Vodafone announce iPad SIM Only tariffs

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

In time for Friday’s launch of the Apple iPad, Vodafone have announced that they have produced some iPad SIM Only tariffs, allowing you to purchase your Apple iPad from Apple and then use it on Vodafone.  With the Apple iPad needing the new micro-SIM format (which is the same design as the current popular SIM, but with less card around the edges of the contacts, so although it’s possible to cut an existing SIM down to size, it’s then no use in normal devices) this is a good move by Vodafone to pick up more customers who are after, what is after all, a data only device.

So, the iPad SIM Only tariff options are:

  • £10 per month (30-day rolling contract), 1GB of data per month
  • £15 per month (30-day rolling contract), 3GB of data per month
  • £25 per month (30-day rolling contract), 5GB of data per month

For those who want to use Vodafone and want the benefit of a 30-day rolling contract, these look very good tariffs, although I believe the O2 iPad tariffs additionally come with some Wi-Fi allowance too, so they may be worth a look as well.


Where free means free and unlimited means unlimited

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Wow, what a refreshing article to write; here’s a company who, when they offer unlimited internet, do not have a hidden data usage cap or “fair usage policy”, here’s a company who, when they say “we think free should mean free”, allow 0800 freephone numbers to be dialled free of charge from your mobile.  Yet they only charge 8p per minute to call other mobile networks, charge 4p per text, and a £10 TopUp (giffgaff call them goodybags!) will give you unlimited (yes they mean this) texts, and unlimited (yes, again, actually unlimited) internet access, along with 100 minutes of free calls (all lasting 1 month).

Now, nothing is perfect, and there are a couple of minor caveats to the “unlimited” internet; it must be personal use only, commercial and automatic use (whatever “automatic” means?!?) are not allowed, and finally, you are not allowed to connect your PC via your phone (tethering).  I wonder if the fact my phone has a scheduled connection once a day to synchronise my calendar would count as “automatic”; I suspect not, although something that happened every 5 minutes may be a different matter…

However, it’s a breath of fresh air seeing a company thinking like this.  The company? giffgaff, the new virtual mobile operator, owned and utilising the O2 network.  They are SIM only, so you need to purchase / bring with you an unlocked phone, and they are keeping their costs down (and being able to offer such offers) via community support, and no call centres.

So, if you have an unlocked phone, are outside your contract and currently spend more than £10 per month, or topup by more than £10 per month, can cope with remembering to topup every month, and the O2 network is an option for you, then you might well want to consider giffgaff

Thanks to Jonathan Jenson who pointed out these offers to me.

Update: James Body has been in touch (see comments) and confirmed that giffgaff do have an element of a Internet fair usage policy; it’s 100MB per day, but it appears it’s likely you’ll need to go over that limit multiple times in a week before they issue a warning to reduce your usage, and only if you fail to act will they bar a user.   So far, they have warned 2 users, and not barred anyone.  Of course, 100MB per day equates to 3GB per month, which is far in excess of any other network, and would be a serious amount of usage by anyone (although a limit is still a limit in our eyes).

To put that “100MB a day” in perspective, if you don’t stream music / video, and aren’t uploading lots of pictures every day, many people find the 150MB free Internet that 3UK offer can easily last 1 month, so for most users it shouldn’t be a problem.


Joggler update

Friday, April 9th, 2010

O2 Joggler

We covered the reduced price on the O2 Joggler last week (here), and it looks like this has been very popular; to the extent that most O2 Stores have now run out of stock, and O2 have advised all Stores there is a Nationwide shortage.  So, right now, if you want to order one, you’ll need to order direct on the O2 website, where O2 have also indicated that delivery is now up to 7 days, instead of the original Next Day Delivery.

In fact, this might be the only way of getting one at the reduced price of £49.99; we understand that stock will not return to the O2 Warehouse until late next week, and the earliest an O2 Store can order new stock will be the 17th April; which is after the reduced price offer finishes (15th April).  Although it’s possible an online order will also need to wait for this stock to arrive, at the moment you can still order it at the reduced price.

Now, once you get your O2 Joggler, what to do with it?  Well, first of all, get all the software updates, as this will add all the latest functionality.  Try these things which might be worthy of doing:

  • If you don’t already have a uPNP Server, then you might want to install MediaTomb (Linux and Mac OS X only) to provide access to your music  / pictures / videos over your local network without having to make another copy of your media collection for the Joggler.
  • If you want to install additional applications, the first thing you’ll need to do is to get telnet working, and there’s now a new way of doing this, that was released yesterday; head here for more information.
  • Or, for those more security conscious, get ssh working from here.
  • Setup the ability to access Live BBC Channels (see here; you’ll need to have telnet access, and you’ll need to use telnet to get the streams working).


A quick round up of news stories…

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Would you believe it, just hours before a nice 4 day break, and lots of companies choose today, April’s Fools day of all days, to release interesting gadget news.  I don’t have time to write up each and every story, so here’s a short summary and links to more information…

HTC Desire

3UK have announced their HTC Desire prices and timescales.  Interestingly, they will initially launch an unbranded handset (although it’s still likely to be locked to 3UK) from 20th April, with the branded handset following around the 3rd May.  This unbranded handset will still be able to download the 3UK specific applications from the Android Market, so early adopters won’t miss out.

In pricing terms, for new customers it will be £35 per month (presumably an 18-month contract now confirmed as 24 months) for unlimited 3000 texts, unlimited 1GB internet, unlimited 2000 minutes of 3-to-3 calls, and 750 minutes of other calls; to buy the phone on PAYG will cost £350.

Further details (although it states the original unlimited information, not the true “fair usage limits”), see here.

A quick comparison to Vodafone, shows that £35 per month (18-month contract) will get you unlimited 3000 texts, 500MB internet, and 600 minutes of calls, which shows the 3UK to be slightly better value (even more so if your friends are on 3UK!)

Update: It’s been confirmed that the 3UK contract is for 24 months, so although it may offer more minutes than Vodafone each month, by being tied in for an additional 6 months makes any form of comparison less valid.

Truphone Local Anywhere

Of course, if you are looking to make calls abroad, especially to loved ones this Easter (*), then maybe you should look at Truphone. As well as being fans of this service, we’re always happy to promote their free offers, and this weekend they are offering free calls to landlines in 10 countries (the countries were chosen and voted for by Truphone customers; it’s nice to see a company offering it’s customers this ability). For some of those countries, it’s also free to call mobiles, but you’ll need to check the Truphone offers page to make sure before you start making those calls.

(*) We should point out that the free calls are only available on Saturday and Sunday, and are based on GMT (remember the UK is now on BST), so please check.

Even more interesting, Truphone have put together a short video allowing you to spot the minor differences between the ringtones they use to denote whether a call will be free or not.  To access the video, please click  here.

O2 Joggler

Finally, and by no means least, the O2 Joggler has suddenly got interesting…

Firstly, O2 have reduced the price down to £49.99, available online or in your local O2 Store, but only until 15th April. However, as from today a new firmware has become available which will allow support for the O2 App Store to be accessed from the O2 Joggler.  Normally this wouldn’t be so exciting, with the ability to access a few games, but O2 are also releasing 3 useful apps for the device..

  • YouTube support; very useful I guess if you are an avid fan of YouTube
  • Google Maps; now this is useful; the ability to look and find information on the map whilst using the device
  • Google Calendar; when I first talked about this device, this was a key area I said they should support; having Google Calendar support suddenly means you can access the same data as on your mobile phone, your computer, and now your O2 Joggler too.

Although I’m still waiting to hear exactly how this works, and what is and isn’t accessible, at £50, it’s a much more interesting proposition!

I hope you find these stories interesting, and UK Gadgeteer will be back next week; Happy Easter!


Want to move your existing iPhone to Vodafone?

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

iPhone 3GS

Both Orange and Vodafone have made a lot of noise about now selling the iPhone on their networks, but equally, if you already have an iPhone on O2, and want to move to Vodafone, but don’t want to buy a whole new device, there really wasn’t a good option; until now!

Vodafone have now announced their iPhone SIM Only deal, whereby you pay £25 per month, and for that you get:

  • 600 voice minutes
  • “Unlimited” 3000 texts
  • 1GB of data (it’s worth noting this is often only 500MB with most Vodafone contracts)
  • Flexible 30 day agreement
  • 1GB of data via BT Premium OpenZone hotspots too

This is an interesting deal, and brings together the WiFi component of many iPhone contracts without the need to buy a new device.  Although this probably won’t be the first such tariff, it’s nice to see a network saying “hey, bring your existing phone to our network, and we both benefit”.

For more details, head to the Vodafone website to see the details about the iPhone SIM Only deal for yourself.


Nokia N97 Free Ovi Maps now available

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Nokia N97 Black

If you own a Nokia N97, then you should find that the free Ovi Maps software is now available.  It’s not yet integrated into a firmware update, but instead is available from the built in Software Update tool.  However, you’ll need v20 firmware already installed, so where does the Nokia N97 UK network operator branded versions stand…?

Well, for most UK network operators, they have offered v20 for some time, and hence if you don’t already have the new firmware, you can apply it and then pick up the Ovi Maps update (although you need a fair amount of free space on the C: drive, so if it won’t install, hopefully the v21 firmware which will include the new v3.03 Free Ovi Maps should be out at some point in the next few weeks).

Most.  Not all.  This week, it’s Orange in the doghouse, for still being on v10 firmware, and not yet having made v20 available for their customers.  Nokia have said they are working to ensure v20 is available to all, but yet again, things are complicated by the UK networks.

It’s nice to see the Nokia N97 finally included in the list of supported devices for the Free Navigation Forever campaign from Nokia, but personally, I still want to see Nokia offering it to S60 3rd Edition FP1 devices…


Can you actually get the new Ovi Maps for free?

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Nokia Maps 3.0 with Ovi

When Nokia made Ovi Maps free for a whole range of devices last week, one thing which wasn’t so strongly mentioned was the minimum firmware versions needed for certain devices.  Take the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic for example; although many devices shipped with v11 (and since then Nokia has released v20, v21, v30, v31 and v40 firmwares), you actually need a minimum of v31 to be able to install this latest version of Ovi Maps.

Obviously for anyone with a generic unbranded device, this is easy; a quick firmware check on the device, or using Nokia Software Updater on your Windows PC will soon confirm that there is a v40 firmware, and you can easily install it; but what about the UK network operators?  If you have a branded device, are you in luck?

Well, generally, the good news is yes, you are in luck.  It looks like the majority of UK branded product codes have had v31 released (although none that I checked actually had v40 released yet), so overall, you have a good chance of being able to upgrade the firmware in your phone, and then install the new free to use Ovi Maps.

However, all is not perfect; I did say “the majority”, and I’m sorry to say, the Orange product code for a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Blue edition (the early devices Orange first sold) seems to be stuck on v30, and hence, although fairly up to date, not sufficiently up to date to allow the new Ovi Maps to work.  Ironically, the Black variant, which, being newer, has strangely always faired better for firmware updates seems to have v31 available, so those users are fine.

If my research is correct, that’s a silly situation to be in; depending when you bought your phone determines which colour you have, and with Orange, that can mean the difference between being able to install Ovi Maps or not.  Let’s hope Orange resolve this with some speed given the amount of advertising Nokia is putting behind their new Ovi Maps versions.

However, that’s not the end of the story; it appears 3UK are also stuck on v30, and hence anyone with a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic from 3UK will not be able to run the latest Ovi Maps either.

Obviously, I am not able to check every single colour and operator variant, but I checked over 10 different product codes to write this article; if you have a device from Orange or 3UK that has access to the v31 or v40 firmware (without changing the product code), then please add a comment and let me know the product code (from underneath the battery in the form of 0559360) and what firmware version you have access to…

So, to recap; well done to most UK operators (T-Mobile, O2, Virgin, Vodafone), and not so well done to Orange and 3UK for either not having v31 available, or having a mix of firmware versions.


Android Tablet coming to the UK

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

ICD Vega

What a nice change; a device launched in the US, but at the launch, it was announced that the device will be coming to the UK!  T-Mobile UK are working with ICD to release the ICD Vega Kitchen computer / Android Tablet in the UK later this year.  Well, compared to the O2 Joggler, this might well have just those few extra facilities to actually be a bigger success story…

The spec of the Vega includes:

  • Processor — Nvidia Tegra 250 (1GHz)
  • Memory – 512MB DDR DRAM
  • Flash — 512MB NAND flash; 32GB internal SD card; external Micro SD slot
  • Display — 15.6-inch 1366 x 768 resistive touchscreen; HDMI output
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11b/g WiFi
    • Bluetooth 2.1
    • Optional 2G or 3G cellular
  • USB — 1 x USB 2.0 High-Speed OTG
  • Camera — 1.3-megapixel
  • Audio — 3.5mm audio jack; external speakers; dual microphones
  • Other features:
    • Accelerometer
    • Ambient light sensor
    • Charging dock
    • Magnetic docking
  • Power — 11AH 3.9V lithium-ion battery (4 hours life); 110-240V input; 12VDC output (35 W, for dock)
  • Dimensions — 14.7 x 10.0 x 0.6 inches (373 x 254 x 16mm)
  • Weight — 2.9 lbs (1.3kg)
  • Operating system — Android 2.0

The dock may also feature an additional speaker, and possibly an HDMI port too, but with that 3G support, you’ll be able to make calls, and this is no sudden decision by T-Mobile, who have, apparently been working with ICD for 18 months.

Taken advantage of the Android platform, Linuxdevices have said “The Android software on the device offers one-touch access to a household calendar, enabling families to organize schedules in one place, say the companies. The web-accessible device can automatically send SMS text reminders of calendar items to cellphones. Additional features are said to include web browsing, on-demand TV, access to social networks, video chat, and games.”

ICD also announced a 15.6″ unit (ICD Ultra) and made reference to also working on an 11″ tablet too.  The ICD Ultra adds to the Vega specs with a GPS too.

One small point to watch out for; these, and many other “Android” devices are likely to be using the Open Source Android OS, and will not be “Google Experience” devices, so don’t expect this device to automatically take a Google account and support all the Google features that you may have on your “Google Experience” Android phone…

The only other unknown at this point is the price, but we would expect something similar to O2 and the Joggler where there are options for subsidised pricing…

Some content courtesy of Linux Devices, and thanks to Stuart for the Heads Up!


3UK now supporting twitter by SMS…?

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

3 logo

INQ1 Silver £15 per Month, Free 3 to 3 calls at 3M

Although nothing has been announced yet, if you go into the Settings page within Twitter, and select Mobile, the UK entry has been updated as:

  • UK: 86444 (Vodafone, Orange, 3 and O2 customers)

Now, this seems to imply that 3UK have joined the other listed networks in providing the ability to send and receive twitter messages and DMs via SMS.  Obviously until it’s formally announced we won’t know the exact limits (eg the number of free SMS you can receive per month, or exactly how the billing of sent SMS will work), but this is a positive move for 3UK, although with their inclusion of free internet on PAYG, and the fact that many of their phones are now shipping with Twitter clients directly may limit how many people truly need such a function, but it’s nice to know it’s coming…

That just leaves T-Mobile who aren’t playing…

Thanks to Liam Green-Hughes who drew my attention to this earlier today.


Tesco announce iPhone prices

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

iPhone 3GS

Tesco Mobile will be selling the iPhone from Monday, with the following pricing:

  • On PAYG, the 8GB iPhone 3G will cost £342, the 16GB iPhone 3GS £440 and the 32GB iPhone 3GS £538, and includes 12-month “unlimited” web and WiFi (BT Openzone only, whereas O2 offer BT Openzone and The Cloud)

On a 12-month contract:

  • The 8GB iPhone 3G will cost £222 upfront, and £20/month (12-month contract)
  • The 16GB iPhone 3GS will cost £320 upfront, and £20/month (12-month contract)
  • The 32GB iPhone 3GS will cost £407 upfront, and £20/month (12-month contract)

For that £20/month, you’ll get £60 of value of calls & texts, and “unlimited” web and WiFi (again BT Openzone only)

On a 24-month contract:

  • The 8GB iPhone 3G will be free and £60/month (24-month contract)
  • The 16GB iPhone 3GS will be free and £60/month (24-month contract)
  • The 32GB iPhone 3GS will cost £50 upfront and £60/month (24-month contract)

For that £60/month you’ll get “unlimited” £500 worth of calls and texts, and “unlimited” web and WiFi (BT Openzone only)

Tesco Mobile have call rates of 20p per minute and 10p per text, although it’s possible to halve these figures for up to 5 pre-selected phone numbers, and for PAYG users, Tesco Mobile offer some free credit once per month when you topup.

It’s certainly not clear reading the Tesco Mobile what the Fair Use limit is for the “unlimited” web; for a normal Pay Monthly contract, internet is charged at £4 per MB and comes out of that “unlimited” credit of £500 worth of services, whereas it’s not clear whether the iPhone tariffs will be any different.  As a result, you should certainly discuss the costs carefully with Tesco Mobile before signing up…

Some information courtesy of The Really Mobile Project.