Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Art of Missed Calling... So miss call me already!

Many years ago, I used to hear my lil'sister's (for my blog's namesake, I'll call her DeeDee *snicker*) Nokia 7210 suddenly ring out of the blue, then stop. Then it'd ring again, and stop again. DeeDee would just totally ignore it, and continue reading or watching tv. It would happen quite frequently throughout the day.

I still remember asking her, "Aren't you going to answer that? Who's that calling and getting cut off all the time?". And I still remember her answer, "Don't worry, its just my friends. They always miss call me to say HI".

"Yeeesh! Crazy KIDS these days!" I remember thinking to myself, "What happened to the art of actually TALKING to your friends?!" shaking my head as I walk away. This was about 3 years ago.

Yesterday, there was an article in the Sunday Bulletin about how popular "missed calling" is these days, like in Sri Lanka and other parts of the world. It made me think. I truly believe Brunei is no exception too!

I'd say missed calling now makes up about 20-25% (a guesstimate) of mobile phone usage in Brunei? Believe it or not, there are people who swear on using missed calls as a method of communicating and giving signals even when the call rates from DST and Bmobile are getting cheaper and cheaper (as they try cut each other's throats as time goes by). Good for us you'd think right? Good for more actual TALKING you'd expect right? Wrong.

Its so strange how people now find missed calls addictive, and dare I say, even useful. Its almost become one mode of staying in touch! In Brunei, the younger generation are probably the most obvious users of this feature. Why not? A missed call here and there, saying "hi" or "I'm thinking/missing about you" (*rolls eyes*) or "Call me now, I'm free". Its so convenient! AND cost-effective! Think about it, missed calling incurs no costs (unless the other person accidentally picks up the phone of course). And these days, even primary kids hold on to mobiles. (Its scary). In other countries, for example, kids would miss call their parents to inform them they've left school, and then another missed call when they've arrived home, just to let their parents know they're safe. In Brunei, this may not apply as most parents would actually prefer to SPEAK to their kids instead of let a missed call be suffice. And don't even get me started on overseas students. I know of numerous cases where some miss call their folks just to remind them to call them back! Smart though! Parents ending up footing the bill.

Even working adults and the mass population are masters of this art. Let's say for example, you want to pick up something from a friend at the office, or their home, and you can't find a parking spot, or maybe even you're too lazy to get down from your car-that-you-managed-to-squeeze-right-in-front-of-the-building-anyway (hmm, sounds so Poklen suddenly), so what do you do? You give your friend a short "missed call" right?? C'mon, don't deny it. Or another example, you're supposed to be having a meal with your colleague/friend/family member, you're all set and ready to go (afterall, your lunchtime is limited), so you proceed to leave. While outside (or in your car), you wait for your colleague/friend/family member. 5 minutes pass by.... then 10 minutes pass.... So what do you do? Out comes the mobile and a "reminder" missed call is made! And maybe more than one too depending on how patient you are!

So you see, the art of missed calling has discreetly infiltrated into our everyday life, our culture. Bruneians seem to have mastered in this art of missed calls for sure! Its shamelessly done everywhere now, by everyone, at least once before!

So now, I totally understand why DeeDee and her friends do the things they did back then. Heck, I've done it dozens of times before. More often than I'd like to admit. (Of course not as a juvenile lovebug miss calling my loved one just to say "Hi". C'mon, wouldn't hearing her voice be way better?). But I also won't discourage anyone I know from doing it too. Its just so... convenient sometimes you know? But let's not allow it to come to a point where missed calls become more convenient than talking ok? (We already have sms's to do that..... so let's not add to it)

So what are you waiting for? Miss call someone already!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Red Alerts

A very Happy Chinese New year to all mobile phone users out there!

Its been a rather busy time for my family as usual, doing the rounds and dishing-out-the-dough. I'm sure most people, by now, are somewhat richer (or poorer) than a few days ago, whether it was "given" or "won", well ..... you be your own judge.

I couldn't update my blog over the past couple of days because, from the numerous open houses we've visited, it took a toll on me... I got hit with mild food poisoning. Too much of a good thing I guess. It took everything outta me, if you know what I mean.

BUT, I'm back in action and sure GLAD that episode's over.

Anyways, seeing as this is the festive Chinese New year, what better way to spend your hard-earned/given/won cash than on a new mobile phone, am I right? Start the new year with a new toy I say! Its a new year, a time of new beginnings, with prosperity and success! And so, while everything is RED this season, let me introduce to you to a few beautiful RED models out there. You won't be disappoint-red.

Before I begin though, I must say that I have no qualms about the colour Red. Statements like "Red is for the ladies" or "Red is so girly" are just so pathetic. C'mon, were you born yesterday? Make a Statement, Be Different, Stand Out Don't Just Blend In... where are your balls?

And so, here are my "Red Alerts" to kick us off this festive season.

First off the bat, No.1, is a Sony Ericsson K610i. Specs and review here. (I have always liked this model. I'd definitely get one if I wasn't into smartphones.) There is the grey-silver original version, but the red colour on this one... B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. It just brings out the classic look on this SE model. I admit, its a rather simple phone, but with the screen resolution, the fail proof SE user interface, the 2mp camera (albeit no autofocus), the mp3 capabilities, the upgradeable memory slot... its a phone that would satisfy the average joe and jane out there. Available at all local shops, but QQ Station and DeeJay are the lowest prices in town.

No.2, is not a stranger to the mobile world, the LG KG800 a.k.a LG Chocolate. Specs and review here. LG has pulled a Motorola V3 on us here (in terms of colour variations), by first introducing a Black colour, then a Pink, then White and NOW, this is the "LG Chocolate Wine" edition. Personally, I don't really think much about this phone. Having played with one a couple of times before, it doesn't impress me. Sure the touchscreen is innovative and ground-breaking, but its just too "sensitive" for my liking. An accidental brush over the screen brought me somewhere else a couple of times! It sure pissed me off! Well, personal sentiments aside, it is still a popular phone and with the introduction of this Chocolate Wine edition, there will be others who will like this sexy number.

No.3, a brand that needs no introduction, but one that I've got a love-hate relationship with, is the new up and coming Nokia N76!! Specs and a short preview here at iMobile Australia. It should be available by the end of this quarter 2007 i.e. end of March latest. Now, ordinarily I would openly slag Nokia for their often-lame efforts in their new models, but this one is one to watch for. What interests me is that its slim in size (for a flip phone), the external display has a 262k colour screen complimenting the Symbian OS (which is rare coming from Nokia with their poor quality external displays from their previous flippin' attempts! Pun intended) and of course, its RED! How many red phones have you seen coming from Nokia over the past? Just look at this one! It just shouts out "Look at me!".

No.4, none other than the infamous Motorola RAZR V3. I won't even bother to post the specs and reviews on this, being the one model that has kicked Motorola into the world of "slim-coolness" and how almost-everyone-seems-to-have-owned-one-sometime-in-their-life. Why did I highlight this model you might ask? Its RED! Ok, on a serious note, this is a worthy mention because Motorola has joined up with an organisation called Global Fund in a project dubbed "(PRODUCT) RED" to eliminate AIDS in Africa by contributing funds with every sale of selected Motorola models. This is an exclusive partnership with only selected carriers (Brunei not one of them unfortunately). In our region, the closest being Singapore, "Motorola and the carrier partner will contribute $17 USD for each red MOTORAZR™ V3 set purchased with a plan from M1 or StarHub" and in Malaysia, a $17 USD (approximately RM63.00) contribution is made on the sale of the red MOTOSLVR™ phone. [Motorola] How awesome is that? Heck, if only Brunei did such a collaboration. I'd go get myself this red v3 right now! So what if I hate the interface. So, DST? Bmobile? You guys DO anything worthwhile in the community lately?

Last but not least, No.5, the Samsung E490. Specs here. Availability wise, it is not here on our shores yet. But, judging from the specs, its nothing to shout about, just the standard basic flip from Samsung. I openly admit I'm not a fan of Samsung though, but I'll try to be fair about all brands + products. I'm just not sure that there will be a demand for this model when it does arrive here. I mean, what's different with the other models they've come up with?!

So there you have it, just a quick "Red Alerts" summary from the top 5 brands. In the mobile sea of boring blacks, whites and silvers, RED is definitely going to stand right out. C'mon, show a bit of your personality. Its CNY remember?

Hmmm, you wanna know what else? Seeing so much red this season, and even blogging about what's RED out there, it sure makes me wonder what life would be like if I did get a CRIMSON Treo 680. Too bad its just available in US.

Yup, that's just too bad isn't it?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Official release: 3 Eseries models

Its now official. At 3GSM Barcelona, Nokia unveiled 3 of their new Eseries ranges. Here's a MUCH more better picture than from my last post.
From left: E61i, E90 and E65 respectively.

Since all I can do at this stage is read about it, here are the specs, in nutshells:

Nokia E61i

  • 2 Megapixel camera
  • Quad-band GSM 850/900/1800/1900, WCDMA 2100
  • WiFi 802.11g
  • Slim design, 23% thinner than Nokia E61
  • 50 MB free user memory & support for MicroSD
  • 16M colours, 320×240 QVGA
  • Redesigned keys & joystick
  • “My own key” - user defined key
  • Comes in Mocca Silver.
Note: This is definitely one to watch out for. SLIMMER design AND 2mp camera! E-series has done a better preview on the E61i, worth having a read here.

Nokia E90

  • 3 Megapixel camera wih flash and auto focus and QCIF camera for video calling
  • Quad-band GSM 850/900/1800/1900, WCDMA 2100
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g
  • Integrated AGPS
  • 128 MB free user memory & support for MicroSD
  • 16M colours, 800×352 (inner display) 240×360 outer display
  • Symbian S60 3.1 edition
  • 1500 mAh battery
  • Improved QWERTY keyboard with backlights & 9 shortcut keys
  • Comes in "Black"
Note: Looks like another powerful all in one device from Nokia, which is expected really, coming from their Communicator series. Dubbed "The King of all Eseries" devices, more pictures and previews here at E-series.

Nokia E65

  • 2 Megapixel camera
  • Quad-band GSM 850/900/1800/1900, WCDMA 2100
  • WiFi 802.11g
  • 50 MB free user memory & support for MicroSD
  • 16M colours, 240×320 QVGA
  • 15 MM thickness
  • Dedicated conference call, contacts, mute and “own” key.
  • Comes in Mocca Silver or Red Silver.
Note: Apparently, this has 4 dedicated buttons which bring on extra features for the businessman's needs. Read here.

GSMArena and of course, the Nokia website have more details. Other sites have already started reporting it in the pipelines.

I already know people waiting and saving for either the E61i or E90! So Nokia, you'd better come up with the promised goods as stated (2nd Quarter 2007).

Today, a buddy even asked me when I'm gonna get the E61i. I replied, "Oh never". This is my 2mth-plus with my Treo 680. No way am I gonna even flinch when I see another phone. One year... that's my goal this year remember?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Background music

Just earlier on, I was watching the usual sunday-night CSI:NY, winding down my weekend, that always seem to just fly by every week. (Incidentally, CSI has featured the Treo in some of their episodes earlier. Y'see, even they know a quality product when they see one). And as usual, with Astro owning the (most irritating) ability to throw in advertisements oh-every-so-often throughout any show, there was one advert that caught my attention. (But then, all phone adverts do)

It starts out with a guy holding a phone in his room. He decides to walk out of his room and roam around the house. Oddly, wherever he walks in his house, a variety of artists (ranging from 50-cent, Michael Jackson, Black Eyed Peas, Avril Lavigne to name a few) all appear and seemingly try to get his attention, to no avail. (Of course, they're not the REAL artistes, just impersonators) Then finally he sits on his couch in the living room, and you see a whole CROWD of artistes just surrounding him, whilst he's still totally oblivious to their presences. He thinks hard while going through a list of artistes in his phone library .... *the suspense is intense by now* Then, he makes his selection......... ELVIS PRESLEY.

Suddenly, the whole crowd MOANS with disappointment and the attention focuses to the back of the room, and "ELVIS" suddenly jumps in joy and makes his way towards the guy on the couch. Immediately, he starts crooning his hit "Love me tender" while the guy talks on the phone to his girlfriend on the other side. The rest, just stand there watching. So Hilarious.

Ok, where am I going with this .... Then the punchline. This is (Malaysia) MAXIS HOTLINK's advert for a new feature they've launched..... BACKGROUND MUSIC! See here.

I was awed! Now you can select music to play in the background while you talk to your loved one????? DANG! Technology has really come so far!!!

Made me think back to my dating days (not THAT far back mind you). IF I wanted to have background music, I'd have to physically switch on my cd player, think of what song to play, tune it to the right volume, THEN settle down on the couch and make my call....
(I emphasize, this wasn't something I did on a regular basis ok?)(Honest...)

It just blew me away! I didn't even think it was even possible! Well, its here now, albeit in Malaysia!

Ok, in Brunei however, obviously this technology has not come to our shores yet (DST? B-mobile? Hello?), but I am willing to bet that it would be quite popular. For a while at least, like everything else. Especially now, with the Valentine's day season just around the corner. Imagine, you could call your girlfriend/boyfriend, with Michael Buble's "Come fly with me" playing in the background. (Then your conversation is sure to get all soppy and mushy... whispering sweet nothings etc etc etc)
(Hey, Jazz music brings out the romance in people ok?!. Don't believe me? Try it)

But just imagine though, it also means young teeny boppers could have their fav song playing in the background while chatting to their best friends (for hours)...... I doubt it'd benefit anyone else though. Seriously, you think anyone's gonna use it to talk to their parents, colleagues or even bosses??? I think not.

But anyways, try catch the advert if you can, and you'll see what I mean.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

First peeks and a Cracker of a release!

If you noticed, ordinarily, I wouldn't bother mentioning brands which I don't really support (like Samsung and Motorola), but I've just decided, if I want it to be a "blog about anything mobile", as titled, then I SHOULD be more open and more tolerable in this ever-changing world of mobile technology.

Its a good thing too because look what I've just stumbled across!
First peeks: Samsung's soon-to-be-announced Ultra Smart F700.

The revolutionary Samsung F700 would have a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, HSDPA support, a 2,8" 262K colors TFT touchscreen display with the unusual resolution of 440x220 pixels, and a full sliding hardware QWERTY keyboard. Beside the regular smartphone functionality, the Samsung F700 would feature a number of unique hardware characteristics. Measuring 104 x 50 x 16.4mm, the F700 would have an innovative touchscreen functionality called VibeTonz which allows user to actually feel the buttons on the touchscreen and pressing them produces slight vibrations for enhanced user friendliness. Furthermore the interface would feature drag-n-drop functionality which would enable users to control almost all of the features of the mobile without the need for stylus. [Gsmarena]

You know, it seems like suddenly, EVERYONE wants to get on the iPhone wagon. Look at it (aside from the slider keyboard of course) it looks like a black iPhone doesn't it? I've highlighted (above) the features which seem so familiar with the iPhone too. Its even reminiscent of even the LG Prada I last posted on. BUT, you gotta admit, this one looks good. Definitely also appealing to the fanbase of keyboard-devices, and a 5mp camera thrown in? Can you say no?

AND ALSO.... there's also this: Nokia E90! (these are unofficial sneak pics) AND, no official information about the specs yet.

Engadget reports that the E90: -
  • Will pack a dual-hinge allowing it to open like a Nokia 9500 or fold-up flat like the Nokia 9300.
  • Symbian S60 software
  • Has a 3.2 megapixel cam
  • HSDPA, quad-band GSM, WiFi capabilities
  • Likely to have an internal display of (800 x 352) and external display of (240 x 320). (And get this) Both screens support 16 million colors and all applications can be launched and run on either screen.
These two models, amongst others, are expected to be officially launched at 3GSM World Congress, the largest telecommunications event next week. [More updates then][Wish I could go too!]

Now here's the Cracker! Sony Ericsson's new W880!

Look at it! Its So cool! So slim! (So So similar to the iPod Nano too! So strange!) This is one phone which I truly believe will sell like crazy this year. In our world of devices becoming more lighter, more powerful, more versatile, this slim w880 just fits right in.

Main features of the W880
  • Ultra slim design (9.4 mm thin)
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • Memory card slot with hot swap functionality
  • 3G support with video calls
  • Walkman 2.0 music player
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP stereo audio profile
  • Multi-tasking support
  • TrackID music service
  • 1GB Memory Stick Micro M2 included in the package
  • Included headset has a standard 3.5 mm audio adapter

Main disadvantages

  • No FM radio
  • No Infrared port
  • Camera has no autofocus
  • No EDGE
  • Records video in ancient QCIF (176 x 144 pixels) resolution only
*Full review done by Gsmarena here.

No radio? No infrared? No autofocus? Who cares! Look at the size!!

Gosh, I'm so excited for the coming weeks ahead! Chinese New Year coming, ang pows flying around left right and centre, new phone releases (Note: N95 expected soon too)... I can't wait.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Fashion Fones

Has anyone ever noticed, recently in the past couple of years, mobile phone brands are slowly fostering partnerships with fashion giants?

Gone are the days when a (mobile) phone's just a phone. Even the versatile Mobile Phone can't escape the clutches of materialism and its lures. Fashion is now not just limited to just clothes and accessories, even phone pouches all sport some sort of brand for all to see! Just look around, how many people have you noticed with Louis Vuitton pouches for their phones for example? Heck, those pouches can cost even MORE than the price of a mobile! And then, there's the branded mobile. A classic example is Motorola with their Dolce & Gabbana Gold limited edition v3's (*ugh*).

One of Motorola's brilliant schemes? Probably. The v3 (and now v3i) ranges now come in all sorts of colours. They started off with Silver (the original classic), then Black (arguably their best move ever), then suddenly, there's Pink, Ice blue, Red and then, D&G gold (pictured above). And just when you think they've climaxed at their ideas, they release yet another new series, dubbed "MotoRazr v3: The Miami Ink collection"!

For those who are not familiar with Miami Ink, its a weekly series shown on Astro's Travel & Living channel (no.11), all about this Tattoo parlour in Miami run by the owner, Ami James, together with 4 of his other friends.

I personally follow their episodes and I must admit, though I don't sport any yet, its created an interest in tattoos for me. From the episodes, you see a whole variety of people visiting their parlour (aptly named "Tattoo" on the front) with so many different reasons why they get tattoos, and the symbolic meanings their requested tattoos have in their lives. Of course, Ami and his crew are the best at what they do, and judging by the art pieces they've done, it simply blows you away. Check out their site here.

ANYWAYS, although I don't agree with Motorola's rainbow colouring schemes on their v3/v3i's, I do think that this collaboration with Miami Ink is a good move for them. According to Ami, "Now, people who aren't into tattooing their bodies can get one on their phone instead". Too bad though, that this is limited to the US market only. No launch plans for Asia unfortunately. Oh well.

Moving on.... if you have not heard yet, there's yet another collaboration between a mobile brand and a fashion giant, behold, the new LG KE850 PRADA. That's right, P-R-A-D-A.

"The Prada phone by LG (KE850) would feature a large 3" LCD touchscreen display with yet unknown resolution and would also have a 2 megapixel camera with Schneider-Kreuznach optics and a microSD memory card slot. The most interesting thing about the display itself is that it's made using the capacitive touchscreen technology. What that means is that the screen uses electroconductivity to sense your touch - much like the touchpad on the popular LG Chocolate. This technology is made to be used with fingers only, so the use of a stylus is out of the question whatsoever." (Gsmarena)

Doesn't the look and specs just seem oh-so-familiar? Yup, this is like a black version of the Apple iPhone! (Difference is, LG Prada's available end March 2007, and iPhone's in 2008!!)

From the sounds of it though, if the LG Prada has similar touchpad sensivity as the LG Chocolate, then I can bet that its gonna result in a whole lot of frustrations by users. Numerous owners of the Chocolate have already grumbled about "accidental brushes" on the touchscreen resulting in applications opening, or missed-pressed keys. But then again, LG Prada buyers won't REALLY be interested in what functionalities this LG has to offer, all they want to be seen with is, the name PRADA on the phone, and that would be enough.

Ok, maybe I'm over-exaggerating about buyers in general, but this will most likely apply to buyers in Brunei at least.

On a serious note though, maybe Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and other brands should take note of these collaborations. Who knows where it would lead them? Imagine Sony Ericsson tying up with Giorgio Armani, or Nokia with Louis Vuitton, or even Samsung with Gucci! Now, THAT, I'd like to see. In the meantime though, we've just got to settle with D&G v3's and PRADA LG's. What a tough choice.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Pictures speak more than a thousand words

I recently stumbled across this comic (by a Bruneian artist, Cuboiart. Kudos to him!) which I honestly think says it all about us here in Brunei. This was based on an article in the local papers here. Recently, with bonuses paid out to all civil servants, we can very well imagine what the surge in "population" is now!