Nowadays, all smartphones are getting larger and larger displays by the day. 4.3 inch displays used to be a rarity, but nowadays they are flourishing. The same is the case with other displays of comparative sizes. Previously even 3 inch displays were considered extremely large on smartphones. However, along with most people moving to larger phones, several people still want to use the latest smartphone features on the most portable devices.
Diminutive size of the Xperia X10 Mini
This is where the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini comes into play. Unlike its 4 inch sibling and other smartphones, this handset has a 2.55 inch display which leads to an extremely small device that can fit into almost any pocket. Along with that the internal hardware of the phone is very capable and runs the device with absolutely no sluggishness at all.
This micro sized device found several problems but the customizability of Android helped it to overcome them. Sony Ericson added buttons on the corners of the screen which were shortcuts to the favorite functions and these shortcuts helped the user to jump to any place he desired. Along with that the whole UI was transformed to make it more suited to the device.
Ability to create different hardware versions
After the X10 Mini came out, Sony Ericsson decided to create another version of it with a QWERTY keyboard. The flexibility of Android once again came into play here as the newer device needed very little further development and the smartphone could reach the market as soon as possible. Along with that Sony Ericsson had the flexibility of adding T9 to the device without any other legal ramifications.
Sony Ericsson also copied over its software to other devices in the Xperia lineup without any problem. The Xperia X8 was a bigger brother of the Xperia X8 Mini but was smaller than the original Xperia X10. It ran almost all the same software customizations as the X10 Mini without any need for significant software development.
Thus all in all, the Xperia X10 Mini has shown how Android can easily adapt to different hardware as several different hardware versions of the same phone were easily created by Sony Ericsson without a large amount of development required for each individual version.
Although today’s smartphones are starting to bring convergence of multiple devices into a single one very effectively, there are several reasons why the dedicated counterparts of these devices would never die out. Here we discuss the matter with regards to an important feature of today’s smartphones, namely its music playing capabilities.
An alternative music player
Mobile phones with fully functioning music players started to gain popularity since the introduction of Sony Ericsson’s Walkman series in 2005. The first phone in the Walkman series was the W800i which brought along several groundbreaking features including a 512MB memory card that was considered to be quite capacious at the time of release. It also included comparatively very high quality earbuds in the retail package which helped it further in being a very capable music device.
Since then, all smartphones sold today can function as very good music players. However, these devices have still not contributed to the demise of dedicated music players as the iPod and the Walkman devices are still selling strongly. There are several reasons for this. First of all several people do not have any interest in smartphones and cannot justify paying a premium price for the device when all they want is a simple cellular phone and a music playing device.
Music phones held back by proprietary standards
Handset manufacturers also initially slowed down the progress of the mobile phone’s music playing function by restricting the phones to their own hardware. An example would be Sony Ericsson’s FastPort which only allowed their own accessories to connect to the device directly. However, they still provided an adapter with their Walkman Phones for connecting other earphones.
Samsung on the other hand was even stricter. It provided proprietary ports on its successful Samsung Star handset and also did not provide an adapter for the device. As a result consumers were forced to use Samsung’s low quality earphones if they wanted to listen to music. Nowadays nearly all companies have opted for 3.5mm jacks, but the damage was already done by the previous generations of mobile phones.
Subject to rough and blind usage
Many consumers subject their music players to substantial abuse when they listen to songs during workouts. These devices are subject to sweat as well as damage from hitting other surfaces. Many such users go for cheap music players like the iPod Shuffle instead of an expensive smartphone.
Users also prefer the buttons on MP3 players rather than the touchscreens of today’s smartphones. There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all the device does not need to come out of the pocket to change the volume or the track which enables blind usage and secondly smartphone screens can get very smudgy when they are handled with sweaty hands.
Sonim has made a name for itself by offering phones that are extremely durable. And this durability does not necessarily mean their life in the hands of casual consumers, but in the hands of outdoor enthusiasts and professionals who cannot bother to keep their phones away from nature’s elements.
Providing something that no phone has to offer
Sonim has created devices that can achieve feats that other devices cannot even contemplate. These phones are extremely rugged and can survive through several different types and levels of brutality such as dropping the phone continuously with different levels of pressure or dunking the phone in water for different periods of time. Some people have even played football with it to show its indestructibility.
Other smartphones can never dream of being shockproof, dustproof, waterproof and freeze-proof at the same time. Although some phones exist with lasting bodies, none of them can match the overall durability of Sonim’s phones.
Who buys them?
There are a number of people that have to face harsh weather often. These people may be outdoor enthusiasts who go for activities such as hiking and mountaineering or even swimming. Along with that engineers may also need to face the element of the weather while working. For example a telecom engineer may be working on a site when a storm arrives and the person will still have to carry out the required work without wasting any time in putting his phone in a safe place. Another example can be a mining engineer who faces a very dusty environment which would ruin almost any other device.
Along with that several people also buy these seemingly indestructible phones for reviewing purposes or just to have fun with them. There are several different videos on the internet where Sonim phones are subject to extreme abuse such as being banged repeatedly against walls. Along with that Sonim has also provided a warranty on the phones which will replace any damaged phone for no additional cost. This has also irked these people to get themselves a Sonim phone.
All in all Sonim has created a very special niche for itself in the smartphone market and its products may be useless for some, but for others they could even prove to be literally life savers.
HP fully acquired Palm on 1st of July 2010. The price it paid for the company was 1.2 billion dollars. There were several reasons why HP went for the purchase. Palm was operating at large losses and decided to sell the company to avoid going completely bankrupt. There were also a few other companies that were interested in acquiring Palm but HP offered the best bid.
Relatively a cheap purchase
HP paid Palm $1.2 billion for the takeover which may seem like quite a large amount of money but in reality it was quite a bargain. Palm had quite a few assets and along with that its brand recognition was very high. Its devices like the Palm Treo 650 were iconic in the history of smartphones and Palm had also got quite a lot of loyal customers.
HP was also operating with excessive profits which meant that the allocation of resources for the purchase was minimal. HP got the assets of Palm without any changes in its existing business which meant that the opportunity cost of the purchase was not at all high.
What did Palm have that HP needed?
Palm had developed its own smartphone platform, called the WebOS which has been lauded by critics and users alike for its usability as well as its performance. This platform had been held back by the lack of competitive hardware released running the platform. As HP is planning to enter the smartphone arena on a bigger scale than before, it decided to go for WebOS instead of developing its own platform.HP has produced its own smartphones previously such as the iPAQ line. These devices ran on Windows Mobile which did not do well with the general public and thus these devices did not meet HP’s expectations. HP wanted to enter the current smartphone market which is dominated by Android, Blackberry OS and iOS. The only worthy competitor of these platforms in HP’s eyes was WebOS.
Hardware and Software heritages combined
HP has a strong hardware heritage with it being the world’s largest hardware selling company of today. Along with that HP has built up quite a lot of experience in the hardware department and knows a lot about what a device should contain on the inside and how it should perform. However its software ambitions have been lacking in comparison with other companies.
In 2008, Motorola was sucked into a very serious financial deficit which reduced the price of its shares drastically as well as threatened to put the company out of business. However, within a couple of years Motorola converted this deficit back into a profit. There were several reasons why Motorola got into such a precarious position and how it got back onto the track.
Lack of innovation
Motorola’s phones had started lacking any serious innovation in both the hardware and software departments. It kept on bringing out incremental upgrades to the Razr line to the point that the newer upgrades became unimpressive and unworthy. Along with that there was also the Rizr lineup which included only identical sliders. Both of these lineups did not feature smartphones and only included feature phones.Motorola’s smartphones, the Ming series, was considered to be very expensive and did not have the software or the hardware in order to run the phone smoothly. This meant that there were very few sales of these smartphones and as there was not much innovation in these smartphones, Motorola’s revenue from smartphones was also dropping considerably.
Resurgence with Android
Motorola found a great opportunity of rejuvenating itself with the creation of the Android platform. Android enabled Motorola to reduce their expenditure on software development and concentrate more on the hardware aspects of their devices. This resulted in the creation of several very popular phones such as the Motorola Cliq and the Droid.
The Motorola Droid was a particularly significant success for the company and helped it get back into the consumer’s households. The device set a platform for other smartphones and was one of the few phones released at the time to include a QWERTY keyboard along with full touchscreen access. The success of the Droid has helped create a whole new smartphone lineup for Motorola with the release of devices such as the Droid X and Droid 2.
Playing the cards correctly
Motorola was headed for the sea when it glanced around and picked out exactly what it should do. It got its strategy correct by diving head-on into the smartphone market with Android. This enabled the company to notch up revenues and profits that would have only looked like a dream a couple of years earlier. Thus giving the consumers exactly what they wanted at a time when the competition had not ideally caught up provided Motorola with its resurgence.
Nowadays phones are coming out with very high pixel densities which make it almost impossible to view individual pixels from the naked eye. The human eye can differentiate individual pixels if the display is lower than 200ppi. This resolution was pretty common until a couple of years ago but since then smartphone displays have been improving on that front.
The possibility of seeing individual pixels
However when the resolution is further increased, we need to strain in order to make out individual pixels. After 300ppi, our eyes cannot normally see individual pixels on the screen. The Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 was released in 2008 and it was the first smartphone to break the 300ppi barrier with a screen of 312ppi resolution. The iPhone 4, released in 2010, also had a 326ppi display. Several other phones are also about to come out with similar pixel densities.
This means that as more and more smartphones on the market have 300+ dpi screens, developing further for even higher resolution displays is useless. A reason for this is that it would not make any difference to users if a screen has 300dpi or 400dpi. Although a difference of the screen resolutions can be seen by using a magnifying glass, it is essentially a useless difference in everyday life.
Higher resolutions of smartphone displays
Smartphone displays are nowadays increasing in size. 4.3 inch and comparative displays are becoming more and more common on smartphones. In order to achieve a high dpi on such a large screen, the resolution has to be a very high one. When 300dpi will be achieved on these smartphone displays, the resolution will already be sufficiently high enough to start taxing the hardware capabilities of the device such as the processing power.
Thus if smartphone displays are further developed and lead to them having even higher pixel densities, the smartphones will perform slowly and this will not really be a worthy trade-off as people would not see the improvements in the display. Thus, once 300dpi has been reached on most smartphones, further improvement of the screen’s dpi is useless.
Vizio brought along its first smartphones at CES 2011 in the form of the Vizio Phone. The device runs Android and has a 4-inch screen. The differentiating features of the device are its universal remote capabilities as well as the custom skinned user interface. This handset is heading for a summer 2011 release. There are several reasons why Vizio, a relatively well known television company in the US went for the production of a smartphone. Here we ponder on some of them.
Diversifying the range
Vizio currently specializes in television production. It also has a small setup in the television accessories and disc-player domains. However, these other projects are not currently doing so well in their respective markets and thus Vizio wanted to diversify its range in order to gain a larger share of the consumer market. This diversification of its range also helps the company to create a better known brand image of it.
Diversifying the range also helps to minimize losses if a slump occurs in one market. For example if TV sales are down for any reason, Vizio may face a crisis and it would have to face big losses in its entire business model. However, with additional products there would still be some additional revenue generated so that the company can keep operating in different economic conditions.
Taking advantage of a growing industry
Smartphone sales are currently at a peak. Newer devices and platforms have created quite a lot of demand for them and several new companies are coming into the market to take advantage of this increasing demand. Along with that existing smartphone companies are also expanding constantly due to the increasing consumer interest.
Thus Vizio does not have much to lose if it goes into the smartphone industry as currently there would be sufficient demand for its products which would ensure that even if its products do not meet expectations, they would not flop completely or result in large losses for the company. As Vizio does not need to create its own internal hardware components for the smartphones, such as processors and memory cards, there is not much need for a large amount of investment.
Thus Vizio has invested in the smartphone market in order to diversify its range as well as gain a better footing in the consumer market. Only time will tell if this experiment has paid off for them.
If you use cellphones on regular basis then you must have heard about the Generations of the Cellular data networks like the -1G, 2G, 3G or the most recent 4G. But how many of us really know what it really is? I don’t think that number will be much. But as cellular data network technology is advancing fast we all need to know at least the basics of the cellular data network.
So what does the ‘G’ Stands for? It stands for ‘Generation’. So ‘1G’ stands for the first generation, ‘2G’ for second generation and so on. The latest in this series is the ‘4G’. So how was the 1G network and how did we end up with the 4G network? For this you have to have some ideas on all the generations, features and advantages they had! I have tried to simplify them and I hope it will help you in understanding the generations.
It is also called the Analog network. As it was the first generation of the cellular data network; whatever it came up with was an advantage at that time but it had some real problems too, that was only understood after its introduction.
The 1G used a narrow band of the analogue mobile network that only dealt with voice calls and utilized the maximum bandwidth causing more power consumption. Greatest disadvantage of 1G was that, you only had the permission to contact a person after the particular nation permitted you to! Higher powered radio signal of it required greater battery power meaning shorter battery life and much larger batteries. At that time latest technologies such as GPRS were also not available. The sound quality was poor while having voice calls and there were greater power emissions that posed health issues.
It was the first Digital cellular data network. A great advancement of cellular technology was achieved by this network. This generation used digital technologies for the first time and it greatly increased the system capacity as from then Digital voice data was compressed and multiplexed more efficiently allowing more voice calls to be packed in the same radio bandwidth. Moreover this system emitted less radio power from the handsets meaning reduced cell size and accumulation of increased number of cells in the same amount of space.
It also had some advantages like Lower Radiation emission ensuring health concerns. Its Digital network opened new windows for the introduction of digital data services like SMS and email. After it was introduced there were reduction of fraud as with analog systems it was possible to have two or more “cloned” handsets that had the same phone number. 2G network supported phones ensured better privacy. 2G phones are immensely more private than 1G phone, which have no protection against eavesdropping. The 2G network also ensured calls to be free of background noises.
It also had some disadvantages too. Like sometimes Digital signals failed to reach the tower where the 2G system was developed on higher frequencies but this problem was not seen in 2G systems developed on lower frequencies. The 1G network had a slight advantage for having a smoother decay curve as it would not fail completely and it would worsen slowly. But for having a jagged steppy curve the digital system failed whenever the system is slightly worse.
The 3G networks changed the definitions of the cellular data networks and it brought some revolutionary changes to the cellular data network that previous generations failed to bring. In 3G the bandwidth and location information available to 3G devices gave rise to applications not previously available to mobile phone users. It was after the introduction of the 3G networks that we have heard for the first time about the Mobile TV, Video on Demand, Video Conferencing, Tele-Medicine, Location Based services. So let’s learn about these great technologies.
Mobile TV– Using this great technology the service provider just redirects the signal of the TV channel to the subscriber’s phone and then the subscriber can enjoy the TV on his or her mobile where ever he or she was.
Video on demand– Here your demanded movie or music will be sent to the user’s handset letting him enjoy the comfort of getting whatever he or she wants to be entertained with.
Video conferencing– Another ground breaking technology made it possible to have a voice conversation and see each other like you are talking face to face.
Location-based services– Here your service provider will send you localized weather or traffic conditions and other information’s you want to have before moving to that place.
This being the latest cellular data network possesses some exciting new features for the users. Though developing countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh still awaits the 3G network; Developed countries like the Norway and Sweden have entered the world of the 4G on 19th December of 2009. The 4G network offers some unthinkable features like reading Multi-Media Newspapers, watching T.V programs with the clarity that of an ordinary T.V. As you may already know that 4G cellular system must have target peak data rates of up to approximately 100 Mbit/s for high mobility such as mobile access and up to approximately 1 Gbit/s for low mobility such as nomadic/local wireless access, according to the ITU requirements this 4G system is also expected to provide a comprehensive and secure all-IP based solution where facilities such as IP telephony, ultra-broadband Internet access, gaming services and HDTV streamed multimedia may be provided to users.
So, I hope after all these discussions on the cellular data network, all of you have some basic ideas about the generations of the network. Now if you feel more interested you can go for the technical details of these generations but no one can now say that you don’t understand the basics of the generations of the cellular data network!
Smartphone Cameras are very popular these days. We can’t even think of a smartphone that does not have a camera on it. Among very few lead features consumers have always looked for this particular option on their device. If they are not satisfied with the camera then the phone usually does not end up very successful. I think these few words are not enough for establishing the reason of the popularity of the smartphones. It needs much greater discussion. For understanding the fact we have to go a long way back when the camera phone first evolved.
The camera phone has not landed on our hands like we find it today. It took years of hard works, experiments and dedications from lots of people who dedicated their life in developing the camera phone like we find it today. If you take a good look at the history of the camera itself you will see that there are dozens of relevant patents dating back as far as 1956. At that time cameras were huge and it would have been an impossible task if the manufacturers had to incorporate that camera in to our modern device. In the 90′s developers of the cameras made some drastic improvements in camera technology. The digital camera that was significantly smaller than the earlier ones was developed. But still they were not suitable for the smartphones. As a consumer friendly camera in a mobile phone would require far less power and a higher level of camera electronics integration to permit the miniaturization. The CMOS active pixel image sensor “camera-on-a-chip” developed by Dr. Eric Fossum and his team in the early 1990s achieved the first step of realizing the modern camera phone. While the first camera phones, as successfully marketed by J-Phone in Japan used CCD sensors and not CMOS sensors, more than 90% of camera phones sold today use CMOS image sensor technology.
The Camera phones were very popular right from the time of arrival! As you can see that the J-Phone in Japan had more than half of its subscribers using cameraphones in the following two years after the first release of J-Phones and the world soon understood it and followed the J-phone users. During this time cellphone without cameras had support for MMS and external cameras that could be connected with a small cable or directly to the data port at the base of the phone. The external cameras were comparable in quality to those fitted on regular camera phones at the time, typically offering VGA resolution. Phones that supported extra cameras include the Siemens SL55 and Nokia Series 40 phones such as the Nokia 6810. These external cameras never proved very popular although they were stocked in various shops at the time. By 2003, more cameraphones were sold worldwide than stand-alone digital cameras. In 2004, Nokia became the world’s most sold digital camera brand. In 2006, half of the world’s mobile phones had a built-in camera. In 2008, Nokia sold more cameraphones than Kodak sells film based simple cameras, thus became the biggest manufacturer of any kind of camera. The increasing popularity caused disaster for the camera manufacturers and the popularity of cameraphones caused two of the four giant cameramakers, Minolta and Konica to quit the camera business altogether as they were facing great difficulties in keeping their position in the market. By the end of 2008, the world installed base of cameraphones was 1.9 billion and in 2010 sales of separate cameras began to decline. From 2010 most mobile phones, even cheap ones, are being sold with a camera. But still only High end camera phones have good lens, high resolution, but still a small sensor. 12 megapixel camera phones have been produced by only two companies. Now let’s see what these camera phones are capable of! Nokia had developed a 12 MP camera for the N8 and to show how it can shoot -a short film was created by them named ‘The Commuter’, in October 2010. It was a seven minute film and it was entirely shot by the N8’s 720p camera.
So what’s the social impact of these phones? Are they good or bad for our society? A difficult question to answer! As Personal photography allows people to capture and construct personal and group memory, maintain social relationships as well as expressing their identity. While phones have also been found in photographing a person or place illegally or against that person’s wishes. As a network-connected device, megapixel camera phones are playing significant roles in crime prevention, journalism and business applications as well as individual uses. They can also be used for activities such as voyeurism, invasion of privacy and copyright infringement. So it’s solely in our hands what we end up doing with this technology.
4G compatible phones are getting more and more common now as all the mobile giants are trying their best to launch their 4G Network compatible handsets. HTC have joined the Elite Club of the 4G compatible handsets. They along with Google have introduced their first ever 4G compatible handset G2 for the T-mobile carriers. It’s a great phone that is offering lots of great features for the users. T-Mobile is offering this phone free of cost! Surprised? Don’t be! The retail price of this phone will be $ 499.99. You will get an instant discount of $250 and web only discount of $249.99. Meaning T-Mobile is offering it free. But you have to make 2 year contract with T-mobile for purchasing it from them. So lets take a good look on the G2-T-Mobile’s first 4G compatible handset! I hope you are dying to get in touch with it!
Features & Specifications-
Hardware of the G2 is very solid. They are offering a 3.7 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen with resolution of 480 x 800 which is great for a smartphone. It has a full screen QWERTY keyboard that slides from beneath which is really cool. Now you can type at super fast speeds. They layout and buttons are very nice and smooth. Its touch screen supports multi-touch input method. This unique phone is powered by the Qualcomm MSM 7230 800 MHz processor. I am slightly disappointed with the processors speed because they could have easily gone with the 1 GHz processor as the processor generation is changing fast and soon dual core processors will replace current processors so at this time processor less than 1GHz is pretty poor. But I believe that they are trying to cope up with the 512 RAM. But i will definitely doubt in the speeds of this device. Another great thing they installed is the Optical trackpad for better navigation. It has great storage capacity of 4 GB internal and with it T-Mobile is giving you 8 GB external (MicroSD) memory which is expandable upto 32 GB. It also has a 5MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels autofocus camera having a LED flash. But it does not have any front facing camera, this once again will disappoint the users. It has HD Video Capability and it Records videos in 720p resolution. As this device is Capable of transferring Data at T-Mobile’s 4G Data speeds; so now you can enjoy Web browsing and downloads faster-than-ever. This device also offers ‘Wi-Fi and Mobile Calling’ so that you can expand your mobile coverage by sending and receiving calls and messages over any Wi-Fi network, whether at home or on the road with ‘Wi-Fi and Mobile Calling’ even in areas that have little or no network coverage.
Software platform of this device is Android. It has Android 2.2 Froyo in it. Which I believe is upgradeable. Using Android OS is great for the users as they have more freedom here as they don’t have to face any restrictions like the Apple imposes on their users. It has introduced some popular features like Swype so that you can perform messaging on your touch-screen device faster, easier and with more fun. With this innovative new keyboard, you simply slide your finger over the letters that make up the word you want to spell. It also gives you more easy access to Google applications. Now you can launch Google applications including Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Calendar, and Google Talk from this device. The Android Market offers you direct access to their Apps world. You have access to all kinds of fun and useful Apps to turn your device into the ultimate mobile device. With this device you don’t have to always look at the same old Homescreen. Now you can customize your Homescreen just as you like to see it. Just drag and drop any of your favorite applications, photos or folders onto your home screen for quick access to what you use all of the time. With this device you are never far from entertainment as it has Music player that plays your favorite music wherever you are. Its 3.5mm audio jack gives you the flexibility to listen to your downloaded tunes just about anywhere; all you need is a standard set of ear buds or headphones.
Over all with some minor drawbacks this device is a great tool for the users. I will give HTC full credit for this device. They did a real great job with this handy tool. Hopefully It will bring great success to them!