Remember back in March, when it was announced that Sky were buying Spanish company Telefonica – who own 02 – for £200m?
WELL. Turns out there are a hell of a lot of 02 customers out there would rather eat bogies on toast than have a phone contract with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. And unfortunately for Mr Burns, I mean, Rupert, they’re being rather vocal about it, too.
‘There have been a large number of calls,’ whispered an 02 employee, discreetly. ‘They don’t want to line Murdoch’s pockets.’
Apparently that ‘large number’ is half a million, which is less of a statistic and more like a massive mutinous vote of no confidence in the dried up old Aussie maniac.
The official line at 02 is a soothing message to these irate callers, telling them not to worry because Sky will only own 39% of 02, and they will remain separate companies.
Hahahaha. Dontcha just love a big juicy backlash? Wendy Murdoch’s karate moves are no match for this.
As predicted, BT will be making moves to get back into the mobile market for the first time in yonks, since it spun-off from O2.
Chief executive Ian Livingston says that BT planned to use the 4G spectrum it won to offer a mobile network to existing customers alongside their broadband, television and landline offers.
Of course, BT already have something of a partnership with Vodafone, providing 3G, but after the telecoms company teamed-up with O2, it was obvious they were making inroads to come back into the mobile market.
Livingston added that this partnership would provide mobile coverage outside the home, as well as a new Home Hub to improve 4G inside the home, creating a “very cheap 4G network.”
“We can confirm that we’re exploring various options given the excellent spectrum we have and that we plan to build on our strength in WiFi,” said a BT spokesperson.
Amazon invented the Kindle, allowing us to squint at books on trains. Now they’re developing two new smartphones – and one of them is 3D!
And it’s not 3D in the way that most objects are three-dimensional. It will also have a 3D screen, and no, you won’t have to wear glasses – and you’ll be able to move it with your EYES. *Paul Daniels face*
Apparently the Amazon labs are overrun with crazy crackpot techy activity like this, with news that they’re also developing a set top box and a device for streaming music.
Whether anyone will give a flying one about a 3D phone remains to be seen, (the technology has already been used with mixed results) but it seems that Amazon are not content with destroying, I mean revolutionizing, the bookselling industry, and want to move into mad futuristic gizmos and gadgetry, too.
Next, they’ll be putting a TIME MACHINE IN A DELOREAN.
Carphone Warehouse are pushing what they claim to be the cheapest iPhone deal around. For £17 a month, you get an iPhone 4 8GB for two years. You’ll be able to choose between Three or O2 networks. That is indeed pretty cheap and maybe a great deal for newbies to the smartphone world.
If you go for Three, then you’ll get 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 250MB of data, while with O2, the same deal gets you 500MB of data, 300 minutes and unlimited texts.
Carphone Warehouse COO Graham Stapleton said: “Many of our customers want the opportunity to own the iconic Apple handset but at a tariff that works for them. Even though smartphones are mainstream, there are still thousands of customers who are upgrading from a feature phone to a smartphone, and this deal is perfect for them.”
However, there’s no getting away from the fact that anyone signing up to this deal will have a four-year-old handset and be stuck with it for 2 years.
Is that worth it?
The survey found sprogs were increasing parents’ bills by around £34 a month. Do some maths and you end up at £30m being wasted by snotty little berks poking buttons they shouldn’t be with their horrible little fingers.
Apparently, eight-year-olds are running up the highest bills, adding an average of £59.59, while over a third of kids aged four and under have made purchases without permission.
Of course, the real idiots here are the one in five parents who give their children their passwords, and the quarter of parents who don’t even have a security password. One in ten kids are allowed to use smartphones etc, completely unsupervised.
The Windows Phone UK-commissioned study said unauthorised purchases had an estimated cost of £30,883,157 in total, with Brett Siddons saying: “Our research reveals parents are worried about the impact of app and in-app purchases on their bills and we understand the stress this can cause. With technology becoming more and more intuitive, it’s important that parents can trust in the technology they use and feel as safe as possible when handing over their smartphone and tablet devices to their children.”
According to the survey, children spend an average of three hours and 21 minutes per week playing games and using apps.
The Tesco Value Beans of the Sky, easyJet, are launching a trial of mobile boarding passes.
This new system will be available at six airports, including Manchester, Southend, Stansted and Edinburgh, allows passengers to download their boarding pass to their phone via the easyJet app. You’ll use your phone to progress through security, bag drops and all that tedious stuff you have to do in airports.
The airline reckon that this will now result in a check-in time of less than 10 seconds, which sounds great, but cynicism says that, should this trial work, easyJet will roll out the campaign once they’ve worked out how much to charge customers for downloading the app.
In a statement easyJet says: “Subject to a successful customer trial we’ll be working hard with our airport partners to roll this out to more airports. Mobile boarding passes make travel easier by allowing you to keep all your travel information in one place. No more paper or searching for a printer.”
The company’s marketing manager, Peter Duffy, said: “The trial will also be extended to include multiple boarding passes on the same device so that families can all check in using one or a number of mobiles, depending on their preference.”
This comes on the back of the news that, as of the end of last month, easyJet will no longer operate check-in desks at airports, with all customers required to check-in online.
O2 is going to dole out millions of pounds to BT so it can bolster its network to meet the predicted demand for 4G access. This deal will inevitably mean that the mobile vendor will run a network for BT in return. In return, on top of the cash incentive, BT will manage O2′s data.
When the 4G signal is switched on, it looks like there’ll be a huge amount of products on the market coming from all corners, assumed to be worth around half a billion quid over the next decade.
O2 have been saying that they think new technology will see a fivefold rise in demand for mobile data by 2016 and that internet access around 10 times faster than its existing 3G networks.
“With the UK’s 4G spectrum auction complete, UK mobile data traffic is set to grow by more than 400 per cent by 2016,” said Adrian Di Meo, chief technology officer at O2. ”We are moving quickly to get O2 up and running,” added Chet Patel, managing director of BT Wholesale Markets.
With Sky, BT’s main rival, not having a mobile outlet, this could really heat things up in the market as they try and trounce each other (hopefully meaning they’ll court our affections with a variety of good offers).
Spending money to send a traditional SMS may soon be as laughably old fashioned as dressing up like George Formby and riding your penny farthing to the bazaar to buy moustache wax. (Ok, so that’s what all the hipsters are doing tomorrow – bad example.)
ANYWAY, instant messaging is what the skint kids are into these days, according to research firm Informa, which found that freebie chat apps like Whatsapp and Viber have overtaken SMS.
In 2012 almost 19 billion IMs were sent per day from apps, compared with 17.6 billion texts.
Research by another company Ovum, suggested that almost £15bn was lost last year thanks to chat apps.
So does this mean the end of the humble text message? Not quite. Not everybody is a new fangled First World idiot with customised Nikes and a smartphone. A large proportion of the global community are still communicating via antiquated Nokias, and for them, SMS is the only way to go.
Even so, mobile companies are going to have to do something about this new trend if they’re going to protect their revenue. With billions of dollars being lost, maybe Nokia should think about taking that Whatsapp button off their new Asha 210…?
Scientists have launched a new keyboard which makes typing on touchscreens 34% faster, which means people can be over a third more annoying while tweeting through big event television as they all rush to make the same joke.
St Andrews University experts have developed a system called KALQ, which they reckon enables people to type 37 words-per-minute on all touchscreen pads, an improvement on the current 20-a-minute average.
Dr Per Ola Kristensson said the keyboard could become the most popular way to type, adding: ”We recruited a number of students from the university campus to try out our new keyboard where they could practise texting on a touchscreen device with the new layout.”
“At first the QWERTY layout was still being used quicker because that’s what the students were used to. But we found that after eight hours of practice … the new layout code was being used quicker. Students spent between 13 and 19 hours getting used to the system.”
“We wanted to minimise finger-travelling time, so we researched arrangements until we found this one. I helped develop the ‘sliding’ technology on touchscreens and I believe this will catch on just as well as that did.”
Doomed to fail.
Are you a farty human? Do you get embarrassed how loud you are in the bog while you have company? Well, there’s an app for that which hopes to solve your shame.
The ‘Fake Shower’ app from Akatu plays a recording of a running shower so you can go at it hammer and tongs on the pan. It can’t do anything about the wretched smells you create though.
“Many people turn on the faucet or shower only to prevent [others] from hearing the ‘sounds of nature’ in the bathroom,” says the product description on iTunes. “Water [is] wasted everywhere – clean, treated, expensive and scarce water. With Akatu Fake Shower, [a] couple’s intimacy is saved, and so is water.”
Texts that cost you money are officially becoming a thing of the past as Nokia have released a mobile phone with a dedicated, physical WhatsApp button. It looks like WhatsApp is the next huge thing in the mobile world and Google are still sniffing around it wanting to buy it.
The Nokia Asha 210 will be targeted at emerging markets and it will be sold for a paltry £47. Of course, for that price, you’d assume it won’t have a touchscreen or anything fancy.
There’s no word about the money changing hands between Nokia and WhatsApp, but it looks like cross-platform integration is going to be a big thing, especially as Facebook roll out their dedicated phones. There’s a lot of competition however.
“WhatsApp is doing quite well in emerging markets, but you have local players who are outstripping it simply because they are more culturally specific and can therefore outshine the US firm,” said Neha Dharia, an analyst at Ovum.
“The most prominent example is in China with WeChat. But the emerging markets still offer huge potential for all the social messaging apps to grow because the amount of mobile internet available is still lower than in mature markets.”
Everyone likes fancy domino displays, but what if the dominoes were replaced with iPhones? Well, here’s a video that does exactly that with 10,000 smartphones being knocked over.
Now, there’s a secret to this video that you need to know – it is actually an animation by Aatma Animation Studios.
Oddly, only one iPhone was used to create the video. That said, it is still pretty nifty.
Most people don’t need to worry that their potential love partner is actually a member of their own family. But in Iceland, with its tiny population of 320,000 people, accidental incest is a just one of those kerrazy coincidences that happen every other day.
So to minimize the chance that you’re doing it with a family member, the app – called ‘Bump’ – allows future lovers to bump their phones together to find out their genealogical status. When the phones make contact, it accesses a database that tells you whether you’re good to go, or whether you need to back away from your sexy uncle.
The database was originally compiled by anti-virus software developer Friðrik Skúlason, and turned into an app by a company called Sad Engineer studios. The tagline? ‘Bump in the app before you bump in the bed.’
The ‘bump’ is enabled through a ‘fun’ feature called Incest Prevention, which can tell the user by text or sound notification if they’re about to go poking around in their own overcrowded gene pool.
*Screams like Bjork*
For the millionth time this month, Facebook have tinkered more than Claudio Ranieri in a bid to work out ways of making their awful social network engage people again. And so, we’ve now got Facebook Home, which has taken over the homescreens of some Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Note 2. It’ll take over some HTC handsets too, but no-one uses them anymore.
The HTC First is the dedicated phone with Facebook Home built-in, and basically, Facebook will replace users’ homescreens which Mark Zuckerberg foolishly claimed that this new strategy was “mobile best” rather than “mobile first”.
Ostensibly, what happens with Facebook Home, is that you’ll have a phone that will have a “constant stream of photos and updates from friends that is always available at a glance”, as well as more prominent notifications and a messaging (with an emoji/emoticon heavy feature called ‘Chat Heads’). Basically, the whole things sounds like a nightmare.
Naturally, this being Facebook, this is wholly about revenue and Zuckerberg admitted that adverts would be a key feature to this new homescreen.
If you don’t have a Facebook account, then these phones are nothing more than fancy bricks to you, and with users dropping away from the network, it’ll be interesting to see how these Facebook phones work.
Basically, as the 4G auction failed to raise the expected revenue, £1.2billion less than everyone had hoped for, the NAO are looking to see if anything underhand took place while O2, Vodafone, EE and Three made their bids.
There have been reports of a letter from the NAO’s auditor general, Amyas Morse, to Labour MP and shadow minister for media and communications Helen Goodman, which says that there’ll be a “value for money” study into the auction, adding: “By not making maximising the auction’s revenues an objective for Ofcom, the government has failed to get value for money on this project.”
Goodman is quoted as welcoming the investigation, saying: “Serious questions must be answered as to why the Conservative-led government ended up £1 billion short of the estimate George Osborne had provided just months earlier. When the 3G auction took place, Labour ensured that maximising revenue was an objective. The Conservative-led government did not do the same for the 4G auction, which I believe was a serious mistake.”