Weekly Review - 6th of August

This week began with HTC rolling out Android 'Froyo' 2.2 to unlocked and SIM free Desires, whilst news arrived the recent Samsung Galaxy S will be getting an update to the same OS at the end of September. LG went on to expand their Cookie series of affordable touch screen devices for the young, where the big news of Tuesday came from RIM announcing their first ever Torch 9800 slider phone which Vodafone and Orange will both be stocking.

Research In Motion's candy bar BlackBerry Pearl 3G was unveiled this week on pay as you go deals by T-Mobile and Orange. VoIP company Vonage released a mobile phone application that allows voice calls to be made to Facebook contacts, where the end of the week saw Google's Nexus One got a reprieve where it's now being sold as their latest development mobile phone.

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Google's Android OS was in the news a lot this week, with news at the start of HTC Desire handsets saw a roll out to version 2.2 of the operating system over the weekend on SIM free and unlocked phones.

Other mobile phone network dependant HTC Desires will receive the Froyo update in due course, as they have to qualify that iteration of the OS with their own software running on the handsets.

Networks such as Vodafone and O2 are most likely to receive the update during August, with T-Mobile and Orange to follow - or so it has been reported.

The Google OS update now provides the ability to record HD 720p video on the Desire, where HTC bundles in their App Share widget that first appeared on their recent Wildfire budget handset.

Samsung Galaxy S handset owners also had good news too, as they will receive the same update to Froyo at the end of September.

That announcement was made over twitter, with a tweet from Samsung's UK mobile team, which stated "We've seen a lot of Q's about the Froyo update; it's currently in development & will be released for all networks at the end of September".

Hopefully, this means there won't be a long qualifying time for the various networks that currently support the phone. There didn't appear to be a great deal of carrier bespoke software on the Samsung Galaxy S we reviewed, which is a positive sign for a short period of testing by the networks we believe.

At the end of the week good news was heard about the demise of the Google's Nexus One, as it will still be purchasable only now it's their new staple reference phone, for developing and testing applications upon.

Nexus One will not be entirely scrapped by Google as previously thought, instead it will be sold only as a development mobile phone running Froyo with the purchase price of $529 (£333) through the Android development website to coders.

Previous development phones have been the HTC Dream or T-Mobile G1, as the Android Dev Phone 1, which was then replaced by the HTC Magic that was then known as Android Dev Phone 2.

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Research In Motion had a big week too, with the announcement of their first ever slider phone - the BlackBerry Torch 9800.

Its their first device with a 3.2-inch touch screen and a keyboard, that's accessible from sliding the screen upwards. The new handset arrives with the latest BlackBerry 6.0 OS, which will first be seen on the 9800 along with a Webkit browser.

The BlackBerry 9800 also ships with OS 6.0, which brings a whole host of new features into the handset - most notably, universal search, social networking feeds, WIFI tethering, a Webkit browser with pinch-to-zoom-in features. The new OS will be made available for the BlackBerry Bold 9700 and also the BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9100 series.

Following on from the Tuesday unveiling of the new phone came the announcements from the networks that will be carrying it, namely Vodafone and Orange.

Orange announced over twitter they will be selling the new BlackBerry handset, in a tweet from the UK PR Manager that reads: "Good news: The new BlackBerry Torch 9800 with BlackBerry 6 will be coming soon to Orange UK. We will keep you posted with details...". - with no further information on offer, or even Orange's own 'Coming Soon' page listing its existence.

Straight after the USA launch event for the 9800, Vodafone also posted on twitter they will be carrying the phone, in a tweet that reads "The BlackBerry Torch will be coming soon to Vodafone UK. Register for updates here: http://bit.ly/dzJ72A". That very link redirects to their 'Coming Soon' page for the BlackBerry Torch, indicating they are more prepared than Orange and will most likely have the phone on sale first.

No pricing has been announced by either network, although expect to pay around the mid £30 mark on a 24 month contract with the handset free.

Towards the end of the week, both T-Mobile and O2 unveiled they will be offering the BlackBerry Pearl 3G on pay as you deal deals for £249.99

The BlackBerry Pearl 3G is their candy bar budget phone, with 14 keys instead of the 20 that accompany the USA version. Also dropped, is the Suretype keypad for a T9 version in the UK model where this is the first Pearl to have 3G access along with the first on 802.11n and soon will be feature the latest OS 6 from RIM.

T-Mobile offering in the pay as you go market comes with 6 months free internet and BlackBerry mail, with unlimited texts if topped up with £10 a month.

O2's offering ships on a bespoke pay as you go BlackBerry tariff, with a 500 text message allowance with free messaging and 500MB data limit for £15 per month.

In the past T-Mobile has sold the previous generation of the Pearl, the 8110, at £180 with free email and internet access for a year - although the deal this time around doesn't appear to be as attractive.

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Around the start of the week LG unveiled a new series of youth oriented touch screen mobile phones, the Cookie, Cookie Style and Cookie 3G.

The three phones are designed for first time full touch screen phone buyers, as well as a younger generation of mobile users.

The LG Cookie is their 2.4-inch full touch screen mobile phone, which is the most compact of the series fitting comfortably in the hand. LG Cookie Style tips up with a 2.8-inch LCD screen, with its case being more stylised than the Cookie where a variety of colour options will be available along with accessory's for mixing and matching.

Lastly, the LG Cookie 3G obviously boasts access to a fast data connection - as the name suggests, with fast push email access too. A 3.5mm headphone jack, FM radio and a microSD slot all accompany the new models with a customised social networking UI.

There are already a few LG Cookie handsets in the UK, with different names and styles to suit all tastes. These new mobile phones are said to be arriving around September time, with a view to extend LG's presence in the UK with younger phone ownerZ.

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Voice over IP company Vonage came out with a mobile phone application towards the end of the week, which allows for free voice calls to Facebook friends over both 3G and WIFI.

This handset based application for Android and Apple devices provide the ability to call all Facebook contacts, providing they have the same application installed that is a free download from the Android Market and also iTunes store.

Besides offering free VoIP calls using a Facebook account and its software, Vonage also offers Facebook instant messaging for mobile phones - which is a feature that is only natively possible through the desktop browser version of Facebook.

The Vonage app will now compete with Voice of IP services from Fring, Truphone and Skype. The latter of which, has still yet to be ported to the Android platform.

The application itself is easy to use and the call quality is decent enough over both 3G and WIFI, with the added benefit of not using any minutes of the accompanying tariff. Although, the software could end up costing if there's isn't a decent data allowance when not using WIFI to make VoIP calls or the IM function.

We suspect within time they will update the mobile phone application to allow both calling landlines and mobile phones, with a chargeable fee attached as Vonage's existing services for the PC offer that very ability.

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So, what can you offer me for £15 a month? - The Conclusion

Recently, we began a feature that surrounded £15 a month tariffs, comprising of what exactly they can offer within minutes, texts and data allowances. This also takes into account the free handsets accompanying those deals, in addition to SIM Only offers from the same networks.

This week we concluded with Vodafone and O2, followed by a break-down and what's best within certain criteria's.

Vodafone

Vodafone offers a few different contracts over 24 months and an 18 month period with numerous handsets, along with a few SIM only deals.

What Vodafone presented to One Mobile Ring as their "Option One" is a 24-month contract that comes with 100 minutes, with 500 texts and a 500MB data allowance.

There are 12 phones on this deal, which are the Samsung Monte, Samsung Monte Pink, Nokia 5230, LG Viewty Smile, Nokia 6303, Sony Ericsson Elm, Samsung Genio slide, LG Viewty Lite, Nokia E63, Samsung Solid Extreme, Samsung Vodafone 360 M1 and rebranded Huawei Vodafone 845 phone.

Vodafone's SIM only deals start with 200 minutes at any time of the day and to any network, with 3,000 text messages on a 30-day contract.

Vodafone also has a SIM only deal that comes with 300 minutes at any time of the day and to any network, with unlimited text messages and a time limited offer of unlimited Vodafone to Vodafone calls

Vodafone does retail a yearlong SIM only deal too, which comes with 600 minutes with unlimited text messages and a time limited offer of unlimited Vodafone to Vodafone calls.

O2

O2 has both 12 and 24 month contracts on offer with free handsets as well, along with SIM only on-line deals.

The offer O2 presented to One Mobile Ring as their 24 month Handset tariff is accompanied by 100 minutes, with an unlimited text allowance.

There are 17 phones available on this deal, which are the HTC Smart White, HTC Smart Black, Samsung Jet Ultra, Samsung Monte, Samsung Solid Extreme, Samsung Genio Touch, Sony Ericsson C903 Black, Sony Ericsson W995 Pink, Sony Ericsson Elm, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia X6, Nokia 6700, Nokia 6700 Slide Silver, Nokia 6700 Slide Pink, Nokia 6303i, Nokia 2330 Classic and LG POP.

O2's SIM only deals come in three varieties, one with no contract, another with a 30-days and there's also a 12-month contract.

O2 has a Pay & Go you Simplicity SIM with 100 any time any network minutes, unlimited UK texts, with 500MB of Internet browsing.

The Simplicity SIM only, 30-day contract offers 300 any time any network minutes, unlimited UK texts and unlimited O2 to O2 calls or UK landline calls.

An O2 Simplicity SIM 12-month contract comes with 600 any time any network minutes, unlimited UK texts and unlimited O2 to O2 calls or UK landline calls.

The Break Down

Breaking down all that's on offer in the £15 tariff market place is a mean feat in itself, with close to 30 tariff deals from the various mobile phone networks. Taking into account the minutes on offer isn't enough in choosing a tariff any more, it's the text limits and more importantly these days - the data allowance. The most important question too is sometimes over looked, what handset accompanies the tariff, or what choices do I have.

The tariff with the highest range of phones has to go to O2, with 17 handsets to choose from on their standard 24-month tariff with 100 minutes and an unlimited text allowance.

The tariff that came on top by providing the most minutes per month was Three, with their Internet Talker 500 24-month plan. This tariff comes with 500 minutes a month to any network, which beats even its closest rivals in minutes alone by 200 on Vodafone and T-Mobile.

Thrown in with the Internet Talker 500 is 5,000 minutes to any other Three mobile phone numbers, a 500MB data allowance a month where you also get free voicemail, Skype-to-Skype calls and Windows Live Messenger use.

Three also offers the best SIM Only '30-day' contract, which comes with 300 minutes, 3,000 texts, 2,000 Three-to-Three minutes and a 1GB data allowance with free voicemail, Skype-to-Skype calls and messages with free Windows Live Messenger use.

T-Mobile came close with their '30-day' offering but they did come out on top with a 12-month SIM only deal, on minutes alone. This offer comprises of 600 minutes, 500 texts, with their flexible booster package of either unlimited texts, unlimited internet or unlimited T-Mobile calling.

Originally published at OneMobileRing.com

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