Category Archives: Mobile Entries

Nokias… Not giving good impressions.

About a few months ago, I decided to hand my Nokia n97 mini over to my dad for him to use. The new firmware was finally released (I think a good few months after February when I was trying to “use” the phone) and it seemed to correct the hanging issue I faced when I was using it. The phone seems to have been behaving well after the firmware update. I was even told by my friend that the latest version of OVI MAPS on the nokia was really cool as it had an “Offline” mode where GPRS is not needed to download maps on the go. I always thought GPRS was needed which made the map updating & scrolling pretty slow and unpredictable. The offline mode and stability of the phone really made me think.. maybe I should give Nokias another go.

With the introduction of the N8 which my friend recently got hold of one, I thought, wow.. now that’s a cool phone to get. However since I already have my trusty iphone, there wasn’t a real need for me to get hold of another phone. I thought to myself… now Nokia might actually get back a portion of their market share with the introduction of this new model. Then during the past week, it has emerged that the Nokia N8 has been suffering power problems that renders the device virtually useless for a subset of its users (mainly early adopters. Oh my poor friend). Somehow I wasn’t really surprised but I was a little disappointed. Somehow Nokia doesn’t seem to garner a good impression anymore. The leader of the yesteryears with their cool blue screen of the 8250 and the slim corporate look of the 6300 which I used to own and love is now a thing of the past. It’ll definately take a lot to convince me to use a Nokia as my next phone. I gave them a chance with the n97 but nothing much has come out of it (not the initial impression at least). I don’t fancy blowing another RM2K+ on a piece of overpriced paper weight. Perhaps if I gave them a couple of years to catch up… I wonder if they’ll still be around.

Iphone – Is it that great?

Many friends of mine have been bugging me to get an iPhone since it’s early days. I have always wanted one but the timing just wasn’t right. When I needed to change my phone, I got my i900 Samsung Omnia since that was available locally when the iPhone wasn’t even in Malaysia yet. After a year plus of loving that phone, the only thing that really bugged me was the software keyboard on the Windows Mobile device. I could never find a nice easy to use keyboard with high accuracy on my omnia. That’s when I decided I needed a device with a nice physical keyboard. Hence came my n97 mini. Loved the keyboard but the phone kept on hanging as I also loaded the phone with too many 3rd party softwares.

After a period of 1 month, I am now on my iPhone. Mind you I don’t normally change phones after just one month but the hanging of the n97 was just counter productive. I decided to finally try the iPhone and although it’s been about 2-3 weeks only, I can tell you that this is indeed the phone for me. If you are a person who loves to be connected, play multimedia files like songs or videos, full size touch screens, smooth and fast execution of applications, kick a** graphics, crash free usage then the iPhone is for you. And oh did I mention that the software keyboard on the iPhone rocks? It’s more accurate and user friendly than the omnia’s. And it’s not much different than the n97 mini’s physical keyboard. I can type pretty fast on the iPhone. Take this blog posting for example, I am actually using my iPhone to type this article! Hasn’t taken long but if I were to use the omnia to do this, I think I would take substantially longer and most probably get frustrated along the way.

So apart from the necessities, the phone also has a powerful emailing system. I can check mails on the go. I can do my facebooking. I can indulge in some very high quality games too to help myself wind down. I am also able to use the unbuilt gps to help me with my navigation around Malaysian roads.

Ok for a first posting on my iPhone about my iPhone, I think I shall wind up here. I am not saying this phone is the best phone in the world but I think this is yet the best phone that suits my needs. Three cheers for my first apple device… Finally!

Nokia n97 mini

I recently got hold of a Nokia n97 mini as a replacement for the Samsung Omnia i900 which I have been happily using for the past year and a half (well almost). Why did I get the n97? Well its a combination of factors but the main reason would have to be the presence of a physical keyboard for text entry. I also opted for an N series (Entertainment) Nokia phone instead of an E series (business) because it had a full touch screen which I am already so used to from using the Omnia.

The Omnia has been one of my better purchases as of late but  due to the lack of a physical keyboard, something was just lacking. Text entry was a chore and the thought  of replying simple SMS messages was a nightmare. If Samsung  or the Windows Mobile device had a better text entry like the iphone, it would have been much more pleasant to use. Nonetheless, I still had fun with the Omnia and it was totally useful since I was able to use the Garmin XT GPS navigation software to get around and the Internet Connection Sharing  to hook up my notebooks to the mobile 3G network while on the go.

The n97 did not fall short in my requirements, as I have also managed to install the Garmin XT software it. I have also purchased a copy of Joikuspot  Premium (at a promo rate of 7 Euros) to hotspot enable my phone so that I can easily connect my notebooks to my 3G via wifi to my phone. This is a great APP and I recommend it to anyone who needs to get connected easily.

Keyboard wise, the touch screen on the n97 was more receptive and text seem to enter more precisely under the TXT9 (abc) mode than as compared with the Omnia. As mentioned, there’s just something lacking here which makes data entry on the Omnia a chore rather than a joy. The n97 also has a slider keyboard (as can be seen on the image) and typing on it is easy. I can tell you I get 99% of the characters right on the n97 as compared to perhaps 60% on the Omnia. I might be exagerating a little here but I seriously “swear” that I was hitting the backspace more than any other keys on the Omnia virtual keyboard. Pudgy fingers don’t help as well on touch screen keyboards.

Camera wise, the n97 packs the same punch as my i900 as it comes with a 5 megapixel camera on the back (and of course a 3G capable video camera on the front). I haven’t really tested the camera extensively but the pictures which I casually snapped turned out pretty alright. I have yet to test the camera for indoor shots. As you can see from the picture below, the design of the camera which comes with double LED flashes are nicely designed into the back of the phone.

Overall I’m so far pretty happy with the phone. There doesn’t seem to be many apps which I am able to install onto the phone but it is after all my intention to have this as a “business” cum “entertainment” phone which allows to me type easily as well as check my emails as well as do some basic facebooking and surfing. Various widgets come with the phone that allows you to check on news, videos, podcasts, weather, facebook, youtube & etc. Basically to make the most of this phone, it is advisable that you sign yourself up for an unlimited package with your mobile provider like I have. With most widgets turned on (i.e. Facebook and Email checking constantly) plus ability to stay connected via Fring, the battery is a little lacking here. I can’t seem to get through 1 day without having to charge the battery before the end of the day. Then again, perhaps I’m just connected too much and of course if I compare it to my i900, this battery seems to outlast the i900 many times over. I guess this is due to advances in technology…

Why didn’t I get an iphone? Well… as mentioned, my main intention was to get a phone with a physical keyboard and while the iphone has great apps, the keyboard is still slightly lacking for me. Perhaps in the near future I might pick one up… just so that I can fly the new Parrot Ar.Drone (http://ardrone2.parrot.com/parrot-ar-drone/en/index.html). Pretty kewl I think! Perhaps if someone can get me a cracked version from the US then I don’t have to pay heaps for the one provided here by the local mobile telco.

Samsung i900 with Windows Mobile 6.5 Rom

Do you have a Samsung Omnia – i900 and have you been waiting for the official release of the WM 6.5 ROM but can’t wait any longer? If you’re like me then you might want to read on to see how I got hold of the WM 6.5 ROM for my i900.

The ROM installed on my i900 is not the official ROM from Samsung. I heard and read that there might not even be an official ROM from them. So much for their good support and frequent release of updates back when the phone was newly released in the market. I guess, they either lack the man power (developers) or they are forcing you to get hold of their OMNIA II (which has an update for WM 6.1 to WM 6.5)

Luckily for us, we’ve got our own CHEFs around that are dedicated enough to cook us some ROMS with WM 6.5 for our i900 Omnias. I decided to try them out and what do you know?!? I’m stuck on it. I just love the idea of having WM 6.5 on the OMNIA. For those who are interested, you might want to check out the following ROMS which I have tried:

1. QBUS & Sector & Khuanchai Windows Mobile 6.5 Research Thread at http://www.modaco.com/content/i900-general-omnia-rom-discussion/285140/qbus-sector-khuanchai-windows-mobile-6-5-research-thread/

2. Custom WM6.5 ROMs for i900 by Ryrzy at http://www.modaco.com/content/i900-general-omnia-rom-discussion/290203/custom-wm6-5-roms-for-i900-by-ryrzy/

Basically I flashed my phone multiple times over the past couple of days trying to decide which is the most stable rom with lots of eye candy and functionality. I found that both the ROMS are equally good but for myself, I prefer and have selected Ryzry’s ROM. Reason for this is because I love the way it looks, the way it responds and the battery just seems to last longer than the other ROMs I’ve tried. Just as a comparison, one ROM could bring the battery level down to 30% after 1 day’s normal usage while comparably Ryzry’s ROM only brought it down to 80% . Is that a big improvement or what?! I definitely want a phone which can last as possible without having the need to carry a solar charger around 😉

Basically, I’m using Ryzry’s ROM and everything works perfectly except for the WIFI. The Comm Manager somehow is still not working perfectly and I am unable to connect the i900 to my home Wi-Fi, nor am I able to connect my notebook to my the i900 via the included Wi-Fi Router or the WMWiFiRouter software. That shows that Wi-Fi is practically useless. However since I am on the Unlimited Data Package plan from Maxis (which they don’t offer anymore to new subscribers by the way), I use the Phone’s 3G/3G+ most of the time and I also connect my notebook to the net via the cable so for now a dead Wi-Fi is not so much of a problem. Hopefully newer cooked ROMs will bring the functionality back.

As of writing this post, I am on Ryzry’s 23506_M2D ROM. Its the most stable and fastest ROM I’ve tried over the last couple of days. I think I’ve had enough flashing for now… will just have to wait… Will try to keep this post updated if a newer version of the ROM comes up with working Wi-Fi capability. Do check out the sites listed above and flash away. Do make sure you backup all your contact details before proceeding as flashing will lead to loss of data. Flashing is also done at your own risk as it might “brick” the phone. So far.. I’ve had no problems myself.

UPDATE – 14 Nov 2009 (4:06pm):

 After having discovered another RM ([ROM] Anzo Romárium) from a youtube video, I am now officially using his latest 23088Full+M2D ROM which is available from http://www.modaco.com/content/i900-general-omnia-rom-discussion/293838/rom-anzo-romarium-update-07-11/ . There has been reports that this rom is stable & fast (yes so far this is the case since trying just now) and the best thing is… the WiFi from WMWiFiRouter is working like a charm. I am now connected successfully from my netbook’s WiFi to my Omnia’s 3G. You might want to give this ROM a try 🙂

GPS Voice Navigation on the Blackberry & Other Phones

For those of you who have been wondering how you are able to get your Blackberry’s GPS to work like that of the Garmin GPS, think no more. I managed to locate on the internet (though I’m not the first to do so),  a FREE GPS program that does the job of voice navigation pretty well on the Blackberry. Whilst I don’t think it is as good as the Garmin Mobile XT on my Samsung Omnia, I think it does the job well enough to get you from Point A to Point B. It could and would have done a better job if the maps were more updated (not that they are that outdated to begin with). All in all, it will get you places even though the program is not as feature packed and heavy as other GPS programs.

Do note that the “amAze” software is not limited to Blackberries, it also works for a host of other handphones as well, so if you wish to give it a try… check it out if your phone has an in-built GPS. The software is free. The only cost you will need to pay is for “DATA” Transmissions as Maps are not stored locally, they are downloaded on the go. An unlimited data plan is recommended.

For those of you who are interested, you may check out the “amAze” GPS software at http://www.amazegps.com/ . The coverage support ranges from Europe, North America, Australia and parts of Africa and Asia (Malaysia included as I have tested). Have fun!

Forcing 3G connection on Samsung Omnia i900

Have you ever felt frustrated when you’re happily surfing on 3G or 3G+ and suddenly it switches to Edge? How can that be when you’re not even moving between cells? Well apparantly according to Samsung experts, the phone automatically selects the strongest signal and switches to that (even if that means switching to a suckier connection).

Well I’ve managed to find on the internet how to FORCE your phone to lock onto the 3G connection no matter the signal strength. If you feel the need to do the same, please read on for the instructions:

You CAN force 3G preference for your phone.

  1. dial *#1546792*#
  2. don’t press the call button, it will automatically take you to the Admin Settings.
  3. select ‘3 Network & Call Settings’
  4. select ‘Network Order’
  5. select ‘WCDMA first’
  6. press Done
  7. press the End Call Button

For those of you interested in getting 3G all the time if possible (up to the lowest possible signal) while maintaining GSM as a backend if in case you don’t have any signal,  simply leave the Network Mode to auto and then change the Network Order to WCDMA first in order to prioritize WCDMA regardless of signal strength.
 
Note: The information provided here is to be used at your own risk and I take no responsibility for this information. No need to worry though because I have done the above to my phone and so far the connection has remained at 3G & 3G+ without dropping to E (Edge).

Samsung Omnia Hard Reset

For those of you who wish to perform a hard reset, you may follow the following steps:

  1. Switch off  / Power off your phone
  2. Hold the CALL, CANCEL & POWER BUTTON for about 5 seconds
  3. A screen will pop up showing you instructions like step no. 4
  4. Click on the Call button to continue with formatting/resetting or Cancel button to abort.

If step 2 is done correctly, Step 3 will show up, else the Omnia will just boot up like normal.

Note: This hard reset does not erase the 16GB memory. If you wish to reset everything, use the software hard reset by going to Settings > Hard Reset.

Additional Notes for: UPGRADING / DOWNGRADING

For those of you who are doing a hard reset (as I did to rectify Omnia ROM version detected problem during updates), you may also try the following:

– Get your favourite registry edit
– change HKCU\Control Panel\Version\CustomVersion from DZHK3 to any version number that is lower than the one you are trying to install

This will allow you to upgrade or downgrade your ROM to any version. This needs to be done because Omnia updates only allow upgrades to newer versions but not downgrades to older versions.

Samsung Omnia i900 – i900DZIA5 ROM Upgrade

Today I just updated my Omnia from the old ROM i900DZHK3 (updated 2 Jan 2009) to i900DZIA5 (updated 28 Feb 2009). Apparantly I was told that there were some nice updates to the ROM this time round. It never ceases to amaze me that Samsung is still providing ROM updates to this phone even after its been out in the market for about 8 months now?!

Each time I do an update, its like I’m getting a new phone all together. So what’s new in the update? Well I was told it has the following goodies:

  • New settings for enhanced GPS.
  • Ability to update when omnia is connected to PC via ActiveSync
  • Phonebook listing has been improved (Alphabet listing removed… its too small anyway unless you have a stylus)
  • Volume control is now finger friendly (again without having the need for a stylus)
  • Favourite Settings, a finger friendly application that access some of the settings
  • “Share pix” program which is something like Shozu, for uploading of videos and images (Supports Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, Photobucket, Friendster, MySpace)
  • New Game – Asphalt: Elite Racing 4 Ver 1.2.0
  • Omnia Online widgets, now you can download more widgets. Old widgets are gone
  • Opera 9.5 build 15746

The ‘My Storage’ has been cleared and some stuffs are included here

  • The asphalt game is installed here (so is the cab file)
  • 2 music files, TheOMNIA and BeyongSamsung
  • Kung Fu Panda trailer
  • Transformers trailer
  • Omnia video tutorial
  • Omnia launch video (Introduction and Episodes)

NOTE: When I tried to update the rom from i900DZHK3  to i900DZIA5, the update program told me that I already had the latest ROM. If you face this problem then you should read the following post on how to rectify the problem: http://www.ourplaypen.com/2009/02/28/samsung-omnia-resetsamsung-omnia-reset/

You may download your own ROM from http://www.samsungmobile.com/promotion/omnia/index.jsp. Upgrade your phone today if you haven’t done so already. You’ll notice a marked improvement in the performance of your phone.

Samsung Omnia i900 – i900DZHK3 ROM Upgrade

I have done yet another ROM upgrade a few days ago (2 Jan 2009), since my last one in Nov 2008. I am amazed as to how often the Samsung Team releases ROM Updates for the Omnia. I’m glad they’re still fine tuning the ROM as we speak.

For this upgrade from i900DZHJ1 to i900DZHK3, I didn’t realise any marked changes in cosmetic looks on the interface nor did I experience any marked improvements it had on the backend performance. The phone feels the same as before. I will need to spend more time experiencing the new rom to tell more. From what I experience, I think the battery consumption is still low for this new rom. Could even be better than the last (untested). So far, the Internet on the Opera & GPS functions well. One change I did notice is the improved optionality of the “Enhanced GPS Settings” screen under the Settings. Look better and provides a better status notification of the XTRA downloads. GPS locks on my Omnia seems to be pretty quick… might have improved??!?! (untested).

Overall.. I would recommend this update for everyone. I’m sure it has some bug fixes and improvements else they won’t release it to the public. I have updated mine and I have no regrets so far. For this new ROM, I only installed back what I use as per what is stated at http://www.ourplaypen.com/2008/10/13/samsung-omnia-i900/

You may download your own ROM from http://www.samsungmobile.com/promotion/omnia/index.jsp. Upgrade your phone today if you haven’t done so already. You’ll notice a marked improvement in the performance of your phone.

Cool Mobile Shell Skin – Omnia

Just found this website after having surfed around quite a bit to make my Omnia look like a HTC Touch. If you have SPB Mobile Shell installed on your phone, you can make use of this collection by “Stu Nicholls” located at his site at http://www.imarche.net/omnia/ . Once you have installed the plugin, you will no longer need to overwrite files just to change the look & feel of your Mobile Shell on your phone. Not only does this program work for the Omnia, it basically works for all Windows Mobile phones (probably WM5, WM6 & above).

Not only can you make your Omnia look like a HTC phone, you can also make it look like an iPhone. That should give curious onlookers a puzzled look when they see your phone and its interface.

I like the way this program works. Basically you can change your skin, theme, buttons  & overall look of your phone just by selecting easy options without having to soft reset your phone. Great for people who gets bored of their phone’s look. You can practically change the look & feel every single day if you wanted to. Have fun with this one!