December 2009 Archives

droid-eris-verizon-Support-708.pngHaving HTC's Droid Eris is like having a little computer -- or a slightly cooler-looking iPhone.
But I wouldn't have known this hadn't a friendly Verizon Wireless PR rep suggested that I check it out (after asking for me to give back the Motorola DROID I borrowed). 

See, when Verizon Wireless released both gadgets in early November, a flurry of media write-ups and advertising campaigns crowned Motorola DROID the Alpha Male of the handset market (targeting non-princess types through questionably sexist commercials). Still, the hefty cell phone with both touchscreen widgets plus a tangible keyboard sported some seriously awesome features - like voice-activated GPS and the best-looking Gmail interface I've ever seen.
If the Motorola DROID is a beast, then the Droid Eris is a beauty, with a smooth, black/soft black exterior and bright, app-happy color screen. I love the little retro clock on the home screen and Eris' lightweight feel (plus, it actually fits into my princess-jeans pockets without making me look pudgy).
Still, I wondered, putting the pretty phone into my pants pocket, how could this gadget offer anything the iPhone doesn't? Soon, on the snowiest night of the year, I would learn that this little Droid did.
My hour-long train ride into New York City was MUCH more entertaining than it would've been with my standby BlackBerry.
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For the Ski Lover: Satsport GPS

December 14, 2009 4:45 PM | 1 Comment
GPS-black-Ski-high-res.jpgIf freezing temps make you want to hit the slopes when your pals reach for hot chocolate, perhaps it's time to treat yourself to a special kind of GPS system. You know, one that's made for skiers and snowboarders.

Though it's a bit pricy at $490, Satsport GPS - a multi-sport, interactive, all-weather GPS system - is loaded with bells and whistles galore that'll truly enhance the experiences of the road warrior/winter adventurer.
Sporting a 2.7-inch touchscreen, SiRF Star II antenna, Samsung 400 Mhz processor and micro SD card slot, the handheld gadget combines true, real-time interactive navigation for skiers, snowboarders, golfers, runners and cyclers. And it does this through PC software that syncs GPS data with Google Earth to replay in 3D.
Throw in an extra $65 for an optional SD card to turn the device into a voice-activated street navigator.
It's available at ski resorts worldwide, so you can try one out instantly -- on slopes or in the ski lodge, hot chocolate mug in hand.
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Skiff: Not for Town & Country Types

December 9, 2009 6:31 PM | 0 Comments
It's no secret the magazine industry is having a hard time staying afloat, as major titles folded by the dozen in 2009. And though Hearst made ears perk up when it said that it would launch Skiff, an e-reader service of sorts, in 2010, a lot of questions remain. 
The publisher of Harper's Bazaar and O, The Oprah magazine said that Skiff brings magazines to smartphones and Kindle-like devices. Plus, the Skiff service and digital store will feature a selection of newspapers, books and magazines.
Still, it's unclear whether I'll be able to download rival publications (those from Conde Nast, like Vogue), through Skiff.
Even though Skiff will be ad-supported, who will use it?  
Although digital media is cheaper to produce than print, there's "no proof" something like Skiff "is going to sell products," Steve Cohn, editor-in-chief of magazine industry publication Media Industry Newsletter, remarked during a recent phone conversation with me.
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The "iPhone versus BlackBerry" debate isn't just something I talk about during work hours.
It's a heated match on any given weeknight, when my proud iPhone-owning fiancé goes into debate-team mode over the merits of his touchscreen wonder.
The iPhone is pretty amazing, no doubt, but the of lack of pressable buttons that make grammatically perfect e-mails easy to pound out was reason #1 I choose the sunset-pink hued BlackBerry Curve 8330. The second, as noted, was color. Oh, and I also love my service provider, Verizon Wireless (I switched over from Sprint PCS in 2003, when I lived in Washington, D.C., because I needed to make calls while riding the Metro).
But when it comes time to upgrade in 2010, I'm going to need more than a pretty pastel color and press-easy buttons -- and not just because I don't ride the D.C. Metro anymore.
It's a good thing I got in touch with Mike McAndrews, vice president for product marketing at RIM, who spoke about the criteria one should use when picking their best BlackBerry.

"We tried to create a portfolio of smartphones because we feel that one size does not fit all," McAndrews told me, as we spoke about the differences between the touchscreen Storm line, the "BlackBerry for everyone" Curve line (RIM's most successful product to date), the Pearl (for traditional cell fans who need some convincing), the Tour (for world traveler types) and the Bold models.
"One of the first things a user needs to consider is the carrier," McAndrews said, validating at least one of my criteria for choosing my Curve, and suggesting consider the advantages of each network based on location.
For example, let's say your folks have a mountain house where there is coverage from just one carrier.
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