'Tiny TV' people

British people, you want to know why the UK never get the latest technology first? Here is yet another example of more FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Distrust) from what I called ‘Tiny TV’ people in Britain.

Most HD-ready models start at 26″ (66cm). But the more wall space you can devote to a plasma screen, the more likely it is that you will see drops of sweat on footballers’ faces or every last shard of glass during an explosion on 24.

In order to sit back and watch a big plasma screen without damaging my eyes, I would have to knock down two walls and put my sofa in my neighbour’s flat.

But as well as all that, I actually think my TV’s picture, with a digital satellite box hooked up to it, looks fine as it is.

Perhaps I need to see standard and high definition sets side-by-side to appreciate the difference – but I feel no great need to change.

26″? No wonder why the author of this BBC article doesn’t think HDTV is up to its hype. He should have try at least a 40″ TV before writing that article. But then ‘Tiny TV’ people never feel there is a need for TV bigger than 14″ anyway. And if they have their ways, black & white picture and mono sound are just fine too.

You also don’t have to sit way back for large TV. There is a well known formula to work out the viewing distance for a particular TV size for HDTV (See this and this). Not to mention the whole reason of going higher resolution is not to cause eye strain from trying to make out details from the pictures that are fuzzy in the first place. I don’t see people complaining the viewing distance of a movie when they sit in the middle of the cinema!

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And we have a winner

After watching these two videos about web browsing in Nokia E61 smartphone (larger photos here), my mind was made on getting that as my next cell phone. How slick is that thumbnail/bird eyes view? And with Wi-Fi, I can surf the net for free at home or anywhere else that has open Wi-Fi hotspot.

The only grey area is synchronisation. Apple’s iSync does not officially support E61 (yet) but since the phone uses Symbian Series 60 OS and iSync is already working for other S60 phones, that means it is possible to get iSync to work with E61. After some googling, I’ve found references to a iSync plug-in for the E61 from Germany so there is hope. Also, with 10.5 (Leopard) around the corner, Apple may update iSync to support E61 anyway.

No it would not have the same push email capability as a Blackberry but my emails are not time critical so periodic pull will do just fine. It does have ActiveSync so I can get peusdo-Push email from work if I really want to.

The other negative point is that since this phone is designed for Europe, its 3G frequency (WCDMA 2100) band will not work with Cingular’s new 3G HSDPA network (WCDMA 1900). Not that I would pay the early adaptor premium anyway so by the time the price has dropped to reasonable level, I will probably be using a even newer phone.

Of course, there are many good points too and they are what bring me back to Nokia. Built-in document editing means I don’t have to install or purchase a separate application just to work on documents. A actual good OS that is built for smartphone and able to multi-task and has protected memory, unlike the PalmOS, means easy to work with and less chance of random resets. And it comes with a media player that plays AAC file! Another app that I don’t need to pay for.

Now I just need to save up and have Nokia to release it officially.

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5 Reasons why I am not going Blackberry yet

I got Leah a Blackberry last X’mas and so I have been able to see how well its emailing capability works. I am tempted to switch from my Treo 650 to the Blackberry 8700c later in the year when my contract is up for renewal. But there are still a few things that are stopping me from switching over:

  1. Expensive solution for document editing. The Treo comes with DocumentToGo 7 for free whereas the Blackberry comes with nothing. And the cost of a DTG equivalent for BB is at least twice the price, sometime three times.
  2. Inadequate PIM support for the Mac. PocketMac for Blackberry is now free but it is severely lacking in features. No sync over Bluetooth, no application loader, does not use Tiger Sync Service. I am hoping that Mark/Space (maker of Missing Sync) will develop a version for Blackberry.
  3. No camera. Granted I don’t use it that often but when I need a camera, it is there on the Treo. I’ll definitely miss the ability to take photos on the go and email them to Flickr.
  4. No music player. Even though I have an iPod already it would be handy for occasion where I won’t want to carry a phone and an iPod, such as listening to podcasts. AAC support is a must since most of my tracks are encoded in AAC. MP3 support will be nice too.
  5. And… there is no #5.

Having said that, I am impressed by the base level of functionality of the Blackberry OS. Scheduled alarms, profiles, etc. are all built-in whereas they are optional and sometimes cost extra on the Treo.

More choices for smart phones

Another reason I am undecided on which phone to upgrade to is compounded by the rumoured Treo ‘Hollywood’. Slimmer, no antenna, and support 3G; sounds perfect right?

Well, I also remember the Nokia E61 yesterday and that is definitely on top of the list. The E61 really does everything, supports all the 3rd party email clients, plus Wi-Fi! The only downside is that there is no confirmed carriers for the US yet so if I want it now I’ll have to buy it from Europe, unsubsidised, which means at least $200 more than a subsidised BB or Treo.

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