Lightning Review: D-Link DSM-210 Wireless Internet Photo Frame

via Gizmodo by Jason Chen on 8/1/08


The Gadget: D-Link’s entrance into the 10-inch photo frame market, which contains Wi-Fi to download and display pics from your Flickr, MobileMe, MSN, PIcasa, webshots, Facebook, and various other photo sharing accounts, or your local network. There’s also RSS news display, 1GB on-board memory and a USB port for external photos.

The Price: $240

The Verdict: Works mostly as advertised, but at a price of $240, we expect a bit more polish to the unit.

The 10-inch display is roomy, but its 800×480 resolution looks somewhat pixelated when you get up close. Loading photos from its internal memory and USB slot (or SD slot) works just as well as you’d expect, which is nice. However, 1GB of built-in memory is pretty tiny for something that costs $240.

You can also stream photos from various online photo sharing networks, which works pretty well over its 802.11g connection or its 10/100 Ethernet port (you really want to use the Wi-Fi to make this truly wireless, but seeing as there’s a mandatory AC adapter, that’s pretty much an impossibility anyway).

One of the goofs we find is that the default setting on FrameChannel.com, the online utility you use to manage all your internet feeds, sets the default photos at a maximum of 5, so you only get 5 pics in your rotation at once. Easy enough to fix if you know where to look, but your parents would have to call you first. Again, for $240 we expect the kind of user interface that you can actually tweak settings on without having to use a separate computer.

Is it fairly solid? Yes. Would we recommend this to our parents? Probably not. We’ll wait for the second-gen (or is it fifth-gen now) photo frames—something we can give to our parents and have them figure out themselves. [D-Link]

[Price Comparison]

AT&T WiFi hotspots free to iPhone owners, anyone with a brain

via Engadget by Joshua Topolsky on 5/1/08

Now that AT&T has full control of wireless hotspots like Starbucks and Barnes and Nobles, it looks like they’re doling out freebies to their favorite customers: iPhone users. Apparently, if you’ve got one of Apple’s devices, you can hop on the WiFi networks for exactly zero dollars provided you enter your phone number at a login screen. Great for iPhone owners, but a raw deal for everyone else, right? Not so fast, apparently a dumb hack gets you the service on the house too — just switch your browser’s user agent to Mobile Safari, and presto! Free internet. We can’t imagine this is a hole that won’t get plugged real fast, so get it while the gettin’s good.

[Via TUAW]

BlackBerry 9000 spotted in the wild – WiFi and HSDPA in enterprise

via IntoMobile by willpark on 3/30/08

BlackBerry 9000 in the wild - RIM likes iPhone style

The RIM BlackBerry 9000 was supposed to take the Canadian company’s push-emailing handset lineup to a whole new level. In the face of increased enterprise pressure from other handsets, like the iPhone, RIM has been a company to watch with their BlackBerry 9000.

So, it was a bit of a surprise when I first laid eyes on the BlackBerry 9000 in the wild. At the time, I didn’t know that it was the BlackBerry 9000. The device was only referred to as a new 3.5G BlackBerry that was going through its paces in RIM’s R&D labs. I speculated that the device could be the 9000, but alas, it was too early to put a metaphorical “period” on the matter. Now that said handset has been confirmed as the BlackBerry 9000, the device’s reveal is all just a bit anti-climactic.

BlackBerry 9000 in the wild - RIM likes iPhone styleThe device is curvy and sleek, something that can’t really be said for the rest of RIM’s smartphone lineup. The bezel is trimmed in iPhone-esque chrome and the screen looks nice and crisp. But, as much as the BlackBerry 9000 is an improvement over current BlackBerry design, it still lacks the stylish “oomph” that was widely expected from the BlackBerry 9000. The keyboard is more of the same from the BlackBerry lineup (if it ain’t broke…) and the 9000 makes use of the popular and, dare I say, “fun” little trackball that first made an appearance on the BlackBerry Pearl.

The revised slide-deck interface is a refreshing take on RIM’s tired menu/icon setup. More pizazz would have been nice, as would a larger display, but with HSDPA, WiFi, and GPS in tow, the BlackBerry 9000 should do just fine in the enterprise market.

I’ll take a 3G iPhone over the BlackBerry 9000 any day. RIM had better hope I’m one of the very few that see things the same way.

BlackBerry 9000 in the wild - RIM likes iPhone style

BlackBerry 9000 in the wild - RIM likes iPhone style

Align CenterBlackBerry 9000 in the wild - RIM likes iPhone style

[Via: Engadget Mobile]

Remote Disc: no movie playback, no HD support, and everything else you need to know

via Engadget by Ryan Block on 1/24/08

One of the more more interesting, albeit minor, announcements at Macworld was Remote Disc, Apple’s method to undermine the need to bundle an optical drive with the Air. To our chagrin, Apple also undermined the ability to do much fun or useful with the disc sharing system. Here’s what you need to know about Remote Disc, top to bottom:

  • The Remote Disc installer is 42.3MB for Mac, and takes almost 86MB of space! AND it requires a restart of the host Mac. (Windows, ironically, does not require a restart to begin sharing media.)
  • You have to ask permission to use the drive every single time, there’s no client whitelist or anything like that. Even if you’ve already asked permission on that drive and disc, if you stop using it and come back to it, you have to ask permission again.
  • Every time you ask permission as a Remote Disc client, the host gets a popup asking if it’s cool to share your drive. You can, of course, accept or decline (but the only way to stop getting prompts is to turn off disc sharing).
  • Ejecting the disc on the client side does not eject it on the host side.
  • Ejecting it on the host side, however, gives a host-side prompt about the disc being in use. You can override and eject, however.
  • To reinstall or boot from CD using Remote Disc, the host must use the installed Remote Install Mac OS X application. It’s a fairly simple process, but sharing an install CD over a wireless network is asking for trouble. It took an absurd amount of time (nearly 10 minutes) to boot over 802.11g. You need bandwidth.
  • To remote boot from a shared CD, hold the option key while starting up. You’ll be presented with a BIOS-level WiFi / network selection that looks surprisingly unpolished for Apple (but works with WPA and advanced WiFi crypto all the same)

Bummer for media:

  • You can browse the file contents of DVD discs, but you cannot actually play that media back over the network.
  • You can’t rip DVDs over the network using a tool like Handbrake.
  • You can’t even browse a music CD or listen to tracks. Don’t even think about burning a disc remotely.
  • Remote Disc appears only to be able to share CD / DVD drives and CD / DVD discs, not high capacity / HD optical drives.
  • We tested sharing a regular DVD over an HD DVD drive, no luck. Data CDs on DVD drives worked fine though.

We’ve heard of some client firewalls harshing on Remote Disc, but we didn’t see any issues when testing. Despite its shortcomings, it did work exactly as advertised, and with zero fuss. We miss anything?

Gallery: Remote Disc: install and host side disc sharing

Gallery: Remote Disc: client side disc sharing

Gallery: Remote Disc: shared remote install, host and client

AT&T hands out free hotspot access to broadband customers, ups its bandwidth

via Engadget by Joshua Topolsky on 1/24/08

AT&T, continuing to be the open, giving, and free-wheeling loony that it is, has decided to bestow cost-free access to its 10,000+ WiFi hotspots (for its broadband subscribers, that is). Effective immediately, if you’re tossing money the company’s way for any high-speed access, you can hop onto wireless networks in retail shops, restaurants, and airports free of charge… provided they’re AT&T networks. We know its a lot to handle, but get this — the telco has also upped the speeds of its U-verse service to a whopping 10 Mbps downstream / 1.5 Mbps upstream configuration, undoubtedly warming the hearts of AT&T subscribers hankering for a little more bandwidth to sustain their ever-increasing ‘net needs. It’s like the holidays all over again.

Read – AT&T To Deliver Free Access To Nation’s Largest Wi-Fi Network
Read – AT&T Boosts Bandwidth Choices and Speed with 10 Mbps Offer for U-verse Customers

Intel demos iPhone-like MID of the future

Intel just keeps banging out the hits from IDF. After the handful of McCaslin “next-quarter” and “coming-soon” UMPCs we saw from the chipmaker (and associates), Intel started busting out prototypes from its forthcoming Menlow chipset, using smaller, 45nm Silverthorne CPUs, and the 2009/2010 offering Moorestown… which is the bad-boy you’re looking at in these photos is based on. In a rather obvious homage to the iPhone, the chip-kingpin presented this do-anything, go-anywhere MID (provided you can cram this French-bread-sized device into a pocket). The device will feature a 45nm CPU as well, plus all kinds of goodies like integrated WiFi and WiMAX, and apparently 24 hours of battery life on a single charge. Obviously, this product will probably never see the light of day (at least not in this form factor), but then again — you never really know.

Read — Intel shows concept iPhone running on Moorestown platform
Read — Intel’s iPhone clone, we’re not joking
Read — Intel Details Next Generation “Menlow” MID, UMPC Platform

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ASUS’ M930W brings E90 style to Windows Mobile

via Engadget Mobile by Chris Ziegler on 12/24/07

Right down to the color scheme, pretty much everything about the ASUS’ just-leaked M930W is reminding us of Nokia’s E90 business superphone, save for one very important detail: this one’s running Windows Mobile 6 instead of S60. The specs reveal 3.6Mbps HSDPA, a pretty capable 3.2 megapixel autofocus cam, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, microSDHC slot, 256MB of ROM and 128MB of RAM. That’s the good news; the bad is that we’re lacking GSM 850 and 3G 850 / 1900 here. What else is new, right? France’s GPS&Co has it pegged for a Q1 ’08 release at a yet-to-be-determined price.[Via Unwired View]

T-Mobile’s HotSpot@Home service

t-mobile_hotspot_home_2.jpg

T-Mobile launched its HotSpot@Home service a couple of weeks ago, but because of all of the recent iPhone mania, reviews are only coming in now. The service costs $20 a month on top of the cost of your normal T-Mobile service ($10 during an introductory time period), and allows you to make free phone calls using wireless hotspots. When you walk or drive away from the Wi-Fi spot you’ve been using, the phone will switch seamlessly to T-Mobile’s cellular network.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Reviews have been mixed. While some love the service, others find it difficult to use or glitchy. Reviewers agree on two things, though: First, seamless Wi-Fi/mobile service integration is a great idea. And second, the phones that T-Mobile is currently selling to go with HotSpot@Home are not cool at all. More detailed reports after the jump.

“Unfortunately, the service needs some ironing out. Say I walk into a Starbucks. If the cellular signal remains strong, it can take up to three minutes for my phone to switch to Wi-Fi and stop consuming my calling plan minutes. That’s because, in an effort to save battery power, the phone sniffs around for Wi-Fi connections only every once in a while… I also dislike the available handsets.” , BusinessWeek

“Calls over the Wi-Fi network sounded exactly the same as GSM calls. True to their word, we [sic] didn’t notice that our phone had switched from one to the other, except in one rare circumstance…. It isn’t hard to find cell-phone users who have problems with reception, even in their own homes. With HotSpot@Home, not only is reception no longer a significant issue at home, with Wi-Fi networks at work and wherever users frequent, the service offers customers more control.” , infoSync World

“Call quality was nothing extraordinary…. Overall, we’re very pleased with the service. The GSM/Wi-Fi transition could be a lot smoother, and we wish that we could actually use the Wi-Fi to surf the Web (Web surfing is unfortunately stuck to EDGE speeds — a bummer).” , CNet

“One benefit, which I didn’t expect, was that calls made over Wi-Fi actually sounded clearer than those made using the cellular network…. The hype over the iPhone certainly drowned out T-Mobile’s launch of HotSpot@Home, which was too bad. T-Mobile’s new service is a revolutionary in its scope. , MSNBC.com

“[The two phones] sound terrific; over Wi-Fi, in fact, they produce the best-sounding cell-phone calls you’ve ever made. But the screens are small and coarse, and the features limited…. T-Mobile has found a way to embrace and exploit [Wi-Fi] to everyone’s benefit. The result is a smartly implemented, technologically polished, incredibly inexpensive way to make over your phone lifestyle. , The New York Times

“My tests with this wireless network and its companion mobile phone were so underwhelming — when it worked — that I’d suggest anyone with even the tiniest bit of tech savvy wait for something better.” , The Chicago Tribune

“The switch from Wi-Fi mode to cell-phone mode mid call is so smooth, it’s shocking that this technology really works. If my cell-phone coverage at home was terrible, I’d say sign me up! The limited selection of phones is a major drawback. I can’t imagine going back to a boring phone like the Samsung I tested.” , The Orange County Register

“The big beneficiaries of this service will be International travelers. You can carry the phone with you, say to Rome. The phone will connect to a Wi-Fi network, and allow you to call home as if you were calling locally. The bad news is that if you have to call someone in Rome, then it becomes an international call.” , GigaOm

“The promise of WiFi phones are great — bypass the slow cell-phone networks when you are near a Wi-Fi hotspot. But the realities of wireless computer networking — with closed networks, firewalls, and other incompatibilities — make them hard enough to log onto with a laptop, never mind a phone.” , Business 2.0

“I’ve been using T-Mobile’s HotSpot@Home from Poland this week and I can honestly say that the service is a lifesaver if you’re a frequent pond-hopper.” CrunchGear

AT&T customers seeing sudden boost in EDGE speeds?

Shortly after beginning the shutdown process of AMPS and TDMA networks, and just hours before the launch the EDGE-capable iPhone, a number of users are reportedly seeing dramatic increases in EDGE throughput. After questioning whether the mobile was actually using WiFi, a New Yorker began to see if fellow AT&T customers across the nation were also noticing the substantial boost in speeds; sure enough, it looks like quite a few others are seeing speeds upwards of 200Kbps. Of course, the usual banter over the legitimacy of speed tests conducted on mobiles inevitably ensued, but we’re leaving it up to you. So, dear readers, hop on AT&T’s 2.5G highway and give it a go, but be sure to return and let us know whether the increases are for real.

Update: We tried some speed tests on an EDGE handset ourselves, and though it’s been a little inconsistent, we’ve been shocked to find a number of runs over 200kbps. True, these kinds of speeds are theoretically possible (actually, little known fact, the ITU technically defines EDGE as a 3G standard), but we’d never expect to see them in practice. Should make the iPhone’s browsing experience a little more bearable if it holds up!

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Nokia Eseries devices are widely available in the U.S.

Nokia E61i

I purchased a Nokia E61 to replace my Treo 650 from a US importer last year and have since upgraded to a Nokia E61i, again via a US importer. Nokia posted a press release announcing that Nokia E-series, these are the enterprise focused devices like the E61i, are broadly available in the United States. The release is primarily an educational announcement to spread the word about various outlets where you can get a Nokia E61i, E65, or other Eseries model. There are more than 140 value-added resellers (VARs) in the Nokia for Business Channel Program, including Dell.com, Gateway, and Mobile Planet. I personally have purchased my Eseries devices from PhoneSource USA and have been extremely pleased with their services. IMHO, the E61i is a great deal at around US$400 for a SIM unlocked device that requires no contract extension or minimal service obligation.

The Eseries devices are S60 smartphones with pre-installed applications and features focused on the business user. Devices like the E61i and E90 have QWERTY keyboards and just about every wireless radio you can think of to allow for VoIP telephony and connectivity anywhere. There are several syncing and push email solutions as well as the ability to view email attachments. The Nokia Intellisync Mobile Suite also allows for high security managment of the devices, which is critical to the business user. All of this isn’t to say that these devices still can’t be used for fun and personal enjoyment since they have MP3 capability, some have cameras for quick snapshots, and they support a large number of 3rd party applications.

Thanks to my buddy Chris over at Mobility Site for the link to the press release.