Vodafone and O2 have today launched their 4G mobile services with a limited roll out. Vodafone has switched on the superfast network in parts of London, whilst O2 has made its network available across the capital, Leeds and Bradford. 4G services offer mobile broadband speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G. The fast connection uses much more data than 3G however, hiking up the price for consumers and the networks. Vodafone's phone inclusive 4G plans will start at £34 a month for a 24 month contract. O2's handset inclusive plans start at £32. Both companies' SIM only plans start at £26- £5 more expensive than EE's cheapest 4G rate.
One of Google's lead Android execs is set to leave the company for Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, a rising star that recently overtook Apple in the Chinese market. Hugo Barra joined Google in 2008 and is currently the vice president of product management for Android. Barra has been a public face of Android, featuring prominently at Google's annual I/O developer conferences. He also launched the new Nexus 7 2013 tablet in San Francisco last month. Confirming his departure, a Google spokesperson said: "We wish Hugo Barra the best." It has been reported that the reason for the resignation was the breakdown of a romantic relationship between Barra and another Google employee, and the subsequent love affair between Barra's former partner and Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who himself split from his wife quite recently.
Three has announced a December launch for its 4G network, with existing 3G customers the first to benefit. The service is to be switched on in London, Birmingham and Manchester at the end of the year, when every Three customer who has a 4G enabled device will be upgraded to the superfast network for free. Further cities will be then switched on in January, with the hope that 1.5 million customers will benefit from 4G services by early next year. All Three subscribers will have to do is install a simple software update with no need to go in store. There will be no new contracts to sign and no need to change tariffs or swap SIMs. Three will also be the only 4G network to offer all you can eat data.
Skype has marked its 10th birthday with the announcement that it is developing 3D video calling technology. The voice over IP firm has said that, although the feature is possible in its own labs, it will probably still be a few years before it reaches the consumer market. "We have it in the lab, we know how to make it work and we're looking at the ecosystem of devices and their capability to support it in order to make a decision when we might think about bringing something like that to market," Microsoft's corporate vice president for Skype, Mark Gillett, said. According to Gillett, Skype was inspired by the increasing consumer demand for 3D capable televisions and monitors, but has found that devices capable of capturing 3D are less widespread. "We're in the first year of your TV at home potentially having a camera attached to it, but we're several years away from the cameras capturing 3D in that context," he continued.