Omio News Blog

Monthly Archives: June 2009

Motorola AURA Celestial Commemorates Moon Landing

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How do you make an exclusive handset even more special? Yes, usually by coating it in diamonds, but this time the gorgeous Motorola AURA is signifying more than mere opulence.

The new Motorola AURA Celestial Edition commemorates the 40th anniversary of the lunar landings on 20th July 1969, and will be adorned with all manner of related content including videos, images and audio clips including Neil Armstrong’s famous first words upon setting foot on the moon.

The handset itself is largely identical to the original AURA, still beautifully handmade, sporting a stainless steel housing with chemically etched textures and retro stylings.

The AURA Celestial Edition will be on limited sale from the beginning of July until the end of the year, from selected retailers at an astronomical (in the most planetary sense) £1,400.

Source: Mobile Choice

HTC Hero On Orange Website

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That was quick! Everyone’s favourite Teflon-coated, Android-toting handset, the HTC Hero has already swooped in to save the day on the Orange UK site, coyly showing off its exclusive graphite finish and strong jawline.

Marked only as ‘coming soon’ and enticing with the promise of availability for free on pay monthly tariffs, the HTC Hero seems set to be a prime iPhone alternative when it launches next month.

If grey doesn’t suit you, feel free to defect to T-Mobile where the device will be masquerading as the T-Mobile G1 Touch, complete with the same 5 megapixel camera, 3.2″ touchscreen and equal parts silky and intuitive ‘HTC Sense’ user interface. Except it’ll be white!

Source: Engadget

iPhone 3GS Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot?

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As the world gets hot under the collar about the new Apple iPhone 3GS, a small but vocal group of owners are finding cases of overheating in the must-have handset.

Many users claim the 3GS gets incredibly hot in the battery area of the device, going as far as to say that the heat has caused discolouration in the plastic-backed case.

Initial reports stemmed from French sites including Nowhere Else, where forum users complained of the iPhone 3GS heating to almost untouchable levels during 3G/wi-fi usage, and in turn turning the white case into a reddish colour.

PC World blogger Melissa J Perenson reported her iPhone became “very, very hot” during use while plugged into a power point.

“Toasty doesn’t even describe how surprisingly hot it got,” she wrote. “It was too hot to even put the phone against my face.”

The faster processor under the bonnet could have been a contributor to why the latest 3GS model is such a scorcher, but the fact that both the iPhone 3G and original iPhone have sported similar charging and overheating problems in the past makes this something that Apple cannot ignore.

Apple has declined to comment on these issues at present.

Source: news.com.au

CoPilot Live: Turn-By-Turn GPS Released For Android Handsets

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Seems like the G1 has managed to steal a march on the iPhone in an important category – turn-by-turn satellite navigation.

Co-Pilot Live app has recently rolled out on the Android Marketplace, offering GPS guidance, lane indicators, speed camera locations and voice directions on your mobile for the princely sum of £25.99 for UK/Ireland maps and £59.99 for all of Europe.

Supported by the holy trinity of Android phones, the T-Mobile G1, HTC Magic and HTC Hero/T-Mobile G1 Touch will even allow you to divulge and share your location to your mates, Google Latitude-style.

With no monthly charge or extra costs outside of your 3G usage for services like live traffic, fuel prices or weather updates, Co-Pilot Live seems like a great, cost-effective way to get you going in the right direction!

Source: G1 News

3 Reduces Data Roaming Charges To Lowest In UK

3-logo-300x3001In another move to champion themselves as the nation’s best value network, 3 UK have announced Britain’s lowest standard data charges, inclusive of EU roaming.

From tomorrow (30 June), 3 will drive down their cost of browsing the internet using both mobiles and laptop dongles to only £1.25 per MB,  the lowest of any UK network.

Calls to the UK and to other EU countries whilst in the European Union will cost 34p per minute, while texts to the UK and other EU countries will cost 11p. Calls cost 15p per minute to receive, and receiving texts is free.

They are also eager to reiterate that this is not a limited time deal and is available to all customers, automatically, whether on contract or prepay.

Admittedly, the European mobile operator regulation requires all networks to comply with lower rates (€0.43 per min. calls and €0.11 texts) from the 1st of July, but 3′s new prices are a shade lower than the newly imposed charges.

This latest move is the latest in a long line from the 3 network to cement themselves as the best value network in the UK, following on from being the first to make VoIP service Skype available on the Nokia N97 and the controversial £0 per month ‘SIM Zero’ tariff.

Edit iPhone 3GS Videos The Right Way, With iMovie!

directorschairfilmWith all the talk about the iPhone 3GS‘ new found video editing capabilities and a 400% increase in mobile uploads to YouTube since it was released, you’d think the handset would allow you to make your own Tony Scott blockbuster complete with filters, jump-cuts and dizzying splicing.

The truth is pretty far off with the 3GS built-in suite only able to snip the ends off your movie, and even then those portions are lost forever.

A proper movie with titles, edited portions and transition effects can easily be done…provided you have a Mac!

The Unofficial Apple Weblog has a great step-by-step guide, showing how to combine individual scenes taken using an iPhone and the brilliant Mac software iMovie, and make your own mini magnum opus!

Check out their great guide on how to edit iPhone 3GS videos here!

Here’s an example of just can be achieved in just a few minutes…

Sony Playstation Phone Rumours Resurface

psp-go-468The Playstation Phone rumour mill cranked back into action over the weekend as Reuters reported on a Nikkei Business Daily report, stating Sony’s plans to launch a ”cellphone-game gear hybrid” to topple the iPhone.

They will apparently be assembling a project team as early as next month to develop an amalgam of Sony Ericsson phone tech and PSP functionality…a ‘Playstation Phone,’ if you will.

With the recently revealed PSP Go attracting negativity surrounding the questionable design decision, risky choice of ditching the disk drive and hefty price tag, both Sony and the Playstation Portable brand could do with some positive PR.

The question is, with Sony languishing behind Nintendo in the portable handset stakes and losing heavily in the mobile market, is taking on the iPhone a fight they have any chance of winning?

Rolando 2 Gets Release Date, Kills Off Rolando 1 – UPDATE

c8ftuxvewp8okxdt4cjng4oio1_500-300x212We’ve made no secret of how wonderful we found iPhone title Rolando, with the mix of cutesy graphics, deceptively devilish gameplay and awesome licensed music (courtesy of Mr. Scruff) proving the handset as a legitimate gaming platform.

So understand our excitement at the sequel Rolando 2 getting a firm release date of July 1st, as the preview video showed more of the same great gameplay with a 3D twist, and ‘The Quest for the Golden Orchid’ is suitably epic yet vague subtitle, which we love.

Not all smiles though, as it seems that developers ng:moco will be pulling the original Rolando off the App Store at the same time, so it doesn’t draw focus away from the spherical sequel. A notice on thier site states:

“Also, make sure you snag a copy of the original Rolando while you still can. We’ll be moving Rolando and Rolando Lite off the App Store on July 1 to make room for Rolando 2.”

But why? How can you deny so many the original? Well, MJ from ng:moco (no, not the MJ) states:

“Basically, we want the spotlight on Rolando 2 when it hits the App Store. We’re not discontinuing support for Rolando, we’re just discontinuing sales. And Rolando may return to the App Store in the future, but if and when it does we’ll want to include Plus+ support for it.”

Hmm…continued support, but only for those who have already been swayed and bought it. What of the new iPhone 3G S owners, still too enraptured with the speedy browsing and digital compass to discover Rolando’s charms? Just a bit weird to remove the choice for consumers, not as though virtual apps literally take up space…

UPDATE: Yay! Power to the people! A recent ng:moco announcement:

“You’ve roared and we’ve listened. Rolando will stay put on the App Store. Topple is coming back. That’s how we roll.”

Source: Touch Arcade

Omio Round Up: The Best Bluetooth Headsets

Bluetooth headsets are great, no doubt. Allowing easy hands-free calls, wirelessly, whilst maintaining access to much of your phone’s functionality is brilliant, making a Bluetooth device a must-have accessory for those always on the move.

So why is it that they have had such a bad reputation?

Are they too difficult to set up, with pairing and handset compatibility issues resulting in many a wasted afternoon and acute frustration? Is it the quality of the early devices, making it sound as though people are speaking through a tin can telephone in a wind tunnel, gargling muesli?

Or is it just because people feel a bit like a twerp wearing them?

Whatever it is that has made them so uncool, many of the big headset makers have taken great pains to shift away from this negaitve press. With the highest spec materials, amazing call quality and sporting designs that would make an architect weep in wonder, these three headsets scream ‘business-chic’ as opposed to ‘boy band reject’.

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Aliph Jawbone Prime – £89.99

jawbone-primeThe first brand to position the Bluetooth headset as a luxury item and succeed, the Jawbone series of headsets offered exceptional call quality, a gorgeous design and a nice line in noise reduction.

The Prime continues this lineage effectively with an elegant and compact form factor, subtly placed buttons, wind-cancelling technology and a hefty price tag.

The Jawbone derives its name from the unique way that it picks up what you are saying, resting gingerly on the face and using sensors to detect movement in the jaw.
The Prime’s ‘NoiseAssassin’ technology uses this jaw vibration to sense when you are talking and filters out external noise automatically.

In addition, the volume of the caller on the other end is raised and lowered in
line with surrounding noise, picked up by a built-in external microphone.

Actually pairing the device is simple, holding down the ‘talk’ and volume buttons on the side for a couple of seconds is enough to alert any handset to the Jawbone Prime’s presence, and syncing is quick. An LED light gives a visual indication of what is going on.

In terms of comfort, the Prime comes with four different sizes of ear loops, as well as differently sized ear buds for the perfect fit. The loops aren’t required as the Prime nestles pretty well without them, but it adds an extra level of comfort. When on your head, the Prime barely reaches past the sideburns, resting at the top of the lower jaw and ready for vibro-action.

Weighing only 11 grams, the Prime causes little discomfort after extended usage, and the noise-aliph-jawbone-prime-bluetooth-headset-1cancelling feature is surprisingly effective, even walking around the bustling streets of Camden could not dampen the caller on the other end. Neither did we find ourselves shouting over traffic to be heard.

A stylish device, the Prime also comes in a vast array of colours in addition to its dimpled finish, matching any handset or mood. A nice touch, and a step towards courting the casual phone user as well as the businessman.

Battery life as well as voice quality was also tested on a marathon Playstation 3 session, a good place to get an idea of audio reception quality. The main thing it highlighted was just how bad the headsets other people use, with plenty of horrible echoing and background noise. Syncing with the PS3 was the usual Bluetooth cakewalk.

The Prime was done in around three and a half hours, which is not too bad considering the fact that it can be easily set to standby when not in use, and the constant activity when used as a gaming headset tends to drain a battery faster than normal. A quick recharge on the supplied USB charging cable (there is also a USB mains adapter) meant we were back in the game.

As an all-rounder, there is little to fault the Jawbone Prime. That bit of extra cash gets you a sleek, stylish Bluetooth device that is equally functional thanks to first-class NoiseAssassin technology, well worth it.

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Plantronics Voyager PRO – £79.99

Definitely a case of placing form before function, the Voyager Pro strays little from the lineage, plantronics_voyager_pro_01acting as a successor to the immensely popular Voyager 510 still riding high in sales charts years after release.

With a overwhelming sense of ‘if it ain’t broke,’ the Voyager Pro looks much like a last-gen Bluetooth headset, but it is rammed to the gills with bleeding-edge AudioIQ noise-cancelling functionality, as well as being made of the highest grade materials.

Pairing is a simple exercise, a clearly marked power button is depressed, and the accompanying LED gives a little flash of awareness.  Input the code in your phone, and you’re ready to go! The Pro is not ashamed of requiring buttons to work, and as such places them in plain sight. The volume up/down keys are placed on the top of the ear loop, whilst the ‘talk’ button is squarely on the side of the earpiece.
Vocal cues are also offered, with the dulcet tones of a lady informing of muting status, as well as of low remaining battery life.

It might not be a voice you’ll hear too often, given that the battery life for the Voyager Pro is a whopping 6 hours talk time, with 5 days of standby.  Arguably it ought to last all week given the size of the ear loop, but running out of juice at an inopportune moment is a good thing to never have to worry about.

It is a tad difficult to get over the retro styling of the Voyager Pro, as the bulky design and extended microphone boom are not pretty. Admittedly, the microphone is there primarily to perform a function and placing it as close to the mouth as possible just makes sense.

Those who aren’t fans of having equipment constantly plastered to their face will find a boom a better audio/noise cancelling solution than the Prime’s reliance on jaw vibration.

For that matter, the noise reduction is exemplary. The boom actually has two microphones, the usual inside mic for speaking into, and an outside mic for picking up ambient noise levels. The audio algorithms between the two pieces of audio allow the Voyager Pro to separate the ambient chatter from your voice, with stunning results.

The rubber earpiece supplied is fairly comfortable, but the weight in comparison to the Prime, particularly behind the ear, takes some getting used to.  Coming in at 17 grams, the weight of the Pro is noticeable, yet well balanced on the ear.

plantronics_voyager_pro_02Calls are crystal clear, and the difference between a device that has been manufactured for quality above all else is palpable, in terms of both use and feel. The specially chosen acoustic fabrics and steel microphone screens provide crisp, distortion-free output, so far as to get compliments on audio quality from other team members during a particularly heated battle in Call of Duty!

Whilst everything from washing machines to babies and annoying brothers can be heard in the background chatter of other players’ mics, the Pro managed to mix out practically all of the ambient noise, despite residing with others in a busy living room.

The ample choices of charging via USB, three and two-pin mains and even a car charger in the box was a nice perk, but a hectic afternoon of defending checkpoints and calling in artillery strikes resulted in the Pro losing only a third of battery life.

This is definitely the handset to go for if you are serious about having a sturdy, dependable Bluetooth headset with exemplary performance. The slightly unattractive styling, steep price and also the relatively unknown nature of Plantronics as a brand will make the Voyager Pro a tough sell to the average consumer.

However, the Voyager Pro is admittedly not an average Bluetooth headset for your average consumer, despite their protestations. The high-grade construction, peerless call quality and almost perfect noise reduction places the Voyager Pro firmly as a frontrunner in the premium Bluetooth headset market, making it a great choice for professionals constantly on the move.

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BlueAnt Q1 - £79.99

picture-235Whilst the Jawbone Prime and Voyager Pro are evolutions on long-established technology, the BlueAnt shakes up the Bluetooth market with brand new voice recognition technology.

With no prompting or learning, the Q1 enables almost complete phone functionality using just voice commands.

A definite selling point, the Q1 recognises your voice immediately without any training and has a myriad of commands that allow you to answer calls, check battery status, redial numbers and even discover some handy tricks for how to use it by saying “Teach Me”.

Even the entire pairing process is conducted via a series of voice commands piped into your ear, making the Q1 tremendously easy to set up. All you need to say is ‘Pair Me’, and you’re away!

The Q1’s styling as sleek and futuristic as the technology inside it, a curved and minimalist design of dark-grey plastic with a main ‘talk’ button emblazoned with the BlueAnt logo, and two smaller volume keys on the top of the device.

Placing it near your mouth is paramount for getting it to work, as the voice prompting is super sensitive to various commands. A blustery day or travelling in a car can make the Q1 a tad difficult to use, so the best chance of it working is by positioning the microphone portion in the right direction.

The noise cancelling is quite some ways off the pace set by the Voyager Pro, and is even a couple of steps behind the Prime in the call quality stakes. Calls are still very  much audible and the ‘voice isolation sensor’ which forgoes audio fidelity to increase audibility in busy locations (in Max mode) works well.

It is just a matter of being spoilt by the wind-cancelling tech in other devices that made the Q1 in arguably the most important department…

Nevertheless, the Q1 has the cool factor in spades, with call mute and call waiting support, automatic volume modulation according to the surroundings and a decent battery life of 4 hours talk time.

If any device existed to make Bluetooth headsets cool, then the Q1 is it.  The mean form factor, the cool voice interface, even the ‘edgy’ logo, everything about the Q1 sets it apart, in a good way.

Samsung C6625 Announced: QWERTY Candybar Means Business

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A far more straight-laced offering than lightning-fast Jet or hi-def capturing i8910 HD, the Samsung C6625 is an understated and functional smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard and business features.

Running on Windows Mobile 6.1, the handset is ready to act as a mobile office with a range of Microsoft document editing suite and support of Exchange mail.

Onboard GPS support allows for easy navigation, whilst Active Sync means that all your data is synchrosied the moment that the C6625 is connected to your PC.

A Vodafone exclusive, the Samsung C6625 price and release date is yet to be confirmed.