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Archive for the ‘Mobile Phone’ Category

In business a product could have a shorter life if it can’t win the hearts of people and showcase new technology, so take the case of Nokia, who is coming up with the Nokia Morph flexible mobile phone which the company claims include nanotechnology and would immensely benefit its end-users. The main benefit of Nanotechnology is that its components are flexible, transparent and extremely strong. The company believes this latest technology would be a distinctive phone by 2015, but a few technical glitches remained to be solved, like the use of new battery materials etc.

Nokia is known for incorporating new features in its cell phones like Nokia X6 Touchscreen Multimedia Cellphone and Nokia N96 Quad-Band Phone. Since there are only so many ways you can bend a phone, no matter how flexible, Nokia have introduced a further modifier in the shape of motion-recognition. Make the can shape and tilt it to your lips and the handset might search for nearby pubs; roll it like a wheel, however, and it could look for the closest gas station (or, indeed, a specific franchise of gas station which operate the loyalty scheme you’re a member of).

Alternatively the handset could assign different modifiers to different corners being bent initially, or indeed the position, angle, speed or sharpness of the bend. More simply, the point at which the phone is bent could be used to select on-screen graphics rather than requiring a traditional touchscreen; that could be useful for those operating the handset while wearing gloves. Of course, despite flexible OLED panels being available, it’s unclear quite how long they might last in Nokia’s bendy vision of the future.

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Each time we spot a concept cellphone that addresses the needs of hearing or sight impaired people, we’re really impressed by the fact that not everyone is focused on high-end features, but also the disabilities of those less fortunate than us. Pratt student Suhyun Kim created the Visual Sound mobile phone, destined to reach the hands of hearing impaired uses.

Her Visual Sound is a mobile phone for the hearing impaired that converts voice input to text and text input to voice. The design features two handy pillars that scroll sideways to expose the roll-out display. To communicate, the impaired person feeds in the text onto the touchscreen display, which gets converted to voice simulation for the person on the other end of the phone and vice versa.

Using this concept cellphone is fairly basic: you input text via the touchscreen display and it gets converted to voice, reaching the person at the other end of the line. Simply great!

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The Window Phone is one of those cell phones which is totally out of this world and brings in a completely new way of using cell phone. This concept mobile phone allows you to transform its appearance just like a window does when the weather changes.

Designer Seunghan Song’s concept Window Phone imagines what it would be like to get the weather from your mobile, as intuitively as looking out your window. The touch sensitive phone is a piece of glass which changes in appearance based on your local weather, going from clear and sunny, to rainy or frosty.

The phone is designed as a thin, clear and transparent plastic sheet, which remains clear during a sunny day, becomes humid during a rainy day and takes a dump outlook during a snowy day. The user can write text messages or draw pictures on the phone in different weather conditions which will later transform and show as SMS characters. The screen features sensitive interaction with the user and comprises the state of a window in different weather conditions. The phone comes with a unique user interface which helps the user to use the cell phone according to the temperature.w in different weather conditions.

When you blow your breath, you can easily begin to input text as it goes into a hand writing mode. Moreover, the cell phone looks amazingly chic and beautiful and if it is ever manufactured, I would be the first person to buy it. There is no information about its price or availability as it is still in the conceptual stage. It is amazing how some people can create such beautiful designs.

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It’s astounding that until this moment, three years after the iPhone, the biggest software company in the world basically didn’t compete in mobile. Windows Phone 7 Series is more than the Microsoft smartphone we’ve been waiting for. Everything’s different now.

Windows Phone 7 Series. Get used to the name, because it’s now a part of the smartphone vernacular… however verbose it may seem. Today Microsoft launches one of its most ambitious (if not most ambitious) projects: the rebranding of Windows Mobile. The company is introducing the new mobile OS at Mobile World Congress 2010, in Barcelona, and if the press is anything to be believed, this is just the beginning. The phone operating system does away with pretty much every scrap of previous mobile efforts from Microsoft, from the look and feel down to the underlying code — everything is brand new. 7 Series has rebuilt Windows Mobile from the ground up, featuring a completely altered home screen and user interface experience, robust Xbox LIVE and Zune integration, and vastly new and improved social networking tools. Gone is the familiar Start screen, now replaced with “tiles” which scroll vertically and can be customized as quick launches, links to contacts, or self contained widgets. The look of the OS has also been radically upended, mirroring the Zune HD experience closely, replete with that large, iconic text for menus, and content transitions which elegantly (and dimensionally) slide a user into and out of different views. The OS is also heavily focused on social networking, providing integrated contact pages which show status updates from multiple services and allow fast jumps to richer cloud content (such as photo galleries). The Xbox integration will include LIVE games, avatars, and profiles, while the Zune end of things appears to be a carbon copy of the standalone device’s features (including FM radio).

Besides just flipping the script on the brand, the company seems to be taking a much more vertical approach with hardware and user experience, dictating rigid specs for 7 Series devices (a specific CPU and speed, screen aspect ratio and resolution, memory, and even button configuration), and doing away with carrier or partner UI customizations such as Sense or TouchWiz. That’s right — there will be a single Windows Phone identity regardless of carrier or device brand. Those new phones will likely look similar at first, featuring a high res touchscreen, three front-facing buttons (back, start, and perhaps not shockingly, a Bing key), and little else.

Carrier partnerships are far and wide, including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, while hardware partners include Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC, HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm. We’re told that we likely won’t get to see any third-party devices at MWC, though Microsoft is showing off dev units of unknown origin, and the first handsets are supposed to hit the market by the holidays of this year.

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Ever wanted to be able to manipulate images on a computer the way Tom Cruise did in Minority Report? A new Media Lab invention, sixthsense, lets you do just that as it allows users to manipulate digital information with hand gestures.

By wearing just a hat with a tiny projector and a camera, a sixthsense user can make any flat surface a connection to the world to check email, map out a location, or draw with fingers.

Designed by Pranav K. Mistry G, a PhD student in the Fluid Interfaces Group of the Lab, sixthsense has the ability to track colors, hand movements, and gestures. It connects with its owner’s digital devices.

Many natural hand gestures are possible with sixthsense. Snapping your fingers as if you were taking a photo on an actual camera or tapping your wrist with a circular gesture maps to the physical actions of taking a picture and checking the time.

“You can take a photo of a random book, and check its prices on Amazon. You can compare prices between goods in the supermarket” and check which ones are green products, said Mistry.

“There is a lot of information on the Internet, but humans do not have access to it at all times. Sixthsense gives you the ability to receive information about anything and anyone you encounter, anywhere, and at all times,” added Mistry.

Discussing the motivations behind his work, Mistry said “the digital world has brought many devices to human life, yet it has diluted human interactions. People have started using social networks as their major path for socializing. You would see people sitting individually in cafes, each busy with his laptop or phone. My task is to use digital work to integrate digital work into human’s lives.”

The idea for the sixthsense project came to Mistry about six months ago. “It came as a crazy idea of thinking of the term head mountain projector! I just started thinking of actually making real head mountain projectors that would truly connect to people’s physical world!”

Mistry initially implemented his inspiration as a projector helmet where the camera tracked what the wearer did with his or her hand. Further modifications resulted in a cap with a smaller projector, and, finally, into a small device containing a projector and a camera.

Mistry initially called the device “WUW” as in “wear ur world.” But when it was introduced, sixthsense was judged to be a better title.

Mistry also incorporated his Indian background into his invention. Bringing your hands together in the Indian gesture of welcome, “Namaste”, causes the main menu to open up.

Mistry foresees several improvements to ‘sixthsense’, one of which is incorporating the use of computer-vision based techniques that do not require the user to wear color markers. “I have a lot of applications in mind to make sixthsense more practical for use.”

“I believe that we should use systems to learn about users rather than have users learn about systems.”

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2007 Best Inventions of the Year (Times Magazine)

2008 Best Inventions of the Year (Times Magazine)

2009 Best Inventions of the Year (Times Magazine)

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LG GD910 Watch Phone

What we’re looking at here, in the crudest possible terms, is a style item with ringtones. That need not necessarily spell disaster, as good execution and a keen sense for that ephemeral style thing could still make it a success, but we must also set aside our preconceptions of what a modern phone is and does in order to assess the watchphone on its own merits. Our mission here will be to determine whether it succeeds at what it sets out to do or trips over its faux leather-strapped self.

Hardware

At first blush, it would be easy to dismiss the GD910 as being too big for a watch and too small to be a phone, but our time with it has revealed both conclusions to be inaccurate. While undeniably bulkier than your average watch, the watchphone’s styling is akin to some of those chunky leather bracelet that hipsters seem keen on wearing and popularizing, so we’ll just give it a pass there and move on. Its stay on our tender wrist was certainly no great bother, although we’ll admit it was no great pleasure either. A more flexible metal strap might’ve been preferable.

On the phone front, if you focus in on the word phone and exclude the cornucopia of additional functions and gimmicks that manufacturers have added to modern mobiles, you’ll find that this bad boy does that job pretty well too. After all, it was only this century that the Ericsson T39 and its 101 x 54 monochromatic display were considered fresh and new, so we shouldn’t think of the LG’s 128 x 160 resolution as being particularly limiting. Where the device shines is with the clarity and vibrancy of its display, which gave us no cause for gripes, and the responsiveness of its capacitive touchscreen, which was flawless throughout.

Construction is also reassuring, with that adjustable faux leather strap and the water resistant stainless steel case both appearing likely to last a while. You can see the entire set of physical buttons above, all pretty much self-explanatory, with the touchscreen picking up the majority of navigation duties. The trio of side-mounted keys were easily identifiable from one another, and we were thankfully spared from having to look to see what we were pressing.

You do get a speakerphone with the device, whose quality we’d place somewhere in the middle of the pack — it’s neither outstanding nor dire. It’s good enough to use on a regular basis to carry out calls, and we had no problems talking with our arm in a relaxed position, as opposed to some awkward wrist-to-the-face pose. You’ll still want to use a Bluetooth headset for the majority of your calls though, unless you like the idea of having everyone in your vicinity listen in on your conversations.

User Interface

The most basic expectation of any phone – which is perhaps even more applicable in this case, given the dearth of additional features – is that the user should find its interface intuitive and straightforward to use. In this department, LG hits more often than it misses, as navigation is both fluid and logical and responsiveness is also excellent. We did find, however, that the relatively small screen made accurate texting quite the challenge to pull off – trying to hit 9 and ending up pressing the delete button was an unfortunately common event for this thick-fingered reviewer. We’d put that down to simply trying to cram too many keys into the small space, as dialing numbers was a delightfully crisp and easygoing affair. On the whole, we’d say the UI does very well at the basic jobs of acting as both a watch and a phone, but shows its shortcomings when the user tries to dig deeper into the menus, with configurations and adding of contacts being slightly fiddly.

Another thing to keep in mind is that for the most part, you’ll be looking at the default high-contrast black and white clock, and only two presses of the side buttons will get you to the home screen and the stylized timepiece of your choice. A small foible, to be sure, but when the entirety of your offering is characterized by the title of your product, well, both the watch and the phone have to be pretty much perfect.

It merits noting that, even with a plethora of tasteful clock and menu design presets, the watchphone lacks an essential feature that might really have made it an object of lustful desire – customizability. We understand and to an extent prefer its simplification of the menu system, but allowing users to create and import their own watch interfaces would have given the GD910 at least a shot at creating a fan ecosystem and would have injected some added novelty down the road. Then again, perhaps LG is right in believing – as we presume – that the people this device is targeted at just want it to work straight out of the box and have little desire for tweaking options.

In terms of added functionality, you get a calendar and a memo pad, both of which are well implemented, and also a media player. Alas, with 80MB of integrated memory and no expansion options, this is as bare a multimedia feast as you’re likely to find on a modern device. When you factor in the understandable lack of a headphone jack, what you’re looking at is strictly a last resort for media consumption.

And now, to the most important aspect of the watchphone – does it feel like the sort of luxurious crossover device that can justify its extravagant price? The short and dissatisfying answer is “kinda.” The long answer is that while a lot of things have been executed brilliantly and allow us a glimpse at the world of luxury, there’s just not enough to make us experience the sense of operating a transcendental device. First class materials and construction are offset by questionable ergonomics and the inescapable need for a Bluetooth headset, while the generally pleasing UI falls short of perfect, which – at this uncompromising price point – it ought to have been.

Conclusion

We really like the LG watchphone. In a world unbound by the economic realities we face today, we might even recommend it with only a few minor reservations. But when you consider that the hotly anticipated HTC HD2, accompanied by its armada of apps and utilities, is going to cost less without contract in UK, the watchphone simply cannot be justified as a reasoned purchase. Furthermore, Engadget Spanish has already handled a direct competitor from Samsung, which is heading to the Iberian peninsula this December at a more affordable €450 ($672) — which further undermines the rationality, whatever traces there are of it, in LG’s pricing.

The LG GD910 is a well executed device, whose engineers should be rightly proud. LG’s accountants, on the other hand, ought to step outside and smell the recession before trying to pitch us a device at a price point as ludicrous as £500. Ultimately, the watchphone is a fun diversion and also conducts itself well when needed to sub in for your day-to-day phone, but until its price undergoes a major haircut it’ll remain difficult, bordering on impossible, to recommend.

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