Monday, May 31, 2004

Reveal your sources

In my research for a new cellphone, I've found the following websites helpful:

(These are in no particular order)

HowardChui - some in-depth reviews, if you don't mind seeing his picture over and over again, holding up a cellphone to the camera. A related resource, HowardForums, has some interesting information too.

I don't use forums as a primary source of information, but mainly to confirm information.

PhoneScoop - an excellent source for news, information on phones and carriers, as well as upcoming cellphones. There is also a "Phone Finder" to find phones matching your specifications, and user forums.

The mother of all technology sites, CNET, has reviews and prices on the latest phones.

Wireless Advisor has how-to articles, for example "How to Choose a Wireless Phone Service", and other informative articles, as well as forums.

MobileBurn features reviews, rumors and forums.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

The V600 open and not turned on... Posted by Hello

The Motorola V600 open with the standard picture showing on the screen (do a web search and see what I mean) Posted by Hello

MY first choice for a new cellphone, the the Motorola V600. Closed, it has a two-line external LCD that shows the time, date, network strength, battery life, and caller ID.  Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Microsoft says bye-bye Wi-Fi

I read yesterday that Microsoft is to stop selling it's hardware Wi-Fi solutions (Okay, I know it's old news, I was catching up reading some eWeek magazines).

Someone at thinks the XBox may be next

Monday, May 24, 2004

Wild unlocked goose chase

Spent a considerable amount of my spare time today looking at the Motorola V400 cell phone.
"Why the Motorola V400 when you've already decided that the Motorola V600 is the cell phone you want", you may ask.

Well, two reasons
1. The Motorola V400 is the less flashy sibling of the V600, and has all the features except Bluetooth and Video Playback
2. I could get an unlocked Motorola V400 for not much more than V600.

There is an excellent article in this month's MobilePC Magazine about GSM handsets being locked. Briefly, Cellular carriers put a lock on their GSM phones so that you cannot use a SIM card (which contains the number and carrier connection information) from another carrier in the phone. If a cell phone is unlocked, then you can put in any SIM card from any carrier. This also depends on the frequencies at which the carriers networks run - in the US it is usually 1900MHz or 800Mhz, in Europe and the rest of the world it is 900MHz or 1800Mhz. So theoretically, if you have an unlocked quad band (800/900/1800/1900MHz) GSM phone you should be able to use it anywhere in the world where there is cellular service.

Of course, my wild unlocked goose chase was that although I could get an unlocked Motorola V400 cell phone, in the NY area I can only use it on one other carrier, T-Mobile. (I'm deliberately excluding Cingular, which is acquiring AT&T Wireless.) Anyway, on my other T-Mobile cell phone my reception around where I live varies from not good to non-existent, so what's the point of getting an unlocked GSM phone? I already have an old Ericsson T28 World phone which is unlocked and which I use on overseas trips.

Footnote: Other than the above complaint about reception I'm satisfied, even impressed with T-Mobile, since there customer service is quite good. Also, if you have had a phone with them for a certain period of time, you can phone their Customer Service and ask for the phone to be "SIM unlocked". AT&T Wireless and Cingular need to learn that this is more likely to keep customers rather than drive them away.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Down to one...

I really looked hard at the NEC 525, trying to find a reason to like it. The only one I found was that it's $100 less than the Motorola V600. Other than that the closer I looked the more I found not to like.

As for the Sony Ericsson T616, being able to get and keep a signal is the primary reason for having a cellphone, and I've heard that there are reception problems with it. Howard Chui reports "poor RF performance".

The Motorola V600 seems to be very close to the size and weight of my current phone, the Motorola V60, which the best phone I've ever owned. It's as small as a cell phone can get, but because of the clamshell design it is totally usable.

My second choice, the NEC 525 (HDM) Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Cons

I'd only mentioned the pros about my shortlist of camera cell phones.

Here's the Cons:

Motorola V600
- Expensive - not quite as much as the Treo 600, but still as much as my last PDA cost.

NEC 525
- Camera the same resolution as the Sony Ericsson T616, which costs $100 less
- Too big and/or bulky (size really does matter when it comes to a cell phone!)
- Intellisync for PC Sync - I've used this software and don't like it
- 2 Mb of Shared Memory - same as the Sony Ericsson T616
- NEC only has one other GSM phone on the US market...

Sony Ericsson T616
- Average RF (so I've heard)
- Need to buy a holster/case
- photos can only be moved off the phone using the cellular carrier's network

My third choice, the Sony Ericsson T616 Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The shortlist

My shortlist for camera cellphones:

Motorola V600
- Built-in VGA Camera with 4x digital zoom
- video playback; world phone; crisp 65,536-color display; USB connectivity (

NEC 525
- 100,000-pixel camera with 2x zoom
- Solid camera features; large, vibrant display; one-click access to key functions; world phone; strong call quality and battery life (

Sony Ericsson T616
- (basic) camera
- 65K color LCD
- relatively cheaper than the NEC 525 and Motorola V600

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Got a cellphone

The cellphone arrived today. Unfortunately it was the one I had ordered on Friday but later cancelled. I wasn't here to refuse delivery, so I had to phone my cellular carrier. They'll send labels for me to ship it back.

For a while I was tempted to revert to plan A (Free cellphone, buy unlocked PDA Phone etc), but partly out of stubbornness I don't won't to accept an order I've cancelled. Also, a phone with a camera seems more enticing...

Monday, May 17, 2004

Wrong assumption

A conversation between myself and my cellular carrier:

In an advert for <carrier name> in the New York Times, it was mentioned that "service requires a compatible GSM 850 device". But some of the phones in the upgrade section of your website (for example the Motorola MPx200) are only GSM 1800/1900MHz. Are 850 MHz phones required in the New York area?

Tech Support:
Only if you want to be able to read off the 850 MHz network... The phone will still be able to read off of 1900 MHz.

Is the 850 MHz network any better or any different than the 1900 Mhz network?

Tech Support:
Only when it comes to going through walls. 850 works better in buildings.

Aha! and rats....

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Thought it was a good idea at the time

My plan had a hole in it. A small technology matter. The plan was to upgrade to a free GSM phone from my cellular service provider. Then I would buy an unlocked Treo 180 or Treo 270. Then I would switch the SIM card to the Smart Phone (that being the correct term for a PDA/Phone combo, according to MobilePC magazine). Of course I would also use the free GSM phone occasionally.
Fortunately for me, the free phone I had chosen was suddenly out of stock.

Still trying to decide between the grayscale Treo 180 or color Treo 270, I happened to read a full page advert advertisement for my cellular carrier, who I won't name (to protect innocent people involved....) except to say that they are currently merging with or being acquired by another larger cellular carrier. Some of the fine print at the bottom of the page caught my eye "service requires a compatible GSM 850 device". GSM 850, according to, is more correctly referred to as 800(MHz) GSM. The Treo 180 and Treo 270 both 900/1900 MHz GSM "devices", so I assume they will not work on my carrier's network.
The only GSM 850 Palm OS Smart Phone I've seen is the $499 Treo 600.
This wasn't totally unexpected, but I'd been hoping that my service provider also used 1900 MHz GSM on their network.
After some thought, I canceled the order for the Motorola T721, intending to order my second choice. No surprise, the Sony Ericsson T616 is listed as "Out of Stock"....

Saturday, May 15, 2004

It's been back-ordered...

I placed the order for the Motorola T721 last night, and today they email me and say it's "out of stock and has been back-ordered".


Friday, May 14, 2004

Just choose one...

Well, I've narrowed it down to these two cellphones now:

Sony Ericsson T616 ($99 upgrade)
Motorola T721 (Free upgrade)

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Out of Stock!

Thought I'd found the right phone, a Nokia 6800.

The specs looked awesome:
Full QWERTY keyboard
PC synchronization with large assortment of PC tools;
Good java support (lots of applications are available)
Huge amount of memory available for games, graphics and ringtones
Built-in radio

Since I'm more likely to have a cellphone on me than a PDA, I could type on notes anywhere, on the go, and sync them to my PC.

Then I compared the size with my old Nokia 3360
Weight: 5.3 oz
Size: 4.5" x 2" x 1"

New Nokia 6800:
Weight: 4.4oz (125g)
Size: 4.7" x 2.2" x 0.8" (119mm x 55mm x 21mm)

Ooops, need to take a closer look at specs next time!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

To begin: a combo?

A PDA/phone combo is very tempting. While there plenty of options out there, I would prefer one with the Palm OS. Apart from a Samsung model or two, and the Tungsten W (which is not very good as a phone), the only alternative I know of are the Treos.

Since the Treo 600 is just a tad too expensive (just a tad!), I looked around, and found that there are older and cheaper Treos available. One of them is only a PDA (the Treo 90).
The others don't a camera, which is not a factor - last year a keyboard won over a camera when I was choosing a new PDA.

So there is
Treo 270/300 - color screen
Treo 270: GSM world phone - but seems to be discontinued...
Treo 300: Sprint PCS - ah, Sprint - cellular service good, customer service sucks...

Treo 180:
Treo 180 - 16-bit grayscale screen
This one is very tempting, as I can get it for around $90 dollars, and unlock for my preferred cellular provider. But I'm not sure I really need another Palm PDA, considering I recently got the Tungsten E.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Looking for the right cellphone (again)

I've just started looking for another cellphone. Since I last bought one, cameras have become the rage.

There are just so many different combinations with these features to choose from:
A camera phone
Color display
PDA/phone combo

Without looking too hard, if I wasn't on a budget it would be the Treo 600. It has all of the above.
Currently the Treo 600 goes for $499 with a contract.

Another possibility is the Sony Ericsson T616.
It's got a camera and an amazing color screen.
It's also a lot smaller than the Treo...

Monday, May 03, 2004

Tungsten E Battery continued...

My brand new Palm Tungsten E replacement still has some quirks with the battery. After
HotSyncing (without recharging) the battery percentage increase improves. Then, when
I run the BatMon utility to check the charge, and press the Update button a few times,
the Battery percentage returns to what it should be. Weird.