Friday, November 28, 2008

How about an alternate to the X1 -- the Nokia E71?

Okay, so if you're still looking for a super-cool, full qwerty-keyboarded phone, but are unwilling to part with RM 3,199 of your hard-earned cash, what can you do?

Well, if waiting is an option (I think my M600i can go on indefinitely, actually) then that's the surest way of getting the price down. Give it six months and I'm sure it will be in the comfortable side of 2k.

If waiting is 'not' an option, and you really need /want / itch to upgrade the phone, then how about this...

Presenting the kinda new and not quite hot-off-the-shelf, but still top scoring Nokia E71!

Lets start with what it isn't
  • it surely isn't the X1 (duh!)
  • it isn't trying to be an iPhone killer
  • it isn't the loser of a wifi-less, boring and bulky Nokia E60/62 as well!! (I almost bought that, yikes!!)

Okay, before you proceed further, I must stress that this is *not* a touchscreen phone. So if you're looking to touch, poke, stroke and write on a phone, then you can forget about the E71.

If you've made it through the caveats so far... then you're in for the alternate coolness that the E71 can offer! Firstly, lets hear what the critics have to say...
  • CNET.UK says the E71 has enough finesse to not look out of place, sitting in an Aston Martin. And gives it a 8.9 (excellent) rating for an almost-perfect phone.
  • says there's a lot to like about the E71, which it calls a 'miniaturised masterpiece'.
  • summarises the E71 as as "manages it all with style, providing a plethora of features in a speedy, beautiful and minuscule device"
  • concluded its review calling it "probably the best handset available for prosumers" by taking the iPhone features people want and the BlackBerry functions needed and sticking it into a "package that is well designed"
Here are a few shots of the E71 from GSMArena .... if you love the BlackBerry's looks, then you'll find this quite irristable!




And this is what you have inside that slim, 10mm metal-clad body -- Nokia's slimmest phone so far!!

  • Quad band, 3.5G (3.6mbps), GPRS (100kbps), Edge (296kbps), Wi-Fi (54mbps) and Bluetooth
  • 16million colour 320x240 display that still looks clear under sunlight
  • GPS receiver with assisted GPS function
  • Fullscreen browser, FM radio, instant , Vlan, VIOP
  • Stable S60 Symbian OS 9.2 with loads of 3rd party software
  • Software included in the package: QuickOffice, Active Notes, Dictionary, PDF reader, Skype.... the list goes on!
There is, however, one consistent complaint about the E71 -- its Achilles' heel -- the 3.2m autofocus camera. It seems that Nokia had gone cheapskate with this particular component and put in a mediocre camera -- washed out colours, poor contrast, slow shutter, purple fringing... in short, something not at par with the rest of this phone! So phone snappers... beware this point!

So, with all of the above, wrapped up in a nice, handsome package, and a street price of RM 15xx for 'original' and RM 13xx for grey imports.... one would say this is actually a real bargain!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

X1 is finally here!!!

Well, that would have been true if I'd gotten around posting this on Saturday, 22nd November!! (sorry for the delay!!)

In my previous post, I'd mentioned that the early birds (i.e. first 50) stand to get between RM 1500 to RM 250 discounts on the X1.

Officially the launch was from 12noon to 3pm that Saturday in 1 Utama new wing. It turned out the first 5 customers got RM1500 discount.... no gimmick, fooyoh! Next got RM 1000 and it slowly tapered down to if you were among the last 50 then the discount shrank to RM 250.

What I hadn't anticipated was that X1 fans had already started lining up in as early as Friday afternoon!! You'd think you only read about this level of enthusiasm in other countries and when it was about the iPhone or another StarWars sequel. In Malaysia you'd hear about people lining up for home ballots.... but for a handphone??!! wow....

To cut the story short... I missed my chance to be the first 50. Even if I were early enough... I seriously had to then ask if I was willing to part with RM 3,199 for the phone??!? As cool as it is (you should see the one in brushed steel... its to *die* for!!!), can you seriously part with what's effectively a month's or a couple of months' salary for many people, just  for a gizmo to say 'hello!' ? 

Evidently, that's an easy 'YES!' for many purchasers of the X1 on that day. I met an Andy who, like me, missed out being the top fifty... but he went ahead and still bought the phone at full price.... "what to do?" he asked disappointingly!

Economy not doing so good you say? Tell that to the tech fans, my friends.... tell that to the tech friends!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

TARA 3 - Congrats to the winners..... (Spoiler ahead!)

You've been warned... do not proceed if you haven't watched the final and don't want to know who just won! :)

Really... read at your peril....

Alright, I give up, so the winners are...

Actually, I'm more interested in first, proclaiming the most sports-person like, most bubbly and fun-loving, most liked and best national ambassadors ... i.e. the 'true' winner of The Amazing Race Asia 3... IDA and TANIA!!! Congrats, you guys are the clear winners in my book. Okay, so you missed the USD 100k top price, but I think nobody can claim to have as much fun as you guys! Way to go ladies!!!

Ida and Tania

Congrats also to Sam and Vince! You guys really gave your best, came up from behind and trumped the rest to grab the top price... well done, you guys really deserved to win! (ps. So glad you guys beat Mr. Motormouth ... me and the boys were rooting for you during the very last, kan-cheong minutes!!) :P

Sam and Vince

Will be back next with a 'proper' technology post... soon .... cheers!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Arriving this Saturday -- the X1

When I first saw the pictures of pre-production models of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1, I thought this was simply an amazing phone! That was way back in February this year.

Along the way came snippets of details...
  • that it would run Windows Mobile (boring!) but have its own panel interface (cool!);
  • that it would have a metal body for that sleek sliding keyboard mechanism;
  • that it would have the sexiest eye-candy of a screen that any phone would die for!

And the the most intriguing bit of all was that this would not be made by SE! Instead, it will be crafted by the equally expert hands of HTC.

But the phone won't be available until September 08. That was quite a bummer... Imagine having to wait another 7 months before you get to see it!

In September, I just couldn't wait, and had to do something.... so I wrote a post on the X1 instead. AARGH!! The launch in end September was only for some European countries and the UK. Countries in ASEAN will just have to wait some more!!

So here we are, in the middle of November 2008 -- a good 9 months after those early sneak peeks. SE Malaysia started the hype with a full-page newspaper add 12 days before the launch.

Yesterday, another add reminded readers that there's still another 5 days to go... and threw in another hook -- signup via their site at for an opportunity to pre-order the phone. The add also noted that if you're the first 50 to buy the phone at the special launch in 1 Utama, you stand to get savings from RM250 to RM1500!!

At the time of writing this... its another agonizing 4-day wait. But hang on... am I seriously going to get one? Word is that its going to cost RM 3000! Ouch, yeah. Not a very pocket friendly price in these difficult economic times. But hey, I can still ogle at it if I'm not going to buy it right? Oh, and they'll only have it in black on Nov 22nd. Dang!

So what do we do in the mean time...? We do what tech geeks do ... read up on reviews (warning, all is not rosy though... !) here, here and here! And until I really do get a new phone..... I'll still have my trusty, if not somewhat quaint, M600i to meet my calling, texting and synchronising needs!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Congrats Obama!

Saw this featured in Time today and thought it was really funny...

Source: Time Cartoon of the Week

Barrack Obama sure has his job cut out for him... and will take something short of a miracle to really fix the problems that US has. Time will tell if Mr. President Elect is all talk and hype, or he's a man of substance. Good luck!!

ps. Oh yeah, and the poor critters back in Alaska better watch out... cos She's back!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

When Generations Collide

While surfing around blogs back in September, I came across this interesting post by FongPC titled Are you Generation X or Y? That was an interesting post as it shows the change in mentality of folks of different ages. For those who care to know, I'm firmly planted in the Generation X category. Kinda the sandwiched-in-the-middle generation, if you asked me!

Anyway, I started looking around for more information about that and came across this piece of work by Lynne Lancaster and David Stillman, authors of the book When Generations Collide (hence the title of my post today!)

Basically what was interesting for me was how this study changes the way I look at things. It used to be that we think people think a certain way because of their age. And when we too reach that certain age, we'll too would think like that as well. Well, the study says we won't. How we think is not just dependent on our age but on what we experience in our lives.

Gen-Xers ('65 - '80) went through events like the fall of the Berlin wall (and subsequent thawing of the cold war); Contra war and Iran vs Iraq; the dot-com boom; AIDS; MTV; Reagan, Gates and Madonna -- and in a way, these events and people shape our generation.

Gen-Xers were the 'me' generation who learned to rely on ourselves. We were the original latch-key kids who grew up being independent, resourceful but at the same time skeptical and even aggressive.

In contrast, the Gen-Y ('81 - '95) youngsters grew up with 9-11 and two Gulf wars; the dot-com bust (dot bomb); cellphone, IM and all things digital; Clinton, Osama and Buffy.

Gen-Y have started entering the workforce, and if you ask the older guys, they get uneasy around Gen-Y 'kids'. The study tells us why we feel like that. Gen-Y are smart, very tech-savvy; multi-tasking and multi-networking (i.e connecting with people). They thrive on learning and excitement and is not afraid of authority (Don't command me, collaborate instead!).

Most of all, Gen-Y is the instant-everything generation. They demand instant feedback, expect instant results, have no problem seeing themselves as tomorrow's leaders. Nothing is fast enough for these folks, yet, value work-life balance.

Granted, these studies have a decidedly US slant to it, but you have to admit that wherever you may be, you should be able to identify with those traits associated with 'your' generation.

Chances are most of you reading this right now are either an X, or Y. Perhaps some Zs too? And hello there if you're a Baby Boomer, glad to see you here!

Interested to learn more? Check out a good presentation and even download it here.