Weekly Review - 20th of August

Just as with last week, this time of the year is known as the silly season in the yearly news cycle, where there really isn't a great deal of news around and quirky stories make for the big headlines instead. This was originally to do with Parliament being on hiatus during the summer, where there wasn't any traditional news generated for the newspapers.

This slump in news boils over to the mobile world too, as Parliament is closed because of the summer holidays - with people generally being away this time of the year in companies too. Any big news is therefore put on the back burner for another month, where it could make a bigger impact.

Last week, we thought there were a lot of leaks in the media because of this slow news cycle - we were wrong. This week's amount of leaks made last weeks really look like nothing had happened at all out of the ordinary. Larry only knows what will happen next week, a new Apple device is spotted, Motorola's two new handsets appearing in the UK - who knows.

The week began on a positive start with O2 unveiling the iPhone 4 on pay as you go, where HTC invited the media to a launch of a new phone on September 15th. Nokia also announced their new E5 handset, which was followed by them leaking an upcoming mobile, on their own website.

Vodafone unveiled a rival to Three's own MIFI device on Tuesday, and we reported that Android voice search was updated on Froyo handsets. Orange joined O2 in the news regarding the iPhone 4, where the phone network revamped their Apple handset tariffs.

Microsoft announced at a games convention Xbox 360 Live games, which will be available to be played on their Windows Phone 7 OS and subsequent handsets. Nokia restarted their news reign, where their upcoming C7 handset was leaked and another of their phones - the N9, was spotted at the end of the week.

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It would be remiss of us not to start off the Weekly Review with Nokia, seeing as they've been in the news so much this week and will of course dominate the round-up.

The Nokia E5 BlackBerry-esque handset went on sale in the week, unlocked and SIM free for £259 through the Finnish phone makers own online retail store.

Nokia's E5 is their Qwerty keyboard based handset that has the appearance of a traditional RIM device, whilst building upon the success of the previous Nokia E71 and E72 handsets.

The former Wellington boot makers E5 is aimed squarely at messaging, with its large and easy to use keyboard with access to a decent range of messaging services from Exchange to Lotus notes. All of which is displayed on the accompanying 2.36-inch screen, whilst running the Symbian S60 3rd edition.

The internal memory has been upped from the E72, which only had 250MB where the E5 now has 512MB and support for 32GB microSD cards.

Also included is their Ovi Maps solution, which is Nokia's own Sat Nav and pedestrian turn by turn navigator with TimeOut, Expedia, Michelin, Lonely Planet, Qype and Trip Advisor apps.

Midweek, Nokia had another official announcement with their revamping of the entry level X series handset - the X3 Touch and Type.

Nokia's X3 Touch and Type has done away with the whole slider mechanism from the first model, which was launched at Nokia World in 2009. They've moved the 12 button T9 keypad to the flush front of the device, whilst adding a 2.4-inch resistive touch screen that wasn't present in the original X3 where a d-pad was the only way of navigating around the screen.

Both the 2009 model and this latest version run the Symbian series 40 OS, whilst still retaining its music focus with a quick launch media button. The Touch and Type X3 arrives with 3G HSPA access, 802.11n WIFI, a 5 megapixel camera and a build in FM radio.

No official retail dates have been announced, other than to expect the Nokia X3 Touch and Type in Q3 for around £125 SIM free and unlocked.

Following on from those official handset unveilings by Nokia came the leaks, with the first being their upcoming X5-01 handset.

Nokia had inadvertently leaked this mobile on their own Ovi application store website. The handset only appears upon selecting which particular phone the user owns, when downloading an application from Nokia's store.ovi.com.

The mobile phone has a square chassis in much the same way as the Motorola Flipout, where the X5-01 is rumoured to have a slide-out Qwerty keyboard with a 2.4-inch display and runs Symbian OS 9.3 Series 60 - with the image confirming those exact hardware specifications.

Towards the end of the week another Nokia handset made an appearance, with the C7 mobile that is also yet to be announced or even confirmed it exists yet by Nokia.

Chinese website Zol.com.cn has managed to capture on video the phone known as the Nokia C7, which is yet to be unveiled by Nokia but we suspect it will be announced at their annual symposium Nokia World in a few weeks' time.

The Nokia C7 appears to be a high-end smartphone running the Symbian ^3 OS, from a 3.5-inch multi-touch screen with a more business focussed look than the consumer oriented Nokia N8 which is due for release anytime soon.

At the tail end of the week came the news another of unofficial handset by Nokia had been seen, in their unannounced N9 - with a slide-out Qwerty keyboard in an N8 chassis.

Images cropped up on the Chinese Website Baidu, where they show the yet-to-be-announced handset in all its glory from different angles and with the keyboard exposed too.

Nokia's N9 appears to be the slide out Qwerty keyboard counterpart to the full touch screen N8 device, with this model complementing the new N series line up of handsets with this phone replacing the N97 models.

It's been rumoured Nokia is replacing the Symbian platform on their flagship N series devices, with the joint Intel and Nokia OS Meego. It's been reported elsewhere the N9 phone in these pictures could be running Meegoo, with the shots of the mobile running an OS that gives that very impression.

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The news didn't completely surround Nokia this week, as the network operators were in the news too - with a few iPhone 4 stories, plus a challenger appearing to Three's MIFI monopoly.

At the start of the week we reported that O2 now has the Apple iPhone 4 on pay as you go deals, starting with the phone costing £495.

The original UK reseller of the Apple handsets has made available the latest iPhone 4 on prepay, with the 16GB version of the new Apple mobile is just £5 shy of £500, where the 32GB iPhone 4 model comes in a £595.

Apple's own online retail store has the 16GB iPhone 4 at £499, with the 32GB version selling for £599 - where there's not a great deal of difference between the costs.

O2's tariff backing up the Apple phone has 300 text message and 500MB data allowance a month, if the phone is topped up with £10-£14. To obtain 500 text messages, the top up fee is £15-£29 and the unlimited message deal is priced at £30 a month.

This deal isn't as attractive as Vodafone's offer last week, where the purchase price of the phone includes a data allowance of 250GB a month, along with 1GB of free BT Openzone WIFI access.

Orange was also in the news, over changing their iPhone 4 prices as they revamped their Apple iPhone 4 tariffs to include a better data allowance, whilst reducing the minutes for calling on their packages.

The new Orange iPhone 4 ‘Extra' tariff starts at £35 a month, with a data allowance of 750MB, 400 minutes and free Sat Nav through their own Orange Maps and 50 photo messages. Previously, the Orange £35 iPhone 4 tariff over a 24 month period had a 500MB data allowance and 600 minutes - this change allows for more internet usage on the handset, which is key for any iPhone.

There is still a cost attached for the handset, where the 16GB version comes in at £119, with the 32GB model costs £219 on this new plan. Orange also offers the same new Extra tariff, over an 18 month period although the handsets increase in price to £229 and £319, respectively.

Vodafone announced this week a rival to the Three MIFI device, where no other network has managed to bring out something that challenges the original 3G network's product.

The company brought our MIFI unit, under the name of mobile WIFI with a cost of £25 a month with a 5GB data allowance ceiling.

The Huawei R201 is also made by the same people behind Three's MIFI product, with both of them being able to allow 5 devices to connect over WIFI to the mobile broadband network. Three was able to brand their device ‘MIFI' in the UK, where others now have to use another name as a result of that imaginative piece of branding.

The rebranded Huawei mobile WIFI product arrives free on an 18 month contract, with a 5GB data allowance for use with laptops or even a WIFI enabled mobile phones, such as the Apple iPhone 4 for FaceTime video calling.

As a comparison Three's 5GB MIFI tariff costs just £17 a month, where there's pay as you go options available and even higher data plans with Three sharing T-Mobile data backbone and possibly Orange's in the future.

Towards the end of the week Virgin Mobile made public they will be rolling out the Google mobile OS Android 2.2., on HTC Desires and Wildfire in September.

The mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Virgin Mobile, who runs from T-Mobile's network used twitter to get the message across to the media this week. The tweet from the main company, Virgin Media, reads: " HTC Desire and HTC Wildfire - great news, we're expecting to release OTA updates to 2.2 (Froyo) early Sep :)"

Virgin Mobile has been silent over the Android ‘Froyo' 2.2 update until now, where most networks have commented in one way or another on when their handsets will receive the update.

Virgin were one of the first networks to announce the budget HTC Wildfire, where we believe they could be the first to confirm a delivery date of the new Android OS on that device.

The rollout by Virgin will be through an Over The Air (OTA) notification message, although downloading the firmware update over WIFI would be preferable due to its sheer size.

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Microsoft released the news that a whole range of Xbox 360 Live gaming titles that will be launched before Christmas and can be played on handsets running Widows Phone 7.

With Windows Phone 7, users can sign in to their existing Xbox accounts, where they're able to see their own avatar and connect with friends besides being able to play existing Xbox games that are geared up for the handset.

There are familiar Xbox 360 titles at launch with names such as "Halo: Waypoint", "Guitar Hero 5? and "Crackdown 2, with other titles from games publishers known to most as Gameloft, Konami, Namco Bandai, PopCap and THQ.

The list of initial games is fairly vast, enough for most to get to grips with hours of entertainment to be had on a new mobile come Christmas time.

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HTC was in the news at the start of the week, with an invite for the media to attend an event on September the 15th surrounding the launch of a new handset - possibly the HTC Desire HD.

The invite which contains the words "Come see what HTC has dreamt up" and not much else is reportedly surrounding the 4.3-inch handset, codenamed HTC Ace or what the media are dubbing as the HTC Desire HD.

No further details have been passed along as to what exactly is being announced, with the event coinciding with Nokia's annual symposium also in London.

Another idea floating about is the press launch could very well be the HTC Shubert handset, in which we also reported upon last week and runs the upcoming Windows Phone 7 OS.

Speculations are still rife surrounding the hardware of both mobiles, with the 1Ghz Qualcomm chipset and the camera hitting the 8 megapixel mark - the highest MP count the company has ever used.

The name HTD Desire HD is the one temporarily used when reporting rumours of the device, where the invite could give clues as to the actual name of the handset. The phone might be named the HTC Dream HD - a name previously used, for the very first Android handset of theirs.

Originally published at OneMobileRing.com

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