Archive for the ‘Previews’ Category

Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two first hands-on!


We’ve just spent some time handling Microsoft’s just-announced Kin One and Kin Two, and we’re not sure what to think; the keyboards have surprisingly good feel, particularly the One (think Palm Pre levels of usability on the One, for example — we wouldn’t be surprised if it was their benchmark) and the phones generally feel pretty solid. In fact, we’d go so far to say that this is a marked improvement in hardware quality for Sharp than any of its Sidekicks ever offered. Problem is, we just can’t get over the fact that the software is extremely limited in its scope — yes, we understand that it’s by design, but does this so-called “upload generation” of socially-connected teens and twentysomethings really want a phone that they can’t download games to? That’s the million-dollar question that Verizon will be answering over the next few months, it seems.

We know that the One is positioned as the slightly lower-end device on account of its 5 megapixel cam (the Two has 8) and half the internal storage, but we actually came away liking it more — it’s the only one of the two that looks truly unique, because the Two just looks like any old landscape slider smartphone (not to say that’s necessarily a bad thing). The front of both devices is graced with a single metallic button to offset an otherwise clean glossy black bezel — this button functions as Back, not Home, so if you’re multiple levels deep into the UI you’ll only be taken back one. You can still hold the button down to get back to the home screen, fortunately, and both the One and Two have dedicated camera buttons — Microsoft’s making no secret of the fact that image and video capture are a huge push for these devices.

The basic meat-and-potatoes parts of the user interface — the Loop, the Spot, and so on — work pretty smoothly, without any hiccups. The browser stuttered in places, but it wasn’t unusably bad; hopefully this is something that’ll improve over time, since the Kins support over-the-air updates. As for the interface concept, it’s

Maybe our favorite part of the device, though, was Zune Pass, which streams over WiFi or 3G. Yes, you heard us right: you can search for and stream basically anything out of the Zune Pass collection over Verizon’s EV-DO, then play it in the background while you go about your merry way. It worked really well, and the Zune UI seems to translate pretty well onto a display as small as the One’s tiny QVGA unit.



Samsung Windows 7 Phone Preview


Hey, I told you MIX was going to be hot. A talk at the development conference has revealed a third flavor of Windows Phone 7 Series, though alas, it does not appear to be the third chassis style we heard exists — unless the extra-hot camera is the third style. This shiny new Samsung keeps the lozenge style but has a more rounded look than the “reference” design we saw at launch. [update: it’s just a hacked i8910]

Some other news from the conference: as we expected, Microsoft is locking down the hardware requirements for WinPho7 devices, requiring them to meet or exceed certain qualifications. And here they are:

  • 800×480 screen (320×480 to follow)
  • 256MB RAM, 8GB flash storage
  • 4-point multi-touch
  • ARMv7 Cortex/Scorpion or better
  • DirectX9 support by GPU
  • Codec acceleration (probably on GPU via DirectX)
  • 5 megapixel camera with flash and separate camera button
  • Three hard buttons: Start, Search, and Back
  • GPS, accelerometer, compass, light and proximity sensors

The resolution restriction is a good move for maintaining a similar visual experience across handsets. Actually, locking stuff down like this is good across the board — it means people are free to choose whichever hardware they like without worrying about whether they run the OS well. That’s a major concern for Android buyers right now.

I’m pretty sure the Samsung is not the “third chassis” mainly because of the upcoming HVGA resolution. That suggests to me a candy bar chassis with a full QWERTY keyboard, BlackBerry style. The effectively halved resolution makes perfect sense for that. Who knows when they’ll announce it, but I feel strongly that’s the case.

Read more at MobileCrunch

SonyEricsson X10 Preview


Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 is one of the hottest names in the industry and it’s not even released yet. Santa won’t be able to get us one for Christmas but next year holds a serious promise for us geeks. The Sony Ericsson’s first Snapdragon device and first Android smartphone is one seriously capable handset that promises great user experience.

We first met the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 a month ago at its official announcement event in London. The device that might end up deciding the company’s fate left us feeling quite positive about its market prospects so we are really pleased to finally welcome it to our office.

Read more at GSMArena