Who says tech bloggers don’t know how to party? It might be rarer and involve more Twitter than other parties, but when they get together it’s guaranteed to be a good time.
On Wednesday, July 25th, AT&T sponsored a Philadelphia tech party at the Union Trust Steakhouse on Chestnut Street. Food arrangements were made, a limo was ordered, bar tabs were taken care of, and of course there were plenty tech goodies to be enjoyed. Not only did AT&T provide a number of great new phones and accessories (some really cool, some more “out there”), but also, inviting people who love tech means a few surprises are ensured to follow.
Two of the biggest hits that night were the Nokia 808 Pureview, with its eye-popping 41 Megapixel camera, and the N950, a phone available only to developers.
The Nokia 808 was first announced February 21st, 2012 at Mobile World Congress, and it wowed the audience with an unheard-of 41 MegaPixel (MP) camera. The first to use the Nokia Pureview technology, the Nokia 808 uses an oversampling technique, which involves taking a larger (7728 x 5368 pixels) photograph and condensing the image into a smaller package. The lens is even a Carl Zeiss, which Nokia has been integrating into their lineup. What does this mean? Because of the higher pixel density, not only is the quality of the picture better and the light senors more accurate, but you get loss-less zoom. Even after multiple zooms while taking the picture, you can still enlarge the image afterwards with little to no fuzziness.
Since the primary focus of the night was to socialize, our time with the phones was limited, but I’m happy to to share some initial impressions. First, it’s hard not to notice how far the camera protrudes from the body of the Nokia 808. It’s understandable given it’s capability, but it could be an issue in actual application. We did not have time to test the audio recording in high-volume test for videos, but the video capturing came out just as well as the pictures. Besides the amazing camera, the phone felt great and had a good quality. If only it were on another OS (operating system), rather then Nokia’s proprietary Symbian system. When the Pureview technology makes its debut on another operating system – like the Windows Phone 8, which Nokia has a close relationship with – this will be a very exciting addition to any handset.
The Nokia N950 is not available on the open market; rather, it was given to developers for Nokia N9 application development purposes. The N950 is also used for Linux MeeGo software. Not too many details are listed for this device, but the initial reaction by those at the AT&T Philly Tech Party was very positive. This is probably due to the concentration on hardware, lacking some of the less visual features of the Nokia N9.
The solid aluminum body is an obvious tactile improvement over the N9′s polycarbonate unibody build, and then there’s the keyboard. I’ve always been a fan of full QWERTY keyboards on my mobile devices, and this has one of the best I’ve ever experienced. The sliding mechanic took a little more effort than expected, but the spring and lock-in-place gave a wonderfully firm impression. There are technically very few differences between the developer limited Nokia N950 and the commercially available Nokia N9. The hardware differences did however make a positive impression on everyone in attendance and begged the question of why some of the features were not made available on the commercial models – or if they might be coming to a future handset.
Other Devices and Products
Sony Experia Play - Deemed the “Playstation Phone,” the Experia Play features a sliding input board. With a fully-functional D-Pad, button inputs, shoulder buttons and Android loaded with Playstation classic titles, this was billed as the best gaming phone. The reality comes in much lower. The inputs just didn’t live up to the hype, and the custom modified operating system left a lot to be desired.
Nokia Lumia 900 - As the flag-bearer for Windows Phones, the Nokia Lumia 900 has been gaining more visibility lately. The first thing people notice is the heft of this device, then the size. The 4.3 inch screen has a larger framing, limiting the screen size while housed in a larger body. The next thing people notice is the beautiful display: the colors are incredibly vibrant. One feature being touted is the Carl Zeiss 8MP camera. This camera takes wonderfully vibrant pictures, though there were a few times the focus did not take and we had to retake a picture.
Samsung Galaxy S III - A big beautiful screen powered by the latest Android operating system, the Galaxy S III has a lot of features to offer. Everything worked well, and touch capabilities of the operating system looks to have improved its responsiveness. The only complaint most common is the light – almost hollow – feeling, which brings up questions as to the quality of its build. The backing on the phone in particular is a thin flimsy plastic that felt like it could snap in half.
HTC Titan II – With a large 4.7 inch screen, you’d expect the phone to weigh more, but you’d be wrong. It’s surprisingly light while maintaining a good quality feeling. There is a curve at the bottom of the handset that actually helps with using one-handed as it gives a tactile indication when scrolling. The screen, while huge, didn’t have the same clarity and vibrancy of some of the other sets at the event. The 16MP camera takes great pictures and videos second only to the Nokia Pureview 808, in my opinion.
Samsung Focus 2 - Small and light, the Samsung Focus 2 runs the Windows Phone Operating System. Initial impressions say this phone would be better suited for teenagers given its lack of expensive features. This changes, however, when you realize that the build quality would not stand up to harsh treatment. You would be highly recommended to purchase a good case for protection.
HTC One - Another beautiful screen featuring a fluid interactive screen. The screen gives plenty of real estate and looks great and fits comfortably in one hand. Though typing one-handed might be an issue, scrolling and finding apps were fine. Other than that, without delving into the operations and applications, the HTC One seemed like a great phone if everything else holds up.
iGrill - “Ridiculous” was the word that kept being brought up. The iGrill has a thermometer that can be insert to a roast, turkey or anything else in the oven then programmed to give a notice when the internal temperature reaches a set point. The iGrill sends an alert through long-range bluetooth to nearly any iOS device when the food is ready.
Swingbyte Golf Swing Analyzer - This little dongle is attached to a gold club by a rubber latch that is easily transffered for use on the green. The Swingbyte analyzes your swing in order compile a number of metrics including head speed, path, plane, and various angles of impact. The Swingbyte website gives tips based on the results to improve your swing.
FitBit Ultra - The FitBit is a well-known fitness tracker. The device clips to the included wristband, belt loop, or anywhere else on the body to track movement in order to give an analysis based on this activity. For best results, the wrist band should be used. The reports include real-time feedback on steps, distance traveled, calories burned, and stairs climbed to give a better insight and encourage you to keep working out. FitBit also has fitness badges and social sharing for those who need extra motivation.
It wasn’t all tech and toys. We had food, drinks, and fun hanging out with great bloggers and people in general. Below are a number of other pictures from the night I hope you enjoy.
For putting together the first of hopefully many-to-come Philadelphia Tech Nights, I would like to give a special thanks to the Philadelphia AT&T Media Representative Brandy Belltrusky, along with help from Alex Kaufman, the D.C. area Media Representative.