Posts Tagged ‘Samsung’

Review: Samsung Galaxy Note

I’m not entirely sure who the Samsung Galaxy Note is aimed at, but as somebody who gets to observe from the sidelines, this is one fun, functional and loveable device — although it comes at an out of contract price of around £450-500 upwards, give or take.

The biggest talking point of the Galaxy Note is its size: packing a 5.3-inch Super AMOLED display that sports full HD resolution of 1280 x 800p, this thing is BIG for a phone. That begs the question – Samsung actively encourages it – is the device a smartphone or a tablet?

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Samsung Blu-ray players to support YouTube and Blu-ray rips!

This is one of those press releases that made me chuckle. Samsung today announced that it has added support for YouTube, along with video formats that utilize the Matroska (MKV) container. While just about every media player — from set-top boxes to mobile phones — can access the Google-owned video sharing site these days, MKV support is less common and, perhaps, for a good reason too.

The open source format is fast becoming the standard for Blu-ray rips and, like DivX/Xvid before it, the main choice for sharing pirated movies via the Internet. Only in this case they are in full HD. That’s something that Samsung, understandably, doesn’t quite say.

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First 'powered by Chumby' device to be a digital picture frame, Internet-connected TVs to follow

When Chumby, makers of the boutique gadget of the same name (a sort of cross between an alarm clock radio and digital picture frame, housed in a leather ‘bean bag-esque’ casing), announced that is was porting its widget-based platform to third-party hardware, the emphasis was on Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes. Now it seems that the first ‘powered by Chumby’ device will be something much closer to the company’s own hardware: a digital picture frame, to be released in time for the holidays, reports Forbes.

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Samsung opens up its TouchWhiz homescreen; widgets let developers target all three screens

When I reviewed Samsung’s touch screen feature phone, the Tocco SGH-F480, I described the home screen widgets, part of the company’s “TouchWhiz” user interface, as “a fun but under developed feature”. At the time, the Tocco only offered seven widgets, including a clock, calendar, birthday reminder, photo browser and music player, and I bemoaned the fact that third-party developers were unable to create more.

That was almost a year ago, and today Samsung announced that it’s finally opening up the TouchWhiz widget platform, which exists across many of the company’s touch screen phones running Symbian, Windows Mobile, and the handset maker’s proprietary operating system. Third party developers will be able to build their own home screen widgets using familiar web standards – HTML, JavaScript and CSS – similar to Nokia’s WRT or, on a more ambitious scale, the Palm Pre’s WebOS, or indeed any widget platform whether it be targeting mobile, the PC or the television.

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Palm Pre to launch on O2 in the UK, just don't mention the competition

It’s now official: The Palm Pre will launch exclusively on Telefonica-owned O2 here in the UK.


“In time for the holidays”, say Palm and O2, with no word yet on pricing. My guess is that we’re talking early October, enough time to ramp up for Christmas spending.

Either way, it’s a pretty long time to wait, especially since O2 will have been busy pimping its other flagship exclusive. Apple’s newly launched iPhone 3GS.

And then there’s the rest of the competition.

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Samsung's first Google phone: Android 1.5, OLED screen, thinner than iPhone


Samsung's Android-based i7500

At last there’s some real competition among phones running Google’s Android OS, with Samsung announcing its first “Gphone”, the unimaginatively named i7500, which should see a European release in June (no word yet on U.S. availability).

Despite Samsung being one of the first major handset makers to join the Google-led Open Handset Alliance, it was left to Taiwanese HTC, working closely with T-Mobile and Google itself, to release the first Android phone called the G1 (see our review). And although the Android OS impressed, particularly its fast and elegant web browser, the G1’s hardware was disappointing to say the least. The device is chunky, has a sub-par camera, and the phone’s battery life doesn’t tally with Android’s always-on connectivity. HTC’s follow-up, the Magic, looks to be an improvement over the G1, although I’ve yet to have a hands-on with the device so can’t say for sure. Enter Samsung’s i7500, which on paper at least, has a number of things going for it.

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Yahoo's Widget Channel debuts on new Samsung Internet-connected TVs

Unveiled at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Yahoo’s “Widget Channel” for Internet-connected televisions has debuted on high end sets from Samsung, reports CNet.

Re-branded by Samsung as “Internet@TV”, the feature enables users to install mini-apps referred to as “widgets” that offer access to a range of Yahoo services — news, stock quotes, Flickr photos, weather — along with those from third-party services, such as Twitter and eBay.

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MWC: Five handsets that caught my eye

This week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona has seen a flurry of handset announcements boasting, amongst other features, more megapixels, support for HD video, OLED screens and touchscreen UIs. Here’s five handsets that caught my eye.

Samsung Omnia HD

Not content with competing on megapixels alone, the Omnia HD, as the name suggests, is the first smartphone to both record and playback High Definition video. And that’s proper High Def (720p) unlike the slightly misleadingly named Touch HD from HTC. However, there’s much, much more to like about the Omnia HD, not least its 3.7″ AM OLED touch screen, which if the screen on Nokia’s N85 is anything to go by (I have one on loan right now), will be absolutely stunning. The device also has full DLNA certification, meaning that it’s possible to share media shot or stored on the handset with other UPnP AV devices, such as a PlayStation 3 connected to a High Definition TV.

OS-wise, the Omnia HD uses the latest Symbian OS and the touch-friendly version of S60, although Samsung have customized the home screen quite a bit, including various widgets as first seen on the Tocco.

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Review: Samsung Tocco SGH-F480

Tocco is the Italian word for touch, and as you may have guessed, the Tocco SGH-F480 is Samsung’s latest touchscreen phone to hit the market. Once again, comparisons to the iPhone are inevitable, and although the Tocco is no iPhone killer – not that such a thing exists – it does sport at least a couple of features – haptic feedback and a 5 megapixel camera – that better Apple’s iconic device.

The Tocco is also smaller than the iPhone, measuring 98.4 x 55 x 11.6 mm compared to Apple’s 115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3 mm. It’s lighter too, shaving off just over 25 grams. Of course, what you gain in pocketability, you lose in screen real estate (particularly important for a touchscreen device), although we think that for those who find the iPhone to be on the bulky side, especially when used as a phone, the trade off could be worth it. If you’ve ever wondered what an iPhone nano might look like, the Tocco gives you a pretty good idea.

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Mobile OS wars heat up as Verizon joins LiMo Foundation, a Google-Android rival

VerizonHere’s an interesting jab at Google and its mobile operating system Android: Verizon, the No. 2 U.S. carrier, is joining the LiMo Foundation because it has software and phones available, Google does not.

LiMo FoundationThe LiMo Foundation, representing Linux Mobile, is the lesser known of the mobile operating systems. There’s Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, supplying many makers of smart phones; Symbian, supplier mostly to Nokia; Qualcomm, supplier mostly to Verizon; upstart Google, and Apple. Then there’s Linux Mobile, slowly creeping along by adding devices mostly in Europe and Asia.

The LiMo (Linux Mobile) Foundation is a consortium of companies well vested in the mobile industry: Motorola, Samsung, LG Electronics, Vodaphone, NTT DoCoMo, and many others. Verizon is the first U.S. carrier to join the LiMo initiative, which now has 40 members worldwide.

The idea behind LiMo is to build a standardized, Linux-based mobile platform, which members can customize to meet their needs. For the most part, Linux Mobile is a competitor to Android, which is not yet available on any handsets. Linux Mobile is showing up on phones from Motorola, NEC, Panasonic, Samsung, and LG.

Kyle Malady, vice president of network for Verizon, said in a conference call today that he expects Verizon to sell both regular devices and smart phones using mobile Linux next year.

“We expect that Linux Mobile will rapidly become our preferred operating system,” Malady said to The Associated Press [via The New York Times] . “As the development community looks at how best to bring new applications to the marketplace, they should check out LiMo and Linux Mobile first.”

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