Omio News Blog

Monthly Archives: October 2008

Omio makes the news (literally)

You may have noticed that the blog post have dried up in the last week. This is because Ernest our resident mobile phone expert has been on holiday. He needs to recharge his batteries. (Sorry). As he has set the standard of blog posts so high, it would be reckless to post any old rubbish on here.

But Ernest still made his presence felt this week even though he was away from Omio HQ. Many of you might have seen his name crop up in a variety of articles, on lots of different websites, he was even mentioned on TV. You see, Ernest has established himself as a bit of an authority of T-Mobile Google Phone and his humble opinions were printed on the following sites

The Express

‘Breakthrough Google phone challenges Apple success’

The Daily Mail

‘Google’s rival to iPhone and Blackberry to go on sale in UK tomorrow’

The Evening Standard

‘Google launch rival to iPhone and Blackberry’

This is London

‘Google launch rival to iPhone and Blackberry’

London Lite

‘Google G1 is launched to take on the iPhone’

This is Money

‘Google launch rival to iPhone and Blackberry’

Metro

‘Ring in the savings’

If you want to get all the mobile news first, don’t wait till Ernest gets quoted somewhere, read it here first.

Touch Diamond: Now Available With Built-In Earthquake Sensing Goodness

It was surely only a matter of time before an intrepid developer made the logical leap between using an accelerometer for vital ball-in-the-hole games and using an accelerometer to check for earthquakes.

If you’re a seismophobic Touch Diamond owner, you’ll be relieved to know that a free download is now available to feed your anxiety. Seismo converts the jiggles of the phone in your pocket vibrations of distant earthquakes into a pretty graph which you can show your friends, or just feel anxious about.

Although the app’s appeal could be generously described as ‘niche’, it is – in principle – not as useless as it initially appears. The Economist recently explained that researchers at Stanford University are using a international network of volunteers’ laptop accelerometers to detect earthquakes in much greater detail than conventional seismometers.

Happily, the software is able to distinguish between the frantic repetitive motions that accompany some users’ surfing habits, and the vibrations of an oncoming cataclysm.

The Quake Catcher Network (QCN) uses the same distributed techniques as the easily mocked SETI@home project (which has millions of Star Wars fans harnessing their spare computing power on a fruitless intergalactic search for the real-life Yoda).

However, while SETI participants are desperate for a Jodie Foster like moment of extra-terrestrial epiphany, volunteers in the QCN are more likely to get early warning of imminent earth-shaking somewhere else on this planet.

If you still need further inspiration, here’s a thrilling video of the Touch Diamond app in action…

Source: PocketNow

Sprint CEO: “Android Isn’t Good Enough Yet”


Telecommunications-company Sprint’s CEO has said that Android in its current state is not good enough to slap the Sprint brand on. Dan Hesse made the comment to the National Press Club in Washington. Strong words, Mr Hesse. Yes he’s not completely writing off the operating system, but Android is the most exciting thing to happen to mobile phones since someone almost dropped their iPhone last night. Sprint might be missing the Android boat if they fail to act early enough.

Compared to their rivals, Sprint has been struggling to attract new customers. A lovely Android handset could be just what the struggling-to-attract-new-customers-doctor ordered. Maybe one beautiful day Android could be good enough to put the Sprint brand on. Until then we’ll just have to settle for using it on a whole host of other providers.

P.S. I haven’t checked the file name on the source article’s image, but I have no idea who the picture is of. It’s probably someone related to Sprint. Or perhaps Omio is now the butt of a particularly cruel joke. Touché Hot Hardware, touché…

Source: Hot Hardware

HTC Touch HD on Orange: Check out the WAPs on that!

You have to hand it to HTC. They keep finding ever-more spectacular ways to slap a thick coat of lipstick on the pig which is Windows Mobile.

The HTC Touch HD is their shiniest, most iPhone-like effort so far, featuring a large high-res touch screen, Touch Flo 3D and all the usual WiFi/GPS/accelerometer gubbins. Rather bravely, they’ve omitted a directional rocker – which won’t make it any easier to navigate Windows Mobile’s antediluvian interface.

Unfortunately for anyone with a red, blue or magenta logo on their monthly bill, Orange have snapped up a temporary exclusive that will last from “early November” until 2009.

And Orange being Orange, they will probably mangle Touch Flo with their ‘unique’ customisations. There’s certainly something ironic about the way they decided to showcase the handset’s “full internet” capabilities and massive screen by displaying a screenshot of the Orange WAP site in their promotional photos….

Anyhow, for people who want a decent iPhone alternative, or just really like slabs of very shiny plastic, the Touch HD should be available within a couple of weeks.

Virtual Touchscreens – Don’t Order That Dialling Wand Just Yet

Fingers too fat for the iPhone? The future is your friend.

Screw the Recession, I’m Getting a Motorola Aura

The Motorola Aura displayActually I’m not because I’ve already spent next month’s pay cheque on all these recession-busting apps. If I did have a spare £1000 then, after saving my house from being repossessed, I’d definitely pick up one of these.

Mobile Review have had a play with Motorola’s very, very high-end handset, called the Aura. As you can see from the images, this phone is designed to impress. Borrowing a bit from the steampunk genre, it’s all rounded edges, snazzy UI and gratuitous screensavers and clocks. It’s the first mobile phone to have a circular screen. Nifty, but most of the conventional features of the phone appear in the conventional rectangular shape in the middle of the display.

As expected, the Aura has some interesting high-end features to match its high-end price tag. The handset’s precision-engineered rotation mechanism is visible through a viewing window on the back. The phone casing is solid metal, giving it a durable and pleasantly expensive feel. It also makes the phone perfect for throwing at people’s heads. Don’t worry about damaging the screen with keys and loose change – the Aura has a 62-carat lens, which is designed to be abused. Okay, it’s more likely designed to be placed in a glass case in the entrance hall of your 50-bedroom Surrey mansion. Still, it’s nice to know that it can take a bit of a beating.

Yes the design and concept are interesting but most people are willing to look past a pretty face (especially one that costs £1000). To find out more about this little beauty, head on over to Mobile Review.

Science Imitates Art. Well, The Matrix

Trinity flying a helicopter in The Matrix

Disclaimer: this article isn’t really about mobile phones. It’s about wacky technology, washing powder and the Matrix.

You know that scene in the Matrix where Trinity downloads instructions for flying a helicopter straight into her brain?  This isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem. Scientific American has published a very interesting article about the possibilities of downloading text into the brain.

People with hearing difficulties already use a basic form of this technology through their cochlear implants. These stimulate the auditory nerve with sounds picked up by a microphone. Artificial retinas have already been developed and, if tests prove successful, could be used to give humans night vision. The technology needed to transmit knowledge or memories into the brain has yet to be invented. This isn’t to say that progress hasn’t been made.

Invasive surgery is no longer necessary to access the brain. With the use of electrodes, paralysed patients can transmit signals from their brain and type letters on a screen and even surf the net. Phillip R. Kennedy et al of Neural Signals have designed a device which records the output of neurons. When hooked up to a stroke patient they allow the person to send a signal through thought alone to a computer,which will interpret the signal. It is then vocalised by a speech synthesizer, allowing the person to communicate.  Brain and machine are moving closer together, but there’s a long way to go before they become one and robots with human minds kill us all.

The concept of downloading text into the brain raises many questions: will the new memories override existing ones? Could unscrupulous advertisers download product information into our brains so we suddenly know more than we want to about washing powder?  Such technology is a distant prospect but a greater understanding of the central nervous system could revolutionise the lives of people with certain disabilities. I’d like my iPhone to teach me how pilot a stealth bomber but right now I’ll settle for a paralysed person being able to communicate.

Sony Ericsson Mobile Phone Range To Be Cut, Yet They Manage To Leak New Handset Info!

Following on from Sony Ericsson posting their first quarterly loss in the last five years, they are to take drastic steps in order to wrestle the situation back under control.

Despite the world’s economy going into financial meltdown, Sony managed to sell almost 26 million phones in Q3 of 2008, and yet they lost €25 million in the process. That is almost certainly a bad thing, and worse when compared to the €267 million profit made this time last year.

Aggressive moves including cutting the range of handsets by a fifth and the consolidation of their three handset research labs into one were the first to be announced by Sony Ericsson president Dick Koriyama.

The downturn means that less people are buying phones, particularly those that may not have such strong unique selling points as the T-Mobile G1 or the iPhone. Trimming the range and drawing the focus onto ‘hero’ handsets such as the Xperia X1 and the 8 megapixel C905 may well be a step in the right direction for the beleaguered manufacturer.

Enough with all that doom and gloom, info on some more new Sony handsets has leaked!

Read more…

iPhone Clock : Make Your iPhone Into A Clock, That’s It

Why not just admit that for 23 hours of every day, your mobile is little more than a cutting edge timepiece? Get it here.

Source: Textually

Facebook On Android? Not Any Time Soon.

In a playground fight writ large, Facebook has privately ‘dissed’ Android by not developing a version of their insanely successful social networking site for the platform.

Rumour has it that Google is still bitter at the Californian company after it pulled their hair at lunchtime chose Microsoft as a major investor and advertising partner, and they retaliated by kissing Facebook’s boyfriend creating the Open Social network.

So, according to TechCrunch, Facebook has no intentions of even entertaining the new system powering the T-Mobile G1, preferring to let the community do their work for free using APIs.

One of the Facebook sources was heard to have called Android ‘vapourware‘, whilst another commented: “Android sucks, it doesn’t matter.”

Real mature, guys. Just kiss and make up, you know you love each other really! Well, you both love money, and there is quite a bit to be made with Android in the future as more manufacturers pick it up.