The yin and yang of iPhone

I have come to a decision. Hot off the press. I will not be buying a new iPhone 2.0. I know, you are all shocked – perhaps even disappointed. As I sat on my regular commute home I got thinking – the new iPhone falls short, yet again, of my needs. But what really rang home was a painful truth. Apple give on one hand and take with the other. Being a neo-hippy I liken it to yin and yang. Here’s what I mean . 

The Yin 

  1. 1)The iPhone interface is without question one of the greatest design breakthroughs this side of the 21st century. Put simply – it behaves as a human would expect it to behave. Sounds simplistic I know – but no other OS can compare (as yet). 

  2. 2)The hardware design is contemporary art. The lines, the glass and dazzling rich and vivid screen all ooze quality. A unique combination of functionality, style and practicality make the iPhone a modern day design icon. 

  3. 3)Syncronisation. The seemless integration with your Apple Mac ensures that the iPhone delivers where most smartphones fail . Syncing is difficult. Apple do not agree. With the addition of ‘Mobile Me’ it will get even better. 

 

The Yang

  1. 4)A 2m fixed camera lens. Something that would have been so easy to upgrade has now left the iPhone camera way behind the current trend of 3-5m pixel camera phones. And no flash?! What a missed opportunity. 

  2. 5)No video conferencing (over 3g or wifi): Why? It would have been a no brainer for Apple to add iChat . The excuse that AT&T or O2 and other telco partners would not allow it – is no excuse. Think 3 in the UK and their partnership with Skype. After all more video chat equals data which equals more money. More money equals happier partners. 

  3. 6)No MMS : I now it sounds petty. But I want the freedom to be able to send friends and family picture messages.

Don’t get me wrong the iPhone is great. I have no doubt Apple are controlling the features of the iPhone for the greater good of the consumer. Perhaps they learnt from Nokia’s N95 ‘all you can eat’ offering. Sure it has everything. But run more that a few apps and the OS grinds to a halt and your phone just turned into an expensive brick. Much the same could be said for Windows Mobile too. People are happy with their iPhones. Most users of other phones are not. 

Yin and Yang sit together for the perfect unity of opposites. I think that is where the iPhone is. Alas for me, I need more Yin and less yang. I’ll be sticking to my Nokia e90. 

UK Launch party of the Flip Video Ultra

I was fortunate enough to attend the UK launch party of the Flip video ultra. This neat little product has been making all the tech headlines in both mainstream media and the blogosphere. In a nut shell it’s a mini digital camcorder that is compact, simple to use and something you can easily carry with you to capture video. I like to refer to it as a camcorder that will help you shot that perfect ‘YouTube moment’. 

 

The flip video has been a massive success in the States – with 13% of the market share of all digital video cameras. They have sold 1 million Flips since its launch in May 2007. 

 

Why the Hype? 

 

Put simply, this device fills a gap in the consumer digicam market, at a price point and funky form factor that is irresistible  to the YouTube, MySpace and Facebook generation. 

 

The Flip digital camcorder has been designed around three core values, that  really do shine out of this pocket sized digicam: 

  1. fun 

  2. simplicity 

  3. quality

 

It is easy to use. I simply took the flip video out of its box , put in the two AA batteries (supplied) and fired it up. It features a neat 1.5’’ transflective display so you can see what you are recording, along with reviewing what you have just shot. 

 

Once on, filming is a breeze. A simple one touch button begins recording, press it again, and you stop. Nice and simple. 

 

The device is compatible with both Windows and Mac. The name ‘flip’ actually comes from the USB connector that cunningly ‘flips out’ of the side of the unit to connect to your computer. 

 

This particular model ships with 2GB of built in memory, which offers up to 60 minutes of footage. The uncompressed VGA quality video runs at a zippy 30 frames per second. 

 

An interesting feature is the built in software. When connected to a computer the software gives you some neat editing abilities with the video you have shot. It then enables you to directly upload to YouTube and MySpace. I was told by the PR at the event that they are in discussions with Facebook to add them them to the list too. 

 

I shot a bit of footage on my new flip on the way home. I’ll post it soon to my blog. 

 

Summary 

Overall, I am extremely impressed. I believe the Flip Video will be a great success in the UK market. And at a recommended retail price of just £99 – it is guaranteed to sell. The Flip Video is available on Amazon.co.uk, PC World and all good high street retailers. 

 

My 10 second live QIK broadcast of the event is below. Note this is not shot on the Flip Video, it was shot on my Nokia E90.

Sat Nav for the masses

Now days ‘Sat Nav’  is almost as ubiquitous to the driver as the iPod is to the pedestrian . However, until recently, a decent model meant a hefty price tag. Until now that is. Introducing the all new C350BT from Binatone.

 

This new model combines a Sat Nav and bluetooth handsfree speaker phone at a price point that will undoubtedly attract the mainstream consumer market. The recommended retail price is just £99.99.

 

With a compact form factor and some state-of-the-art features this model offers specifications to match some of its more expensive rivals, such as the dominant player, TomTom.  

 

Hands free on the go

When connected wirelessly to a mobile phone, the sat nav screen turns automatically into a keypad and you can receive calls. It is also possible to dial out. 

 

We caught up with Adrian Greeen,Marketing Director, of Binatone who remarked; 

Although this is not the first system of its kind, we expect it to be the best priced on the high street. With a suggested retail price of £99.99. We want to encourage people to try the Bluetooth feature and use it as a 2 in 1 device.

 

The low down on the specs 

The model is wrapped up in a compact form factor and includes the latest Sirf Atlas III chipset – for fast satellite connection. 

 

It features Navigator 7.0 map software, which is both easy to use and offers a range features that you would only expect from a high – end device. These include; personal data management, advanced route planning and the ability to save and load pre-planned routes. 

 

As you would expect it also features both UK and Ireland maps ,(which can be updated for Europe if you wish), pre-installed safety camera locations and, for ease of address lookup, 7-digit post code search. 

 

You can also choose to view the maps in 3D or 2D when navigating. The model features an integrated rechargeable battery – to make charging simple. 

 

We hope to get a review unit to test. So watch this space for a full review soon.

 

Jason Monty 

Technology Correspondent