Mobile Tech News – CNET’s worst gadgets, Palm patents dual-mode screens, HTC Hermes

by Reads (11,971)

CNET names “worst tech of 2006 (so far)”

We love a little well-deserved mockery around here, and CNET’s new article has it in spades. The “Top 10 Worst Tech of 2006 (so far)” lashes out at clueless product designers, stupid software, drunken coders, and incompetant marketing, and they have fun doing it. The highlights in the Mobile Tech division include Microsoft’s Origami project as the “Worst-kept secret”:

“We’re working on a top-secret project that will blow your mind, and we won’t give details until next week. Except that it’s bigger than a handheld and smaller than a notebook PC. Oh, and it has tablet functionality. And we’re calling it the ultramobile PC. But that’s all we’re saying!” Ooh, mysterious.

As well as the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet as the “Worst-rated product that CNET readers love.”

This thing, it surfs Internet. You want to make phone call? You can’t make phone call. You like Ethernet? No Ethernet. You get Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is nice. No wires! You like slow load times? Yes? It is good for that. You like battery that lasts more than three hours? It does not have one. Nice screen, though.

The rest of the entries are also well worth reading for their comedic value, even if you don’t care about their particular entrants.


Palm Inc. patents dual-mode color/monochrome screens

Palm Inc. has been awarded US patent number 7002569, which covers building a device with a screen that can switch between a color display and monochrome in order to extend battery life.

In one embodiment, the electronic device is a hand held computer system with a display device. When the battery level is detected as below a preselected level, a message is generated on the computer display screen. The message informs the user that the display mode of the screen can be changed to enhance the battery life. If selected, the display mode can change from color to monochrome thereby saving power because the monochrome display does not utilize a back-lighting element.

As always, though, a patent doesn’t mean that an actual device is around the corner. In fact, it doesn’t even mean that a given technology will ever show up in a device. A patent can often be filed months or years before it’s approved, and it’s not neccessary to have a working device or even a solid grip on the technology in order to file. All you need is to describe an idea. Come to think of it, I should file for a patent on describing an idea in a patent.

What I don’t get is why bother with switching the screen over to monochrome when you can just turn off the backlight. Current transmissive/reflective hybrid screens can be lit either from ambient light, or from an internal backlight, the same as monochrome screens. While monochrome may provide a little extra contrast, this seems like a long way to go to create a feature that pretty much everybody else already has.

USPTO link


Details of HTC Hermes on T-Mobile Europe

It looks like T-Mobile Europe is edging closer to the release of the HTC Hermes Pocket PC phone. has grabbed some photos of the final, T-Mobile branded version of the device. The Hermes, which will be marketed as the MDA Vario II, is similar in design to the current Vario (the HTC Wizard) but with a sleeker design, more buttons, and UMTS 3G broadband. Release in Europe is expected some time around mid-year.

With any luck, the Hermes will eventually make it to the States, but it probably won’t be before the end of this year.



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