Access Gmail Offline

The folks at Gmail Labs have been busy and they’re now dishing out offline access to Gmail.

 On enabling offline access, Gmail will load in your browser even if you don’t have an Internet connection. You can read messages, star, label and archive them, compose new mail and messages ready to be sent will wait in your Outbox until you’re online again.

It’s built on the Gears platform, which has already been used to offline-enable Google Docs, Google Reader, and other third-party web applications

To get started with offline Gmail –

– Sign in to Gmail and click ‘Settings’.
– Click the ‘Labs’ tab and select ‘Enable’ next to ‘Offline Gmail’.
– Click ‘Save Changes.’
– In the upper righthand corner of your account, next to your username, there will be a new ‘Offline’ link. Click this link to start the offline synchronization process.

Standard Edition users can follow these instructions immediately, while Premier and Education Edition users will first need their domain admins to enable Gmail Labs from the Google Apps admin control panel.

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

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Nokia just launched their highly anticipated touchscreen mobile handset the 5800 XpressMusic in India and I decided to grab me a piece of the action. Here’s my first impression on the latest multimedia marvel from Nokia.

Form Factor

Well it’s a lot thicker than I thought it would be (15.5mm), yet it’s still a well designed handset. It sports a large 3.2-inch TFT touchscreen (320 x 640 pixels, 16M colors) that’s very clearly visible even in broad daylight. The three keys located at the bottom utilize simple functionality – Call take and answer and the middle key is quick access to the menu. A small touch sensitive key, located just under the VGA video call camera above the display is for quick access to what Nokia calls the Multimedia Bar.

 
Nokia has used a micro USB port for USB 2.0 connectivity and a 3.5mm standard earphone socket for audio and TV out (cables provided). These ports along with a charging socket and the power button are located on top (well placed). On one side of the handset are two concealed hot swap slots for both the SIM card as well as the 8GB microSD that’s included. A dedicated camera key, slide lock for the display and volume/Zoom keys are all located on the other side with the 3.2 megapixel camera and dual LED flash on the rear.

I did find the color a bit odd with the maroon-ish shading for the border and a thin red line running around the handset. A Blue model is also available. I just hope the border is not the same. The handset also comes with a stylus that I’m not sure if I like or dislike because of its sharp edgy style. Other packaged accessories include a ‘plectrum’ like stylus attached to the loop for handset and a stand to prop up the phone when watching videos.

Features

The 5800 manages to incorporate a Symbian OS extremely well on this touchscreen handset and still retain the familiarity of a typical Series 60 UI. The menu is large and clear enough to simply use your fingers for navigation. For typing, there are multiple keypads from a full QWERTY keypad that’s only usable in landscape mode, to a normal onscreen mobile keypad and a mini QWERTY keyboard. The 5800 also supports handwriting recognition so that’s another mode of input as well.

First Crush Rating: ( * * * * )

CES 09: Palm Announces New OS, Handset

Palm has unveiled its Palm webOS mobile platform, built from the ground up to be constantly connected to the web, and the new Palm Pre, the first phone based on the new platform. Pre is scheduled to be available exclusively from Sprint in the first half of 2009.

“Palm products have always been about simplifying lives and delivering great user experiences,” said Ed Colligan, Palm president and chief executive officer. “webOS and Pre bring game-changing simplicity to an increasingly mobile world by dissolving the barriers that surround your information. It’s technology that seems like it’s thinking ahead to bring you what you care about most – your people, your time, and your information – in the easiest and most seamless way.”

 
“Pre continues Sprint’s leadership in open access to the content customers want for a great web-connected experience,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint chief executive officer. “We look forward to bringing this remarkably innovative device to our customers on America’s most dependable 3G network.”

At its core, webOS leverages web technologies such as CSS, XHTML and JavaScript. It introduces Palm Synergy, a key feature of webOS that brings information from all the places it resides into one logical view.

The Pre features a smooth, rounded ergonomic design and a physical keyboard that slides out only when needed. When closed, the phone is ideal for phone calls, web browsing, music, photos and videos; when open, Pre is optimized for email and text messaging.

Pre will support a variety of differentiated on-device Sprint services, including Sprint TV, offering an extensive selection of live and on-demand programming. Sprint Navigation provides GPS-enabled audio and visual turn-by-turn driving directions, one-click traffic rerouting and more than 10 million local listings. Sprint also offers more than a dozen streaming-radio applications, including Sprint Radio with more than 150 channels.

Palm Pre features include the following:

– High-speed connectivity (EVDO Rev. A or UMTS HSDPA)
– Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
– Integrated GPS
– Large 3.1-inch touch screen with a vibrant 24-bit color 320×480 resolution HVGA display
– Gesture area, which enables simple, intuitive gestures for navigation
– Slide-out QWERTY keyboard
– Email, including Outlook EAS (for access to corporate Microsoft Exchange servers), as well as personal email support (POP3, IMAP)
– Robust messaging support (IM, SMS and MMS capabilities)
– High-performance, desktop-class web browser
– Great multimedia experience and performance (pictures, video playback, music), featuring a 3-megapixel camera with LED flash and extended depth of field, and a standard 3.5mm headset jack
– Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support
– 8GB of internal user storage
– USB mass storage mode
– MicroUSB connector with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
– Proximity sensor, which automatically disables the touch screen and turns off the display whenever you put the phone up to your ear
– Light sensor, which dims the display if the ambient light is dark, such as at night or in a movie theater, to reduce power usage
– Accelerometer, which automatically orients web pages and photos to your perspective
– Ringer switch, which easily silences the device with one touch
– Removable, rechargeable battery
– Dimensions: 59.57mm (W) x 100.53mm (L, closed) x 16.95mm (D) [2.35 inches (W) x 3.96 inches (L, closed) x 0.67 inches (D)]
– Weight: 135 grams [4.76 ounces]

An array of accessories also will be available for Pre, including the first inductive charging solution for phones (sold separately). Simply set Pre down on top of the elegantly designed Palm Touchstone charging dock without worrying about connection, orientation or fit. Pre is active while charging, so you can access the touch screen, watch movies or video, or use the speakerphone.

Palm Pre is scheduled to be available first in the United States exclusively from Sprint in the first half of 2009, and will be followed by a world-ready UMTS version for other regions. Sprint’s pricing for the phone has not yet been determined.

LG Cookie KP500

LG Electronics today officially launched the LG KP500 (nicknamed Cookie) for the Indian market.

review bad
Touch sensitivity and accelerometer are erratic

I was completely taken aback when I saw the box with the pricing of this touch screen handset the LG KP500 cookie – Rs. 13,990. It amazed me that a large screen touch sensitive handset would cost so little. This could well be the cheapest totally touch screen handset on the Indian market, but what I’m sure you’d need to know is if it’s still worth even that price. Let me clue you in this entry level touch screen handset.

Form Factor
The KP500 has a large 3-inch TFT touch screen display featuring a 240 x 400 pixel, 256K color resolution. Just under the display are a set of 3 keys – Call take, end and a center shortcut menu key that can also be used as a sort of ‘End task – Task Manager’ option to close all active applications. The stylus is neatly concealed and located at the bottom but slides out from the side.

 This extremely slim handset (11.9mm) has a microSD card slot on one side followed by a screen lock key and a dedicated camera key located below that. On the opposite side is where you’ll find a proprietary port for the handsfree, charger and USB and volume/zoom keys. A 3 megapixel camera is located at the rear. That’s pretty much it for the design; it’s simple, slim and quite stylish. Here’s how it does in functionality.

Features and Performance
Interface

Running on a Flash UI the KP500’s touch screen functionality is a bit erratic most of the time. Then again there have been times that it’s been an absolute pleasure to use. Hence erratic is as accurate a term as any. The handwriting recognition would rival any Windows Mobile device and probably end up being better. The accelerometer is possibly the worst there is though and saying this was erratic would be an understatement. Nevertheless the KP500 sports a QWERTY style virtual keyboard when in landscape that is quite responsive and easy to manage.

 
The desktop or rather ‘desktops’ are well designed with a widget pop out feature not unlike the Samsung F480’s or the Omnia’s . You can choose what shortcuts of your choice and also drop them onto the desktop. By flicking this desktop to the side a new one swivels around. This desktop is designed specifically for quick dialing. The widget section can store up to 8 contacts, which can of course be dropped onto the desktop. Honestly, an integration of both would have been better (one would be completely unnecessary). But it does add a certain personal feel to have two unique desktops. The flicking feature is also evident for viewing images. 

 

The menu set up is a neat division of features according to functionality. I quite like this. It’s all very easily usable with just your fingers rendering the stylus redundant most of the time. The only time the stylus is handy is for drawing, handwriting as an option for writing messages and the browser that sometimes makes it a bit tricky selecting options or links from the screen.

There are times when the navigation can get quite frustrating if you’re using your fingers. Scrolling can sometimes be an issue as the sensitivity is not consistent and trying to insert a contact into a message is a bit off too.