Omio News Blog

Monthly Archives: September 2009

HTC HD2 Features In O2 Catalogue, Looks Great

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Perhaps O2 want to show the world that they are fully behind the new breed of Windows phones. Perhaps O2 are still a little bit raw from the iPhone shacking up with not one, but two new suitors. Perhaps Winter ’09 O2 catalogues have just ended up in the hands of the right wrong people.

Whatever has happened, we’re all looking at the first (un)official pictures of the HTC HD2, complete with Windows Mobile 6.5 make-up and showing off that industry-leading 4.3-inch WVGA display.

With a 5 megapixel camera, gorgeous display, speedy processor and apps galore for the forthcoming Microsoft Marketplace, the HD2 could turn a lot of people onto using a Windows-powered phone…that form factor isn’t bad either!

With a release date and price as yet unannounced, we are no closer to finding out whether the HTC HD2 is another O2 exclusive, that they are the first network out of the starting blocks with it, or just the worst at keeping a secret.

With the brochures printed up and presumably ready to go into stores, the HD2 cannot be that far away from a full launch. October, anyone?

Source: Engadget

LG GD510 Pop: Simplicity And Style In A Compact Shell

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Despite the tasty KP500 Cookie selling like hotcakes for the Korean manufacturer, LG thought it was about time the mid-range touchscreen market received a bit of a revamp in the run-up to winter.

With the tagline of “Simplicity is Supreme”, the gorgeous LG GD510 aims to fill that niche of looking nice enough to be a premium handset, but without the resultant damage to your credit score.

Also known as the ‘Pop’ in some circles (not the ones we travel in, mind) the GD510 is hewn from a beautifully burnished aluminium, with curved edges and a single home key that illuminates in a warm red or green to indicate its current function (largely answering or ending calls).

The device packs a weighty 8GB of internal memory, a 3 megapixel camera and a form factor that LG claims makes the Pop “the most compact 3-inch full touchscreen phone ever made”.

So…why have we not thrown our smart phones into Regent’s Canal in anticipation of the GD510′s November release at the Carphone Warehouse?

Well, a closer look shows that concessions that LG has made to keep the Pop affordable might make the handset a bit too lean on specs for some…

Wi-Fi and 3G was the first to get the chop, and the screen is a little less dandy than we are used to in terms of resolution, but the GD510 still wipes the floor with many of the current fashion phone elite in terms of looks.

The Pop is also hip enough to care about the environment, with an optional solar panel that can be affixed to the rear of the device.

With LG’s familiar widget-based user interface, the GD510′s almost-frameless display and arresting shape seems set to prove the bubble hasn’t burst on cheap and cheerful touch phones for the mass market.

Details on pricing and release dates are to follow, but check out the LG GD510 specifications in the meantime, and a slick reveal trailer below.

iPhone 3G, 3GS On Vodafone UK And Ireland

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Vodafone has recently announced that they too will be selling the coveted iPhone 3G and 3GS smart phone in the UK and Ireland, following reports just yesterday of Orange’s intentions to do the same.

With O2′s exclusivity contract ending in October, rival networks have been fast to secure deals to sell Apple’s device which still features highly in the public conscious as the year’s must-have smart phone.

Vodafone will be offering the 3G and 3GS models ‘from early 2010′ according to Techradar, a great deal later than the handset is expected to appear on Orange.

The Vodafone site has a registration page up to inform consumers when the handset will be made available, with this announcement a definite move to settle loyal customers that might have become restless as they watch the iPhone go mass-market.

However, 2010 is a long wait…will their as-yet unannounced pricing strategy and incentives be strong enough to keep the Voda faithful onside once the iPhone becomes a free-for-all? Time will tell.

LG BL20 Chocolate Handset Gets Unwrapped

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LG are fattening us up with another tasty Chocolate handset, this time the BL20 is here to tantalise our tastebuds.

Whilst the LG BL40 Chocolate was only in the spirit of the original Black Label luxury handset, this one evokes the landmark device far more closely in both style and substance.

Touted as an O2 release in the fourth quarter of 2009, the LG BL20 New Chocolate is on a strict diet at only 12.3mm thick, equipped with a 5 megapixel autofocus camera and Widget Hotkeys to quickly access at-a-glance features like weather updates.

The New LG Chocolate BL20 echoes the original LG Chocolate’s design, resurrecting the glossy black surface with red accents as well as the gorgeous touch sensitive controls that are revealed when the phone is carressed. The touch navigation has also spread to the sides of the device, with volume and camera keys discreetly tucked away on the handset’s flanks.

Whilst not as arresting as the 21:9 display of the BL40, the BL20 Chocolate offers the same minimalist fashion statement that exemplifies the LG Black Label range, but at a more affordable price tag.

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iPhone on Orange: What It Means For Consumers

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It’s been a long time coming, we’ve heard hushed tones, rumours and unofficial confirmations, but finally the iPhone on Orange has become a reality!

Aside from the obvious fact that it’ll mean more of Apple’s slick mobiles will end up in consumer’s hands by breaking up O2′s two year love affair, there are plenty of other side effects of the iPhone getting together with what is soon to be the UK’s largest mobile provider…

1. Price War!

Orange may not have divulged a price or release date for the 3G and 3GS (in a surprise move, they have also secured Apple’s latest model of the iPhone), but it is fair to say that the entrance of a new challenger into the ring could spell curtains for O2′s premium price point.

A bloody high street battle is bound to ensue, with a new-found choice of provider driving iPhone prices down and resulting in a turf war between the two networks for the attention (and signatures) of cash-conscious shoppers.

Prepare to see shorter contracts, sweetened upgrade deals and cheaper handset costs for the coveted smart phone from both O2 and Orange, as they vie for supremacy over a cash-strapped public.

All signs point to Orange releasing the handset this side of Xmas, which could lead to the iPhone becoming this year’s must have present…if the price is right.

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2. Better 3G coverage.

One thing that O2 has been in the media a lot about in recent months is their patchy 3G coverage. Many consumers found that their shiny new iPhone 3G was a lot less impressive at surfing the web, as high speed data signals remained elusive.

Earlier in the year, Ofcom released UK coverage maps, highlighting the degree of 3G reception across the country for the major networks. The maps spoke for themselves, as well as explaining the reason for some people’s reception issues…

O2 coverage:

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Orange coverage:

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Exactly. Now that the iPhone will made be available on another network which can claim further reaching 3G reception, it might force O2′s hand to improve network coverage as well as service…if Ofcom being on their case about it wasn’t enough.

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3. Stronger competition from exclusive handsets.

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Nothing stimulates innovation like a bit of healthy competition, and the iPhone no longer being an exclusive might force networks to drive consumer interest in other handsets on their respective rosters…

The Motorola DEXT is Orange’s latest acquisition, a socially-savvy communicator that links up to Twitter, Facebook and all manner of sites, and will definitely be priced to scoop up those teens not quite ready for the iPhone.

O2 are already directing attention to the forthcoming ‘iPhone killer’, the Palm Pre, and a response on their blog to Orange’s announcement makes them sound proud of the million-odd new sign ups that the iPhone has brought, but still determined to forge ahead with exclusive devices.

Without a monopoly on the world’s most hyped handset, people who aren’t swayed by the iPhone will still need to get the next best thing. It is up to the carriers to convince of what that is, and rest assured they will be spending a lot of money on advertising in the coming months letting us know.

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4. Network-specific apps.

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Without the shackles of a single network, even more people will be making impulse purchases on the App Store, but also networks can develop applications that allow customers to get more from their mobile.

The My O2 iPhone app currently enables users to check their remaining minutes, texts and charges, whilst also allowing them to see their current Bolt-Ons and view recent bills. All very useful, and a great piece of optional functionality that the iPhone can bring specifically to users for a particular network.

Does this mean that Orange World functionality can finally arrive as an app as opposed to being hard-coded into the handset? We maintain our candlelight vigil in hope…

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5. iPhone on T-Mobile?

Well, it’s no secret that just last month Orange and T-Mobile inked a deal seeing the two merge and become the nation’s biggest mobile network, with over 28.4 million customers.

As this merger is in the early stages, the two networks are still maintaining distinct branding and retail outlets at present.

However, how much overlap might there be in the future, and will we see the iPhone available on T-Mobile as well as Orange as a consequence?

When the join between these two providers is a little difficult to distinguish, it is not a huge leap of the imagination to see cross-promotion of the iPhone 3G/3GS in T-Mobile stores, or sign-ups to a network with can boast better 3G coverage than even Orange.

Time will tell, but now that the bubble of iPhone exclusivity has burst, all bets are off on which network will be next to sell this generation’s hottest mobile phone.

Nokia N97 vs. Nokia N97 Mini Comparison: Mobile Phone Face Off!

The forthcoming Nokia N97 Mini is the latest Nseries phone, taking this summer’s most hyped handset and shrinking it down to a more pocket-friendly form factor.

So far, we know that it is smaller, cheaper and…browner than the Nokia N97, but does the N97 Mini actually bring to the table this October?

Check out our guide to see the differences between the Nokia N97 and the N97 Mini in all of the ways that really matter!

Size:

This is one round where the Nokia N97 Mini had better strut its stuff!

In response to popular demand, shaving a few centimeters from all of the N97′s angles makes the Mini, well…mini! The N97 Mini has also been made a little more curvaceous to fit in the pocket easier. The QWERTY keyboard is retained, but losing the N97′s slightly redundant d-pad in the process. What that means for N-GaGe gaming compatibility remains to be seen…

If you like your smart phone smaller, then the N97 Mini is exactly what you are looking for!

Winner: Nokia N97 Mini

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Weight:

Another shoo-in, the Nokia N97 Mini is positively svelte in comparison. The paunchy N97 is 12grams heavier than the 138g Mini, and that reduced weight leaves plenty of room in your pocket for loose change or pine cones.

Winner: Nokia N97 Mini

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Screen:

Something had to give, and the N97 Mini has lost .3 of an inch in the touchscreen department. May not sound like much, but size always matters and the N97′s 3.5″ screen looks all the more spacious for those active widgets when compared to its younger sibling.

Winner: Nokia N97

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Camera:

A photo finish in this department, the Carl Zeiss 5 megapixel camera remains largely unchanged between the two devices, with N97 Mini sporting a dual-LED flash as opposed to the single LED of the N97.

A small but significant victory for the plucky youngster!

Winner: Nokia N97 Mini

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Battery:

The Nokia N97 rocks a beefier battery, giving more than 2 hours talktime to the gallon over the N97 Mini and an 8 hour difference in music playback. Standby time eclipses the Mini by over 100 hours, proving that bigger is sometimes better!

Winner: Nokia N97

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Memory:

Another department whether concessions make the N97 Mini that bit more affordable. An internal memory of 8GB is usually impressive, but the hefty 32GB offered by the original N97 is tough for any handset on the market to beat. The microSD card slot can beef up both devices by an extra 16GB, but that doesn’t offset the cavernous 24GB disparity in memory.

Winner: Nokia N97

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Connectivity:

Both handsets are identical in this respect, the suite of smart phone syncing options from Bluetooth to USB and everything in between are covered by both devices. Wi-Fi makes surfing over a wireless connection a cinch, whilst the FM transmitter enables you to broadcast music through any free radio frequency. The built-in browser has support for Flash, whilst messaging and mail functionality remain intact. It really is a miniature N97 in most respects…

Winner: Draw

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Media:

The Nokia N97 Mini is well equipped to enjoy the wealth of existing music and movie formats, whilst the smaller screen size does little to ruin the viewing experience. Ovi Store downloadable apps are available and should be compatible with both devices, but the lack of d-pad makes the N-GaGe gaming platform a challenge on the smaller handset.

Winner: Draw

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Verdict:

It’s all about price at the end of the day, and the N97 Mini is about giving users that smart phone functionality at a more affordable cost. If the success of Nokia’s N97 flagship smart phone was at all tempered this summer by some being put off by the price tag, then the N97 Mini is bound to do great business this winter.


Samsung M8920 Camera Phone: 12 Megapixel, 3x Optical Zoom Handset Breaks Cover

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Just as we sing the praises of the current camera phone champ in our Samsung Pixon12 review, an even more impressive photo snapping handset leaks!

This Pixon12 followup has been called out as the Samsung M8920, with the bulky device closing the gap even further between the world of mobiles and dedicated cameras by offering a 12 megapixel lens, 3x optical zoom and high definition video recording!

Currently pegged for release in its native Korea, the Samsung SCH W-880 (as it will be known over there) is likely to be almost identical to the eventual European model. GSMArena notes the absence of Wi-Fi and GPS markings on the device, but the lack of a specs list suggests that these anything could change in the run-up to release.

More details when we get them!

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NO SIGNAL: A Celebration Of Mobile Phone Clichés In Cinema

It was easy for schlock horror movie writers to put their victims in a scary, isolated location in the 70s, but with mobile phones now a permanent fixture, filmmakers have had to lean on the biggest cinematic crutch of the 21st Century – NO SIGNAL!

Enjoy this montage of screen gems where mobile phones conveniently (to the plot) become useless, and the variety of ways that bad actors hammer home the point that they just can’t get a signal!


Our favourite? Saw V’s brilliantly stilted, high-tech take on the problem of poor phone reception.

Your current blower giving you trouble? Check out our range of the latest mobile phone deals on all networks, although we can’t promise you a perfect signal…

Source: FilmDrunk

Vodafone Unveils 360, Application Service To Debut On First LiMo Handsets

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In a dual pronged take on the social networking boom, Vodafone has announced 360 – a new set of internet services for mobiles and PCs – as well as releasing two custom-made handsets to make the most of it.

The Vodafone 360 service is one of gathering all of a user’s contacts, comments and content into a single threaded space, available both on mobile and PC.

Users have integrated contacts, music, photos and mapping services, enabling them to  their favourite music choices and even their physical location, how and when they choose, with their chosen groups of friends.

The service is automatically backed up and synchronised, regularly and wirelessly, between the mobile and PC or Mac.

All contacts updates, emails, photos and conversation history or settings changes made either at home or when on the move are saved, keeping all the content up-to-date.

The Vodafone 360 H1 phone takes this service and presents it with the first ever Linux Mobile OS interface on your screen, allowing all of the social networking, e-mail, apps, music, functionality and content to be presented in 3D on its huge 3.5″ touch display.

With a 5 megapixel autofocus camera, GPS, Wi-Fi and 16GB of internal memory, the 360 H1 spec sheet places the device firmly in smart phone territory, but with a front end that makes the experience fast and intuitive for all users.

Following closely behind is the Vodafone 360 M1, a more compact and affordable iteration with a 3.2″ touchscreen and a fixed focus 3 megapixel screen, but equally ready to handle the new friend-focussed service.

The 360 H1 and M1 have been manufactured by Samsung, something Vodafone is proud to admit with the manufacturer’s name emblazoned on the front of both handsets.

That isn’t to say that 360 service will be limited to these devices, with word that it will hope to appear as an app on the iPhone in due course!

The 360 H1 and M1 should be out in time for the end of the year, but the price has not been announced.

Check it out in the promo video below, have a closer look at the Vodafone 360 H1 features on Omio, and experience 360 for yourself with this interactive demo!

Sony Ericsson Aino Now Available For Pre-Order, October 5th UK Release Date!

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All those who like their media on the move should mark October 5th in their calendars as the Sony Ericsson Aino is due for release, with pre-order deals already available on Omio!

Happiest in landscape mode, the Aino works a personal media player with 3″ full touch display when closed, switching to a traditional slider handset when the keypad is revealed.

Equally competent as a camera phone, the Aino sports an 8.1 megapixel camera with face detection, digital zoom, A-GPS with Wayfinder turn-by-turn navigation and geotagging support.

The ability to Remote Play media from a Playstation 3 has been pitched as a major Aino plus point, allowing movies, videos and pictures from your console to be accessed over 3G or Wi-Fi, wherever you are!

Unfortunately not stretching to play PS3 games, the jury’s out on whether the VidZone music on demand service also works on Aino, although it does on the PSP so we’ll keep our fingers crossed!

If you’d rather sample some fresh content, the Sony Ericsson Aino supports the PlayNow Arena service for downloading the latest and greatest content, specifically formatted for the device.

With the addition of bundled wireless headphones, an 8GB microSD card and a charging dock that allows PC syncing over Wi-Fi with MediaGo, the Aino is certainly shaping up to be the ultimate device for music and movies on the go.

With a free handset available on a £25, 24-month tariff with 400 minutes and unlimited texts, the Aino looks set to serve well as an affordable mobile entertainment centre…and a gorgeous phone to boot!

Check out the first Sony Ericsson Aino deals on Omio, and the video below for a look at it in action!