lets your finger know its intent was received. This display is bright and clear and shows off the most user friendly user interface I’ve seen on a . As also mentioned, there are certain navigational tasks I expected to be able to handle via the external controls that required opening the phone up, which was a little disappointing.

Flipping the handset open reveals a 2.2” primary display which also runs at QVGA and 65,000 colors. I’d really liked to have seen this screen bumped up to 262k colors like on the GSM RAZR 2 ( - why the CDMA versions get a lower-res internal display is beyond me. In any case, the internal display is more than adequate to make good use of that much improved UI and all of those Sprint Power Vision multimedia services. It’s not a state-of-the-art display, but it’s certainly not bad in any way.

I tested the dual-band CDMA V9m on Sprint’s network in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Audio quality during phone calls was generally quite good. Callers came through loud and clear on the phone’s earpiece, and they reported being able to hear my voice with no problems beyond the occasional crackle or distortion. There were no notable problems with static or hiss during calls, and signal strength on the V9m was above average as compared to other Sprint handsets I’ve used.

The V9m’s built-in speaker is also quite loud, making for a more-usable-than-most speakerphone function. Stereo Bluetooth is also supported by the V9m, and while I’ve read some reports of issues playing music wirelessly from the handset, I found that it worked fairly well with the Motorola S9 headset Sprint provided for this review. No wired earpiece is included with the device, though its micro-USB port does support mono and stereo headsets.

Messaging on the Sprint V9m is very good, with support for IM and email along with SMS and MMS messaging. The T9 predictive text input system worked pretty well for tapping out missives on the 12-key keypad, though heavy texters may well prefer a device with raised buttons.

Email required a free client download, but once I’d installed the application it was pretty easy to set up an account and also configure the software to work with GMail, Yahoo! and other third-party services. It’s worth mentioning here that you can’t read or write messages while listening to music on the V9m - unlike Sprint’s the RAZR 2 doesn’t support any form of multitasking.

While the V9m’s Obigo Web browser only renders pages in single-column, and not full-page, mode, it still does a pretty good job of letting you browse full HTML sites on the go. Sprint’s 3G EV-DO network is pretty fast, and while the V9m’s browser isn’t in the class of the Nokias and Apples of the mobile world, it’s great for mobile-formatted WAP sites and pretty good with the rest of the Web.

Simple WAP sites load within a matter of seconds and are responsive to scrolling and clicking. More complex pages like CNN or the NYTimes site take awhile longer, but their images and text get parsed into a single column view and are generally quite readable and useful on the handset’s internal display. Scrolling through pages like these requires a little patience, but you are afforded access to areas of the Wild, Wild Web that WAP-only browsers simply cannot handle.

For better Web browsing, the Java-based Opera Mini browser may be installed and run on the V9m.

The Sprint Motorola v9m is a dual-band CDMA locked to the Sprint network for use in the United States. Data services are handled by Sprint’s EV-DO network, and the handset is compatible with the 1xEV-DO rev. 0 protocol.

Bluetooth implementation on the V9m includes support for file transfer, data synching and mono and stereo (A2DP) audio. I had no trouble pairing the phone with headsets or a Windows-based computer, though I had to seek out some shareware plug-ins to get the V9m to work with my Mac via iSync. Files may also be transferred between the phone and a computer via the included microSD memory card.

The V9m may also be connected to a computer via the included USB cable that connects to the phone’s micro USB port. Data transfer, synching, and charging are all supported over USB.

The RAZR 2 will not become the iconic classic that the original RAZR was. Too much has changed on the mobile landscape for that to happen. But the new RAZR is a worthy upgrade to its successor. I love the new softer, gentler look featuring curves and hardened glass where once only sharp metallic edges could be found. And the RAZR 2 has a pleasant heft to it that speaks of quality in an age of featherweight plastics that must immediately be sheathed in protective casings.

It’s kind of odd that has just started pushing their new Linux-based platforms but chose to build the RAZR 2 family on the old OS instead. Still, the V9m that I tested is a big step forward from the V3’s of old when it comes to user experience. And it’s two giant leaps ahead of the V3 when it comes to features: Sprint’s V9m adds streaming audio and video support, over the air music downloads, and integrated Email to the solid core voice, organizational, and short messaging features of the device.

If you’re a longtime MOTO RAZR fan, Sprint’s RAZR 2 is definitely worth a look. I wish it supported some level of multitasking, had an integrated headphone jack, and came with Email support and a full HTML browser out of the box, but it’s still a solid mid-range