4G Coverage – GCC

KuwaitTelecoms

Kuwait is one of the first conutries to roll out full 4G coverage, and we are tough customers, I honestly was very critical and abusing it when possible and it has survived my torment and still it is doing well.

4G in the GCC & UK are the same and I’m assuming the Europe would be the same as UK in regards to 4G specifications. But the coverage across Europe is spotty at best. I was in Germany and drove a good amount outside and inside of Frankfurt to see how it works, then there was Amsterdam which we extensively used their network. The connections weren’t that great, and sometimes very disappointing, surprisingly Amsterdam was much better then Frankfurt in terms of coverage.

4G Coverage in Kuwait is fantastic in comparison to Europe, it seems that Europe has fallen back in comparison to us. Our terrestrial data speeds are a disappointment in Kuwait and improvement does’t look like it will happen any time soon, they have been talking about Fiber for the good part of a decade now. But due to this lack of development the wireless data providers have stepped in and so 4G such as Zain, Viva, and Soon to be Wataniya are providing for what the customers are asking for.

Kuwait is even better then the UAE in this aspect, Etisalat has coverage but the speeds are honestly crap and even much worse when you head out of Dubai with little to no coverage, and Du is worse then Etisalat in this regard. It seems that we are more then a step ahead of Europe and Kuwait is leading the pack in GCC. And I have yet to see someone in the GCC to match our coverage and overall speeds, we are spoiled and I honestly hope we have more developments in regards to wireless & LTE internet.

Link: Flickr

Zain 7 KD – Data Roaming

Zain

There has been a package for GCC Data Roaming since the beginning of the year by Zain. Sometimes it works with the carrier and sometimes it doesn’t, but I would say that it works 70% of the time which is pretty good. 150MB for 7 KD across the GCC which I thought was perfect, honestly you don’t use too much and it doesn’t cost as much as a car if you use too much data, I remember some bills going over a 1000 KWD because of mistakes with billing which are insane. So these packages for data roaming are reasonable if you didn’t purchase a local land line.

To my surprise when I went to London they also had a 7KD package but it was for 100 MB on Vodafone, honestly that wasn’t too bad. I was pleasantly surprised about it. I switched on my data roaming and within minutes it was working on Vodafone’s network in London, truth be told Vodafone’s network isn’t too great but no one really is in London. But it was just enough data to get WhatsApp working as well as a few emails through as needed, it does the job and I’m happy they are making these deals with other telecom companies, at least now Zain is taking advantage of their size and influence and working out deals with other telecom companies to benefit the customer. I’m not sure if that package works for all of Europe or not, but those people traveling during Eid will know when they get there.

In-Flight Wifi on Lufthansa Flights

LufthansaWiFi

This turned out to be a surprising feature on Lufthansa, In-Flight wifi that was useable, something I wasn’t expecting. I just flew back form the the US and on the flight back I was supposed to sleep to try to get my sleep in order, but that didn’t work out as I planned.

When I connected to the wireless I had a few emails to shoot and then I was done, I thought the connection was going to be mediocre at best because of previous in-flight wifi experience. I was wrong, to my surprise the connection was good, I was getting speeds from 3 to 5 MB which made surfing decent, I went through all my emails, and started going through my RSS Feeds on Google Reader. Even youtube streaming was working fine to my surprise, not lightning fast but pretty decent.

Pricing:

  • HotSpot Pass Sky 1 hour: €10.95 or 3,500 miles
  • HotSpot Pass Sky 24 hours: €19.95 or 7,000 miles

I went with the 24 hour option because that worked out perfectly for use on my flight back to Kuwait as well.

After using it for a while, I was very impressed, surfing was pretty good and some high bandwidth websites were operating fine. But don’t expect downloads to do much, overall I think Lufthansa did a fantastic job with the system they have setup. But from their website I understood coverage only works over the Atlantic, US, Europe and Middle East but not all the other regions yet. Also it isn’t on every plane, some planes have it and some don’t.

Review: iPad Griffin Standle

I think at this rate there are over 100 cases for the iPad if not 1000 but I was looking for something specific. I didn’t want a notebook or sleeve type case, I wanted something with decent side protection and a stand so that I can place on a table or couch to watch shows. When I saw the Griffin case I knew it was the perfect case for my use, I bought it while I was in the states and I have using it everywhere ever since. I can easily hold the iPad while walking around, or toss it in the car, always ready to be in use and I don’t have to worry about it with this case, it doesn’t slip off the seat while I’m driving.

Pros:

  • It can stand vertically or horizontally
  • Can easily slip in a bag
  • Buttons are easily accessible
  • For $50 its an excellent product
  • Rubber pieces on the back provide traction when its flat on the table
  • The horizontal piece can be used as a handle, or a way to prop up the ipad and it has a locking mechanism to keep it up which is very useful
  • The vertical stand is very simple and stable, works great for AirDisplay and if you want to use the iPad as an extra monitor

Cons:

  • No Screen Protection
  • Adds a little bulk to it

Link: Griffin
Rating:
r4.5.bmp


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iPad 3G vs. Wifi

There is no doubt what so ever that Apple have created an amazing product with the iPad, but there is one crucial point about this machine that makes it so successful, it is a content intensive product. There is something for everyone, games, utilities, productivity,media, movies, TV shows, and music and everything else you want on the go. You need to be connected most of the time to go through the media, in my case I downloaded a lot of comics and magazines, but for a lot of services and applications you need to be connected online. One part is that Wireless is very fast with a fast connection, and even at times it isn’t enough for the iPad, I have tried 3G and at best the performance is spotty at best and it depends on your location. Now all three providers (Wataniya, Viva, and Zain) will be releasing the micro-sim at the same time but will you really be able to use it normally. The other aspect is that you will have to pay a monthly fee for 3G connectivity, is it really worth it in this case, its not a phone but a tool to access the net. I for one love the iPad, sitting on my couch going through the RSS feed or playing a few games, or reading comics, its a dynamic tool but on the go I will just use the available Wireless in the area, 3G just doesn’t make much sense to me with the use of the iPad since you wouldn’t use it enough to justify the monthly costs.

iPad 64GB – Wifi

I have had my iPad 64 GB Wifi for about four days now, and I LOVE IT! There are a few things of course which are annoying but overall I think Apple did an amazing job with the product. The iPad itself feels very good in your hands, I love the Aluminum bezel and they have the right amount of buttons to control the iPad. The screen is amazing, just the perfect amount of brightness and you can really enjoy it, I go through my RSS feeds so smoothly and easily, the one thing is that it attracts finger prints so you have to keep wiping constantly it to keep it clean. Reading comics and watching a few shows on it is pretty good, but after a while you do get tired of looking at the screen, but I got lost using the iPad and forgot the time around me which tells you how much this product pulls you in. But the iPad is only as good as the Applications that you can use with it, and luckily there are quiet a few different applciations from gaming to utilities. I like the buttons on the iPad works smoothly to control the volume and locking it up if need be, and you can lock the screen in a certain vertical or landscape mode which is very smart on their part. What surprised me the most was the battery, with normal use it lasted over a two day period before finishing the battery, watching some TV shows, surfing, reading a couple of comics, and playing video games. Some people complain about the speaker being of lower quality but I honestly think its decent for what the iPad is supposed to do, I was surprised it had one in the first place, if it isn’t what your looking for then plug in a pair of head phones and you are good to go. Another good edition is being able to add any App or even website for that matter to the App bar at the bottom, so you can really put your frequently used Apps and websites in one location.

My Applications:

  • Jump – Remote Desktop to My Server and Computers (Must Have)
  • Marvel – Marvel Comics loaded up on the amazing screen.
  • IDW Transformers – Downloading every Transformer Comic there is, I can’t get enough, reading comics on the iPad is a fantastic experience and I really got into it forgetting myself
  • GoodReader – Reads, PDF, Test Documents, Images and a few other files on the iPad and on other machiens and servers. (Must Have)
  • NewsRack – Best RSS Reader which integrated with GoogleReader, smooth, loads up articles in a different window and if you click a link it takes you to it (Must Have)
  • AirVideo – Watch any type of video file on your iPad from any PC or Server, works perfectly for all my anime and tv shows, don’t have to purchase the TV shows (Must Have)
  • Accuweather – The best and smoothest weather app for the iPad, the other ones just didn’t work so well. Kind of annoyed with the WeatherBug and when I tried Accuweather I was very happy
  • Shazam – It has a built-in Microphone and Speaker, so you can catch the song you want and you can listen to it, better then the iPod Touch in my situation since I don’t have an iPhone.
  • GQ – This has turned into an interesting read, lots of time just to flip through the magazine, but all the Ads are very very very annoying. GQ has to rethink the way they have the magazine, it should be smart and intuitive, not just cut and paste from the magazines (Hold Off)
  • PopularSciene – Making the magazine interactive is smart, but the content isn’t there yet and applications need to be refined a little (Hold Off)
  • SkyGrid – All the upcoming news from multiple feeds brought to you and updated, its fantastic how it keeps updating, you can view the stories which are most popular then choose the articles within it that you want to read.
  • SportsTap – Football, NFL, NBA, College Football, Tennis, and Golf all at your finger tips. I use it to follow the updates on the NFL mostly and its pretty damn good.
  • BBC News – Different the iPhone/iPod its presented in video format as well as articles which makes it pretty interesting.

Games:

  • TopGun – Its fun but annoying when you haven’t gotten the movements right
  • FlightControl HD – Addictive game, you can place for hours, you have to direct planes to land around other planes, and no mistake is accetable
  • Harbor Master – One of those fun time consuming games, but drives you nuts! You have to dock and undock ships in the right port without them crashing!
  • Scrabble – Its a fun old game with new life, there are so many words that I don’t know any more
  • Red Alert – Command and Conquer is fantastic, the only annoying thing is selecting a lot of troops but who can imagine that an iPad can play a full Real Time Strategy game such as this!
  • N.O.V.A – Fun first person shooter, a different experience but not for everyone
  • Implode – Blowing up buildings, who doesn’t enjoy that!

The Problems:

  • Right now the Wifi works fine but sometimes it does have its issues, seems online some people are already complaining, and to get a lot of content it needs bandwidth and constant connectivity
  • Without Flash somewebsites just don’t show their full content and its a very easy fix for Apple but that doesn’t seem to be happening
  • Navigating the large amount of Apps for the iPad is a bit of task, you just can’t seem to find the right App for your need. I’m looking for a Networking App but can’t seem to find it
  • iPod/iPhone Apps should not be installed on the iPad with the X2 Zoom functionality, it just looks wrong and tacky

Do I think every should get an iPad, yes I definately do, Am I addicted to it? Positively! Its not for everyone but everyone who I know has it is really enjoying it, I’m trying to fill mine with as much content as possible so as to use it when I’m traveling and have no wifi connectivity, which is the main purpose in my case, and the comics are doing that perfectly.


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Sony Ericsson W995

Sony Ericsson are coming out with some powerful phones over the next couple of months and I’m surprised this wasn’t completely leaked out earlier. A very thin but powerful phone packed with all the features you can imagine. I’m going to assume a phone like this is going to have a high price attached to it.

  • 2.6 inch TFT Display (262,144 colors, 240×320 display)
  • 113 grams
  • 97 mm x 49 mm x 15 mm
  • Quad Band (GSM/GPRS/EDGE) (2G/3G Networks)
  • UMTS/HSPA
  • 370/360 Battery Hours of Dtandby
  • 9/4 hours of talk time
  • Black/Silver/Red Colors Available
  • 8-Megapixel Camera
  • Wifi
  • GPS
  • HPM-88 Noise Canceling Headphones

Link: SE Blog

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