Thursday, April 19, 2007

Google Introduces Voice-Activated Local Search

Google has recently introduced a beta search application for mobile phones. It offers a on the go alternative to using the Google Maps service on laptop or on your computer.

By dialling 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any mobile phone in the United States will enable the mobile phone user to talk in and then get the info they need. If you prefer to have the information at your fingertips in text form, Google also offers users to the option to have the information sent to a mobile phone as an SMS message. Users will be charged normal text message and airtime rates by their mobile carriers if they choose this option.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Apple iPhone to cost £595-£660?

Well with all things said and done the iPhone at the moment looks not just to leave a small hole in your pocket but indeed a crater because the 4GB model will come in at a slice under £600 while the 8GB could be as much as £660 according to some early, pre-order prices on Amazon Germany. This compares to approximately £255 and £306 in the US.

So just like Bill Gates, Steven Jobs has demonstrated that like most successful mega-companies he doesn't know how to do currency conversions correctly. I know that there is some talk of inflation among the Sterling but come on Jobs that's really pushing it. Imagine if Jobs was our Chancellor of the Exchequer; what would his proposal be 20% tax for the super rich like Roman Abramovich and Lakshmi Mittal and only charge a meagre 75% for those on the lowest incomes!

Ok so enough of the small talk check the following facts:

- The iPhone will be 3G when it arrives in Europe but it will not arrive for a year – not the end of 2007 as expected.

- It will be a closed device and will only run software released by Apple.

- It will use Apple’s DRM software FairPlay which, ironically, no one thinks is fair, at all. This will help tie people into bought music from iTunes, unless they opt to play DRM-free MP3s.

- Apple could win the right to use the iPhone name in Europe, thanks to a loophole says

“Trade mark specialist Lee Curtis of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, has found a legal loophole, though, which could strip Cisco of its European rights. He told technology law podcast OUT-LAW Radio that in Europe a person can lodge a revocation application against a trade mark registration if the trade mark has not been used for the past five years.” Read more about that here.

Now obviously many weren't expecting the phone to be the same price as in the US but talk about milking it. If I did currency conversions like this in Maths then God help me.

Nokia E90 Communicator

This is the good-looking Nokia E90 Communicator which got its official launch today at 3GSM. And it’s as good looking an ‘all-in one’ business device as you’ll get.

Key features include Quad band, GSM, HSDPA and WiFi. It sports a 3.2MP camera with auto-focus and flash as well as a second VGA camera on the inside for video calls. The big display is also a plus by allowing you to view the full width of Web pages and the keypad looks like it can be used by people with fingers larger than a 4-year old.

There’s also an FM radio, video player and MP3 functionality, a handy mini-USB slot for easier hook-ups and don’t forget Nokia Maps for making sure corporate jet-setters can find their way safely from the hotel to the lap-dancing bar and back. Due out in Q2.

The unsubsidised price is around £500 which is quite a bombshell but I expect there will be an influx of demand for these on contract. My uncle who is a driving instructor bases his business around the Communicator 9500 which is vital for his self run business thanks to the organiser feature and video playing capabilities; so there is no doubt that this sounds a cut even above that.

Friday, April 13, 2007

2007 Brabus Mercedes-Benz C-Class

(From Brabus Press Release)

Concurrent with the market introduction of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class BRABUS ( presents an exclusive sport program for the new sedan. Highlights of the product lineup are the BRABUS 4.0 displacement engine with 332 hp / 244 kW for the V6 gasoline models, an elegant aerodynamic-enhancement program, light-alloy wheels with 20-inch diameter and corresponding suspensions, plus numerous individual interior options.

BRABUS is world-renowned for its powerful yet clean-burning displacement engines, lubricated exclusively with ARAL motor oil. All tuning components and conversions are backed by the one-of-a-kind BRABUS Tuning Warranty® of three years up to 100,000 kilometers (see BRABUS warranty conditions as of June 2003).

For the new C 280 and C 350 models BRABUS offers its BRABUS 4.0 engine. By installing a special crankshaft and larger pistons displacement is increased to 4.0 liters. Additionally the four-valve cylinder heads are optimized for gas flow, and fitted with special camshafts. The conversion further includes a stainless-steel high-performance exhaust system with metal catalysts, and newly programmed engine electronics.

The impressive results of the conversion are a maximum power output of 332 hp / 244 kW and a peak torque of 420 Nm at 4,200 rpm. Thus equipped, the four-door delivers excellent performance: Just 5.9 seconds pass from 0 - 100 km/h, top speed is 275 km/h in combination with the BRABUS Vmax-Unit.

For the CDI models of the new C-Class BRABUS offers its PowerXtra performance kits. The list starts with the D2 (III) kit that increases power output of the C 200 CDI by 39 hp / 28.7 hp, and bumps peak torque to 385 Nm. The C 220 CDI with BRABUS D3 (III) kit delivers 195 hp / 143 kW of power and 450 Nm of peak torque. For the top-of-the-line turbodiesel model C 320 CDI there is the D6 (III) power kit. It delivers 48 hp / 35.3 kW of additional power and a peak torque of 590 Nm, turning the new C-Class into one of the world's sportiest diesel-powered cars with a 0 - 100 km/h time of just 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 250 km/h.

BRABUS stainless-steel quad sport exhaust systems are available for all engine variants.

More dynamics for the new C-Class also come from custom-tailored BRABUS tire/wheel combinations with diameters of 17, 18, 19 and 20 inches and corresponding BRABUS sport suspensions, lowering kits and sport sway bars. The largest wheels for the new C-Class are BRABUS Monoblock VI, E and S light-alloy wheels in size 9Jx20 front and back, fitted with tires is sizes 235/30 ZR 20 in front and 265/25 ZR 20 on the rear axle.

BRABUS high-performance brake systems are available for the W 204 model series in two versions and offer maximum stopping power and endurance.

The BRABUS design team also went into the wind tunnel to develop aerodynamic-enhancement components that not only look great but also offer maximum aerodynamic efficiency. All parts are manufactured from high-quality PUR-Rim in OEM quality.

The sporty styled BRABUS front spoiler lends the C-Class a more characteristic appearance with its generously dimensioned air inlets for improved supply of cooling air for radiators and front brakes. It also minimizes lift on the front axle, thus improving directional stability at high speeds. Four integrated auxiliary headlights further optimize active safety. BRABUS offers a three-piece rear spoiler that serves as its aerodynamic counterpart in the rear.

Strikingly styled BRABUS rocker panels create perfect aerodynamic transitions between front and rear wheel arches. The panels are optionally available with integrated LED entrance lights. For the outside mirrors BRABUS offers custom-tailored carbon-fiber covers.

The new BRABUS rear apron with one cutout left and right for the sport exhaust rounds out the exclusive appearance.

BRABUS also enjoys a great reputation worldwide for exclusive interior design: For the new C-Class the company-own upholstery shop handcrafts exclusive interiors from especially soft and breathable BRABUS Mastik leather and Alcantara with utmost precision. The BRABUS program also includes a wide array of individual accessories for the interior. The lineup ranges from an ergonomically shaped sport steering wheel to aluminum foot pedals and 330-km/h speedometer to stainless-steel door sills with illuminated BRABUS logo to precious-wood and carbon-fiber trim sets.

20GB PS3 being dumped by Sony

The official announcement from Sony reads, "At launch, we offered two separate models of PlayStation 3 to meet the diverse needs and interests of our PlayStation fan base. Initial retail demand in North America was upwards of ninety percent in favor of the 60GB SKU, so we manufactured and shipped-in accordingly."

The announcement further reads, "Due to the overwhelming demand for the 60GB model from both retailers and consumers, we have ceased offering the 20GB model in North America. In addition to the larger internal hard drive, the 60GB PlayStation 3 features added storage media slots and built-in Wi-Fi not found in the 20GB system. Based on retailer and consumer feedback, we have decided to focus our current efforts on the more popular 60GB model."

Nokia 5700

For those of you not obsessed with anorexic phones, Nokia thinks it has just the answer with the musically inclined 5700 XpressMusic and its twisty bottom.

It’s 3G with quad-band GSM and Bluetooth and, widescreen display which has a resolution of 240x320 for viewing videos and photos. The camera stays the same at 2MP.

The twisting base offer access to the four key functions: music player, camera, video call and smartphone. Memory can be expanded up to 2GB using microSD cards. The downside seems to be that there’s no mention of an FM radio and internal memory is a measly 35Mb.

The price will be around £240 before taxes etc.