Posts Tagged ‘mobiles’
The regulator has started a consultation on how to meet growing demands on networks for communications, saying that a number of spectrum bands “have been identified as potential candidates for future mobile broadband use”.
And it’ll be massive. The next generation networks represent “approximately seven times the amount of spectrum released as part of the 4G auction”.
Ofcom are looking at the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum, currently used by the Ministry of Defence, which probably sounds more exciting that it actually is. 5G won’t make spies of us all sadly. Basically, the goal is to move some of those bands from the public sector to commercial use. An auction could happen as soon as 2015 or 2016.
They’re also weighing up using the 700MHz band used by terrestrial TV the 2.7GHz band used for radar. It’s also considering opening up the 3.6GHz spectrum used for satellite links.
Ofcom said that there isn’t an “unlimited supply” of spectrum. “Ofcom has to balance the interests of all spectrum users and ensure that this scarce national resource is used as efficiently as possible. The public sector has access to just over half of the UK spectrum, and Ofcom is working with government to identify ways of increasing opportunities for commercial access in the future,” it added.
Thanks to a program called PIN Skimmer, the PIN for your phone can be revealed by its camera and microphone. Basically, the software watches your face via the camera and microphone is used to detect what you touch, and it works on Galaxy S3 and Google Nexus-S phones.
After the microphone hears clicks, the camera works out the orientation of the phone and “correlates it to the position of the digit tapped by the user” according to report authors Prof Ross Anderson and Laurent Simon. They continued: ”We demonstrated that the camera, usually used for conferencing or face recognition, can be used maliciously. We watch how your face appears to move as you jiggle your phone by typing. It did surprise us how well it worked.”
This means, codes to unlock your phone or the PIN to access your banking app can be worked out by others, posing the question: what should mobile manufacturers be doing to avoid people hacking into our phones?
Of course, Apple have fingerprint technology, but other mobiles could have longer PIN numbers or something that randomises the position of numbers on the keypad. Or are we moving toward everything being voice activated? Or should we just ride it out and stick with what we’ve got?
The future according to Google, looks pretty bleak as they’ve put a patent in for a microphone that you get tattooed on to your throat. Apparently, this will help to rid calls of background noise and will act as a lie-detector too.
That’s not nauseatingly dark at all.
Google owned Motorola say: “A user speaking falsehoods may exhibit different galvanic skin response than a truth-telling individual.”
“Mobile communication devices are often operated in noisy environments,” said Motorola. “Communication can be improved and enhanced with a method and system for reducing the acoustic noise in such environments.”
This electronic tattoo would have a transceiver embedded in it, so your neck is rigged up to wireless communications and it would run from a battery or solar power. So you might have to plug your skin into the mains at night.
Just think, if you’re trying to tell a white lie to someone, be it because you’re buying a birthday present, trying to throw a sickie a work or you’re simply trying to avoid telling someone that their new haircut is an absolute abomination, you phone will grass you up to everyone.
Still, it won’t just be us – Motorola also said in their application that the device ‘can also be applied to an animal’. So there you go. The future promises us random phonecalls from dogs with microphones grafted into their faces.
For your money, you get a T-Mobile Pay-As-You-Go1 Alcatel 1010 handset, which isn’t pretty and has little in the way of features… but it is cheap.
The features it does have are, well, it’s light and it has 3MB of memory and an inbuilt MP3 player and wireless FM radio. The offer comes without a minimum top-up charge so shoppers can buy as much or as little credit as they choose.
Why would you want one? Well, Asda reckon that it’ll be a hit with those looking to buy a spare phone or, failing that, old people.
Claire McAuley, Mobile phone buyer at Asda says: “With purse strings stretched ahead of the festive season and a quarter of mums budgeting more than ever, our customers are always looking for new ways to save money. We’ve launched the UK’s lowest priced phone as a solution to keeping in touch at the lowest cost possible this Christmas and are expecting shoppers of all ages to snap them off the shelves.”
American giant AT&T are looking at a potential takeover of Vodafone next year, who just happen to be Europe’s largest mobile carrier. If that fails, they are also eyeing up EE. Looks like they want to get a stronghold in the UK and fast.
If AT&T merge with Vodafone, they would become the world’s largest telecommunications operator (by sales) with a market capitalization exceeding $250 billion. More to the point, they’d have in excess of 500 million wireless subscribers, which puts them in-line with Google and Apple.
With Vodafone currently trying to get a stronghold in developing markets – especially India – then this merger would result in a dazzlingly large company. Vodafone already have a decent share of the African market.
It appears that AT&T are looking to branch out as competition in the States gets considerably stiffer. Of course, AT&T aren’t the first company to try and create a global telecommunications company. They’d be wise to remember Global Crossing and Concert – a failed venture between the original AT&T Corp. and BT – which went bankrupt.
There’s also likely to be political opposition over here, where politicians don’t like these huge mergers as seen when Kraft took over Cadbury.
Either way, it looks like the Americans are coming and, while the Russians make headway into our market, it looks like next year will be something of a Cold War 2.0.
Apple fans are forever hailing their products – especially iPhones – because ‘they just work’. Well, with ‘blue screen of death‘ and occasional exploding parts, that doesn’t seem to be the case. And now, the company has admitted that some iPhone 5S models are suffering from battery problems, and they’re willing to replace those affected.
Those who couldn’t wait to get their mucky paws on the new phone have complained that their batteries have been draining quicker than ever. Some users have noted that their phone only lasts for 3 hours with others saying that their battery is draining 20% ever hour.
This flies in the face of Apple’s claims that these new phones should last 25% longer than previous handsets.
An Apple spokesperson came clean and said that there’s an iPhone 5S battery problem: “We recently discovered a manufacturing issue affecting a very limited number of iPhone 5S devices that could cause the battery to take longer to charge or result in reduced battery life.”
“We are reaching out to customers with affected phones and will provide them with a replacement phone.”
We spoke about the interesting PhoneBloks project, where you can upgrade bits of your mobile like people used to do with their PCs, and it seems Google and Motorola have taken notice.
The Google-owned company has announced that they’re going to consult with Phonebloks inventor Dave Hakkens to develop a “free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones” under the name Project Ara.
Motorola have said that they’ll be working with Hakkens to develop their “common vision” and that the phone-maker will be handling the “deep technical work”, allowing Hakkens to develop and empowers the community, which presumably means he’ll be an ambassador for the product.
“We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software: create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers to entry, increase the pace of innovation, and substantially compress development timelines,” say Motorola, adding: ”A module can be anything, from a new application processor to a new display or keyboard, an extra battery, a pulse oximeter– or something not yet thought of!”
Could this be the next big thing in mobile manufacturing or is this a nerd-only pursuit?
It came about after designer Dave Hakkens took apart his camera, which basically worked apart from one thing: ”I noticed all these little parts, and everything was good except for the lens motor. That had broken.”
When he contacted the manufacturer to get a replacement motor, he was advised to simply get a new camera: “With your bike you repair the tyre, you don’t throw the bike away, but for some reason this is what we do with electronics,” he said.
Through this, he came up with Phonebloks. The concept is to make a phone with a replaceable screen and components that are easily interchangeable. Basically, you could constantly upgrade bits of your phone without getting a new handset every time, like you’d do with a PC.
“Let’s say this is your phone and you do everything in the cloud – why not replace your storage blok with a bigger battery blok? If you… love to take pictures, why not upgrade your camera?”
Naturally, the phone may not look as great as your slim little smartphone, but there’s something really great about the idea of having something that evolves at your whim, rather than simply just getting handsets that are the same as everyone else’s.
What do you think? Would you have one of these or would you prefer something where the hard work has been done for you already and just wait for upgrade day?
Well, one pub is trying something different in a bid to kill the queue – they’ve got technology involved so you can order through your mobile.
If you go to the Keyworth Tavern in Nottingham you can even order your round while you’re on the way, thanks to this Orderella app. You can order from your table once you get in and a bartender will bring over your booze. You’ll only have to stand up to defecate or dance badly to the jukebox.
All drinks are charged to an account to avoid actually using cash and the app will be rolled out at 50 pubs across the UK next month.
Landlord Adrian Clarke reckons the app has already gone down well, saying: “A group of customers even had a bet to see which would be quicker – ordering a drink on the phone or going up to the bar as normal. The phone app won.”
Naturally, the advent of not using cash could mean that the app generates a feeling of ‘pretend money’ and you might end up buying far more than you intended, but at least you’ll get a roaring night out of it. It won’t matter if you’re legless now.
Have a look at the app here.
The Android app for BBM trundled into view on the Google Play Store recently and users were greeted by scores of fake reviews, most of which said: “Thank you so much blackberry team. I was waiting this app. Its really great user friendly and smooth”.
Victoria Berry, PR Director for BBM, put out a statement saying: “We have recently been made aware of a number of potentially fake five-star reviews of BBM for Android on Google Play. We do not approve of or condone such activities and are committed to working with Google to resolve this.”
“There are also many genuinely great and useful reviews from our new BBM users on Google Play. We would like to encourage our passionate fans and users to continue to provide true assessments of the BBM experience through the proper channels.”
Rather surprisingly, the BBM app has already been downloaded in advance of 10 million times on Android and iOS, which means that there’s still a lot of people out there with demand.
Once they get these fake reviews locked-down, is their life in the old dog yet?
Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, when asked about the future, reckoned that Nokia as a thing could vanish in the next ten years. That means that the new Lumia devices could well be the last ever Nokia devices.
Elop said: “What we have to decide is what the brand will be. Because we have not decided what brand will be dominant for smartphones, that’s work that’s still ahead. And of course the way we’ll go through that process is to assess with consumers what they respond most positively to, what conveys the best message and the best hopes of success.”
“Microsoft as a company, of course, has many brands: Xbox, Office, Surface and a variety of others. We have brands like Lumia. So we’ll need to decide what the next step is from a branding perspective. There are hundreds and hundreds of millions of people who are familiar with and use Microsoft and Nokia technology, literally billions of people between the two companies. And I suspect that somewhere in there amongst all of those purchasing decisions there’s something that we can tap into.”
So there you have it, the potential erasing of one of the most iconic names in the mobile phone universe (primarily for their indestructible 3310s and for introducing the world to Snake). Does it make you sentimental? Don’t give a hoot?
As ever, you’re invited to leave pithy comments below.
Toymaker, Bandai, has unleashed a wondrous thing on the world – SMART PANTS™. What are they? They’re underpants for your mobile phone. And of course, they’re an instant hit!
Hisashi Moriuchi came up with the idea, saying: “I was asked by my boss to come out with something amusing to sell in capsule vending machines. So I thought it would be funny to dress up my iPhone with underwear.”
“The purpose of the smart pants is partly to protect the home button of your smart phone from being accidentally pushed. People wear pants to protect their sexual organs, their most sensitive spot. Well, on the Android phones, that’s the home button and the same with the iPhone. It just feels right to cover it up nicely.”
Moriuchi does add that, rather than functionality, “its major purpose is to be amusing.”
If you would like to see the range of underpants you can buy for your phone or, indeed, find out more about them, have a look at kotaku.com where they have more. We’re waiting for iPad lingerie.
No-one actually knows what the Samsung ‘Push’ update it, yet, owners of Galaxy 3s and 4s will get a mysterious app update once a month. As such, everyone has decided to openly mock Samsung in the comments on the app.
And that’s just the tip.
When it isn’t clearing up people’s fatal diseases and promoting satanic buggery, it is making dweebs more attractive to womenfolk.
Of course, not everyone is a fan of this discourse.
One day, humans might actually work out what the Samsung Push update actually is and perhaps it’ll unlock the secrets to the human condition. Until then, we’ll have to settle for toilet humour.
HMV have relaunched their digital service in a bid to stay relevant after the company was a dog’s whisker away from being put down at the vets. Now, with Nipper’s new service, we can browse HMV’s digital catalogue, buy and pre-order MP3s and generally obtain a service that’s available elsewhere.
There will be a HMV app, whic is the first non-iTunes-based service on Apple’s iOS platform which will allow music downloads through a native app, according to the company.
In the app, there’s a nifty thing called ‘image search’, where you can scan album covers with your phone and listen to a 30 second preview. There’s also ‘sound search’, which allows you to discover tunes they hear while you’re going about your business. So, Shazam then?
While these things are all well and good, people will surely still listen to leaks on YouTube or get stuck into torrents? HMV isn’t exactly offering a solution to a problem here.
“For the first time, music lovers have the ability to experience the traditional feel of HMV on the high street and have the option to discover and build a digital music collection, delivered and managed across devices, from HMV, the Home of Entertainment,” said James Coughlan, Managing Director of HMV Digital.
“An exciting vision is unfolding and I look forward to announcing further developments regarding our plans for 2014 in the coming weeks – this is just the beginning!”
The HMV app is available from today, free of charge, if you want to test drive it.
Apparently, the two companies have three devices in mind, with one due in 2014.
And while HTC could be making one new friend, they could also be making a number of enemies too. By working with Amazon, they may face expulsion from the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), which is a consortium of mobile makers and networks whose mandate is to “accelerate innovation in mobile and offer consumers a richer, less expensive, and better mobile experience”.
By being part of OHA, HTC gets free access to Google’s Android software. However, seeing as Amazon forked Android to power their own Kindle tablets so that people would access the Amazon store, rather than Google Play, the two companies fell out. Acer pulled out of a deal for similar reasons after the OHA kicked up fuss.
That said, HTC are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. They’re staring at heavy losses and losing ground to just about everyone else. Could the Amazon partnership be the thing to salvage some pride? Or will making an enemy of Google send them into the soil? Or will you carry on buying Samsung and Apple phones and ignore everything else?