Omio News Blog

Monthly Archives: November 2012

Buying SIM-Free vs. Pay Monthly Contracts: The Benefits

Buying a mobile phone is a minefield of choices, from screen sizes, to operating systems, processor speeds and form factor. Adding to this is which network, minutes, text and data bundle to choose. This second step, after you compare mobile phones and finally decide upon a winner, is the one that can tie you into a contract for a lengthy period of time – currently as much as two years.

However, there is another way, namely buying a SIM free device – offering the freedom of a far shorter contract and leaving the choice of selecting network a separate issue. Either way, you end up paying for your mobile phone – the choice is whether you pay for it now, or pay for it later. If you pay for it later by opting for a contract, you could be using the same mobile phone for as long as two years, at the end of which it is dated and holds a low resale value – if any at all.

Think about that: 2 years.

In two years, we have seen mobile phones go from a single core 1GHz processor in the Samsung Galaxy S, to a dual-core 1.2GHz CPU in the Galaxy S II. And now, quad-core 1.4GHz processors are commonplace, as seen in the Galaxy S III.

Using that series of sequels for another example, we have gone from a 4-inch 800 x 480 screen to a high definition 4.8-inch 1,280 x 800 resolution display.

This is an extract of the guest article on the SIM free and unlocked mobile phone retailer Expansys’ blog, visit this link – to read the full version.

How to use Windows Phone 8 Rooms feature on iOS and Android

Seattle software developer Microsoft has outlined how to use the WP8 Rooms feature, in conjunction with other mobile phone operating system – such as Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.

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This is a new feature to the latest handset platform and allows for a private chat room, calendar and photo sharing among Windows Phone 8 handsets owners – only elements of these are also available on other mobile OS’.

A post to the Windows Phone Blog details exactly how this will work for the first time, which can be read below.

Calendar

On Windows Phone 7, iPhone, or a Windows 8 device: Add your Microsoft account as an email account on your device. Then the room calendar will show up alongside your other calendars, with the same name as the room.

On Android: First get the free Hotmail app from Google Play, and sign in to the app with your Microsoft account. Then go to the calendar app on your device to turn on the room calendar. It will show up with the same name as the room. Note: Due to differences in software versions and devices, not all features may work exactly as they do on Windows Phone 8.

Photos and videos

On Windows Phone 7, iPhone, Android, or a Windows 8 device: Get the free SkyDrive app from your app store, and sign in to the app with your Microsoft account. The room photos will show up as a shared folder, with the same name as the room.

Notes

On Windows Phone 7, iPhone, Android, or a Windows 8 device: Get the free OneNote app from your app store, and sign in to the app with your Microsoft account. The room notes will show up as a shared notebook, with the same name as the room.

Skype hits 120 million downloads

Microsoft owned VoIP company Skype has announced a new version of its app for Apple iOS based devices, along with a milestone.

It has noted that the iPad and iPhone have reached 120 million downloads – combined – and it’s one of the top free apps, of all time.

One in three iPad and iPhone owners now access Skype on their device every month, where 20 million photos were shared from the app during the first months it was available.

These figures support the launch of version 4.2.1 that includes bug fixes and some of the most requested features, from both iPad and iPhone users.

It has support for the larger iPhone 5 screen and the ability to sign into Skype using a Microsoft account, mirroring the desktop version and the company’s strategy to end Windows Live Messenger – in favour of this software.

Users are able to merge WLM and Outlook.com contacts with a Skype account, where contacts of each separate one can see that person logged in.

There is also a feature that is a part of the desktop version: editing. Skype users of the iPad and iPhone can now edit instant messages once they have been sent, and use Skype emoticons for the first time.

Global Mi-Fi device arrives

Partner of Three mobile phone network Voiamo has launched Globalgig: a mobile Wi-Fi product that can be used around the world.

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The hotspot cost £79 and can be bought from the main website and soon from www.amazon.co.uk. It is available with a range of different data allowances that can be used in the UK, USA and Australia – with Asia and the European countries being added, in the next 12 months.

It includes a SIM card and can offer mobile broadband to five devices over Wi-Fi, without the need to add another card when travelling.

This saves the need to use the expensive roaming costs on your mobile phone, just to get access to the Internet.

There are several data bundles: 1GB, 3GB and 5GB. These are priced at £15, £25 and £35 a month.

Users can sign up for a monthly rolling contract where they can upgrade, downgrade or terminate their tariff within 48 hours of the next billing cycle.

Voiamo has partnered with several major networks to provide a 2G or 3G signal. In the UK this is with Three and in America, Sprint is the chosen provider with Optus, in Australia.

It also plans to launch a voice service next year. This is said to offer a foreign mobile number as part of the contract, with the added benefit of cutting out roaming charges

Apple iPad 4 now available on Vodafone

Mobile phone network Vodafone is carrying the fourth generation Apple iPad tablet, starting with an upfront cost of £99.

The network is retailing the larger screen device that can house a micro SIM card and not the standard Wi-Fi edition, which was the only new iPad available – until recently.

Apple’s latest iPad has a 9.7-inch Retina display and is powered by a dual-core A6X processor, with a FaceTime HD camera and it sports the new lightening connector.

They various models are priced £69 for the older 16GB iPad 2, £99 for the new 16GB iPad; £179 for the 32GB and £259 for the 64GB version.

Accompanying these are a 24-month contract that has a 2GB data allowance and a monthly cost of £27. There is a £15 charge for every 1GB, after that limit has been reached.

Vodafone’s offering now joins Three. That carrier has the new variant of the iPad on a tariff starting at £25 a month with a 15GB data allowance, and an upfront cost of £159.

This stretches to £329 for the 64GB iPad 4 on a £25 a month contract that also offers same data limit, as above.

Stay tuned to Omio and we’ll bring you a total cost of ownership soon, on the Apple iPad 4 and their accompany deals on the various networks.

Angry Birds Star Wars gets 20 new levels

Finnish game developer Rovio has unveiled that its Angry Birds game tie-in with the George Lucas film franchise has been updated, with an inclusion from The Empire Strikes Back.

The company has released details of the update to its blog, in a post that has the humours title of some like it hoth.

In its own words: “It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Evading the dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters has established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth.”

“Unfortunately the evil Lord Vader discovers their hideout, and the desperate Rebel birds must escape the AT-ATs and Pigtroopers hot on their trail. But the Rebels have an ace up their sleeve with the debut of PRINCESS LEIA and her attractive new power!”

The update brings in 20 icy levels from Episode V. Rovio has promised this is just the beginning of the story to The Empire Strikes Back; expect more updates with game play featuring the forest moon of Endor and other choice scenes from the film.

The Angry Birds Star Wars edition new version is available now in Google Play app repository, Apple’s App Store and other app stores.

Apple iPhone gets a new 14 megapixel camera

Cupertino based iDevice maker Apple is reportedly getting a range of accessories thanks to Black Eyed Peas’ musician Will.i.am, which includes a new camera and physical keyboard.

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UK broadsheet The Telegraph has covered this news, along with publishing photos of the add-ons to the Apple mobile phone.

It notes: “The range, which starts at £199 and will initially be available exclusively from London’s Selfridges, [claiming] to ‘turn your iPhone into a fashionable camera’. They will also integrate a keyboard which Will.i.am claims will make sharing and tagging photos easier.”

“Under the brand foto.sosho, the models have interchangeable lenses and a built-in flash, with photo editing, filters and sharing also built in. Versions for the iPhone 4 will be available from 6 December, but an iPhone 5 model, which replaces the entire iPhone camera with a new sensor [and] flash, will not ship until next year.”

“the first product from his new consumer electronics and app venture i.am+ clips onto an iPhone and transforms the eight megapixel smartphone camera into a 14 megapixel camera, which it is claimed dramatically enhances the clarity and definition of your photographs.”, added the site.

We have our own sensor and a better flash,” he said. “You dock you phone into our device and it turns [your] smartphone into a genius-phone. We take over the camera.

This bolt-on to the iPhone comes with access to a user profile on the website www.i.am, presumably for the uploading captured pictures from the accompanying software.

The publication states there will be four models, with different lenses. These include a standard one, a fish-eye version, wide and a zoom lens – starting with a cost of £199.

Microsoft sells four times the number of Windows Phone handsets

Seattle based software developer Microsoft is reportedly selling a greater amount of Windows Phone 8 devices than it did for Windows Phone 7 mobiles.

This information comes from an article published by business title Bloomberg, which notes that number and that this new software supports better quality screens and higher processing power based devices.

Windows Phone 8 has been on sale for a few weeks and is off to a great start,” Ballmer said at a shareholders’ meeting today. Handsets made by HTC and Nokia “are getting rave reviews and have initially sold out in many countries.” – stated the publication.

There are now 120,000 applications available for the Windows phone, Ballmer said. He didn’t specify how many phones running the new software have been sold.

The site mentions that Microsoft is overhauling its product line to remain relevant in the post-computer era with the rise of mobile devices taking the place of the PC.

We attended the launch event for the Windows Phone 8 and have since published a hands-on walkthrough of the platform here, along with a thorough walkthrough on video with a product spokesperson.

Check out all the Windows Phone 8 deals on Omio today!

New BlackBerry mobile phone announced

Canadian email handset maker Research In Motion has unveiled a new prototype QWERTY keyboard based mobile phone that will run its upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system.

That news comes from the technology news website Neowin.net, reporting from the BlackBerry JAM developer’s conference in Asia.

It states – “The company announced as part of the changes that developers will gain access to a new device, the BlackBerry Dev Alpha C. The new device is in prototype stage and allows developers to test their applications out on a handset that features a physical keyboard (much like those seen on previous devices). Until today, it hadn’t been confirmed that such a device exists.”

RIM has outlined what a developer needs to do to qualify for such a device, for the top 1,500 people submitting two or more applications.

They will be determined on the following point system: 50 points for ported Android applications; 250 points for all other applications (Native, BlackBerry WebWorks, Adobe AIR); 1,500 points for Built For BlackBerry certified application; 200 points to start for BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha A/B recipients; 200 points to start if you are a BlackBerry Elite Member.

The BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha C offer will run from the 1st of December, through to the 5th of February 2013.

Microsoft officially confirms Windows 7.8 for 2013

Seattle software developer Microsoft has confirmed the Windows Phone 7.8 update for existing Windows Phone 7 operating systems won’t be arriving until next year.

The company has established this in a blog post by the Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone, Terry Myerson.

He notes – “We know you’re eager to get the Windows Phone 7.8 update, and we want you to know that we’re working closely with our hardware and carrier partners to get it tested, approved, and rolled out to as many devices as possible in early 2013. As we work to quickly get this in the hands of our loyal users, we’re also striving to deliver a high-quality release and ensure a smooth transition for our widely expanded services.”

Windows 7.8 brings in some of the features of the latest Microsoft mobile operating system – Windows Phone 8 – to older handsets.

These are the likes of the start screen’s resizable live titles that have 3 different formats, with 20 different colour options.

This offers a level of personalisation to Windows Phone that just wasn’t available on Windows Phone 7, where every handset from Samsung, to Nokia and HTC all looked the same: one of the worst features of that platform.