Archive for October, 2009

Gadgets and canapés: PR, Paranoia and the Palm Pre [review]

steve-palm-preI finally have a Palm Pre in my hands. Well not literally as it would be kind of difficult to type this post, unless I did it on the phone of course, which I’m not. Have you tried the keyboard? It’s pretty good but it’s not that good.

But a working UK GSM version of the Pre is sat next to me and I have the device on loan for the next 10 days or so. Remember, I’ve been chasing down the Pre for almost nine months, ever since it was first announced at January’s CES. So this feels like a big deal (the device went on sale today here in the UK, exclusively on O2).

And, frankly, I’m not used to waiting this side of the pond while my US brethren get to fondle a phone first.

It sucks.

Anyway, back to the Pre. I’ve written up my Day One impressions of the UK version of the Palm Pre, along with a tongue-in-cheek description of the PR back-story, in my debut column — working title: Gadgets and canapés — for Ewan MacLeod’s Mobile Industry Review (MIR). I hope to make a regular contribution to MIR and I’ll definitely be revisiting the Pre after a full week in.

Here’s a quote from the piece where I talk about the Pre’s Google and Facebook integration.

[Yes, I am quoting myself. Oh and it is #FollowFriday on Twitter. Just sayin’.]

After entering my Google credentials into the Pre, the phone’s email client sprang to life, as did calendar and contacts. In some ways the webOS-powered Pre is the Google phone I was always hoped Android would be. Google integration is on a par with stock Android but has a far superior UI. The Pre’s calendar is one example, with multi-calendar support and a nifty accordion metaphor to utilise screen real estate when part of the day is empty.

Importing Facebook contacts, avatars included, also worked as expected, and merging any duplicate contacts between Google and Facebook, for the most part, happened automatically. Manually linking contacts that Synergy had missed was also trivial.

Head over to MIR to read the full post ‘First impressions of the UK Palm Pre: We like it!

The unsolved Macbook Melted Key Mystery

11102009089Late last night I looked down at my unibody Macbook’s keyboard and, shock-horror, the zero key had melted! There was no obvious color degradation – in other words, no sign of external burning as if something scorchingly hot had been dropped on it (I don’t smoke anyway) – but either way, the key had definitely melted. But how?

See also: My new Macbook and me (first impressions)

At this moment, I still have no idea. What I do know is that no other keys have been affected, but I’m guessing that the rubberized keys on the latest Apple Macbooks don’t need much heat to cave in, literally (see pic above). This, naturally, brings into question Apple’s build quality.

Or does it?

Let me know your own theory to explain the Macbook Melted Key Mystery by leaving a comment.

Back from the Sony Ericsson Satio launch – first impressions

Last night I was lucky enough to attend a really fun Sony Ericsson launch party – a kind of rebranding of sorts underpinned by the slogan ‘make.believe’ and used to officially launch the company’s new flagship Satio handset. The night also involved a fantastic live musical performance: A modern interpretation of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, co-produced by Goldie (and others), featuring artists such as Miss Dynamite and Kano accompanied by The Bays and The Heritage Orchestra.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the tech. Here are my first (brief) impressions of the Sony Ericsson Satio.

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Palm to developers: "We love you man"

Setting webOS apps free.

Despite the scarcity of third-party offerings available in Palm’s webOS app store so far, I’m remain bullish regarding the smartphone maker’s ability to attract developers to its platform. Although I’ve said right from the start that doing so will play a major part in making or breaking the company’s second coming.

Today, Palm made a number of announcements after listening to feedback from the community, the biggest of which is that developers will be able to ‘self-sign’ their apps and distribute them via the Web, and in doing so, bypass any formal approval process. It’s not a complete free-for-all unlike what is possible on the Google-led Android as Palm will still own and issue the URL used for web distribution but the lack of an approval process, if developers choose to go this way, will enable more traditional online marketing techniques for third-party apps and speed up beta testing, something that is the bane of iPhone developers.

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Without Apple's help, Adobe building Flash to iPhone development bridge

Building bridges, literally.

Flash-iPhoneNo, Adobe isn’t bringing Flash player support to iPhone. That would require cooperation from Cupertino, something that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is unlikely to sanction. Instead, the upcoming version of the latest Flash developer tools – Adobe Flash Professional CS5 – will offer Flash developers a way to output their finished creations as a native app for iPhone and iPod touch.

Since the source code is iPhone OS native, presumably through an Actionscript to Objective-C bridge, the resulting apps should qualify for submission to the iPhone App Store just as they would if they’d been built using Apple’s own development tools. This means that developers can re-factor their Flash creations for the iPhone and iPod touch, with Apple remaining in control of distribution.

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7digital launches in the US, BlackBerry music download store provides the splash

Like many British acts, UK-based music download service 7digital is hoping to conquer America. Today the company announced that its 6 million plus strong MP3 music store has opened its doors in the US, with tracked offered from Universal Music Group, Warner, EMI, Sony and an array independent labels.

To coincide and spearhead 7digital’s US launch, the company has also released the BlackBerry MP3 Music Store application for RIM’s latest range of smartphones (BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Curve 8900, BlackBerry Tour, BlackBerry Curve 8520 and BlackBerry Storm).

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Adobe Flash seen running on Palm Pre – Netbooks, MIDs, and other smartphones also set to win (iPhone aside)

Adobe has long talked up its ambition to have Flash running on all manner of screens, not just the humble PC, and today the company got a lot closer to walking the walk not just talking.

Through the Open Screen Project, Adobe was already known to be working with smartphone platforms from Palm (WebOS), Nokia (Symbian) and Microsoft (Windows Mobile), along with a raft of content providers, chip makers and consumer electronics companies. Today, the company added Google and Research In Motion to the list, with relation to Android and Blackberry-powered smartphones respectively, leaving Apple’s iPhone as the odd one out regarding planned support for full Flash (or any Flash support at all).

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Zatz Not Funny: Squeezebox app store, AppleTV with Blu-ray?, EyeTV iPhone app, Verizon hub discontinued

A periodic roundup of relevant news from our friends at Zatz Not Funny


Squeezebox embraces app store phenomenon

Mari Silbey: Logitech is introducing an App Gallery that will organize all of the Squeezebox service options in the now-familiar “App Store” format.

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Weekly wrapup: NewTeeVee Live discount, Android's failings, HTC Hero review, iPhone monopoly broken, Palm Pre UK release date

Here’s a summary of the last weeks’ digital lifestyle action on last100. Note that you can subscribe to the weekly wrapups, either via the special weekly wrapup RSS feed or by email.

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NewTeeVee Live: Understand TV Everywhere with speakers from Comcast, Adobe, Nielsen, MTV and more (last100 readers get a 10% discount!)

last100 is proud to be a media sponsor of this year’s NewTeeVee Live conference. Better still, readers qualify for a 10% discount on tickets to the event.


Three things that I hate about Android #fail

Having lived with the Vodafone HTC Magic for a few months now, there are a few things that really bug me about the standard version of Android. Yes, this is going to be a bit of rant.

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