Weekly Review - 22nd October

This week brought about the arrival of Windows Phone 7 OS in the shops, with many handsets appearing on the various networks and we took a brief look at one the devises whilst we are gearing up to thoroughly review the platform and the handsets over the next coming weeks.

The week began with One Mobile Ring reporting that Nokia C7 handset will be available, whilst HTC announced a new budget Android handset. Nokia also unveiled a DAB radio headset for the Symbian^3 phones, where the Samsung Galaxy Tab price was officially confirmed and the Samsung Windows Phone 7 handset became available to pre-order.

Midweek, we reported that Samsung is bringing out accessories for the Galaxy Tab, where HP announced the successor to Palm Pre Plus and towards the end of the week TomTom made public that HTC phones are to arrive preloaded with their sat nav software.

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Samsung had a big week in the mobile news, where they appeared on One Mobile Ring three times in our coverage of the happenings in the mobile world.

The electronics giant first piece of news this week surrounded the Samsung Galaxy Tab price being officially confirmed, where Carphone Warehouse opened up pre-ordering for the device and establishing the cost of the Android tablet at £529.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab will be arriving on November 1st, where Carphone Warehouse is also a contract for £10 a month with a 1GB data allowance - with the tablet device being marked down to £499.99.

The Galaxy Tab has a 7-inch TFT LCD touch screen display and runs Android ‘Froyo' 2.2, with the Samsung TouchWIZ UI and 16GB of storage with a microSD slot.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab lower costing deal is running from Carphone Warehouse's own Talk Mobile 30-day rolling tariff, with the higher cost of the device relating to the SIM free and unlocked tablet computer.

The second appearance in the news this week was when T-Mobile opened up pre-ordering of the Samsung Omnia 7 mobile phone, on Tuesday.

This Windows Phone 7 operating based handset is free on a £35 a month contract, where the Samsung Omnia 7 is accompanied by 900 minutes, 500 text messages and a 1GB data allowance - in the guise of unlimited Internet access.

The Samsung Omnia 7 arrives with a 4-inch Super AMOLED Capacitive touch screen, with a 5 megapixel camera capable of 720P HD video recording and 8GB of internal storage.

T-Mobile was the first network to announce ordering of the Samsung Omnia 7 mobile phone, despite both Orange and the network Three unveiling they too will be carrying the phone last week.

Midweek, Samsung announced a range of accessories for the Samsung Galaxy Tab, due to arrive on November 1st.

The first accessory to be unveiled is a portable keyboard with a built-in docking station, which is excusive to the Carphone Warehouse for a period of time. The 83-key device holds the screen in portrait mode whilst offering up a charger, with a 3.5mm audio jack for £69.99.

Other notable products from Samsung are a similar device to the above, under the name of a Multimedia Desk dock that arrives without a keyboard but has an accompanying miniHDMI socket with a cost attached of £39.99.

There is also a notebook stand, a leather and a silicone gel case, along with portable speakers, headphones and memory cards up to 8GB, travel adapters, USB and TV out cables - with costs ranging from the 2GB £8.99 card, to the £34.99 travel adapter.

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Nokia made two appearances in One Mobile Ring's news this week, with the first time surrounding the pre-ordering of their Nokia C7 handset on with a SIM free and unlocked cost of £389.

Nokia's on-line store will deliver the phone on September 25th - a full week before the UK general release.

The C7 comes with a 3.5-inch AMOLED touch screen display, slightly larger than the similar looking C6 budget version - which carries a cost of £229.

The sleeker C7 has similar features to its smaller sibling, with the new Symbian^3 OS, only there's an 8 and not 5 megapixel camera onboard that's capable of HD video recording.

There is more memory in the C7, with this handset shipping with 8GB of internal memory and the C6 only tips up with 200MB.

Nokia also unveiled this week a DAB headset for their mobile phones, which provides digital radio via the handset.

The headset uses the ‘USB On the Go' port of the new Symbian^3 mobile phones, which is part of the C7 handset, E7 and also the Nokia N8 phone.

Nokia's Digital Radio Handset holds the DAB functionality, rather than the mobile phone itself. When in use, the Nokia mobile phone displays the channel, which can be changed from the control block that also accepts a regular 3.5mm audio jack, for a personal choice of headphones - rather than the ones provided by Nokia.

The Nokia Digital Radio Headset will be available later on in the year, with a cost of £44.99 and allows access to over 50 DAB stations.

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HTC was also in the news twice this week, where earlier on they announced a new budget Android handset the HTC Gratia that runs version 2.2 of the Google OS.

The HTC Gratia is the European moniker of the American HTC Aria handset, which was launched back in August with the older Android ‘Cupcake' 2.1 version and has a similar look to the Windows Phone HTC HD mini.

The HTC Gratia arrives with a 3.2-inch touch screen, with a 5 megapixel camera running Android ‘Froyo' 2.2 with the HTC Sense overlay and the social networking FriendStream application.

This mobile sits just above the previous budget HTC Wildfire mobile, with a faster 600Mhz processor and a higher screen resolution of 320×480 - as compared to 320×240.

The HTC Gratia will be available from mobile networks in November, although no costs have been confirmed nor have any mobile phone networks been mentioned either.

Towards the end of the week, news arrived with us that satellite navigation company TomTom has announced it is to bundle new mapping software on to the latest HTC Android mobile phones.

Netherlands based TomTom has previously only catered for the iPhone OS and Windows Mobile handsets, where now TomTom has produced an Android version which will accompany the HTC Desire HD and Desire Z.

The new High Tech Computer Corporation mobiles will arrive preloaded with an application called HTC Locations, which will offer up Europe and Asia maps instantly and without the need for a data connection to be used.

No specific details were furnished to the media as to what the TomTom software might offer, other than the maps and locations are only provided and turn-by-turn navigation will have to be purchased separately.

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Midweek, One Mobile Ring reported that HP unveiled the Palm Pre 2, the next model in the Palm Pre and Palm Pre Plus family.

The new slider mobile phone from HP will be arriving running the latest version of the Palm multitasking operating system webOS, version 2.0.

HP's Palm Pre 2 has the same outward appearance to the Palm Pre handsets from the past, only now there's a 1Ghz processor powering the handset instead of the 600Mhz version from the previous two models.

The camera's megapixel count had been increased to 5, from the 3 megapixel offering in the last two handsets where the memory and storage remains the same from the Pre Plus, at 512MB and 16GB.

There have been improvements in the new OS, surrounding better multitasking and presentation of the running applications where apps related to each other are grouped together. Other notable enhancements to the OS run along the lines of universal searching, better address book integration, HTML5 browser and Adobe Flash support.

The Palm Pre Plus is currently exclusive to the network O2, although they've made no announcement whether they will be carrying the handset.

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This week, Windows Phone 7 arrived and One Mobile Ring brought out our initial thoughts of the Samsung GT-i8700 Omnia 7 which will arrive on Three, T-Mobile and Orange networks.

Just as we were getting used to the Apple versus Android debate, the long gestating Windows Phone 7 platform is now upon us where we can finally get a good look at what Microsoft's has to show. Unfortunately, One Mobile Ring can already feel a lingering sense of disappointment.

All too often whilst using the Samsung Omnia 7, we kept thinking "It's just like the ..." and "it feels just like the ..." and all around certain aspects of the phone. Whilst familiarity is a good thing a times, you'd expect more originality from the first batch of Windows Phone handsets.

The Samsung Omnia 7 ships with a highly clear and responsive touch screen, just like the Samsung i9000. The body of the device is clean and well-built, whilst retaining the look of the Samsung S8500 Wave. It does feel robust and well-sized, with a reassuring weight that has become fairly typical of recent Samsung devices. The camera response is good - if a little unspectacular - but it does boast a good feature set with a vast array of customisation, along with a built-in LED flash.

The battery life is better than expected, when compared to other smartphones. There is an impressive loudspeaker on the back of the device, along with a 3.5mm jack for those moments when you don't want the entire bus to know you are listening to Steps.

In the end, it is hard to pick a fault within the overall hardware - the OS is another matter entirely.

Microsoft is currently focussed on driving the Windows Phone 7 OS roll out to the world, with many devices exclusively to mobile phone networks. However, without wishing to see the glass as half empty, we feel that Microsoft has let down their end of the deal.

The Seattle software developers have come late to the show, which is a very big problem unless you have something that is unique, spectacular or both. Windows Phone 7 brings neither to the table, which is at the heart of the matter.

Android has been developed to be fully customisable down to its very core, whilst being available on such a vast range of handsets where you can even pick up a budget phone for under £100. Handset manufacturers and developers can even remove huge chunks of the software, in order to create new ways to manipulate the device which can hardly be said about other platforms.

With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft's bullish attitude could potentially come unstuck within the long run. You will use IE as the browser and you must use Bing to search. You must use Zune for your media and you must use Office for your documents. Call us old fashioned, but One Mobile Ring is not sure dictating exactly how to use the phone is the right way to keep us happy as a consumer.

The general theme of the phone is flat and unimaginative, in both the chassis design and implementation of Windows Phone 7. As an example, the user can only choose white text on a black background, or the opposite of that. Being simple and streamlined is all well and good, but lacking in overall substance is not the best way forward.

There's No file transfer over Bluetooth, no video calling, no call barring, and list goes on as to what isn't part and parcel of the OS. A lot of these can be implemented in software updates, such as the missing cut and paste that's due to arrive early next year. However, you have to wonder why Microsoft has left it so late to join the party, as they are already 12 months behind the current trend.

There will be many who look at this device as the 'saviour' of the mobile phone industry, but we're certain this is more out of spite towards the current crop of mobiles than anything else.

Originally published at OneMobileRing.com

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