Jan
21
2012
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Does the iPad 2 have a “real” GPS?

gps-ipadMuch confusion has arisen over the level of support for GPS in Apple’s iPad 2, introduced in 2011. There are two reasons for this confusion. The first source of confusion is that there are two types of iPad 2. There is a 3G-capable model (which can use the cellphone network), and a WiFi-only model. Apple’s [more...]

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Jun
20
2010
1

How does Nokia’s N900 cellphone compare with the iPhone 4?

apple-phoneApple’s iPhone 4 and Nokia’s N900 are both advanced mobile phones with web browsers and music players, yet they are very different products. Apple’s iPhone offers a streamlined but controlled user experience, while Nokia’s N900 is unconstrained and powerful but perhaps somewhat uneven and unrefined. For many purchasers their preference will depend on the included [more...]

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May
17
2010
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What’s the difference between AMOLED and LCD cellphone displays?

lcd-pixelsTwo display technologies are commonly mentioned in cellphone specifications: LCD and AMOLED. How do they differ? Is one better than the other? An LCD is a Liquid Crystal Display. The molecules of a liquid crystal can line themselves up like a crystal, but they can also move like a liquid when an electric charge is [more...]

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Oct
08
2009
4

How do the specifications of the Nokia N900 and the HTC HD2 ("Leo") compare?

Telephones of the distant future (1974 drawing by catmachine - CC-BY)Towards the end of 2009, high-end smartphones were released by Nokia and HTC. Although they both have large, high-resolution screens they are two very different devices. What's the comparison between Nokia's N900 and HTC's HD2? Both are convergence devices, but the most striking differences are that the N900 is a chunky side-slider with a hardware [more...]

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Oct
07
2009
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What is a "convergence device" (or a "converged device")?

A radiogram: last century's convergence device (photo by supermoving - CC-BY)When a new device incorporates the functionality of two or more earlier devices, it is a converged device. The development of a convergence device occurs when miniaturization or economics makes it possible to cram extra functionality into an existing device, or when technology common to two devices is factored out to make a more efficient [more...]

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Oct
02
2009
1

What is Maemo?

N900 mobile computer (smartphone) running the Maemo operating system (photo by mackarus - CC-BY)college paper writer Maemo is a trademark of Nokia, used to describe some of their products and services. Hmm, that doesn't explain much, does it? Maemo is described by Nokia themselves as “an advanced Linux-based operating system designed to run on high-end Nokia mobile computers”. Even that description doesn't help much—until you learn that what [more...]

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Sep
29
2009
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Which cellphones have large, high resolution screens?

Nokia E90 smartphone (photo by renaissancechambara - CC-BY)Amongst mobile phones, the king of the displays is currently (as at September 2009) Toshiba’s TG01 with its 4.1 inch screen (cellphone screens are measured diagonally). Waiting in the wings are phones with even larger displays from HTC and Archos. The Nokia E90′s display is only slightly smaller at 4.0 inches, but this phone is [more...]

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Aug
12
2009
1

Why was micro-USB chosen as the standard mobile phone charger?

Micro-USB charging on the left. mini-USB on the right (photo by In Veritas Lux - CC-BY)In June 2009, most of the big mobile phone makers decided to adopt the micro-USB connector as the standard for their chargers. Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, LG, Samsung, NEC and others have agreed to use this connector. Apple is going to keep their proprietary connector for the iPhone, but will produce a micro-USB adapter so [more...]

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May
18
2009
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What are the different phone form factors?

Photo by Gaetan Lee - CC-BYThe form factor of a mobile phone is a general description of its shape and mechanical function, and can have a big impact on the usability of the cellphone. The most basic shape is the candybar which is at least as long as a Mars Bar, almost as thick and somewhat wider. This provides space [more...]

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Apr
29
2009
1

What can I use as a replacement for a lost touch-screen stylus?

Photo by Roger Browne - CC-BYIt’s easy to lose the stylus from a touchscreen device such as a mobile phone, internet tablet or PDA. What can you use as a replacement? It needs to be pointed enough to activate a precise location on the screen, yet soft enough that it won’t scratch the screen. One possibility is to take some [more...]

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