25 July 2013

The New BlackBerry Q5 Smartphone launches in Singapore

Team BlackBerry celebrates 10th Anniversary existence here in Singapore with a new product, BlackBerry Q5 which will be available across all 3 Singapore Telcos, namely Singtel, M1 and StarHub with a retail price of $528. As of now, it will only be available in Black and White colour, although I think Red colour will be more appealing. It will be available for sale 2nd August, 2013.

BlackBerry Q5 is cater for customers who are concern about budget yet want to enjoy a QWERTY keyboard in a stunning, youthful design and makes it easy for users to have fun, create, share and stay connected via social networking and messaging. 

It is pre-loaded with BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.1, similar to the existing OS which are available in BlackBerry Z10 and Q10. This means you can also sideload Android Apps. Q5 QWERTY keyboard do remind me of their legacy BlackBerry Curve edition, the island-style keyboard. One thing I do notice, when you press one of the letter, surrounding letters will sink in a little, however that doesn't affect my typing experience and it does feel different as compared to typing with Q10. It is not a matter of which is better feel, but just an issue of preference. In fact, just like what one of the Team BlackBerry representative had told me during the launch event, BlackBerry is probably the only Smartphone manufacturer that still produces a QWERTY keyboard handheld. Building on what they do best! 

BlackBerry Q5, similar with Q10, comes with 720 x 720 resolutions, 3.1 inch, IPS LCD display which will display consistent and accurate colour from all viewing angles. Unlike the other LCDs, it do not lighten or show tailing when touched. As such it offer clear images and stable response time. Q5 offer a slightly bigger battery capacity, 2180 mAh, non-removable. 5 MP rear facing camera, Auto Focus, 5x digital zoom, 1080p HD video recording. 2MP front facing camera, 3x digital zoom, 720p HD video recording. 

Usual stuff like Wireless 802.11 b/g/n, Mobile Hotspot. 4G LTE available. Hot Swappable microSD slot, support up to 64 GB. 8 GB Internal Storage. 2 GB RAM. Dual Core 1.2 GHz Processor. 

23 July 2013

BlackBerry Q10 Review

A scene in the movie "The Avengers" comes to mind where Agent Phil Coulson spoke to Steve Rogers (Captain America) with admiration onboard a plane.

Agent Phil Coulson: Uh...we've made some modifications to the uniform. I had a little design input.
Steve Rogers: The uniform? Aren't the stars and stripes a little...old fashioned?
Agent Phil Coulson: Everything that's happening, the things that are about to come to light, people might just need a little old fashioned.

BlackBerry is probably one of the pioneers in Instant Messaging for Smartphones, namely BlackBerry Messenger, which made the masses proud to own one—from business executives, down to students—for its reliability and unique message indicators (Read, Delivered and Read).

Now it seems somewhat "old fashioned" to be spotted carrying a BlackBerry Smartphone.

But BlackBerry Q10 has proven otherwise, retaining its famous QWERTY keyboard, integrated with the latest modern operating system, moving forward with what really matters!  

Living in a world where almost everybody is either using an iPhone or Android Smartphones (dominated by Samsung), using a BlackBerry Q10 makes me feel unique but not dated. Maybe because I'm not very particular about playing games or watching movies or TV shows on it as I drive. I’d rather play games or watch videos on my TV or laptop which is connected to 21 inch LCD monitor. In any case, BlackBerry’s initial set up is catered for users who are serious communicators and only in recent times did BlackBerry provide its devices with more multimedia features. 

Design and Size: I feel comfortable putting it in the back pocket of my pants without feeling as if I'm putting in a brick. It looks modern, sturdy and the back is built with a matte-finish, carbon fibre battery cover. The white edition, however, has a different pattern and feel to it.

Camera: The fact that I can take a picture without touching the screen but simply by just pressing the space bar to shoot, is a plus point. Using a touch screen smartphone to take pictures can sometimes affect the quality and require effort. I can preview my shots with ease, simply by swiping upwards and the image will fill the whole screen. Let go and it will be back to camera mode.

Farewell video shoot and edited by BlackBerry Q10 and in-built app Story Maker.

Screen: Differing from the BlackBerry Z10 LCD screen, Q10 is made with Super AMOLED, which is said to reflects lesser sunlight. The image looks sharper and best of all, it is energy saving as compared to the LCD screen for Z10. Yet I won't enjoy watching movies or playing games on it as it wasn't built for it, I suppose. 

Keyboard: Although I'm kind of use to the Z10 Predictive touchscreen keyboard, the joy of typing on this Q10 is wow! Thanks to their processors, Q10 provides easy typing and it encourages me to type even more with this. In fact, I'm using it now to type out this review. I can understand why writers even using BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard to write their stories! 

Apps: Thankfully, WhatsApp was released just a couple of months ago, an encouraging sign for BlackBerry as a whole. I can’t imagine using a mobile phone without the ability to message without cost to other platforms. Besides, BBM will be available for Android OS and Apple iOS soon! 

Although I can sideload Instagram latest 4.0.2 yet it's pretty obvious the square screen poses a little challenge in posting pictures. After selecting the picture, to use filter and effects, you have to estimate the top and bottom menu and select. The picture itself will cover most of the menu below and completely on top. This is something I don't have issue with Z10. I can't post video yet but I can view. Good enough! Posting comments is buggy. To overcome, I simply logon using BlackBerry built-in browser to comment instead.

Vine is still not able to work on any BlackBerry 10 devices. Not until BlackBerry releases OS 10.2 which will come with Android runtime 4.2.2 which supports majority of Android Apps built for newer Android phone models.

One of the most important BlackBerry Native App is BlackBerry Protect, where function pretty much the same as “Find Your iPhone” in iOS devices. You are able to locate your misplaced, lost or stolen BlackBerry device, send a message, send alarm ringtone even if your BlackBerry is set to silent mode; you can secure it with new passcode and at the last resort and you can wipe your data in your device remotely.

Experience: With BlackBerry constant updating their operating system, there is no doubt that features will increase to its already useful quick shortcuts which include composing messages and posting a tweet or status in my Facebook. Unified Messaging or BlackBerry Hub as how they call it, all my emails, WhatsApp chat, BlackBerry Messenger chat and other social media message all can be accessed in one single location.

Without a home button is one less worry as compared to other platform smartphones which sometimes gives way. Everything is by using gesture and swiping.

3.1 Inch Display, SuperAMOLED display, 720 x 720 resolution at 330 PPI.
1.5 GHz Dual Core Processor 2 GB RAM
16 GB On-Board Storage, MicroSD Slot (Support up to 64 GB)
Wifi 4G (LTE) Hotspot available, Bluetooth 4.0
8 MP Rear Camera with Auto Focus, 5X Digital Zoom, 1080p HD Video Recording
2 MP Front Camera, 3X Digital Zoom, 720p HD Video
HDMI Output available
2100 MAh Battery

Bradley Cooper spotted using BlackBerry Q10 taking self portrait picture with Gerard Butler during Wimbledon.

“Moving Forward with what really matters…”

Above review is done for Starhub Community.

19 July 2013

Nokia outselling BlackBerry?

Recently Nokia reported its financial results for the June quarter.  Overall, Nokia is hanging in there.  The company is seeing much stronger results from its ownership in Nokia Siemens Networks, while the business of making phones has not yet returned to profitability.

As far as Lumia goes, Nokia managed to sell 7.4 million of these Windows-based smartphones compared to 5.6 million last quarter.  Naturally, with BlackBerry having shipped only 6.8 million phones last quarter (a number that has been in decline), the media jumped all over this to declare Nokia the victor as the #3 player in smartphones.

I think the comparison of 7.4 million Lumias to 6.8 million BlackBerrys is pretty much useless.  Why?  Well, this is the 7th quarter of Lumia shipments while it’s barely the 2nd quarter of BlackBerry 10 shipments.  And obviously the Q10 has had nearly no effect on BlackBerry’s latest numbers because of the timing of its launch relative to quarter end.  In addition, the Q5  hadn’t even shipped by the time the quarter ended.  So we really need to see what the next couple of quarters bring.  Yes, Nokia is far ahead of BlackBerry, but both Lumia and BlackBerry 10 device volumes are growing.

But more important, we should not be thinking about legacy BBOS phones as part of the modern day smartphone battle.  The latest BB7 OS may still be selling well in emerging markets, but it represents the past, not the future.  Legacy BlackBerry users will either migrate to BlackBerry 10, or they’ll leave the platform in favor of something else.

It’s worth pointing out that in Lumia’s second quarter on the market, they shipped only 2 million phones versus BlackBerry 10 volume of 2.7 million in the second quarter.  Lumia volume grew to 4 million in the third quarter of shipments, and I suspect given the launch of the Q10 and Q5 in the BlackBerry August quarter, we’ll see much stronger performance than this from the Waterloo company when they report their next results.

Depending on how you look at the fight between Nokia and BlackBerry, you can therefore argue that BlackBerry is winning because it’s accelerating BB10 phone sales faster than Nokia, or you can argue that timing is irrelevant, and Nokia is ahead in absolute numbers.  So this battle for third place is quite interesting.

It’s also interesting to reflect on the fact that Nokia had to sell Lumia phones to an audience that was not already using Windows Phone, while BlackBerry has a huge built-in customer base having peaked its subscriber base at about 80 million.  So one should expect BlackBerry to experience a stronger acceleration, just as appears to be happening.  Yet for Nokia to have delivered 32% sequential growth in Lumia volume is nothing to dismiss.

Nokia and BlackBerry are fairly similar companies in a lot of ways.  Nokia has 4.1 billion EUR of net cash, while BlackBerry has $3.1 billion.  Smartphone volumes are similar, and I’d guess that Nokia’s device margin of 24.4% is close to BlackBerry’s.  Remember that BlackBerry recently had 36% gross margin, but this includes a fairly large chunk of high-margin service revenue. On the bottom line, as I said, both companies are pretty close to break even.

Let them both keep moving.  Let the race continue, and let the players fight hard.  In the end it’s all makes our consumer experience better.

Source: CrackBerry

18 July 2013

Damn Nice Scissors Cut Curry Rice

For the past one week since its opening, I have frequented this stall 4 times and I still want to go back for more. Considering its value and quality, it's simply the best and makes me feel like I am eating my Mum's cooking or better! I forgot how many orders I have help packed for my colleagues in the office and I am pretty sure, it is more than 15.

To cut to the chase, I did an interview with Dan Koh, the boss of "Damn Nice Scissors Cut Curry Rice" and this is what he had to say... 

What inspired you to set up a Scissors Cut Curry Rice stall right at Chinatown where competition is so strong?

We wanted a location that is central and bustling with activities, Chinatown is the perfect location for us. When your food is good, people will come. (especially Singaporeans)

What's with the name and logo? How did you arrive at such a name? Did you design the logo yourself?

We wanted a name that stands out from the rest, something out of the norm, something that best describes our food. The logo is inspired by the Superman logo and the thumbs up in Chinese means "超好"which means super good. Why damn good? Some would say that it is crude, rude,  and damn by itself is rude but what we are focusing on is the 2 words "damn+nice" which describes our food... The overall look of our food may be a little messy (crude, rude) but when you taste it, you will acknowledge that it is not just good, but it is damn good!

We heard from you that you bid very high for this stall. It must be really very important for you to get this spot. 

Our rent is the highest in the "green zone" in Chinatown complex. The eating area is separated into various zones such as red, yellow, blue and green. We wanted to get started as soon as possible despite the rent being high; we believe we will do ok.

So only your mum is doing the cooking, what's her experience like? For many years? How has business been one week into operation? 

My mum started working from the age of 13 as a construction worker. At the age of 16 she started working as a domestic helper for several households, where she picked up skills by looking at how people cooked. So far we have been getting very good response from customers and I believe this is no mere hype.

If you can select one must-try item from your stall, what will it be? Why?

It would be the ngoh hiang hand-made by my mum herself, and because it is hand-made, it tastes really good. We are becoming famous because of our ngoh hiang now. It is becoming a big hit here in Chinatown.

Why should customers keep coming back to your stall? What's the difference with other scissors cut curry rice competitors? 

There are many people selling curry rice out there. We are different because our food tastes different- it is our own taste. We do not need to compare ourselves with others. All we want is to produce honest, good food for our customers and have them come back for more.

Any plans to set up other branches? 

No plans for now. We will concentrate on one for now and win the hearts of our customers.

To follow the updates, please visit: 

335 Smith Street #02-052 (Green Zone) Singapore 050335
(Close on Monday)

11 July 2013

Lost your iPhone or iPad? Before this happens, set it up!

Hands UP to those of you who think you will never lose your iPad or iPhone!!!

You are not sure when it will happen to you and sometimes, it is better be prepared than to be caught off guard. Fact of the matter is, we do forget things, we do forget we left our iPad or iPhone in a public toilet, in a restaurant, in the cab or worst, stolen! You will be surprise how some owners do not know there is this feature that can track your missing iPhone or iPad, send a message, secure it with password, play a sound or kind of alarm or the last resort, in order to protect your data, you can choose to wipe clean your iPhone or iPad when determine irrecoverable and render useless when you set your password.

Personally, I had a actual account of someone's lost iPad returned simply because I use "Find My iPhone".

Setting up "Find My iPhone"

Go to your iPhone/iPad, click Settings.

Select iCloud.

Make sure "Find My iPhone" is activated.

Next, is to test your set up is done properly.

Go to www.icloud.com . Enter your Apple ID. Your email address and your password.

Click Find My iPhone. You may be prompt to enter your password again.

From here, it will tell you the location. Click the location which is the green ball, it will pop up the name of your iPhone or iPad. If your iPhone or iPad is still running, it will indicate how long ago it was located.

Click "i" to pop up the feature.

As mentioned previously, here you can play sound to alarm the device, if you misplace it, you can use this feature to locate within your vicinity. If lost or stolen, this will let the person who "pick" up know you are locating it.

Click Lock to enter a password aka passcode to lock down your iPhone or iPad. Key in twice to confirm.

Here you enter the message and your contact number. Hopefully, the person who found it will call you and return. Click "Lock" to proceed. There may be an option call "Lost" mode for you to activate depending on your iPad/iPhone generation.

If there is no response and you are very certain that there is no way to recover it, last resort, to protect your personal data or your company confidential information like emails and all, click "Erase iPad/iPhone"!

If you think this post had helped you, please share this to help others else well. Thanks!

10 July 2013

How to restore WhatsApp chat log in BlackBerry 10 devices?

Although WhatsApp was officially launched for BlackBerry 10 devices, however the support was somewhat lacking. At least when come to restoring the message you back up which took me quite awhile to find out how to do so.

Why do I need to do that?

When I am so keen to always upgrade my BlackBerry Z10 or even recently 'Q10 I got from StarHub for review' with the latest leaked OS, I want to make sure I still keep track of WhatsApp history log.

WhatsApp back up feature which can be found after swiping down at WhatsApp, showing  "Settings", click Media Settings, it will state when it was last backup. I suggest you click "Backup conversations" at the point when you are updating your BB OS or wipe your device.

After which you access your BlackBerry Internal Storage, under Misc file folder, you will see WhatsApp folder, that is where your history chat backup are stored. Copy out and paste it to your desired location on your laptop. You will need to copy it back to the same location before you install WhatsApp back to your newly upgraded OS. You can also copy it to your new BB 10 device if you want your history chat to be in the new BB 10 device.

Upon completing update of your OS or setting up your new BB device, make sure you paste it back to the 'Misc' folder under your BB Internal Storage, not your Media Card.

Once done, you can go to BlackBerry World and download "WhatsApp". Load it, click "Agree & Continue". Enter your mobile number, at certain point, it will prompt you "Backup Found. Would you like to restore your message history from backup?"

Click Yes. It will indicate how many messages were restored. From here, you are good to go.

If you think this post had helped you, please share this to help others else well. Thanks!