Google Handwrite: Search by Scribbling

Google has just added a new feature called “Handwrite” to its mobile search. Handwrite allows you to write on the screen of your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet when you’re on the Google search page.

The best way to understand what all this is about is to watch the short Google video below:

To use Handwrite, go to the Google search (mobile), scroll down until you see “Settings,” and click on it. There are lots of choices on the menu, but the one you want is Handwrite. Click on the button and you’ve got it. Apparently, it only works for the default browser but I tried with Dolphin on a Huawei Honor and it worked well. Is it easier to use than a keyboard? I am not sure. The small size of the screen does make it hard to scribble a long search word and perhaps it might be useful if I’m in a bumpy vehicle or I am driving, which then, I shouldn’t be using the phone, right? I would think the voice search function might work better instead.

 

Google Maps Navigation – Enabled anywhere in the world

Google Maps Turn by Turn Navigation is one of the best features of having an android phone. It can navigate to any location that you can identify in Google Maps, has turn by turn voice instructions including street names, live traffic updates, street view and its one of the best app for an in-phone GPS. The live traffic updates and street view are but two features that commercial GPS would find it hard to match. The deal breaker for some is that requires a data connection to operate and  there isn’t an offline navigation feature yet.
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How to terminate your starhub digital voice line

If you didn’t know, it’s going to cost money for the digital voice line that you’ve been getting free as part of the Starhub Hubbing pack. Although Starhub is still advertising the Starhub Hubbing pack as inclusive of a free digital voice line, the small print says the following:

Valid till 31 August 2012. A promotional rate of $2.10 per month applies thereafter.

Which means that you will have to start paying $2.10 on top of your hubbing pack if you would still like to enjoy your digital voice line. However with VOIP and our mobile lines, few might see the value of paying for an additional digital voice line.

To cancel your digital voice line, visit this link and fill up the digital home line termination form. Starhub will be sending mailers to all their customers to inform of this upcoming change.

Of course, if you have signed up as part of a promotional package, then you should be fine. Do take note of extra charges once your contract expires though.

Huawei Honor Non Camera for $398 (Brand New)

Update: Apologies. We were not able to accomplish the deal as the Telco has withheld the distribution of stocks to their resellers. We will continue to be on the look out for better deals in the meantime.

For those interested in getting the Huawei Honor Non Camera, do drop me an email. If there is sufficient interest (high chance as of now), I would be able to get it at $398 each for all of us. Included with the purchase would be an OEM certificate certifying that the camera has been removed (similar to what you get when you purchase the phone from starhub or m1), as well as a invoice from an official Singapore telco retailer.

Check out this review if you need to know more. Hopefully we’ll be able to install Android Jelly bean onto the phone. Otherwise, there is still ICS.

 

The iNo-Sun A908 (iNo-One) Non-Camera Phone

This is the next non-camera phone that is expected to be launched in Singapore. It is a factory removed camera phone model and certification would be provided as well. It is expected to be priced at a relatively low cost of S$228 and would appeal to those whose contract is not up for renewal yet.  It is currently on pre-order and is expected to launch in August. Besides the price, the next interesting feature is that it has Dual-SIM support and could appeal to those with multiple phone lines to manage.At its price point, it could be the next mass phone for reservists to have access to a smart phone, browser, and more importantly, GAMES to pass time during their in-camp-training.

http://www.inomobile.com.sg/

Specifications

  •  Android Gingerbread 2.3.6
  • 1.0 GHz Single Core
  • 512 MB Ram
  • Dual-SIM card slots
  • 4.0″ capacitive 480 x 800 screen
  • GPS and Bluetooth
  • 124 mm x 64 mm x 10.95 mm
  • 4GB internal storage, expandable with microSD

The phone specifications are nothing to shout about and in fact, I would expect some minor slowdown due to the processor and lack of RAM as compared to the superior Huawei Honor. I would only recommend this phone if you are looking to use this phone for short periods of time and/or if the Dual-SIM feature is important, else the Huawei Honor especially at the promotion price of $400 would be a much better deal. Lastly, they really should have came up with a more attractive name for this phone.

Update (11 Aug 12): The iNo-Sun A908 has been replaced by the iNo-One. Read more about it here.

Nexus 7 vs the iPad – Survival!

The Nexus 7 has launched and it has rave reviews for its great specifications and low price. So did Google cut any corners in terms of the build quality?

The above review pitted the Nexus 7 vs the iPad and the Nexus 7 impressively survived and trounced the iPad in the 3 categories that SquareTrade, the Gadget insurance company, had put them through. The Nexus 7 looks like it is going to be worth every penny. I’m not sure if the results were due to luck as to the angle that the iPad fell but perhaps Google had invested in such amazing engineering that precisely compensated the centre of gravity to determine the orientation if it were to be dropped. Well, at least there’s a pretty good chance that your Nexus 7 would survive a fall.

Accessing the eLibrary (Singapore)

Overdrive allows you to borrow and download eBooks and audiobooks from public libraries that support this system. I have a Nook Color and while it is quite useful and functional as a Nook Color android tablet, I still read on it pretty often. I used to think that we had to buy the eBooks and transfer it to over to the eReader device. One of the more amazing things that had caught my attention was the idea that I could check out books from the library electronically. The process is slightly complex the first time, having to go through the Overdrive Media Console and creating an Adobe ID and also, it is plagued by the same queuing system as per the physical books whereby you have to wait till the previous person is done before you can borrow it. However, it becomes much simpler to use once the initial setup is established, and is a nice, cheap alternative to refresh your e-library.

Impressively enough, the Singapore National Library Board has a digital catalogue and it can be accessed through http://singapore.lib.overdrive.com/. The collection is slightly small but some of the top fiction books can still be found. So if you have an iPad, Android Tablet, Nook, or Kindle, do check out the local e-library and start borrowing. The eBooks have an electronic signature that automatically disables the file once it passes the loan date, and once you have For parents, there are picture and audio books that you can borrow to keep your young ones entertained. Start reading away!