Omio News Blog

Category Archives: Mobile World Congress 2010

HTC Flyer available to order

HTC’s first ever tablet is now around to order from Expansys.com, with the Flyer costing just £479.99 for the 16GB WIFI model and £599.99 for the 32GB 3G version – both SIM free and unlocked.

The HTC Flyer made is first public appearance at Mobile World Congress this year, along with 5 other new handsets from the Taiwanese mobile phone maker.

HTC’s Flyer runs from Android ‘Gingerbread’ 2.3, although the more recent spate of tablets all run the Android Android ‘Honeycomb’ 2.3 OS that has been designed solely for these products.

The Flyer comes with a 7-inch 1024×600 LCD capacitive touch screen, with a 1.5GHz processor, a 5MP camera and HTC Sense v2.1.

This tablet is just one of the plethora of large touch screen devices to arrive this year to take on the Apple iPad 2; with the Xoom from Motorola, another two Galaxy Tabs from Samsung and the TouchPad from HP – to name but a few.

Check out all of the HTC Flyer deals at OMIO here.

MWC 2010 – Top 3 Blackberry Apps

With no new handsets to present at MWC 2010, Research In Motion’s booth focused entirely on new apps for their Blackberry range. So, here are 3 of the best:

TuneWiki

Want to listen to music and learn the lyrics on the move? Check out TuneWiki for Blackberry!

TuneWiki is the multiple award winning (GSMA gave it a Top Innovator gong) next generation social mobile media player with lyrics, translation and music charts based on community contribution. With an already burgeoning online community (3m+ users and 600,000 regular contributors) their app is set for big things.


Download the app for free (a PRO version is available for $2.99).


SlingBox

Want to pipe your on-demand television into your beloved Blackberry? Grab a Slingbox!

Whatever you can do locally, you can do remotely – switch through channels, call up programmes, pause / fast forward / rewind -it’s all there.

Bear in mind Slingbox is not cheap though – the Slingbox unit with set you back £105, and the app is £20, but it certainly is a tasty looking service and definitely something that will appeal to the commuter crew.


Shozu

Finally, Shozu is a free app that provdes you with asocial hub that dovetails Facebook, Flickr and Twitter accounts into a single easy-to-manage application. A great fix for anyone who finds staying on top of their multiple social networks a stress.


MWC 2010: 50 Million Opera Mini Users Make The World Look Beautiful

One of the prettier things at Mobile World Congress, a visualisation Opera had at their booth illustrating real-time page load impressions from some of the 50 million users of their Mini mobile browser across the globe.

Breathtaking.

MWC 2010: Toshiba Booth Tour – Second Time Lucky With TG02, K01 (Update: With Video!)

Innovative manufacturer Toshiba has taken the lacklustre reception of the laggy TG01 on the chin, coming back to Mobile World Congress for a second shot at the smartphone crown with a duo of fresh handsets.

Still running on Windows, still running on a Snapdragon processor and with the same battery and form factor, how much can really change? Turns out a lot…

The Toshiba TG02 is just as the name suggests, a sequel to the super thin device brings a new capacitive screen (still 4.1-inch AMOLED) and revamped interface to offer a more responsive and immediate experience.

Larger, better organised icons, a cleaner look and better 3D menu transition makes for a far more confident device.

The arresting design is still there, a remarkably slim slab of plastic acting as the TG02′s frame (measuring a mere 9.9mm thick) whilst a speedy Snapdragon processor powers the upgraded Windows Mobile 6.5.3 software.

Check out our video for a look at the TG02′s new Windows Mobile 6.5.3-enhanced interface and 3D acceleration, in comparison to the original Toshiba TG01.

Like the look of the TG02, but not a massive touchscreen fan (nor a fan of massive touchscreens) ? Well, Toshiba has you covered with the Toshiba K01 – a slider QWERTY-ed up version of the handset, complete with the same WVGA resolution display, optimised for landscape use.

The choice of both a slider and a keyboard handset that only measures 12.9mm thick is great, and small yet significant adjustments to the user interface (6.5.3 moving the ‘start’ and ‘close’ buttons from the extreme top corners to prominence at the bottom of the screen makes the world of difference) makes the TG02 and K01 more practical to use…but will the recent rise of the “mini” handset mean these two super-sized smartphones get left on the shelf?

Seeing as Toshiba has taken the complaints levelled at the original TG01, and attempted to address them head-on with this pair of strong handsets. With a Q2 release rumoured for the TG02 and the K01 following soon after, we’ll find out soon enough!

MWC 2010: Tech Helps Parents Take Control Of Kids’ Mobiles

Proving that MWC isn’t just all about flashy handset launches and grandiose manufacturer’s announcements, we found some neat ideas tucked away in the outer realms of the event. One innovation we stumbled across were parental-controlled mobile services.

Apparently, children under 12 represent the fastest growing market segment in the mobile industry. This trend is of concern to many parents, so a number of companies are looking to offer solutions.

BIPPER

Bipper is a software-based system developed specifically for parents who with to keep an eye on their child’s mobile phone.



Parents can buy a special wafer-thin BipperSIM that can then be layered under the operator SIM. Using a web portal, parents can then monitor and manage their children’s mobile phone usage in a number of ways:

- Who they can communicate with;
- How much they can use the phone
- When they can use the phone
- A GPS services that let’s you know where your child’s location.

Bipper launches in Norway this May, with an international release planned over the summer. The whole package, we were told, costs no more than $10 USD.

Bipper on Facebook Pages - Bipper, MobileKids

Bipper on Twitter -BipperMom


WiGomo One

Similar services were offered by Danish design firm, RACE Telcom, who have what they call “the first real mobile phone for children that mom and dad can control from their PC”.

The Wigomo One is currently available only in Denmark, but looking for operator parents in other countries, meanwhile Bipper looks set to launch in Norway in May, closely followed by an international release later in summer 2010.

No pricing was available for Wigomo One however.

HTC Desire On 3 UK In Spring 2010: Adds Skype, Windows Messenger And Facebook Integration

In a move which surprises literally no-one, the hottest Android handset for 2010 has been announced for yet another network, this time it’s 3 UK.

The HTC Desire – a re-jig of the Google Nexus One with physical refinements and the latest version of Sense UI on board – will be coming to the data loving network from Spring 2010.

The exciting news is that all of the trappings of phones on 3, from Skype and Windows Live Messenger integration to support for Twitter and their own e-mail solution, will be included on the device.

Sylvia Chind, Head of Branded Devices for 3 UK, was effusive about bringing another phone from the Taiwanese manufacturer to the network:

“HTC is producing some fantastic internet phones at the moment, and are really leading the pack. Like us, they really understand what consumers want from the internet on their phone – a flexible and intuitive interface, coupled with a reliable 3G network that offers a strong and speedy connection.”

“Our network is growing every day and the HTC Desire is one of many internet phones set to enter our range this year to really make the most of it.”

Now, if they were to offer the all-you-can-eat Spotify bundle that made the HTC Hero such an appealing prospect on the network, then 3 might be talking business…

MWC 2010: Motorola Booth Tour – All A MotoBLUR

We are all pleasantly surprised at Motorola’s return to relevance in the mobile game, betting the farm on taking the Android OS close to their bosom and coming back with a bold bunch of phones, as well as decent customisation with the MotoBLUR interface.

Whilst we hear that the US manufacturer might have already been tapped up to make the next Google phone in the form of the Shadow, but we were focussed on the present at Mobile World Congress and Motorola certainly had some decent phones to show.


Whilst the idea to offer a stream of instant messages, tweets and status updates directly to a handset’s homescreen or widget might have been refined (and rinsed) by the competition, but MotoBLUR still offers the original ‘phone with social skills’ experience on Android.

The Motorola DEXT was present and correct, a forerunner that lacked a bit of flair in execution and build quality, but still served as a great proof of concept that Android widgets could perform equally as well as blanket customisation to Google’s operating system.



Building on that social networking heritage was the Motorola BACKFLIP, seeing its first European airing here at Mobile World Congress.

The idea takes the experience from the DEXT’s slider to a reverse-hinged clamshell device, adding a touchpad behind the display for unobscured scrolling.

A gentle tap on the pad serves as a click, whilst the keyboard and build quality have both been tightened up significantly.

The insanely quirky form factor and novel touch method of the Backflip may not be copied by the rest, but certainly demonstrated Motorola’s individuality yet again.



The Motorola QUENCH presents yet another form factor – the single candybar – for use with the MotoBLUR social synching service, chucking out the QWERTY keyboard and offering a responsive touchpad at the bottom of the device.

Specifications are largely the same as for the original DEXT, with a 3.1-inch display, Android 1.5, 3G and HSDPA. Browsing is a bit better than expected, with multi-touch support and YouTube integration.

A 5-megapixel auto-focus camera is also carried over, this time with the addition of an LED flash.

Rounding out the selection was a few handsets (such as the Motocubo, below) that have only seen release in the far flung corners of the globe, but show Motorola’s insight and innovation in the form factor of hardware.

What was most immediate about Motorola’s stand at this year’s Mobile World Congress was the difference that twelve months has made for the company. Last year, there was barely a single handset on display, and a focus on enterprise solutions and audio cancelling technology.

This year was a vibrant display of Android handsets, a proud demonstration of a calculated risk in Android that has paid off a little, if not in spades.

With the recent news that the business will split into two separate entities, perhaps this new found freedom will see Motorola’s mobile division return to those halcyon RAZR phone days. Their turn out at MWC was certainly a good start.

MWC 2010: HTC Smart – Hands-On Picture Gallery

We’ve just found out that the cut price HTC Smart will be arriving to shelves on O2, scaling that smartphone ‘feel’ found on their high-end phones like the Hero and newly unveiled Desire, down to an entry level device.

Check out our pictures for a closer look at the arrival of the Sense UI to feature phones, and how the Smart makes must have features mass market.

The Smart has a remarkably good screen for a prepay device, the 2.8-inch QVGA display offering a bright and clear window on which to view the Sense UI.

The diminutive handset feels perfectly sized in the hand feeling pretty robust with three discreet, misshapen buttons on the front.

The rear of the Smart has a slight ergonomic curve to it, the metallic accenting housing camera keys on one side, and a volume rocker on the other. The 3 megapixel fixed focus camera is also set within a metallic recess on the back of the device.


HTC’s Sense user interface is indeed on board, weather animations and all. It says as much on the Smart’s rear.

3.5mm audio jack? On a device at this pricepoint? Hard to believe, but it’s right there.

As significant as the HTC Smart is in terms of having the essence of a smartphone operating system on board, we feel that the touches in its physical form are equally important.

The presence of features like a 3 megapixel camera, 3G support and a genuinely rich touchscreen experience make the HTC Smart a very clever choice for those looking for some of those smartphone frills and thrills, at a fraction of the cost.

The HTC Smart will be exclusively available on O2 from April.

MWC 2010: HTC Smart – Bargain Touch Handset Arrives On O2, Offers “Unpatronising Smartphone Feel”

Having dominated the smartphone game, HTC has just revealed another foray into the entry-level market with the Smart.

Powered by Qualcomm’s BREW operating system – also found on INQ handsets – the HTC Smart is exclusive to the O2 network, and serves as a device for those who desire a smartphone feel at an pocket-friendly price.

The Smart actually runs on the Sense UI found on higher level HTC devices, providing the same weather, messaging and contacts widgets found on older siblings like the Hero.

The concessions have been made on the hardware side, and the Smart has a 2.8-inch VGA display, 256MB of memory and a 3-megapixel camera with flash.

Whilst equipped with 3G, smartphone staples such as Wi-Fi and GPS are absent – to be expected at feature phone prices.

The reason for the Smart, according to HTC’s Executive Director for UK and Ireland Jon French, is to demonstrate that close to smartphone quality experiences can be delivered to all consumers:

“Too often, manufacturers try to pass off a touch feature phone rather than the feel of a true smartphone experience to the entry level market.”

“The HTC Smart, running on BREW with Sense UI, offers all new functionality and an improved browsing experience. We are offering a quality networking device, with an unpatronising smartphone feel at an affordable price.”

“We believe this is a key move in our ability to bring smartphones to a far wider cross section of the population,” said Matthew Key, chief executive officer of Telefónica Europe.

“The benefits of web browsing on the move and ability to experience applications like mobile social networking will now be brought to the mass market and reinforces O2′s position as the home of the smartphone.”

The HTC Smart will be available on both pay monthly and pay as you go deals, and will be available to purchase exclusively on O2.

MWC 2010: Acer Booth Tour – Android, Android Everywhere…A Bit Of WinMo Too

Taiwanese manufacturer Acer has broadened their output considerably in the last few years, branching out from laptops to offer a range of smartphones.

They were here in force at Mobile World Congress with a host of new phones, ticking all the boxes from basic blowers to high end handsets.


The Acer Liquid e was their flagship device on show, a slightly underwhelming announcement due to being a carbon copy of their previous Android phone, the Liquid, new beefed up with Google’s newest flavour of software.


The handset boasts above average specs nevertheless, with the Liquid e coming equipped with a 3.5″ TFT capacitive touchscreen, 5 megapixel auto focus camera, as well as Acer’s bespoke social networking solution – the soon to be ubiquitous stream of updates and tweets from friends and contacts.

The beTouch and neoTouch brands were given a new lease of life too, with Android phones bring added to the roster of Window phones previously produced.


The beTouch E110 and Acer beTouch E400 both arrived, the former an entry device with an unassuming form and some solid specs – 3G, 2.8-inch resistive touchscreen, Android 1.5 and a 3.15 megapixel camera – whilst the latter rocked the more current Eclair version, a larger 3.2-inch display and smartphone trappings like GPS and Wi-Fi.

Both did add a little nuance to the Android experience, however, sporting unique Acer widgets including support for the Spinlets service – enabling users to search for and stream music, movies and TV content directly on the device, all for free.

Both ran the Android platform at a decent rate of knots, looked stylish and seems to have enough unique charm (and more importantly, features) to stand out in a soon-to-be crowded Google phone market.

Acer’s Windows Phone contingent was also out in force, offering a dynamic duo handsets ready for the latest version of Microsoft’s OS.


The Acer neoTouch P300 was the quintessential ‘professional’ device, the phone that offers both business and personal functionality in a compact slider design.

The 3-row QWERTY keyboard was fine for typing if a little spongy, perhaps, the 3.2-inch screen was crisp and perfect for media playback), whilst Windows Mobile 6.5.3, Wi-Fi, GPS, Pocket Office (Word, Excel, etc.) and Exchange corporate e-mail support offers more than enough in terms of a strong productivity feature set.


Doubling up was the Acer neoTouch P400, an altogether more sleek and slender Windows phone, something for the hotdesking media types rather than the old-school professional. Gone is the P300′s keyboard, but the specs and Windows 6.5.3 remain.

A decent turn out from Acer, we would say. As relative newcomers to the smartphone game, their output is far from adverturous, but their experience with Windows has delivered two very competent devices, and dipping their toe in the Android waters has gleaned results with the Liquid and Liquid e.

With all of these handsets touted for Q1 and Q2 releases, we think Acer could be one to watch as they gather steam in 2010.