Weekly Review - 10th September

It is a well-known fact that laptop makers have a really good time during early September, as they shift quite a lot of stock with people going back to school, college and university with a new computer. New products that were announced some time back are suddenly on the shelves, just in time for this period - although it doesn't appear the mobile phone makers have caught on to this ever growing trend.

This week saw quite a lot of news surrounding handsets, where we really believe every announced and expected handset should have been on sale just to capitalise on the money available to students and the buying spree they are undertaking.

The week started with news that Virgin Mobile has realised it's term time, by unveiling a budget BlackBerry with student discount. Samsung's recently announced Galaxy tablet came available to preorder, whilst Orange and T-Mobile released plans for their customers to roam between the networks and Orange updated its pay as you go rewards.

LG confirmed a Windows Phone 7 handset, whilst also announcing they're planning on bringing dual core processors to their mobile phones. Nokia finally confirmed midweek the cost and arrival date of their flagship N8 handset, and a clamshell BlackBerry was demoed on video.

Towards the end of the week, Three made public tariff details to the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Apple released the update to their 4 iOS.


The Samsung Galaxy Tab caused a bit of stir when it was announced at Berlin's IFA consumer show, with many writing about how great the device is to use - as compared to other Tablet computers around. This week the Tab was in the news twice and that it is now available to preorder

Samsung's Android tablet device has tipped up with on-line mobile phone reseller Expansys, SIM free and unlocked for £679.99.

The Galaxy Tab was unveiled at Berlin's IFA consumer electronics show last week, where the 16GB version's retail cost has now been made public along with the arrival date of October 12th.

It's been reported the Tab will be a direct rival to the Apple iPad, whose cost comes in at £529 for the same capacity and also with WIFI and 3G abilities.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab is a 7-inch TFT LCD touch screen display based Android tablet, with Samsung TouchWIZ UI overlay to the Google OS.

Vodafone has also announced they will be selling the Tab from October onwards, only on a contract where no price details have been made available by the mobile phone network.

O2 is exclusively selling a similar Android product in the Dell Streak, where if their tariff details are anything to go by the Samsung tablet could be free on a £25 data or £35 data and voice contracts.

The SIM free 16GB Galaxy Tab model is much more costly than we first anticipated, where the 64GB iPad is just over £19 more.

The second time the Samsung Galaxy Tab was in the news was towards the end of the week, when the mobile phone network Three unveiled its SIM only tariffs for the device.

Mobile phone network Three has revealed it will also be getting the Samsung Galaxy Tab along with Vodafone, with tariffs starting from just £10 a month.

Three has only announced the SIM only tariffs at this point, on a single rolling month contract for voice and data.

The mobile phone network's voice and data packages are the SIM10 and SIM15. These surround £10 and £15 monthly top ups that include 100 and 300 minutes, respectively. Both tariffs also include 2000 minutes to any Three numbers, 3000 texts and a 1GB data allowance.

Three has stated that more than 97% of traffic over their network is just data, where they will also be offering data only packages for the Samsung Galaxy Tab at 1GB and 5G allowances for £7.50 and £15.

Those data only customers will still be able to make calls and send text messages, at 10p per text, 10p to call Three mobiles or landlines and 25p to other networks.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab is a 7-inch WSVGA TFT touch screen tablet, with a 1.2Ghz processor and runs Android ‘Froyo' 2.2 with full 1080p playback, flash and DNLA support along with allowing WIFI data tethering for 8 devices.

No contract costs have been announced by Three, although the Galaxy Tab might have to be purchased separately as was the iPad when the network unveiled their microSIM data tariffs back in May.


Orange and T-Mobile made public it'll be possible soon to roam between the two networks - free of charge.

Orange and T-Mobile customers will soon be able to make calls and send text messages on either network - with no extra cost attached. This is coming off the back of the newly merged companies, which now runs under the guise of Everything Everywhere.

The 30 million users of both networks are being invited to sign up to the program, in order to gain access to this offer that starts from October 5th.

Orange and T-Mobile customers that have signed up for the network share will automatically switch to the other carrier, if the signal is lost from the original provider they're signed up to.

Plans are under way where users of either carrier can switch between the phone networks mid-call, on to whichever network has the strongest signal.

This is the first news to be made public after the two companies merged, where mobile users on the separate networks can now see the benefit from this combined deal.

Nothing has been mentioned by either company about the data network sharing, which comes as no surprise as T-Mobile has a data-share in place with Three.

Also this week, Orange updated pay as you go rewards to encourage regular top ups.

The new benefits to Orange prepay customers extend what is already on offer, when the phone is regularly charged - with money.

The Monkey tariff is geared up for music lovers with free access to music online, where for the first time this plan rewards users that top up with just £5 a month. The new rewards are in the flavour of free text messages and a daily internet pass, with a cap of 2MB a day.

Orange's Canary users can now benefit from free 100 evening and weekend text or picture messages, when they top up £10. This is in addition to the free 100 minutes of evening and weekend calls, which is already a part of the package.

Racoon tariff on Orange has been updated to offer the flat call rate of 12p a minute, which is the lowest cost Orange has to offer. The previous fixed rate for calling was 15p a minute, with a saving of £1.80 per hour of calling.

The Camel plan can now offer up to 240 minutes to over 50 countries, if the phone owner tops up by £30. This tariff is ideal for people that do call overseas often, where Orange has now opened up the plan to be a monthly tariff as well.


LG confirmed their first Windows Phone 7 handset will be The LG Optimus 7, in a demonstration of DLNA, at Berlin's IFA consumer electronics show. Digital Living Network Alliance (DNLA) is a way of easily sharing media from device to device, over WIFI and Ethernet.

The Windows Phone 7 handset from LG has a one-touch method of sharing video files, music and images with their own and other television sets with DLNA built in.

LG demoed this in action at the event, whilst at the same time showing off the Optimus 7. The sharing of media with a simple flick of a finger, between phone and screen, is a unique proposition from LG - according to the company.

Media sharing can be done over WIFI without leaving the media gallery, with files such as 720p HD video and high resolution images being presented straight to an LG TV screen.

No details were furnished surrounding the exact specifications of the LG Optimus 7, although it's been reported the handset will have a 3.7-inch touch screen, with a 1Ghz processor and a 5 megapixel camera - besides running Windows 7.

Backing in to the Windows Phone 7 news were the plans that LG are bringing out dual core processor phones, based on Nvidia Tegra 2 later on this year in their Optimus range of handsets.

The Nvidia Tegra 2 is a twin core mobile processor, which is now being brought into an Android mobile phone by Lucky Goldstar. This could be the world's first dual core CPU handset, when it arrives.

Toshiba has recently aired the Folio 100 Android tablet with the Tegra 2 inside, at Berlin's IFA event but no phone manufacture has announced the new chip will be in a mobile. Microsoft's Zune HD made use of the first Nvidia Tegra chip, as did the Samsung Vodafone 360 M1.

Nvidia's Tegra 2 features a ultra low-power NVIDIA GeForce GPU and is the first 1080p HD mobile video processor, which makes use of two 1GHz processors. This can offer 1080p HD video playback, twice the web browsing speed and up to five times the gaming performance over a single core processor, according to the company.


We reported that Virgin Media unveiled a BlackBerry handset this week, on a £12 a month tariff, with unlimited web browsing, email and BlackBerry messenger use.

The Virgin Mobile offer is for last year's budget Research In Motion 8520 Curve handset, on a 24 month plan. The BlackBerry 9300 Curve 3G has recently succeeded the 8520, as their low cost Bold-esque mobile phone.

The £12 a month tariff arrives with 50 minutes per month, unlimited calls to Virgin numbers, a 250 text message allowance, along with the unlimited web browsing, email and BB messenger access.

Existing Virgin Media customers can benefit from a lower price of £10 per month, where students holding a valid NUS Extra card can obtain a further 15% discount.

The BlackBerry Curve 8520 has a traditional Qwerty keyboard, instead of the Storm's touch screen text entry method. On board, there's a 2 megapixel camera, WIFI and a microSD slot that supports the latest 32GB cards. However, there isn't 3G access - as this was missing from the Curve 8520 and only found its way into the Curve 9300 handset.

The second time BlackBerry was in the news this week was when an announced clamshell handset was caught on video, in a few demos of the OS confirming it could soon be announced.

RIM's 9670 is reportedly the upcoming replacement to the 2008 BlackBerry Pearl 8220, which was their first ever flip phone. Specifications of the new device were ousted as far back as July this year, where now video has been leaked with the phone appearing to be running the new BlackBerry 6 OS.

The first video below shows the home screen of the phone, which is rumoured to be branded the BlackBerry Style. The footage shows the optical track pad being used, to bring down the notification bar whilst also being used to scroll through the menus - all of which are characteristics of the BlackBerry 6 OS.

The second video highlights the external screen, which is a synonymous feature of clamshell handsets of yesteryear and looks to be a useful addition to the BlackBerry Style. The third piece of footage just shows how zooming in on the screen works, by using the keyboard.

The video also shows the phone carries a full Qwerty keyboard, instead if the unpopular SureType Qwerty system that accompanied the Pearl 8220.


Nokia finally opened up pre-ordering for their flagship Nokia N8 handset, with a SIM free and unlocked cost of £429.

The Nokia online store now allows for the reservation and payment of the upcoming touch screen mobile phone, along with ordering on contract from £35 a month with Vodafone, O2 and T-Mobile - shipping at the end of September.

Nokia N8 has a 3.5-inch AMOLED screen and is accompanied by a 12 megapixel camera, with Carl Zeiss optics, Xenon flash and is capable of 720p HD video recording plus editing along with Dolby Digital Plus surround sound.

The phone also has an HDMI port, albeit in the form of a micro HDMI socket for displaying HD video content on to a compatible TV screen. Nokia's N8 will be the first handset running from the newest OS of theirs, Symbian ^3.


Around the middle of the week, Apple released iOS 4.1, with many fixes to the previous version along with bringing in a few new features.

The new version of the iOS resolves iPhone 4 proximity sensor performance issues, with improvements to the devices Bluetooth and an apparent resolution to the iPhone 3G performance problems.

Apple has brought into their operating system a game centre, where users can play multi-player games and it is now possible to play against components over the airwaves.

There is also a new feature for taking photos with the iPhone 4, called high dynamic range or HDR. Three pictures can be taken at once on this setting. One over exposed, one under exposed and another normal one - where the three images are combined to produce the best quality photo.

IOS 4.1 adds new video abilities onto Apple devices, with the uploading of HD captured video content to YouTube and MobileMe over WIFI. There is also the ability to rent TV programs and not just download them from iTunes, both of which are making their debut in the iOS.

Originally published at OneMobileRing.com