This is really funny. I just found this post on Blushberry, its a picture from a magazine spread in which they’re selling BlackBerry’s with “special” PIN’s. According to Blushberry the BlackBerry with the PIN 55555555 got sold for KD9,000 and it’s not even the new BlackBerry its the old one! [Link]
I’ve always wanted a navigation system in the car that uses Google Maps and it seems this is going to happen very soon since the 2011 Audi A8 will be the first production car to include Google Earth. What I would also like to see one day in the future is real time updated maps. Imagine Google Maps with real time updates while you’re stuck in a traffic jam. You could just zoom in to the area in front of you and see what’s causing the traffic or even better you could check the traffic on the roads before you leave the house.
Actually, I just realized, you don’t need real time updated Google Maps, why don’t we have video cameras or still cameras along major roads which people can access and check online? Something like [This] and also the picture above. The technology has been around for some time now and shouldn’t be too difficult to implement here in Kuwait. Can we please get live traffic cams? Pretty please??
I just got an email from a friend at NBK about this new service they will be trying out in Kuwait which is payment via NFC (near field communication). Instead of paying by cash or plastic cards you could pay by just waving your phone. The service is going to be called Bouky and they’re launching a 6 month pilot which you can sign up to if you’re interested (link at the end of the post).
This service is already used in places like Japan and the Far East but it will be the first time here in the Middle East. Another cool feature will be that you could wave the phone in front of “smart” posters and redeem offers or download free pre-paid visa cards. My friend signed me up for the 6 month trial so I will get to try it out. During the trial period I will be able to pay by waving my phone at some 100 outlets in The Avenues. If you’re interested in trying Bouky out they will be choosing only 500 customers for the trial period. To sign up follow this [Link]
Note: You need to be a Zain mobile user to beta test this service
I got a phone call yesterday from a friend at Zain. He wanted me to try out their new e-GO which can hit speeds of up to 21.6Mbps. Sadly I couldn’t pass by to pick it up since I had to catch a flight to Lebanon but I was just catching up on some blogs and it seems some other bloggers managed to get the e-GO and try it out. So far the reviews have been positive. Here are some blogger reviews on the new 21.6Mbps e-GO:
I should get my hands on the new e-GO once I get back to Kuwait in a couple of days. The picture above is taken by zDistrict.
Update: According to Some Contrast, the new e-GO and 21.6Mbps connection is available right now at every Zain branch. The new e-GO sells for KD45 and the monthly membership is KD32 but if you sign up for 1 year you get the new e-GO for free.
Update2: 360Dewan tried his 7.2Mbps connection after Zain upgraded the network to 21.6Mbps and he was able to achieve download speeds of up to 758kb through a connection via his iPhone 3GS. So it looks like everyone’s connection has benefited from this upgrade. [Link]
Ever since I saw the Lacie iamakey USB flash drive on Engadget I knew I had to have it so once they were available on Amazon I ordered the 4GB version. I just got the USB key awhile ago from Aramex and its as good as I expected it to be. The advantage of having the flash drive shaped like a key is obvious, I will carry it around with my keys. Its not bulky so it doesn’t bulge in my pocket and there is very little chance it will break off from my key chain like my previous drive did. Price wise the 4GB costs around KD7.5 while the 8GB costs around KD12.5.
THE One has a pretty cool customer feedback system. Right next to the cashier there is a little device with buttons and statements like “The service was fast and efficient” and “I found the staff knowledgeable” etc.. and answers right next to them like “Absolutely” or “Sort of” or “Not really” etc… While waiting to pay for your item you can just give your feedback on your experience in a process that takes only a few seconds. No need to give your name, number, birthday, time of visit and all that other crap. I think more stores need to implement this very easy to use system since its a quick process and more fun than filling a card with 20 questions.
There was a website address on the machine www.cfs-me.net which takes you to the dealers of the device. On the site they have more pictures and information regarding this system. Pretty cool.
Vodafone today announced it has signed an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone in ten of its markets around the globe. Later this year, Vodafone customers in Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Italy, India, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey will be able to purchase the iPhone for use on the Vodafone network.
Hopefully Zain will also sign an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone in their markets which would include Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. I doubt Wataniya would get the rights to the iPhone since they are not located everywhere.
In addition to the 3g iPhone, here is a short list of the upcoming phones I am looking forward to:
SE Xpreia X1:
After the release of the iPhone, Sony Ericsson have thrown out their usual styling and gone back to the drawing board with their Xperia X1. How different is this phone from its siblings? Considering that only thing SE about it is the logo, as the X1 is powered by Windows Mobile and manufactured by HTC; it should be a significant shift from previous phones. Which could result in a good thing for hardcore SE fans, as they are throwing in every imaginable concept (multiple panels and navigation) into a fairly cooling looking phone. Truth be told, I honestly have no idea what the phone is capable of (outside of dialing/sms), but it looks pretty cool doing it. And with a name like the Xperia X1, it better live up to the hype.
Google Phone (et al):
Now this isn’t really a phone as much as it is the brains behind it.. Late last year, Google launched Android, their open-source (anyone can tinker away) platform for telephones. Android is the basis for the OHA (Open Handset Alliance), which is also in collaboration with 30 mobile/technology companies (which will bring the Gphone to life).
What this means for the actual consumers? We are getting a phone powered by Google; in which any inspiring programmer can change/add/create applications for the public. In essence, you would be able to buy a compatible android phone, and put together your own phone system (or download one) .
One of the first phones rumored to be released is the HTC Omni/Dream.. And seeing how HTC made the Xperia X1 (above) for SE, it should be a very interesting first attempt at a Google Phone.
Nokia Liam (e71)
Saving the best for last, the Nokia e71 is the successor to the e61i; the best Nokia phone I have used since the days of the 6110/6310i. In addition to having the same reliability, extended battery life and qwerty keyboard of its predecessor, its also rumored to have GPS, Wi-Fi, HSDPA, and 3.2 megapixel AF camera in addition to a faster processor in a slimmer case.
I placed an order for an iPhone a week ago and thought something went wrong when I didn’t receive a tracking number after a few days (They usually ship them within a day). After checking the order status, I found out that the iPhone isn’t going to be shipped out until May 13th; which is almost a month after my initial order.
In addition to knowing Apple’s history of keeping quiet about new products and the pending rumors about the new iPhone .. I am guessing that the 3G iPhone is released next month. If this does turn out to be the new iPhone, I wouldn’t suggest purchasing one until the current unlock method is confirmed to be working.