Omio News Blog

Monthly Archives: September 2010

Desire White and Silver Wildfire: Colourful (And Colourless) HTC Handsets Now Available For Pre-Order

Not content with stealing our hearts and showing off Android’s prowess as an operating system, HTC have daubed their popular Desire and Wildfire handsets in brand new hues before shipping them off as exclusives to the Carphone Warehouse.

The HTC Desire White (above) evokes fond memories of early Android phones like with the T-Mobile G1 and HTC Magic, whilst the silver HTC Wildfire (seductively presenting its rear below) brings yet another colourway to the stylish sawn off device, adding to the red, white, black and brown variants.

Both are currently available for pre-order from Carphone Warehouse and, the Wildfire on contract from £20 per month and the powerful Desire for just a fiver more, with stock slated for October 1st.

Looking for a Google-powered phone that stands out from the crowd a little? You could certainly do worse than opting for one of this porcelain pair…

Seabird Concept Phone Highlights Mozilla’s Open Web Dreams

It seems like Facebook isn’t the only company with ambitious mobile phone ideas

Mozilla, developer of the popular Firefox web browser, has put together an incredibly compelling concept video for an Open Web handset dubbed ‘Seabird’.

It looks every part the ‘concept phone’ – all glass, curves and detachable bits like a space-age shaver – but it hides some pretty phenomenal dream features including an edgeless touchscreen, a Bluetooth dongle that doubles as a free-roaming remote, as well as the ability to dock and become a fully-fledged browsing device thanks to dual-Pico projectors displaying a 900 x 600 screen and spacious virtual keyboard onto surfaces.

Naturally, Firefox looks pretty snazzy on it too, with the ability to play HTML 5, Flash video and the like with aplomb.

Lofty flight of fancy? Yes. Awesome? Also, yes.

The brainchild of community member Billy May as part of a Mozilla Labs Concept Series last year, it seems destined to remain vapourware but is a great indication of how much further mobiles can go than bigger displays and more megapixels…

Source: TechEye

Sony Ericsson B-Boy World Championship Finals: Poppers And Breakers Do Battle In October

Beyond the breaking, battling, bravado and rocking beats, the Sony Ericsson B-Boy Championships is more about the art then ever before.

Hosted by B-Boy pioneer Crazy Legs and celebrating its 15 year anniversary, the cream of the worlds’ poppers, lockers, B-Boys and B-Girls are set to descend on the O2 Academy in Brixton, all hoping to be crowned the best in the World Finals.

Nevertheless, apart from a name on the marquee and subtle product placement, Sony Ericsson are refreshingly hands-off on the whole affair, preferring to let the dancing speak for itself.

Granted, their recent media activity for the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini had a decidedly dancey bent (check it), but the event is all about letting the B-Boys have their chance in the spotlight and show the 5,000-plus crowd what they can do.

What they can do, for those who haven’t seen it before, is nothing short of spectacular.

From solo battlers to full-on 8 man (and woman) teams, the inch-perfect choreography, physical prowess and technical feats draw gasps and cheers from discerning fans, whilst stern experts look on and mark each flip, head-spin and freeze with a harshness that makes gymnastics judging seem positively lenient.

It is this kind of respect and seriousness that sees the Sony Ericsson B-Boy Championships retain its prestige on the break-dancing circuit. The months of regional conflicts, eliminations and global qualifiers all lead to an event where a single 90-second sequence could mean the difference between immortality and a sweaty bus journey home…

Tickets are still available for the weekend of the 10th and 11th of October, check out the highlights of last year’s event here.

Orange San Francisco: Stylish Sub-£100 Android Handset Launched

Orange’s choice to name their new handset after the cosmopolitan centre of cool that is San Francisco is hardly a surprise.

Fun, funky and filled with things to do like its namesake, the Orange San Francisco shows that Android on a budget doesn’t have to mean a handset constructed from pipe cleaners and gaffer tape, offering a phone that is a looker whilst remaining feature rich.

Sporting Android 2.1 and a 3-megapixel camera, this ZTE-produced device is imbued with all manner of Orange-exclusive perks including 2-for-1 cinema tickets through Orange Wednesdays, leveraging the San Francisco’s internal GPS to power Orange’s own Maps service.

Available on prepay for only £99 on a Dolphin tariff, the San Francisco marks the fruity network’s renewed effort to dominate the affordable Android handset market. With an MP3 player, built-in FM radio keeping on top of entertainment whilst Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G+ handle connectivity, the San Francisco is equipped with 2GB of memory via an SD card out of the box, and room for up to 32GB.

Phil Roberson, Orange’s Director of Devices, said : “The San Francisco is the first in a series of affordable Android devices we have planned for Orange. Combining its great functionality with our pay as you go price plans, really does offer users tremendous value for money”.

Available from this week, let Conor from Orange show you just what the San Francisco can do…

LG Optimus One Showcased In Musical Promo

LG’s latest smartphone effort, the Optimus One, gets a thorough workout in this sponsored promo video.

Features from Google Googles to Shazam and voice-powered navigation are shown off in a clue-based trip around the city, Optimus One in tow.

Come for the J-Pop inspired electronica and slightly nausea-inducing camerawork, stay for the subtle (and not-so-subtle) Droid placement throughout.

Set for an October release date, it seems that LG’s trip to Mountain View in order to work with Google more closely might have done the Optimus One the world of good…

Samsung Galaxy Tab Coming To Three, Price Plans From £7.50 Per Month

Three UK have confirmed that they will be ranging the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab this winter, on a range of data-only as well as traditional SIM-only call packages.

Data only deals start at £7.50 per month for 1GB of data whilst 5GB can be gotten for £15 per month. Voice deals bundle 100 minutes, 2000 3-to-3 minutes, 3000 texts and 1GB of mobile internet for £10 per month, whilst £15 per month bumps the minutes up to 300.

Nigel Field, Director of Devices at Three, feels the network’s data savvy nature is a perfect fit for the Galaxy Tab:

“With both the Android and tablet markets going from strength to strength, we’re proud to be ranging the Samsung GALAXY Tab.

“More than 97% of Three traffic over the network is data, so more than ever consumers need to make sure they’re on a network that can cope with the demand when buying mobile Internet devices like tablets.

“With both SIM and Wi-Fi connectivity, Samsung GALAXY Tab users on Three can get the most out of the product knowing they’re with the UK’s number one mobile broadband provider.”

The all-important question that Three’s announcement hasn’t addressed is the cost of the Samsung Galaxy Tab itself. With the SIM-only deals in question being only 1-month rolling, its likely that Three will offer the device without subsidy.

If current pricing on eXpansys is any indication, the cost of the Galaxy Tab could be the biggest barrier to entry rather than which network to plump for.

We’ll let you know if and when contract deals arrive for the iPad challenger…

Source: Three

O2 Android Updates Causing Issues: Removing Dell Streak Features, Freezing HTC Desire

The curse of modern devices struck has struck twice for O2 UK, as roll-outs of brand new Android firmware for both the HTC Desire and Dell Streak tablet have resulted in disgruntled consumers, missing features and in some cases ‘bricked’ handsets.

First up was the belaboured journey for an update to the Dell Streak, a cutting edge Android powered tablet running on a year-old ‘Donut’ build of Google’s smartphone operating system.

O2 finally rolled out an update to owners of their network-exclusive device, bringing their massive phones up to the new 2.1 ‘Eclair’ software.

Before long, forums flooded with complaints as consumers claimed that features had been removed as well as a host of new issues, including the removal of PC synchronisation, missing Facebook widgets, the loss of Windows Media Video playback as well as deleted contacts and messages.

With these features claimed to now be faulty by many Dell Streak owners, O2 are quickly looking for a fix to restore functionality.

This follows O2′s HTC Desire update woes, which saw the carrier’s over-the-air attempt to bring the Taiwanese manufacturer’s phone bang up to date result in numerous problems, the worst of which saw the device lock up and become completely unresponsive at the loading screen.

O2 responded to TechRadar regarding the issue, releasing the following statement:

“While many have been able to download [the update] successfully, we have had a small number of reports of customers having problems installing the software, which we are looking into.”

Whilst the promise of Android and its evolving nature led many to believe that it could grow and eventually outperform the iPhone in terms of features and functions, the fear we had of networks and manufacturers finding it difficult to keep up with the pace of the fledgling platform seems to be materialising.

Even by disseminating these updates over wi-fi, the various makes and models and their customised versions of the vanilla OS have caused myriad problems for carriers and phone makers alike.

Say what you will about iOS, but there’s a charming consistency in the way that Apple’s updates bring the entire range up to speed in one fell swoop. Either that or leave it by the wayside altogether (see you later, iPhone 2G!).

As Android phones and their manufacturers continue to roll out new handsets, perhaps they will fall into a rhythm of regular updates, or scale back on the customisation to make the process easier.

Either way, the current experience is far too convoluted, troublesome, and fraught with failure for the average consumer to contend with on a regular basis.

aPad Now Available To Buy, Android Tablet Available For Under £100

If a major factor putting you off from buying Apple’s latest ‘magical’ device was the distinctly down-to-earth price, then a promising sub-£100 iClone from Chinese wholesaler might be just the device you were looking for…

The aPad tablet certainly looks familiar upon initial inspection, down to the single face button and rectangular frame, with a closer look revealing a device running Android 1.6 on a 600MHz internal processor, with a 0.3-megapixel webcam and a 7-inch touch display at a resolution of 800 x 480.

Connectivity is solely 802.11 b/g wireless support, whilst a 2GB flash drive (but with support for microSD) acts as memory, and battery life is a scant 2 and a half hours. Also a concern is the 128MB of RAM, which can be boosted to a more speedy 256MB if you ask nicely…or order enough units.

Okay, it might not be an iPad but at a frankly amazing price of £97.43, we forgive it for being light on the specs front. With largely the same Android functionality as handsets costing three times as much, the aPad is a cost effective — if slightly basic — alternative to Apple’s tablet.

We haven’t plumped to purchase one for ourselves just yet, but we want to get an aPad just to see if we can get Froyo up and running on it!

For under 100 quid it might seem tough to go wrong, but we couldn’t wholeheartedly endorse buying the aPad from a site that also sells taffeta wedding dresses and fake grenades filled with bulletsSource: Tech Digest

O2 Launches Priority Tickets iPhone App

UK network O2 is making their customers feel special with a new Priority iPhone app, raising the velvet rope early to thousands of the country’s biggest gigs and events.

This free app leverages their sponsorship of a host of UK venues by giving a window of opportunity to O2 customers, letting them snag tickets up to 48 hours before they go on general release. With gig guides, artist search and venue maps complete with directions, Priority looks to be the ideal app for fans of live music.

The carrier doesn’t discriminate either, as they revealed plans to bring the currently Apple-only app to other devices including the O2-exclusive Palm Pre Plus:

“With this app we are making it even easier for [O2 customers] to have incredible experiences that they can share with the people that matter to them the most,” said Jonathan Earle, O2′s head of consumer mobile, in a press release.

“Having launched on the iPhone we now plan to roll out the app to other platforms including Android and WebOS.”

Each major network is truly relying on separating themselves and courting consumers through value adds, with Orange Wednesdays now a necessity for cinema lovers and Vodafone offering a truly VIP festival experience if recent reports are anything to go by.

Source: Mobile Entertainment

Orange Improves Prepay Packages, Offers Top-Up Perks

It’s no longer just smartphone fans on top-end contracts that are getting offered free stuff, as Orange have rolled out a series of top-up perks to benefit their prepay users.

Offering greater value for money to their animal-themed tariffs, Orange shoppers will get rewards for topping up as little as a fiver, as well as lower call rates and free international calling minutes depending on the package.

Music loving Monkey tariff users can add to the unlimited free music access by snagging a daily internet pass and free UK texts for adding at least £5 to their credit, whilst chatty Canary tariff owners get 100 more free evening and weekend texts when they add a tenner onto their account, on top of the 100 call minutes they already receive.

The intriguingly-spelled Racoon tariff keeps things easy – allowing prepay owners to enjoy cheap calls as the per minute cost falls to just 12p, whilst intrepid Camel PAYG customers can get free international minutes from just topping up.

On top of all the above, an offer of Unlimited Text bundle for a £5 top-up is extended to Dolphin and Monkey PAYG package owners, taking them slowly but subtly into pay monthly territory…

Pippa Dunn, Vice President of Orange Propositions said:

“We have enhanced our Pay As You Go animal packages to ensure we meet our customers’ changing needs and continuously provide good value. We are committed to offering customers packages that are tailored to their specific lifestyles – from music to free international calls.”

Great to the prepay customers getting a similar level of love as contact owners on Orange. Other networks would do well to follow suit…