Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to unlock a blackberry phone in 10 simple steps

We got a blackberry from US and didn’t feel the need to unlock the phone till my E51 refused to power up after a total battery drain. I was left with no cell phone situation – which trust me is a very bad condition in the era of smartphones and 3G on almost all carriers (even if I was going to be in home all day long). So the blackberry was taken out from its 6 month long hibernation and I was initially doubtful if it would even charge up for use. Thankfully, the blackberry didn’t let me down! Next step was to unlock the phone. There are several guys in India in every gully who claim to unlock US phones of any make/model/carrier. Few of them might just do it right but in most cases, they end up removing the basic software and corrupting the phone along with all those dear apps or return the phone to you saying it can’t be done with this model – after holding your phone for at least a couple of weeks. We had a bad experience with two such guys with our iPhone – it still yearns to be unlocked!

So this time I decided that I was going to give it a try myself with the help of Google and YouTube. I took the bold step because, I had two blackberry of the same make but with a single battery (so in any case I could just use one blackberry at a time), therefore even if I screwed one up, there was a backup anyway! I was amazed to find that there were so many vendors who could help me unlock the blackberry and I must say I was mistrusting initially but nevertheless took the chance and I am really happy that I took the chance! Here is the steps that I followed to unlock the blackberry.

blackberry unlock

How I unlocked the blackberry

Step #1: Find the IMEI number of your mobile phone. This can be done by typing *#06# on the key pad

blackberry unlock1Step #2: Go to the below website:  www.unlockcellphonecode.com. The best part about using unlockcellphonecode.com is that they are the cheapest amongst all others on the internet. The cost for my blackberry was just $9.99 which is pretty cheap compared to what the local unlock-wallas ask for. Here you will see a form where you have to enter the following details:

 

 

 

* Select the country and carrier database  from the drop down list

* Select the right carrier/provider of your mobile

* Select the right blackberry model

* Enter the IMEI number – I was a little apprehensive about giving out the IMEI number- but now I know it was completely safe to do so.

Step #3: Click on Add to Cart

Step #4: You can pay through PayPal or through Google checkout

You will get a confirmation upon payment along with an invoice number and you will also get an email confirmation. You will also receive a user name and password along with the link where you can check the code. Follow the instructions in the email. This e-mail will be where you will also get the unlock code.

Then comes the waiting part.  Since this was an online transaction and as there was no contact number available on the website, the waiting part was a bit scary I must admit. They say that codes are available in 2-4 hours time, but it took 8 hours in my case. So don’t panic if you don’t see the code in you inbox within 4 or 6 hours.

Once you get the code, you will have to do 2 simple steps to unlock the phone:

Step #5: Remove the old SIM card from the blackberry and power it on (You can either have the new SIM card inserted or you can do this with no SIM in the phone – that makes no difference)blackberry unlock2

Step #6: Go to Options –> Advanced Options –> SIM Card. Now enter the following in the keypad: meppd

You will see that the Network option shows “Active”. This means that the phone is locked to the network of the provider

Step #7: Now enter the following on your keypad: mepp alt2 without any space between them. 

blackberry unlock3Step #8: You will see “Enter Network MEP Code (256 left)” This number 256 is the number of attempts for you to enter the MEP Code. You are lucky if you have these many attempts left. But if you exhaust all of those attempts, the phone gets hard locked to the carrier and there will the nothing you can do to unlock the phone.

Step #9: Enter the unlock code that you received in the email. This will unlock the phone and you will now see that the Network also shows “Disabled”. This is perfectly alright, it just means your phone is no longer tied to the carrier

blackberry unlock4

Step#10: If you had not inserted the new SIM card earlier, do it now. Usually the right carrier gets selected automatically. If it does not go to Options—> Mobile Network and search for available network and choose the right carrier from among the list.

Now you will have an unlocked Blackberry!!

Did this help you? Have you unlocked through any other better way? Do share your thoughts!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Introducing the world of 3G to Indian mobile consumers–A review of 3G service providers and their tariffs

After mobile number portability it is now time for the telecom industry to woo the customers to the latest in the industry. Yes indeed, 3G is the talk of the town. With 3G available from all the major service providers both for their pre-paid and post-paid consumers, everyone can now experience ‘on the go’ internet experience from their smart phones. What remains to be seen is how the Indian consumers are going to embrace this technological advance. And this to a great extend will depend on the data plans and tariffs that the service providers will offer. I have compiled a list of major 3G service providers along with the details of their post paid charges (wherever available).

Comparison of the tariffs and service

3G service

Of all these, Vodafone’s deal is currently the best as one gets to try the 3G experience ‘at no extra cost’. But when Vodafone will start charging for the service, I guess BNL will get back to be he best again. Not only are the charges vey nominal, the service is also good. I find Airtel to be the costliest amongst the lot (They even charge you at 50paise per minute on Customer service calls – that’s pathetic!). I have personally tried Airtel and BSNL and from my experience, I find BSNL beat Airtel hands down I terms of cost, browsing speed and issueless connectivity. Airtel has intermittent breaks in connection and is relatively slow in comparison. Vodafone, I heard lives up to the ‘Super man’ zoo-zoo levels of expectation. (Again Vodafone did come up with the best series of Ads for 3G – they seem to have on hell of a creative team)

3G tariffs

State wise list of service providers:

Here is the details of 3G service provides in different states:

State Service provider
Andhra Pradesh Bharati Airtel, Idea, Aircel
Assam Reliance Telecom, Bharati Airtel, Aircel
Bihar Bharati Airtel, STel, Aircel, Reliance Telecom
Delhi Bharati Airtel, Reliance Telecom, Vodafone
Gujarat Idea, Vodafone, Docomo
Haryana Idea, Vodafone, Docomo
Himachal Pradesh R C0m, Idea, STel, Bharati Airtel
Jammu & Kashmir Aircel, Reliance Telecom, Bharati Airtel, Idea
Karnataka Bharati Airtel, Docomo, Aircel
Kerala Idea, Docomo, Aircel
Kolkata Reliance Telecom, Vodafone, Aircel
Madhya Pradesh Idea, Docomo, Reliance Telecom
Maharashtra Idea, Docomo, Vodafone
Mumbai Bharati Airtel, Reliance telecom, Vodafone
North East R com, Bharati Airtel, Aircel
Orissa STel, Aircel, R com
Punjab Docomo, Idea, Reliance Telecom, Aircel
Rajasthan Docomo, Reliance Telecom, Bharti Airtel
Tamil Nadu Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel
Uttar Pradesh (East) Aircel, Idea, Vodafone
Uttar Pradesh (west) Docomo, Bharti Airtel, Idea
West Bengal Bharti Airtel, Reliance Telecom, Vodafone, Aircel

 

Even though 3G is  the hot cake now, the usage will greatly depend on competitive pricing. Also as a smart phone (like iPhone, android models or Nokia smart phones) is a basic necessity for this service, that will also act as a dampening factor. Nevertheless, I believe that this revolutionary technology will reach the masses very soon even if the service is priced quite on the higher side now. I am sure the charges will settle down to customer friendly rates within a short time – remember when cellphones came to India, incoming calls were charged at Rs.65 per min and today we are paying homage to 1 paise/min!

What do you think? Do you have 3G enabled handsets? What 3G service do you use and how do you like it – Please share your views!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Verizon unleashes 4G with HTC Thunderbolt - A review of features and deals on Thunderbolt

The wait for 4G is finally over - Verizon has launched the 4G service with HTC Thunderbolt today! The 4.3 inch Thunderbolt is priced at $250 at Verizon wireless with a 2 year contract. The phone looks very cool and hopefully experiencing 4G on it would be cool as well. The only thing that bring a frown is the Android version in the mobile. With android already working on Ice cream Sandwich, this mobile only sports the Android 2.2 version (the version most widely in use today).

Features:

Android 2.2 (Froyo) with HTC Sense 2.0 OS

4.3” TFT Touch screen, 8MP rear cam with LED Flash and 1.3MP front cam

MicroSD expandable up to 32 GB

802.11 b/g/n wireless, 2.1 Bluetooth, 4G network

Qualcomm® MSM8655, 1GHz, Qualcomm MDM9600 chipset

 

HTC Thunderbolt with 4G

 

The best deal on this phone is available at Amazon.com – $180.00

Ordered your HTC Thunderbird already? What is your expectations? Do share your comments here!

Froyo (Android 2.2) is the most popularly used Android version!

Just after 9 months of its release, Froyo (Android 2.2) is the most widely used Android version in all of the Android devices. This version of the Android OS is popularly used in both mobile devices and in tablets.

When  combined with the Android version 2.1, the overall popularity of the 2.x version swells to 90% on all the active Google devices.

The disappointing part of this statistic is that the most recent version for mobile phones – Gingerbread has not even reached 2% in terms of usage. Also the honeycomb version which was exclusively developed for tablets is just 0.2% in use.

Android Version Usage
1.5 3 %
1.6 4.8 %
2.1 29 %
2.2 61.3 %
2.3 0.7 %
2.3.3 1.0 %
3.0 0.2 %

 

 

android versions popularity

Though the popularity of Android is steadily climbing up in the market, the users would love to see that the most recent versions are also the most widely used versions in market.

 

Do you own an android? What version are you running?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

iPod 4 screen glitches following iOS 4.3 update - What to do about it?

 

Just when the users with iOS 4.3 update in their iPhones / iPods are still to come out of the DST bug problem (well there has been no fix from Apple – restarting the device fixed the issue in most cases), the next issue has cropped up. Many iPod touch users are reporting weird glitches in their screen graphics following the iOS 4.3 update in their iPod. The glitches are more apparent in the lock screen and many users have also reported icon overlapping and other problems with pixel alignment. Hope Apple fixes the issues with the OS update soon – before the droid lovers have a field day with this!

What should I do if I see the glitches in my iPod?

The best thing to do if you see the glitches is to report it to Apple. They are the right people to do something about this. Please report the issue in any one of the two Apple discussion links below:

Apple discussion link 1

Apple discussion link 2

 

iPod 4 Glitch following iOS4.3 update

 

Are you experiencing these glitches too? Share your videos/experiences in comments.

iPhone / iPod DST Bug–How to fix the clock

After Android went through the malware apps last week, its time for Apple to take the beating now. On Sunday March 13, while the clock must have moved an hour forward to adjust for the DST, Apple iPhones / iPads / iPods decided to go back by an hour due to a bug in the iPhone DST adjustments. Almost all iPhone owners relying on their phones to keep up with appointments and even waking up with its alarm, were alarmed to see that they were not on time! iSiC_XXIII, a twitter user vented his frustrations this way in twitter “Thanks iPod Touch and iPhone for making me late to work! DST is not working properly”. Seemingly there were no issues with most of the other phones including Android in adjusting themselves to the DST settings. The same bug is expected to affect the Europeans on March 27.

J0341439

What’s the Fix?

*  Restarting the phone has solved the issue in 99% of cases.

*  You can otherwise switch the phone briefly to airplane mode and then back to normal mode, This has also worked for some people.

Time to get a good old alarm clock!!

Did the DST bug bite you too?? What did you do to resolve the issue – Do share your experience here!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Apple iPad 2 vs Motorola Xoom vs Samsung Galaxy tab - A comparison of features, hardware and usability

Its Showtime for the tablet competitors Apple, Motorola and Samsung and for tablet lovers, it can’t get better than this. Gone are the days of Apple monopoly in the market. Now, the customer is the king and we have for the first time real competitors to consider when thinking about the latest in electronics market – tab. The release of iPad 2 (read the features and highlights here) had Samsung do some serious re-thinking about its price and features before launching it in the market. Also there were reviews on Motorola Xoom which showed that there were some areas of improvement when compared to the iPad2. However, with Android making its presence felt among users of wide ranges of age group and profession, it is customer oriented market yet again and here is how I compare the tabs (Read a detailed comparison of Android vs iPhone here). Again, in this case too, I am not going to say if one tab beats the other or if Apple wins over Android or Android gets better than apple – just trying to bring out an unbiased review.ipad 2 vs motorola xoom vs galaxy tab 2

Comparison Chart:

  Motorola Xoom Samsung Galaxy tab 2 Apple iPad 2 Advantage
OS Honeycomb Honeycomb (android 3.0) Apple iOS 4.3 Purely for the brand power and also because Honeycomb is still raw and yet to be experienced – Apple
Display 10.1” 10.1” 9.7” Though Apple’s display is slightly smaller than the other two, it looks cuter than the other two to me – Apple
Resolution 1280 x 800 1280 x 800 1024 x 768 Definitely Motorola 
RAM 1 GB Not Available 512 MB Motorola
Processor 1 GHz Terga 2 dual-core 1 GHz Terga 2 dual-core A5 1GHz dual-core Again for the tested and extremely satisfying performance – Apple 
Camera 5 MegaPix rear camera with LED Flash / 2 MegaPix front camera 8 MegaPix rear camera with Flash and 2 MegaPix front camera Rear camera pix rating unspecified, front camera VGA Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 – Apple disappointed everybody big time here
Memory 32 GB – Expandable memory up to 32 GB in microSD 16 or 32 GB – Nothing specified yet about external memory 16, 32, 64 GB but no external expandable memory Motorola – MicroSD slot was one of the most expected feature in the new version of Tabs
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n along with Personal Hotspot 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n Tied – similar specs
Network 3G (upgradable to 4G – if you don’t mind shipping it back and forth to Verizon to get this done) 4G HSPA / EDGE / GPRS 3G HSDPA / GSM / EDGE / CMDA Samsung Galaxy Tab for the 4G
Externals 9.8 x 6.6 x 0.5 / 12.7 mm / 1.61 lbs 9.67 x 6.7 x 0.43 / 10.9 mm thick / 1.32 lbs 9.5 x 7.3 x 0.34 / 8.8 mm thick / 1.33 lbs Apple – truly lives up to its marketing slogan – thinner, lighter and smarter
Ports HDMI, USB 2.0 USB 2.0 HDMI (with adapter) Motorola Xoom 

 

Apple’s exciting features like Facetime, excellent multitasking still scores overs minor hitches in Motorola (like problems with microSD, confusing buttons in different applications and heftier finish than iPad2). However Motorola Xoom is a serious competitor to Apple in the tablet race and we are in for some exciting market analysis in near future!!

What do you think about the latest tabs in market? Do share your views and reviews on your tab experience

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

VMware view client App for iPad–next leap from RDP / VNC Citrix and Wyse apps in market

 

One of the primary arguments that many people have against owning an iPad or even better the latest iPad 2 is that this 10 inch piece will never grow up in capacity to handle what their desktop / laptop can handle in terms of work. I must say that either these people are unaware of the business apps that are available in market or haven’t worked out how to use them to perfection. Yes I am talking about the VNC / RDP apps that are abundant in iTunes apps market. VMware has joined the bandwagon (in league with Citrix and Wyse) now making it bigger and better with their VMware view app for iPad.

 

RDP / VNC apps for iPad / iPhone / iPod

As this post is not a review on the RDP and VNC (Virtual Network Computing) apps that are available in the market, I am not presenting an exhaustive list here. The two apps I have given below are arguably the best in this category in the market

1. iTap RDP (Remote Desktop for Windows) By HLW – Paid App ($11.99) – Use this app to take RDP of your machine when you are connected to the local network. Or if you can get a public IP from your internet provider, you can set your laptop/desktop with a static IP and you can then access your machine from anywhere in the world from your ipad. Once connected you will actually be working on you laptop/desktop with its hardware resources!

2. Desktop Connect By Antecea Inc. – Paid App ($14.99) – This has the choice of either connecting through VNC or through RDP. The same idea of public IP holds good here too to make your machine available from anywhere in the world. One good feature about this app is that you can turn off the touchscreen option and then your whole ipad becomes the giant touch pad and can be used to control mouse pointer movements (if you have difficulty in point touching)

TeamViewer By TeamViewer – free App. I know that this app cannot be even mentioned in the same breath with the RDP / VNC apps but if you are not too freaky about security (when you accept team viewer policy it means you allow your session visibility to team viewer), this one will just suit the bill for accessing your machine over the internet. But the only drawback I can think of is that, you cannot log your machine off and team viewer must be left running all the time. So don’t go sharing the Partner id and password!

What does VMware view do?

vmware view for ipad desktop

The VMware view client for iPad that has been launched on Wednesday (9th March 2011) and will now enable enterprise users access their workstations from iPad (I can’t start imagining how happy my husband’s going to be about this). Simply put, if the virtual machines are available in the cloud in a data center, you can access them from your iPad using the FREE APP from VMware (VMware View for iPad By SpringSource). VMware likes to call this a ‘finely tuned solution’ with PCoIP protocol for a faster and smoother user experience – even over 3G!! This app is compatible with external bluetooth keyboard and external display.  With the latest iPad 2 boasting HDMi, the display can be over a wide screen LED TV.

Special features of VMware View App

vmware view for ipad iconOnce you have the app installed in your iPad, just click on the VMware view icon (middle icon in the bottom row) to connect to a virtual machine by entering its IP, followed by the username and password in the next screen.

The desktops that are provisioned to your user accounts will show up. Click on the one that you want to connect to and the desktop comes up on the ipad

The interesting feature that enhances the usability of this app is the drop down menu that appears on the top. From the drop down menu, you can choose the following options:

1. Keyboard: Opens up the keyboard for typing within applications such as Microsoft word from within the machine

2. Trackpad: Using this trackpad is similar to using the touchpad in any laptop. Controls the mouse pointer

3. vmware view for ipad drop down menuControl Pads: This opens up the control keys, function keys, alt keys and other usability buttons like page up and page down that is most commonly used in a windows machine. Interesting yeah!

4. Gesture Help: A Help on what gestures on iPad means what to the Virtual machine.

5. Options: From here you can choose the touchpad sensitivity and enable / disable tool tips.

6. Disconnect: Disconnect from the virtual machine using this button from drop down menu on top. You can reconnect to the virtual machine and start from where you left off from you ipad or from your workstation.

 

UPDATE: Check out VMware official blog on the VMware view app for iPad at VMware website – link here

 

I think this app comes as a boon to most of the business and enterprise users who have the maximum inclination to buying an iPad. Do you? Are you already using of RDP / VNC apps - What do you think of this app?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Android Malware Apps with Trojan Rootkit–Details of the Apps and how to protect your android from Malware Apps

Google has now come to face the biggest problems of open sourcing – malware apps are in circulation. These apps disguise themselves as if they are genuine and legitimate apps. More than 50 apps have been pulled from Android market after they were identified to have malicious code in them. Which means, if you download any of these apps, it will be automatically deleted from your phone. This malware attack has showcased one of the biggest weakness of Android OS – no app moderation. I had mentioned about the certificate errors that we were receiving on the market.android pages for most of the apps in my post on the Cricket apps for android. Furthermore, when you choose to download and install an app from the android.market website  it happens as smoothly as downloading it from the phone’s android market and there is absolutely no authorization prompted at the device end. Even my Nokia E51 (which is like a 3 yrs old model) has a second layer of authorization at the device level to install an app that was chosen from Nokia apps website!android apps malware

What does the malware App do?

Once you install one of the malware apps, it will root the device via rageagainstthecage or exploid. This can then steal the device data and the personal data and transmit it to a remote server when you will still be playing with the new free app! The details that are stolen are:

* IMEI

* IMSI

* Product ID

* Language

* Personal Details (like user ID and other data you have in the phone)

The scariest bit is that, it just not stops from stealing the data but, it acts as a open backdoor – which means, now more malicious code can be downloaded into your phone without your knowledge!

How do I protect my android?

Lifehacker has a detail post on how to tell if an app is a malware or not – this one is a worthy read to protect your phone from future attacks. However, if you already are a victim of this malware attack (Google did a great job of pulling out these apps in a matter of 5 minutes from the first report – though this deletes the app from the phone, it can do nothing about the malicious code that might have been already downloaded through the backdoor), then you have either of the following two options:

* Try doing a reset to factory defaults. Yes this means losing all the precious data and apps that you have collected so far, but there is no choice other than this.

* Taking the phone back to your service provider (hopefully they’ll replace it with a new phone)

What is remote disabling?

When I said Google had pulled these apps back, it means, these apps were deleted from the users phones without taking any permission from the users for doing so. Not that we are complaining for removing the malware, but this posed the bigger question of how Google can tamper with the apps of an user’s device without the permission from the user. It was not long ago that Amazon had to face the user’s wrath for remotely deleting a book from Kindle across the country. Apple also got into a tight spot for remotely disabling iPhones  that were running on unauthorized OS (Update: Apple has applied for patents to do this now). So it is another question that Google has to answer for

What are the malicious Android Apps?

There were 21 malicious apps by one publisher Myournet – this publisher has now been entirely removed from Android market

• Falling Down
• Super Guitar Solo
• Super History Eraser
• Photo Editor
• Super Ringtone Maker
• Super Sex Positions
• Hot Sexy Videos
• Chess
•下坠滚球_Falldown
• Hilton Sex Sound
• Screaming Sexy Japanese Girls
• Falling Ball Dodge
• Scientific Calculator
• Dice Roller
• 躲避弹球
• Advanced Currency Converter
• App Uninstaller
• 几何战机_PewPew
• Funny Paint
• Spider Man
• 蜘蛛侠

Apart from this list, there are 30 more identified to be malicious by the security app Lookout. These were by the publishers ‘Kingmall2010’ and ‘we20090202’

• owling Time
• Advanced Barcode Scanner
• Supre Bluetooth Transfer
• Task Killer Pro
• Music Box
• Sexy Girls: Japanese
• Sexy Legs
• Advanced File Manager
• Magic Strobe Light
• 致命绝色美腿
• 墨水坦克Panzer Panic
• 裸奔先生Mr. Runner
• 软件强力卸载
• Advanced App to SD
• Super Stopwatch & Timer
• Advanced Compass Leveler
• Best password safe
• 掷骰子
• 多彩绘画
• Finger Race
• Piano
• Bubble Shoot
• Advanced Sound Manager
• Magic Hypnotic Spiral
• Funny Face
• Color Blindness Test
• Tie a Tie
• Quick Notes
• Basketball Shot Now
• Quick Delete Contacts
• Omok Five in a Row
• Super Sexy Ringtones
• 大家来找茬
• 桌上曲棍球
• 投篮高手

As long as Google leaves the android apps market un-moderated, use your better sense when downloading and installing any apps. Take the necessary precautions and have the security app installed in your droid to add the extra layer of security!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The new iPad 2 (second generation iPad) features review and what is missing in iPad2

Lo and Behold! The much awaited gadget of the year – iPad 2, the second generation iPad was launched two days back and has put a full stop to all kinds of speculations about it. Steve Jobs (who still looks unwell) was clad in his trademark black turtleneck and blue Jeans to unveil the latest pride to the apple family.Being gadget freaks, that we are, we had our own set of expectations towards the next generation of this wonder gadget and was waiting eagarly to see how it was different from the generation 1 ipad.

For all those who are still saying, this is a redundant piece of gadget which is just tossed in the market to do what an iphone / laptop does, consider this – Will you want to take your laptop out every time you travel to watch a movie / presentation or would you rather prefer a tab? If you are answering that you’ll just be fine with a iPhone / smart phone my answer is this – I prefer to fly emirates rather than any other flight for just one reason – the in flight personal entertainment screen is by far the biggest among all the other international airlines. The name of the game is portability!ipad 2 features review

Lets get back to the iPad2 and its features:

Appearance and Aesthetics:

* Lighter and Thinner than the previous iPad version – 8.8 mm thick which is 35% lesser than iPad and weighs 1.3 lbs

* 9.7 inch screen (There were a lot of speculations that iPad 2 was shrinking to a 7 inch screen – thankfully this speculation was wrong)

* LED backlit, multi touch display with Finger print resistant oleophobic coating – in short the same as in iPad. With iPhone 4 in circulation with Retina display, I almost 99% believed the speculation that iPad 2 was getting retina display as well. Really disappointed here.

Hardware Features:

* A5 processor (Dual core) with 1 GHz speed

* iOS 4.3

* 9 times better graphics than previous version

* 10 hr battery (inbuilt again)

* Dual Camera

           -  Rear camera is good – has video recording capacity of 720p HD at 30 fps.

           -  Front cam-VGA (WTH! who uses VGA these days? Even iPhone4 has 1.2MP front cam)

* Bluetooth 2.1

* Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n

* HDMi Port (the only worthy enhancement) – charge as you watch when connected to TV

Usability Features:

* In built new Photobooth App for photo modification

* Facetime enabled

* Stream media over network

* HSUPA – Uploads over 3G gets faster and better

Price:

The product is priced same as the iPad. But some better sense has prevailed that those who got a new iPad within the past 14 days are eligible to get a $100 refund as the previous versions prices have been slashed down.  This was something that I liked!

Size Wi-Fi only Wi-Fi & 3G
16 GB $499 $629
32 GB $599 $729
64 GB $699 $829

 

iPad2 will be released to US users on 11th March. UK user can experience iPad2 from 25th March and just as was the case with iPad gen1, India has no dates yet (I hope it does not take 8 months like iPad)

Will you buy an iPad 2
Absolutely Yes - I love the brand
Nope, am happy with my iPad
I'd buy Xoom/Galaxy tab
Definitely No! I hate the gadget explosion
  
pollcode.com free polls

The Disappointments:

No Retina Display

May be this will be incorporated in iPad 3

No SD Card Slot

Well this was mostly expected as Apple markets with price slabs corresponding to its internal memory size and having a SD card will beat that purpose. Nevertheless, it would have been a delight to have had the feature

No USB / mini USB

I still can’t see why Apple doesn’t have this. It is a pain to keep syncing only using itunes. I hope the designers get this in place in iPad3

No Near Field Communication (NFC)

Come on!!! Android 2.3 has this. Is apple trying to compete with Honeycomb or not?

No 4G

With 4G being the next in-thing, I can’t accept iPad 2 doesn’t have it already.

To me this release of iPad seems to be way before what their actual schedule must have been. It misses most of the features that most of us were nearly 99% sure it’d have. Not sure if it was pushed before its time just so that Steve Jobs can present it to the world himself (?!) When Steve said that iPad2 was going to get the other designers ‘back to their drawing boards again’, I found it hard to believe as I see much better features and display aspects in its competitors. Well, if iPad 2 still emerges the winner among its contemporaries, it'll purely be due to the ‘Apple’ brand power.

So what do you think? Are you happy with the iPad 2 or would you have not minded to wait few more months to have all the other features included in it (like me)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Apple iPad features, hitches, prices and deals

Life takes a full circle” – I guess Apple iPad is another gadget that stands testimony to this saying. Moses came back with the 10 commandments inscribed in two tablet and the tablets became the means of communication. It has now, once again – only that this electronic tablet may not be sacred to the Vatican masses but it is demi-God for its users! The sheer beauty and style will mesmerize you. There has been several arguments made about ‘why I don’t need an iPad’ just as was the case with iPhone (read smart phones – coz  android phones is breathing down iPhone’s neck in terms of features and market competition). Even some of the ardent Apple customers needed persuasion to see the whole new cool way of doing things. For those who are still saying that the iPad tab seems an evolutionary link between  Laptop and iPhone, I will not greatly disagree. Even if it were going to do just what the laptop did, isn’t it cool that such a cute 10 inch beauty does all that?

ipad features

The Technicalities:

Size:

iPad has this beautiful 9.7 inch LED backlit, glossy, widescreen, multi touch display with a resolution of 1024 * 768 pixels (132 ppi) and finger print resistant coating. Try however it may, the Samsung Galaxy tab (even though the colors were more prettier there) looked too petite with its 7 inch screen. iPad wins hands down

Processor and Memory:

1 GHz, Apple 4 processor which boasted high performance coupled with low power system on a single chip. If this processor definition fails to awe you, I wonder what will (Can’t wait to see what’s in store in A5) .

Here comes the first hitch (trust me there are only very few of these – is it blasphemy already to find hitches with the demi-god?) – No external memory. Not that I am complaining, it was perfectly ok to run the iPhone with just the internal memory, but I personally feel that an external SD memory would have been simply great! Standard Apple memory sizes available – 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB

Battery:

Inbuilt non-removable battery (the second hitch). The battery lasts up to 10 hrs when used with Wi-Fi (which includes watching video and audio). If you are running on 3G data network all through, the battery runs for 9 hrs.

Other WOW Features:

1. 3G enabled through micro sim

2. External keyboard (an excellent accessory!)

3. Runs all iPhone/iPad apps (including apps that can replace a kindle)

4. Web, email, maps, GPS and much much more

Other Hitches:

1. No camera – one blogger had written this - on saying why he thought not having a cam in iPad was not that bad at all  “If I am driving and I see a beautiful sunset, I will not reach out for my laptop to take a pic”. Very true. You will not want to take a photo with the 10 inch tab every time. But an avid blogger who blogs on what he sees around him, will definitely want to click and write from the same device. Also, in the age of video chats and face time, single camera system by itself is being frowned upon. In that aspect yes, this is a hitch.

2. No USB/HDMi port – when an iPad almost takes the place of a laptop, it is a disappointment to see no USB or HDMi ports in the iPad. Every single piece of electronic junk on the planet seems to have a HDMi port these days… what were the iPad designers thinking?

Prices:

What I loved the most was the pricing. It was neither too high (to make it another of those unreachable desires) nor too low (to look worthless). The prices at the time of launch was:

Size Wi-Fi only Wi-Fi & 3G
16 GB $499 $629
32 GB $599 $729
64 GB $699 $829

 

And it remains the same till date. The best deals that I’ve seen so far are from amazon.com (the difference in price is between few cents to $5 – if you can call that a deal )

Are you a proud possessor of iPad – share your pleasure. Or are you waiting for the next gen iPad, do share what improvements you want to see there.. I am doing that list next :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Android OS Versions Comparison

Android OS started off as a small competition to the iPhone from Apple. But its popularity and market presence growth has been exponential in the recent days. Android sales has surpassed iPhones since the 3rd quarter of 2010 (with respect to the number of units sold) and there has been several comparisons made between the market competitors iPhone and Android. At the same time, Android also keeps releasing a new OS Update once in every 6 months. Since its modest version 1.0 in September 2008 to the most awaited version Ice-cream sandwich (expected in April 2011), there has been constant improvements in OS functionalities and features. I have given a pictorial representation of the various features in each of the Android OS since Cupcakes till Honey Comb.

Android OS Versions features

The Cupcakes version 1.5 experimented with capturing videos through the inbuilt camera and enabled sharing it with your friends on YouTube and Picasa. The key improvements were the ability to have widgets on home screen. The next version 1.6 - Donut came with the voice search and voice dial enhancements. Nearly 6% of users are using this version of Android OS

The next update of OS was Éclair OS 2.0/2.1. This enhancement saw a lot of improvements and additional features over its previous versions. HTML 5 was introduced and Microsoft Exchange server ActiveSync was supported. This is one of the popular versions of Android OS and has close to 31% of users.

With 58% users running on this OS, the Froyo OS 2.2 released in May 2010 is by far the most used and most popular version of Android OS. This update saw drastic speed and performance improvements with JIT Compiler in place. The update included Chrome with V8 JavaScript engine, Wi-Fi hotspot, batch/automatic updates for the apps, Adobe flash support and ability to point to where the apps must be installed (internal or the SD memory)

The December 2010 released Gingerbread OS 2.3/2.4 is yet to catch up in its market presence (less than 1% use this OS as of now Feb2,2011 Source-Wikipedia). The key features of this update are the improved resolution for large screens, Near field communication, Copy-paste feature, improved graphics for gaming and multiple camera.

The last OS released of late (22Feb 2011) was Honeycomb OS 3.0 SDK. This is the first ever tablet only release of Android and has opened the Pandora box for the non-Apple manufacturers! Moto Xoom will be the first tablet to run on this OS. The attractive features are the 3D desktop with redesigned widgets, Gtalk video chat and improved performance with hardware acceleration.

Ice-cream Sandwich is speculated to be released by mid-2011 and just as the name suggests, is probably going to be an amalgamation of the fascinating features from Gingerbread and Honeycomb!

Which OS versions do you use/like? And what is your expectation from the most awaited Ice-cream sandwich update? Do share your thoughts!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Top 10 exciting cricket apps for Android mobiles

After the Top 11 cricket apps for iPhone for the world cup season, its time for the top 10 cricket apps for android mobile users for the cricket world cup season. I must say that the choices of apps were more than what I actually expected (imagining the lesser ratio of apps in comparison to iPhone apps). While all the top 11 in iPhone Apps section for cricket were free apps, there are some paid apps in this post. Here goes the list: (The links go to the market.android page and it is indeed a shame that the certificate error has not been corrected .. grrr)

android cricket apps

image

Cricbuzz Cricket Scores & News

Cricbuzz.com

The best app for android users in terms of visual appeal, the screen design and the functionality & features. The highlighting features are fastest cricket score updates and ball-by-ball commentary. Also most of the android users who tried this app has appreciated the speed and have nothing negative to say. FREE APP
2

ESPNcricinfo

By ESPN

Official ESPN App. Has ESPN’s ball-by-ball commentary, breaking news and audio and video features. Includes push notification features. Has evoked mixed reactions from users. Seemingly works good in few models and raises hell in other models working on Android OS FREE APP
1

Xplore Cricket WC2011

By HCL Technologies

This is more of a schedule and info kind of app - must have for foreign fans - has exhaustive details like maps and directions, Food and Restaurants nearby the match venue. Also includes live score card and latest news too. This app has received mixed reactions from various mobile users. I guess, it works better with few models and not all.

FREE APP
3

ICC World Cup 2011

Konstant Infosolutions

A simple scheduling app. Again as with the other apps, few android users love this app and few others say it is slow and crashes in the midst of something FREE APP
image

Cricket Free

Kuchbi Inc

Features includes Live Scores (Mobile scorecards), Fixtures and Schedules, Video highlights, Ball by Ball coverage. Not many complaints from users like the other 3 above. For me personally, the visual appeal is not good enough

FREE APP (Premium Version available as paid app)
image

CricScoredroid - Live Cricket

Sachin Patil

A very nice app developed by a single man! The features includes current score, results and fixtures, audio Commentary, comprehensive Scorecard and ability to subscribe to notifications and alerts. Simple app with not-so-fancy look. Has received good user reviews too FREE APP
image

Icc World Cup 2011

adeptpros

Shows Live Scores, Schedules, Player stats and post match Results. Has good and pleasing screen designs

PAID APP
$2.00
image

LiveCricket

MobileWASP.com

A visually well designed app for Android mobiles. Features include cricket scores, match details, commentary and cricket news. Looks cool and from user experience works cool too PAID APP
$2.99
image

Cricket Scores - TCS

TCS 27 Limited

Displays live cricket scores from the Total Cricket Scorer website (www.totalcricketscorer.com). Has okie types visuals. But I felt it was costly for the purpose it served, especially with the availability of other cool free apps PAID APP
$3.21
image

Live Cricket Scores

Nua Trans Media, India

This app just points to cricinfo.com and also does not boast very good visual effects. But serves the purpose of giving the live scores PAID APP
$1.60

Friday, February 18, 2011

Top 11 cricket apps for iPhones for the World cup season

Cricket fever is on and here goes the top 11 cool cricket apps for iPhone users that will keep you updated every single moment! Within one weeks time since the love season, starts another exciting season for the cricket lovers around the world. The time of world cup.. the time we were awaiting for 4 years. As is the case in all the previous seasons, every country is trying to say why their team is the best since their past victories (if there was one) and why they are the favorites to lift the trophy this time. And as usual, we the fans are going to try to keep ourselves abreast with the latest news and scores wherever we are. The savior for our cricket thirst comes in the form of these iPhone Apps which is just the answer to stay on the top of the happening cricket news! What’s better, all these apps are FREE APPS!!!

cricket iphone apps

Here goes the list of my favorite top 11 apps for this cricket world cup season:

1. Live Cricket Score By Islet Systems: This is by far the best cricket app for iPhone for this cricket world cup season and many more cricket seasons to follow. What I love the most about this app is the player stats that come up in the detailed score card view. Apart from the other features present in all the other apps here below, this also has the distinguishing score projections feature. You can receive alerts for 4’s, 6’s, 50’s, 100’s and out. The overall visual appeal of the app is also a eye grabber!

2. Xplore Cricket WC2011 By HCL America Inc.: This was more of a schedule and informational app when it was initially launched. A must have for foreign fans who have travelled to India / Sri lanka or Bangladesh just for the passion of the game. The app has exhaustive details on the match venues like details about the maps and directions, Food and Restaurants with Tourist Places and hotels. The directions includes the details of route from the nearest airport using bing maps. Their latest version (Version 2.0) includes live score card and latest news too.

3. iCricket - most popular Cricket app By Kuchbi Inc: I am not suggesting that - they are! ‘the most popular cricket app’, that’s what the kuchbi guys have named themselves. Heights!! But they are arguably the best after the one by Islet systems. They also boast player statistics of over 1500 players. They also have the ball by ball commentary feature and live cricket videos from internet.

4. Cricbuzz - Cricket Scores and News By Cricbuzz.com: This app sends alerts (as push notifications) for every 5 overs for the subscribed matches, has comprehensive player profile and the distinguishing feature is the availability of radio commentary and access to the executive editorials of cricbuzz.

5. ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 – Official By STATS LLC: This is an exclusive app for ICC Cricket World cup 2011 and has ball by ball score updates, commentary, teams and players stats features. It also has links to related photos on internet. This app can only be evaluated more once the matches actually start

6. ESPNcricinfo By ESPN: This is for all the ESPN lovers. Features include Live game coverage , Commentary, scorecard, match graphics, photographs, reports and player profiles, Push notifications for wickets, batsman milestones and score updates during live matches, Video/Audio podcasts, selection of the best features from ESPNcricinfo Magazine, News, Results, Fixtures, Records and Rankings.

7. NDTV Cricket By NDTV Convergence: This one is again another official app. Live match coverage - scorecard, photos and reports, Videos from web are the features of this app.

8. Yahoo! Cricket By Yahoo!: Yahoo!’s very own app for the cricket season. Features are live scorecard, batting line up details, match stats and Yahoo! news articles. This app is only available in India!!!

9. CricketWC2011 By Divum: It has a Live Scores ticker running on the top. But otherwise, I’ll use this app just for the schedules and fixtures.

10. ICC Cricket 2011 By Fafadia Tech: Another app basically for scheduling. Just add matches to your calendar and receive reminders (not that we are going to forget the dates anyway :P )

11. WorldCupInfo By AppInternals: Another informational app. But here goes the disclaimer of the app “All the information provide in this app is best effort. The Application Owner does not guaranty the accuracy or any change in schedule and team information” So use your better judgement :)

 

If you were wondering why this odd number 11… that’s the playing team size :)

 

Have you downloaded these apps already and love them? Do you have other better apps to suggest?? Please do drop a line in the comments section.

 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Android vs iPhone - A fair, unbiased comparison of iPhone and Android

Many comparisons have been made between iPhone and Android phones, most of them biased towards one or the other. I have tried to bring out an unbiased comparison and truly enough not going to take any side and say either iPhone beats Android or Android beats iPhone. The purpose of this post is just to bring out a brief fair comparison which can be based to make a decision depending on what feature you want the most in your smart phone.

android vs iphone

Android

iPhone

Advantage

Battery: Removable and Replaceable
Battery replacements easily available in the market and if you are always on the move, you might as well have an additional charged up battery which can help your phone stay alive without waiting to charge
No replacement battery. In fact you cannot even see the battery in this cased smart phone. Any battery issue, you’ll have to send it to Apple and hope that Steve sends it back to you in one piece Android
Apps: This seems to be the major hit among all smart phone users. Android has about 70,000 apps currently iPhone boasts over 230,000 apps and is growing.. iPhone
Jailbreak: Many Android OS comes with an option to Jailbreak it from its service provider – which is a bliss to foreigners in US. The can take the phone to their home country and switch to a different SP without the hassles of jail breaking on their own iPhone does not have this feature when you buy it. Jail breaking needs to be done at our own risk and I have heard of many cases where the OS simply didn’t wake up after jailbreak. So its pretty scary business Android
Notifications: System wide notification (non-modal) and other application notifications (like a new mail / new tweet /  new SMS) in cascade windows which can be pulled down to see details. Push notifications and Individual notifications on updates Android
Internal Memory: Limited internal memory. This is a big headache because apart from photos and media content, the default memory is the already limited internal memory. Lots of apps in the internal memory will eventually make your phone less ‘smart’ Good internal memory and you have choice of different internal memory sizes iPhone
External Memory: Yes. External SD card can be inserted to store photos, media, etc. But from what I have gathered, there has been many reports of corrupted SD card and loss of data / photo / media No external expandable memory. But no complaints here because the internal memory by itself is huge and good enough. I have not had a single occasion of data / photo loss. iPhone
Dictionary: Google Voice integration and user editable dictionary. Which means more flexibility and ease of use Artificial Intelligence type dictionary. iPhone learns as you type. So if you have the habit of typing a wrong spelling often, iPhone will learn that word and it is ‘almost’ reset of dictionary to make iPhone forget it. My common mistake is ‘habe’ instead of have and it kills to see that iPhone accepts that! Android
Mail App: Separate Apps for Gmail and other mail. Other mail app is definitely given the second-class treatment. There is limited options with mail editing and other regular stuff with the client mail application. No complaints with respect to Gmail app Single e-mail app and I must say an efficient one. iPhone
Aesthetics: Visually crippled non-Google apps. The icons seem to be poorly drawn / designed. Its looking unprofessional in many cases (3rd party apps) Every single application – the $99 app or the free one developed by a small co, all of them looks aesthetically rich and has appealing icons and appearance . For some one like me that first appearance plays 90% role in deciding if I want that app or not iPhone
File Transfer / Sync: Android has the ‘plug and transfer’ feature by which you can transfer files between Android phone and your laptop just as if it were an external storage device iTunes sync model – just like iPods. This means having a separate sync folder in your laptop and transferring media content to that folder before starting up the sync. Android
Hardware Design / Buttons: If you have an android mobile and have been using it for sometime, you probably have experienced this. The menu and back buttons doesn’t always do the same thing. Their functionalities vary for different apps. Also there is that useless trackball  which does mostly nothing as of now One button – clear function. Menu and back always mean what they imply :) iPhone
Text Editing: Inconsistent text editing options again varying based on the app Text editing operations (cut,copy and paste) act the same irrespective of the app. I agree Apple has a lot of scope for improvement here.. but still iPhone
Charger: Micro USB charger which is something that is readily available in the market. Any Micro USB wire will do :) Apple charger – though it is available in the market in abundance, I hate to be dependent only on Stevie for charging the phone Android
OS Upgrade: Non-upgradable OS iPhone can support at least one major OS Update before Apple launches a non-compatible or higher configuration OS. iPhone

 

Apart from these, there are some common features that work good in both iPhone and Android. They are:

1. Auto suggestion by Google for search – complete as you type option

2. Back ground Apps and Multitasking

3. Google Calendar sync -

For iPhone, configure Google Exchange server in mail

For Androids, login to your Google account to sync

4. Bookmarking Sync -

iPhone  - Safari bookmark sync option over MobileMe

Android – Google chrome bookmark sync

These are the facts that I have gathered. Do you think I have missed mentioning any feature of importance or I’m wrong anywhere or if any of the feature has now been made available in iPhone or android. Please drop me a note in comments. I’ll be happy to learn and correct mistakes if any.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

7 Romantic iPhone Apps for Valentines Day

Love is in the air with Valentines day around the corner. That makes Romantic iPhone apps as my first ever review of iPhone Apps. Well that makes me doubly happy because I am going to write about romance with respect to a gadget I love the most!

There are both free apps and paid apps in this category that caught my attention and am going to write about both here.

valentines day apps

1. Poems: For those smitten lovers who want to compose a ballad or romantic letter for his/her love but is not a Shakespeare,

Love Poems - By BeamItDown Software (Free App) – huge collection of romantic poems

Love Letters For Her By Christopher Zorich (Paid app – $0.99) – Love letter collection

2. SMS: For the best one liners and SMS that can melt your loved one’s heart away, try these apps

Flirt SMS 500 By Michael Quach (Free App) – Met someone new and want to tell them your feelings – This app has ideas just for that.

Romantext - Romantic Text Messages By Joseph Nardone (Free App) – Cute romantic messages

Love & Romance Quotes By NOOCON (Free App) – Quotes that can be sent in SMS

3. E-cards and Virtual Gifts: Want to impress your valentine with the cutest and romantic greeting card in iPhone? Check these out:

Postage ~ Romance By RogueSheep (Paid App $0.99) – the best thing about this app is that you can create a custom valentine post card from the photos in your iPhone – That personal touch is worth the cost of the App

Valentine eCards Free - By SID On (Free App) – Make beautiful e-cards from among the number of images in the app and love messages.

English Rose (Free) - 3D Valentine’s Day Virtual GiftBy Kisky Netmedia (Free App) – Finding it difficult to get a gift in the high prize market, try this Virtual gift app that sends your lady a Rose for free!

4. Say ‘I Love You’: Tongue tied in expressing your love. Here are some apps that can help you say ‘I Love You’ in a way that sweeps your lover of his/her feet. Well since this is the most important part of your relationship, there are no free apps in this category.

100 ways to say i love you By topiphoneapp (Paid App $0.99) – 100 ways to say your love

Best Ways To Say I Love You By allmobileapp (Paid App $0.99) – Best ways to express your feelings to your loved one

What Man want to hear By topiphoneapp (Paid App $0.99) – Exclusively for girls!!

Horrible Pick Up Lines By IntroWizard LLC (Paid App $0.99) – Make sure you see this too before you blurt something out!

5. Tips to make the day special: A Variety of ideas and hints that will make this a day to remember!

Hints for LoverBy spitwebsolution (Free App) – Hints to make your Valentines day beautiful

Creative Romance IdeasBy Joviant Technologies (Paid App $0.99) – Cute ideas to impress her/him

Valentine Love TipsBy Webdunia.com (India) Pvt. Ltd. (Paid App $0.99) – Love tips for you

Creative Romantic IdeasBy In Business Solutions LLC (Paid App $0.99) – Creative ideas to spice up the lovely day

6. Valentine DJ: A collection of romantic hits that you can both play as music as well as download as ringtones.

Valentine's Day DJ By iPlayTones, LLC (Paid App $1.99)

7. Marriage Proposals: Planning to make the day more memorable by getting down on one knee and proposing to her? Here are some apps that has unique and best marriage proposals that will surely make this your excellent engagement day as well!

Marriage Proposal Ideas By imobileyazilim (Paid App $0.99) – This has loads of ideas on proposing based on where you are spending your valentines day

Marry Me? Marriage Proposal Guide By RogueGames (Paid App $0.99) – This app is even more versatile. Gives tips of where to buy the Jewelry, Top 10 places to propose and best proposal ideas

 

Happy Valentines Day !!!!