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All posts tagged "phone"

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Flygrip Will Ease Your One Handed Fears

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad" @ 03:00 AM


"So you're walking with your iPhone in one hand, and a Starbucks latte in the other, and granted it is possible to use the iPhone in one hand, it could prove to be "fatal" since one hand tends to offer less support compared to two, and we all know that heart wrenching feeling when your brand new gadget slips out of your hand and onto the hard pavement."

Basically very simple, as all this does is attach to the iPhone case or the iPhone itself and you slide your fingers in and can start using your iPhone one handed without fear of dropping it. I can also be attached to the back of your iPad, or any other tablet for that matter. As you can see from the photos, it doesn't have to be an Apple product to work. Three sizes (small, medium and large) depending on the finger size and you can get them for $29.95 USD each from the Flygrip store located here. That seems a bit spendy to me, and I think I would rather just spend that on a better case. What are your thoughts?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Win an LG Quantum Windows Phone 7

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Events" @ 10:00 AM

Just a quick reminder that we're running a free phone give-away: there's an unlocked LG Quantum up for grabs. It's fast and easy to enter; all you need is a YouTube account. Check out this post for more details.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Microsoft's Project Pink is now Kin

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone News" @ 10:23 AM


I'm in the midst of watching the stream of the live keynote on this event, so will report back later, but wanted to share this news as soon as possible. This isn't a Windows phone - it's a highly-focused feature phone that's targeted at a certain group of users. It integrates the full Zune client as well...more to come! The Kin Web site is also live.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

iZel Universal Device Stand

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 AM


"The iZel is a totally unique and innovative way to support your device for hands free use. Its remarkable design supports a wide range of the world's most popular devices. It has a clever method for adapting its shape to landscape or portrait orientations and it is easily adjusted to position your screen for the optimal viewing angle. Best of all, it folds flat and travels easily. The iZel's durable construction is made possible by using a sophisticated slip-resistant elastomer that helps to keep your device in its place and looking new. Use the iZel when you want to watch a video, make a hands-free call, monitor your email, surf the web, or to simply use your device as a digital picture frame."

This is certainly one way to go about things, but it seems a bit larger than what I want to carry around. Personally, I keep a few paperclips in my bag and just make myself a quick stand on the few occasions that I need one.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

"Zune Phone" a Nokia?

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune News" @ 12:30 PM


"Nokia is currently working with the Zune team on integration of Zune Marketplace content according to a well placed source within Microsoft. The joint development is directed at content delivery rather than a hardware device according to the source. It has long been assumed by many tech followers that Zune content and software would find it's way onto Windows Mobile devices, thereby offering competition to the unfortunately popular iPhone. The interesting thing about the Nokia Zune partnership is that Nokia does not support Windows Mobile. It appears Microsoft may be developing a two front war against the iPhone, namely Windows based smart phones and more abundant 'non-smart' phones."

Take it or leave it, but Zune-Scene's reporting that if and when the Zune team releases a media player client for a mobile phone (a.k.a. the "Zune Phone", "zPhone" or "Pink and Purple project"), it won't be on Microsoft's own Windows Mobile platform as widely speculated, but on rival Nokia's series of smartphones. As with past Zune-Scene reports, this one is short on detail (e.g. no release date, lots of plausible deniability) and high on outlandish claims. While keeping this in mind, I should also point out that Zune-Scene's sources have been right on a number of these scoops in the past. This should be fun to watch as it develops.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Purchase Microsoft Points With Your Phone... In Japan

Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home News" @ 10:30 AM


What if filling up on Microsoft Points was as easy as picking up your phone and having the cost added to your phone bill? That's how it is for NTT DoCoMo users in Japan, and hopefully, that's just a starting point.

If Microsoft is working with other carriers to make this available around the world, great. If not, they probably should. A vast majority of Xbox Live Marketplace and Zune Marketplace users probably have a mobile device of some sort - some have their reasons against directly linking their Windows Live ID and credit card together, while others don't always want to make the trek to their local store to pick up one of the many Microsoft Points cards on offer, so this third option makes a lot of sense.

Friday, May 4, 2007

What's Your Take on Ballmer's Zune Phone Comments?

Posted by Aaron Roma in "Zune Talk" @ 05:54 AM


"Q: When can we look forward to a Zune phone?

A: It's not a concept you'll ever get from us. We're in the Windows Mobile business. We wouldn't define our phone experience just by music. A phone is really a general purpose device. You want to make telephone calls, you want to get and receive messages, text, e-mail, whatever your preference is. The phone really is kind of a general purpose device that we need to have clean and easy to use. "

Despite rampant rumors of an impending Zune phone, even dating prior to before the initial Zune launch, Steve Ballmer has recently nay-sayed that idea in a USA Today interview. Does Ballmer's comments mean we will never see a Zune Phone device? Maybe Microsoft has decided to play a wait-and-see game with the iPhone and judge its success before jumping on the band wagon. Or maybe his comments indicate Microsoft doesn't intend to produce a dedicated Zune Phone device, but rather they are looking at adding a software based Zune "client" to their existing or future Smartphone devices. What are your thoughts on Ballmer's Zune Phone comments?

Tags: phone, ballmer

Friday, April 20, 2007

Patent Shows Possible Zune Phone Tiled Interface

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 10:25 AM


"A newly published patent application assigned to Microsoft provides a unique insight into what the Zune Phone interface might look like. The patent, filed on June 16th 2006 and published on 12th April 1007 (sic), covers Tile Space User Interface for Mobile devices and discusses how small screens and a large number of features make it "difficult for users to access commonly used data and functions" on many mobile phones."

As a user of Windows Mobile phones, I have to admit that an interface such as the one pictured above (which incidentally ought to be taken with a grain of salt) seems a little too simplistic for my liking. But for the millions of average consumers out there, it is quite possibly attractive and functional. Your thoughts? What would you like to see incorporated in the future Zune Phone interface?

Friday, March 2, 2007

12 Microsoft Patents Equal a Zune Phone?

Posted by Damion Chaplin in "Zune Talk" @ 07:00 PM


"Our study of the 21 most important iPhone patents was able to generate such an accurate description of the iPhone that we decided to carry out the same study on the Zune phone which will be announced by Microsoft sometime this year. As you can see from the patents Microsoft have been very busy and its amazing to see how one image looks much the same as the image released by Crunch Gear. Interestingly some patents mention a clamshell phone. Could the Zune come in a clamshell version as well?"

Hmm... A clamshell Zune? So, how is that not a Smartphone? Because they put a different OS in it? Seriously, I think they'd do just as well rebranding an HTC Star Trek as the "Cingular Zune". In any case, these patents, when put together, do make a compelling argument for a Zune phone. It makes for pretty dry reading, but the posting does a pretty good job of cutting out the fat. You know, I would have thought for sure Creative already patented the "Capacitance touch slider"...

Tags: phone, patents

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Z-Phone, Now Just $9!

Posted by Damion Chaplin in "Zune Talk" @ 07:00 AM


Here's a funny short someone cooked up showing their concept of a Zune Phone with a giant receiver and running various different things like Windows Paint, DOS (or at least the command prompt) and Reversi on what looks like WM5. Yikes. While I might agree that the concept of a Zune phone is a little absurd in the first place, I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say it's quite that absurd.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Suggestions for the Zune Phone? List 'em!

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 11:30 PM


The Zune Phone ideas are arriving in swarms, so in a bid to manage it all, the folks at ZuneSphere have dutifully rounded them up and added their own. So far, Live Anywhere support, wireless sync, ease of use, 3G, and Bluetooth feature prominently in everyone's books, but I know that a few of you have some significant ideas that have yet to be mentioned, so leave your mark in this thread and let's hope the product team at Microsoft is reading.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More Views on a Zune Phone

Posted by Aaron Roma in "Zune Talk" @ 11:51 AM


"I find all the speculation of whether Microsoft is going to make a Zune phone amusing. No doubt it comes from interest in seeing how Microsoft will respond to Apple's iPhone, but noone seems to take into account that iPhone may be in response to Windows Mobile. Why should Microsoft invest in making a Zune phone, when with some minor alterations they could make Windows Mobile more competitive?"

Frank McPherson, author of How To Do Everything With Windows Mobile, weighs in with this opinion on the rumored Zune Phone device, and Todd Ogasawara of MobileViews responds to some of Frank's thoughts and offers up his own insights. Franks original blog can be found here, and Todd's follow-up here. McPherson's main argument is that a Zune Phone is not needed since Windows Mobile fits the bill. I disagree with this line of thought. Windows Mobile is designed for a completely different market segment than a Zune Phone will target. (Sure there is some overlap.) The majority of the Zune demographic does not need all of the flexibility, functionality, and complications, that come with a Windows Mobile device. Has there been a Windows Mobile phone to date that could be considered a successful consumer level device, rather than relegated to professionals and enthusiasts? The Zune Phone really needs to stick to the simplicity and ease of use that the current Zune offers.

Tags: phone

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Microsoft FCC Filing: Probably Not Zune Phone

Posted by Aaron Roma in "Zune Talk" @ 10:04 AM


"There's some buzz going around right now about a "Zune phone" filed with the FCC -- we did a little extra digging, and we're not really convinced that's what's at hand. We know a Zune phone is in the works, that much is abundantly clear, but what passed through the FCC was a pre-approval application document that ran down a list of questions the FCC had for a CE "coalition" consisting of Microsoft, Dell, Google, HP, Intel, Philips, who are apparently in on some device together."

Engadget warns not to believe the rumors surrounding Microsoft's recent FCC filing. According to Engadget, while it is clear this filing is for some sort of wireless device, the numbers just don't add up to this filing being related to the Zune or a precursor to the rumored Zune phone. What do you think? Does this filing herald the coming of a Zune VoIP phone device?

Tags: fcc, phone

Thursday, February 8, 2007

What the Zune Phone Needs to Beat the iPhone

Posted by Damion Chaplin in "Zune Talk" @ 09:00 PM


"Now that we're pretty sure the Zune Phone is coming, what do we want to see in it? Well, even though Microsoft's been leaving a lot of features out of first-generation products—especially when compared to Apple's feature-rich phone—here's a list of stuff that we think the Zune Phone needs to have to beat the iPhone... Of course, we'll be lucky if we see even a quarter of these features implemented on the first Zune Phone, but if we had to design one, this is what we'd want to see."

The features in question include: a Touchscreen, Wi-Fi and 3G Synching, OSX Compatibility and and Open Application Interface to name a few. Personally, I think the 'Streaming media from MCE or Xbox 360' would be the killer app here and would likely sway many Zune owners to buy an Xbox and Xbox owners to buy a Zune. What features do you think are must-haves for the Zune Phone?

Zune Phone Feature Wish List

Posted by Aaron Roma in "Zune Hardware" @ 10:00 AM


"Now that we all know about the supposed Zune phone rumors, several websites have decided to list their opinions on what would make the Zune phone successful... Ok.. all nice and dandy.. but somehow this all feels very constrained to me. I don’t believe we’re thinking outside the box enough. So with that said, here are my suggestions to what would make an awesome Zune phone..."

ZuneSphere sums up a few of the wish lists floating around for the rumored Zune Phone, and offers up an expanded list of features and functionality. Some of these features, such as enhanced Wi-Fi, replaceable battery, and streaming functionality, would be nice for any Zune model, not just a phone edition. Personally, I'm not sure I'd be too interested in a Zune Phone device. That being said, I do hope that the Zune team is looking at making more than just a mobile phone that happens to play music. A Zune Phone needs to take advantage of 24/7 connectivity. Namely, it must be able to directly interface with Marketplace, and it should allow for long distance sharing, not just short-range Wi-Fi sharing. What features do you feel are critical for a Zune Phone?

Friday, February 2, 2007

More Zune Phone Details Emerge

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 01:29 PM


"It will be a smartphone that works homogeneously with the Zune marketplace. It will most likely not, however, run Windows Mobile. Rather it’ll make use of an interface similar to the current Zune, an interface that I consider among the best available on audio players—I’m sure it can transition to a phone easily. Connectivity is the major concern of the device. It is said that it will be able to sync with the Xbox 360 and stream video from the system to the phone via a wireless data connection. This would be pivotal in Microsoft’s proliferation of its media ambitions. Not only does it already have millions of 360s in homes capable of downloading movies, it’d be able to distribute those videos directly to its phones. Cool stuff."

More rumours and speculation, but it's more to go on than the previous comment of "Yeah, we'll do a phone." Nothing in the rumours surprises me except the part of about it not being a Windows Mobile phone. Microsoft has invested a great deal of R&D into Windows Mobile, and it's a great platform for communications devices. What I think will happen instead is that the Zune phone won't be a Windows Mobile branded phone, but it will have the same software at its guts as a Windows Mobile Smartphone like the Motorola Q. There's just too much good stuff there to not take advantage of - and given the rushed time frame of the Zune, I think (hope) the Zune team realizes they don't have time to invent this from scratch and have it be a great product. I'll be honest though: based on what I've seen of the iPhone, and based on what we were given with the Zune, I'm not terribly confident that the Zune phone will be a great product right out of the gate. Perhaps I'm wrong - perhaps lessons have been gained from the Zune launch and the end of 2007 is enough of a time frame to deliver a great phone product. What do you think? How well will Microsoft execute on the Zune phone?

Tags: phone

Monday, November 20, 2006

If You Could Design the Zune Phone...

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 01:00 PM


"As reported by Bloomberg, Steve said that eventually we'll have a Zune device with phone features. That's funny actually, we had that capability years ago; the Windows Mobile phone. But just in case, if we wanted to build a newer device that rides on the Zune's popularity? Here's how I would make it."

Here is one man's dream Zune phone. So, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are requirements, and infrared and an FM radio are thrown in there for good measure. That's doable. Great form factor too? Sure. Okay, typical Windows Mobile software with uh... GPS navigation? All of a sudden, it's looking more like a "Pocket PC" or "Smartphone" and less like a Zune. But hey, it's just one man's dream Zune phone. And now it's your turn.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Microsoft and Their History of Hardware Design

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 06:22 AM

In the lead up to the official Zune launch, there's been much discussion around Microsoft's history of hardware design, and how some feel they don't have any experience designing hardware. I disagree with that, and here's why: compared to their ventures in the world of software, Microsoft has had relatively few hardware products, but for the most part they've all been quite impressively designed. A quick breakdown off the top of my head:

  • Microsoft Keyboard and Mice: I don't know the market share numbers, but the market is essentially ruled by Microsoft and Logitech. I'd say that Microsoft's designs are strong, and I've been pleased with many Microsoft keyboards over the years. Lately I've switched to Logitech because they seem to have more robust wireless connections, but I still recommend Microsoft wireless products to those with a single PC and single mouse/keyboard. Microsoft keyboards and mice are quick and easy to set up - great out of box consumer experience.

  • Microsoft Networking Products: After using D-Link, Linksys, and other mainstream networking vendors products for years, my first Microsoft networking product was a breath of fresh air. I've owned an MN-500 (802.11b wireless router), an MN-700 (802.11g), and several of their Ethernet hubs. All were superbly designed from a hardware point of view: they looked great, had excellent functionality, and the out of box setup experience was light years beyond what any other vendor was offering. Netgear is the only other networking vendor that comes close in out of box experience. Microsoft is no longer making their networking products, but that doesn't diminish the quality one bit.
  • Webcams: This is a brand-new hardware realm for Microsoft, and not having used one of their products yet, I don't have much to say. The reviews I've read say that their Webcams are functional enough, though apparently they don't reach the same overall quality levels as Logitech. First gen product blues? Perhaps. I'd say too early to call them a failure though. The design of the cameras themselves look strong, and I'm sure the out of box experience is solid.

  • Xbox and Xbox 360: Although the Japanese market may not have dug it, everyone I knew liked the way the original Xbox looked - like a muscle car. More than the hardware design itself though, the overall Xbox experience was one of quality. The controllers felt good, the software dashboard was well-designed. and the original Xbox was a solid product that made decent inroads against much more established competition. The Xbox 360 was a huge leap ahead in the design department, both from a hardware and software point of view. The dashboard user interface is fantastic, the functionality of the hardware is excellent, and the out of box end user experience was very high-quality: everything from the packaging to the instructions were top-tier.
  • Cordless Phones: Does anyone else remember the MP-900, Microsoft's entry into the cordless phone market in 1999? I bought one, and believe it or not, it was damn impressive! The hardware itself was fantastic; much higher quality overall than similar cordless phones at the time, and no product on the market could match the functionality. After installing the software on your PC, and connecting the phone to your computer (via a serial port I believe), you could use voice activation on the phone to cay "Call John" and the PC would initiate a call from your address book and hand it off to the phone. The product mustn't have sold very well though, because Microsoft never released a newer version, of even any drivers for Windows 98.
  • Gaming Products: Microsoft has released a variety of joysticks, game pads, and other gaming products over the years. I owned several iterations of the Sidewinder joystick back in the day, and all were excellently designed and executed upon - I had zero complaints about the hardware design or functionality.
  • Other Products: Looking through the Microsoft Hardware Site, there are a smattering of other products, including a wireless "clicker" for presentations, but I haven't used their other products. I can't recall having read a negative review about any of the remaining products though.
  • Concept Designs: I've seen PDA and phone concept designs, from in-house Microsoft design teams, that would make your jaw drop. I can't say much do to NDAs, but it's very clear to me that Microsoft employs people that really care about hardware design. For the launch of Windows Vista, Microsoft has created a hardware design guide for OEMs to use if they wish. Microsoft knows that hardware design matters just as much as software design. We no longer live in the era of the bland beige box - design matters.
So what's my point here? I believe that Microsoft has a better track record with their in-house hardware designs than most people would care to admit. This gives me hope that the Zune effort as a whole will be guided by some of these same principles that previous hardware designs have tapped into. That hope is bolstered by the fact that the Zune team is made up of some ex-Xbox 360 team members; one would hope they'd bring much of the same design ethos that guided the Xbox 360 into the Zune project.

My enthusiasm was tempered somewhat when I read that Toshiba was manufacturing the Zune for Microsoft - I wouldn't say that Toshiba has the most impressive hardware designs I've ever seen, though their laptops have certainly improved in the past couple of years. I don't know how much input the Zune team had over the design, but we can hope they did. The FCC pictures we've seen of the first Zune haven't been very impressive - I'm concerned about the thickness of the unit - but I've yet to see any product look impressive in FCC pictures. Later today there should be some significant Zune news, so the shroud of mystery will be lifted - at least a little.

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