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Tag: Mobile phones

Over the weekend, my old Se Xperia X1 decided to seriusly give up the ghost, so I went out and got a new phone, and settled on the Samsung Galaxy S.

Ah, the just-bought-a-new-toy feeling!

It is one of the more reasonably priced phones, not quite competing with the big boys, but it is an awesome phone none-the-less.

This is my first experience on an Android phone, and I can sincerely say that it is the best cellular experience I have yet had with a phone. It far outshines any Windows Mobile or Symbian phone that I have used in the past in every category.

The phone responds quickly, has decent hardware, and ample storage space (well for me anyway).

I am really looking forward to playing around with this phone…


The major GPS navigation software companies are not liking Google very much. Google has released a new fully-featured navigation application called Google Maps Navigation which uses the data Google Maps has gather over the last few years, and combined it with a turn-by-turn navigation system, and then go and release all of this for free.

Garmin and Tomtom reacted badly on the stock market after that announcement, losing 16% and 20% of their value respectively in one day.

At the moment it is only available for Android 2.0 phones, but there are promises that it will be coming out on other platforms soon. When the windows Mobile version ships, I will certainly be getting my download…


I had another fun adventure this weekend. Trying to upgrade the firmware on the sony Ericsson Xperia. This is easy enough…..that is if you are running Windows XP.

Downloading and installing the Sony Ericsson Update Service softrware and getting it set up is easy enough, but here it gets a little tricky.

The first tricky thing is that to put the phone into the update mode, where it shows the horizonal colour bands, which you need to do so that the update program can update the phone, is not as easy as advertised. To do so requires you to first press the volume button, and then the power button while holding down the volume button, and then keep both pressed until the phone switches on.

It took me several attempts to get this right, because if you get don’t press the buttons exactly right, it goes into normal mode, which you don’t want.

Now I encountered the second problem. I am running Windows Vista, and after putting the phone into update mode, the update application refused to pick up that the phone was connected. After reading a few forums, I tried running the application in my Windows XP VM I have on my machine, and it read the phone perfectly.

At this point I understood why they said you had to charge your phone fully before attempting an update. The update is a 160MB download, so unless you have a decent internet connection, this part is going to take a rather long time. I have a 3G connection, and it was relatively quick, but still rather painful.

Once the download completes, the phone gets updated and this part is rather quick.

After that whole operation I was pleased to notice a lot of the system settings had been kept, such as the internet connection settings. I did need to reinstall all my downloaded apps though, and set up my mail again, but all in all, the upgrade process was not too bad.


My favourite aspect of the Sony Ericsson Xperia is that with Windows Mobile, there are a wealth of games available to waste countless joyful hours.

By far the best in my opinion is ScummVM. This virtual machine allows you to run a lot of the old PC games I loved when I was younger. As soon as I got this app on my phone, I whipped out all my old games. I currently got Monkey Island 1 and 2, Kings Quest 1, 2, 3, Leisure Suit Larry 1, Loom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Space Quest 1 and 2 and Touche running perfectly on my phone. ScummVM also supports a long list of other games too. This is truly an awesome piece of software.

Pocket Humanity is a civilization type game that is thoroughly enjoyable. You build cities and units to go off to war, just like in the original civilization. It is a little buggy though, but hopefully as the game develops those will get better.

Chess by Valentin Iliescu is one of the best Chess programs I have found for Windows Mobile.

Pocket Diablo is a Windows Mobile port of the classic game Diablo, and while it is not quite complete yet, I am taken aback that I can play this great game on my phone. It is still in beta so look for more updates in the future.

When I was younger, I used to often play Scrabble with my Gran, so when I found a version for Windows Mobile called Scrobble, I just had to have it. It is a high quality little game, and the AI is pretty decent. Great game if you love word games.

Kevtris 2 is the best Tetris clone I have found so far for Windows Mobile, and if you don’t know what Tetris is, then where have you been all your life.

Pocket Lemmings is another throwback to yesteryear. The original lemmings game in the palm of your hand. This game transforms nicely to a touch screen interface, so was so much fun to play again, tring to save all those lemmings.

Smart Mahjongg is a very decent Mahjongg game which looks pretty good too. It has several layouts to keep things interesting. It has got one or two little quirks that bother me, but I still enjoy playing this one.

There are thousands more games out there to try. If there are any more you like, then please leave a comment telling me which other games you like.


When trying to decide what phone to get with my cellphone upgrade recently, for a brief millisecond the thought of the iPhone crossed my mind. That thought didn’t last very long though, since I am certainly not a fan of it.

For one thing, it lacks a full keyboard – or at least a physical one so that you can type easily. I am a person who spends most of my time on my phone using the internet or writing sms’s or mails, therefore being able to type quickly is a big thing for me.

The biggest factor for me though is Apple themselves. Or rather, their policies. You can only add software for your phone from the Apple iStore. And Apple reserve the right to remotely remove any software on your phone that they deem inappropiate. I feel that is a little bit of an invasion of my piracy.

Also, recently, Apple have been annoying software developers by seemingly randomly disapproving applications – some of which had already been approved earlier and were already being sold in the iStore.

For these reasons, I will never buy an iPhone


I have had my Sony Ericsson Xperia for almost a week now, and have been playing a lot with adding new software to it. Here is a list of freeware applications that I think are a must-have….at least for me.

The Core Player Media Player is in my view one of the best media players for Windows Mobile out there. The video is a little choppy but it will play just about any video file out there. If you want a smoother player, there is also a commercial offshoot of this available. For the Xperia, the normal download for this application fails. You can find a recompiled version here that works for the Xperia.

O3gps is a very nifty GPS utility that gives your coordinates, height, speed and a host of other data. It makes having the GPS feature of the phone so much more useful.

Google Maps came preloaded on the phone and it is a very cool application to have. It interfaces with the GPS as well, and shows street maps as well as satellite views.

HomeScreen PlusPlus shows you a lot of system information on your Today screen. It can be configured to show call times, data usage, battery life, power consumption, and a whole lot more.

WeatherBug interfaces with your Today page, and shows you up-to-date weather for your location. I liked this app because it has Cape Town as a city instead of just US or European centres. The interface is very good looking too.

As I play with my phone more, I am sure to find more useful software, so keep an eye out for future posts.


Ah, the joy of the free bi-annual contract upgrade. I love getting my new phone.

My newest choice, after much deliberation, was the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1, which I got over the weekend. This phone is fantasic!

It is small and light, with a large screen taking up almost the entire face, and a very easy to use slide-out keyboard.

The phone runs on Windows Mobile 6.1, which has taken a few days to get totally used to, having previously been on Symbian phones. I know that Windows Mobile comes from the big evil, Microsoft, but I am finding it a really pleasurable experience using it. Being Windows, it interfaces incredibly well with my laptop, so I can easily transfer data and applications across.

I am also amazed at the slew of applications available for Windows Mobile, so I will have no shortage of new apps and games to try.

The one advertised downside of the phone is that it comes with a GPS, but not the GPS software, which you would have to download (and pay for) seperately. This almost swayed me away from it, however, after getting the phone, I discovered that the GPS in the phone is active and interfaces with Google Maps (comes pre-installed – very cool), and I have been able to download several free GPS applications for it. The feature I lose out on – unless I decide to pay – is a proper navigation system like on a TomTom or Garmin GPS unit.

All in all, I absolutely love this phone. It is by far the best phone I have ever owned. And no, I would not have been tempted by an iPhone. I specifically left out looking at the iPhone as I have serious issues with some of its features.

Anyway, I have to go play with my phone bit more now…..