I came across the little product whilst watching Jeff Sandquist show us around his home and was delighted to find it was a free download on the Stardock site. It does one job and does it well so I now have a dark aurora as the background my logon screen on Vista which suits by black Vaio nicely!
Download for XP or Vista
Well, not really….it was just a joke in my earlier post and I wanted to be the first to announce a Cloud Computing Conference as it’ll be all the rage next year. Consider that term copyrighted kids, along with the C3PO acronym :) O’Reilly, you can have it for £100!
Some new features are quietly being added to Live Search around RSS, blogs etc. Amit has a pretty good round up of them. Check out http://search.live.com/feeds/ which has a beta of a Live Search for blogs similar to Google Blog Search.
Link to Microsoft Live Search for finding Blogs and RSS Feeds at Digital Inspiration
LG recently sent me one of their cool new Viewty phones to have a play with and whilst it's not Windows Mobile, I have a keen interest in gadgets so figured it was worth a look, not least as it sports a 5mp camera with ISO 800.
The phone itself is not unlike the LG Prada which I like a lot from both a hardware and software point of view. Hardware wise, it feels well built, has a nice size and weight and they have improved the finish over the Prada which has a touch too much silver for my liking. I also fear that silver will be greyish after some hard usage. The Viewty has less silver but on a quick glance you'd probably not notice the difference between the phones. That hold true when you turn them on as they have (as far as I can tell) the same screen and sport pretty much the same UI.
Okay, so having played with the iPhone a fair bit recently the UI isn't up to the same level of coolness but the LG interface is very nice indeed. It's intuitive, easy to use and the touch screen makes you want to play more. The screen sometimes needs more of a tap than you'd like and doesn't have the multitouch feature of the iPhone. Unlike the Prada though it does come with a stylus (which looks like some kind of mascara stick!) which means you can handwrite messages which it will then turn in to text. It's not as good as Pocket PC on this front but it's a welcome addition I think though spare stylus are essential for me :) Text wise though, I found the device easier than the iPhone whose main Achilles heel is texting IMHO.
On to the camera though which is the main selling point of this phone. It's actually quite hard not to think of this device as a camera primarily as it looks great as a camera and with 5 megapixles, a flash and ISO and a zoom jog (16x digital zoom) and a lens Schneider Kreuznach. It's a little off that there isn't a sliding cover for that lens.
When in camera mode all the settings and controls are access by simply by tapping once on the screen with your fingertip or thumb. Pretty cool and simple access to photo settings, zoom and flash. The location of the shutter button is perfect too and I'd quite happily snap a lot of photos with this camera phone. It has an image stabilisation dedicated button and also has video recording and playback of course - with the video capture speed of 120fps being particularly impressive. Photo viewing is very nice with a Surface like application that lets you scatter photos across the screen and double tap to view the photo itself or single tap for photo details.
I've not used the Internet browsing too much yet so will review another time but it acts as a great 3G/HSDPA modem over Bluetooth to my Vista laptop. It also has a Flash viewer built in which should make YouTube viewing possible. Not tested yet though. Also tucked in there is support for DivX playback and the DivX software comes on the CD in the package.
Just whilst we're on packing, I have to say that Apple has done us all a favour with their products as every manufacturer is now stepping up their packaging detail. I saw it first with HTC's Touch which came in a plush box and Zune followed. The LG has beautifully done packaging. One thing that had be baffled is why I needed to put a microSD card in for the device to support mass storage...and that being the case, why one wasn't supplied with the phone. Maybe I need to go back and check that packaging.
Overall I like the Viewty a lot and would recommend it on use so far to friends who want a high end fashion phone with a very impressive camera. It'll not become a daily use phone for me as a need mobile email connected to Exchange Active Sync too much but the Viewty with EAS would be a nice touch. Wonder if LG will license that technology from Microsoft?
thanks to Ryan at LG for the device and be sure to check out Stephen Fry's review too!
The image from the UK version of Bing today….I wish I was heading there this Friday.
Note to Bing – a button saying “make this my wallpaper” would be awesome. I know there would be licensing issues etc etc but pls pls find a way to do it. It’d be such a smokin feature.