Category Archives: mobile communications

Crunchtime for JooJoo – the £319 12″ MID

It’s funny how one product can change everyone’s perceptions of what’s feasible on the marketplace. Nearly two years in gestation, the JooJoo’s origins are a hybrid of UMPC/MID and netbook thinking – netbook class hardware in a UMPC shell, but with the MID’s cut-down OS theory. With a stripped-bare UI, large, colourful multitouch screen and accessible x86 hardware, what started out as a gadget-geek’s fantasyevolved into a little bit of a commercial nightmare for the manufacturers and developers at Fusion Garage. None of which has any bearing, ultimately, on what you get for your cash when you find a JooJoo.

Wild JooJoos are pretty hard to find, few made it into the hands of journalists or end users but if you want your own you may track them down on eBay and the like.

(This was originally written in June/July 2010)
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Asus T101MT – Convertible Eee grows up

Asus Eee PC T101MTAsus are widely credited with redefining the netbook market, taking the 1990s concept of a “small, light connected laptop” that companies like Psion and Acorn pursued and Toshiba nearly cracked with the Libretto and turning it into the “small, light, cheap connected laptop”. Whilst there was a degree of the Eee riding the OLPC project’s coat-tails into the wider market’s consciousness the end result of that first device’s sub-£200 price point, robust SSD and Linux combination has been a flood of similar systems and the inevitable blurring of the netbook definition. You can drop the “cheap” bit for many, though functionality is very different to Psion’s Netbook. Asus, like Dell, Acer and Sony, are producing several models of netbook to fit any budget and requirement; the T101MT is particularly interesting in a tablet-obsessed 2010 and points to a surfeit of such devices for 2011.
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Why you shouldn’t buy an iPhone 4…

…unless it’s from Apple!

I admit, I’ve got no patience; it’s why I write about technology. I’m invariably bored with it after a few weeks and itching for the new thing to arrive. Having said that, I’m also really quite tired of the cycle of phone upgrades – so when my 3GS got broken, I hoped that the new iPhone 4 would do everything I needed. This premium-priced gadget is stacked high in shops everywhere, so why was buying it so hard…
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Archos shaking up the tablet market

Archos 101Usually I don’t do news on this site; there are plenty of sources for it and it simply increases the amount of “noise” for people looking for real information. However, the latest releases from Archos look to be the first serious attempts to bring Android tablets to market as a viable consumer product – whilst offering decent spec for the cost (Archos tends to charge for plugins and similar, so the functionality may vary and the cost to reach the same functionality as a competing device could be similar).

Have the Archos 28, 32, 43, 70 and 101 got the spec, pricing and performance to offer a similar experience to the iPad for Android fans – or even, with Android 2.2 Froyo and Flash support, provide an even richer user experience?
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Nokia 9000 to E90 – RIP Communicator, Hello Smartphone

I blame Douglas Adams, pretty much. Impressionable young minds were bound to lap up the concept of “information everywhere”, and ever since I first laid my hands on a “slightly smarter than a calculator” portable computer, I’ve wanted my very own ‘Guide’. My brain parsed the Guide as looking a lot like a graphing calculator, so Psion’s Organiser seemed logical enough – but it did so little… 30 years after Adams first popularised the concept, numerous machines now offer that sort of device, albeit with varying degrees of success. Nokia’s E90 is just one of many, but with Nokia’s 13-year track record in the emerging “Smartphone” device class, have they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by abandoning the Communicator paradigm?
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Apple’s iPad – not first, but third generation.

Apple’s iPad is hailed as a new device, bringing the iPhone’s success to the tablet market. You couldn’t be more wrong; iPad is a device which has somehow escaped or evolved to become part of Steve Jobs’ world vision – a true follow up to John Sculley’s “Knowledge Navigator” in a way that Newton could never be, but always promised. Sharing the same relationship to the Macintosh that Newton did within the context of available technology the iPad clearly demonstrates that just as consumer tastes and desires have become more sophisticated, so has Apple’s design process. So where will iPad go next?
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Archos 9 – UMPC, Tablet PC or PMP?

The Archos 9 has been doing the rounds for about a year now and was launched for sale in October 2009, enjoying a good run as one of the few low-cost UMPC style devices to make it into the mass consumer marketplace. Standing at the top of their odd-numbered range of Personal Media Player (PMP)/Tablet style devices, the 9 deviates from their crossover nature by being a full-fledged Windows system, albeit at sub-netbook specifications. Revitalising the appeal for the Archos 9, this weekend Amazon lowered their price to £369 from an RRP of £449 – making this one of the cheapest UMPC devices ever sold officially in the UK. Is there a value equation to be solved here or does the UMPC genre benefit from a few years and the Tablet’s newly-reconigsed status as a consumer product?
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Apad by any other name…

This is, first and foremost, a site for me to put the content that won’t fit in other, print media outlets. It’s full of half-written entries as work gets in the way, it’s sporadically updated. If something grabs me, then you’ll see it here eventually. Currently I’m enthralled, baffled and generally confused by the “iPad-killer” market of Shanzai tablets typified by the Eken M7001, iPed and the Apad (which has been adopted as the name for Shanzai/OEM Android MIDs, but actually refers to a 7″ Rockchip RK2808 based model commonly sold as the “iRobot”).

Amongst these, the Rockchip architecture has been out for ages – the Archos players are based on it – and MIDs have been showing up in various forms at consumer electronics shows particularly in Eastern territories for years. So why the sudden buzz?
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Upgrading the Teso J-10 or iiView M1Touch

As a pretty neat UMPC, the Teso J-10 (aka iiView M1Touch and also sold as a “Windows 7 Tablet” by Tablet Store UK currently – I’m not aware of any other UK importers) is already well equipped for most purposes. Most of the time, people want to add bluetooth, 3G and so forth; those are already present. However, it’s interesting to get a look inside and see how the J-10 is assembled.
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