Omio News Blog

Monthly Archives: September 2012

Three Home Signal phone signal booster: hands-on photos and testing

Mobile phone network Three has sent Omio a home signal box to test, which is said to boost the signal in-doors where reception is poor. We are now publishing this hands-on unboxing of the home signal kit, along with the results of our testing.

Three’s home single is geared up for those who are having signal problems. This could be because of thick walls, or that a phone is being used in a rural area that has a poor reception. This re-badged NEC Femtocell gets around that issue, by providing an almost mini-mast for your home.

It only works with Three SIM card-based phones, but up to four mobiles can use the device to send or receive calls, text messages and data – at any one time. In addition, it has a range of 15 metres. Home signal can also store 32 different numbers, for friends and family, whenever they visit.

The device is simple in its set-up. It just requires a spare power socket and Ethernet port on your broadband router, where it could use around half a gigabyte a month for providing a better signal.

Three has stated that a hour-long phone call uses around 37MB of data, from your broadband allowance. This gives you an idea of what the average requirements are and an unlimited broadband package is recommended.

We tested the Three home signal kit out in a place that generally has poor reception: at my home. At you can see by the last couple of images, no bars were obtained and just a few feet away from the street, in South London.

After powering the device, then waiting for a few minutes while it was automatically set-up and configured for use by Three, I received a full reception.

It was something I have never experience or seen before. Calling was great all around the home, with text messaging and data all working perfectly – with a solid signal, all the time (as seen in the last two pictures).

Visit www.three.co.uk/homesignal to find out more.

Three Home Signal - OMIO (1)

Three Home Signal - OMIO (2)

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Top mobile phone tariff add-ons for your late summer holiday

The traditional holiday season has now come to an end, many of us are thinking about a late summer getaway. Omio is looking into ways for you save money, on using your mobile phone abroad.

We are rounding up what each mobile phone network offers as a holiday addition to its tariffs, to avoid that nasty bill shock, upon your return. These add-ons are not only ideal for a holiday, but also for those travelling for a long periods of time outside the UK. Perhaps, for those taking a gap year between college and university.

O2

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O2 pre-empted the need for a holiday-orientated addition to its tariffs, back in May this year. It launched O2 Travel, which came with a tag line of “use your mobile worry free when abroad”.

This allows people travelling within Europe to have a 25MB roaming data allowance, for £1.99 a day. A low-cost calling feature accompanies it. There is a one-off charge of 50p for connecting a call – where the following minutes are then taken of the tariff’s minute allowance.

This will save on the high cost of data roaming for updating or reading social networking sites, along with calling phone numbers either locally or even back in the UK.

The scheme started in July and is available as an add-on to monthly, and business customers. People on O2 Pay and Go can also use the bolt-on, excluding BlackBerry users. Unfortunately, only the mobile broadband feature is available to them and international calls start at 28p a minute and 7p, to receive them.

O2 Travel is available for use in Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Monaco, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Vatican, San Marino, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Users of the mobile phone network are still supported outside the above, and in over 200 countries. The cost for using the handset in those different places varies.

Vodafone

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In June, Vodafone announced a similar add-on to O2, under the moniker of EuroTraveller. Pay monthly and business customers can use all the benefits of their tariffs while travelling in Europe, for £3 a day. This means that whatever minutes, text message bundle and data allowance Vodafone customers have – they can use on holiday, without incurring any additional fees.

For example, a pay monthly customer using Vodafone EuroTraveller can make three 10 minute calls, send 10 text messages back to the UK and use 5MB of mobile Internet and pay £3 (plus the UK price plan). This would previously cost more than £17, on Vodafone’s old roaming prices.

Vodafone customers can opt into the scheme by dialling 5555. This cost includes VAT and will only be charged when in used abroad. The benefits also extend to receiving calls and text messages, as they are free, just as they would be in the UK.

The EuroTraveller add-on can be used in Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey), Croatia, Cyprus (exc. Northern Cyprus), Czech, Republic, Denmark (inc. Faroe Islands), Estonia, Finland, France, French West Indies, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece. Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy,(inc. San Marino and Vatican City), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal (inc. Madeira), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (inc. Balearic Islands and Canary Islands), Sweden and Switzerland.

Three

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Three launched its Euro Internet pass, in June. It allows its pay monthly customers to access the Internet from their mobile phones, outside the UK, for £5 a day. It stops users worrying about how much a bill is being run up, when they tweet, tag, browse, upload, search or use Google, while on holiday.

There isn’t any calling or text message features to this, only unlimited mobile Internet use. The Internet is one of those things that you can use without realising how much time has passed and how much it has cost. Therefore, this is a worthy add-on to have on holiday.

The bolt-on has been designed for just browsing, so video streaming might not be as good as it is in the UK and tethering isn’t included.

Three customers wishing to use the service abroad just need to open their mobile browser at http://mobile.three.co.uk/europass. It does revolve around UK time, so it’s worth keeping an eye on what the time it is back home.

The Euro Internet Pass can be used in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (incl. Azores & Madeira), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (incl. Balearic & Canary Islands), Sweden, Vatican City, Monaco.

Orange

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Orange has a 3-in-1 bundle for travelling abroad, which is a calling, text message and a roaming data allowance – for both monthly and PAYG customers. This starts with a 30MB limit for £3 a day or £20 for 30 days, for use within Europe. The weekly deal includes 50 minutes and 100 text messages, to use over the seven days. The data allowance can be increased to 150MB for £50, and 500MB costs £150.

This can be used with the following countries: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe (inc St Barthelemy and St Martin), Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Martinique, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal (inc Azores and Madeira), Reunion, Romania, San Marino, Satellite, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (inc. Canary and Balearic Islands), Sweden, Switzerland, Vatican City (Italy)

Orange has also launched a range of applications for the real-time monitoring of a phone abroad, under the name of Travel Angel. It is available for Android, BlackBerry and Apple devices. This detects whatever country it’s being used in and if there isn’t a roaming bundle, it can recommend one that can be instantly bought. Alerts can also be set, to inform when a pre-set threshold is approaching.

Outside the EU, the 3-in-1 bundle starts at £6 a day for 30MB and reaches £15 – depending on the country. The 30 day, 30MB begins at £20 and climbs to £40. A 150MB data allowance is priced at £75 and hits £125, while 500MB cost £175 and reaches £400.

T-Mobile

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T-Mobile launched its Internet & Broadband Travel Booster add-on, in June. This is a roaming data allowance for use abroad. It is designed for both mobile phones and also dongles, on consumer and business tariffs.

Costs start at £1 for 3MB, which lasts for 30 days – or until it is reached. This limit can be increased to 10MB, for £2.50 or 50MB costs £10: for use in Europe. The fee is added to the monthly bill, or deducted from any pay as you go credit.

The Internet & Broadband Travel Booster can be used in Azores, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Cyprus, Czech Rep., Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Reunion and Vatican City.

Outside Europe, the price starts at £5 for 3MB and reaches £25. 10MB starts at £10 and hits the ceiling at £75, while £37.50 will get you 20MB and that price stretches to £140 – depending where you are in the world.

Apple CEO apologises for iOS 6 maps

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has made a public apology for the maps in the latest iDevice operating system, which has given some of its users a poor level of service.

iOS 6 maps

Apple released its latest OS for iPhone (pre-installed on the iPhone 5), iPad and iPod touch devices last week. This came with new in-house maps and software, with the company notably dropping Google maps from iOS 6.

Many users of the platform reported inaccurate results and misnamed places, from when the software went live on the 19th of September.

Tim Cook has now published on the main Apple website the following statement:

“To our customers,

At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.

There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.

While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.

Tim Cook

Apple’s CEO”

The last time a similar letter was issued by Apple was over the antennagate incident, where gripping the Apple iPhone 4 in a certain way resulted in a loss of signal.

UPDATE: BlackBerry 10 OS L and N mobile phone images and video leaked

Canadian email smartphone maker Research In Motion has had a pair of its yet-to-be-announced handsets leaked, in a video.

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BlackBerry news enthusiast website CrackBerry has published screen shots from the footage, highlighting what the possible first phones would look like, running the BlackBerry 10 OS.

The website has noted that the video and subsequent capture images come from what appears to be internal marking mock-ups.

These devices are called the BlackBerry L and N series by the site. The first has a full touch screen, and the other is a Qwerty keyboard-based phone.

BlackBerry L series has a similar appearance to the current developer’s handset that has been handed out to RIM coders, attending the BlackBerry Jam sessions.

Until now, that was the only BlackBerry 10 style of phone that had been seen.

The BlackBerry N series is a new design, sporting a full-Qwerty keyboard and in the same way as the high-end Bold handset.

CrackBerry states: “As for the source of the video, it’s looking like this may be the dumbest leak of all time. It appears the video was posted online to vimeo by a guy named Rob Jury, who appears to be the guy who edited the video. ”

“it looks like this video is coming from creative that was produced for internal use only (marketing agency pitches). There’s a lot of photo chopped looking stuff in here, but it’s looking pretty legit based on other leaks we have seen to date.”, added the site.

UPDATE:

Omio has now included the video, courtesy of Slash Gear.

HTC One X+ leaked in sales brochure

Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC has had its unreleased Android HTC One X+ handset outed, in an O2 retail brochure.

HTC One X  O2

In the second leak of the day, popular phone news website GSMARENA has published the photo above that shows a yet-to-be-announced revamped HTC One X+ mobile.

The current HTC One X is driven by a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, with 32GB of non-expandable internal storage and it runs the Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

The updated X+ (according to the leaked image) has had an upgrade to 64GB of storage, with the addition of a 1.7GHz quad-core CPU – plus the new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS.

O2 is currently carrying the existing HTC One X on pay as you go deals, with a cost of £399.99. It is also available for free on a £36 monthly tariff, which has an unlimited calls/text message bundle and a 1GB data allowance.

No details were published in the brochure about the pay monthly tariffs, but you can see that there’s a cost difference of £80 between the two models.

This isn’t a great deal of money, when you consider Apple adds £100 when just increasing the storage from 32 to G4GB.

Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 prices revealed

Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia has announced the cost of the new Windows Phone 8 flagship Lumia 920 and mid-range Lumia 820 handsets, as 649 and 499 Euros.

The Nokia Lumia 820 and Nokia Lumia 920 were launched at the start of September, as successors to the 900 and 800 handsets from early this year and late last, respectively.

Both of the new mobiles arrive running the latest Windows Phone 8 operating system that replaces the Windows Phone 7 mobile OS, while using the same code-base as the desktop platform.

Nokia’s 920 will ship with a 4.5-inch IPS LCD display that has a resolution of 1,280 x 768. Driving the phone is a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, with 1GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. There is also an 8.7-megapixel camera, with software features brought across from the 41-MP 808 PureView mobile.

The Lumia 820 has a 4.3-inch 800 x 480 OLED display, with the same dual-core CPU and RAM as above. It has an 8-MP sensor, 8GB of internal storage and support for microSD cards.

These prices come from Nokia in Germany, where they will be available in November on Vodafone and O2 Telefonica with support for LTE and HSPA+.

We have been in touch with Nokia in the UK, regarding UK costs and availability, but no details were forthcoming.

Omio attended the launch event for the two devices and have published hands-on photos of the Nokia Lumias, along with a hands-on review.

Motorola RAZR i gets a Google Chrome browser

Internet search giant Google has released a version of its web browsing application for the Intel Medfield processor-based mobile phones, such as the Motorola RAZR i.

Chrome for Android

The RAZR i was launched last week as the first handset to arrive with a 2GHz processor, and it is also the first Intel CPU-based device from Motorola. It arrives with an edge-to-edge 4.3-inch Super AMOLED advanced display, with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage.

Moto has got in touch with Omio to inform us of this news, in a missive that reads: “We are now pleased to announce the availability of Chrome for Android on Intel x86 devices, available for download on Google Play and from the Google Play Store on your Motorola RAZR i.”

Chrome 18.0.1026311, for Intel handsets is available here and in a 21.97MB file.

The web browser offers synchronisation features between the desktop software and the mobile phone. This is not only in bookmarks, but also in the tabs currently opened on a computer.

Chrome for Android is supported on Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, or later. This means that the only other Intel powered handset in the UK, the Orange San Diego, can’t run the app. That mobile shipped with Android Gingerbread 2.3 and is therefore, incompatible.

Sony Xperia T now available on Three

Mobile phone network Three has announced that it is selling the Sony Xperia T mobile phone, on contracts starting from £27 a month.

Three Sony Xperia TThe Sony Mobile Xperia T will be seen in the upcoming James Bond film, Skyfall. It is used by 007 himself; in the same way as the Sony Ericsson limited edition silver K800i was featured in Casino Royale.

The mobile is the company’s new flagship Android phone, arriving with a 4.6-inch HD Reality display, backed by the company’s Mobile Bravia engine. Powering the Xperia T is a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, with 16GB of internal storage and access to a 50GB on-line account.

The handset also has a 13-megapixel sensor that goes from sleep to capture, in under a second. This is supported with the Sony Exmor R sensor, for low-light photo capture.

Three is now carrying the Sony Xperia T both on-line, and in stores.

This starts with the essential Internet 100 tariff that has 100 minutes, a 5,000 text message bundle and a 250MB data allowance – for £27 a month. There is an upfront cost of £109, for the phone.

It is also available on pay as you go deals with the network, with a cost of £399.99 and on plans such as the One 15. This comes with a truly unlimited mobile broadband allowance, for £15.

OFCOM: O2 is the least complained about network

The Office of Communications has released details of their latest phone, broadband and pay TV complaints report, with O2 noted as receiving fewer complaints than the other networks.

Ofcom logo

The report relates to pay monthly customers, rather than pay as you go users, as 95 per cent of the mobile complaints received by Ofcom came from those types of contract owners.

In the last quarter (April to June), the governing body has more complaints about Three than other networks.

Ofcom has stated that: “3UK generated 0.19 complaints per 1,000 customers, mainly driven by disputes over charges and issues with customer service.”

As a comparison, O2 was the least complained about mobile provider with 0.05 complaints, per 1,000 customers.

The oversight body has noted that 3UK, T-Mobile, Vodafone and Orange all had pay-monthly mobile complaints in excess of the industry average.

O2 has consistently had fewer complaints than the other mobile phone networks over the years. This is highlighted in figures from Q1 of this year, the whole of 2011, and Q4 of 2010 – where it had the lowest numbers, of them all.

This figure could change in Q3, as O2 suffered a network outage in July that resulted in the loss of service for a day or so.

Asus rolling out Jelly Bean update

Renowned peripheral manufacturer Asus has unveiled that the tablet-cum-laptop Transformer Pad Infinity, and Transformer Pad Prime devices are now being updated to the latest version of Google’s Android.

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity

This news has been made public over Facebook, from the ASUS United Kingdom account. It was from a post that reads: “We are pleased to announce that we will soon be rolling out a major software update for both the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity (TF700) and ASUS Transformer Pad Prime (TF201), which will bring Android 4.1, Jelly Bean to the devices.”

The company went on to add – “Regarding the availability of the Infinity, we apologise for the unexpected delays we’ve experienced following an unprecedented demand for the first wave of this product. We are doing our utmost to get the product back on sale and we expect it to be available early next week from Amazon.”

Asus launched these Transformer Pads at Mobile World Congress this year, in Barcelona. They are 2-in-1 tablets that have a keyboard dock, which effectively turns the larger screen product, into a laptop.

The Transformer Pad Infinity ships with the Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 OS and a full HD 1,920 x 1,200 Super IPS+ screen. It has either a quad-core 1.6GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 or a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm processor, depending on the market.

Asus’ Transformer Pad Prime arrives running Android Honeycomb 3.2, with a 10.1-inch Super IPS+ 1,280 x 800 display, while powered by a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU.