Friday, November 25, 2011

UAE to block fake phones

I do not know how well the clamp down on fake phones would go, but if you are concerned about your phone, here is a method to check if your device is genuine or counterfeit. I did not invent this, it is published in Gulf News (link below).

If you picked your device from another country or from a back lane store (including Dragon mart), or an online store, or have rooted or unlocked it; I suggest you give this a try.
  1. Identify your phone IMEI
    Dial *#06#
  2. Jot it down on a piece of paper
  3. Next SMS this IMEI No to 8877.
  4. Wait for few minutes. This may take some time. You will receive another SMS, like below one, that confirms your device status.

Gulf News article 24-Nov-11

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Purple tint on Samsung Galaxy Note Display

After a thoughtful day, I decided to finally buy the Samsung Galaxy Note. I was happy to see that the device had hit the shelves at the local electronic stores. So I picked one up, yes damn expensive (AED 3000/-) . I am told that the device will come down by AED 200 to 400 in about couple of weeks time.

I got a one evening chance to do hand-on session with the device, before I found out a fault with the display. During a dim light reading, I actually noticed a purple tint on one corner of the screen. This is not visible when the brightness is high or if the room is well lit. I installed the "Screen Filter" software from Market to further reduce the brightness to about 30%. This made the purple tint quite visible.

I had to explain and demo this to about 4 store staff, none found it convincing. It was just not visible in bright store light. I had also taken pictures of the purple tint in dim light, this was convincing. So I returned the device and the stock is also out! I will have to wait till the new stock arrives, this could take weeks..

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab (GT-P1000) personal review

Yes, looks like a late review for a device that has been launched more than a year back. I bought the Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000 few months back. This is the one with wireless as well as GSM/3G capabilities.

Interestingly, it is actually a sensible idea to buy a device after few months of launch. After the initial hype hoopla is over, the device value actually slides down to a more reasonable and rational level.

I was looking for a substitute for my 10" tablet that was becoming cumbersome to carry around and failed to keep with the multiple application processes. I used the Samsung Tab for about 20 days. Here are some inputs based on my experience.

  • P1000 is a 7" model and has all the Network and phone functions. You can get all the technical Specs on web, google it. In short,

    • 7" inch TFT capacitive touch screen with pinch-to-zoom capability, WSVGA resolution of 1024x600 supporting 16 million colors.
    • 1GHz processor, 3MP back camera and 1.3MP front camera, Back camera support 480p video resolution quality at 30fps approximately.
    • Has GSM, 3G/EDGE, Bluetooth, WIFI, USB connectivity.
    • 16GB of internal memory.
    • On Android 2.2 OS.
    • Has slot for SIM and MicroSD card, 3.5mm audio jack.
    • Good Battery life, can last about 2 days with normal use.

  • This is a perfect size to fit my hand and carry around. This however does not look like a suitable device for regular phone function, there is no ear piece to directly take a call. Ear plugs, either cable or Bluetooth based is needed (or call can be taken on the speaker directly).
  • I found it best suited to hold and use. I have had no issues in operating the device, lying down or slouching on the sofa. If you are looking for a larger screen experience with just about comfortable device to carry around, Tab is good to go.

  • Browsing internet is smooth and I have had no issues. It would be best to use a more feature-rich browser like Dolphin HD, this can be downloaded from Market.

  • The device is rugged and is built for rough use. It does not mean that we can throw it around, it is just that one need not be extra cautious when handling it.

  • Though I put on a screen protector, the device has scratch proof gorilla glass, the toughest there is at this time. So a screen guard is actually not needed for scratch prevention, I still put a screen guard for its other benefits - To reduce Fingerprints and light reflections.

  • The screen is very responsive. I don't recollect a moment when the screen delayed in responding. However there could be response delay if there are too many jobs or a few resource hogging jobs running at the same time and the 1 GHz processor is preoccupied.

  • After being disappointed with samsung's decision in the past to disable Android Market (possibly for devices being launched in this region), I was happy to see that this one came with the market app.

  • Samsung has put in a lot of bloatware on this device. It also came preinstalled with religious applications. I personally don't need this and I was disappointed to not find an uninstall option. Samsung decision to include religious software is probably a marketing strategy to cater to the larger masses, fair enough, but then not giving an option to uninstall is something I did not like. So the next option - root it.

  • I rooted the device and removed the unwanted bloatware. This also gave me superuser access. This gives access to a lot more software on the market. Software such as Appszorter are now available to better customise the look and feel. Rooting was a simple process, there are many sites out there who can give information on this.

  • The TouchWiz UI is good. However the widgets could not be sized. This is a disadvantage as the widgets do not benefit from the higher resolution and wider screen. So I decided to try the different launchers. All worked well, I chose to use ADW Launcher. This gave the option to resize my widgets to fit the required space and show more information. For instance, I was able to resize my Turtle photoframe widget to show a much wider frame and allow for more pictures viewing.

    Custom launcher also give the option to remap available buttons. For instance, I could change the home button to actually open the application menu.

    Bottom line, the default Android software with Samsung TouchWiz interface is good for normal use. However, if the need is to make the look and fell more richer, launcher software such as ADW Launcher or LauncherPro could be installed and used. Apart from this the device comes with its own office suite support and has some good seeded software.

  • Most android market software worked as expected. However some failed to make use of the wide screen. This is specific to software and nothing to do with the device itself.

  • The big screen also gives the advantage of a wider keyboard. This makes typing much easier. Yes it is possible to do thumb typing in portrait mode, I prefer it this way.

That's all from my side. Final comments, this is a decent device and I am satisfied using it for both personal and professional work.