Review: Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard

My Note and Keyboard

Last week, I received a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 from Rogers. It’s a wonderful Android based tablet, which I have quickly fallen in love with. After loading in all of my favorite apps, plus a bunch of others, like Evernote, I quickly realized that this was going to be the device that would inspire me to start blogging and writing again. However, I realized that typing on a tablet was not going to cut it.

I started looking at wireless keyboards and soon discovered the lack of in-store products in the Canadian marketplace. Most keyboards were big and bulky, not ideal for tossing into my messenger bag or were tiny and built into cases, none of which were made for the Note 8. I needed something that was compact enough to tote around withg me, but big enough to handle my large fingers.

The Packaging

Luckily, I came across the Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard. (To be honest I was very skeptical, by Microsoft, but also intrigued by Microsoft’s new packaging, red and white and very Canadian.) Optimized for Windows, but also made especially for the tablet marketplace, the keyboard touts compatibility with most Apple and Android products. The Bluetooth keyboard also comes with a beautiful cover, which doubles as a tablet stand, which is quite handy. It seemed like a great solution.

Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard

So today, I finally picked up the keyboard from The SOURCE, (It’s on sale here, save $10, til the end of the month I believe, but is strangely not listed as a product on their website) and upon opening it at home, I was pleasantly surprised. The Keyboard is the perfect size, super slim, cleanly designed and very well made, very reminiscent of Apple styling. It felts solid, sturdy and not cheap, I was totally impressed. Running on 2 AAA batteries, which were included, I was up and running and paired with the Galaxy Note 8 in record time. Best of all, the keyboard is an ideal size and comfortable to type on and easy to carry around from place to place.

The Keyboard cover doubles as a Tablet stand

In a word, impressed. Impressed enough to type out this quick review, using the keyboard and my tablet and I would highly recommend the keyboard for anyone looking for a wireless keyboard for their tablet, regardless of the size or brand.

What are your favourite accessories for your tablet?

NOTE: This post is not sponsored by Microsoft, but I am a part of a Rogers Social Insider Mobile Ambassadors program, from which I received the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

Nokia Unfenced

Nokia Unfenced at the Rafter Six Ranch

A couple of weekends ago, WOMWorld/Nokia sent me and 9 other Canadian bloggers out to the Canadian Rockies for #NokiaUnfenced. The event was held in Canmore, Alberta at the Grande Rockies Resort and in Kananaskis Valley at the Rafter Six Ranch.

Armed with a Nokia N8, the Nokia X7 (which was announced especially for us) and a competitor’s phone, we were given several tasks over the weekend, while we dined, drove, climbed trees, and rode horses all with an amazing backdrop of beautiful greenery and mountains. It was the perfect setting to play with phones and try out their cameras, which was my main focus during the trip.

I immediately fell in love with the camera on the Nokia N8, which packed a Carl Zeiss Tessar 2.8/28 12MP AF lens. The picture quality was amazing, which wasn’t a surprised, cause I felt the same way about the Nokia N95 which I played with a couple of years back. I’ve always known Nokia to have amazing camera hardware on their phones. However, the big disappointment for me was the fact that the Nokia X7 didn’t have as slick of a camera as the N8, but it did have a sexy build (separate reviews forthcoming).

Though, I probably won’t be getting rid of my iPhone 4 anytime soon, it was exciting to see the innovations that were coming out of the Nokia camp. More importantly, although these two Nokia phones are on a Simbian OS, it is promising to see that Nokia has partnered with Microsoft and will be releasing a Windows 7 phone in the future, which could be a killer combo.

Below is a photo play by play of how the weekend went down. The second half of the photo gallery are all images taken with Nokia N8.

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NXNE : The Disposable Film Festival

Did you ever want to be a filmmaker, but thought you didn’t have the right equipment? The Disposable Film Festival proves that you don’t need fancy equipment to create a modern masterpiece. The premise behind the festival is to celebrate the creative potential of disposable video: short films made on everyday equipment like cell phones, pocket cameras, and other inexpensive video capture devices. Last night, at the Underground Cinema, 25 films from the Disposable Film Festival were screened as a part of NXNE.

Funny, touching, creative, personal, beautiful and most of all inspirational, sum up a handful of adjectives I could use to describe the Disposable Film Festival. I left the theatre full of ideas, wanting to create a film of my own on my iPhone. Thrush above and Paper Memories below were two of my favourites from the screening, so it wasn’t surprising to see that both won prizes at the festival.

The festival was created in 2007 in San Francisco, this year they received over 1000 submissions that were curated down to the 25 shown at the screening. They are currently accepting submissions until November 30th, 2011.

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Quick Review: LG Optimus 2X

Blossoms taken with the LG Optimus 2X

A couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to check out the LG Optimus 2X. It’s the world’s first smartphone with a duel-core processor, and it’s equip with 8 mega pixel camera. There’s a lot of bells and whistles on this baby, especially with gaming and HDMI mirroring to your TV, but what really caught my eye here was the built in camera.

The camera was super easy to use and comes with a whole lot of built in functionality and settings that mirror closely to a point and shoot type camera, giving you the ability to choose between scene modes, ISO speeds and white balance. It’s the first time I’ve really seen any of this in a mobile device and I was really pleased with the quick responsiveness of the camera. The photo above, was one of the test shots I took with the phone, I tried to take a similar shot with my iPhone 4, but it simply wasn’t as easy, especially trying to get everything in focus in such a close distance.

It’s devices like this, which are gonna slowly kill off the point and shoot market. Even with my iPhone 4, I rarely shoot with my point and shoot digital camera anymore, it’s just not convenient enough.

The Future of Mobile? Making Life Good.

Back in November, LG Canada asked me if I wanted to be a part of an international blogger forum happening in Seoul, South Korea. With the launch of their first smartphone (The LG Eve) recently behind them, they wanted to engage with bloggers about the future of mobile, with the LG Eve as their stepping stone. So over the last month and a half, I’ve been using and playing with the LG Eve to see what I liked and didn’t like, taking into consideration as to what the next steps might be in terms of future mobile. This led me to list of of features that I think will grow and develop over the next few years. The three things that come to mind for me are handsfree/speech recognition, docking your phone and universal bluetooth/networking functionality.

Handsfree/Speech Recognition

With more and more governments, banning the use of mobile devices while driving. Being able to use your device handsfree is becoming increasingly important. There are already devices on the market that allow for very basic forms of speech recognition. I can only assume that these technologies will likely improve over the next few years, allowing consumers to do more than just dialling pre-programmed numbers. Ideally, you’ll be able to tell your phone to update your twitter or facebook feed. Perhaps you’ll be able to even write entire emails simply by dictating into your phone. Imagine describing an event you are witnessing and posting it into your blog, via your smartphone, without actually typing anything into the device. That would be amazing. Perhaps this is still a few years down the line, but all ideas have to start somewhere.

Docking your phone

Currently, I’m an iPhone user and I love it because it can do all the basic computing things that I can do on my home computer. I’m able to read, and send email with ease, browse websites, listen to music and access all my social networks. Wouldn’t it be great if you could simply dock your phone, just like your able to dock a notebook computer to larger monitors and full keyboards? Having one device instead of two, would definitely simplify things. And everything now is bluetooth enabled, so set up should be a breeze. Which leads me to my last idea.

Universal Bluetooth/Networking

Just like the Lord of the Rings, with one ring to rule them all, imagine one device to control them all. So many devices are bluetooth enabled; keyboards, mice, controllers for video games, computers, headsets. Now imagine if all your household devices had bluetooth, or even simple network capabilities. You walk into a room and you can turn on your entertainment system. Your laundry finishes it’s cycle and you receive a txt or an email from your washing machine, telling you it’s done. Imagine not having to deal with half a dozen remote controls, or programming your PVR from your phone. Slowly these systems are becoming a reality, and with standards in bluetooth and wireless networking, it only a matter of time before every electronic device in your home will have the ability to connect to the home network.

Perhaps my ideas are a tad futuristic, but is it really that far off into the future? When I was growing up, we were still using film to take pictures with our cameras, and now we live in a world where my phone, can take a picture, shoot video and access the internet all in my pocket. I’m sure it won’t take long for that same device to take charge of many other functions in our day to day life.

So today, I’m hopping on a plane and travelling half way around the world to meet up with a bunch of other bloggers from 8 different countries. Sure we’ll get to tour around the beautiful city of Seoul, but we are also gonna get the opportunity to meet with LG engineers to see what’s coming down the pipe and perhaps plant ideas of flying cars and and universal devices that were once known as phones. How does your future look?