Revo announce new colour touchscreen DAB radio

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

After the successful launch of the Revo Ikon (released last year), Revo have now added another touchscreen DAB radio to their portfolio, and have released this unit as the first “under £200 colour touchscreen digital radio with multi-format reception”. What does that really mean? It means DAB radio (and DAB+), FM radio, Internet radio, ability to play Last.fm music streams, ability to play music from a PC, ability to play music from an iPhone / iPod attached via it’s dock, and if that’s not enough, it’s got an AUX socket and stereo RCA sockets for piping other music to the device.

The radio features a 3.5″ TFT colour touchscreen, with a similar user interface as that used on the Revo Ikon, and has an 8W amplifier and NXT’s Balanced Radiator loudspeaker technology.

I like the range of technologies that Revo put into their DAB radios, and expanded their touchscreen range makes sense, especially by introducing a cheaper device (although with a less powerful amplifier and it appears to not have the stereo speakers of the Revo Ikon).  As with the Revo Ikon and the PURE Sensia, the device only comes with a limited trial subscription to Last.fm (in this case, 31 days), so to continue to use the streaming facilities you’ll need to pay £3 per month.

The Revo AXiS will be available from 1st October 2010, and be sold at £199.95.


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BlackBerry 9800 Torch coming to 3UK

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Some people are BlackBerry fans, and others aren’t (personally, after using one for 15 months I fall into the latter category), but the new BlackBerry 9800 Torch seems to be trying to turn that round, and offer a solution for everyone.  As well as the traditional QWERTY keyboard (although now provided on a slider), it also features a touchscreen featured on some of the newer BlackBerry devices, and it also has the optical trackpad now common to most new BlackBerry devices too.  Add in the obligatory GPS, WiFi, 3G, 5 megapixel camera and 8GB of memory, and the latest BlackBerry OS6 featuring some inbuilt social networking functions, and it seems to be a nice all round device.

I’ll admit my main problem with BlackBerry devices is the limitations enterprise companies place on the device (normally preventing the installation of applications, which also prevents other things such as themes), but of course if you buy it as an individual, you won’t have that restriction, and will be able to customise the device with the correct apps needed to enjoy the experience.

Even better, despite the device only being launched last week, 3UK have already announced they will be selling the device later this year.


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Brightkite updates Symbian App

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Brightkite have updated their Symbian app (which is available for free in the Ovi Store here).  The new version adds the following features:

Group Text

Nokia users now join iPhone & Blackberry, Mobile web and SMS users with the ability to use Group Text. Group Text allows users to text up to 25 people at once – when one person replies, everyone gets the message.

Likes

You can now Like posts, just like you can on the web

Photo Library integration

Now you can post photos from your Photo Library – not just ones you take with your camera.

Comment and Mention streams

Now you have dedicated areas in which you can see your comments and mentions

Better battery and GPS usage

We’ve changed the way the app accesses GPS on the phone, which enhances battery Life.

Bug fixes

Assorted tweaks, enhancements and fixes.

As before, the app is only available on the newer touchscreen devices, so if you still have a non-touch phone, you’re out of luck (and I don’t yet know of a decent 3rd party clients with Brightkite support either).


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Dell Streak available tomorrow from O2

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

This is a very interesting device, and one I had the fortune to get a sneak peek Hands On with last week.  This is a 5″ tablet phone, which I have to say is a little large to hold up to your ear when on a call, so you might want to budget for a Bluetooth Headset to not look quite so silly, or simply add this to your existing phone with a data only contract (more later).  However, it’s running Android, and features a very nice touchscreen, which can take the knocks of every day life (I saw the blunt end of a knife be punched into the screens of 2 devices and neither suffered any problems with the touchscreen still working fine straight afterwards).  Obviously Dell & O2 don’t condone this level of abuse, and do warn that there are still certain angles where a drop onto a hard floor will still cause serious damage, but at least it’s a little tougher than many, and features something called Gorilla Glass to provide that protection.

The device I saw had a range of additional Android applications installed onto them, so although I can’t comment on what comes as standard with the device, they seem to have full support of the Android Marketplace, and hence there is a whole raft of additional applications that can be installed.

Although I didn’t get long with the devices, they seemed to be coping with many demos without a major impact on battery life, although that obviously needs a longer trial to establish whether it can last more than the common single day of usage.

O2, however, are offering the phone on a whole host of tariff options, ranging from the 30-day rolling Simplicity contracts (the Dell Streak 32GB will cost £399 upfront on all Simplicity contracts) to the high end £60 per month “unlimited” everything 24-month contract (where the device will be free).

24 month smartphone tariffs

Included minutes Included data & Wi-Fi Included texts Monthly cost Streak 16GB cost Streak 32GB cost
100 Unlimited Unlimited £25 £149 £249
300 Unlimited Unlimited £30 £59 £149
600 Unlimited Unlimited £35 Free £89
900 Unlimited Unlimited £40 Free £59
1200 Unlimited Unlimited £45 Free Free
Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited £60 Free Free

18 month smartphone tariffs

Included minutes Included data & Wi-Fi Included texts Monthly cost Streak 16GB cost Streak 32GB cost
100 Unlimited Unlimited £30 £149 £249
300 Unlimited Unlimited £35 £59 £149
600 Unlimited Unlimited £40 Free £89
900 Unlimited Unlimited £45 Free £59
1200 Unlimited Unlimited £50 Free Free
Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited £65 Free Free

The Smartphone tariffs above offer unlimited texts, data and Wi-Fi at thousands of BT Openzone and The Cloud hotspots as well as a wide range of minutes.

12 month simplicity tariffs

Included minutes Included data & Wi-Fi Included texts Monthly cost Streak 16GB cost Streak 32GB cost
300 Unlimited Unlimited £15 £349 £399
600 Unlimited Unlimited £20 £349 £399
900 Unlimited Unlimited £25 £349 £399
1200 Unlimited Unlimited £30 £349 £399
Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited £45 £349 £399

30 day simplicity tariffs

Included minutes Included data & Wi-Fi Included texts Monthly cost Streak 16GB cost Streak 32GB cost
300 Unlimited Unlimited £20 £349 £399
600 Unlimited Unlimited £25 £349 £399
900 Unlimited Unlimited £30 £349 £399
1200 Unlimited Unlimited £35 £349 £399
Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited £50 £349 £399

Again, it’s nice to see Wi-Fi at hotspots included even on these tariffs.

However, maybe the biggest area of interest will be the Data Only options, where the device isn’t actually used as a phone at all, but instead, concentrates on it’s capabilities as an Internet Tablet…

Contract length Included data Included Wi-Fi Monthly cost Streak 16GB cost Streak 32GB cost
24 months 3GB 500MB £25 Free* £99
24 months 3GB Unlimited £30 Free £49
18 months 3GB Unlimited £15 £349 £399
18 months 1GB Unlimited £10 £349 £399
1 month 3GB Unlimited £15 £399 £449
1 month 1GB Unlimited £10 £449 £449

* The 16GB Dell Streak is free on a £25 a month 24 month tariff until 30 June 2010, after which it’ll cost £49.

Although there’s quite a jump from the £15 per month 18-month contract to the £30 per month 24-month contract, with the smaller outlay of the phone itself, it works out roughly the same cost (within £10) over 24 months on both.

The specs of the device (taken from Dell) include:

  • A sharp 5-inch capacitive multi-touch WVGA (800×480) display for a great full-screen experience watching video or browsing the web
  • Fast 1GHz Snapdragon ARM-based mobile processor from Qualcomm
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with dual LED flash that offers easy point & shoot capability and quick uploads to YouTube, Flickr, Facebook and more
  • VGA front-facing camera enables video chat functionality down the road
  • A user-removable (and replaceable) battery
  • A 3.5mm headphone jack means many of you can use the Dell Streak as the music source (and more) in your car
  • Integrated 3G + Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + Bluetooth 2.1 (think headsets, external keyboards, stereo headsets, etc.)
  • UMTS / GPRS / EDGE class 12 GSM radio with link speeds of HSDPA 7.2 Mbps / HSUPA
  • A user-accessible Micro SD slot expandable up to 32GB. That means you can store  lots of movies, music, photos or other kinds of files.

On the software side, here’s what you can expect:

  • A customized multi-touch version of the Google Android operating system that features Dell user interface enhancements
  • Access to over 38,000  apps (and growing) via the Android Marketplace
  • Microsoft Exchange connectivity and integration through TouchDown
  • Google Voice support
  • Integrated Google Maps with voice-activated search, turn-by-turn navigation, street and satellite views
  • Quick access to activity streams via integrated social network app widgets like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube

The only downside I can see to the device right now, is that I believe it ships with Android 1.6, although it’s likely that Android 2.1 or 2.2 will become available as an update, but not until later in the year (we’re hearing September).  The device as it stands, though, will be available tomorrow from O2 Stores and the O2 website.

I should point out as part of our “Not Unlimited” campaign, that I doubt that any of these “unlimited” references actually get you unlimited service, but O2 have not yet provided the detail behind what the actual unlimited limits are.


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Nokia announce 3 new devices

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Having already covered the Nokia C6 a couple of times, there’s not a lot to say about this device, except it does appear to be a very interesting proposition…

Featuring the S60 5th Edition touchscreen, including the N97-style homescreen widgets, this device combines the feature spec of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, adds a sliding QWERTY keyboard, upgrades the camera to 5 megapixel, and does so without adding too much extra weight or volume.  This device, as I have already said, it likely to sell very well, especially as Nokia are looking at a €220 SIM free price (that’s about £200), so we can expect it less than that on PAYG, and I would expect as little as free on 18-month contracts.

I could repeat all the specs of this device, but it’s best to head to the Nokia PDF Datasheet for the best information (here).

Even better, the phone is due to be actually available in Q2; showing Nokia has finally moved towards reducing the time between announcement and availability, which is a good move.  Of course, as it features a GPS, that means free navigation software too. One thing to be aware of; although it will launch in Black and White, in time there will be additional colours, such as Blue.

Nokia also released the Nokia C3 (below), which is a S40 QWERTY device.  This will have a SIM free price of €90 (£80)

Although being S40, this phone features email, chat, information on the homescreen (posting and status updates).  Looking at the spec, it seems to rival the INQ Chat 3G, so this should be a popular device too for those wanting QWERTY, but with the Nokia badge. This will also be available in Q2.  Again, more information on the spec is available direct from Nokia here.

Finally, Nokia announced the Nokia E5, which will not be out until Q3, and will most likely replace the Nokia E63 (which makes sense as the Nokia E63 is S60 3rd Edition FP1, whereas the Nokia E5 is S60 3rd Edition FP2).

This, again, is  QWERTY device, and will feature a GPS with free navigation (a step up from the Nokia E63), and increase the camera to 5megapixels too.  At €180 (£160) SIM free, again, this is competitively priced to be even more popular than the Nokia E63.  Given this will be aimed more at the business market (although I would expect certain UK networks to pick it up and release it for everyone), the extra delay between now and release is unlikely to be a big issue.

I’m really impressed by these phones, I’m not going to rush out and buy them all, but for the mid-market they are aimed at, these devices will sell really well.  My only criticism is that the C-Series now has an S40, a S60 3rd Edition and a S60 5th Edition device, making it difficult to associate one OS with a range, but that’s not so different from the old 4 number range, which covered all 3 OSes as well.  For those who are looking for a top spec flagship phone, these aren’t it, and that should be announced in the coming months…


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Will this be a new best seller from Nokia?

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Nokia c6

This, apparently, maybe the new Nokia C6, from the same mid-range family as the Nokia C5 we covered a week or so back.  The interesting thing about this device, though, is obvious in the picture (this appears to be a leaked official Nokia press photo); the Nokia C6 combines a QWERTY keyboard (in the style of the Nokia E75 and the Nokia N810 before that) with the touchscreen of the latest S60 5th Edition.  That’s a very nice combination; the touchscreen for access to all the latest applications (eg Brightkite, which is S60 5th Edition only), but also offering a QWERTY keyboard for those who want to type a little more (and the additional of a cursor D-pad is a nice touch too)…

This device should have GPS too (and hence free Navigation), making it a nice all round device.  However, as a C-Series device, it is likely to be missing WiFi (like the recently announced Nokia 5230), which may be a challenge for some whilst at home; I know my data usage only stays within the limits set by the mobile networks due to WiFi usage at home.

Having said that, this looks very interesting, especially if it is priced as keenly as the Nokia C5…

If it’s a real device, it should be out in time for the Summer Holidays in the UK.


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3UK Plans for the future

Monday, February 1st, 2010

3 logo

Last week I attended an event hosted by 3UK.  In attendance were a variety of 3UK staff from Marketing & PR, Products & Services, Customer Services, and the Networks team.  I had a chance to chat with people for each area and was able to ask a wide range of questions, especially those that you had added as comments to my request last week.  As a result, I’m able to provide a glimpse into what 2010 holds for 3UK (although nothing truly exclusive and brand new was announced, there was some useful information provided)…

Please read the questions and answers after the break…

(more…)


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Brightkite now available for Symbian

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Brightkite on Symbian

Brightkite have released their Symbian app (we first talked about it here over a year ago!), and it’s available in the Ovi Store here right now.  As you may work out from the screenshot, it’s for the touchscreen devices, and so is limited to S60 5th Edition devices (Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia N97, Nokia N97 Mini etc.) but even so, it’s an interesting step in the right direction.

In fact, maybe combining this with the Maps Booster application I discussed this morning would provide that nice alternative to Google Latitude I was looking for…


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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!


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Sony Dash powered by Chumby…

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Sony Dash

This is the new Sony Dash, their new Personal Application Viewer.  It features a 7″ touchscreen and will have, at launch, access to over 1000 applications “including news, calendars, weather, sports, social networking” and uses a wireless network connection to connect to the Internet.

However, the interesting thing to note within the smallprint of the press release is that it says “The new product offers free access to more than 1,000 apps from chumby industries, inc. as well as the robust audio and video content from Sony’s Bravia™ Internet video platform”.  This is very good news for Chumby, who always envisaged providing a service for other companies, as well as producing their own hardware, which they often portray as “reference hardware”, ie samples of what could be done…

It looks like the Chumby widgets don’t fill up the whole screen (they do fill the whole screen on the Chumby hardware) leaving room around the side for quick launch links, and other features; time, date, weather and music controls to be permanently displayed.

“Within the device, an internal accelerometer supports vertical flip, allowing for two optional viewing angles: upright, ideal for a table or nightstand; and tilted, perfect for a countertop. It also supports multiple user profiles and channels, allowing several members of the household to create and maintain their own customized view of the Internet.

The dash personal Internet viewer also features built-in stereo speakers as well as a USB port for simple connection to a variety of external electronic devices. Additionally, a headphone output jack gives users the option to listen privately through headphones or through external speakers.”

No word on UK availability yet though, but it will retail for $199 in the US.


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