Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

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To you and yours

Wherever you are

Merry Christmas!

Enjoy!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Top Picks for 2009

It's becoming something of a tradition now for me to list my top picks for the year gone by. In 2007 I listed the Kindle and the Centro amongst others. In 2008 my list included gems like the Macbook Air and the Blackberry Bold (how prophetic!). This year, it was really hard to narrow down my list to just 10 items. After much internal debate, here's what I've got:


1. Twilight

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This has been the year of the Vampire with everything from True Blood to Vampire Diaries cashing in. And the trend begins and ends with Twilight.

2. Snuggie


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Who knew so many people needed to keep warm but also keep their arms free? Well, there you go. Its a Snuggie.

3. The Palm Pre


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The actual success of the Palm Pre is debatable, but what is undeniable is that Palm has thrown everything they have into this last ditch effort to salvage their company. Will it work? Only time- and more apps- will tell.

4. Cloud Computing

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Because of- or in spite of- the Sidekick mishap of this fall, almost everyone has some awareness of the concept of keeping data in the cloud. And as data speeds continue to increase, more data will be stored in more accessible ways.

5. Twitter

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What was once an underground uber-geeky way to communicate has now become the new Facebook. Everyone is on it, and its now accepted as a relatively trustworthy news source. Just about every mobile device has an app for it, and its become a standard feature to list.



6. Netbooks

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Perhaps because of the runaway success of Cloud computing (or as the cause of it), the netbook has taken us by storm. This year it seems like every manufacturer released one, and many households bought one.

7. Modern Warfare 2


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Controversial, immersive, and on just about every gamer's wishlist this year.

8. (An)Droid

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Talk about a stealth attack! This time last year we were tittering at the Tmobile G1 (and rightfully so- that hardware is fug!) and now there are more Android phones than I can name in one sitting (Droid, Hero, MyTouch, to name a few). Android brings the freshness WM is lacking, the multi-tasking the iPhone doesn't and the cool factor that has ever eluded RIM, its no wonder this platform is taking off.

9. Gestures

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If you had a touchscreen device this year- then you were gesturing: pinch to zoom , swipe, shake to shuffle....and don't even get me started on the Wii motions! I predict this will only get worse in the next year, leading to the release of Microsoft's project Natale.

10. B&N Nook


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Although only a small percent of the population actually has it yet, the Nook has been one of the most interesting devices in a long time. An Ereader that runs Android, could potentially run a Twitter app, that uses Gestures on its touchscreen, and you could use while Snuggie-d up on the couch? Epic Win!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Month of Onyx

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Its been a full month with my new Onyx and I must admit- I'm in love. Everything works as it should, the compact size means I never have to put it down, and the battery life is absolutely wonderful.
Enough time has passed that I now feel completely comfortable on the platform and I have significantly raised my expectations for my second Blackberry device. With the additional memory and improved OS, everything runs smoothly and I can load up on as many apps as my heart desires.
Once again I feel totally connected- between BBM, the new Beejive IM, deeper Facebook functionality, SocialScope, a new threaded texting interface reaching out is as simple as picking up my Onyx. I've also been taking my Evernote usage to a whole other level- I archive just about every conversation, take photos of every receipt, and jot every thought that comes to my head- secure in the knowledge that it will be easy to refer to later.
Batterylife has become something that I don't even have to monitor anymore. At the end of my 15 hour day- even with the heaviest of use- I end up with about 60%. I remember a time when getting through just 8 hours was a challenge (Windows Mobile-I'm looking at you!).
On the apps front its been a slow march toward total satisfaction. In the past month there have been a slew of high-quality apps that have been developed or vastly improved- eBay, AP Mobile, TiVo Scheduler to name a few.
I can't think of a single gripe I have with my Onyx-honestly. Everything from the camera to the keyboard is just the improvement over the Bold I was hoping for.

December 22nd BlackBerry Outage Timeline and Overview of Events

 
 

Sent to you by Lulu via Google Reader:

 
 

via CrackBerry.com blogs by Kevin Michaluk on 12/23/09

BlackBerry Outage according to BoxTone

Our friends at BoxTone hit us up with an email earlier today with some information of how things played out yesterday from both their and their customers' perspective. We've talked about BoxTone lots of times here before on CrackBerry - they focus on enterprise companies that have a LOT of BlackBerry Smartphones running and provide monitoring and managements services. An afternoon like yesterday is where their services really make an impact. Here's what they told us (all times EST):

  • Between 3:00 and 4:00 PM - Problems with BBM and BIS internet browsing reported around the web (I personally experienced around 3:30 PM).
  • Between 6:30 and 7:00 PM - The problem extended to BES email, preventing the delivery of BES emails to and from BlackBerry smartphones. At each of our customers, BoxTone detected a greater than normal quantity of users with messages pending, based on our learned baseline of what is normal for each server and carrier, and immediately generated a warning alert our customers before the flood of user calls (Sample email alert below). BoxTone also placed all affected BES and Carriers in a Critical state on our customers' Operations Dashboards (depicted by the red dots next to each BES and carrier). The steady growth in Pending Messages beginning around 6:45 is annotated in the attached screenshot and continued until the issue was resolved early this morning. From our monitoring data, it appears that BES were able to communicate with the RIM NOC throughout the outage; however, the NOC was unable to deliver messages.
  • At approximately 12:09 AM, BoxTone detected a brief disconnect in the SRP connection of each BES to the NOC; it appears RIM reset the NOC SRP connection to complete their fixes. Following this reset, delivery of BES mail resumed.
  • By 2:45 AM or earlier, BoxTone detected that most of our customers had returned to their normal (baselined) service levels, and that the backlog of pending mail had been delivered. BoxTone generated notifications informing our users that their service levels had returned to normal and updated the status of the BES and carriers to Normal.

Pretty interesting stuff. Big thanks to Mitch and the BoxTone team for sharing it with us. You can learn more about their services at BoxTone.com.

CrackBerry.com's feed sponsored by ShopCrackBerry.com. December 22nd BlackBerry Outage Timeline and Overview of Events, According to BoxTone


 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Home Shopping Fail

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Top 10 Reasons I Love My Blackberry

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Photo courtesy of Kodath

1. Bedside Mode- each night I drop it in the pod it dims and shows a clock as it charges
2. Pods- no need to fumble with cords, just drop it into the charging pod.
3. Shortcuts- a whole host of apps are just a single key press away
4. Keyboard- it comfortable, roomy and a total pleasure to type on
5. Customized LED- no need for noise- I can take a look at my phone and by the color know exactly what's trying to get my attention.
6. Socialscope- One app that keeps me in the loop with all my social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Foursquare)
7. Context menus- being able to so easily share my pictures, webpages, and everything else makes a usually isolated experience so social
8. Tivo DVR Scheduler- not only can I set up shows to record, I can see what's interesting to watch for the week.
9. Trackpad- being able to navigate with nothing more than a feather light touch over the pad- without getting my screen all grubby- is a joy.
10. Battery Life- I can comfortably run over 2 full days on a single charge!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Battery Watch- Onyx Edition

Let me show you something quite astounding:



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Here's the amazing part- both days ran on a single charge! I took my phone off the charger at 6:30 on Saturday morning and didn't charge it again until Sunday night, at which point it still looks like I could have gone another half a day.

I've always wondered what multi-day usage would feel like, and I'm glad to finally be able to experience it myself without having to constantly be worried about keeping a weary eye on the meter! Battery life on the Onyx is truly amazing!

Monday, December 7, 2009

2010 Anticipation

Next year is going to be a thrilling one in the mobile tech space. In its second year, WebOS might be able to gather some real momentum. Blackberry has been able to shake its strictly corporate persona and Windows Mobile 6.5 will be paving the road to WinMo 7 (hopefully).
Recently the HTC 2010 lineup was leaked and as expected, there were a ton of Android devices in the mix. Then I spotted this sexy beast which is exactly what I had been waiting for back in 2007 and 2008- a VGA Qwertybar phone called the Trophy running Windows Mobile:


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And if that wasn't enough, its also rumored to have a 3.0 inch capacitive screen, a 5MP camera and a 1400mAh battery. Wow.
While I felt a bit let down by the summer of 2009, I can definitely see myself revving up for a more interesting 2010!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Battery Up, Battery Down

If you're a regular visitor here, then you know that one of my favorite pastimes is monitoring smartphone battery usage. I've been battery obsessed since the days of my Treo 600 when my 3+ hour daily commute had me paranoid about running out of juice.
I honestly can't remember what my battery life was like on my Treo 600 and 650. I wasn't really what I'd call a 'power-user' back in those days. I do remember toting a charger when we'd take day trips, for what its worth.
Windows Mobile always had poor battery life with the apps I was running. No matter which device I had (except for the Ubiquio) availability of a spare battery was always a prerequisite. In fact, it was finally the poor battery life that drove me to the Bold.
Battery life on my Bold and now Onyx have been exceptional. I obsess over it simply because of my nature and not out of any necessity at all. And this Easter I learnt a very valuable lesson about the importance of having long battery life. You can always prepare by grabbing a charger or spare battery, but what happens when an unforeseen circumstance takes you out of your usual routine?
While browsing the PreCentral forums I found this intriguing thread which was all about tracking the battery life on the Palm Pre. The runtime results were abysmal! And the final kicker was the unfortunate owner who was experiencing over 16% drain rate per hour. It reminds me to be grateful for the battery life I enjoy on my Onyx everyday, and the spontaneity that it affords me

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Top 12 Blackberry Apps

A forum thread 0ver at Crackberry has prompted me to list my top 12 Blackberry Apps of 2009. And they are:


1. Pandora (Free)-Streaming music

Pandora for Blackberry

2. BerryBuzz($5.95)- Customize LED

3. BerryWeather ($9.95)-Weather App with homescreen temp badge

image

4. Viigo (Free)-RSS News reader with advanced sharing options to Facebook and Twitter

5. SocialScope (Free)-Twitter, Facebook, Flickr all in one stream

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6. Podtrapper ($9.99)-Video and Audio podcast player with auto updating

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7. IM+ ($39.95) -Multi-protocol IM messenger with push notifications to save battery life

8. Ascendo Money ($29.95)-Money manager

9. eBay (Free)- bid, watch buy on eBay with notifications and add to calendar feature

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10. Genicious (Free)- Delicious Bookmark manager

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11.Poynt (Free)- Local search and maps

12. Flixster (Free)- Movie showtimes, reviews and trailers.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Blackberry Conversion Cog

I've been looking for a Blackberry app to do conversions, including currency, and yesterday I found the perfect candidate. Conversion Cog handles a variety of conversions and looks sleek as it does it.
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You can also customize this app by limiting the conversion types you'd like to see, as well as what color background you'd like to use:

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The killer feature, to me, is the customer service. Once I purchased the app I noticed that it was missing a currency I wanted to have access to. I emailed the support email, and within 12 hours I received an email back notifying me that it had been added! Unbelievable! For just $2.99 that's a lot more customer service than I ever expected.
If you're looking for a quick way to do your conversions, I highly recommend this. Available in AppWorld.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Color Wash

Why do manufacturers re-release phones in a variety of colors? In these days of colorware and cnn.cn where you can easily tailor your phone to the exact color and design you want, it seems excessive to stock these specific colors. It seems especially ridiculous for NTT DoCoMo to be releasing this white version of the Blackberry Bold 9000 more than a year after the black version was announced.


Sent via BlackBerry Onyx

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you're all having a wonderful Thanksgiving. This year I'm thankful for my family, friends, career and readers. I'm also thankful for my tech toys and enough memory and battery to keep them all chugging along happily!


Sent via BlackBerry Bold

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

eBay for Blackberry!

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What's this I see just in time for the shopping season? Could it be item number one on my wishlist? Yep, its a totally free, comprehensive eBay application! You can download it in AppWorld now, its pretty fantastic- search eBay listings, buy directly via the app, and monitor your watch items.


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The killer feature is the ability to add items to your calendar- reminding you of when a watched item is about to end:


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This is a beta, so bugs are to be expected, but so far I'm very happy with what I see. Its exactly what I've been hoping for, and couldn't have come at a more perfect time!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Suddenly Working Apps

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Either AT&T is doing stuff behind the scenes or I am losing my mind- both are cause for pause. On Sunday I couldn't get Googlesync working on my new 9700, which was problematic as I was trying to get my calendar items on it. I also noticed I couldn't play YouTube videos- either directly from the site or using the Vision app: not a major deal since I don't really use the site via mobile. I also couldn't get Sugarsync to work properly. It would launch fine, but when trying to open a document it would give an error message indicating that I had no application to handle the file type- which I did, DocumentsToGo.
Yesterday morning Google Sync suddenly started working again and happily synced up all my data. In the evening I tried using Vision again and videos played with no problem. And this morning I gave Sugarsync another shot and my documents opened up in DocumentsToGo with no problem. And with that, all apps are officially working as they should be!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Introducing: My New Bold 9700!


, originally uploaded by lulugirl896.

Finally!!!! Yesterday I went to my local AT&T store when it opened at noon and picked up my new Bold 9700! I love it! Its compact, but feels solid in hand. The screen resolution is amazing and the photo quality is outstanding.
I spent most of yesterday getting it all set up and loaded up with my apps and data. And then I flashed my Bold 9000 to a stable OS5 so that Dean could enjoy his "new" phone.
The only thing I can't get working properly is SugarSync- which for some reason will not open Word and Excel docs using DocumentsToGo. But I think I also had this problem when using one of the OS5 builds on my Bold 9000...hopefully, a solution will be forthcoming shortly.
Hardware-wise, I am having trouble consistently pressing the right convenience key. It might be slightly askew, or it might be that I haven't yet found the perfect angle to hit it every time. When my new matte black bezel arrives, I'll disassemble my 9700 and at that point I'll make sure the button is sitting right.
So far, so good! Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Good to be Back

Today I got notice that there was a new OS- 5.0.0.348 released for the Bold and downloaded and installed it right away. And, as these things sometimes go, it turned out to be a total nightmare and just kept rebooting nonstop. I couldn't figure out what to do next so I went ahead and did a wipe and went all the way back to OS 4.6.0.304.
At first I thought it would be hard to go back after the glossy extras of OS 5. The threaded SMS, 3D graphics are things that I had really gotten used to. But what I didn't realize is that I had sacrificed about half of my favorite apps because of the low memory on the OS. Once I installed 304 I started adding back some of my favorites- Pandora, Google Maps. And then I tried Sugarsync which had been unable to open files on OS5 but now works again.
All in all, it makes me happy to be back to my old familiar OS. I'm looking forward to getting my Bold 9700 but now the days until then don't feel as unbearable. I had hoped to get the new Bold before my upcoming business trip, but it doesn't seem likely now. It will be nice to have the bells and whistles of the OS combined with tons of extra memory.

And on the professional front- she finally resigned on Monday via mail! More later :)
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

UrbanSpoon for Blackberry

Urbanspoon, the app that tells you where to eat, is now available for Blackberry. You can either the location you want to search or let it use your GPS coordinates. Types of restaurants, cities, and price ranges can be selected- or you can choose to 'Spin' Vegas-style and let the chips fall where they may. The layout and GUI are very slick and show the direction where RIM apps are headed.


Sent via BlackBerry Bold

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Loving My Mini 110!

There's something very comforting about upgrading a device you already own and love. Its not that my HP Mini 110 is vastly different from my previous 1000- its that it makes it more of a pleasure to use. With the additional memory, I can comfortably install Evernote, Firefox and Tweetdeck for a personalized experience. With the larger screen I enjoy watching my SlingPlayer. With the gloss-free display, I can take it all outside without having to worry about visibility.
Upgrading the HP Mini 1000 to the 110 is like replacing your favorite pill-covered fleece pajamas with a new softer pair- they're comfy and warm, and you aren't mortified to be caught wearing them.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Week of Fail

This has just been one of those weeks. Vent ahead.

Remember in September when a fellow manager was being really ridiculous with being out of work? Well, if only I had known then that it was only the beginning. She has now been out sick for 3 straight weeks with no end in sight. Between myself and the nursing manager, we've been doing our best to hold down the fort, but its been a thankless, grotty compromise. And to make things especially tricky, it's been week to week of her calling in on Monday morning to say she won't be in the rest of the week- meaning that we don't know what the heck is going on....FAIL.

I'm frustrated by the lack of information about AT&T's release of the Bold 9700. I have been waiting for ages now, and using OS5 on my Bold has made me cut down drastically on the number of productivity applications I can use and run before totally running out of memory...FAIL.

I'm bored with what's happening (or not happening) in the world of QWERTY-Bar phones. Is this a dying form factor? All the new Android phones are either sliders or slabs. Why is that? Not every device has to position itself to be an iPhone-killer.....FAIL.

So, I guess I'm just having a fail kind of day today. I'm sure I'll be back to my sunny self soon.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

DROID Stealth Ad

Wow, the Motorola Droid is sparing no expense in advertising. And I must say- its kind of working- I want one to 'drop' over here!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Device Update

It was just last Saturday that I reported on buying a used T-Mobile G1 and promising to include Android news to this space. Well, best laid plans as they say. The G1 arrived on Thursday but I was extremely unimpressed with its condition and have since returned it for a refund. On Sunday, one of my Twitter friends, Brett piqued my interest by turning me on to the Archos 5. Unfortunately, it was only after I had already spent the money on an inexpensive refurb from the Archos.com site that I realized that I had inadvertently ordered the version without Android. Once that arrives (UPS left me a slip on Friday) I'll have to decide whether to sell it or return it at a 15% restocking fee loss. All that has left me with a pretty unpleasant taste in my mouth for Android for the time being...

Over the past couple of weeks I've been getting low memory errors on my HP Mini 1000 even though I have nothing installed except a few portable apps that run from the SD card. At first I thought I would just upgrade the OS to Windows 7, but with only 8GB of memory, I had doubts on what kind of experience it would be. Its been a full year since I bought my Mini 1000 -which is a veritable lifetime in geek years! I love my Mini 1000, so I decided that the HP Mini 110 was close enough to give me the same experience but with more memory (160GB!) and the ready-to-ship model included Windows 7 in the price. After weighing my options, I finally clicked the 'Buy' button yesterday and ordered the black swirl version. Evidently it was none too soon- today the same model shows as sold out! Mine shows as shipped with a delivery date of Tuesday.

This year I've been pretty happy with the base items I have in my gadget toolkit. My goal is to have the 9700 which is an incremental improvement on the Bold, a Mini 110, which is an incremental improvement on the Mini 1000 and remain with the iPhone-as-iPod setup I have. For now, I'm going to hold off on the Android fever- with all the new devices on the horizon, the prices are bound to take a plunge soon.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Twitterpeek...A Twitter-Only Device


Well, it's finally happened- Peek has made a Twitter device. And yes, it ONLY does Twitter. And you want to hear the worst part? Unlike most applications for your phone, smartphone, pda and notebook, this one supports just one account. I give up- I really do. There are no words to describe how ridiculous this is! Could this not have been at least bundled with the original Peek that did email only? Well, if you are so inclined to pick one of these up, Amazon is open for preorders at a pricepoint of just $199. I bet Miley Cyrus is kicking herself for quitting Twitter now!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

AT&T BlackBerry Bold Promo - Get it for $39.99 - Save $260!

This posting on Crackberry is very encouraging! If this Bold sale is only lasting 1 week, odds are very good that the end of the sale could be the launch of the Bold2!


AT&T BlackBerry Bold Promo - Get it for $39.99 - Save $260!: "


AT&T BlackBerry Bold Promotion

CrackBerry.com's feed sponsored by ShopCrackBerry.com. AT&T BlackBerry Bold Promo - Get it for $39.99 - Save $260!

"

Saturday, October 24, 2009

More App Coverage

Well dear Readers, if you've been wondering when I'd start talking more about Android then today is your lucky day. I just scored myself a T-Mobile G1 and I'm looking forward to giving you tons of shiny screencaps and reviews of the best Android has to offer.
And for my avid Windows Mobile fans- I haven't forgotten you! Once the 9700 comes to AT&T, Dean will be getting my Bold, and the Ubiquio 503G will be available for all sorts of testing and review. Stay tuned!

Sent via BlackBerry Bold

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rumor: B&N Nook to run Android Apps?

If the Nook does in fact end up running Android apps, I can assure you that I will then definitely be picking one up!


via MobileCrunch:

Rumor: B&N Nook to run Android Apps?: "

Nook + AndroidOne tiny detail that went largely unnoticed about the “nook”, the slick new e-book reader that Barnes and Noble just released: the nook’s operating system is based on Google’s Android OS. Hmmm… Why would B&N develop the nook based on Android? Well, Android is a sick platform for developers, and they absolutely love building on it. So why not open it up and let others develop for the nook? According a person close to the situation, that is in the plans for the nook, and it will soon be able to run apps.


Now, we don’t know if this will become a full-fledged Android device, where the nook would enable a user to download anything from the Android Marketplace. Chances are it’ll be more like a mini-Android marketplace, for apps built specifically for the nook. Either way, it would be a sweet addition to an already-impressive device. Imagine having crossword puzzles, interactive books, games and the like on your e-Reader. Unlike the Kindle’s closed platform, this would theoretically be more open and would provide developers and book publishers with a clever way to improve the interactivity of their books. Of course, the nook has to take off before this becomes likely so developers have a real incentive to build on the platform. Time will only tell, but for now, the e-book race just got even more interesting.

Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.




"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Time for some Nook-y

Bad puns aside, I'm really liking how the new Barnes and Noble ereader is shaping up. The Nook, for some reason, looks to be hitting all the right notes for me- from its $259 price point, to the color panel on the bottom. I'll still say for now this is not the right device for me- between my iPod Touch and Blackberry I couldn't manage another device- but it looks very tempting and extremely sleek.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Waiting Game.....

Well, this is it; I'm officially back to the waiting game. I've used and loved my Bold for 8 and a half months but the lack of memory and low budget camera have finally gotten to me. I'm now waiting for the Bold 2 (Onyx) to be released; its promising a smaller form factor, improved camera and double the memory which is just the bump I'm looking for.
In the meantime I decided to use one of the leaked OS5 which should give me a taste of what I can look forward to when I get the Onyx. The highlights of the new operating system are aesthetic improvements to various areas, for example the text message application:

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The downside is that the already low memory is taxed even more. Where I was starting with about 35MB with about 20 applications installed, I'm now starting with 27MB with about 12 installed applications. I debated going back to one of the 4.6 OS's but then decided to leave well enough alone- the core applications are so much more improved and when I pass this along to Dean, he'll definitely appreciate the difference.
So, once again I'm back to playing the waiting game. Just like I waited for HTC Fuze, the HP 910, Treo 750, Samsung Blackjack. Wow, it sure seems like I spend a lot of time waiting for new toys!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Need a Name for Your App Store?

With the latest craze of App Stores popping up all over the place, it was only a matter of time before we started running out of names to call them. Blackberry took App World, Android took Market, Palm took Catalog....and what are we left with?

Well, for those Johnny-come-lately's now looking to add their store to the list, here are a couple of names that are still available for you:

1. App Boutique- best for stores with overpriced apps- maybe the RIM should have used this moniker?

2. App Bodega- best for a store that has a hodge-podge of items that are easy to get to.

3. App Bazaar- now this would have been perfect for Windows Mobile....apps gathered from all over the web and sold under one umbrella.

4. App Mall- somehow this brings to my mind teeny-boppers hanging out. Possibly a good one for any of the texting feature phones.

5. App Trading Post- imagine an app store where you could trade your app for a new one!

Hopefully that's enough to get you rolling with your new App store. Remember, there's always good old App Emporium if you just can't get into the ones listed!