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Weekly Review 16th of July

It has been a busy week in the mobile world, which makes for a much welcomed change from last in which it appeared the world had a quiet one following on from Independence day in the States.

This week's news mostly surrounded BlackBerry, companies mentioning upcoming features in their OS that BlackBerry will have soon. The iPhone 4 maker scheduled an impromptu press conference, along with releasing a possible signal fix to their mobile OS.


The week started with an analyst report from the company Rodman and Renshaw, detailing there is an iPad-esque tablet on the way from Research In Motion. This report had specifics that seemed to be backed up in a video of the new upcoming OS, later on in the week.

A 7-inch BlackBerry tablet device by Research In Motion was apparently scheduled to be released next year, with the analyst company detailing that it has now been changed. The report goes on to mention the BlackBerry will be powered by a 1Ghz Marvell processor with abilities such as full HD 1080p playback, advanced 3D graphics, 16 megapixel image capture, front facing and rear cameras.

Midweek, BlackBerry's new OS 6 was officially demoed on video, ahead of its unveiling later on this year. The preview of the OS 6 highlighted exactly what features will be in the new platform, where the video appears to be very touch screen centric. Some more astute observers will note the BlackBerry's screen dimensions and not a single physical keyboard was seen in the footage.

All of this could just highlight RIM are now focussing heavily on large touch screen devices, with more of a tablet style screen - as the dimensions alone of the device's screen denotes a BlackBerry Tablet.

Another BlackBerry new's item came across our desks this week, in the form of an invite to try out a new piece of software for the device. BlackBerry Protect is an upcoming app from RIM, where someone will be able to locate a misplaced phone easily or remotely wipe the phones' contents if permanently lost.

The free application for BlackBerry mobiles will provide access to a webportal, where all of the features listed above are accessible. It will even be possible to triangulate the missing phone's position by surrounding cell towers, or actually remotely power-on the GPS to aid in the handset's recovery.

Not to be outdone by this, Microsoft also made public on the same day their upcoming mobile OS will also have these features. Windows Phone 7 will have a similar set of abilities as BlackBerry Protect, only natively inside the OS.

These features are comparable to Apple's FindMe, only they differ in the cost as apparently this will be free and part and parcel of the Microsoft mobile OS where FindMe does carry a price.

Microsoft has a web based portal known as SkyDrive for accessing these security features, which also allows for 25GB of data to be stored. Services such as locating of the missing phone, locking the device or remotely wiping all the data will be possible in much the same way as BlackBerry will offer.


On Thursday it came to light that Apple will be holding an unscheduled press conference on Friday, all in order to talk about the iPhone 4 with the possibility of the signal dropping issue on the agenda that has plagued the handset since day one.

Speculation has been rife over whether they will recall the new fourth generation Apple mobile, which will be a vast operations seeing as they sold 1.7 million iPhone 4 handsets in just 3 days.

What could be a more likely scenario would be that Apple will put the world at ease by openly discussing the issue relating to the signal problem, as their open letter last month did not go down as well as they expected where its contents surrounded the miscalculation of the signal reception only.

Later on in the same day, an update to the iPhone's operating system was made available from the usual source of iTunes, for all those iPhone 4 users along with the older iPhone 3G/3GS owners that have upgraded to iOS 4.

iOS 4.0.1 was released way ahead of their press conference, all with a view to resolve the issues that have surrounded the handsets signal problems.

It has already been noted by early adopters of the update that Apple has increased the size of the bars in displaying the signal, just to make the reception visually clearer with its recalibration already firmly in place.


Two new handset announcements hit the wires this week, with one appearing on Three and another being the smallest and lightest Guinness Book of Records holding mobile phone with cases that add functionality.

An Israeli mobile phone company launched in the UK the Modu 1, which is a small phone that can be placed in a number of different fascia or cases to offer up different functionality.

The Modu 1 is only 72.1mm in height, 37.6mm in width, whilst it's only 7.8mm thick with a weight of 40.1 grams where an actual credit card comes in around 53.9mm in height and 85.6mm in length.

There are 12 different cases currently available for the Modu 1, which dramatically changes the whole look of the handset and its functions. These range from sporty designs with a pedometer, to a night fascia with a 3.2MP camera.

Natively, the phone has a 1.3-inch OLED screen, with tri-band connectivity and has features such as 2GB of memory, an mp3 player, Bluetooth 1.2 with a proprietary OS and a 7-key pad design.

Three jointly unveiled a sub £100 Android handset, running version 2.1 of the Google OS. ZTE's Racer is a 2.8-inch QVGA resistive touch screen mobile, with 2GB of storage from an accompanying microSD card along with a 3.2 megapixel camera - all running from the same 600Mhz chipset as the HTC Legend.

The £99 Racer handset is co-branded by Three, in much the same way as two other joint venture mobile phones that are on Three by ZTE, the MF112 and F930.

The phone is free from as little as £13 a month on Three's Internet Talker 300 tariff, or costing £99 plus a £10 credit on pay as you go - which makes for one of the cheapest 2.1 Android handsets around today.


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

At the end of the week we begun a feature to aid people in the minefield of choosing a tariff and along with their handset deals, by starting at £15 a month and what that consists of on each major network.

In this week's break down we highlighted what Three, T-Mobile and Orange all have to offer in their £15 a month bracket along with what phones are available too and also the network's ‘SIM Only' offering.

Each of the networks have competitive deals in this price range, all with a good range of phones on offer to suit all tastes and styles.

Three's £15 ‘SIM Only' tariff appears to be a strong contender, if you just want a contact and not a phone too.

This deal offers up 300 minutes at any time of the day and to any network, along with 2,000 minutes to any Three based phone numbers, with 3,000 texts, a 1GB data allowance and free voicemail. This comes with free Windows Live Messenger chats and free Skype-to-Skype calls which does not encroach on that 1GB data allowance - all on a one month rolling contract.


Samsung Galaxy S review

The review of the week came from Samsung's flagship Android handset, the Galaxy S. This new model arrives with a much larger screen than ever seen before on an Android mobile phone in the UK, with Samsung's own familiar tweak to the OS. Samsung's Galaxy S runs from a 1Ghz processor, but not the Qualcomm version that's in the HTC Desire only this is Samsung's own mobile chipset that also features in their Wave phone.

The Galaxy S' display has the brightest and most vivid screen we've seen, with a 4-inch Super AMOLED 800×480 display that is really the handset's most outstanding feature. The screen actually puts the Desire's version to shame, with its colours and sharpness that are beyond belief and are not even washed out in bright sunlight, where AMOLED screens usually are.

Samsung has tweaked the 2.1 Android OS, to have a familiar overlay called TouchWiz. This new version of 3.0 also appears on their Wave phone, which has a different OS altogether. This does feel very similar to their other handset overlays, from the Jet to Toco mobiles that all have early versions but this really is just a Samsung theme running on Android and nothing major.

Bottom Line

This surprisingly light 118gram Android handset has a bit of a cheap feel to it, where some might assume it's a budget model due the plastic casing only it's far from that. The Samsung Galaxy S is a fast mobile, with a truly outstanding screen where movie playback, web browsing and writing are exemplary on the large screen with lots of storage capabilities too.

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