Omio News Blog

Monthly Archives: June 2010

Samsung Galaxy S: First Thoughts

So we’ve had the Samsung Galaxy S for over 24 hours now and after a good initial impression we’re quickly finding more that we like about the phone.

Design

That lip on the bottom of the unit gives the handset a reassuring amount of grip. Much needed when you think about how susceptible large touchscreens are to damage from dropping. The added clearance this gives from any surfaces you rest the phone on also helps prevents scratches, bonus!

Apps

Swype technology offers a surprisingly intuitive way of writing accurate text quickly using the touchscreen. It didn’t take long before we were Swyping our way through messages and emails.


Seeing as the Galaxy S runs on Google’s Android operating system, it comes pre-loaded with Google Maps too. Superb for the directionally challenged and the acutely lazy.


The Galaxy S also packs the Aldiko eBook reader app, so you can easily download and read a wide variety of literature to view on your handset. We’re not sure how long a session we could stand reading from a 4″ screen, but for an especially boring journey, this could be a life-saver. The text looks beautifully rendered on the Super AMOLED screen in any case.




Media

The Samsung’s huge 4″ Super AMOLED display is very impressive and draws ups up videos in 720p HD video in true mobile splender. The jury is still out as to exactly how the screen measures up to iPhone 4, but it’s certainly a contender.



I do have to admit that testing the various MP3 players on smartphones is pretty tiresome, especially on Android phones: no matter how many bells and whistles you put on it, I’m still going to long for my iPod touch. However, with the Galaxy S, the MP3 player is great and has a handy pull down menu for use plus the external speaker is loud and punchy. Perfect for ruining other peoples’ summertime peace.


On the downside, the camera on the Galaxy S doesn’t pack a flash (boo hiss). How am I going to take photos in the dark now Mr Samsung? And how will I be able to enjoy the full benefits of Android 2.2. when it comes to this phone in future (benefits of FroYo include the ability to record video with the flash turned on). The results from the 5 MP camera on the Galaxy S are fair, not astounding and it’s a shame there’s no dedicated shutter button, but it certainly does the job well (just not when it’s in the dark).


Overall, the interface feels very natural and the TouchWiz 3.0 layer that we first got to use on the Samsung Wave is going down a treat. Our only reservation is that it’s a little too similar in looks to the old iPhone (see below) nevertheless first thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S are very good. Hold tight for a full review later this week!

End Of The Line For First ELSE Smartphone, Project Scrapped Due To ‘Critical Delays’

The dream is over for fledgling Israeli firm Emblaze Mobile, as their attempt to enter the market with the slick First ELSE smartphone has been scrapped.

Citing delays in deliveries and an inability to secure a deal to proceed on mass production, investment has been ceased by the company according to a press release.

The Linux-based ELSE was the toast of the town at an elaborate unveiling in Central London last November, followed by an impressive presence at this year’s Mobile World Congress, but relatively little was heard regarding the device since.

Financial woes facing the parent company has forced them to pull funding on the ELSE project, with the resultant reduction in development costs hoping to lead them back on the road to profitability.

It’s a real shame, as the ELSE’s unique one-handed control method was genuinely innovative, but they aim to salvage something from the wreckage by attempting to license the handset’s platform – dubbed ELSE Intuition – to other manufacturers.

Take a look a the video below to see the handset in action, during happier times.

Samsung Galaxy S: Gallery Shots

Not one week has passed since iPhone 4 arrived on our desk, but already we’ve got another beast to play with: Samsung’s Galaxy S.

Our first impressions are good! The handset is considerably thinner than we expected and lighter too thanks to a its largely plastic construction. The trade off here is that it’s perhaps not as classy as other phones at this level. Nevertheless, the Super AMOLED screen is brilliant and adjusts to ambient conditions so great for viewing both outside in bright sun and then indoors when you’ve decided you’ve had enough UV for the day.

Regarded by many as the only real challenge to Apple’s latest gadget, we are excited to have the two lined up side by side, so expect a full run-through and a “versus” post in the very near future. In the meantime, feast your eyes on the lovely lines of the Samsung Galaxy S!

Vodafone Makes Deal That Allows Switching Operator Via SMS

Vodafone has just announced a new deal with WIN plc that makes it possible for consumers to switch to Virtual Networks that run on Vodafone with the sending of an SMS. Virtual networks currently running on Vodafone are Asda, BT Mobile, Truphone and Lebara.

WIN plc have a diverse interest in the mobile industry, with particular strengths in delivering content and entertainment services directly to the networks and WIN most recently did business with Vodafone when they released three applications on Vodafone 360.

Traditionally, Vodafone has tended to rely on it’s familiarity with customers and has been shy to get involved with MVNOs, virtual networks that run on the infrastructure of a parent network.

However more recently Vodafone has been putting a lot of energy into teaming up with other networks. Perhaps the T-Mobile / Orange merger has given them a kick up the behind. Just last week Vodafone teamed up with Roamware to offer cheap international roaming to subscribers.

This latest deal with WIN plc seeks to endear the network to the bargain-hunting masses, by making the barriers to switching as low as possible.

Source


Samsung Galaxy i5500 Europa: Due July, Carphone Warehouse Online Exclusive



The affordable Samsung Galaxy i5500 handset – first seen at CommunicAsia and due for release under the Corby/Genio banner – has been revealed by Carphone Warehouse as the Samsung Galaxy Europa, an exclusive to the retailer and due for a July release.

Touted as ‘only available to order from our website’, the Galaxy Europa may become the best kept Google-powered secret next month.

Packing Android 2.1 out of the gate, the slight Galaxy Europa brandishes some pretty impressive features for a supposedly entry-level handset – a 2.8-inch TFT capacitive display (albeit 240 x 320), 600Mhz processor, Wi-Fi as well as a 2 megapixel camera complete with geo-tagging.

Not bad for a handset tipped to retail for around €199 (£160), is it?

With the only competition in the lower end of the market coming for the equally feature rich and appealing HTC Wildfire, the Galaxy Europa could well become a mass market success for the Korean manufacturer.

Cheers, EuroDroid.

HTC Hero Android 2.1 Update Finally Arrives (For Some)

The much lauded HTC Hero, winner of numerous best handset awards last year (including ours!), is finally seeing its long awaited update to Android 2.1 (also known as Eclair) roll out to handsets across the UK and Europe.

The Hero gets a huge shot in the arm with this update, bringing the impressive Sense UI and all of the Android accoutrements that Legend, Desire and Wildfire owners have been enjoying for some time.

Improvements also include support for the new Google Maps Navigation – bringing free turn-by-turn to the device for the first time – a revamped Android Market, digital zoom functionality for the camera and all manner of keyboard adjustments.

It is only when you list the changes that you see how far Android has come since version 1.5 or ‘Cupcake’, and the Hero certainly feels like a souped up smartphone once the process is complete.

Available as both an over-the-air update or a physical download from the gates of HTC themselves, we advise that you back up all of your data to the microSD card before you turn your handset into a super Hero.

However it isn’t all ticker tape parades and keys to the city, as HTC Hero owners on networks 3, Orange and T-Mobile may not yet get a taste of sweet Eclair due to rigourous tests on their customised builds of 2.1.

Three UK told Pocket-Lint that a mid to late July release for Android 2.1 was likely, whilst T-Mobile would not be drawn on an update timeline for the ‘G2′ – a variant of the HTC Hero, exclusive to the network.

With the HTC Desire, Legend and Wildfire all pegged for an upgrade to 2.2 in Q3, let’s hope that the Hero doesn’t end up continually playing Android update catch-up with its younger siblings.

Nokia’s Ovi Maps Upgraded To Include Content From Expedia, Time Out, Qype

Nokia expands their impressive free Ovi Maps navigation offering today by adding Expedia, Time Out and Qype to the burgeoning roster of providers supplying content to the global service.

Holiday agents Expedia bring the ability to geo-search for hotels and make room reservations from your handset, whilst also able to read reviews and receive turn-by-turn directions to your next oasis.

Time Out gives you access to the pulse of seven cities around the globe, giving you an inside track to the latest in music, bars, clubs and entertainment for London, Chicago, Lisbon, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Sydney. Further cities are set to follow, complete with the iconic reviews that make Time Out necessary reading for intrepid travellers.

Qype is an massive online community, giving real opinions on real places all over Europe. From chemists to libraries, pet shops to gyms, everything in the city is covered by like-minded folks.

In addition to the existing Lonely Planet and Michelin restaurant guides, Ovi Maps is fast becoming the ideal companion to any overseas trip…and all for free!

Check if your Nokia phone is compatible with Ovi Maps by pointing it here.

Spotify iOS 4 Update Submitted To Apple, Background Streaming On The Way!

Finally.

Music streaming software Spotify has received an app update to support the multitasking functionality on iOS 4, allowing background streaming of music on the move.

Bad news? It’s still undergoing Apple rigourous submission process before appearing in the App Store as a free download.

Good news? To reward Spotify loyalists for their patience, it will also contain a ‘nice little surprise’ according to the Spotify blog!

Whatever will it be? Electric Pig postulates that the recent social networking features will be making the leap to mobiles…we’re inclined to agree!

We’ll keep you posted, and let you know the moment that streaming music on the iPhone gets multitasking!

Sony Ericsson Vivaz Looks Pretty In Pink


A new colourway for the Sony Ericsson Vivaz has appeared on the wires, the handset arguably looking better than ever in a fetching hot pink.

The Symbian powered Vivaz impressed us with its high-definition video recorder and 8.1-megapixel snapper (check out the review), despite the Sony Ericsson-skinned user interface feeling overly familiar.

The Sony Ericsson Vivaz pink has been tipped for an imminent European release, and is sure to appeal to celebutantes eager to catalogue their lives in HD.

Source: Daily Mobile

Dell Streak Tablet Goes It Alone, Now Available SIM-Free For £449

If you fancy dipping your toe into Android tablet waters, you can’t do much better than the monolithic Dell Streak, now available unlocked directly from Dell for £449.

Packing a mean 5-inches of WVGA capacitive display, the Streak is now free from its O2 exclusivity shackles and can make you feel uncomfortable making calls on any network, thanks to its slightly-too-big-to-be-a-phone form factor.

With a 5 megapixel camera, 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, 16GB of microSD storage and a Dell-daubed custom interface, the Streak is ready to buy now.

Check out 220 grams of tablet beefcake in action below.