Ars Technica has posted an interesting article, speculating that wireless carrier network congestion (especially in the case of AT&T) may not have so much to do with how much bandwidth your device is consuming, but rather how your smartphone is connecting to the network. More →
AT&T is apparently not alone in struggling to cope with the demand that data hungry devices like the iPhone have placed on its network. Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 UK, has publicly apologized to Londoners for the poor performance of its network over the past 6 months, blaming the explosion of demand for data by smartphones such an Apple’s iPhone for its woes. Londoners on O2 have struggled with intermittent data outages and occasional periods where they could not make or receive phone calls, a scenario all too familiar for AT&T customers in the US. To cope with this surge in usage, O2 UK has dumped 30 million pounds ($48 million USD) into its network and has added 200 mobile base stations. O2 is also working closely with Nokia Siemens to help better equip its network infrastructure and is in talks with both RIM and Apple to help identify data-intensive applications, a strategy which sounds a bit troubling. With a bit of good news, Mr. Dunne claims O2′s London network has shown improvement in the month of December and that any “short-term blip” in their network reputation will be ameliorated by these efforts. More →
The iPhone went a little bit more mainstream today as Tesco, the UK’s version of Walmart, announced that it will be adding both the iPhone 3G and the 3GS to its mobile phone lineup. Both versions of the iPhone will be available for purchase in Tesco’s in-store mobile phone shops and online through Tesco Direct. Similar to Tesco’s other mobile offerings, the iPhone will run on O2′s cellular network and will presumably be sold with Tesco’s cut-throat pricing plans. Holiday shoppers can rejoice as the popular Apple smartphone is expected to be available just in time for the holiday shopping season. More →
Good news for Android 2.0 hungry Europeans this early afternoon as Motorola has officially announced the European (read: GSM/UMTS) version of the DROID. Dubbed the Motorola MILESTONE, the two handsets appear to be identical spec wise save for the obvious differences in cellular radios. Oddly enough, the MILESTONE will feature one thing on every DROID lovers wish list — multitouch. The reason why the MILESTONE has multitouch while its American cousin does not isn’t clear, but the general feeling is this is directly related to some intellectual property that Apple might or might not own. If any American’s are feeling a bit snookered by this, they can take comfort knowing that they still have the market cornered on Google Maps Navigation as the MILESTONE will instead come pre-loaded with MOTONAV in its place. Italy and Germany will be the first European nations to get the Motorola MILESTONE, with the handset being available from The Phone House, O2 and Vodafone in the latter country starting November 9th. More →
Let’s be clear right off the bat: this is no rumor. The Motorola DROID is steaming towards a release on O2 Germany under the name MILESTONE. The news of this came from a German blog which leaked a photo of a business guide (pic after the jump) as well as an official O2 device price list which shows the MILESTONE coming in at 404.20€ or $594.93 USD before taxes (and subsidies). If that isn’t proof enough, we pulled the image above from from O2′s site after a simple Google query. No doubt there will be some people Stateside that refuse to go over to Verizon to get the DROID (we get a huge kick out of network fanboyism), so how many of you would be willing to import one of these Android 2.0 behemoths even if it lacks US 3G?
With the BlackBerry Storm2 getting nice and official over night, we here at BGR thought that it would be nice for us to take a moment and focus on just what its launch means for our loyal readers that aren’t living in The New World. Earlier this week, UK-based The Guardian proclaimed that the Storm2 would be announced by both RIM and Vodafone this week. Clearly this was the case as we now know it will be arriving on or around the 26th of October, but its report missed out on one huge revelation — Vodafone’s exclusivity on the device will only last “a few weeks”. This of course paves the way for other carriers such as O2, Orange and T-Mobile to get in on the Storm action. While all of the aforementioned Storm2 candidate carriers have remained mom mum on the matter, The Guardian is hedging its bets on Orange carrying the Storm2 in time for Christmas. What does this all mean for the UK? Well, when one considers that every major carrier is going to be offering the iPhone 3GS and has the option of picking up the Storm2, it looks as if a major price war is about to erupt in time for the holidays.
Looks like the Palm Pre will be making another GSM appearance this month, this time in Spain on Telefonica’s HSDPA network starting October 14th. O2 has already announced a release around the same time in Germany, Ireland, and the UK. The Official Palm blog announcement:
“Telefonica today announced the availability of Palm Pre on its HSDPA mobile network in Spain on 14 October. New Telefonica customers can receive the phone at no cost, depending on their service plan commitment. Telefonica is also the exclusive initial carrier for Palm Pre in United Kingdom, Ireland, and Germany. The phone can be purchased at Telefonica outlets in Spain and online at http://www.telefonica.es. More information about Palm Pre is available at http://www.palm.com/es-pre-notify.”
After its early debut on LG’s developer website last week, the New Chocolate BL20 has been officially announced by LG. A full product page, flickr slideset and an official press release all serve to confirm the existence of this handset, though we pretty much already knew all there was to know about this little guy. For those on the other side of the Atlantic, the sexy slider with a distinctive red keypad is expected to land at O2 UK in Q4 for €269 ($394USD). As for the rest of us, it’s still a waiting game we’re afraid. Hit the jump for the press release.
It looks like some of the oft talked about and much maligned iPhone exclusivity deals are finally starting to fizzle out — Orange UK has announced that it will be offering both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS to its customers “later this year.” As it currently stands, O2 has the sole rights to sell the iPhone in the UK. As many of you might recall however, T-Mobile was recently caught selling unlocked iPhones to its highest paying and most disgruntled customers, so perhaps it too will get in on the action in the near future. But back to Orange. The carrier has not yet released much in the way of specifics, having simply stated that “pricing, tariffs and availability dates will be released in due course.” Ordinarily we’d start to think what sort of implications this has for the American marketplace, but alas only one carrier has the appropriate bands and network technology to run the iPhone. *sigh*
As if Vodafone’s 360 H1 and 360 M1 announcement (which we’ve now dubbed the H1M1 LiMo flu) wasn’t enough smartphone excitement for a nation in a single day, Palm and O2 UK have finally gotten around to revealing that the Palm Pre will launch next month in three markets — specifically, on October 13th in Germany and October 16th in the UK and Ireland. Of course we have been expecting the Pre to drop on O2 for a very long time and for the wait, neither company seems apologetic. Perhaps the pricing structure will be enough to smooth things over: The Pre from O2 UK starts at £0 with a 24-month contract or an 18-month contract with tariffs starting at £44.05 ($71.45 USD). As happy as we are to see that our friends across the pond will be finally be able to get the Pre, we can’t help but feel frustrated that there’s been nary a peep from Palm about a North American UMTS/HSPA webOS handset. Alas — importers, start your engines.
UPDATE: It looks like the GSM Pre will support UMTS/HSDPA 850/1900/2100 MHz. Pending a more local announcement, Pre hopefuls will indeed be able to rock the handset on AT&T or Rogers 3G should they choose to pay big bucks for an imported, unlocked version. Begin the celebration… Now.
If a report from the hit or miss Register Hardware blog pan out, Samsung’s highly anticipated freshman Android offering could make its debut as soon as next week. According to the post, various O2 retail staff have confirmed that the Galaxy i7500 is now listed in their inventory system and shipments will arrive next week. That’s not to say the phone will launch next week but if retail locations actually do receive these alleged shipments, we can certainly expect a launch shortly thereafter. O2 would not confirm the Register’s report, saying only that the handset would launch “in the next few weeks”. We’ve been waiting for the i7500 ever since we first confirmed it to be Samsung’s virgin venture into Android back in April so we’re definitely excited by the possibility of seeing it finally launch — albeit outside the US. 528MHz processor, 3.2-inch capacitive OLED display, 5 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, 8GB of internal memory… Importers, start your engines.
What. The. Hell. Apparently T-Mobile UK has gotten into the liquor cabinet and is feeling plenty brave. Word has spread that Tmo has been selling unlocked iPhone 3G handsets to high-spending customers despite the fact that O2 has the exclusive rights to the iPhone in the UK. It appears that the only criteria one has to meet to be offered an unlocked iPhone 3G is to have a monthly bill of £75 and up, threaten to walk and catch the right rep on a good day. To be clear, it doesn’t appear that what T-Mobile is doing is illegal (the devices are likely coming from Germany where T-Mobile is the exclusive carrier of the iPhone), although we should point out that it does know what it is doing is sketchy as it is cautious to limit sales of the iPhone to around 150 units per week so as not to raise the ire of Apple (you know, lest Steve Jobs fly over to London and pour castor oil down the throat of T-Mobile UK’s CEO). Smart thinking.
It wasn’t exactly a surprise but it looks like there’s finally some good news to report for Pre hopefuls across the pond. That news: O2 and Movistar have been announced as the exclusive European carriers for the Palm Pre. To be available in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Spain before the year is through, pretty much no other specific information was given as to when or for how much the device would retail for in each market. Those of you who might be interested in importing a GSM Pre take note — the specific UMTS/HSDPA bands that it will be packing have not yet been listed so keep those fingers crossed.