3 MiFi – Final Looks

Monday, August 9th, 2010

I’ve already covered many of the key benefits to the new 3 MiFi unit (in my first looks), although I will restate that it’s a joy to use now it’s a single power button to set everything up, and the wireless encryption key being only numbers makes it easier to quote to people to share the connection.  For the full review, click on the full article below.

(more…)


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Nokia N8 news

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

According to Symbian World, a French Symbian site is claiming that the new Nokia N8 will support the ability to play DivX / XVid movies.  To me, this is either interesting, nothing new, or just plain wrong, and I really can’t decide which.  Nothing appears to have been announced by Nokia, nor by Symbian, which would seem to imply it’s wrong.  However, in the past DivX.com themselves have produced a S60 3rd Edition DivX player, so it’s not unreasonable to assume they may plan, or have developed either for themselves, or for Symbian, a DivX player.  However, anything developed by DivX would be DivX only, and not support xVid.  However, some users who have had access to pre-production Nokia N8 devices have claimed that the device will play DivX files out of the box.  Finally, a local country Nokia representative seems a strange place to announce a major first for a Nokia phone.

However, on balance, I think it’s likely that Nokia will move towards DivX support, it’s simply a question as to whether it will be arriving with the Nokia N8, which, in the shadow of the iPhone 4 launch, will apparently have some impressive video editing facilities returning to the Symbian platform again.  This post on the Nokia Conversations website details the range of photo and video tools that will be available on the Nokia N8.  Looking back, this was previously announced, so I think this article is a reaction to the iPhone 4, as opposed to suddenly announcing new functionality that wasn’t known about before, and that’s the problem with the DivX information; it’s not like Nokia to quietly announce a new feature for a key device, especially so late after launch (and so close to delivery).

Time will tell, but it’s fair to say the Nokia N8 remains a critical device for Nokia over the coming months; it may not be an ultimate flagship device, but it’s important to show that Nokia has learnt the lessons of the Nokia N95, Nokia N96 and Nokia N97 launch firmwares…

Update: It’s look like Nokia have confirmed the Nokia N8 will not support DivX.

July 2010 Update: Well, it looks like Nokia have now confirmed that there will be DivX (but not XVid) support in the Nokia N8 after all…


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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 N8 sneak peek video

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

We’ll have more information and comment later, but here’s a sneak peek video of the new Nokia N8

If the video does not appear in your RSS feed, please access UK Gadgeteer directly.

Oh, and it’s only €370 SIM Free, which is a lot cheaper than the last few flagship models from Nokia…


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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).

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Pixelpipe add Eye-Fi support

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Eye-Fi Pro

Here’s an interesting combination of technologies integrated together, just as we like things here at UK Gadgeteer

Eye-Fi have offered their memory cards with built in Wi-Fi support for somewhile, allowing you to automatically upload your photos and videos direct from the memory card to your chosen website by simply having the camera turned on in range of a working and accessible wi-fi connection.

Pixelpipe have offered their single upload and distribution service for many platforms, allowing you to get your photos and videos uploading to multiple sites.

Well, now you can use the two together, such that from a single upload direct from the Eye-Fi card, Pixelpipe will then distribute the media onwards.  This offers two benefits; as well as the multiple destination support, it also allows you access to sites that are not currently supported by Eye-Fi directly (about 100 more sites). So, how do you configure your Eye-Fi card to access Pixelpipe…?

  1. First of all, if you haven”t already, you’ll need to create a Pixelpipe account.
  2. Open the Eye-Fi Manager & select ‘Settings’ from the top menu
  3. Now select ‘change’ web sharing from Photo Destinations & select ‘Add photo service’
  4. Select ‘Gallery’ from the selection and enter the following values
    Username: your Pixelpipe username
    Password: your Pixelpipe password
    URL: http://pixelpipe.com/services/gallery/main.php
  5. Now select ‘Show advanced options’ and enter the following values
    Account title: Pixelpipe
    Album name: Custom text
    Uses photo creation date: 1

That’s it; you should now be able to upload direct from Eye-Fi via Pixelpipe to your wanted services.

Thanks to Pixelpipe for providing these instructions.

Here’s an interesting Pixelpipe destination (and one rarely supported by other companies); you can take a photo of some text, and send it to Pixelpipe, which can then send the photo through to the Google OCR service, which takes the photo, scans the text, and creates a Google Docs document with the text; again, a very neat piece of integration there!


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Pixelpipe add FourSquare support

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Pixelpipe Android Geo Status

Not content with just offering traditional photo and video sites, Pixelpipe (which is in essence an aggregator service, allowing you to upload your media to them once from your mobile, and they organise sending it out to multiple destinations; very much like ping.fm offers for Social Networking sites) have now added support for FourSquare.  You can now use the Shout function in FourSquare to send information including a shortened pi.pe link back to your photo, audio or video file.

Although with most platforms you cannot yet Check-In with Pixelpipe, this does start offering the ability to use the service; with Pixelpipe’s latest Android client, however, you can even Check-In directly with their application (and any photos uploaded and distributed on to Flickr from their Android client will also contain the relevant foursquare:venue_id machine tag too).

For Symbian users, you can use the Pixelpipe Share Online function (available in the Ovi Store) to allow you to upload your content to Pixelpipe; and although you can’t Check-In as already stated, you can, of course, use the new FourSquare support in Gravity to Check-In using that application too.

I’ve been a ShoZu user (which offers similar features and distribution options to Pixelpipe) for some time, but given the memory usage that ShoZu takes constantly, I can understand for those who don’t want automatic upload of every picture / video (something that ShoZu is still unique in offering), then something like Pixelpipe (and their Share Online support for Symbian, or their native Android client) is a sensible way forward.

To get their Android Pixelpipe Pro client (free of charge for a short while), head to http://tr.im/pixelpipe directly from your mobile.

To get their Share Online support for Symbian, simply go to http://m.pixelpipe.com/nokia direct from your mobile.


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Canon announce firmware update for 5D Mk2

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

EOS_5D_Mark_II

I’ve always been a fan of devices which support firmware updates, but I’m even more of a fan of devices where manufacturers release firmware updates that not just fix problems, but also add new features, and that latter category now applies to Canon and the Canon EOS 5D Mk2, with the new v2.0.3 firmware.

Already sporting some impressive video capture capabilities (on top of being a pretty good DSLR), Canon have said the new firmware will contain:

“The addition of new frame rates expands the camera’s video potential, providing filmmakers with the ability to shoot 1080p Full HD footage at 24fps (actual 23.976fps) – the optimum frame rate for cinematic video. 25fps support at both 1920×1080 and 640×480 resolutions will allow users to film at the frame rate required for the PAL broadcast standard, while the new firmware will also change the 30fps option to the NTSC video standard of 29.97fps.

A new histogram display for shooting movies in manual exposure, shutter-priority (Tv) and aperture-priority (Av) have been added, and exposure modes will also be available in movie mode. Improved audio functionality will allow users to set sound record levels manually using a sound-level meter displayed on the LCD screen. The audio sampling frequency has also been increased from 44.1KHz to 48KHz, providing the optimum audio signal typically required for professional or broadcast material.”

This is good to see, and for those fortunate enough to have a Canon EOS 5D Mk2, the new firmware should be available in the next few weeks.


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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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