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Resco has announced an update to Brain Games which adds full support for 320×320 screens. Yipee!

In just 5 minutes a day, you can have the brain you always dreamed of. Improve your mental capabilities by testing your memory, analytical skills and calculation skills. Concentrate more and increase your brain reflection speed with 36 brain training games.

And don’t forget, it will also be fun so you can exercise and enjoy it every single day!

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From Gavin- The beyzacase I had reviewed for the i780 also turns out to be the slip case for the iphone! A bit of invesitgation reveals that several cases might fit the i780 that were designed for the iphone. And there are some swanky iphone cases. Investigating further 🙂

Date of Review – 25th June 2008

Available from – http://4ustuff.com

Prices – $25-28

4ustuff manufacture cases and accessories for a range of devices. They kindly sent me a selection of their cases for the Samsung i780.

Leather Hang Case with Cover and Belt Clip

First up is the Leather Hang case with screen cover. The design is different to any case I have reviewed but actually is a wonderful and simple idea. The leather cover has room for one micro sd card and an sd memory card. It has a magnetic enclosure built into the end of the cover so it simply attaches with ease to the side of the case and doesn’t bounce off either.

The leather is of good quality and the overall leather depth of the case adds minimal profile to the overall size compared to other i780 cases reviewed previously. Also the camera side button is protected inside the case. There is a marking on the side of the case so you know where to press. The case also comes with a belt clip which attaches to the rear of the case if required.

   

All cutouts for all the bespoke functions of the i780 are included. An unusual design, but one which I like a lot.

Horizontal Leather Case

Another well designed, good quality case. Room for memory cards, credit cards and a spare stylus, this is another excellent case from 4ustuff.

The bottom of the case includes cutouts for the mic and allows you to easily remove the phone from the case if desired. The top of the case is open.

The other sides of the case are equally as impressive.

This is another excellent case design, with the ability to hold credit and memory cards and a stylus.

Vertical Leather Case with Belt Clip

Similar to the horizontal case, this has storage for memory and credit cards, but not for a spare stylus. The case has a cutout for the front camera, and once again the side camera button is under the case with a marking on the outer side of the case to show you where to press.  This case also comes with a belt clip if required.

All in all, another well designed case.

Summary

I liked all the cases by 4ustuff, but my personal favourite is the Vertical case.

Review by Gavin Fabiani-Laymond

A few months ago I spent a few days with a Blackberry Curve, but got sidetracked by all of the hassle setting it up with my current mobile service provider and dispensed with it. Following a few blissful weeks with the Samsung i780 I decided to try a Curve again with my new provider to see if the experience had improved. The two factors that let the i780 down are battery life and screen clarity when outdoors, and with summer starting to take hold the later can be a major problem. Owning a sophisticated smartphone gives you the freedom to send and receive emails wherever there is coverage, but that is somewhat negated when you use a device that has issues with the sun. There are few ways to avoid the sun because it is rather big, rather bright and by all accounts helps us to live…

This article will inevitably compare the Curve to the i780 and I will attempt to look at each particular feature with an open mind, and it is fair to say that I have spent a ‘long’ time making sure the Blackberry experience is one I understand. I have not just picked up the phone and found problems- I have found problems and researched each one until a fix has been found. Please also remember that this article is not aimed at the corporate user, but more at the power smartphone user who has a relatively high degree of knowledge in the platform they use.

Price

My current contract costs £15 per month for voice and texts and an additional £7.50 per month for unlimited web browsing. It is not exactly a contract because it was purchased as a SIM only option with a 30 day notice period. On a Windows Mobile, Symbian or Palm device I can surf and deal with emails as often as I like and not be penalised for over usage. After many discussions with my service provider I found, to my horror, that it would cost me a further £15 per month to receive emails using the Blackberry Internet Service, thus taking the contract up to £37.50 per month. I understand that push email is great for people who have a standard email account from the likes of Yahoo or Google, but that is a very high amount to pay. All of the other providers I researched also charged extra for the Blackberry email service, and I do have that 30 day contract which limit’s the offers available to me. Also, I have a personal MS Exchange Server which means that I can have ActiveSync exchange without usage limits for the aforementioned £22.50 per month, and I can synchronise contacts, calendar and tasks at the same time as email.

Interface

Anyway, I signed up as a test and added my email accounts to the BIS. This all worked well and emails started to appear in my inbox. When I say ‘Inbox’ I really mean a list of messages that is so confusing as to almost completely disregard all that we have learned about presentation on a mobile device. The included fonts are quite frankly appalling and make the whole system look like a backward version of Palm OS, and that is not easy to do. There are many keyboard shortcuts available, but these still require too many key presses for my liking and after many days I still struggled to grasp the amount of manual intervention the user had to apply to do routine tasks. Some Blackberry users will say that it is just a case of getting used to it, but not everyone has the time, or inclination, to do that. There are third party solutions that present new emails in a much more readable fashion, but again I do not feel that should be necessary. I had a look around and it does appear that the built in fonts are not easy to change, but may be there is a solution out there that I am not aware of.

For all of the included applications from the calendar and address book through to the tasks and memo pad I found the interface to be very basic. This is not always a bad thing and indeed it is advantageous in many circumstances. I don’t need my calendar to have lots of colours and a memo pad should be clean and simple to let the data shine through. I like the ‘Zen of Blackberry’ look for most PIM applications, but not in messaging. I also found the included launcher to be reminiscent of Symbian- you get a icon driven grid of applications that you can move around and add to new folders, but this is not particularly useful if you have a lot of applications installed. There are many themes out there, but few appear to change the way the interface works; you either get a very basic today screen or a launcher pad, but no mix of the two. Windows Mobile wins hands down in this area.

In use

I mentioned having lots of applications installed, but this is not easy to do. Within two days of using the Curve I received the dreaded egg timer alert again and again as the free memory dropped below 10MB. All I had installed was Ascendo Money and MobiReader, but this is apparently a known issue with the Curve itself. To own a device that takes away the worry of battery life or screen resolution if fantastic, but it seems to replace those problems with a new one- lack of memory. Some of the solutions offered include uninstalling applications, soft resetting and even hard resets alongside many other tweaks you should do to get things running well. It was also apparent that the browser struggled to display a number of web pages and often froze when I used it. The browser itself also felt very Palm OS like and reminded me of Blazer which is not a good thing.

I liked the general speed of the Curve, when the egg timer was absent, but never quite managed to quite trust it to be able to handle what I need from day to day. I want good messaging, PIM, eBooks, GPS and a not taking applications and that it is. The GPS solutions available include Garmin Mobile (which is probably the best, but not comparable to the likes of TomTom and CoPilot), Blackberry Maps (bundled, but not a true GPS solution) and finally I tried Vodafone Sat Nav. It is hard to explain my experience with Vodafone Sat Nav, but needless to say NEVER AGAIN!

Having a device that is built so well is a joy and the keyboard soon became super quick for me, but not quite as good as the i780, and the screen works brilliantly in all conditions. The Curve felt like a case of super hardware mixed with some low specifications and uncomfortable operating system to produce a bizarre smartphone that should be a lot better than it is.

Conclusion

I make no apologies for my lack of Blackberry knowledge. I am no expert in this area having previous owned over 50 Psion, Palm, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices but wanted to experience the operating system from the perspective of a new user. In the first few days, I found the entire experience to be difficult to understand and had to overcome a variety of problems. It is without doubt great if your company sets it all up for you, but a personal user not only has to pay more to attain the Blackberry experience, but has to undertake a learning curve to make the most out of this platform.

Strangely, I kept going back to the Curve to use it because it is indeed an enjoyable phone to use and the call quality and speakerphone are superb, but I could not achieve as much as I can on my i780 in the same time. There is something special about the Blackberry interface, but also something deeply irritating that I struggle to find the words for. I cannot quite understand why it is so popular and why this popularity appears to be growing as each month passes by. After many hours of use, I found the OS to be basic, poor value and ultimately lacked flexibility. In defence of the often criticised Windows Mobile, my Samsung i780 has proved to be more stable, much quicker and more powerful that the Curve and that is true of most other WM devices I have used.

I know people who have moved from another OS and who love the way Blackberry’s work and a friend said to me that “It lets me get on with the important things and not concentrate on the rubbish.” I can understand this view, but I could not manage to do much beyond the standard stuff and I had to pay a premium for a service that is less featured than MS Exchange.

Despite all of my grumbles, it has certainly been an interesting experience using the Blackberry platform. Sadly, it is not one I will be returning to anytime soon. It is being updated and this is great news so I may return one day to see what has changed. Finally, I would like to recommend www.crackberry.com. I asked one basic question and was inundated with helpful replies and welcome messages. The site looks great and the people on the forums are extremely helpful- something inside me tells me that I have missed the whole meaning of the Blackberry experience because these people love it to bits!

MemMaid v2.3 released

MemMaid v2.3 has been released and this update will be of particular interest to Samsung i780 owners because it now displays perfectly.

Support for devices with 800×480 resolution (Sony Ericsson Xperia X1)
Support for the latest AvantGo version (version 6.5 build 216)
Support for the latest Opera browser (version 8.65, build 2779)
Added the ability to sort the installed applications by date, name, or size
Minor bug fixes

Bubble Babble Review

Astraware has continued to release many games over the past year, and it is pleasing to see so many releases still appearing for Palm OS month after month. Bubble Babble is initially available for Palm OS and Windows Mobile, with more platforms expected in the future.

Seeing the screenshots of Bubble Babble gave an impression of a classic Astraware puzzle style title and I was not disappointed when I first played it. Firstly, it runs perfectly on my 320×320 screened Samsung i780 and the tutorial is not only cute, but very useful. After a few minutes I was linking letters, splitting words and desperately moving letters around the screen with my stylus. Think of this as upside down Tetris with words and you will get a rough idea of what I am talking about.

The idea is to make as many words as possible and once you have made a word you need to drag it to the top of the screen to make it count. Dragging a word you have made in error to the bottom will split it and you can start the word again. While doing this, you have to try to stop the letters floating to the top and being lost. It is an interesting mix of word skill and frantic playability that is surprisingly addictive. On my first test play I was sat there for over 45 minutes which is a first for me.

There are four styles of play which are Challenge, Target, Mystery and Freeplay. Each offers a good variety of play and the Freeplay mode somewhat reminds me of Bejeweled in that you can in theory play the game forever. I like the variety, but personally I favoured Challenge over the others.

The graphics are very cute and you can even collect shells of varying types to add to your collection. This made seem a bit too cute for some, but I have always liked games that offer an extra target and this adds to the overall immersive environment.

It is hard to write a lot about Bubble Babble because the rules are very simple, but consider this a positive. Just like Bejeweled, it is simple to learn but quite taxing on the brain as you progress through each level. I’m not saying that this is a classic, but it is indeed an addictive puzzler of the highest order. Everything about it screams ‘Astraware’ and who knows; it could become a classic to sit alongside Bejeweled and Text Twist.

Bubble Babble is well worth the asking price and it has already become a hit in my family. My wife loves it, my 8 year old son has also been playing it (I can see it helping his spelling) and my 4 year old daughter just giggles at the cute colours and graphics. What more could you want from one game?

Bubble Babble will be available from www.astraware.com within the next 48 hours. Try it!

Hands-on: Samsung i780

Hands-on: Samsung i780 has been posted at PDA Thoughts- “Yesterday I was in one of my favourite electronics stores again, where I found a demo unit of the Samsung i780. I was eager to try the device, as the people from PDA247 recommended it. Of course this phone has been reviewed already by a lot people/websites, so I only did a quick hands-on to give my opinion about it. I snapped a quick picture with my S620, which did a fairly good job with its 1.3 MP camera.

The look and feel

When walking by, the i780 immediately grabbed my attention with its nice looks. The design isn’t special by any means, but it’s just right. The plain black with silver/grey accents create a stylish, business-like look. Like always, seeing a device in real life says more than the picture. So that’s good. Even attached to a cable, I could get a good feel of the phone.  Although it is kind of big, it’s real thin and light. However this doesn’t guarantee you that it will lay in your hand nicely, but this one does. I may not have had it in my hands for a long period (5 minutes max), I’m sure that I would be able to type on it two-handed just fine. And I almost forgot to tell that it feels pretty solid!…” Read more at PDA Thoughts.