Omio News Blog

Monthly Archives: January 2010

Samsung Galaxy II Sneak Peak – Another Slab Of Android

The guys over at Androphones have not only come up with some specs on the Samsung Galaxy 2, but also what looks to be the first rendering of the device.

Hmm, if we’re being honest it looks like a bit of a slab, but bear in mind this is only a render.

Under the hood the Galaxy II packs a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm, a 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen, a 5-megapixel camera, 32GB of internal memory, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, Wi-Fi connectivity options, built-in GPS receiver and it will be running on Android 2.1. No real surprises then.

Nevertheless, with that Snapdragon engine, the upcoming Galaxy 2 squares up to nicely to the rest of the Android powered competition such as the Nexus One by HTC or the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, and the Galaxy II’s 32GB means it has twice the space offered by the Motorola Droid.

We’ll be at WMC next month, so expect some real pics mid-February, and some Galaxy II deals shortly after that in Q2.

Panoramic iPhone Photo App: Pano

Second only to VoIP apps on 3G, here is our favourite app of the week: Debacle Software’s Pano, which allows you to take stunning panoramic photos.

We checked out the associated FlickR pool for examples of it in action and found some beautiful pics, especially when coupled with Art&Mobile’s Tilt Shift Generator. The effect is broadly the same as has been (over) used in so much advertising over the past couple years, but it is undeniably cute.

Pano costs £1.79 while Tilt Shift Generator is just £0.59, both from Apple’s app store.

Apple Allows VoIP Apps Over 3G!

Finally, Apple has opened up the iPhone to the running of VoIP (Voice over IP) applications over 3G and EDGE networks.

The possibility of cheaper calls, international or otherwise, at anytime is of course great news for customers, but guaranteed it will shake things up for the networks. At present telco 3 is the only operator to provide support for Skype calls.

The first app to exploit the new found freedom is called iCall (see below), followed closely by Fring. Expect Skype and similar VoIP app developers to follow suit.

With regards to Apple’s new device, the iPad, permissions for VoIP applications help to broaden it’s functions and should go some way in silencing critics who were quick to point out the device’s limitations.

The iPad already has all the necessary tools for VoIP calling – a built-in microphone, speaker, 3G, Wi-Fi, and apps. It is only a matter of time before Apple gives the OK for a camera peripheral for iPad – which should then make iPad a great video-conferencing device.

Meanwhile, in related news Google has decided to bypass any reservations Apple may have about its VoIP Google Voice web app service and instead has launched it as a web app which can befound at

We’ll have to wait and see the impact these new apps have on the telcos, but clearly one key factor is the reliability of the VoIP apps.

So, we’re downloading the Google app as we write and will follow up with iCal and Fring. Expect verdicts next week.

Mozilla Firefox For Android – ETA February?

Already available for Maemo (as a RC1 version) and Windows Mobile (as an alpha 1 version), the mobile version of Mozilla’s Firefox browser, aka “Fennec” may soon be available for Google’s Android platform, too. is reporting that the first usable beta version of Firefox for Android may be out in February.

Why should you be bothered? For starters Fennec incorporates the so-called “Awesome Bar” from Firefox 3.0, which does much more than your usual browser URL bar.

Add to that support for Mozilla’s research project called “Weave”. Mozilla will be looking to leverage existing desktop users of Firefox toward Fennec and Weave will help make this possible as it enables users to access their desktop remotely over the Web.

However, aside from the many kinks and bugs that still remain with Fennec in its current version, Mozilla also faces the difficult task of finding ways to distribute it.

Don’t expect the App Store to stock Fennec anytime soon: the mobile Safari browser is pretty much one of the iPhone’s biggest selling points, with its ability to render pages as desktop-accurate as possible.

Similarly, Microsoft, Google, and RIM all bundle mobile web browsers with their mobile operating systems, (Windows Mobile, Android, and BlackBerry respectively), so Fennec faces entrenched competition in these quarters too.

Mozilla’s successful distribution is more likely to hinge on whether they manage to mangae to strike up deals with handset manufacturers the way Opera has with its mobile browser, Opera Mini.

[Source : Unwiredview]

Analysts Predict Android Epidemic By 2013

By 2013, Android will  be the second most widely used mobile phone operating system, with Android handset shipments predicted to reach 68 million units, according to industry analysts IDC.

The mobile operating system market, once dominated by a handful of pioneers such as BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile, is now being challenged by new comers.

Incumbent platforms touting open standards (Android) and more intuitive design and navigation (Mac OS X and webOS) have garnered strong interest from both vendors and consumers alike.

“Mobile operating systems have become the key ingredient in the highly competitive mobile device market. Although the overall look and feel of the device will still play an important role in the buying process, the wrong choice of operating system coupled with an awkward user interface can mean the difference between success and failure,” said Stephen Drake, vice president, mobility and telecom at IDC.

Meanwhile the research firm predicted Symbian will retain its leadership position worldwide at least for the next 4 years. Due primarily to the strength of Nokia in markets outside of the US, Symbian continues to lead all other mobile operating systems.

Consumers are fast becoming aware of the implications a phone’s operating system can have for their user experience.

To reflect the increased importance of a mobile phone’s operating system, Omio now allows you to sort through mobile phone deals according to OS:

On the Omio ‘Deals’ tab,  select ‘OS’. From there just specify which Operating System you wish to look at!

… Or you can simply check out all our mobile phone deals for Android phones directly here.

Source: DigiTimes

Apple Reveal Sparks Online Frenzy: iPad Accounts For 5% Of UK Shopping Searches

Say what you want about Apple’s cloak-and-dagger methods, but they sure know how to get the public interested in a new product.

Statistics gleaned from InvisibleHand – the real-time shopping comparison add-on – show that in the hours following Steve Jobs’ unveiling of Apple new iPad internet tablet, the device accounted for almost 5% of the total UK shopping searches online.

The US was equally excitable over the new iPod/laptop hybrid, with 3% of all their shopping searches containing the ‘iPad’ monicker.

The iPad – costing from $499 and earmarked for a March 2010 release – is a touchscreen tablet set to pose a challenge to Amazon’s Kindle and the e-reader market with their new iBooks Store, as well as deliver gaming and high definition movies via iTunes, as well as access to a suite of finger-friendly productivity applications.

Robin Landy, founder of InvisibleHand, finds the explosion in searches unsurprising:

“Anticipation over the iPad has been building up for months and our data shows that people were not disappointed with what they saw.

Interestingly despite not being available in the UK until March, British consumers were whipped into more of a frenzy.

Over the pond the iPad accounted for just under three per cent of online shopping searches.”

“The iPad is going to top most wanted lists for months to come. As consumers look to get their hands on this new product they need to make sure that they have the right tools to get it at the best price.

Real-time price comparison is essential if early adopters are to take advantage of an iPad price war,” concluded Landy.

iPad Unveiled!

After all the hype and speculation Steve Jobs announced last night the iPad, which goes on sale in the US today.

Demonstrating in typically relaxed fashion Jobs took us through features of Apple’s latest device which seeks to bridge the gap between a smartphone and a laptop.

The Apple iPad may not have an OLED display, but its 9.7-inch, 1024×768 screen is still multi-touch and capacitive, and it comes with all the other bits you’d expect including a-GPS, digital compass, 3.5mm audio jack, accelerometer, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

So essentially you can browse the web, compose emails on a near-full size touch QWERTY, manage your calendar, view photos, TV shows and movies and enjoy YouTube (with now features HD).

Full specs available here.

Initial reception for the iPad has been mixed, with some decrying the lack of real-multitasking, with others failing to see the point of it at all.

But after the scale of hype leading up to last night’s announcement, many were bound to be disappointed.

While some bemoan that the iPad is just a jumped up iPod touch, we on the other hand can picture it perfectly at home on the coffee table or in the kitchen.

Anyone looking to broaden the iPad’s functions should definitely keep their eyes open for the peripherals Apple will offer though.

Currently there are only 5 available – a physical keyboard, case, dock, USB power adapter and camera connection kit, but who’s to say you won’t be able to bolster the iPad further?

The iPad goes on sale in the US from today with prices ranging from $499 for the Wifi-only version up to $899 for the top 3G enabled model, and with 16/32/64GB iterations at various price points in between.

As for the UK release date, the Register have reported that the Wifi version of iPad will be available in March, with the 3G enabled iPad two months later.

Nokia Reports Strong Q4 Profits

Just as we were thinking that Nokia were about to bury their financial reports amid a deluge of iPad related news, the Scandanavian manufacturer releases a glowing set of financial results.

Maintaining it’s key financial targets for 2010, Nokia posted a higher-than-expected 65% growth in their net profits from the last quarter of 2009.

Nokia attributed their successes to regaining their market share for smartphones.

“We grew our market share in smartphones in the fourth quarter, driven by the successful launch of new touch and QWERTY models,” said Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo.

Initially, Nokia appeared late to respond to the challenge offered by iPhone and HTC but after releasing their long-awaited N900 and X6 Xpress Music models, Nokia appear to be back on track.

Add to that Nokia’s recent announcement of Ovi Maps – which offers free navigation with all their new smartphones, opens up range of location-sensitive services to its customers – and it seems that Nokia is gearing up for a successful 2010.

Samsung C3510 Genoa: Bargain Fashion Phone Makes European Debut

The gorgeous cut price touchscreen handset that enjoyed an Indian summer as the Corby Pop has finally made it to British shores as the Samsung C3510 Genoa.

This bargain blower inherits the good looks of the Samsung family, looking much like the Genio Touch variant albeit with slightly reduced specs to make it even more affordable.

The C3510′s 2.8-inch touchscreen is resistive rather than capacitive (if you don’t know what that means, you won’t notice!), the changeable Fashion Jacket rear is absent whilst the snapper has been stepped down from 2 megapixels to 1.3 – not a great loss.

On the plus side, the C3510 Genoa now has support for a 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as a little weight around the midriff…

The social networking integration and live updates have made the jump to the Genoa intact, with homescreen widgets that give easy access to displaying and posting status updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Samsung C3510 deals will be available on e2Save from the 9th of February, with a free handset at only £15 per month on Orange deal already available on pre-order.

If you need a cheap ticket to the touchscreen party, the C3510 Genoa is one of the best!

Google To Fix Nexus One After Patchy 3G Performance

Google’s Nexus One looks as if it is hurrying a patch for it’s flaky 3G connectivity, much in the same way as Apple was forced to do when it introduced the iPhone 3G.

Thanks to some particularly sharp characters at Cnet’s Deep Tech, we gather that word of an update first arose in a Nexus One help forum in which an apologetic Google representative named Ivar wrote that, yes, Mountain View is aware of the 3G problems and that help is on the way:

“Our engineers have uncovered specific cases for which a software fix should improve connectivity to 3G for some users,” he wrote. “We are testing this fix now, initial results are positive, and if everything progresses as planned, we will provide an over-the-air software update to your phone in the next week or so.”

Google’s 3G troubles echo those of Apple’s iPhone 3G, which also had a tough time from the offset when it came to 3G connectivity.

The iPhone 3G’s OS had to be patched up twice before the problems abated – but but only after Apple was threatened with a class-action lawsuit due to its poor initial performance.

[Via The Register]