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P800 related page index of this site:

  1. latest news
  2. why did I buy a Sony Ericsson P800?
  3. where did I buy a P800?
  4. about GPRS data traffic costs in Italy;
  5. about developing some software on the P800...
  6. about Sony Ericsson P900...

P800 related links:

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Web www.alfonsomartone.itb.it

Latest news:


Why did I buy a Sony Ericsson P800?
(Sony Ericsson may see this as a customer feedback.)

What was I searching for?

Sony Ericsson P800 meets all these required features.

P800 has also some very great extras, in order of importance:

Some reasons why I was choosing another phone instead of P800:

Some other considerations about the P800:



Some final considerations:


Yes, it's a sad thing that a bunch of some stoooopid applications, which could be freely developed, cost around 10-15$ each. Below, I suggest (in a a message sent on a Portuguese Linux+mobile site, and a message sent "private" to a developer) some new free applications:

Maybe somewhere these applications are already ready: I propose here their development because I already searched for them but didn't find any.

(1) teletext

I assume that in your countries you have GPRS volume traffic costs quite low... here in Italy we have to pay (except for some cases) from 5.00 to 6.00 euro per megabyte of data throughput (ouch!! 5 to 6 euro per Mb!!!).

Well, what about a teletext application? It just has to get/show/cache a little file from an internet site (almost any local teletext service has a real-time copy on the internet). A standard browser seems not to be the best solution because it should also collect all "sub-pages" and allow the "three-digit page number" link browsing.

Note: a teletext page, in its binary format, is about 1000 (one thousand) bytes in lenght (the html version will be a lot longer, and almost surely won't be graphics-filled or text-aligned). An archive snapshot of 2,000+ pages/subpages teletext channel could easily fit in 500k of .gz file or 400k of .bz2 file.

My home Linux server (a Celeron-based PC with 192Mb RAM) collects continuously (via a TV-card with external antenna) the 2,000+ teletext pages of one of the most common TV channels (using the /dev/shm ramdisk to get rid of those hard drive updates). If my server was on the internet, then I could get from anywhere (P800) the entire snapshot archive (updated in real-time), or I could write a simple "port watcher" to minimize GPRS data throughput (if I get three bytes on the port 12345 then I will send the gzipped n*1000 bytes of data of the specified page/subpages to the client, and then close the connection: surely cheaper than a normal html-request or a ftp-session). I won't put on-line my server because I have a normal (old) 33k6 connection at home (and because there may be legal issues in public re-distribution of teletext/videotext data pages). And I may also be able to setup a bluetooth connection to browse teletext pages while on the sofa (or in the toilette), far from the TV set... :-)

(2) mod/xm/it/s3m/... player

Do you remember the old soundtracker (and derivatives) music formats? there is a big (huge) library around of those old .mod, .xm, .s3m, .it, etc music files. Their size range generally from a few kilobytes to 400-500 kilobytes. This means that on the classical 16Mb memorystick-duo you could fill in at least one hundred of those songs: five hours of music in 16Mb...!

There are a bunch of "mod-players" for lots of systems; I played mod's even on my 12MHz 80286 PC fifteen years ago, while "multitasking" (DESQview) my own DOS BBS program. This means that the rendering of a mod player uses little CPU time.

(3) mp3 recording

On my "100% Linux" notebook I used to record some school classes in mp3 format (I actually use clean uncompressed wave format because the notebook has a fat 20Gb hard disk, but used some times the "on-the-fly" mp3 conversion), using "sox" and "lame" programs.

What if you could have a mp3 recorder on your P800? A 16Mb memorystick-duo could store a 40+ minutes class -- yes, 40+ minutes in 16Mb, at a decent quality ("lame --preset voice", that is 56kbps/mono using variable bitrate). Also, one could experiment a better format (the ogg/vorbis encodes better than mp3 in less space, and is royalty-free).

(4) watching TV via bluetooth

Uh, I'm not drunk. Let's consider a Linux desktop with a TV card inside (like mine). A server program grabs there a TV frame and a chunk of audio, converts them to the easiest format readable from the P800 (example: converts the TV image to the P800 screen memory format, such that no conversion is needed there) and sends it to the client via the Bluetooth interface. The P800 gets data and then answers a byte "gimme next", or "switch to channel x", or just "stop it".

(note: getting a TV frame on Linux requires only two ioctl's without extra library functions; more info on my BT848 Linux page or BT848 Linux drivers pages; a TV-grabbing server program would require no more than 15-20 lines of code).

I think that with very little tricking you can get decent TV resolution (160×120), and with some extra tricks you can get almost full-screen (256×192). Different resolutions may require cropping or rescaling.

(5) P800 as a remote control or remote tablet

P800 sends data via Bluetooth; a Linux server program accepts it and sends to a specified bash script or pipe (xawtv example: kills -gently- the current xawtv process; issues the appropriate "v4lctl setchannel" command, then restarts xawtv ...yay! this runs without modifying xawtv).

Usage as a remote tablet: the user touches in the "tablet" (P800) application screen, and the touched x/y position is sent via Bluetooth to the Linux daemon, which will just issue an XWarpPointer() to move the PC cursor under X/free.

Finally...

Yes, a lot of work can be saved by creating a skeleton application in which one could develop simple programs without rewriting every time all the stuff (project files, standard initializations, etc).

I found some time ago a game (which was just named "Game") for the Nokia 9210i, in which the author shows how to develop a simple application that writes directly in screen memory and waits for keypresses and other events. I wonder if there is something like that for the P800... (main differences: UIQ/Symbian7 instead of Symbian6, touchscreen instead of keyboard).


Where did I buy a P800?

After browsing some Internet shops, I ordered it on a site which featured a very good pricing and a "two days delivery". After FIVE days, my order was there, still -uh- PENDING... I called by phone and they told me that "as soon as possible" they would send to me the P800. Oh, no, I said, I don't want it anymore (should I have to wait one month as for my notebook?). They accepted my request to cancel the order, without even asking why.

I extremely dislike Internet shopping. It just seems to save you some time searching around for the best price. But it will make you wait for weeks before they "pass" your order. Why?

  1. They claim "not available". You have to check there almost daily (only a few of them offer an e-mail notification when they get it, but it doesn't seem definitively reliable to me). They don't ever say when (or at least "approximately when") it will be available.

  2. They claim "coming soon". Same considerations of case 1. While in April 2003, when I was searching for a particular digital camera, I found one site claiming it "coming soon". After some days, on about April 20, I emailed them saying "how much time does mean «coming soon»? if it's a matter of a few days, then I'll issue a pre-paid order". They answered: "oh, we expect the units on May; if you issue your order now, you will surely get highest precedence".
    No, I didn't send them anything. No money, and not even the order. Their «coming soon» was at least two weeks (and "May" is a long month...!). I continued searching around for the camera, but almost every day checked their site (a friend of mine was willing to buy it there). Well, it came available in the second half of June!! That is, at least two months of «coming soon»!!

  3. They claim "available, little quantities". Uh, this is just a prelude to «coming soon». Don't trust. Ever. There is always someone that goes to the shop and buys it "cash", while your order will remain waiting...!

  4. They claim "available", and you issue your order, expecting the unit in a few days (they generally claim "two to four days", that's the time for national couriers). Oh, your order will wait there. They don't want to send out an unit to travel some hundreds of miles, while other already-paid (and «cash») customers are ready. They will send it to you only when there are no more "pre-paid" customers. You will see on their site "available" getting down to "little quantities" and then "coming soon"... and wonder why they didn't send anything. Uh, you saw again "little quantities" or even "available", but there are other "pre-paid" or "cash" customers more in the meantime, so you will have to wait again. You can even wait for months and, if you complain, in the most honest case they will innocently answer "we just served pre-paid and cash orders..."!

  5. They claim "available", and you issue a pre-paid order. Duh, didn't you know that an online cheque (here in Italy), even a bank-to-bank money transfer, needs FIVE WORK DAYS to get paid? This means that your order will be processed at least one week later, almost surely when they will have sold out all!
    And also, let's assume there is just the last unit there, and your cheque was just verified "paid". The nice girl at the sales office is just clicking Enter to start off your order. A guy enters in, asking for that unit. "Oh, yes, you're lucky, this was our last unit!". He pays (cash) and takes it. Why? Uh, your order is already paid, you won't get an unit (or your money) until the sales office decides as so.
    Since you can wait, then you will wait: a «cash» customer cannot wait, doesn't want to wait, and his money is not "blockable" by the sales office (and, by law, he can't cancel his order without a good reason: only phone-orders and email-orders can be canceled...!). Classic «cash» customers have always the highest precedence.
    But, as noted before, can you blindly issue a pre-paid order hoping that the "coming soon" becomes quickly "available"? (no, don't even remotely consider it... imagine your feelings when you find out that while your pre-paid order is waiting, or even being processed, another internet shop or even a local shop claims to sell the units at 50-100 bucks less...!)

Yes, I just did it. I found a shop 150km far from here, selling it at a decent price, claiming it had a rather large stock "available". I phoned them, only to be sure they had at least an unit for me. Yes, "there are".

I just ran there (by train). They had only two units, one of them with damaged packaging. I bought the good one. Cash. It costed me a very few bucks more than the "best price" around.

When exiting the shop, I thought about the 200+ people with normal and pre-paid orders waiting for that "large" stock to be sent to them. But then didn't think of them anymore. I just realized again that e-Commerce is just another name for "secondary importance internet advertisement": I did all the fundamental steps by phone and cash.


About GPRS data traffic costs in Italy...

We here have three cellular phone companies. Knowing the euro/US$ exchange ratio is about 100euro=115 US$, here are the current offers (subject to change!! this is a hot time for GPRS data traffic offers!):

commercial namewhentypemonthly cost data traffic includedcost for extra traffic
Wind
"Libero Mobile no limit"
from end of Sep'2003 stable "GPRS flat" offer 19.00 euro per 30 days of traffic unlimited free
Vodafone/Omnitel
"PDA GPRS"
limited (only up to end Nov'2003) classic GPRS "traffic-based" cost 7.00 euro per month 2.34 megabytes 3.00 euro per megabyte
Vodafone/Omnitel
"PC GPRS"
limited (only up to end Nov'2003) classic GPRS "traffic-based" cost 20.00 euro per month 13.1 megabytes 1.50 euro per megabyte
TIM
"GPRS Web night&day"
limited (only up to Oct-5-2003) hybrid 20.00 euro per month unlimited in the 10pm-7am time, 20 megabytes per day from 7am-10pm 6.00 euro per megabyte

The above news are subject to change in next days...!

I think that the "limited" offers are just a way to check the possible customer range. Typical strategy needs first an almost free "flat" offer for some months; then some months of quite cheap costs; then the "stable" final offer. In every step you see the final cost growing from 20% to 40%.

I just described what happened during summer 2000 about WAP: this is just happening for GPRS data traffic now, and will happen again in 2006 with next technologies. Sure!


Some notes about Sony Ericsson P900 before its official presentation

At least from Jun'2003 there is a bunch of unofficial news and images about P900. It seems that the Sony Ericsson itself should (I repeat: should) announce it in end-Oct'2003 and begin selling here in Europe soon after ("week 48": end of Nov'2003).

We should note a weird case about this "hype" - information and shots of the P900 are always far from complete: we know just some of its characteristics (conjecturing all others), we see photos of P900 always far from the observer (on a table, inside a box, etc: always without any "normal life" stuff around!!!)

If I had a P900 for just five minutes I would have done something better: browse a bunch of the most famous menus (calling, messaging, camera, phone setup, etc) while shotting a number of photos of it using my digital camera (shot while phone is in my hands, outside, etc).

This leads to some considerations:

Other news: Mobile-Review has just published a complete review of the P900, much better than the "almost-fake" reports described above...!

Latest news: Sony Ericsson site has finally setup some P900 pages...!


Epilogue: I got it!

On November 6, 2003, I switched to a Sony Ericsson P900.