5 reasons why I prefer iPhone to Windows Mobile devices

November 5, 2007

In past I’ve been a user of both PalmOS and Windows Mobile based devices and so far came up with a few reasons why iPhone is a more suitable device for me.

  1. Faster response. iPhone tends to be a very fast and responsive device comparing to Windows Mobile smartphones and PDAs. Even with so much less attractive GUI, Windows Mobile devices are slower. And hardware does not seem to be the problem here.
  2. More stable. Generally iPhone does not crash that often as WM devices do. Trust me, I know how WM apps behave ;). Safari remains to be the only major problem in iPhone’s stability.
  3. Web browser. Many will agree with me that iPhone’s browser is actually a very revolutionary piece of software for portable devices. It is very intuitive to use, quite fast and standard compliant when it comes to rendering web pages.
  4. Music player. I tried different music players for WM, but none seemed to be user-friendly and convenient enough to use. Apple again did a good job developing an excellent music player for iPhone. It’s not perfect, but still remains one of the best players built into a cell phone.
  5. Great platform for future developers. It seems that iPhone is going to become one of the most rich, powerful and beautiful hardware and software play grounds for many developers and companies as Apple releases the official SDK in February. Because iPhone runs a version of Unix, which is known for its flexibility, extensibility and stability, it makes it a strong software platform ready for all sorts of third party applications with different levels of security already built-in. The OS GUI capabilities make iPhone not only an eye-candy, but introduces a new approach to navigating the device and a new way to use common applications like maps, web browser and pictures.
    Combine the strong sides of the hardware and the software of iPhone and we get a gadget that could replace Windows Mobile and PalmOS devices in future.

Crysis and the new NVidia 8800GT

October 30, 2007

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Gamers rejoice: Crysis demo release was accompanied by the announcement and release of NVidia 8800GT, the not too expensive video card, with good performance. It is positioned between 8800GTS and 8800GTX and is cheaper than the 8800GTS itself.

Here is a short roundup or quality reviews that include both Crysis and 8800GT tests both running DirectX 9 and 10:

My observations show that most of the cheaper versions of 8800GT video cards were gone in one day from Newegg.com. Checked morning of October 29 – they had about 6 or 7 versions, in evening – they had 3 left, with 2 showing ‘out of stock’.

Crytek Crysis: a real crysis for my video card…

October 29, 2007

Crytek has finally released the so much anticipated game of the year – Crysis. I managed to download it from the unofficial source even before the demo was officially released by EA. (Grab the official demo here)

My PC specs are totally out of date, but still I wanted to see how the game will run and just experience a bit of what everybody was expecting for over 3 years. The fist time I ran the game it took about 7 minutes to load on an AMD Athlon64 3200+, 1GB RAM. The framerate was terrible and the game was interrupted every time I tried to shoot. Seems like I had a lack of RAM. When I looked into the processes list, Crysis was using over 750MB of RAM. My video card ATI X1950PRO managed to produce around 15 frames per second at high settings after I added another gigabyte of RAM from my other PC! And those 15 frames were pretty stable all along the way. I wish I could experience the ful DirectX 10 support, but I was limited to Windows XP and a DirectX 9 video card.

So I came to the conclusion that this game does need a decent video card and a little more RAM, while you don’t need the Quad Core Extreme CPU from Intel to run the game smoothly.

Thank you, Steve!

October 17, 2007

Looks like Steve Jobs is actually reading blogs and comments on gadget news web sites. The hopes of many came true with the announcement of official iPhone SDK. Moreover the SDK is coming to iPod touch, so both camps will be glad with the ability to add new applications and features. It was pretty obvious to me from the very beginning that such a powerful hardware and software base as iPhone cannot be left out without the ability for third-party applications.

It is worth mentioning that Apple is taking security seriously with the plans of incorporating digital signatures for third-party software. This will dramatically decrease the chance of viruses and worms, because really nobody wants an infected phone or get your personal data stolen.

Apple, thanks to this announcement, you again raised in my eyes and in the eyes of the entire iPhone owners community! Thank you for such a wise step!

The smell of Steam… Not too good, uh?

October 8, 2007

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I’ve been using Steam for about a year now with Counter Strike Source CDs. About a month ago I ordered the download of Company of Heroes. I was so excited about the download speed, which was exceeding 1MB/s on my 15MBit connection.

It seems I was very lucky when I had that 1.2MB/s of download speed, because now I’m rarely getting anything more than 200KB/s while preloading Portal and Team Fortress 2. Most of the time speed does not go over 80KB/s. So I decided to look up online what others are saying about Steam.

The first Google result for ‘steam download speed’ gave me the page full of negative comments about Steam and Valve. Valve has always been an example company to me, but this illusion has suddenly disappeared after reading so many negative feedbacks about Steam. It seems they are saving money by not deploying enough servers.

In general I like the idea of Stem, online game store, but it does need a major speed boost. I think that as soon as Valve improves Steam it can become a primary source for your gaming needs as more and more publishers sell their games there.

HOWTO: Fix Apple’s rating among consumers

October 4, 2007

Apple’s rating among consumers (especially iPhone users) reached its very low point after Apple ‘bricked’ many iPhones around the world. A great majority of comments on the tech blogs are criticizing Apple for its attitude to the end-users. Does Apple think that after they bricked hundreds of iPhones the owners will buy another one and this time stick with AT&T? I don’t think so. They lost those users once and forever.

Fixing the bricked iPhones could be a great solution for Apple, even for a sake of earning the trust back. But at the same time, hasn’t Apple warned you about the possible failure of your device? (Yes, they did ;))

Another great solution would be releasing an official SDK. But why is Apple not doing it and keeps promoting its Web apps strategy remains unknown to us. I’m pretty much sure the real tech people at Apple realize the need of official 3rd party applications. Probably by the time Steve realizes it, it’s going to be too late.

Digg on the go with your iPhone

October 1, 2007

Soon after the release of iPhone Digg team brought an ultimate Digg experience to the iPhone, which immediately became one of my favorite web applications for iPhone. Scrolling through the lists of news is fun and easy. I can’t imagine scrolling through pages of news with hardware buttons or a scrollbar on your WM device. Wheel could make sense, but not many devices these days are equipped with hardware scroll wheels (Ah… missing those Sony Clie days).

Besides just reading the news you can actually Digg the articles the same way you do it on your PC. UI resembles one you are used to on the big screen. News items are big enough and you don’t have to aim for 5 seconds to hit the article. Thank you Digg team for remembering us, iPhone users, and brining us such a fascinating Digg experience to our pockets 😉

iPhone software update: is it worth?

September 27, 2007

It was pretty obvious that the new update from Apple would lock the iPhone back with AT&T. To some extent the days and nights hackers spent figuring out how to unlock the iPhone can now be considered totally wasted. I don’t want to make any predictions, but it seems that Apple had a plan B where they applied a totally different locking technique and now it is going take another 2 months to figure out how to unlock the iPhone.

But my concern is not about unlocking the iPhone. I’m paying Apple what it “deserves” and am staying with AT&T (everybody should already know that Apple is receiving a portion of the monthly payments from AT&T iPhone users). My concern is about third-party applications that I won’t be able to use when I install the 1.1.1 update. This is a big hit for iPhone developers (or hackers ;)), who have already came up with a good amount of useful iPhone apps, and is even a bigger hit to users who are now unable to use those nifty little tools. Well, update is absolutely voluntary and nobody including Apple will force you to update your phone. So for myself I decided to stay the old way and keep my apps instead of getting iTunes Wi-Fi store, louder speaker and TV out. Yeah, I would not mind those features for my iPhone, but still they don’t seem good enough comparing to what third-party applications can offer instead.

Do you follow me guys? Can you see a future of iPhone in the hands of hackers and not in the hands of Apple? Hackers who try to bring best stuff for us and not try to earn more money like Apple does. But Apple’s attitude to the consumer is a different story, which needs another post or two.

Update: Engadget has a nice article comparing what you’ll get with an update, and what you’ll lose. It sort of supports my opinion about the new update and third-party applications.

Third-party applications on iPhone

September 25, 2007

When the iPhone was announced probably the biggest question was “Will it run third-party applications”. Many, including me, got disappointed with the negative answer from Apple. Thanks to hackers it did not become a major issue and since day one of my purchase I believed that there are going to be dictionaries, games, themes and many more for iPhone without Apple’s interaction. Now I cannot imagine my iPhone at its factory state: I got a few games installed, custom ringtones, voice recorder, eBook reader and many other little utilities. Apple, where are you? The device is so much better with the ability to add new features. And by the way, Steve, as you see even the software developed by hackers did not crash the “west coast AT&T network” 😉 So, come on, give us an official SDK and make life easier for the new generation of iPhone programmers.

Almost a month with the iPhone

July 22, 2007

Yes, I got it the first day it was released. Got it almost without waiting in the line in Everett Mall in the AT&T store. As many others in Seattle, I was first forced to buy three accessories with it, but the next time I returned to the store 2 hours later they said it was not necessary anymore. Unlike many others, activation did not take long for me. It was not the promised 2-3 minutes, but 20. Well, it’s still better than waiting for two days to get your device activated.

The first surprise was that it did not work with the 64-bit version of Windows, which I am currently using. Good I had a laptop which was running Windows XP Media Center Edition. Laptop is where I still use my iPhone to upload movies, music and podcasts. I still have not used it to sync calendar and contacts.

Couple of things to say after using the iPhone for almost a month:

  • The device is more practical than I thought. Before purchasing the iPhone I was worried about the screen – it might break, get scratches… Well, no any scratches after a month. Obviously I’m carrying the device not in a pocket, as I used to before with my previous cell phone, but in a $30 case (that looks like this) and I find it to be rather convenient, even more convenient than carrying the device in a pocket. Though the iPhone does not have too many hardware buttons, it is quite practical to use it. Screen is very sensitive – almost as sensitive as your skin. It can recognize even the light touch with the tip of your finger. Obviously it is more sensitive than on any other PDA or smartphone that I ever had a chance to use.
  • Browser is amazing. It is much better than Pocket Internet Explorer on Windows Mobile or Blazer on PalmOS. While on EDGE pages open at an average or below average speed, but still the navigation is very convenient and user-friendly. Better surfing speeds can be achieved while using WiFi connection. The only problem with the Safari on the iPhone is the absence of Flash support, but many tend to think that it will be fixed when the official SDK is released.
  • Battery life is short. The longest the iPhone could live without charging was two days for me and that’s with less than 1 hour talk time. It seems that the most power is consumed when using the WiFi connection and browsing the Internet. It seems that turning off WiFi when not needed saves the battery life. A good thing is that watching movies does not consume too much power. Some tests have showed that after watching a 1:20 hour movie only about 1/4 of battery power was gone.
  • It is hard to control music when iPhone is in the case. iPod is definitely a better choice for those who listen much music. The remote button that is on the headset wire can only play/pause and skip the track. Taking an iPhone out from the case and switching an album is kind of painful.
  • Camera is nice. It’s not the quality of Nokia’s N95 5-megapixel camera, but still better than any 1-2 megapixel phone cameras that I have seen before.

As many others I’m waiting for the software update and for the official SDK to be released, so we can have some games and more applications on-board.