Last week, Nokia Malaysia launched its latest budget smartphone, the Asha 501. Powered by the new Asha Platform operating system, the Asha 501 further blurs the definition of a smartphone, bringing smartphone-like features to ever lower price points. At RM299, this phone may very well be one of this year’s success stories of the industry.
Part of the reason behind the elevated interest in this budget device is in the user interface Nokia has furnished the Asha 501 with. Boldly going away with the bland UI on the Series 40 OS, the Asha 501 sports a very, very similar UI to Swipe, the much-lauded interface only seen in the company’s forgotten child, the Nokia N9. Nokia themselves has mentioned that the Asha Platform’s UI takes after that of the “much-loved” N9, but beyond that, the company has tried hard to mention the N9 as little as possible in their marketing of the Asha device.
And why should they? The Asha 501 looks very much to be yet another proof of what might have been for the Finnish company, of a perfect synergy between its smartphone and smart feature phone lineup of MeeGo and the Asha Platform – or should we even call it Meltemi, the scrapped “MeeGo lite” project meant to power the Asha lineup?
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Apple’s decision to completely redesign its aging user interface for the latest iteration of its mobile operating system, called iOS 7, has naturally sparked many a debate. From the fanboys of other platforms raging on iOS 7 “ripping off” elements of their venerable operating systems, to iOS fans lamenting the drastic changes on iOS 7, there are enough unpleasantries being bandied about online to render Internet trolling absolutely unnecessary for the next few days.
I was never a fan of iOS. I championed open-sourced platforms such as MeeGo, Ubuntu Touch and Sailfish OS to stimulate innovation in an increasingly stagnating industry. With iOS 7, however, I think Apple deserves a genuine pat on the back for bravely moving away from its comfort zone in its attempt to revitalize its platform – even if it meant “ripping off” from other platforms.
At WWDC 2013, amongst other things, Apple showed off their next iteration of the iOS mobile OS, iOS 7. There has been a whole lot of discussion on the topic both for and against it. At Lowyat.NET HQ, we are pretty excited about the complete overhaul of an OS that has been ageing quite ungraciously. We decided it would be cool to put iOS 7 on our devices and give it a go for ourselves while recording a video for you.
In the video we go through most of the features of the new OS and give a sort of Hands On with the developers copy of the OS.
Now a disclaimer, the copy of iOS 7 we have is a beta version and is definitely not stable. The experience is definitely not representative of what it should be in the end.
If you have any questions about iOS 7 and want us to test something out for you, go ahead and Tweet us @LowyatNET or leave a comment in the post or on Facebook and we’ll do another video once we get enough responses!
There comes a time in every tech writer’s life that reviews get stale and going through the motions is the most attractive way to go. Since we are Lowyat.NET, we decided to go out and do what we do best and do a review of a product in a most “real world” scenario as possible. We decided (well, I decided and then forced Pang) to get up at 5am on a Saturday morning to attempt the famous Bukit Tabur. Armed with the Lowepro Flipside Sport 15L AW packed with 2 cameras and other random knick-knacks as well as our trusty guide/videographer/Post Production Specialst Amir, here’s the result of our labour.
Since we didn’t have the energy or frame of mind to record a conclusion head on over to the jump for what I thought of the bag.
While Computex 2013 will only officially begins tomorrow but things are already heating up over here in Taipei as you can see from our Day 0 round-up. We were still airborne when all these unveiling events took place yesterday but fortunately, we managed to arrive in the city before Taipei World Trade Centre (one of the main venue for Computex) closes its door for the day.
So, here’s something just to kick start our on-ground coverage from Taipei which starts later today: a quick look at TWTC and surrounding areas while many crew members are busy preparing for one of the biggest annual tech show in the world. Click on the Read More link to see further.
Oh Jolla, I believed in you. I believed that the Sailfish OS would be one of the most interesting and fun additions to the Mobile Phone market to break up the humdrum that is the current 4 pronged race. Despite not being a rabid follower, I kept up to date about the “The Other Half” campaign and teaser vicariously through Pang, one of your biggest fans in all of Malaysia (dare I say in the world) and I joined in with the speculation of what it all means. For me, Jolla and Sailfish represented hope in that a new generation of OS’ with cheeky, radical ideals would come and take the world by storm. With the innovation that the N9 brought the industry (after constantly being reminded by Pang), and the amount of support from the communities, I thought Jolla and Sailfish would be the next big thing. What was the other half?
Then the Jolla page was updated.
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In three days, a fire shall be rekindled. In three days, the dream shall be relived. In three days, the other half shall be revealed.
In three days, Jolla will announce its first-ever smartphone. The mobile world may never be the same.
So recently there has been a revelation in the photography world that has everyone grabbing their digital pitchforks and starting up virtual lynch mobs. The winner of the World Press Photo of the Year Paul Hansen, A Swedish Photojournalist, has been accused of photoshopping his winning entry. His photo of a funeral procession for 2 dead Palestinian children drew flak after a forensic image analyst determined that the image is a composite of multiple images with tonality in the faces of the subjects adjusted to be warmer and brighter than usual. In short, Hansen HDR-ed his photo.
Let’s bring this back a little bit. I think the term “Photoshopped” has come to be associated with a rather negative connotation these days. Most people will think that to Photoshop a photo means to drastically alter the image to the point of complete mushy smooth skin, reduce dress size by 4, add 30 people to an image or even alter the reality of an image. While this may be true in what you CAN do in photoshop, it’s not something that often happens. Most of the time you just bring up the brightness and contrast to make the subjects pop a little bit more from the background, especially if you shoot in RAW. For example, when I shoot a portrait, it is a given that I will be doing touchups to colour and tonality of the image, perhaps do some cropping to a better, more flattering crop. Did I photoshop it? Yes. Did I alter it and manipulate reality? No.
Hansen has spoken out against the accusations and had this to say, “In the post-process toning and balancing of the uneven light in the alleyway, I developed the raw file with different density to use the natural light instead of dodging and burning. In effect to recreate what the eye sees and get a larger dynamic range.
“To put it simply, it’s the same file – developed over itself – the same thing you did with negatives when you scanned them.”
So what if he HDR-ed the photo? The edited dynamic range of the image doesn’t do anything to change how the emotion the feeling evokes from the viewer. A lighter or darker picture won’t take away from the framing and emotion captured by Hansen and the sheer timing that was displayed by this photo. For the record, I don’t think he did anything wrong with the process he took on the photo. What do you think? Should press photographers not be allowed even the slightest image adjustments?
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