This summer will be extremely busy for all of us here at CNET. Not only is the Palm Pre coming in June, but we're expecting iPhone news at WWDC, a new Nokia N97 for North America, the LG enV3 and enV Touch, and more. Phew! We discuss all that, go over our weekly reviews, and answer your questions, too.Listen now: Download today's podcast Subscribe now: iTunes (audio) | iTunes (video) | RSS (audio) | RSS (video)
Apple is well known for its simplicity, but the upcoming version of the iPhone's system software is exhibiting usability weaknesses that companies like Nokia solved years ago.
Earlier this week, as part of the ramp-up towards releasing this software to the public, Apple began running a stress test of push notifications--the hallmark feature of the new operating system. This system sends notifications to your phone whenever there's an update from an application, even when it's not running.
To manage the onslaught of notifications from each application, Apple added a new menu that lets users manage push notification settings for each application, as well as providing a quick switch to turn them all on or off. While handy, this introduces an annoying problem for business users that Nokia solved a decade ago by providing a quick way to toggle multiple settings without the hassle of menu hopping.
User sound profiles, something that Nokia has had in its phones for over a decade, do just that. These let you change multiple settings on the device with just two button presses, and include things like ringer volume, vibration, keyboard tones, and control over how much attention each type of alert can get.
The best part is, you can switch between these profiles by quickly tapping the power button and choosing from a pop-up menu. You're also able to make your own custom profiles with settings you choose. There's even the option to have them automatically turn on and off during certain times of day, so you can have it switch to silent after 10 p.m. so it won't wake you or your significant other up when you're trying to go to sleep.
On the iPhone, you have one profile, and one profile only. Even if you turn the ringer sound off by flipping the volume silencer switch, you will still receive alerts and vibrations for incoming calls, e-mails, text messages, etc. Worse, with iPhone OS 3.0, Apple has embedded some of the options to turn these things on and off a little deeper than they were in version 2.0.
The new notification settings now live where the e-mail push notification used to reside. That menu has been pushed ever deeper into the mail settings, which means that to tweak things like how often it fetches e-mail and pops up with calendar items and invitations, you have to dive three settings menus deep (not including the two or more actions required to wake and unlock the phone and get to the settings menu).
So here's my problem with all this: when I start my work day I want to turn all this stuff back on after having to have turned it off so I wouldn't hear a buzz or have the screen light up every few minutes while I was asleep. I want it to get my work and Yahoo e-mail via push, and fetch all other mail every 15 minutes. I want to flip the push notifications back on, too. Now I have to go through two different settings menus, flipping each one of those things on, when there really should be one where I can manage both.
Even better would be… Read more
Care for a Dell Cupcake? We knew you would. Credit to Dell for not only listening to reader suggestions, but for doing their own video hacking. At their own labs (hey, those kinda look like ours), they demonstrate the newest Android update, "Cupcake," on a Mini 10v, being quick to announce that "they have no plans" to announce such a thing...but that it "runs really nicely." So says Doug Anson, a technology strategist who works at the office of the CTO, who demonstrates.
We see no sign of it running nicely on the … Read more
Though summer is always a busy time for new cell phones releases, so far the summer of 2009 is shaping up to be a doozy. We expect a full load of new handsets over the next three months with June being an especially hectic time for high-profile models. To help you keep track of the news, here's a handy list.
Palm Pre After months of waiting (and plenty of rumors), we finally learned today that the Palm Pre will go on sale Saturday, June 6 for $200. Palm pushed its "first half of the year" deadline to the very end, but it appears they'll make it.
We're hoping to have a review unit by the time it hits stores so that we can give you the full scoop on this much-anticipated device. Indeed, we're very excited to finally be able to touch it. June 6 was a bit unexpected since Sprint typically releases new devices on a Sunday. But the date does give Palm a two-day jump on what should be the next incarnation of the iPhone. … Read more
Last week, we previewed the HTC Magic and revealed some of the enhancements the company made to Android, most significantly, the addition of Microsoft Exchange support. Well, it looks like the Taiwan manufacturer's R&D department is far from done when it comes to tweaking the default Android 1.5 firmware.
A video has emerged with what is supposed to be the ROM for the upcoming HTC Hero--installed on a T-Mobile G1 device.
Some of the improvements include a new music player, a calendar that's somewhat similar to the one found on the Touch Diamond2, and changes to the browser interface comprising a new loading status bar and a jazzed-up screen for switching between windows. … Read more
In open source or in product development generally, one of the biggest mistakes is to take on a deeply entrenched incumbent on its own turf. Almost inevitably, if you play someone else's game, even if you're a little cheaper/faster/better, you're going to lose. Inertia favors the incumbent, and there's a whole lot of inertia involved in switching vendors.
For this reason, I agree wholeheartedly with Bill Weinberg's suggestion that Linux's opportunity in Netbooks is to focus on the mobile side of the market, rather than bringing a traditional, personal computer bent to … Read more
T-Mobile USA announced on Monday that it's still finalizing the build to "ensure optimal functionality and smooth delivery" so it has delayed pushing out the over-the-air update by one week. The carrier said it expects all G1 owners to have the Cupcake update by early June.
You can check out T-Mobile's official statement here.
While many cell phone fans are awaiting the launch of the Palm Pre and details of a new iPhone, there's another segment of the community that's waiting for something else: more Google Android phones.
Their arrival seems imminent with a T-Mobile-branded HTC Magic passing through the FCC and now the Samsung I7500 getting the official stamp of approval. Also, there are rumors of a Motorola-manufactured T-Mobile G1 v2 slated for October. And let's not forget that Sony Ericsson, HTC, and Samsung have more than one Android device slated for 2009.
While the prospect of new hardware is … Read more
This post was last updated on May 15 at 11:28 a.m., PT.
Earlier on Thursday, we reported on the Singapore HTC Magic launch and learned from our friends at CNET Asia that HTC has two more Google Android devices planned for the year. Great to hear, but was there more immediate good news that flew under the radar?
In Damian Koh's hands-on report of the Magic, right there in the sixth picture, plain as day, is Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support on the HTC Magic (kudos to CNET News reporter Stephen Shankland for noticing).
Koh also writes, "… Read more
In the tech world, if you can't beat 'em, you can always join 'em, or at least integrate their service into yours. This is the approach that mobile phone manager Skydeck is taking with Google Voice, and it's a good one.
When we demoed Skydeck in April, it struck us as a useful service for managing your contacts, calls, and voicemail online as you would your e-mail. Never mind that its online interface isn't as slick or easy to use as competitors' services (like RocketVox or Dashwire). And like its technological cohort, we figured Skydeck was surely … Read more