Omio News Blog

Monthly Archives: August 2010

BlackBerry Pearl 3G In The Pink On Vodafone, Free From £25

We love us a good new handset colourway on Omio, and the BlackBerry Pearl 3G appearing in a lovely pink hue is no exception.

This slender refurb to the Pearl range might rock an 12-button alphanumeric keyboard rather than the familiar QWERTY effort that BlackBerry has become synonymous with, but this hasn’t hindered the handset in the slightest.

Still equipped with RIM’s fantastic line in messaging and connectivity, the Pearl 3G has a 3.2-megapixel camera and dedicated media keys to ensure that the handset is equally comfortable at work and play.

Available on Vodafone deals from £25 per month offering 500 minutes and unlimited texts as well as 500MB of internet data, the pink BlackBerry Pearl 3G will be gracing VIP tables and designer purses from today.

The Pearl 3G is currently only on Vodafone in pink, but Blackberry are currently not making any promises that this is exclusive to the network…so you might want to hold out if you simply must have your phone match your outfit.

SE UK Confirms XPERIA Range To Get Eclair Upgrade By End Of September

As phones are getting slated left and right for not stepping up their Android game quickly enough (if at all), Sony Ericsson have been reassuring XPERIA owners that the 2.1 update will be arriving to handsets by the end of September.

Taking to Twitter and fielding what must now be the most frequent question levelled at manufacturers, Sony Ericsson UK have managed to firm up that vague ‘Q4′ confirmation by mentioning that X10 handsets will be getting Eclair-ed up by the end of next month.

It’ll be interesting to see how the ambitious TimeScape and Mediascape interfaces will be tweaked to accommodate this firmware tune-up, arguably the most impressive aspect of Sony Ericsson’s new Android offerings could do with a bit of a speed boost…

Nokia C7: Symbian^3 Sequel Given Early Review

Nokia C7

Whilst we eagerly anticipate the debut of Symbian^3 in the flagship form of the Nokia N8, ever eager reviewer Eldar Murtazin has managed to get his hands on another handset powered by the new interface – this time it’s the Nokia C7.

Swapping out some of the N8′s more flighty specs for mid-range alternatives – the C7′s camera takes a dip to a still impressive 8-megapixels with LED flash (as opposed to the 12MP, Xenon packing N8), whilst gets 8GB of memory whilst the N8 rocks 16GB on board as standard.

That being said, the C7 can boast a similar 3.5-inch capacitive AMOLED display complete with pinch-to-zoom support – a relative rarity on Nokia touch phones – as well as an abundance of connectivity with Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth 3.0 support.

Despite the review of a prototype unit being largely positive as he calls the C7 Nokia’s most balanced flagship Symbian^3 phone and also the best value for money (around €360 – 390), Eldar still deems the handset as ‘hardly a market leader’. A little harsh for an unfinished device…

The double-edged sword that is Nokia’s incumbent Symbian interface is that it has bred a cosy familiarity with existing users willing to trade up, but at the same time does little to court new consumers swayed by current smartphone competition.

With the iPhone attracting the fashion conscious flock and the latest Android devices managing to be appealing and affordable in equal measure, the jury is out on whether Nokia’s transition from S60 to Symbian^3 is too late – or drastically different enough – to turn heads away from strong opposition.

The Nokia C7 still has not been officially announced as yet, but is rumoured to be slated for a Winter release. What do you think, enough to keep the Symbian home fires burning?

Source: Unwired View

Dodonpachi Resurrection: Bullet Hell Shooter Rains Down On App Store

Cave Software, fresh from the success of bringing anime-drenched shooter Espgaluda II on the iPhone have decided to convert another crazily-named game from their stable to Apple’s device, Dodonpachi Resurrection.

Available from today at an introductory price of £2.99 (it’ll jump up to £5.49 from the 29th…), Dodonpachi Resurrection is close to an arcade perfect port of another revered entry in the ‘bullet hell’ shoot ‘em up genre, complete with screen-filling bosses, waves of merciless enemies and all new iPhone exclusive play modes and a remixed soundtrack.

The action is so intense in Dodonpachi Resurrection that it can only be handled by latter day iDevices, with the iPhone 3G and original iPod Touches having to sit this bullet storm out. Thankfully there is also a ‘Lite’ version to see if your handset is up to the task before you buy.

Even on the office iPhone 4 the game is a massive memory hog, with frantic missile-dodging gameplay taking a frame rate hit during some particularly large explosions, but it manages to feel part of the fabric of the twitchy gameplay, giving you an extra moment to relish the destruction before it ramps up all over again.

The all-important high-score table is present and correct with OpenFeint powering global rankings for international bragging rights and a set of challenging achievements to unlock.

The touch controls are a little fiddly, as is always the case with games needing swift reflexes on the iPhone, but the steep learning curve is levelled somewhat with a Practice Mode, making learning the risk and reward strategy of attack a lot more accessible than the convoluted modes in Espgaluda II.

It’s not as cheap as a lot of the other shooters on the App Store, but one play of the Lite version will show that Dodonpachi is a cut above in terms of retina-searing graphics, relentless level design and a double shot of sheer arcadey fun.

Besides, how can you not like a game that has you wielding a Supreme Weapon of Annihilation?

Nokia 5250 Launched: Musical Blower For Cash-Strapped Youths

Today Nokia launches another effort in their bid to reclaim the lucrative mid-range sector with the 5250, an affordable touchscreen handset with music on its mind.

The Nokia 5250 fits the standard form factor from the Finnish manufacturer, looking much like the stylish X6 albeit stripped of smartphone frills including 3G, GPS, and Wi-Fi. The handset is built for touch with a 2.8-inch TFT widescreen display, with a 640 x 360 pixels resolution. Snapper-wise, a 2-megapixel camera rests on the rear of the 5250, with robust Ovi gubbins inside for all manner of uploading to YouTube.

The lack of fast data access sounds like a huge loss for such a socially-savvy phone, but the 5250 still rocks out with the Guitar Hero 5 Mobile game, a range of cute colours and a decidedly non-smartphone price tag of just €115 (£95).

Nokia’s Music Unlimited service (née Comes With Music) will also ship with the device, but with just 51MB of internal memory you’ll have to supply your own storage space. Running on the Symbian^1 (previously known as S60) platform, the 5250 is all about connectivity as well as sporting a generous 7 hours talktime, 24 hours of tunes time and a whopping 17 days on standby.

With a Q4 launch, the Nokia 5250 might be the phone to keep younger music fans chatting this winter.

Omio Mini Review: AIO P111 Duo – Dual SIM, Dual Keyboards, Little Use

I suppose the lesson is not to let curiousity get the better of you…

Sifting through my Inbox a few weeks back, I stumbled across an unread e-mail that featured a frankly fantastic looking handset – the AIO P111 Duo – straight out of China and seemingly bringing Windows Mobile to a compact and versatile device.

Whilst nothing special in and of itself, the promise of an interchangeable keyboard from full QWERTY to a massive Doro-style alphanumeric effort on this mysterious device piqued our interest.

Ignoring the possibility of losing keypads in transit as well as the logistical nightmare of changing them in an emergency, we eagerly awaited our review handset.

Upon its arrival in decidedly nondescript cardboard packaging that made it look more contraband than bleeding edge tech (how it managed to get through Our Majesty’s Customs and Excise unscathed is a miracle), but after slicing through the reams of masking tape the P111 was revealed.

To say that this handset was unimpressive was a bit of an understatement, the flashy Photoshop job that attracted me in the first place managed to gloss over the plastic frame and flimsy build. This isn’t the sturdy and strong plastic that LG or Samsung use in their lower end devices, but rather the kind that toys in the local pound shop are made from.

Turning the device on was…interesting. Met with a litany of Chinese characters, my fumblings led to a basic FM radio and an MP3 player containing a picture of a warbling anime girl and little else. One thing was certain, this was not a Windows Mobile-powered device…

Navigation was initially challenging, with the four way directional pad working when it felt like, and the exciting key emblazoned with the Superman logo performing the un-amazing feat of bringing up the phone’s impenetrable menu.

A quick e-mail later and I got the handset up and running in English…or at least a close approximation of it. With the BlackBerry-inspired QWERTY keypad locked in, I made a beeline for the messaging to put the temporary buttons through their paces.

Texting was less a difficult affair than it was nigh on impossible, realising that the vast majority of keys simply weren’t working… The P111 is set to use the alphanumeric keys by default, with no way to change it!

Swapping out the QWERTY for an octogenarian-friendly 12-button keypad made the P111 far less difficult to use, as mashing the massive keys seemed to have largely the desired effect.

The dual-SIM functionality is actually quite a cool feature, allowing the handset to run off two separate lines and be switched between them at will. If there’s one thing that we’d be eager to see adopted by other manufacturers more quickly, it’s this one.

The convenience of a special SIM for holidays or international calls can’t be denied, and the P111 at least makes short work of jumping between lines without skipping a beat. Unfortunately they don’t run concurrently, but as soon as the second SIM is fired up, messages and missed calls ping up on the small and heavily pixellated display.

To go from the iPhone 4′s high-resolution effort to the 8-bit display of the P111 is retro-quirky at first, but that soon gives way to pure frustration when having to scroll through even the shortest of text messages and looking at the eye-searingly poor menus.

I’d love to say that I was able to put the phone through more but the battery gave out after a a couple of calls, and we have never seen a charger as weird and…pointy as this so were frankly scared to hook the P111 up to the mains and charge it.

Rest assured, our brief foray into the world of off-brand handsets make us more amazed than ever that some of the amazing prepay efforts we have cost as little as they do. If the LG GB102 can cost as little as £2.95, I would expect change from a 20 pence piece for the P111 Duo.

So if you are getting curious about a random phone off eBay that promises dual-SIMs support, portable TV output or even a George Foreman grill function, do us a favour and just don’t buy it.

The more they promise, the less they seem to deliver, and the P111 Duo underperformed even below our incredibly low expectations…lesson learnt.

SugarSync Brings Cloud Storage Sweetness To S60 Devices

Good news for Symbian smartphone owners looking to take their data on the move, as cloud storage solution SugarSync is now available for S60-powered devices.

This free application offers an easy way to sync, backup and share files anywhere as SugarSync account holders can ping their documents, music and more over the air with 2GB of cloud-based storage given away gratis, and the chance to boost this by up to 10GB by referring friends to the service.

A document editor means that changes can be done to files on the fly, and those looking for more room can opt for as much as 250GB, with 60GB for $9.99 per month currently proving the most popular package.

SugarSync CEO Laura Yecies was pleased about branching out to more mobile platforms:

“No other cloud company offers such a broad range of mobile applications for consumers. We’re working hard and fast to build an all-inclusive ecosystem to ensure our customers can choose to work from virtually any location, on any device.”

SugarSync is a cross-platform solution with apps available for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, as well as a beta version for Windows devices.

Download a version of the application for your device here, whilst cloud storage newbies should educate yourselves by watching the below video.

Not sure if your phone is compatible? Simply click here, then check out the ‘phones’ view to see if your Symbian handset is covered.

Source: SugarSync via Nokia Experts

VIDEO: Halo App For Windows Phone 7 Explained

As we assumed when the Windows Phone 7 launch title lineup was unveiled, the Halo: Waypoint application is unfortunately not a mobile installment of the massive gaming franchise, but rather an online repository of all things ring-shaped.

This promo shows off some of the features coming soon to Windows Phone 7, as well as an insight to the movies and media soon to be available on the free Halo app.

It’s an entertaining video as the nice lady manages to throw a couple of curveballs in there for Dan Ayoub from 343 Industries…watch as he squirms over the question of achievement support, his elusiveness over a Windows Phone release date and his thinly veiled exasperation at once again re-iterating that Waypoint is not a game.


HTC Desire Froyo Update on Vodafone “Days Away”

There seems to be an end in sight for Vodafone HTC Desire owners burned by the network’s recent Android update, as the network has relayed to The Inquirer that a fix to their Froyo rollout is just “days away”.

The over-the-air install is due to rectify an issue that arised when Vodafone’s 360 service – bundled with the official update -  seemed to have some conflict within the HTC Desire, causing all manner of booting, slowdown and messaging problems for devices.

Whilst the imminent fix for Vodafone customers is promised to right these ills, the network-exclusive 360 applications will no longer feature, nor do they any longer have a provisional date for release.

Vodafone said in an official statement:

“We’re still developing and testing the Android 2.2 update for HTC Desire and working on its approval with Google and HTC. The start of the roll out is days, not weeks, away and as soon as the date is finalised we’ll let you know”.

Vodafone users ought to watch the space for a concrete date of Android awesomeness, whilst fans of the troublesome 360 service might just have to wait a while longer…

LED Display Jacket x iPhone App = Digital Bling For The Catwalk

Here’s something that’ll get you a little more attention on the dancefloor: a jacket packed to the lapels with an LED light show!

The Tokyo-based crew of designers might have had other plans for their ‘Vanilla’ range of jackets, with embedded wearable LEDs in the fabric having practical uses such as indicators for cyclists hidden in the cuffs, but the crazy ‘k’ series with 8 x 8 dot matrix display to project whatever graphics you like make this the ultimate clubbing accessory.

With the ability to control the tempo, change patterns and even the ability to write messages across your back via an iPhone app, the Vanilla Jacket ‘k’ could certainly make your shapes a lot more eye-catching!

Don’t believe us? Check the jacket out in an urban test situation:

Pricing and a release date is yet to be confirmed, but watch this space to register interest and await further details…