Omio News Blog

Monthly Archives: December 2011

Samsung Go Dual-SIM Route With Galaxy Y Duos, Galaxy Y Pro Duos

 

Whilst proving popular with folks in emerging markets, the dual-SIM phone has historically failed to fan flames in the hearts of European consumers…nevertheless Samsung is aiming to change this with an Android powered duo scheduled for 2012.

The Samsung Galaxy Y Duos and Galaxy Y Pro Duos are a pair of mobiles with a nice line in dual-SIM functionality.

The Y Duos is a Ginerbread-powered device, packing a 3.14-inch touch display as well as all of the slick Samsung software acoutrements we’ve become used to seeing in their mid-range Android line-up, from the TouchWiz user interface to all sorts of media player love.

As for the Y Pro Duos – if the name didn’t give it away – packs a physical keyboard in its BlackBerry-aping slender form, as well as the modified Android OS.

So, what’s the point of a dual SIM device? Well, it stops you looking like an extra in The Wire for one, wandering around with a pair of handsets if you need two separate phone numbers – for ‘business’ and ‘pleasure’ as it were. These enable you to put both SIMs in one phone, switching between the two at will.

The reason that they’re so popular on other parts of the globe is the ability to have easy access to a dedicated SIM for international calling and the like. Avoic costly calls, texts and data charges, all the while looking cool with a single versatile device.

Russia is the first to receive the Duos…duo in January of 2012, likely followed by a global release soon after. Will the UK finally come around to the idea of doubling down in the SIM stakes? Perhaps these might be enough to change our mind.

T-Mobile UK Launches January Sale, Slashes Contract, PAYG and SIM Only Deals

The mulled wine is still warm in Omio Towers and yet T-Mobile are already thrusting into a January sale of epic proportions!

From today (23rd December) until the 31st of January, T-Mobile are offering discounts on contract deals, pay-as-you-go handsets and propping up their SIM only offers too.

In the pay monthly arena, the magenta network are taking a fiver off per month from the HTC Desire S, making it available for free from just £20 on a 24-month contract. A fiver more will net you the new and improved BlackBerry Curve 9360, complete with unlimited BlackBerry mail.

T-Mobile’s own-brand Android handset – the Vivacity – will now only set you back just £10.21 per month, a bargain for a Gingerbread-powered device complete with 3.5″ touchscreen and 5-megapixel camera.

For those happy with their current device and looking for a SIM only deal, T-Mobile now offers up to 500MB of free internet with every package, including both 30-day and 12-month plans. Factoring in unlimited texts to the bargain, and the offer stacks up favourably with the SIMO competition.

Phone fans will also appreciate the myriad offers in the PAYG section, including the HTC Wildfire S having its price shaved by £30 from £179.99 to £149.99, and the ever-popular BlackBerry Curve 8520 falling to £119.99, a saving of twenty quid.

There are a ton of other discounts across the board, so please be sure to check out their site for the full line-up of reductions!

ASA Rejects Creepy Phones4U Ad Complaints, “Unlikely To Cause Serious Offence”

Despite over 600 complaints from squeamish UK viewers about Phones4U‘s recent TV promotion, the Advertising Standards Authority has rejected calls for the 30-second spots to be banned.

The advert features a spooky little girl seemingly stalking a young woman through a deserted car park before presenting her with a cheap Samsung Tocco Icon, with the Phones4U tagline stating that ‘Missing Our Deals Will Haunt You’.

Many of the complaints were around the advert being shown at a time where children might be exposed to the spooky ad, as well as the potentially uneasy content if viewed out of context.

Whilst the ASA accepts the fact that the concept, tone and delivery were very much in the vein of the subject parodied, the adverts were indeed shown after the 9pm watershed, as well as being unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, nor be unduly distressing to most adults.

Perhaps their homage to creeping tension was a little bit ‘on the nose’ until the end, but hardly a reason to have the latest effort from Phones4U – a retailer who is no stranger to unconventional ad campaigns – mastepiece pulled from our screens?

Judge for yourself, take a peek at the below video.

Dressing Room Mirror x iPhone Dock Puts Your Mobile Up In Lights

As conventional iPod docks have killed off the home hi-fi for all but the more ardent audiophiles, the eMirror looks to bring a bit of music – and class – to the bathroom.

Not only acting as a glamourous dressing room mirror – replacing the classic lightbulbs with 12 high beam LEDs – this objet d’art designed by German reflective specialists Kristall Form also houses a dock for your iDevice, 2 stereo speakers from HP as well a remote control to keep your gadget dry in the most spirited of shower concerts.

With the eMirror available in a trio of colours as well as both portrait and landscape orientation, €249 is a small price to pay for such a stylish way to pipe tunes into your boudoir…

Source: Born Rich

Best Mobile Phones of 2011 : Omio’s Top 5

It’s been some year in the world of mobile. And whilst looking forward is what us tech watchers and gadget fanatics love doing more than anyone, it seems the right time to take stock and reflect on what’s happened on planet mobile in the last 12 months…specifically, the five best phones to hit the shelves in 2011.

Here’s our pick of the bunch.

1. Apple iPhone 4S

 

A controversial inclusion? Maybe. But the iPhone 4S is still one of the best phones that money can buy, even if it did leave Apple fans cold when it was first announced. Look beyond the phone’s year-old design (which is still head and shoulders above the competition), and this is a phone crammed with the best modern mobiles can offer. Full HD camcorder, stunning 8 megapixel camera, Siri voice recognition and access to countless stunning apps. Apple might have big plans for the iPhone 5, but the Apple iPhone 4S is a mighty impressive iterative update.

 

2. Nokia Lumia 800

 

Nokia’s had yet another tough year. Yet having started it with boardroom upheaval, it ended 2011 releasing its best smartphone ever and its first to use Windows Phone. The Nokia Lumia 800 is a glorious piece of engineering, with an operating system that remains vastly underrated and sadly lacking in a vast app ecosystem. But with Nokia Drive and Mix Radio, this is a device that’s well worth investing in. A welcome return to form.

 

3. Samsung Galaxy Nexus

 

The best Android phone ever? Possibly. Samsung’s latest ‘pure Google’ device is the most cutting edge smartphone out there, using Android Ice Cream Sandwich in conjunction with the kind of tech that rival handsets can only dream of. NFC, Full HD video and a gorgeous 4.65-inch super AMOLED screen make the Samsung Galaxy Nexus an all round winner. 2011’s finest Google phone, no question. Except…

 

4. Samsung Galaxy S II

 

The Samsung Galaxy S II runs its stablemate a close second. While not using the latest Android OS, it can be forgiven seeing as it landed months beforehand. This device really saw Sammy move into the big leagues and prove that Android has helped put it well ahead of the pack. The phone has become the choice, not just of Android fanatics, but also mainstream phone users not keen on Apple’s “walled garden”. A great piece of kit.

 

5. HTC Sensation XE with Beats Audio

 

 

It’s been a hard year for HTC. After an all-conquering start, its spluttered to a halt, with profit warnings and falling sales. But the HTC Sensation XE is one of its finest ever phones. A rebrand of the Sensation, it uses Beats Audio tech to make it the most musically-focused phone ever. That means improved audio tech under the hood, as well as bundled iBeats headphones, which are better than any other buds we’ve ever used out of the box with a mobile. One for music lovers everywhere.

HTC To Offer Fewer Smartphones in 2012, Focus On Quality Over Quantity?

After a successful – if somewhat turbulent – year, Taiwanese manufacturer HTC is to change up their smartphone strategy for 2012, according to word from Boy Genius Report.

After a succession of iterations and updates might have led to market confusion and a subsequent decline in fortunes near the close of the year, HTC is rumoured to restrict their output to a few strong ‘hero’ handsets including a 4G Windows Phone variant for the U.S. and a new flagship Android device.

Whilst 2010 and early 2011 saw HTC rule the smartphone roost as far as Android was concerned, the well-documented success of handset competition like the Samsung Galaxy S II would mean that a revised plan of action could indeed see them come return with more pinpoint accuracy in the New Year.

As someone who has had to add the Wildfire S, Desire S, Sensation, Sensation XE, Sensation XL, Titan and Radar to Omio’s mobile database in the second half of 2011 alone, this change of tack would be a good thing.

Source: IntoMobile

Three Launches Pre-Emptive January Smartphone Sale, Starts 22nd December

An early Xmas gift from mobile network Three as they’ve decided to start their January sale before we’ve even unwrapped our presents, launching from 22nd December.

Both pay monthly and prepay are up for grabs in this winter warmer, with a fiver per month being saved on Android contracts and as much as £70 coming off the Samsung Galaxy W and Facebook-friendly HTC ChaCha on Pay As You Go.

Sylvia Chind, head of devices at Three said, “Smartphones will continue to be the must-have gadget in 2012 so we’re keen to give customers a head start in the New Year with the best phones on the most affordable price plans.

“Our January sale has been launched ahead of Christmas this year to help people planning to jump feet first into the world of smartphones, or those seeking a last-minute Christmas gift, get hold of the best possible deal on the UK’s fastest growing mobile network.”

Other exciting savings include the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc S going down to just £25 per month and the HTC Sensation becoming sub-£30 for 500 minutes, 5,000 texts and Three’s ever popular all-you-can-eat data offer.

Go on, treat yourself…

Neato Robotics XV-15 Automated Vacuum Cleaner Review

Regardless of your degree of fondness for expending elbow grease, the prospect of a minion to do the cleaning around the house is just too good to pass up.

The simple – yet very necessary – chore of tidying the home has certainly come a long way from getting out a pan and brush for the living room carpet, followed by a quick dust round to finish and putting your feet up in front of the telly.

Now the market is flooded with über-vacuums that harness the power of cyclones – hoovers that glide around the home with the speed and finesse of an Olympic figure skater, and even the humble dust bag for capturing waste is nearly a thing of the past.

All of this new found convenience does come at a bit of a price, though. At the top of the household gadget tree is the Neato XV-15, a robotic vacuum cleaner that promises to make the task of keeping a clean house easier, quicker and more convenient.

Whilst the prospect of a automated buddy to clean up around the house sounds like the preserve of The Jetsons, the Neato XV-15 is not needlessly complicated, proving most impressive as a true labour-saving device.

With its low profile, grey hue and bright orange accents, the XV-15 looks more like a child’s toy than a cleaning device ripped from a Utopian future. But the magic really starts once it gets going…

The hefty little bread-bin-on-wheels takes very little effort to set up, simply requiring a lift out of the packaging and being nestled against its charging base station to get the battery juiced up.

A couple of hours later – confirmed by a healthy glow on the LED screen and a green light around the ‘start’ button – and the Neato is ready to strut its stuff. A quick press of the eye-catching power key and the XV-15 springs to life, quickly darting and bounding around the living room like an excited puppy.

The first surprise is the volume of the noise emanating from this tiny contraption. It sounds every bit as serious about the task at hand as a traditional vacuum, and even on an initial pass it happily sucked up plenty of dirt and debris across carpet, lino and wooden floors alike.

The fun comes from watching it methodically plan its way around the room, using sensors placed atop the device to ‘map’ its way and ensuring that a route is drawn out to cover a surprising amount of ground in a linear fashion.

The design of the XV-15 with a rounded rear and boxy, buffered front makes short work of bay windows, deftly manoeuvring around chairs and gliding under tables, bumping gently and rerouting itself regularly rather than seeming too self-aware…however, boundary markers can cleverly be stuck along skirting boards and prevent it from wandering too far.

The Neato is just as entertaining to watch navigate its way across your domicile as it is convenient to have, although you might find yourself shouting “you missed a bit!” as you wonder just how its robot brain has planned its way across the kitchen…only for it to go back and finish the job.

Thick wheels enable the XV-15 to turn quickly and dodge obstacles, as well as offer more clearance on shaggier surfaces to keep it cleaning in all conditions.

It did come up a cropper a couple of times – mainly getting stuck on a couple of protruding table legs and getting a little lost when moving furniture in an already-scanned room.  But it seems to make short work of cosy rooms and wide expanses alike.

The Neato’s dust tray is admittedly small compared to uprights, but is a cinch to remove and empty, whilst the cleaning mechanism tends not to get clogged up with loose bits of carpet and dirt…which is nice.

 

Touches like automatic charging – it leisurely parks up alongside its base unit (pictured above) when running low – and the ability to schedule cleans at certain times of day make this a perfect accessory for the elderly and busy folks alike, definitely working best in more sparse surroundings (with less opportunities to get snagged on furniture) than a crowded living space.

With its low clearance to get under beds and tables, super-powerful suction and ease of use, the Neato XV-15 goes beyond gimmicky gadget to be a great accessory around the home…but the price is certainly a factor.

With the Neato retailing for £399.99 (although that does include the charging unit) and cleaning filters at £15 each, the XV-15 is not the cheapest method of sprucing up a home by any means…

However, for keeping floors clean with minimal fuss, effort and excellent results, the XV-15 is an amazing device and – whilst not a shiny metallic spacesuit or roast dinner in pill form – is a great step towards a future with robots in our homes!