Monday, June 16, 2008

Are you ready for a 3G iPhone?

6 million units sold in 12 months - this is how successful the original iPhone is, though it's only available in US and a few European countries officially. Apple now has become one of the largest smartphone providers. The first generation iPhone was exciting and revolutionary. However, we didn't get a chance to touch it here legally (although the unlocked iPhone is on sale everywhere, I don't feel comfortable to own one). It also lacks of some important features, such as 3G and GPS. But now, the second generation iPhone will be here with almost everything you can imagine!

The new 3G iPhone, announced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs on 9th June, will ship on 11th July in 22 countries, including New Zealand. Thank god, we'll finally have a real iPhone in NZ! But should we queue up on 11th July when the iPhone 3G becomes available? Before we dig into the features and evaluate the value of the 3G iPhone, let's take a look at the brief history of iPhone:
  • 9th Jan, 2007 - The iPhone is announced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs
  • 29th Jun, 2007 - The iPhone goes on sale in US. The 4GB version is sold for US$499 (NZ$670) and the 8GB model costs US$599 (NZ$800)
  • 5th Sep, 2007 - Apple lowers the price of the 8GB model to US$399 (NZ$535) and the 4GB model will be phased out
  • 9th Nov, 2007 - The iPhone goes on sale in Germany and UK
  • 5th Feb, 2008 - Apple unveils the 16GB iPhone
  • 6th Mar, 2008 - Apple announces the iPhone SDK, that allows independent software developers to create and sell programs for iPhone
  • 6th May 2008 - Vodafone announces plans to sell iPhone in 10 countries
  • 9th Jun, 2009 - Steve Jobs unveils iPhone 3G. The new iPhone will be available in 70 countries this year, beginning with 22 countries on 11th July, and we're one of them!
The new iPhone 3G will pack with 3G support and built-in GPS. The pricing is also exciting. In US, the 8GB model will cost only US$199 (NZ$270) and the 16GB model is US$299 (NZ$400). Although the NZ price is not yet available at the time of writing, I'm expecting no more than NZ$400 for the 8GB model. Of course, there will be a compulsory service plan bundled with the phone. In US, it comes with a two-year contract with phone and data components. The phone plan starts from US$40 per month (NZ$55) and the data plan will cost US$30 per month (NZ$40) for unlimited data. The NZ service price is a big question mark at the moment. Certainly we may not be able to get the US$30/m unlimited data plan here, because the current Broadband Starter mobile data plan from Vodafone costs NZ$40/m for only 200MB. I'm really interested in what kind of service plan Vodafone will throw here. We'll know in the next couple of weeks.

Apart from the truth of finally having it here, now let's check out what features the new iPhone has. Apple claims that the new iPhone is three devices in one - a Phone, an iPod and an Internet device.

iPhone 3G as a Phone

As a phone, the new iPhone 3G has all the ordinary features that a modern smartphone has. But it adds a few new features over the original iPhone. Now, it supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, which gives you push contacts and lets you access your company's Global Address list. In other words, iPhone enhances the function and image of being a business phone, in order to compete with Blackberry and other business smartphone providers.

But for the rest of us who don't use Microsoft Exchange, Apple has announced a new service called MobileMe. With MobileMe, you can store all your emails, contacts and calendars on an online server and pushes them down to your iPhone, iPod touch, Mac and PC. When you make a change on one device, the server updates the others. The MobileMe service will cost US$99 (NZ$135) for one-year subscription with 20GB of combined email and file storage.

Although the 3G network will make video calling possible, the 3G iPhone doesn't come with a secondary camera on the front. So you won't be able to make normal video calls. Some people think it's very disappointing, but personally I don't care so much. I have the video calling functionality on my Nokia N95 8GB and my old Nokia 7390. But I have only tried once a couple of years ago and never bothered again.

iPhone 3G as an iPod

As an iPod, iPhone functions the same as an iPod touch. Nothing special to discuss here, but we'd like to the see the 32GB iPhone in the near future.

iPhone 3G as an Internet Device

Similar to the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G comes with Safari web brower, Mail and Maps applications. But this time, we'll get the 3G speed and GPS support. Under 3G network, the web download speed will be at least 2.4x times faster than the EDGE/GSM network.

with the A-GPS (Assisted GPS) solution, the iPhone 3G will be a navigation device to guide you home. In addition to A-GPS, the iPhone 3G uses signals from GPS satellites, Wi-Fi hot spots and cellular towers to get the most accurate location fast.

Reading emails on the phone is one of the most popular smartphone uses. With iPhone 3G, not only the big screen makes emails easier to read, but also supports rich HTML, so iamges and photos appear alongside text, plus you can open attachments in PDF, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint formats.

Overall, the iPhone 3G delivers UMTS, HSDPA, GSM, Wi-Fi, EDGE, GPS, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, 2 megapixel camera and fabulous Apple software in one compact device. The new iPhone will also be available in 2 colours - Black for the 8GB model and Black or White for the 16GB model.

The new iPhone 3GB will support 17 languages, including English, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and many more. The battery life is 5 hours talk time on 3G and 10 hours on 2G network. The standby time is up to 300 hours.

After reading the above, you may ask that, if the new iPhone is so good, why it's so cheap? It's a combination of lower component costs, cheaper materials and changing of business models. Apple is using plastic instead of metal on the new iPhone's case. Apple and AT&T also drop revenue sharing model. Instead, AT&T has subsidized a portion of the handset's cost. I'm assuming Vodafone has the similar business model with Apple.

Now you should know better about the new iPhone 3G. Are you ready to buy one? For myself, it's definitely an attractive toy to have. The phone price isn't too bad. But I'm waiting to see the service plan price and then make the decision.

Lastly, what would we like to see more about the iPhone? Maybe a better camera, like the 5 megapixel camera on Nokia N95; a bigger storage option, like the 32GB iPod touch; and a secondary camera for video calling, like we can find on most 3G phones.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

3G iPhone Coming in 2008

AT&T CEO says that Apple will announce a 3G version of the iPhone in 2008. We don't know the price yet. There are about 200 million people connected to 3G around the world, with Asia and Europe making up the majority of users. One of the problems with the 3G phones is that they consume too much power.

Apple has set a goal of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008. It sold its one millionth iPhone on September 10, 2007, 74 days after it was introduced.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Unlocked iPhone On Sale in France

France Telecom set the price for an unlocked iPhone at US$1,106 (NZ$1,435). Only Orange in France and T-Mobile in Germany are currently selling iPhones unlocked out of the box. T-Mobile, owned by Deutsche Telekom, began offering unlocked iPhones for about NZ$1,900.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

iPhone & iPod Sync to Office 2008

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac will let users export PowerPoint presentations to iPhones and video-equipped iPods. Then you can use the built-in photos or slide-show program on your iPod or iPhone to show your presentation.

Apple's own Keynote presentation maker can also export its slide shows to iTunes. From there, Keynote presentations can be synced to iPods or iPhones.

Microsoft will release Office 2008 for Mac on 15th January 2008 in the US.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

First Look of Nokia N82

Nokia N82 has just launched. Let's have a quick look of its key features:
  • Quad-band GSM
  • WiFi
  • GPS
  • FM Tuner
  • Bluetooth
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 5 megapixel camera (Carl Zeiss lens with Xenon flash)
  • Automatic rotating 2.4" QVGA display
  • microSD expansion
  • Support for Nokia's own Ovi goodies
The price is around 450 euro (NZ$870). For more photos of Nokia N82, check out Allen's Flickr.

China Mobile May Sell iPhone

China Mobile is in talks with Apple to sell the iPhone in China. But they're not keen on the type of revenue-sharing model that Apple has insisted on elsewhere in the world.

Apple has said it will roll out iPhones in Asia next year, and China Mobile would be a good catch for the company. It is the world's largest mobile operator, boasting almost 350 million subscribers at the end of September 07.

However, China Mobile is also a member of Google's Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of technology and service companies that will develop products based on Google's Android mobile phone platform, which will be a competitor for the iPhone.

Google Offers $10M for Best Android Mobile Apps

Google will give $10 million to the developers who build the best applications for Android, the open source platform Google designed for building mobile phones.

The software development kit is now available for download on the Android site.

The $10 million in prizes will be divided into awards of $25,000 to $275,000, and given to developers who can win over Google's panel of judges.

Developers can submit applications between Jan. 2 and March 3. The 50 best will receive $25,000 awards to fund further development. In May 2008, the 10 best will be given $275,000 each, and the next ten $100,000 each. A second challenge will be launched in the second half of next year after the first handsets built on Android hit the market.

Thousands of iPhone Sold in UK and Germany

The U.K. and German iPhone launch weekend has seen heavy trading as many move to sign-up for an iPhone.

In Germany T-Mobile claims to have sold 10,000 of them by the afternoon of launch day.

In the UK, O2 reportedly managed an expectation-breaking 8,000 iPhone activations on the first day of launch, and has confirmed it's on a five-year exclusive contract with Apple. While 8,000 activations have taken place, actual sales may have been higher.

Reports claim a 3G version of the iPhone shouldn't be expected before the end of 2008. Analysts note that the lack of 3G support may limit the impact of the first-generation of the device in Europe, where mobile-savvy consumers are used to the luxury of the standard.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

i-mate Ultimate 8502

The i-mate Ultimate 8502 is a well-balanced messaging device with every flavor of wireless connectivity you could possibly need. The word-wide 3.5G connectivity supports HSDPA and HSUPA on three bands. WiFi works with both 802.11b and 802.11g. The Bluetooth 2.0 also supports Enhanced Data Rate. Yes, it has fully integrated GPS. And of course, it's a quad-band GSM phone with EDGE, too.

  • Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.0 Professional
  • UMTS HSDPA/HSUPA 850/1900/2100 MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
  • WiFi and Bluetooth 2.0 EDR
  • 256MB ROM, 128MB RAM
  • MicroSD card slot
  • 2.0 Meagepixel fixed focus camera with LED compensation light
  • 2.6" QVGA Touch-Screen
  • Integrated GPS
  • Direct Video output for projectors & displays

  • Narrow design makes the Ultimate 8502 feel more like a phone, and less a PDA
  • Innovative keyboard design offers unexpected comfort and usability
  • Integrated GPS allows the use of any favorite mapping application in addition to many location-based services
  • PAL and NTSC video support allow you to connect the Ultimate 8502 to a wide range of displays and projectors
  • The brilliant compensation LED makes the megapixel camera as usable in a dark restaurant as in daylight

Available Accessories:
  • Battery - Removable and rechargeable lithium ion batteries have a capacity of 1530 mAh
  • Headset - Listen to all your media in crystal-clear stereo! The headset also enables hands-free conversations with friends and colleagues while on-the-go
  • Power Cord - Recharge your Ultimate at any outlet. Even if you are traveling abroad i-mate can keep you going with its travel adapters
  • Protection Case - Preserve the beauty of your device with the elegant leather protection case
  • Stylus - Need another stylus? Match your Ultimate with a new stylish stylus
  • Video Cord - Connect your Ultimate directly to a monitor or projector!
For more product photos, check out i-mate Ultimate 8502 Photos

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Smartphone NZ is Launched!

Welcome to Smartphone NZ! Your best source for Smartphone information!