While China isn’t exactly known for creating original products when it comes to their own design, once in awhile we’ll be surprised at the devices they can come up with. Case in point, Oppo’s first ever smartphone, the X903. Running on Android, this phone sure doesn’t fail in the looks department but it is only mediocre when it comes to specs, especially when put up against other high-end devices from other manufacturers. But hey – what were you expecting? The X903 packs a 1GHz processor with 3D graphics accelerator (manufacturer not mentioned), an 8-megapixel camera (supports 720p HD video recording), 3G, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a very interestingly-skinned Android 2.2 operating system. Judging by screenshots of the device, it looks like a cross between iOS and Android, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you feel about it. No word on pricing or release date


SIMFi merges WiFi with SIM cards, turns any phone into a hotspot


Smart card expert Sagem Orga (Safran group) and Telefonica, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, are enhancing mobile broadband services by offering “SIMFi,” the first SIM card with integrated Wi-Fi. Using the SIM as a hotspot is expected to have the potential of becoming the next killer application.

Millions of subscribers are using netbooks and notebooks to surf the Internet while on the move, and this has become a strategic market for mobile operators. To enable Internet access, all of these mobility devices use the USIM card to authenticate the user on High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) networks, but there are some drawbacks that are slowing down market penetration. These include complex 3G modem and driver set-ups the user must perform, the use of accessories and cables such as USB modems, PCMCIA modems, handsets and certain software, and the complexity of service use.

By turning the SIM card into a Wi-Fi hotspot, Sagem Orga and Telefonica have developed a solution without all these hurdles. An embedded WLAN modem in the SIM card, driven by the SIM toolkit applets running in the SIM, will enable Telefonica to broadcast High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) Internet access through Wi-Fi to notebooks and netbooks. The new generation USIM card “SIMFi” can be inserted in any type of classic handset to act as a universal and interoperable HSPA/Wi-Fi router for any device.

“We strongly believe that SIMFi, with its unprecedented functionality for wireless access, will significantly improve the user experience,” explained Remy Cricco, Technology Innovation Manager at Sagem Orga. “If customers can connect their notebooks to the Web anytime and anywhere by simply using what they have with them most of the time and what is the most trusted secure device – the SIM card – adoption can be expected to be enormous.”


Digital Cube works WiFi, HD playback


It’s pretty obvious what it takes to play in the current generation of PMPs: enough juice to process HD videos, and an HDMI port to get it off the player and onto the big screen. Unfortunately, the new i-Station T9 from Digital Cube sort of stops there. It has great codec support, and even WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity (to be enjoyed by what OS is unclear), but unlike its big brother S3’s WVGA display, the mere 4.3-inch, 480 x 272 screen on the T9 will have us looking for an HDMI port a bit early. No word on price or availability.


In-flight WiFi coming by 2010

inflightwifiLooks like Continental is the latest to inch closer to our dream of WiFi on every flight: the airline just announced that it’ll be rolling out Gogo in-flight internet service on 21 Boeing 757-300s in its fleet starting in Q2 2010. The service will cost $4.95 and up based on flight length, and the 757s in question mostly serve domestic routes — we’re hoping Continental takes a cue from American and US Airways and lets passengers check to see if their plane is WiFi-enabled.


ASUS O!Play HD Media Player

Asus has announced a new model of its O!Play HD media player, the Air HDP-R3. The new O!Play brings WiFi, as well as a card reader, while the rest of the features remains the same as on the previously released ASUS O!Play HDP-R1.

The new O!Play AIR HDP-R3 comes equipped with 802.11n WiFi, as well as the card reader for CF, SD/MMC and Memory Sticks (MS/MS Duo) cards. The rest of the features remained the same as this one still supports MPEG1/2/4, H.264, VC-1, RM/RMVB video formats in almost every known container, including popular avi, mkv, wmv, mp4, mov and a bunch of others. It also supports almost every known audio format.

It has HDMI 1.3, composite audio/video and optical digital audio outputs and has one USB 2.0, one eSATA/USB2.0 combo port, one RJ-45 LAN port and a card reader. The dimensions remain at the same 181×125.3×47.7mm, and the only design touch is the WiFi indicator LED on the front of the device.

It is nice to see that Asus included WiFi on its O!Play HD media player as it is much easier to share media content over network and without cables. We just hope that WiFi and a card reader won’t affect the price which unfortunately hasn’t been announced. The WiFi-less ASUS O!Play HDP-R1 is available at around €90, and we just hope that the new one won’t be much pricier.