Category Archives: Devices

Adobe MAX Seoul

Today is the first day of the Adobe MAX conference in Seoul. It’s great to talk to local mobile developers, and checking out some local mobile devices.

For example, Samsung has a Windows Mobile slider phone, which has a touch screen and a tiny antenna that receives digital satellite TV. The video quality is really good as it is all digital signal. It runs on the standard Windows Mobile system, so Flash Lite 2.1 is also available. I was told it is free to watch TV on the mobile phone.

Samsung phone with satellite TV

It’s great to be back in Asia. Getting to hang out with the usual crowd and meeting new people are always good reasons for going to these conferences. I think there are over 1000 attendees, coming for the two-day event.

My presentation on “Connecting to External Data Services” (for Flash Lite) is on tomorrow. There’s a speaker dinner tonight, and I’m looking forward to the traditional Korea dinner.

Last night, a couple of speakers went out for a late dinner at a nearby Japanese restaurant. The food was really good!

Dinner
Geoff Lillemon, Jared Tarbell, Rob Chiu, Craig Swann, Mario Klingemann

Dinner
Erik Natzke, Tobey, Geoff Lillemon, Jared Tarbell

Adobe MAX, Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai

Adobe MAX

Thought I should update the blog about my upcoming trip to Asia, specifically to Seoul, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Adobe invited me to speak at the APAC MAX conference in Seoul (Nov 14-15), on mobile Flash development.

The topic of my presentation is “Connecting to External Data Services”. I’ve seen the same topic at other MAX conferences by other speakers, but haven’t attended any of them; so it would be interesting to see how each speaker approaches the same topic. Here is the description of my presentation:

“Explore the process in developing Flash Lite 2 applications that connect to external live data and multimedia assets. View examples of XML/RSS, images, video, and light-weight transitions designed for mobile devices. See how object-oriented ActionScript 2.0 code segments bring these applications to life.”

Speaking at the Seoul conference should be an interesting experience, as I don’t read or speak Korean. There will be live translation during my presentation though. Another first for me is the length of the presentation – it’s 80 minutes long! Although I’ve done a back-to-back repeat presentation at the first FITC (2 hours total), this will be the longest single presentation I’ve done.

On a personal note, I’m very interested to see the latest mobile devices in Asia, and learn about the mobile culture there. Of course, it would be my pleasure to meet other Flash developers and designers in all three cities too.

In case anyone is wondering my whereabouts, I’ll be in Seoul from Nov 11 to 16. Hong Kong from Nov 16-22, Shanghai from Nov 22-26, and back to Hong Kong from Nov 26-Dec 4. Should have broadband internet access in all three cities, so business as usual (except I’ll be in a tourist mood)!

P.S. Picked up a Vonage V-Phone, even though I already have a VoIP line (along with my regular landline). Reason is simple, no bulky phone adaptor and handset to pack, it’s just a small memory stick with some circuits. Cool gadget for travelers to keep in touch with folks back home!

Nokia N95

The N95 looks like it has all the cool features one would ever want in a phone. However, there is one thing that stands out after reading the PDF fact sheet: “Nokia Battery (BL-5F) 950mAH”.

For a phone with built-in GPS, 2.6″ screen, HSPDA, Wi-Fi, 5 megapixel camera, music player…etc., a 950mAH battery is simply not enough. I hope this won’t repeat the N80 annoyance of really short battery life.

As for the GPS, I can’t find any mention if it is using the more sensitive SiRF Star III chipset. Does anyone know?

I’m hoping that the combination of the GPS and the 5 megapixel camera would mean that the location coordinates will be included in the EXIF data; so such add-on device won’t be needed.

From pictures posted at Symbian Freak, the N95 camera protrudes slightly and there is no lens cover like the N73. Hmmm…

Nokia launches new N-Series ‘multimedia computers’

At the Nokia Open Studio that is going on right now, Nokia is officially announcing new phones, or as they refer to them, multimedia computers. “Convergence without compromise” is the slogan for the new N-Series devices, including the N95 (PDF) and N75 (PDF) (where are the N83 and N81?). Also announced are music editions of previously released devices including: N70, N73, and N91 8GB.

Here are some of the new features of the N95: Flash Lite 2.0*, HSDPA (3.5G broadband speed starting at 1-2 Mbps, up to 10Mbps), GPS with maps, 5 megapixel camera, 3.5mm audio jack, dual sliders, 3D stereo effect, music recommendations, FOTA (update firmware over-the-air)… This device will ship during the Q1 2007 at 550 euros.

N95:

Nokia N95
Nokia N95
Nokia N95
Nokia N95

N75:

Nokia N75
Nokia N75
Nokia N75

More info can be found from the Press Releases, as well as sites such as All About Symbian.

Oh, I got a N73 recently for S60 3rd edition development (the 6680 is great for 2nd edition development, including Flash Lite 1.1 & 2.x). More on that later…

Update: The discussion panel is now talking about comparing these Nokia devices with the iPod, and if Apple releases the iPhone.

It’s about experience – e.g. Getting contact address and have the GPS maps it out for direction.

Check out the photos for the N95 and N75.

* Update 2: According to the specs, only Flash Lite 1.1 comes with the N95; however, I’ve read from somewhere that it is Flash Lite 2. Can anyone confirm?

Nokia audio & video capabilities

Was trying to encode some MPEG-4 video for Nokia S60 3rd edition phones, and found this Nokia tech page that lists audio and video streaming capabilities for various phones.

For the N73, the following settings seem to work well when encoding video in SUPER ©.

Video:

  • 320×240
  • H.264/AVC
  • 384kbps max data rate
  • 15fps

Audio:

  • AAC stereo
  • 64kbps
  • 22050KHz

This is for local viewing from memory card, not streaming over-the-air; although this setting should work with WCDMA or faster connections.

Nokia phone firmware updater

For the longest time, many Nokia users who want to update their phone’s firmware have to either send their phone to Nokia service centers, or dig around the net for often illegal software. Although newer phones can be updated over-the-air, most (even slightly) older phones don’t have FOTA (Firmware-Over-The-Air) support.

Today, Nokia releases Phone Software Update, an PC application that updates selected phones to the latest firmware.

Currently supporting the following phones:

E50, E60, E61, E62, E70, N70, N72, N80, N91, 770 Internet Tablet, 6131, 6630, 6680, 6681, 6682 (recently added in red)

As usual, updating device firmware can be risky (such as ending up with a paper weight). However, Nokia’s Phone Updater is implemented nicely, and the update process went smoothly for my 6680.

Make sure to read the FAQ before updating, as it addresses many important issues.

In pursuit of the perfect keyboard

Over the years, I’ve used many different keyboards. From the flat Atari 400 keyboard, to the DEC VT100 terminal keyboard, to portable systems such as the Hyperion keyboard, to Apple II and so on. As a developer / programmer, the keyboard is the main interface to the computer, and I always look for the “perfect” keyboard.

The last keyboard I used is the Microsoft Keyboard Elite for Bluetooth, and I just bought a new wired keyboard two days ago.

Why get a wired keyboard again? It’s basically because I’m tired of waiting for the Bluetooth keyboard to respond. You see, it can get pretty frustrating when typing something and there’s no response. Sometimes it would take a good 15-20 seconds before the keyboard is fully awake. I’ve tried re-installing drivers and what not, and it’s still up to the keyboard to decide if it wants to accept my input! Even though this Bluetooth keyboard is nice and comfortable with a large palm rest, convenient Forward/Back keys, and a scroll wheel, the waiting is unbearable.

In terms of ergonomics, the standard Apple keyboard is rather mediocre. There is no palm rest, and the keys layout just don’t feel “right” for some reason. The old Apple Extended Keyboard II felt much better in comparison, although it isn’t particularly ergonomic either, but I’m not the only one who feel this way.

So I got adventurous this time and bought a Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000.

The layout will definitely take some getting used to. The odd shape and profile do provide comfortable typing, as it is the major selling point. The reverse slope attachment tilts the keyboard backwards (i.e. the front of the keyboard is higher than the back), changing the normal hand posture. Only time will tell if this is the right keyboard for me.

As a side note: I’m still extremely happy with the Logitech MX 1000 Laser Cordless Mouse. In fact, I have two of them – one for the main PC and one for the Mac (the original Apple Mighty Mouse is horrible compared to the laser mouse). I know, colours don’t match (the Mac), but it’s function over form for me in these cases.

Which is your favorite keyboard or mouse?

Nokia 6131 with Flash Lite

My mom bought a Nokia 6131 phone, and it was a nice surprise to see Flash Lite already installed. The version of this player is 5.4.102.5, which is Flash Lite 1.1. The phone itself is a S40 3rd edition device, and it’s a nice and compact phone for the general consumer.

I tested a couple of Flash Lite 1.1 games and applications, and they all work. Because this phone’s screen resolution is 240×320, most Flash Lite content are scaled to full screen but are not taking advantage of the higher resolution.

What is also nice is not only standalone Flash Lite content are supported, this phone also supports Flash Lite as screensaver, wallpaper, and for the external (smaller) LCD screen.

Not bad for a Cdn$360 quad-band phone.

Check out other Nokia S40 devices with Flash Lite, or the other Flash Lite handsets from Adobe.

Update:

There are two Flash Lite files that I found: A Sudoku game, and an animated introduction to the phone.

The Nokia Catalog application even lists Flash content, even though there are only two clocks that are available for download. It’s a good sign that Flash content is now listed under the catalog.