Experiencing the Sony Ericsson Experia XI

Sony Ericsson’s Experia X1 has the tagline “convergence of communication and entertainment”. Quite the promise for Sony Ericsson fans but surprise, surprise, it delivers. For the cynics, you might glance at the X1 and roll your eyes thinking, another iPhone wannabe.

So, it may look like the iPhone but it stops there. The X1 is a slider phone. And it’s very sleek and distinctive arc design gives people a start. It’s actually ergonomic that way and the way it feels on your hands is just wonderful. It’s also quite practical this way because unlike other cell phones like the EnV2 (that also sports a full QWERTY keyboard), the X1 uses only one screen. It does not need internal and external screens, just one that functions well. It even has Handwriting Recognition capability that allows you to write with a stylus and the X1 inputs the corresponding computer character on the screen.

Its 3 inch touch screen displays pictures in 800 x 480 pixels. The camera sports a 3.2 megapixel, flash and auto focus that can take beautiful pictures which you can easily publish in you online blog just by adding a caption. And this is one of those phones that has Wi-Fi, perfect for internet surfing supported by Internet Explorer Mobile. Complete with RSS feeds, you can never go out of touch with your favorite sports and current events news sent directly to your X1. The X1 maximizes the Windows operating system using Outlook Mobile. You can easily organize your schedule and even send email through Outlook. But for other options, the X1 also supports POP3, IMAPP4, SMTP and Push email. And you can also chat via AOL, ICQ, Windows Live and Yahoo.

You can directly download music to the MP3 Player that supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, m4a and PlayNow. You can also store your favorite radio station frequencies in your integrated RDS Radio. Downloading is a breeze with HSDPA while connectivity options include both USB 2.0 and Bluetooth 2.0.

This 17 mm thick and 145 gram heavyweight (no pun intended) is scheduled to be released third quarter of this year. Price has not been discussed yet and there seems to be no exclusive carrier who snapped this up. Talk time is at an amazing 8.50 hours and standby time is 340 hours. Internal memory is only 400 MB but it has a Memory Stick Pro for expandable memory. The X1 may have been criticized for its strange design but it is still creating great anticipation from Sony Ericsson lovers.

The Ruggedly Handsome Motorola V950

The Motorola V950 has rugged written all over its face. Just feel its rubbery texture and bulky appearance. At 17 mm, it’s really very slim when you compare it to any Nokia phone but this is a RAZR which is known for its supermodel slenderness. The thing is, Motorola decided they needed a phone that can be slapped around without getting hurt and the V950 takes the centerstage.

It’s a clamshell phone made from durable material that can withstand most forms of torture. But its tough exterior isn’t its only brilliant characteristic. This baby packs a powerful punch when it comes to high-speed data transfer with cdma2000 1xEV-DO Rev.A system. It allows for faster transfer of huge amounts of data or attachments. It also ensures that the transfer is not interrupted by roaming freely from network to network. Email and chat are also available in AOL, Windows Live and Yahoo.

Made for Sprint, users can enjoy the Sprint Music Store which sells songs for only 99 cents apiece. It is 3G capable so you can also access Sprint TV for live and on-demand video and audio streaming. Aside from that, this phone uses Sprint Navigation for turn-by-turn directions on its inbuilt GPS system.

It has a reasonable 2 megapixel camera allowing you up to 4 times zoom power, flash and video recording that you can store in its expandable memory through the use of the Micro SD slot. Connectivity options include Bluetooth 2.0 and USB 2.0. If you have problem with people you don’t want to talk to, you can block incoming calls by pre-selecting the number on your phonebook. Its exclusive Direct Connect feature allows you to designate a number for both wireless and Nextel Direct Connect calls. If you are trying to reach a number unsuccessfully, you can instantly send an SMS message to let them know you are trying to call them.

The V950 is set to be released second quarter of this year and Sprint is banking on its appeal as a durable RAZR phone. Durability has been a constant problem with the RAZR series. It has been highly-marketed as a pretty phone but now, Motorola has come out with a model that proves phones can be both sexy-sleek and reliable as well. Sprint is certainly using the call feature of the V950 to their advantage promoting the Direct Connect services. Price is not yet mentioned but as soon as Sprint offers this to the public, we’ll soon know.

Samsung Instinct: On Top of the TV Phone War

Samsung unveils one of its new offerings reportedly with Sprint as its carrier. Reasonable at around $200 to $250, the Samsung Instinct is creating a furor in the cell phone sector. Is it worth the price?

The Instinct, very elegantly named, will hit the stores in June. It will be Sprint TV’s flag bearer, with live programming from Sprint Exclusive Entertainment, said to be the industry’s only sports and entertainment programming network created especially for mobile phones. It also has in-built Sprint Radio where users can download songs for only 99 cents each. Pocket Express, another feature, can enable its user to get the latest local sports, news and weather information based on their zip code.

Samsung uses their newest technological offering to make this phone a masterpiece. Haptic technology allows you to use just the slightest of pressure to type, as well as press the keys. The Instinct is touch screen capable by the way and although slight pressure typing may need getting used to, it will definitely make typing emails and SMS messages easier and faster. This phone supports AOL, Gmail and Yahoo email as well as chat. Another high-tech feature is Voice to Action which allows you to activate phone functions such as calling, messaging and online searches voice activated. In fact, you can activate your phone even from across the room.

Its camera is just 2 megapixel, pretty ordinary and it has a zoom function of only up to 2 times. Admittedly, in that aspect it is weak, but the Instinct also gives you great internet capabilities with Live Search powered by Microsoft and a one-of-a-kind GPS system. It can actually give you turn-by-turn navigational directions both in audio and video form. With a separately sold car kit accessory, you can make this phone your new best friend if you’re in another city and need to get around without getting lost.

The Samsung Instinct can actually have you web browsing while listening to background music from your phone. And your photos and music will be neatly stored in a Micro SD flash of up to 8 GB. Connectivity options include both Bluetooth and USB 2.0. It’s a little on the heavy side weighing 125 grams but it’s only 12 mm so it’s a fair trade.

The Samsung Instinct will be competing against its sister the Samsung Access which is carried by AT&T. Both are marketed as TV phones. Although the Access will come out a month earlier, this is not a cause for worry for Sprint because with its sleek and beautiful design, the Instinct will be sure to come out on top.

Fun Meets Serious in the New Sony Ericsson W760

The mobile phone buying public has been used to phones becoming better and better with telecoms companies adding more features to their phones. Sony Ericsson is one company that takes this competitive spirit beyond by upping the ante. On January this year, they announced the launching of the new Sony Ericsson W760 set to be released spring of this year.

The latest in its Walkman phones, the W760 is a master when it comes to its multimedia features, especially its music player. You can store up to 950 music tracks in its 1GB Memory Stick already included in the package. Displaying the trademark Sony Ericsson features like SensMe (can match music according to your mood) and TrackID (can allow you to identify the title song and artist). You can even adjust the volume and move on to another song just by shaking your phone.

The W760 has monster built-in stereo speakers perfect for small or even large parties. An optional accessory called the Active Speaker is available if you want to play your music to large crowds. It also functions as an FM radio antenna as well as a protective case for your Walkman phone.

And to the delight of Sony Ericsson fans, the W760 has been fitted with a 3.2 megapixel camera in its 2.2 inch screen. It has digital zoom and auto rotate, a cool feature that allows the user to rotate the photo just by twisting the phone in any direction you want. It also has picture and video blogging capability with photos and videos you take directly going to your website blog just by adding a caption and title. This is HSDPA supported and email and chat is possible using its Access Netfront Web Browser and RSS feeds so you won’t miss your latest news and sports info.

The W760 also features a GPS system allowing you to find any location through its Wayfinder Navigator. It can permit you to find over 20 million points of interest wherever you are in the world. And this is truly a global phone with tri-band HSDPA commanding fast broadband speed for your data and online downloads. And for the gamers, this is great news because with its fast download capability, games like Need for Speed ProStreet can be played uninterrupted.

This fun and funky gadget is available in Fancy Red and Intense Black and is gorgeous at only 15 mm thin. Talk time is up to 9hours, standby time is up to 400 hours and the W760 can give you at least 20 hours of music listening pleasure. Truly, a phone that can satisfy a person’s every desire.

Envious of the LG EnV2

The LG EnV2 has a cute name. However, this phone is everything but cute. This is actually one heck of a phone. With Verizon as its official carrier, the EnV2 has already been released in the market. It offers its subscribers services from Verizon like VCast Music and Video and VZ Navigator.

This little wonder has a full QWERTY keyboard perfect for typing emails and instant messages. It has a chat feature that can support AOL, Windows Live and Yahoo. Its high speed data service is CDMA2000 1xEV-DO which can allow its users to access and transfer large data and applications faster and easier. It also permits the user to roam from one network coverage to the other so that precious internet connection won’t be interrupted or lost. The EnV2 also carries a GPS Navigation system under VZ Navigator which can access several maps and locations guides.

Its users are also given the option to use the full QWERTY keyboard or the 5-way keypad. The latter is best for calling functions. It functions like a regular clamshell device that you can flip open to reveal a 2.4 inch internal screen. The outer screen functions more like a message and call alarm device.

The EnV2 is more than a smartphone, it’s also a fun phone. Its music player can play MP3, WMA and AAC and AAC+ files. A Bluetooth supported headset removes the discomfort of long wires sticking out of your pockets. And like the Vu, it has Bluetooth supported profiles enabling it to access the stereo, basic printing, phone book and basic imaging.

On top of that, its 2.0 megapixel camera and video recorder uses the external screen for self-portrait capabilities while the internal screen supports an image editor that can allow you to rotate, crop and zoom to the image up to 10 times. LG has developed a TransFlash that has almost 8GB of memory and you can store all your music, videos and data on this. Talk time is 5.33 hours and standby time is 520 hours, quite reasonable by any standard.

All in all, this sleek black mobile phone is a pretty decent smartphone. It sure lacks some much needed element such as Wi-Fi but its high speed data transfer feature makes it up somehow. The LG EnV2 has some big shoes to fill since its predecessor, the EnV, had been popular with the Verizon subscribers. We just hope that the EnV2 will have that same effect.

Samsung Access: The TV Phone of the Future

AT&T has been scoping up all the cool new gadgets from mobile phone giants and Samsung is the latest contributor giving its subscribers the Samsung Access. The phone is part of their Media Flo campaign and is the first device that supports AT&T Mobile TV. It can allow its users to access television content, sporting events and even TV shows from your favorite networks such as Comedy Central, ESPN Mobile, MTV, CBS Mobile and Nickelodeon among others. Its one-touch TV access button makes it easy to handle, much like a no-nonsense remote control.

The Access have been criticized for its strange looking design and is essentially wide at 114 by 58 mm but Samsung defended their latest release saying the phone was designed for panoramic viewing, perfect for mobile TV. It features a 2.3 inch screen, stretched from the sides for ultimate DVD screen display. To compensate for the width, they made it a mere 12 mm thick and only 98 grams in weight. That’s definitely one light TV.

It doesn’t have Wi-Fi, sad to say but it’s a compact TV that fits in your pocket so that makes up for everything. It also has a great music player that plays AT&T Music. For more listening choices, this phone also has an FM radio and has monster external stereo speakers. The camera is pretty functional but its 1.3 megapixel camera without flash can be disappointing to some consumers.

Some of the other features have been downplayed but it is still pretty good for a phone that has TV capacity. Phonebook can store 1000 phone numbers and memory is expandable with a MicroSD slot. It has email and supports online chat through AOL, ICQ, Windows Live and Yahoo. And you don’t have to fret over downloading data from the internet because this has HSDPA. Connectivity options include Bluetooth 2.0 and USB 2.0.

Battery life for talk-time is only 4 hours but standby time is 400 hours. If you plan to use the TV often, you can always get a spare one. The beauty of the Samsung Access is its capability to literally bring your living room outside. People have always imagined what a phone with a TV would look like and this is it. But nobody would have thought that television can be shrunk to this size.

Internal memory capacity is yet to be announced but the Access will be available to its AT&T customers come May this year. If you’re the quintessential TV addict, then this phone is for you. 

Nokia 6210 Navigator: The Traveler’s Delight

While other mobile phone companies are focusing their attention on being the next smartest “smartphone” and integrating in just one gadget all computer and internet features, Nokia has gone in another direction. It still is producing gizmos that will beat all other so-called “smartphones”, but in the meantime, it has taken a breather and created the Nokia 6210 Navigator.

The Navigator has a very specific target market. These are people who love to travel and generally, people who doesn’t like to get lost in a new place and in this day and age, that’s practically everyone! The Navigator is equipped with a top-of-the-line GPS navigation system that can measure changes in orientation as well as direction. The main system is called Nokia Maps 2.0 which can find the shortest possible route to any specified location. There is a built-in compass that will determine your exact location and adjust your orientation when necessary. This mobile phone is perfect for following directions on foot.

However, if your destination is farther away, you can mount the phone in a car kit accessory included when you purchase the phone. Its touch screen will make accessing it easy while you are driving. The Navigator has A-GPS or assisted global positioning system capable of getting satellite signal in a few seconds. There are free local maps already installed in the phone’s memory and downloadable maps are available on the Nokia website. However, foreign maps and city guides need to be purchased at a reasonable price.

This phone is a great choice for people who are always on the go. Businessmen who travel constantly will consider this a good investment. And when you are having a vacation, it’s also a plus that the Navigator has a 3.2 megapixel camera, complete with flash, zoom capability and video calling. And long trips on the airplane won’t be a bore because this device supports an MP3 player capable of playing MP3, AAC, eAAC and M4A file formats. You can also be in touch with friends and family because this phone allows it user to send and receive email, go online and download from the internet. Its HSDPA capability will make it faster and easier for the owner to use its internet feature. Connectivity includes Bluetooth 2.0 and USB 2.0.

The Navigator is a pretty slider phone, only 15 mm thin and weighs a decent 117 grams. Internal memory is only 120 MB but its MicroSD Transflash allows for larger memory. It is slated to be release third quarter of this year and Nokia hopes to get people hooked on this very functional phone.

The LG Vu Experience

The LG Vu is set to be released in May and it is one of AT&T’s offering to the public after its successful launch of the iPhone. This widescreen device has a 3-inch screen and a built-in 2 megapixel camera and video recorder. Although this phone is far from replacing the ever evolving iPhone, it will be AT&T’s back-up contender when the iPhone is released from its exclusive AT&T carrier contract.

The relatively light LG Vu, weighing only 90 grams, will be sure to capture the hearts of Americans who pride themselves in getting the best features in a small and slim handset. Its touch screen capability makes operating it a breeze. Some critics however, say that it looks suspiciously like the iPhone but what touch screen phone doesn’t nowadays?

What matters most is what this gorgeous piece of device delivers when it comes to features.

It has only 120 MB internal memory but it is expandable, the LG Vu being equipped with MicroSD Transflash drive. The camera is just lovely engineering displaying up 2, 620, 000 colors in its screen with features such as multi-shot and landscape allowing you to experiment with different photo styles.

It has zoom ability of up to 10 times and autofocus, so basically any one can take great pictures with the Vu. It even added an image editor allowing the user to crop, rotate or zoom into the picture making it perfect blog and printer ready. The Vu is also packaged with email and instant messaging with chat capabilities supporting AOL, Windows Live and Yahoo.

Your multimedia experience is further enhanced with AT&T Mobile TV and Video. It is equipped with HSDPA so streaming and download won’t be a problem. It’s not Wi-Fi capable (yet) but LG, in a few months or so, will come out with Wi-Fi capable LG Vu’s.

The LG Vu also has a music player that supports MP3, WMA and AAC/AAC+ file formats. You can download basically any kind of music from the internet. It also boasts of a GPS navigation powered through AT&T Navigator which will further make your online mobile experience easier and faster. Connectivity options include Bluetooth and USB 2.0.

The wonderful thing about these options is that LG has already integrated Bluetooth supported devices like printers, headset and hands-free so you won’t have to fumble around with manually connecting them to these ports. Easy accessibility is the key here. The LG Vu may not replace the iPhone but it sure is a great alternative.

Microsoft Surface Launched by AT&T

AT&T recently launched Microsoft Surface in its stores in an effort to show customers that it is indeed a provider of innovative retail services. Microsoft Surface is a table-like screen that features multi-touch technology and is currently on display in AT&T stores in San Francisco, New York, San Antonio and Atlanta. Should the initial launch be successful, AT&T plans to showcase Microsoft Surface in over 2,000 AT&T stores nationwide.

A company executive at Microsoft says this joint effort by Microsoft and AT&T will provide shoppers with a fresh, exciting experience and that this development may change the landscape within which consumers shop. The Surface personalizes shopping experience through its multi-touch interface that enables shoppers to manipulate the table screen with gestures and touches. Users, for example, can access national, state and local maps and manipulate the maps according to their preference. Another noteworthy feature of the Surface is its handset recognition technology that enables the screen to “recognize” mobile devices placed on top of it, and displays information such as cellphone features accordingly. The Surface enhances a shopper’s experience by allotting him to view a graphic-rich rundown of mobile handset features. When two mobile handsets are placed next to each other on top of it, Surface will show a comparison of these devices.

As of this launching, the Surface can recognize eight cellular phones offered by AT&T including the Blackberry Curve 8310, the LG Shine and the Samsung BlackJack II.

Even as the Surface is being launched, the companies are already developing additional innovative features that can be added to the device. Future developments may include the “drop and drag” capability wherein customers will be able to access multi-media products such as video, graphics, ring tones, graphics, video and other content dragging the items from the Surface and dropping these onto their mobile devices. Additionally, this capability will also cover cellphone services. There are also reports that in the future, the recognition capability of Microsoft Surface will not be restricted to cellphone models, but that it may soon be able to recognize personal handsets as well.

An analyst says that while this development does enhance shopper experience, it is still too early to tell if it will have an impact on sales figures. The analyst notes though, that the potential of improving AT&T’s retail environment with the Surface is high as it could help educate its salespeople about the intricacies of mobile handsets and services.

Preview of Fring VoIP over iPhone Now Available

The voice over internet protocol application of Fring, an online community developed by an Israeli company, is now available over the iPhone.  The free, downloadable preview was recently released and can be accessed from the company website.

The application, called Fring, was created in collaboration with the academic research laboratories of the Holon Institute in Israel.  It enables users to interact with other Fring users – dubbed Fringsters – over the Wi-Fi connection of the iPhone.  Additionally, users will be able to chat in much the same way they do on their desktop computers, as well as on their cellular phones and other Internet-enabled devices. 

With the Fring application, handset owners will be able to synchronize their online contacts from other Internet communities thereby allowing Fringsters to communicate with their Yahoo, Skype, MSN, Google Talk, ICQ, AIM and Twitter contacts.  Fring users will also be able to make calls over the Wi-Fi network making for inexpensive voice calls on mobile phones.  Fring also showcases its always-on, always-connected capability that constantly alerts the user of contact presence.  Users will know if their contacts are online, offline, away, are currently taking calls or logged in via their mobile devices or their computers. 

Although the application is free, Fring will only run on iPhone handsets that are compatible with the software.  Additional charges, such as fees for data usage, will also have to be covered by cellphone owners.  Besides the iPhone, Fring is also available on handsets running on the Windows Mobile operating system, Nokia cellphones running on Symbian S60, UIQ smartphones, Sony Ericsson phones and over 500 other mobile phone units. 

This beta version of Fring was released to enable its developers to accumulate relevant information that will help the company enhance the final product, which is slated to be commercially available during the later part of the year.  The preview will enable the company to gauge demand from iPhone users as well as gather feedback on users’ experience with the application. 

An analyst note that VoIP over mobile phones is not a new concept.  Nokia also offers this service via its Gizmo application.  The analyst says the reason it has gained much attention is that because the iPhone is involved.  Other analysts also offer a word of caution, saying that the quality of VoIP calls may vary depending on the network. 

Fring was launched in 2007 and is currently available in more than 180 countries.