Posts Tagged ‘Nokia’


Sony’s New Xperia Z Ultra ‘Phablet’ Now for Something Completely Different

Loren W
Melbourne Oz
Update 15 August 2013

Question: What do you get when you cross technology from a mobile phone, tablet, and a classy TV ?
Answer : A real big phone, an average size tablet (based on the new 7" form factors) , and a real small TV, a GREAT picture, with a sophisticated elegance

Ladies & Gents, Geeks & Geekettes the Sony Xperia Z Ultra Mobile Phone / Phablet (or c6802)

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Actually launched in June 2013 (shhh don’t tell anyone), Note: that quiet launch unless repeated for the west, might be the only downfall of this otherwise spectacular device.

As when I got the Samsung Note 1, the first thing I thought was, Oh Crap, this thing is too big.  But I knew as with the Samsung Note 1, I would get used to it fast. Now, as a long time Samsung fan in everything they offer, from TVs, and Appliances to testing their first phablets (large mobile phones) via the Galaxy Note 1, since its launch in 2011 so this was an easy decision.

Unfortunately being a new tech junkie wanting everything new, the Samsung Note 2 did not float my boat beyond, the boat floating I was still feeling from the Note 1. I loved it, and am now hooked on the form factor of the Phablets. I am not so sure that the Samsung Note 3 will be so radical to make me want it as bad, as I thought I wanted the Note 2.

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Magpie Effect- However, on looking to see what my next phone was going to be, I made a discovery I am sure many already had made. The Samsung Note 2, has a larger bezel on it than many of the new phones. This means I could buy a smaller phone yet still get the same or similar screen size depending on the phone of course of what many refer to as the first real Phablet (tablet sized mobile phone).
This has been badly reported on in the media.

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Nokia- Personally I almost bought a Nokia 1020, I love the idea, of the amazing camera. But I did not for the same reason I dumped my 1st Windows 8 Phone Mobile, the eco-system for Microsoft does not do it for me app wise. There are some great apps, but how Microsoft goes from being the world leader in dumb phones / PDAs, with Windows CE to last place in smart phones war still amazes me as an old school Microsoft fan boy. I want to play as well as work, and the balance is skewed against Windows Phone 8 for me. Windows has a big advantage, the last to market, but I have not seen anything to make me think they are going to pull out an Internet Explorer vs.. Netscape Play.

The result of all of that and as I will soon be going on a holiday to an exotic South Pacific destination, a bit of snorkeling and a bit of diving, so am getting a GoPro pro, but I was looking strongly at the benefits of the Sony Xperia Z, then I discovered something amazing to me, Sony has gone and launched their new Phablet version of the Xperia Z (called the Ultra) globally (outside the USA). It then turned out it is for sale in many countries already. Again to well reported and not reported at all in most of the usual USA press.

One phone call later and I have a review unit due in 2 days herein Australia. As I scratch below the surface (no MS pun attended), I have discovered a few interesting facts on this device that is raising as many questions as it answers, before I even receive the device.

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Convergence – Before I get into the device, (a more detailed review is forthcoming when I receive it), I have to raise what might the elephant in the room that has not been discussed in the present sense yet.
We have long known that the day would come when a Phablet would be the same size as a tablet. But with the rise in demand and increased interest in 7”tablets, and now 6+” Phablets, emerging, more so with the Samsung Note 3, at least a 5’7” phone, that day is nigh and I expect a big story in the weeks ahead. Obvious questions is when the next iPhone will be a Phablet, or the iPad a phone. Will the Nexus 7 (2014) be a phone, and an alternative to a Nexus 4. Or the Motorola Nexus Phone 2 (announced) be a Phablet?

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Phablets = Tablets – An interesting element of this is reading reviews comparing the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, not to any present or forthcoming phone/phablets, but to the new Nexus 7 (2013) and iPad mini. A silly comparison if you ask me, unless the Nexus 7 (2013) and iPads are a phone, but sets I believe the ground game for what happens next.

Picture This – The physical size as mentioned is 6.4” on the Sony, and 7” on the Nexus 7 – ( 2013) 1080×1920 and 1280 x 800 respectively. However, the Nexus 7 has an impressive ~323ppi whilst the Sony has an equally amazing ~344ppi. The Sony takes a micro SSD to 64gb whilst tablets do not. Wi-Fi is also offers a/b/g/n/ac, and a 2.2 ghz cpu vs the 1.5GHz on the Nexus

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Waterproof – Oh, did I mention HD Video underwater- to 5 feet ? Though the phone has an average camera by today’s standard, (same as the Note 2). However the Sony has no flash, possibly a big deal. In all the tests I have seen thus far, the Sony, Ultra Z appears to triumph pretty easily over the Samsung Note 2, how it will compare against the Note 3 remains to be seen. Sony have competed against the stylus pen of Samsung by suggesting users can use anything they want from their finger to a real pencil instead of the OMG I going to lose Samsung Note stylus. Possible improvements by Samsung in the Note 3 might include a flexible display, 3GB vs. 2GB of RAM, whilst the Note 3 will likely have the respectable 13MP camera vs. the Note 2 camera in the Sony. Samsung Note 3 body construction is still a bit of a mystery.

A Little TV – Tech

Sony Bravia range

With the Z Ultra, Sony uses 2 bits of Tv tech to Improve the picture from the Bravia TV side of things partly.

These are Triluminos and X-Reality Engine technologies. With the ~342 pixel density, this gives the Z Ultra one of the best displays period and the best by far on a Phablet. Sony had been given a bad rap previously (perhaps deserved) for not having the crispest of colors. Triluminos effectively uses quantum dots, to give a 50% crisper color by allowing better color separation thus less wash out. This is further done by something called quantum dots, that effectively means to the human eye colors are crisper. The X reality engine does the same thing in reverse sort of by analyzing the image received then separating the colors. Effectively it improves image quality in dark or over bright areas to get the tones right.

Not for everyone perhaps this hybrid device really is one to be considered.

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Lack up updates and information from Microsoft, for a phone that is buggy starting to concern many.

 

History

At the same time Microsoft Windows Phone 7 (WP7) launched. Another mobile phone division of Microsoft (conflicting per those in Microsoft) was having a drama as they introduced a new phone (the KIN), the mobile team then had it killed, then introduced again then killed it again, confusing I know.

This has been referred to some since as the Microsoft Kin Effect. The KIN took years of development and acquisitions of Danger Incorporated that also had the T-Mobile sidekick (a popular handset with its own problems where the KIN was derived). The R&D around all of this has been estimated in the <gulp> $USD Billions of Dollars.

Due to poor US Sales, (not a surprise due too little advertising and poor pricing), a planned launch in Europe was scrapped and the KIN team (now Microsoft mobile refugees) were was rolled into the about the launched Windows Phone 7 Mobile Division and severely de-prioritised, e.g. all but scrapped again, others in the group were sent off to Microsoft Siberia.

Those aware of this in the media (businesses, and consumers) a bit nervous about buying a new WP7 phone, especially business sector that in some cases had to update dozens of handsets though they may still be running IE6 browsers and Windows XP both way out of date. A still larger number never heard or cared about the KIN so Microsoft escaped a bullet there.

The market was taking shape; Apple had few models to choose from all the same but for storage size but all apple. Google had their own problems as handsets were many but varied in size and specification. A mixed blessing for Google but a successful one in that by having many models to choose from, market share has skyrocketed.

The Microsoft Model would be a hybrid of Apple and Google Strategies, with multiple models but all with a specific specification that would give a uniform experience to customers.

But this also meant Microsoft had to do a good job to compete with the iPhone or one of dozens of android phones. Many felt Microsoft had to introduce a phone better than the Apple iPhone, a tall order indeed.

Are You Serious?

So was Microsoft serious about WP7 and would the benchmarks be for Microsoft to pull the plug on WP7 as they had done on the KIN such as poor sales figures.

Remember in the case of the KIN it was simple billions of dollars in Microsoft R&D were sacrificed would the same be done for the WP7?

The good news was Microsoft was introducing the phone globally (all but at a low budget global event) far from the glamour of an Apple launch.  Different handsets were being introduced across different global markets with a similar technical minimum being maintained to offer consistent experiences for users.

Frequent Updates (Where?)


Like Apple and Google had already done, Microsoft promised publically relatively frequent updates to the handsets, something that was for this slow moving giant well received and anticipated, especially for consumers and businesses that jumped on the bandwagon early to buy a single or multiple handsets. Here in Australia marketing for the Microsoft Windows Mobile 7 was a non-event, so much so that many larger shops from Optus and Telstra  that had WP7 phones did little to support or even offer them for sale even weeks after launch.

Updates offered a real comfort to Android and Apple iPhone users as though the handsets are not perfect a fix was only an update away. To date Microsoft has forgotten about updating handsets or telling customers & enthusiasts what the heck is going on.

Is There an App for That?

Will all the amazing number of poor quality apps for the iPhone and Android Phones, fart noises etc.  There are a larger number of good quality apps. Unfortunately, to date many feel that some needed apps for the WP7 have yet to materialise. Many developers say making apps for WP7 is a good experience, but prefer to focus on where volumes will be sold and that means anywhere but WP7.
Others have said when the demand is there they will produce apps.

Shooting Your Own

Even those in the media shouting from the roof tops on the wonders of WP7, are starting to wonder if they backed a loser, and Microsoft has done little to change anyone’s minds on this even attacking those that have grown frustrated at the lies (promises not kept).

The Nokia Salvation – Too little too late?


When it was announced of the JV between Microsoft and Nokia, after Google had failed to seal the deal with Nokia themselves, many thought this would be good news. Unfortunately in press interviews the words ‘Window Mobile’ were used but never the word ‘seven’. It then follows that the Nokia alliance will take 2 years to bear fruit way past the life span of windows phone 7.

So can Windows Mobile live long enough to be saved by Nokia that has the distribution power and market share to save Microsoft Mobile?  It is also believed Microsoft might launch a Nokia only Version of Windows Phone, so not helping those with non-Nokia handsets.

Other Problems (is the WP7 team going on Hiatus)

Recent software update attempts (even an update that allows other updates) has not gone well for Microsoft and mainly for scores of customers.

Many users globally are reporting issues with these small recent updates that caused the phones of many to be made inoperable. Further software updates has offered conflicts between old apps and new software updates, requiring complete handset resets for users

 

 

I walked into one Optus shop in Melbourne 2 weeks after they had launched the WP7 handsets, and they had to open the box for me to see the unit as they had no fake demo models or real ones, and I was the first one to ask. Two weeks after launch. This was similar to a larger Telstra shop where staff said they knew nothing about them (thought they were fake demos on display)

Additionally, for one Samsung WP7 case I had to order a case for it from China as none are available months after launch in Australia (per Optus and Samsung).

In a time when a  new Apple iPhone or iPad is discussed as soon as the last one is released, Microsoft can only hope that when someone discusses a Window Phone that the

It has been hinted that there will be a minor Windows Mobile Update still in 2011, but nothing more major until 2012. But it has been up to forensic media folk to even find that out.

As someone that regularly suggests hardware, including phone handsets, I am looking forward to the next 4G handsets, iPhone 5, other new Android Handset, The Nokia WP7 phones, and other Windows Phones (version 8) in that order after that and will likely be selling my Window Phone 7 as soon as a better handset one comes along, which may not be so far away.