August 22nd, 2013
Apple is due to launch its next generation of iPhones within just a couple of weeks. This year the Cupertino company is rumoured to have more than one device up its sleeve: a flagship iPhone 5S along with a cheaper iPhone 5C (also known as the iPhone M or the iPhone Light). As is usually the case when a new iPhone is launched, prices for the older handsets start to come somewhat.
Contracts for 2012’s iPhone 5 have already started to become available for much less than they have been in the preceding months. Apple has been able to charge premium rates for phone contracts in the past due to the cutting edge nature of the iPhone and its premium branding. Due to a combination of factors including stiffer competition from the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4, a saturated smartphone market in most Western nations, and a general consumer unwillingness to commit to high contract costs during the bleak recession, as well as Apple’s premium brand persona expected to be diminished with the cheaper iPhone 5S, it seems likely that iPhone contracts will become much more affordable within the coming months and years.
Here are some of the best offers currently available for the iPhone 5, although there may be several more in the coming weeks:
The iPhone 5 is available on T-Mobile with 600 minutes, unlimited texts and a free handset for just £26 per month.
Talk Mobile are offering the handset with an upfront payment of £199 for just £20 per month, including 450 minutes, 5000 texts and 500MB Data.
O2 are offering the phone for free with 11 months half price line rental working out at £24.67 per month with 600 minutes, 3000 texts and 750MB data.
Meanwhile, Vodafone have the iPhone on offer for free with 4 months free line rental working out at £24.17 per month with 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 250MB data.
You can read about these contracts and more over at BMC.
July 17th, 2013
A team of researchers at the University of the West of England have developed a new type of phone charger that can be powered by urine. The new charger uses technology called a microbial fuel cell (MFC) which is capable of turning organic matter into electricity.
MFC’s contain specially engineered bacteria that break down the chemical components of organic matter, in this case urine, as part of their metabolic process. While consuming these chemical components the bacteria produce electrons as a by-product which can then be used to build up an electrical charge.
“The beauty of this fuel source is that we are not relying on the erratic nature of the wind or the sun; we are actually reusing waste to create energy. One product that we can be sure of an unending supply is our own urine,” stated Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos, an engineer at Bristol Robotics Laboratory.
The researchers who developed this new urine powered charger were able to use it to fully charge a Samsung phone. Although they were able to successfully charge the handset the technology is not without its flaws. The microbial fuel cell is about the size of a car battery and currently only produces a very small quantity of electricity, but if this technology is refined it could have huge implications not just for mobile phone charging, but energy production in general.
The new urine powered fuel cell could allow people to charge mobile phones in places and situations where it was previously impossible, such as in the middle of a desert or wilderness (if the phone owner was here by mistake a charged phone may be exceptionally useful), or in more rural areas of developing nations were steady supplies of electricity are unavailable.
The technology could also be fitted into every toilet room in homes and businesses across the world to produce electricity to power bathroom electricals or to be stored for more general use, which while unlikely to meet all energy demands could reduce the amount of power required from polluting sources such as coal, potentially volatile sources such as nuclear energy, and unsightly eyesore sources such as wind farms.
To further enhance the potential of this technology researchers should begin work on developing an MFC Number 2, if you know what I mean.
June 26th, 2013
Some new images have surfaced online via gforgames which appear to show the upcoming Apple flagship smartphone during the assembly process at a factory in China. The phone is now thought to be the iPhone 5S and an incremental upgrade to the current iPhone 5, rather than a next generation “iPhone 6”. This is in keeping with Apple’s pattern of releases for the past few years which has seen the release of the iPhone 4 (2010), iPhone 4S (2011), and the iPhone 5 (2012).
Some of the biggest changes to the iPhone brand appeared in last year’s iPhone 5, including a larger screen with a new aspect ratio and a completely redesigned dock connector which caused a great deal of displeasure to many iOS users who had amassed a large collection of accessories and peripheral devices over the years and had to fork out for a new adaptor.
The images appear to show a device that is the same size and dimensions as the iPhone 5 which suggests that the updates to the latest generation of iPhone will be hidden within – in the form of more memory, better processing power, and a superior camera. There will of course be software updates.
But is this incremental update the right approach for Apple to make, when many consumers are tiring of the iPhone brand and switching their allegiances to other manufacturers? Even with the launch of the iPhone 5 many commenters had remarked that Apple had lost its innovative edge, and that was in regard to an iPhone that brought more changes to the series than any other iPhone.
The iPhone 5S is thought to be released in late Q3, probably around mid-October, while there is already talk of a larger iPhone 6 to be released next year. Even if nothing remarkably new is offered by Apple this year, this phone is almost guaranteed to be one of the biggest selling of 2013. I’m already dusting off my tent in anticipation.
June 24th, 2013
This month has seen Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei launch the Ascend P6 which has now nabbed the inexplicably prized title of World’s Thinnest Smartphone, measuring just 6.2mm in thickness. But Huawei bosses are not just content at making the thinnest smartphones in the world, they also want to build the most advanced phones and sell them for a much cheaper price than Samsung and Apple, current leaders in the smartphone industry.
Huawei CEO Richard Yu described the Samsung Galaxy S4 as “so-so”, and insinuated that much of the phone’s popularity stemmed from the marketing and branding that Samsung is able to afford as one of the world’s largest technology companies, and that the company’s popularity was based entirely on “hyperbole and enormous advertising spend”.
Yu is not concerned about the seemingly impenetrable position of Apple and Samsung at the top of the market, pointing out that just a few years ago it was Nokia that was the undisputed king of the phone industry but which is now struggling to stay afloat.
Yu plans to put Huawei on an equal footing to Samsung and Apple within just a couple of years, and hopes that offering an equal level of features and technology but at a much more reasonable price his company will be able to pull customers away from Samsung and Apple with ease.
May 30th, 2012
Sony has just launched promotional videos for two new Android phones which will join its Android line up later this year. The Xperia Go is a rugged phone much like the earlier Xcover handsets, and features an IP rating of 67. Unlike earlier rugged phones which were fairly basic in nature, the Xperia Go comes with full smartphone functionality and a fairly impressive screen. It also comes pre-loaded with Video Unlimited which offers thousands of movies to watch and Music Unlimited with access to millions of songs.
The phone includes Fast Capture which allows you to jump straight to the camera from the phone’s lock screen. Like all good rugged phones the Xperia Go is dust and water resistant and can be used in all conditions with “wet finger tracking”. This allows you to competently use the touchscreen even if it is covered in liquid. The Xperia Go is dual core and comes with pre-loaded training apps to assist you with your exercise regime. The phone is available in black, white and yellow.
The Xperia Acro S is a more high profile phone with more emphasis on entertainment. It features a 4.3 inch HD Reality Display featuring Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine along with an HDMI port to connect directly to a TV. Its 12 megapixel camera includes 1080p video recording and fast capture while the front camera is capable of 720p video calls. Like the Xperia Go the Acro S is water resistant and includes DLNA sharing as well as Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited.
April 21st, 2011
It should not be too surprising that Apple would begin the legal battle concerning Android. While Microsoft who has also claimed that Android infringes on its patents for the most part has kept most of its legal battles outside of court, Apple has chosen to take its fights to the courts and it is doing so once again with Samsung.
According to Apple: “Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple’s technology, user interface and innovative style in these infringing products.”
The ironic thing is Samsung manufactures most of the flash memory, screens and other components used in the iPad, iPhone and other Apple products. But I’m sure Apple is not sitting well with Samsung’s sale records of last year (80 million Galaxy S smartphones). Either way, the lawsuit could be interpreted as Apple seeing Samsung as more than a partner and rather a rival.
Source: Wall Street Journal
April 13th, 2011
All those looking to pick up the HTC Flyer will be glad to know that the company has made the official release date known to the public. Those looking to pick up HTC’s stylus sporting tablet will be glad to know that come the 9th of May, they will be able to do so. Granted you will have to wait a bit longer before you get Honeycomb on the device as it will be sporting Gingerbread at launch, but you do get some cool specs.
A 1.5GHz processor comes standard along with 1GB of RAM and 32GB of Flash storage. The display is 1024 x 600 and it carries a version of the Sense UI that is optimized for tablets. In case you’re wondering, yes there will be a 1.3 megapixel camera up front and it will be perfect for capturing vain images of yourself or chatting with your buddies across the room or across the sea and of course everything in-between.
Now if only we could get a price and an official date for when the Honeycomb update will arrive.
April 6th, 2011
Since the debut of the first Microsoft operating system it has always been the popular opinion that Apple and Microsoft are arch enemies. While both companies are in similar industries, Apple and Microsoft have been able to get along for the most part thanks to their very different business models. Apple is more concerned about carving out market niches and collecting huge dividends from said sectors while Microsoft is more interested in turning the entire computer world into a Microsoft controlled monopoly.
That being said, both companies have more rivalry between Google than between themselves and with the latest subtle partnerships between Cupertino and Redmond, it is not hard to see why seeing that Google has morphed from that cool kid who everybody got along with to the son of the neighborhood association’s president who everyone has a problem with.
So it should be no surprise that Microsoft has been working on Mac OS X software for years and has just released the Windows Phone 7 Connector v1.1 in the Apple Mac Store. As you might recall, the Mac App Store was released earlier this year after being speculated about for quite some time now.
Thanks to the Windows Phone 7 Connector, those Apple users who are interested in syncing their Windows Phone 7 devices on their Mac’s will be able to do so and the app carries a slew of features including the ability to synch DRM-free media to said devices. Users can update the software of their Windows Phone 7 devices as well as synch with multiple Mac computers. Support for Apple’s Lossless audio is included in this release as well as the ability to automatically launch the app when a Windows Phone 7 device is connected. Last but not least, anyone looking to run this freebie will need Apple’s Snow Leopard operating system. Now if only we could get Zune Pass on this thing.
Source: Mac App Store
April 6th, 2011
What do you know, Android’s in-app billing has finally gone live and to celebrate the launch, two major publishes are releasing games previously popular on Apple’s iOS platform for free on Android with hopes that the Android Marketplace new in-app billing system will fund the game completely. Dungeon Defenders: First Wave which originally cost $3 on iOS and is powered by the Unreal Engine as well as Gun Bros and Tap Tap Revenge 4 are all available on the Android Marketplace for free as we speak.
While traditional PC and console game manufacturers have shied away from releasing their games for free, many cellphone and now tablet game developers have been using the free option as bait to lure in prospective customers. Usually, core features in a mobile game will be unlocked in a free version with more advanced features requiring the purchase of an item in order to use said features.
This can be a more effective way of getting prospective customers as they will be more likely to try something that is free and purchase in-game items. Zynga has been doing this with much success on the ever-popular Farmville app on Facebook.
That said, in all likelihood, Android’s in-app billing service will provide a more streamlined environment for the purchasing of digital content and not require developers to come up with their own payment systems to collect money after a game an app has been purchased.
Thanks to these and many other features, Android’s Marketplace is slowly evolving from the eyesore it used to be. Now if only Google could come up with a device specific app store thus making the hassle of apps that work on certain devices and not others a lot easier.
April 5th, 2011
Thanks to the addition of Sony’s Music Unlimited cloud service, a couple of privileged devices will receive the option of streaming music. The devices that will be receiving the feature include the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, Xperia Arc, PSP and NGP (to be released later this year).
The Music Unlimited service will allows users to stream music to their portable device from their own music collection or from the Music Unlimited catalogue.
Those who are familiar with the PlayStation 3 know that Music Unlimited aka Qriocity currently is used by said system to stream music. Music files can be played from a heard drive and streamed to a phone when you’re not at the base system. The Qriocity catalogue will cost £4 a month for the basic service with the more advanced service which includes more channel choices, playlists and on demand listening coming in at £10 for a monthly plan.
As stated before, the service will come to the Sony PSP and Sony Ericsson Android based devices. So far the company does not have an official release date, but according to Sony reps, we should be seeing this one popping out of the company’s research and design labs in a matter of weeks.
If this does take off, it would offer a lot of competition to other cellphone manufactures such as Samsung, HTC and LG who have yet to include some sort of musical application suite for streaming or playback in their devices as of yet and instead rely on the stock or modified Android experience for those musical junkies. This service just might give undecided customers the answer they’re looking for in terms of streaming music from a base system to a portable system.