Give your Blackberry a new look and feel – How to wash your Blackberry’s pearl?

It is very common for Blackberry users to experience trackball problems. Trackball is a common feature of several Blackberry models like Blackberry Bold, Curve 8900, Curve 8300 series, Pearl and 8800 series as well. Like a normal ball-based mouse on your computer, the pearl also needs cleaning to give you precise working. Moreover, the trackball gets so dirty that it looks ugly.
The ugly dirty trackball on curve 8310
I’ll show you today, how I cleaned my Blackberry’s pearl today to make it look new and work great. 
Step 1: use a pointed thing like a small flat screw-driver, a knife or just your nail to pull out the steel ring around the pearl. It will pop out easily.
Step 2: Gently remove the pearl along with the white casing holding the trackball. That leaves the phone look like this:
Step 3: I took the ball and washed it with water and soap along with my hands. No special washing tricks except, don’t drop it in the sink 🙂 . Make sure you wash away all the soap. Don’t keep the ball in water for too long.

Step 4: Wipe off the water and preferably use a hair dryer or blower to dry the pearl. No water should be left on it when you put it back in.
Step 5: Place the pearl back in the device like this:

Step-6: Place the metallic ring around the pearl and press it gently back to its original position.
Step 7: Enjoy the beautiful, clean and shining pearl of your Blackberry that works like a charm! Enjoy!
Note: Try it on your own risk. Dont blame me if you berak your device!

Mobile Payments made simple – Nokia and Etisalat team-up to make it happen in Middle East!

Nokia and Etisalat have announced a collaboration that will allow Nokia to provide advance Internet services to Nokia users in the region. Etisalat will provide a convenient means of payment to Nokia users willing to subscribe to paid Nokia services. As a first step, Nokia users will be able to purchase games on Nokia’s N-Gage platform and pay for Ovi-Maps services. The purchases will be made over the air and Etisalat will charge the amount to the customer’s bill. This is a very convenient and safe option as opposed to the use of Credit cards and other similar payment options. UAE will be the first country from the region to offer this service in Q2 2009.

This is very interesting to mention here that if you can use this service to pay for mobile applications, games and services, you can use it for other payments as well. For example, you can use the same mechanism for sending gifts to friends, you can use it for buying items at grocery stores or paying other utility bills, and everything is eventually charged to your monthly Etisalat bill.

In Pakistan, Etisalat is holding shares in PTCL and a similar payment model has been in place in the country for payments of PTCL DSL service and IP TV subscription. Those who subscribe to DSL or IP TV, the subscriptions are billed to the customers in their monthly phone bill. I would love to make other payments in the same way if it adds the luxury of convenience to the payment process.

Widsets no more, its Nokia Ovi store

First Mosh and now Widsets, merge and become Ovi store. Ovi store is Nokia’s application store that hosts applications, games, themes, content and more for Nokia S60 and S40 devices. Widsets has been an application that allows users to download and add widgets that eventually run inside widsets application. Widsets has no doubt been very popular at least as an rss reader and content delivery platform for mobile users. This move of merging Widsets into Ovi store will definitely give Ovi-store a head start and alot of users will migrate from widsets to Ovi-store. Following apple store’s success story, a big number of mobile app stores have sprung up including Ovi and Blackberry store. The transition from widsets to ovi-store will take a month or so to complete and from 1st June, widsets users will lose their current accounts and they will have to sign-up for ovi accounts.

Nokia Sales down by more than 25% in Q1 2009

Nokia is one of the most popular brands in the world. I have read so many articles saying that cell-phones sales will not be affected by the current economic condition but I continued to differ. Here comes the proof. The cell phone giants overall sales have been adversely affected.

Nokia’s Q1 results show significant reduction in sales not only compared to Q4 2008, but even compared to Q1 2008 as well. You can find the details in this press release.

Your necklace pendant is your sixth sense!

The day is not far when we all will have an option of wearing this small gadget that will truly change our lives forever by adding this sixth sense. Sixth Sense is basically a computing system, just like our personal computers but its very different in the way you use it. Its a combination of a camera, mini-projector and a cell-phone in your pocket. The system can observe whatever you come across, processes the information over the Internet and can present you with results, suggesting and helping you in making day to day decisions.

Basic computers take input from input devices like keyboard, process it and give output onto a screen. Sixth sense takes input from a camera hanging to your neck band, that looks at things around you and takes commands from your hand-gestures. This information captured via camera is processed in the cell-phone and can be sent to the internet for further processing/information extraction and the results are eventually projected out using the projector, may be on the nearby wall or on something that you hold.

This is more than a month old video but if you have’nt heard about sixth sense as yet, it is bound to drop your jaw instantly!!

Nokia Photo Browser on N82

Thanks to Nokia Beta Labs, now Photo-Browser runs on N82 as well. Yes, the zoom feature is gone because of no touch-screen, but still, its a treat to use the software. This little video shows how it runs on the lovely N82 including a sample of face detection.

I’ve written more about the software in my earlier post here. You can download the software from Nokia Beta Labs.

Nokia Photo Browser is available for non-touchscreen versions

Nokia Photo Browser is a fun photo viewer more commonly known to be associated with Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. It allows you to fly over a plethora of 3d arrangement of photos in your phone, that are mostly taken by you, yourself. Its a product of Nokia beta labs and they’re not sure what to do with it as yet but I’m sure it can easily replace the basic gallery of upcoming S60 nokias. You can view photos, fly over to browse thumbnails, open them up and the photo rotation is very quick when you rotate your phone (obviously utilizing accelerometer) and most interesting of all, it has face detection too. You can detect faces within a group photo and auto-jump face to face. Well, it works pretty well on my N82.

Limitations as discussed on Darla’s blog , it was initially targeted only for Nokia N97 and Nokia 5800 XpressMusic edition, but now its a good news for me. It is available for several other S60 phones. Obviously the touch-zoom functionality is not available with non-touchscreen phones. So simply go to Nokia beta labs site and download it on your Nokia. (Compatibility list is available on the same linke.)

16 GB Cards are almost useless in Blackberry?

I cannot install applications on my Blackberry Curve 8310’s memory card. That has been the biggest disappointment for me since I started using this as my secondary handset. Only the media files can fill up the card. By media I mean mp3 songs, the photos I download from web or take from the 2 megapixel camera, some video recordings and if you want to view some videos copied from the PC.

I got over excited when I got this phone and I bought a 16GB micro sdhc card for it as well. And that has been a total loss ….. well till I found a great way to fill up the memory.

First of all, I found this tricky application that allows you to install the applications of your choice on the memory card. The name of the application is AERIZE card loader. This solved a bit of my problem and now I’m not worried about my phone memory filling up quickly.

But what is the best thing about this phone? Its great super bright screen is the biggest reason I love it. My earlier post here also talks about that.

Now the next question, what do I do to fully utilize the memory card and this nice screen? I convert the movies, tv shows, dramas and video pod casts to watch on this bright screen. I am planning to write a how-to on that but If you have a Blackberry, try playing a few videos on it, not the ones you recorded on its camera, because the camera itself is not so good at recording videos, but try to find some videos that are converted for playback on your phone.

A typical movie takes above 300 megabytes of memory, that puts aproximagely 3 movies in a gig. Am I talking about 40 to 50 movies in my pocket? I find that very exciting.

What do you use to fill up your blackberries? Which blackberry models are you carrying? How good the screen palays these movies? Please leave a comment while I write a how-to.

25 million handsets die as clock strikes midnight in india!

As its past midnight in India, the mobile phone users all over the country are afraid if their mobile will continue to work or not?

According to this post on Mobile Messaging 2, chinese mobile handset manufacturers have flooded indian market with 25 million handsets that do not have a unique IMEI. This means, the handset is absolutely anonymous and according to the Indian government, these anonymous handsets can be used by the terrorists or can be utilized in illegal activities.

Therefore the handsets should be blocked, i.e should not work on any network in India. 25 million is a dazzling large number and even if half of these sets are actually disabled, it will be a total chaos. It’s reported that here are 15 to 18 million users of such handsets in India. Once these handsets stop picking the mobile signal, some users will stop using a mobile till they have enough money to buy a new one and others will instantly buy a new phone. In both cases, phones with proper IMEI will see a rise in their sales in a couple of months to follow.

I’m sure there will be lots of these sets still in transit or in sales stores. All these shipments will become useless junk of plastic and circuitry. Businessmen owning these sets have to evaluate, should they sell them to another country where such restriction isn’t in place yet, or the cost of re-exporting is too high and its better to simply throw them away? In any case, its not a good news.

We have seen similar regulations being implemented in the region in the name of security improvements. For example in Pakistan, PTA has made it mandatory for every mobile-connection to be registered and associated with a person’s national ID number. This, no doubt, ensures legal use of cell-phone connections and discourage terrorists from using them or at least improving the traceability of calls during an investigation.

Its not only the use of mobile phones. Even efforts are being made to ensure traceability of users over the Internet again to reduce illegal and terrorist activities. Jehan ara’s post here talks exactly about that.

Pakistan is also a big market of such Chinese handsets that give you unmatched features in unbelievable cost. But a regulation like the one India is implementing, can kill the market here in Pakistan as well.

Last but not least, there always exists a subset of handsets whose IMEIs can be changed, erased or faked by a combination of hardware/software trick. At least I’ve not seen any such regulations that stop this kind of illegal activity or discourages it. Do post it in the comments area if you have seen it happening in the region. Its totally up to the handset manufacturers to make it as difficult as possible for the crackers.

And here is a small video clip that talks about the news we discussed above.

Note: If you are in India and carrying such a handset, do tell us if your phone is working or not.

Testing GM’s 2-wheel car

If you missed it on CNN, here’s the clip and its actually amazing!

Well, its a prototype that balances itself on two wheels, runs on lithium ion batteries, one re-charge takes you 35 miles and its top speed is 35 kmph. 6 of such cars park in one conentional car’s parking space and GM says they’ll make these cars intelligent enough to talk to one another to at least avoid collusions and bump and at most will take orders and they’ll drive you to your destination. Reminds me of Micheal Knight’s kitt :p