Weekly Review 2nd July

Much of the previous week's headlines were dominated by the Apple's iPhone 4, where it was good to return to a week where the news was much more evenly balanced out between various companies and not just the one.

This week, we saw news from a few network operators, with two of them finally merging after 9 months and another launched a competitive tariff - not just for the iPhone, but for all smartphones. There was also news from Nokia, HTC and DELL, all of which surrounded their devices and OS's.

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The week began with Dell upsetting the proverbial cart with O2 and Carphone Warehouse, by announcing their 5-inch Android tablet is on sale SIM free and unlocked via their own website. Previously the device was exclusive to O2 and the Carphone Warehouse, where now the Android tablet is available to all and sundry.

The Dell Streak is a 5-inch multi-touch screen Android tablet, running from a fast 1Ghz Qualcomm SnapDragon processor with a bundled in 16GB microSD card, along with a 5MP camera accompanied by an accelerometer, GPS, WIFI and Bluetooth. It's currently running the latest version of the Google OS, with plans to have version 2.2 of Android on the device soon with the added benefits of Adobe Flash 10.1.

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Nokia hit the headlines his week twice, by making public its intention to drop Symbian on the N Series handsets, instead the Finish phone makers will be using MeeGo as the main platform for their flagship mobiles. MeeGo is the joint operating system venture by Nokia and Intel, by the merging of their two Linux platforms of Maemo and Moblin, respectively.

The last flagship Nokia mobile phone that could be running Symbian^3 will be their upcoming Nokia N8, where the last MeeGo or Maemo derivative handset was their N900 tablet which was unveiled at Nokia World last September.

Towards the end of the week, the latest version of MeeGoo was captured on video. The MeeGo mobile operating system was demoed on an actual working mobile phone, with aspects seen of its expected feature sets that will likely be in the final version.

This new N Series platform was detailed on a developers preview build, running on an open source Aava Mobile handset. The code is still being actively developed in version 1.1 and is scheduled for an October release. Under the heading of "Day 1" of the MeeGo handset user experience project, team MeeGo has listed elements that could be seen and used in the final UI.

The video can be seen here - http://www.onemobilering.com/?p=974

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Around the middle of the week, HTC began bringing some much needed updates to a few of their handsets. They began to roll out updates to the HTC Hero, along with the Google Nexus One. These firmware updates bring the mobile phones up to Android 2.1 and also ‘Froyo', or version 2.2 for the Nexus.

The HTC Hero initially shipped with version 1.5 of Android, where the Over The Air update will bring the current version of 2.1 to the device. HTC's mobile phone made for the Internet search engine giant Google will be the first mobile to be updated to the very latest 2.2 ‘Froyo' version of Android. Other HTC handsets such as the Legend, Desire and Wildfire are due to receive the 2.2 update at the start of July we've been informed.

One Mobile Ring special feature of the week also happened to be about HTC, where we profiled their history that is steeped in not only Android but also Windows Mobile handsets.

HTC Profile

The company HTC has been around since the late 1990s, producing devices and handsets for many companies, although you might not have been aware you were using their products as they didn't carry the HTC name. Instead, those devices carried names such as iPaq, under first Compaq and then Hewlett-Packard when the companies merged. Many may have used their smartphones on the Orange network under the rebranded SPV handset range, or Xda with O2 and all throughout the last decade.

Windows Mobile has featured heavily in their success along with their OEM partnerships. This was first seen with the original colour screen palm sized PC running the Microsoft Palm-size PC 1.2 Color OS, on a device for Compaq known as the Aero 2100 that launched January of 1999.

A number of the HTC phones were found in the UK under the Orange SPV series or the O2 Xda range, with the first Microsoft powered Smartphones arriving as the initial O2 Xda and Orange SPV models. HTC has also made phones for other well-known companies such as the Treo 750 for Palm in 2006, where HTC produced a few handsets for them around that time.

2007 saw the first phone of theirs under the HTC name with the HTC Touch, a full touch screen handset running Windows Mobile 6 and their own TouchFlo overlay on top of that OS. Since then HTC haven't looked back and have gone on to produce a veritable range of touch screen devices running Windows and Android, all to suit many markets from budget to the more ‘flagship' expensive handsets.

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Near the very end of the week two interesting news items came from three UK mobile phone networks, Orange, T-Mobile and also Three.

Orange and T-Mobile finally merged on July the 1st, with all their employees now working for the new company - Everything Everywhere. This merger has taken nine months since the process first started to reach this stage, where now the 16,500 staff and new industry leader starts a complete rebranding exercise.

We were recently informed it's most likely the two companies will pitch themselves at different tiers in the mobile world. Orange is most likely to pitch themselves at the consumer, where the T-Mobile side of the company will most likely be focussed at the corporate business world and its mobile use.

Three announced at the tail end of the week a competitive phone tariff, with a very large 1GB data allowance - double what their competitors offer a the same price. This is a smartphone friendly ‘One Plan' tariff from £25 a month, with a 1GB data allowance, 2000 minutes to any network, with 5000 more to call other Three customers and 5000 texts - with a free 6 months free Spotify Premium account.

This does appear to be the most comprehensive smartphone plan to date, and one that gives the other networks a real run for their money - especially where the iPhone 4 is concerned and data allowance. Three believe this tariff is the start of the flat-plan tariffs, which many networks will start to adopt in the future.

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Ending the week came news from Apple, where they admitted a flaw in the iPhone 4 - which wasn't its reception, they have just been miscalculating it on their phones. Apple sent a letter out to journalists admitting there is an issue in the iPhone 4's reception, it was actually down to the way the iPhone 4 works out the signal and then displays it.

The official statement by Apple goes on to state - "Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong". "Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars"." Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don't know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place."

Apple will be issuing a free software update, within a few weeks that has this corrected ‘formula' worked in. This quick-fix will also be made available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G - as it could appear this problem is inherent to the iOS 4.

Originally published at OneMobileRing.com

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