February 14th, 2006

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More FT features, more comment

Users spy enticing prospect of a new Vista
By this time next year you might already be using Windows Vista and Office 2007: glancing at the Sidebar to check the weather forecast, using the ribbon interface to format your documents and managing your life from the To-Do bar in Outlook.
My preview of Windows Vista and Office 12

Business handsets: Keyboard is the route to efficiency
Almost any phone can show you e-mail these days but you need a real keyboard if you want to do anything useful with it. I cover a selection of the upcoming handsets with keyboards I aim to get my hands on this year

I've written several pieces for the FT Digital Business section now, but after a couple of days FT content retreats behind the paywall; click them while they're hot!
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Express Card arriving faster

PCMCIA and PC Card are showing their age; since WiFi started to come as standard I haven't used the PC Card socket for anything except a 3G data card and I can't wait for built-in data radios because the power management will be so much better. But if your new notebook has an Express Card slot instead, 3G, HSDPA, EVDO and other high speed data cards are starting to come through - or at least the radio modules that can be built-in or used as Express Cards are getting certified. Apple's a bit ahead of the curve on Express Card - as it was with USB and dropping the floppy - but it's at the inconvenient rather than impossible to live with stage. 

full steam ahead

Location, location, location

GPS on phones isn't bad unless you're up North, driving north; we lost the signal around Wyboston and didn't get it back till we were in Gateshead. Assisted GPS tells the GPS receiver where to look for satellites based on which cell your mobile phone is in, which saves on battery power and speeds up acquisition. But AGPS hasn't taken off and anyway, cells can be up to 10km across in rural areas so I'm much keener on using the details of the cellular network to derive more information - like E-GPS which adds time synchronisation to locate you so you can get the GPS connection more quickly, or fall back on the time signal if you're indoors (70 percent of all location-based services are initiated indoors according to Cambridge Positioning Systems). I was disappointed that HP didn't put the CPS system into the Mobile Messenger last year. Now SimCom is putting it into their S788 handset; I hope it makes it into a broader range of devices soon.