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Weekly Review - 1st October

A much rumoured announcement happened this week, Research In Motion's Tablet was unveiled - the BlackBerry PlayBook. The naming of the device might not be understood everywhere in the world, where the average person in the UK has no clue what a playbook is, other than a book that contains plays.

In America, a playbook is used by the coach of an American Football team to plan the game, as it contains all of the ‘plays' or a series of prepared moves, which they have rehearsed countless times. Everyone in the States knows what a playbook is, where RIM's naming of the device makes perfect sense as playbook is an icon of the culture and a vital part of America football.

Even up to the very night of the announcement the media had called the device the BlackBerry ‘BlackPad', where rumours had hit the news some time ago that RIM had bought that very domain for the purpose of naming their tablet product. The branding of the tablet as 'BlackPad' might not be all that imaginative, but we feel it would have worked better everywhere in the world - but alas, what's done is done.

This week began with One Mobile Ring reporting on Shazam being bundled on to LG phones, where news arrived of Sony Ericsson dropping Symbian as a platform. On Tuesday we brought you details that Facebook surfing is free on Three, where RIM announced their tablet PlayBook device and Microsoft have scheduled a press conference surrounding Windows Phone 7.

Midweek, Sony Ericsson announced a remote with a screen for Android, Vodafone unveiled their own-name handsets for Christmas and towards the end of the week Nokia's N8 began shipping and the BlackBerry Torch 9800 went on sale through Phones 4U.


Earlier on in the week, Research In Motion announced their take on the Apple's iPad at their annual developer conference, under the name of the BlackBerry PlayBook.

RIM's latest BlackBerry product has a 7-inch LCD WSVGA capacitive touch screen, capable of multi-touch whilst running the new BlackBerry Tablet OS. It's powered by a 1Ghz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM, along with a rear 5 megapixel camera and a front 3MP variant with a microHDMI and microUSB port, WIFI and Bluetooth support.

The BlackBerry PlayBook comes in at 193mm in length, 130mm in width and is only 10mm thick whilst weight in at just 400grams.

Missing from the device is any cellular access, where the PlayBook can only use WIFI or other means on order to obtain a data connection.

One Mobile Ring was informed at a recent mobile network event that Bluetooth tethering with a BlackBerry handset will be the only way to obtain the much converted data connection, which now appears to be correct.

The press release dispatched to the media had a piece of information relating to this hidden away at the bottom, which reads "RIM intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future". We gather from this there are plans to release BlackBerry PlayBooks with network access, but nothing has been announced as yet.

There is also no mention of storage on the device, although it's been reported 16GB and 32GB versions were seen at the BlackBerry event.

Research In Motion states the device is capable of true multitasking, uncompromising web browsing and enterprise abilities from its robust operating system that supports HTML5 and Flash. A lot of this is missing from the current bestselling tablet device by Apple, in which RIM are more than happy to capitalise on those flaws.

The BlackBerry PlayBook is due to arrive in 2011, sometime after March where we are expecting mobile phone networks and online resellers to announce their tariffs and pricing details soon.

RIM hit the news again this week, where on Thursday the mobile phone reseller Phones 4u announced they will be selling the BlackBerry Torch 9800 in their stores - from Friday October the 1st.

People could also pre-register for the handset from the Phones 4u website, where there's an over the weekend delivery just in case there's no stores nearby.

RIMs BlackBerry Torch 9800 is their first slider device with a touch screen and a keyboard, which slips out from underneath the display.

BlackBerry's Torch has a 3.2-inch capacitive touch screen, along with a standard RIM Qwerty keyboard that's accessible from sliding the screen upwards. On board is a 5 megapixel camera, with the phone having WIFI and quad-band GSM capabilities, in a 4.37-inch tall phone or 5.83-inches when opened up.

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.

One Mobile Ring was at the launch event for the device, where we wrote up at First Impressions Review of the BlackBerry Torch 9800 here.

The BlackBerry Torch will be available free at Phones 4U on Orange and Vodafone tariffs, starting from £35 a month.


Midweek, we brought you news that Sony Ericsson has accessorised Android, by announcing a small pocket sized screen device that can display notification messages from a Google OS handset.

The SE LiveView has a 1.3-inch OEM display and can be worn as a watch or as a standalone device, where the product is paired with an Android 2.0 handset over Bluetooth and can display the happenings of the phone.

LiveView shows items such as incoming calls, text and email content, along with Facebook updates and also Twitter statuses - all from the handset.

The device can also be used to change music tracks and see calendar reminders too, whilst either attached to the wrist, clipped on to the pocket or just standing free.

In essence, the device mirrors the mobiles' contents on to its screen in much the same way as a clamshell handset secondary outer screen also displays' notifications.

Some companies frown upon having a mobile phone out on the desk, even schools feel the same way - where this device by SE could provide that vital link to the handset in order to keep informed of what's what.

Sony Ericsson's LiveView arrives this month and is supported by Android 2.0 based handsets, where currently none of SE's own mobiles actually run that version of the Google OS.

Sony Ericsson also hit the headlines this week by confirmed there are no plans to include the Nokia operating system Symbian, in future mobile phones.

Aldo Liguori, who carries the title of Corporate VP and Head of Global Communications & PR at Sony Ericsson announced in the article: "We have no plans for the time being to develop any new products to the Symbian Foundation standard or operating system".

There have been a number of mobile phones of late running Symbian in SE's mobile phone portfolio. These range from the 2009 Satio handset, to this year's Sony Ericsson Vivaz and Qwerty keyboard based version - the Vivaz Pro.

This news from SE comes just a few weeks after Nokia's annual symposium Nokia World 2010, where the Finnish phone maker's announced a number of new handsets running the very latest Symbian^3 OS.

The piece in Bloomberg Businessweek goes on to quote Sony Ericsson's Chief Creation Officer Rikko Sakaguchi - "We have made a significant shift to support Android".

Recently, Sony Ericsson has rolled out the Android based Xperia 10, X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro - all of which have been successful for them, albeit on older versions of the OS.

Symbian of late has lost favour in many peoples' minds as a major operating system despite having a high market presence, where it's fallen behind in popularity to the other open source platform - Google's Android.

Leading on from the Symbian news, Nokia started shipping their flagship consumer handset the N8, on Thursday.

This news comes to us contrary to recent rumours of a delay until the end of October. The shipping handsets are only for those who pre-ordered the Nokia N8 from the Nokia online shop, or in their retail stores.

The phone manufacturer has stated the N8 received the highest amount of pre-orders in their history, with this mobile being one of the most highly anticipated handsets since the N97.

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

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. The N8 is their first handset to arrive running from the newest OS of theirs, Symbian ^3.

The Nokia N8 pre-ordering opened up at the start of the month, with a SIM free and unlocked cost of £429 where it's also available on contract from £35 a month from O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone.


This week, Microsoft invited the media to an event in London on October the 11th - where it's reported Windows Phone 7 will be officially unveiled.

No particulars to the event have been passed out to One Mobile Ring, other than just an invite to the Microsoft press conference - although it's been rumoured for some time the new OS will be unveiled around that date.

The event is scheduled for 2pm that coincides with 9am in New York, where it's believed the main launch will be held and either broadcast live or replicated in some way in the UK.

Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft's flagship operating system which will bring forth a whole host of new features, including the ability to play Xbox 360 games on the platform and supported handsets.

Many handset manufacturers will undoubtedly be attending the event, showing off their upcoming mobile phones running the latest OS. It's already been confirmed that HTC, LG and Samsung will be retailing Windows Phone 7 run devices around the time the OS is launched.

Microsoft's OS is believed to be appearing on handsets from September the 21st, just 10 days after its suspected launch event.


Earlier on in the week the mobile phone network Three unveiled free access to a lite version of Facebook, to all of its customers.

Three's access revolves around the website, in which the network won't charge their customers to use.

This lightweight alternative to the main site even uses less data than the mobile version of Facebook, where the information that's sent and received is less than a mobile app uses.

The mobile network won't be charging for accessing this Facebook domain, leaving the data allowance for the phone's accompanying tariff fully intact for other means.

Three is sponsoring which has been streamlined and optimised for browsing speed, by cutting away all of the heavy graphics and data intensive photos by default.

Images can still be accessed, although they need to be manually selected rather than being automatically displayed - where this will evoke a data charge as the lite website will no longer be used.

There's no news whether this will be exclusive to Three, or that other mobile phone networks will have access to their own version within time.

This service will undoubtedly benefit pay as you go users, who currently receive free Skype use, Windows Live messenger and also Twitter access.


Vodafone also unveiled this week their upcoming rebranded mobile phones, the Vodafone 553, 545 and 945.

These new phones both fall in to the pay as you go range, with the 5xx models and also on a contract for the Android run 945.

Vodafone's 945 is a rebranded ZTE Google OS based mobile phone, which follows in the footsteps of Vodafone's other 845 OEM Android device by Huawei.

This handset tips up running Android ‘Cupcake' 2.1, with a 3.2-inch capacitive touch screen with a 5 megapixel camera and access to Vodafone's own music service with over 2 million DRM-free tracks.

The ZTE OEM Vodafone 553 handset will arrive on a pay as you go offer, with a 2.8-inch touch screen with a slide-out Qwerty keyboard that's geared up for messaging.

This mobile arrives with Opera Mini 5.0, with access to Facebook, Twitter, Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger. There's also Vodafone's 360 people on-board, which is an address book that's made available to both the phone and also for online use.

The 2.4-inch touch screen Vodafone 543 is a rebranded Alcatel mobile and will also be available on pay as you go deals, with exclusive covers and designs in the Miss Sixty line.

The new Vodafone OEM phones now join the three existing rebranded mobiles, the 533, 543 and the contract based 845 handset.

All of the new Vodafone models will be available for the Christmas period, on those various contracts mentioned just in time for last minute shopping


At the start of the week One Mobile Ring brought you news that LG has teamed up with popular music identifying service Shazam, by bundling in their paid for application on their handsets.

LG is now pre-installing the Shazam Encore app, their non-free version of the music tagging service for mobile phones - starting with the Android run LG Optimus GT540.

Shazam Encore normally costs £2.99 upfront, where the LG rolled-out version is free for 7 days with the user either paying the full price at the end of a week or the app reverts back to just identifying 5 tracks a month for free.

The Google mobile OS application automatically recognises an unlimited amount of tracks, whilst even offering up an option to buy the music, read reviews and view the lyrics.

Encore can also provide information such as tour dates for the identified artists, biographies, discographies and watch their YouTube videos - amongst other music related features, which aren't available in the basic version.

This music service is the ‘go to' app when trying to work out an unknown piece of music and is used by mobile devices, the world over.

Shazam is used by more than 75 million people and the number increases by a million each week, where both the company and LG expects this number to grow by pre-installing the application on all their mobile phones.


Nokia E7 - First impressions review

Nokia has recently re-launched the Communicator brand after some years, with the E7 handset. One Mobile Ring spent a great deal of time with their new business mobile phone at Nokia World 2010, all in order to deliver this run-down of its feature set and to write up this 'first impressions' review of the device see here

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