Paul Taylor

I am the FT's personal technology columnist and this blog is about gadgets, gizmos, software and services. It is a place to ask personal technology related questions and hopefully get answers in plain English. It is also a home for short, sometimes sharp, reviews and observations about the personal tech industry. Comments and criticism are welcome. For a bit more on my background, see my columnist page.

Audio technica

It used to be difficult and costly to convert music on vinyl records, cassette tape recordings or photographic prints and transparencies into digital files, but several new products aimed at non-professionals make the task much easier and deliver high-quality results.

Audio Technica’s AT-LP120 USB turntable 5/5 (pictured, above)

 

Paul Taylor

Nokia’s Lumia 710, which went on sale in the US yesterday and is due in Europe shortly, is one of the first products of the partnership between Microsoft and the Finnish phone company which is relying on the new operating system to revitalise its flagging fortunes.

The launch of the Lumia 710 which costs $50 with a T-Mobile USA contract also marks Nokia’s re-entry into the US market where Stephen Elop, Nokia’s chief executive, has vowed it must succeed. 

Paul Taylor

On reflection.

When I first arrived in New York as a junior reporter for the Financial Times in 1982 we used to write our copy on a set of pale blue teleprinters. Then when it was time to file – and often later – we would switch the teleprinters into ‘online mode’ and pressed the ‘send’ button.

The teleprinter then spewed out a yellow punched ribbon tape and at the same time magically transmitted the copy over a leased Reuters data link to a printer that sat on the FT’s foreign desk in London and was affectionately called the ‘hot line.’ 

Paul Taylor

One of the biggest challenges for Android-based smartphone makers is to differentiate their products from their rivals. With the Motorola Droid Bionic designed to run on Verizon’s high speed LTE wireless network, Motorola Mobility is seeking to outpace its rivals in three ways – hardware specs, battery life and accessories.

The Bionic’s basic specs are reasonably impressive beginning with its big 4.3 inch qHD screen manufactured using Corning’s scratch-proof Gorilla Glass. Other features include a dual-core 1GHz processor with 1GB of dedicated Ram, front and rear facing digital cameras and 32GB of memory including a 16GB micro-SD card. 

Sony Xperia Play

Martians – at least the popular science-fiction kind – might have felt quite at home at the annual Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona this week. Google’s green Android robot was everywhere and almost all of the new smartphone and tablet devices that I came across were running one of the Android family of operating systems.

Paul Taylor

Smartphones – except the iPhone until relatively recently – have always had the capability to ‘multitask’ – run more than one application at the same time.
This comes in useful if you want to switch between applications quickly, or if you want to jump from one to another without having to close the first down. 

Paul Taylor

Verizon iPhone 4The enthusiastic initial response Verizon Wireless customers have given the CDMA version of Apple’s iPhone 4 – Verizon had to halt pre-orders just 17 hours after they began – is a double-edged sword for the largest US mobile network operator. 

That is because the hefty subsidy Verizon pays Apple for the iPhone – estimated at about $400 per unit – could depress earnings at least in the short term, if Verizon Wireless sells more iPhones than expected.  

Paul Taylor

The BlackBerry PlayBook, Research in Motion’s forthcoming entry into the dynamic tablet PC market, will face some tough competition when it finally launches in the next few months. But based on my hands-on experience with the device during CES this week, the PlayBook is up to the challenge. 

Paul Taylor

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer was in fine (fighting) form on stage at the annual Gartner Symposium in Orlando today, punching his hands for emphasis and positively bristling at the suggestion that Microsoft should split its consumer and corporate businesses.

He described a recent Goldman Sachs idea to spin-out the consumer unit as “nutty” and  “the second most crazy idea I have ever heard.” Unfortunately he did not tell his audience of about 5,000 senior IT executive what was the craziest. 

Paul Taylor

Windows Phone 7 is probably Microsoft’s last chance to remain relevant in the increasingly competitive smartphone operating system marketplace.

Over the past few weeks, I have had the chance to test out several of the new handsets based on Windows Phone 7, including models from Samsung, the Korean electronics group, and HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker, which has been a longtime Microsoft handset partner.