Even though MobileFun’s advertising is currently focused on iPhone 5 cases, they nevertheless sent our reviewer Oliver W Leibenguth a sample of one of their styli. He has performed an accurate review – let’s see if the thing stacks up!

First we have to talk about the technical background behind all this:

In earlier days (the time before the first iPhone) all manufacturers used resistive Touchscreens in their PDAs and Smartphones. They offered a high resolution but had to be used with a stylus and lacked multitouch-capabilities.

Now we all use smartphones with capacitive Touchscreens: they offer multitouch capabilities and can be used with your fingers… or better said: they *have* to be used with your fingers. Stylus-Operation is, by design, not possible (Unless you own a Galaxy Note or a HTC Flyer that have that feature due to a modified digitizer and a special stylus). That means that you can’t do drawings or handwritten notes like you used to do – drawing and writing with your finger just doesn’t work right (unless you are a master with finger paint…)

But there are stylii available for capacitive Touchscreens: Most of them have big tips made out of a sponge-like material or rubber that simulate the user’s finger. The results are quite disillusioning: Ok, you’ve got a pen… that is exactly as inaccurate as your fingers are.

But now we’re looking at someting I’d like to call the „second generation of capacitive stylii“:
0 DAGi Capacitive Stylus   the review

Actually, this looks like an ordinary ballpoint-pen with a protective cap.
1 DAGi Capacitive Stylus   the review

But the tip looks totally different…
2 DAGi Capacitive Stylus   the review

Dagi has built a stylus with a sharp tip that has a transparent disc attached to it. The disc has the diameter needed for the touchscreen to register its touch – and you can actually see, where and what you are drawing.
The disc itself is attached with a small spring that lets you tilt the pen in almost every possible angle without loosing contact to the touchscreen.
3a DAGi Capacitive Stylus   the review
3b DAGi Capacitive Stylus   the review

I’m not an artist but with this pen I can draw and write almost as I would do with a regular ballpoint-pen on paper. There are some issues with certain apps that make use of multitouch-features that can lead to unwanted effects when you rest your hand on the touchscreen while using the pen.
4a DAGi Capacitive Stylus   the review
4b DAGi Capacitive Stylus   the review

What‘s in the box?
5 DAGi Capacitive Stylus   the review

- the stylus ;-)
- a replacement tip
- 5 replacement glide-pads that reduce the friction of the disc (one is already attached)
- a (very) small piece of paper with instructions on how to replace the tip

The pen (30 EUR) is quite pricey compared to those with rubber tips, but if you need a stylus that actually works, this pen is worth every cent. Thanks to mobilefun UK for supplying the sample used in this review.

The most interesting feature of the Galaxy Beam most definitely is its projector. Even though we will have a seperate post with screenshots, for now, it is time to take a look at what the thing actually does.

The following video shows the device’s projector in use:

Stay tuned – more content coming soon!

Even though Samsung’s PR division is completely out of handsets, we were able to score a loaner of the Galaxy Beam via an Austrian retailer called Saturn. Thus, we will bring you an abridged review of the device in the next few days – and start out by unboxing the device.

For the Galaxy Beam, Samsung has been extra generous as the device ships with an additional battery and an external charger in addition to the usual headphones and the wallwart.

The unboxing video is below:

Not much to add here…

The C-Pen was provided to us cortesy of MobileFun. It is a stylus intended only for the Samsung Galaxy S3. Nevertheless, we tested it on both the Galaxy S2 and the WeTab.

The box opens onto the side. There is not much to see except for the blister packing:
samsung cpen review 1a Samsung Galaxy S3 C Pen review samsung cpen review 1b Samsung Galaxy S3 C Pen review samsung cpen review 1c Samsung Galaxy S3 C Pen review

The Stylus feels pretty comfortable in the hand. You can see the comparison pic below showing it next to some classic pens from Parker:
samsung cpen review 2a Samsung Galaxy S3 C Pen review

The most notable point of the stylus is the non retractable 3mm rubber tip on the front, used for writing on the capacitive screen.
samsung cpen review 3a Samsung Galaxy S3 C Pen review

We tested it on the Galaxy S2, where is works moderately well. the success we got was mainly on the tapping front, ie tapping the icons. But is is borderline impossible to use the same in the note taking application.

On the WePad, no different results were obtained. We tried to draw a line, and all that we got was a dashed line in place of a straight line. Of course, the Windows 8 text recognition failed to do anything with this entry.

We can not conclude its performance on the Galaxy S3. However, we can debunk one rumor: the C-Pen’s back does NOT include the special technology needed for the Galaxy Note!

We will update the review once we receive a Galaxy S3 in our labs. Until then, it is safe to conclude that the stylus works (as unreliable as) any other capacitive stylus – the price of 20 GBP is a bit high for what it offers.

It takes but one look at modern handheld computers to be amazed by what is possible – a few years ago, dual core CPUs were rare beasts even on the desktop. This ever-rising amount of computational power has, of course, taken its toll on the mobile industry – resource-effective development is less important.
embedded front Making Embedded Systems   the review embedded rev Making Embedded Systems   the review

The book starts out by looking at what makes an embedded system, and at how embedded systems are built and brought up. This is continued in chapter five, which takes a look.at efficient ways to structure your embedded system.

In chapters four and six, the book takes a high level look.at how an embedded system interacts with its surroundings. Topics like ports, polling, etc are covered – please be aware that electrical engineering is not taught here.

Chapter number 7 is a bit of an oddball, as it loks at ways to update the software of a system which has already been deployed. This sounds weird at firszt, but can be highly useful.

Finally, the last three chapters look at various methods for optimizing application code. The information in these is useful for all kinds of coding, and definitely good to know.
it should not be surprising that this is not an easy reading title. Nevertheless, the author has done her best – the book is well written.
Given the large range of topics covered,

In the end, Elecia White’s book makes for an interesting read. If you ever wondered about how code is written on the really small boxes, this is the place to go! The price of 34 USD is fine – sadly, electronics are not covered…

As of this writing, the official availability of the Kindle Fire is limited to the United States. However, this is not really true – ComStern, an offspring of a large Swiss retailer, has recently started to import the units.

They package the Amazon box inside another box – the unpacking is best seen in the video below:

The actual box of the Kindle Fire is best described as Spartan. All you get is a cheap US wallwart – all those of you expecting a data cable will be disappointed.

The initial start-up can be seen here:

Cutting a long story short: the Kindle Fire is as Spartan as Spartan can be. But, on the other hand, the price of 200 USD – well, tune in soon to find out more!

Cnet has published a review of the Droid RAZR over at their website.  The Droid RAZR is an attempt to resurrect the uber successful sleek RAZR phones  manufactured by Motorola.

According to the review

The good: The Motorola Droid Razr has an attractive, slim, and lightweight design that is also water repellent and scratch resistant. It has a fantastic 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced display, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, Verizon’s 4G/LTE speeds, plenty of multimedia features, corporate and government grade security, Webtop functionality, and decent battery life.

The bad: The Motorola Droid Razr’s large size might feel awkward in small hands; we expected better picture quality from its 8-megapixel camera; and the battery is not removable.

The bottom line: With its razor-thin design, jam-packed features, and blazing speed, the Motorola Droid Razr is easily one of the year’s top Android smartphones.

That sums up the DROID RAZR. you can read the entire review at http://reviews.cnet.com/cell-phones/motorola-droid-razr-verizon/4505-6454_7-35033947.html?tag=mncol;subnav#reviewPage1.

One thing is constant among most countries: public broadcast annoying everyone who owns a TV, extorting a tax for their usually very mediocre produce. But why is this so?
front Comparing Media Systems   the review back Comparing Media Systems   the review

This book, published by the University of Cambridge, starts by looking at the media landscape of the past, breaking it into three distinct models.

Model number one is dubbed the “Polarized Pluralist Model”, and describes the media systems seen in mediterranean states such as Italy. Next up is the “Democratic Corporatist Model”, which is prevalent in most of continental Europe. Finally, the US “liberal” model is introduced.

After this introduction, the book moves on to differentiating the models in dimensions such as political influence, government subsidies and amount of unionization of staff. Even though these chapters do get a bit repetitive, they contain loads of interesting anecdotes which give extra food for thought.

A final chapter “rounds off” the tome by looking at what the future will hold for the various European media systems discussed.

From a text point of view, the book is – like most universitarian literature – too long for my taste. Nevertheless, it remains readable even for non-native speakers and contains quite a few interesting tables:
in Comparing Media Systems   the review

This book is ideal for all those who ever had to deal with public broadcasting and/or wonder how the news gets to their doorstep (and live in Canada, the USA or Western Europe) – the price of 30$ is ok.

P.S. The introduction is available in PDF form for free…

In today’s mobile market, little is as important as a good user interface design. Unfortunately, most books on the topic tend to take one “way” and then ride it home – can Lukas Mathis’s book provide a broader overview of the GUI design field?
front Designed for Use   the review back Designed for Use   the review

Designed for Use is split up into three parts, which each are made up of chapters explaining techniques and ideas used to accomplish user interface design.

Part 1 starts out with the design of applications – topics covered here are not directly related to the layout of forms, but rather to things like deciding which features are needed and how they should be grouped.

Part 2 looks at the layout of the individual forms, and also covers “new-age” things like animation and the design of mobile user interfaces.

Finally, Part 3 looks at things to do after the first version of the app has been released. In this part of the book, expect coverage of concepts like dealing with customer requests, adding and removing features, and so on.

As with almost all O’Reilly-published books, a number of images are included to make the text easier to read and understand. Paper quality was high as always; a huge amount of web references makes “further reading” easy:
in Designed for Use   the review

In the end, it is hard not to like Designed for Use. The book presents a plethora of design methods which are sure to inspire everybody – the price of 30$ is more than justified.

The uber cool people at iFixit have managed to bring to us yet another dissection well done. This time it is the Samsung Epic 4G Touch that came “under the knife”.

Quite surprisingly, the Epic 4G Touch was found to be very easily repairable. According to iFixit

We wanted to reward the Epic 4G Touch with a laudable repairability score — you can disassemble most of the phone with just basic tools — but its fused display and glass knocked it back a couple points. The iFixit team gave it a very reasonable 7 out of 10 for repairability.

The Highlights of the teardown were:

The glass panel and AMOLED display are fused, making cracked screens a costly repair. And you have to use a heat gun to take the two apart. So don’t drop your phone!

The glass panel and AMOLED display are fused, making cracked screens a costly repair. And you have to use a heat gun to take the two apart. So don’t drop your phone!

The Epic 4G Touch has slightly more girth than its overseas counterpart, the Galaxy S II. At 9.65 mm and 128 grams, the device gained a millimeter and a 14 grams during its trip to the U.S.

Unfortunately, Samsung and Sprint decided not to include NFC support inthis variant of the Galaxy S II, which means no Google Wallet support either.

We love phones with batteries that are easy to replace, and this device fits that mold — just pop off the back cover. The 1800 mAh Li-ion battery in the device has a claimed battery life of 8.7 hours of continuous talk time and 10.5 days on standby. Compare this with the Galaxy S II’s 1650 mAh battery.

The Samsung Epic 4G Touch does not come with a microSD card. If 16 GB of internal memory isn’t enough for you, you’re going to have to spring for your own card.

A Phillips #00 screwdriver from our 54 piece bit driver kit and some plastic opening tools allow us to take apart most of the phone. There’s a total of 9 Phillips #00 screws to remove in the whole device.

We are pleased to announce that the device doesn’t house a smorgasbord of EMI shields and that its single EMI shield is removable with only a few gentle pries. It made our job easier (and less destructive) for this teardown.

The front-facing camera assembly is paired along with what seems to be the LED/ambient light sensor. Since these components share the same ribbon cable, overall repair cost increases if just one component fails.

Newsflash: The display on this Samsung phone is manufactured by Samsung. How about that!

AMS452GN05 is the official designation on the display ribbon cable, and it looks to be manufactured around January 11th of 2011.

We found the Atmel mXT224E mutual capacitance touchscreen controller. The sneaky fella was hiding on the rear side of the display assembly.

MB front

chips front side

MB Rear

chips rear side

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