Amazon Black Friday deals start today

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Amazon is again running Black Friday sales in the UK, where the idea of Black Friday is not so common (Black Friday referring to the always quiet shopping Friday directly after Thanksgiving). This is the third year of the sales, and hopefully there is something for everyone.

Amazon are providing lots of good deals across their whole range of goods, not just music and books, so it’s well worth a look to see what is on offer. As with previous years; many offers this morning were sold out within minutes if not seconds of being released (and Amazon only release the price at the start of the offer so if you are interested in one of their upcoming offers, do your price research before the offer is announced), as always the electronic and gaming items seem the most popular.

Head here for more information.


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Three now selling Nokia Lumia 610

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

3UK have announced today that they have started to sell the budget phone in the Lumia range, the Nokia Lumia 610. Now, this phone has less memory, and hence can’t run some of the multitasking features we all expect from Windows Phone; in particular, the Nokia Lumia 610 doesn’t support background tasks (especially those taking more than 90MB), fast app switching or live tiles updates (these mainly require background tasks). However, it’s available for £28 per month on the One Plan (24 month contract, but includes AYCE data and tethering support), or just £150 on PAYG, and this makes it a nice budget phone, unless you are a real power user.

Of course, the Nokia Lumia 710 is £200 on PAYG (or £32 per month on the One Plan), and that may well work out better value in the long run; the Nokia Lumia 610 does have touch buttons, whereas the Nokia Lumia 710 has real buttons (that’s a personal preference) but with the Lumia 710 supporting the full range of Windows Phone 7 features (and the new firmware that shipped last week adds the flip-to-silence and tethering options sorely missed on it), it does appear an overall better option.

However, another way of looking at it; what other device can you buy for £150 which offers free offline satnav features (Nokia Drive), free offline music (Nokia Mix Radio), and free public transport information (Nokia Transport, where data is available), and if bought on the One Plan can be used to provide you unlimited data for your other wifi devices, such as your tablet and PC?

If interested, head over to the 3UK website, where you can now purchase the phone, or, if you prefer, buy the Nokia Lumia 710.


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Pure launch new Highway DAB Radio

Friday, November 25th, 2011

One of the first articles on the UK Gadgeteer website back in 2007 was around the PURE Highway, a portable DAB radio designed for car use.  This turned out to be a very popular device, although one small complaint about it was that it had to connect to the windscreen mount, and you had to have wires all over the dashboard (aerial & power).  Competitors, such as Revo, produced DAB addon car units which needed more permanent fitting in the car, however, Revo have now left the car market.

Well, Pure are addressing these issues and have launched a new Highway DAB radio, the Pure Highway 300Di.  This unit has a small control unit (removable, for when you want to hide the presence of the unit) using an OLED screen (and backlit buttons).  In fact, the simple display / buttons and control knob remind me of the very successful Parrot range of Bluetooth car kit control units).  This connects to a control box designed for placing behind the dash, or in the glovebox.  This needs permanent connections to the car (I suspect it’ll possible to DIY fit it, but it’s not designed for plugging into a cigaretter lighter, unlike the PURE Highway, which remains on sale for those who want a truely portable unit).

As well as providing DAB (via a DAB aerial which needs external fitting), the unit has a USB port allowing you to plug in USB memory sticks, USB devices, or you can use your Apple USB cable and the device will be able to fully control (and charge) your Apple iPod or iPhone.

Most DAB radios only have one tuner, whereas most car radios adopted the idea of dual tuners quite a few years ago; this allows the second tuner to go hunting for a stronger signal without impacting the radio playback, and in fact, the Pure Highway 300Di has a second tuner which will automatically keep the station list up to date with only the stations available as you travel around the country.

To connect it to your car, you can either use an AUX-IN type socket, or it can use an FM transmitter, either wireless using the car’s existing aerial, or it can be wired into the aerial circuit giving a crackle free experience.

In addition, Pure have added a couple of innovative new modes:

  • Forcourt mode, where the device will go into standby for up to 15 minutes, allowing you to return to your car, and the unit will already be ready for action with the same music.  In you are listening to the DAB radio, you can pause (for up to 8 minutes) and continue listening when you return to the car.
  • Picnic mode, where the device is able to continue playing the music for up to an hour after the car ignition is switched off.  The 1 hour limit is to prevent the car battery being drained, although some cars will limit you to only 15 minutes even though the unit could do longer.

For those wanting to add DAB to your existing car, and want something a little more permanent than the PURE Highway, this may well be the device for you.  Pricing will be £179.99, although it’s not yet available, it will be sold exclusively through Halfords for a period.

Having said it’s not available, I believe it should be on sale within the next week or two, and during the initial launch, Halfords will be offering free fitting (normally around £25).


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Nokia bringing “Anna” updates to older phones

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Nokia started a rollout of new firmwares to a range of S60 v3.2 (3rd Edition FP2) and S60 v5 (Symbian^1) devices yesterday which will bring a range of new features to these phones.

The main update is a new Web Browser, the same as will/is shipping in the Anna update for Symbian^3 phones.  This is much faster than the previous browser, and even in the short time I’ve had access to it, it does seem a much faster and better browser.

Additionally, Ovi Maps has been updated.  For S60 v3.2 devices, the latest version available is v3.04, but that does bring a range of new features such as WiFi and Cell ID positioning to help speed up the initial GPS fix.  For S60 v5 devices, this means v3.06, which also brings the ability to update the maps direct from the device (although the latest maps released by Nokia are still from back in February 2011; it would be nice to see Nokia moving to a quarterly map update schedule).

It should be pointed out that for some of the devices, the Maps update has been available from the Software Update tool built into the phone, and in this scenario, the main firmware update does not seem to include the Maps update.  If you have such a device, you have already got the latest Maps, and the new firmware does not modify that.

Finally, there is support for emoticons within Messages.  If you type characters such as : ) it will automatically turn it into a graphical emoticon.  Otherwise, you can select to insert an emoticon from the keyboard menu.

So, which devices will this be rolling out to?  Nokia have said:

S60 v3.2:

S60 v5:

My understanding is that the Nokia 5230, C6-00, E5, E52 and E72 all started to receive the firmware update from yesterday, with the other devices following over the next few weeks.

If you have a Symbian^1 phone, you can also download the Nokia Evolve theme from the Ovi Store (here), which will give the built in apps the same style of icons as the upcoming Anna update for Symbian^3 devices.

One word of warning though; it seems that this firmware update has a bug on all devices with homescreen widgets which will cause the very useful “Coming Next” widget to break and display an error message.  Nokia are aware of this (basically any attempt to access the Calendar from a Web Runtime Widget returns a blank response), and have indicated it will need a further firmware update for all devices to fix, so if your busy schedule relies upon the “Coming Next” widget, you might want to think long and hard before applying this update.

Overall, I’ve found a combination of the latest Ovi Maps, the latest Anna browser, and the Evolve icons does bring a good refresh to existing Symbian phones, and should extend their life a little further; it’s definitely nice to see Nokia releasing these software updates to elder phones; oh, and if you are a fan of Gravity (the all round best Social Networking client for Symbian) you’ll be glad to know the latest Alpha has an Anna-style application icon to match the rest of the icons.


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Gadget Show Live happening soon; a few tickets left

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The Gadget Show Live 2011 takes place from 13th April to the 17th April at the NEC this year.  The Gadget Show Live team tell me…

“The Gadget Show Live has quadrupled in size since it began in 2009 and this year expects 100,000 visitors through the door. It features 250 of the world’s leading electronics firms, including Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, JVC, Nintendo and LG, and features many UK product premieres. New tech includes the latest smart TVs from Sony, Panasonic and LG, which boast not only the usual HD and 3D capabilities, but also a raft of streaming content and online applications.

Visitors can participate in numerous free features, including the new HUB Theatre, an entire hall dedicated to the Game Zone, the Future Technology Project and a larger interactive Test Track. There will also be a one hour long, live theatre version of the TV show in the newly designed Super Theatre (three times a day).

NEW TECH AND GAMES

As well as watching the new smart TVs, visitors can also try out the latest 3D photography and video equipment, such as the new high definition 3D camcorder from JVC (Everio GS-TD1). They can also watch a 3D printer re-creating real objects (on Bits from Bites stand, in Future Tech Project and in The HUB Theatre).

In addition, they can listen to the new Zeppelin Air from Bowers and Wilkins, which has the ability to wirelessly stream music for iPhones, iPads and computers running iTunes. They can also watch through the new augmented reality (AR) video eyewear from Vuzix, which enables 3D video viewing in real time, whilst overlaying the video with home-made 3D content.

A full on tablet war is predicted with all the leading contenders to the crown on show. The best in home computing can also be found with the full HD touch screen VAIO L-Series from Sony and the new multi-touch enabled AKOYA desktops from MEDION. For the house proud, there will be the new compact and lightweight robotic lawnmower from Husqvarna, the new lightweight cordless vacuum cleaner from Dyson – the Digital Slimô – and the next generation of domestic servants from iRobot.

The Game Zone (an entire dedicated hall in association with GAME), will include a major outing for the Nintendo 3DS, a live professional gaming tournament with a £5,000 cash prize from Alienware, plus their new 15 inch gaming notebook. New game launches include the first UK viewing of DiRT3 from Codemasters (released 24 May), the new Duke Nukem game from 2K games, EA’s Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed plus the European finals of the new Mortal Kombat beat-em-up from Warner Bros.

TECH OF THE FUTURE

The Future Tech Project is an unforgettable chance to experience technology of the future. This area includes 3D printing and robotics from Warwick University, mind controlled computing (www.neurosky.com) and even eye controlled computing, seen for the first time in the UK from Waterloo Labs (part of National Instruments).

There will also be a blurring of the real and virtual world with the latest augmented reality creations from T-Immersion, plus smart textiles and intelligent clothing from CuteCircuit, and wireless kitchen gadgets and food that can heat itself whilst still in its packaging (using the eCoupled countertop from Fulton Innovation).

NEW FREE HUB THEATRE

The new circular theatre offers free access to six daily presentations, led by Stuff TV’s Lucy Hedges and Radio One’s Aled Hayden Jones. They will do the hard work of filtering down the headline news and best tech at the show. Sessions will cover The Future Tech Project, T3’s hottest gadgets, a review of tablets and smart-phones, home gadgets and a music gadget review.

LATEST E-BIKES AND PERSONAL TRANSPORT DEVICES

The first street-legal electric bicycle, the Grace One, will launch at The Gadget Show Live – it’s a carbon neutral e-motorbike which can travel up to 28 mph (UK limit is 15 mph) and requires no driving license or registration, but you must be over 14. A huge range of vehicles, such as Segways and the latest electric bikes from Create, Dumco and Pacific, can be test-driven at the 1,000 square metre Test Track. There will also be a kids transport area with vehicles from Razor and the UK’s top professionals showing off their tricks on the Remote Control Demo Area.

Furthermore, those lucky enough to have a ticket for the Super Theatre will be blown away by a high-energy version of the TV show. Three times daily (each show seating 4,500 people), the presenters will demo the latest tech, whilst the audience participates to win prize – they’ll also see a Jason-cyborg and Suzi Avatar on stage.

…And if all of that isn’t enough, visitors can also find how to make the most of the latest digital cameras in the Photographic Workshop and check out the best in new 3D kit in the new 3D Theatre.”

If you are interested in attending, then there are still some afternoon only (2pm to 6pm) tickets left, which you can purchase at http://www.gadgetshowlive.net/. UK Gadgeteer is hoping to attend and report back on the useful and worthwhile stands to visit.


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Samsung Galaxy Tab updates

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Whilst Mobile World Congress is going this week, many manufacturers will be launching new phones and devices, and Samsung is no exception.  Along with the Samsung Galaxy S2 (Android phone), they have announced their new tablet; the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. This has a large 10.1″ 1280 x 800 screen, and runs Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). The features include:

  • 1GHz Dual Core Processor
  • Dual surround sound speakers
  • HD recording and Full HD playback
  • 8 megapixel rear and 2 megapixel front cameras
  • 599g
  • Google Services (including Google Mail, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Latitude, Google Books and Google Talk video chat)
  • Flash support
  • A-GPS (Google Turn-by-turn navigation)
  • WiFi (802.111 b/g/n)

This is a nice high tech device.  Of course, for many, a 10.1″ device is just too big to carry around, and for those, the existing Samsung Galaxy Tab should suit just fine (with the smaller, but still impressive 7.0″ 1024 x 600 screen).  The smaller Tab is also lighter (380g), but is “only” running Android 2.2 (Froyo).

If you are interested in the existing 7″ Galaxy Tab, then 3UK announced on Friday that they are now selling the device with a very competitive data contract; for £25 per month (24-month contract), you’ll get 15GB of data each month to use on the device (there is also an upfront cost of £199); however, compare that to say, Vodafone, who would charge £25 per month (18-month contract) plus £499 upfront, and you just get 3GB of data each month.

Also, if you are looking to buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000 (the 7″ device) soon; you might want to hurry up; Samsung UK is offering a promotion whereby they will provide you with 50 MP3s (from emusic.com), 15 movies (from Samsung Movies), 7 Games (from Gameloft, although 2 are pre-installed), and £25 worth of eBooks (from W H Smith); however, you need to register your device’s details with Samsung before the end of this month (28 February 2011). I should point out terms and conditions apply to this promotion, which do need checking before you commit to the device solely on the basis of this offer.

If you already own the Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000, 3UK are now offering PAYG Pre-loaded Tablet SIMs, which have from 1GB to 12GB of data pre-loaded onto them for use with a tablet.


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Update for LiveView due soon

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

The Sony Ericsson LiveView device (which we first covered here), has proved quite a popular device, both in terms of sales, but also in the number of Android applications that have been written (or enhanced) to support it.  This is, overall, a good position for the device.  However, all is not well, with many users reporting disconnections (and difficulties in re-establishing a connection afterwards).  Sony Ericsson have confirmed that they are investigating these issues, and plan to release a firmware update for the hardware at some point during this month (January) which should resolve many of the problems people have been facing.

Sony Ericsson also produced this list of compatible apps that they have noticed in the Android Marketplace, some of which sound very interesting:

  • Moon Phase Pro: 3D interactive simulation of the moon.
  • LiveView™ HTC Music plug-in: Music plug-in for HTC phones.
  • OI Shopping List: Shop easily with your LiveView™.
  • FakeCall for LiveView™: Trigger sounds and vibration on your Android phone.
  • LiveView™ ContactCall plug-in: Lets you browse contacts and initiate a call.
  • LiveView™ for Cycle Hire: Quickly access and safely access docking station statuses for London’s TfL Barclays Cycle Hire scheme.
  • LiveView™ Weather plug-in: Show current weather forecast in your location.
  • SportyPal: Motivational training tool that gives you a view of your work-out.
  • Launcher plug-in: Display your application icons on the LiveView™.
  • Smart Training: GPS tracker tool, post your training record.
  • Where am I LiveView™ plug-in: Shows a map of your current location.
  • LiveView™ PowerAMP: Control any music player.
  • Gmail for LiveView™: Gmail notifications plug-in that also lets you read the first part of the e-mail.
  • Se-first.com news alert: RSS notifier for Se-first.com
  • Calendar plug-in: Gives you an overview of your calendar and you can scroll and dive into a daily agenda.
  • Twitter icon plug-in: Shows your Twitter icon or a QR-code so that you can spread your Twitter-url.
  • Mode plug-in: Profile manager that lets you switch between silent, vibrate etc.

In fact, I’ve also seen a few early beta versions of other apps that will make it even more appealing, which is good news for the £50 device.  First of all, though, we need to see that updated firmware…

Some information taken from Sony Ericsson.


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TiVo finally going to be available soon

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Virgin Media have this week announced more details of their TiVo plans.  Although the roll out will start in mid-December, for most people you won’t actually get service until early 2011 (it’s not clear whether the rollout is location based, or just limited stocks).  However, I can confirm that although the box will ship with a two tuner capability, it will be enhanced early next year to have a three tuner capability.  Even better for early adopters, this will simply need a software upgrade to enable (ie the hardware is already there), and not an actual hardware upgrade.

The Virgin Media TiVo box will be provided with a dedicated 10mb connection via the fibre network, which will not impact the customer’s own broadband connection, and will not count towards any limits or throttles.  Virgin Media also confirmed:

“The service launches initially with apps from major web brands including catch-up TV from BBC iPlayer, videos from YouTube, shopping from the online marketplace eBay, Tweets from Twitter and photos from sites such as Facebook, and the app line up will expand over the next several months.

The service will be supported by a brand new set-top box offering 1 terabyte of storage – up to 500 hours of standard definition programming – as well as access to 4,600 hours of TV shows, movies and music on demand. In due course, there will also be the facility to set recordings remotely via online and mobile devices.

Featuring cutting edge hardware design, the Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo box will have three tuners [UKG: once the software update comes next year], allowing viewers to record two channels whilst watching a third so recording conflicts become a thing of the past. The future-proofed service will automatically be updated with new features and functionality as they become available.

Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo will begin to roll-out from mid-December. Standard price of £199 [UKG: plus £40 installation charge], plus £26.50 per month [UKG: when taken with a phone line too; else it’s £32.50 per month] for the XL TiVo package which features over 160 channels, an unrivalled TV on demand library and access to all standard HD channels.”

For further information, or to register for interest in getting the new TiVo service, visit: www.virginmedia.com/TiVo.


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Nokia announce Nokia Situations

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Although not as full featured as Tasker or Locale (both for Android devices), Nokia Situations enhances the built in Profile management with the ability to create custom profiles, and choose when these profiles are selected.  The screenshot above shows some of the range of options you can use to trigger the change in profile, and I’m especially pleased to see Network support, and not just GPS location, allowing location based changes without needing the phone to constantly use drain the battery by keeping the GPS running.

Although currently a Nokia Beta Labs product, it’s likely we will see this either integrated into future devices, or the app being made available in the Ovi Store to allow a wider coverage.

Nokia have also created 4 versions of this, which is also good to see.  Firstly, there’s the Symbian^3 version (Nokia N8), an S60 5th Edition for phones with homescreen widgets (Nokia N97, Nokia N97 Mini, Nokia C6-00), remaining S60 5th Edition phones (such as the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic), and even a S60 3rd Edition FP2 (Nokia E72, Nokia E5); it’s good that Nokia are remembering they are still releasing new phones with S60 3rd Edition installed.

If you are interested in this application, head over to Nokia Beta Labs for more information.


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Amazon UK offering Black Friday deals

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Amazon has come up with an clever marketing idea, but the offers on sale are worth a look.  Companies like Amazon have been running Black Friday sales in the US, leading up to this Friday for some time, but this is one of the first times they have done the same in the UK, where the idea of Black Friday is not so common (Black Friday referring to the always quiet shopping Friday directly after Thanksgiving).

However, Amazon are providing lots of good deals across their whole range of goods, not just music and books, so it’s well worth a look to see what is on offer.  A warning though; many offers this morning were sold out within minutes if not seconds of being released (and Amazon only release the price at the start of the offer so if you are interested in one of their upcoming offers, do your price research before the offer is announced).

Head here for more information.


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