O2 bails on BlackBerry PlayBook, blames ‘end to end customer experience’

By on June 16, 2011 at 9:31 AM.

O2 bails on BlackBerry PlayBook, blames ‘end to end customer experience’

Citing issues with the user experience, O2 UK announced on Thursday that it “will not be selling” the BlackBerry PlayBook. The wireless carrier began notifying customers who had signed up for more information about its change of heart on Thursday. The carrier officially stated: “unfortunately there are some issues with the end to end customer experience,” but didn’t delve further into its reasons for the decision. We suspect it could be the lack of a native email client, an addition that RIM has said it will add in a future update, but we also noted that it felt like an “unfinished product” in our recent review. O2 did say that it could offer the product at a later date, and that it will work with Research In Motion on its BlackBerry PlayBook products in the future. More →

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HP Pre 3 appears on U.K. retailer website, July 8th pegged as release date

By on June 16, 2011 at 8:40 AM.

HP Pre 3 appears on U.K. retailer website, July 8th pegged as release date

Hewlett-Packard finally announced details surrounding the launch of its first webOS tablet last week, but nary a peep was made about its upcoming flagship smartphone, the HP Pre 3. The TouchPad tablet will become available in the U.S. on July 1st starting at $499.99, and now it looks like the Pre 3 could launch exactly one week later on July 8th. U.K. retailer £349.99 (about $565) unlocked and contract-free, which is very reasonable for a brand new smartphone. On this side of the pond, we’re still expecting the Pre 3 to launch at $199.99 with a new two-year carrier agreement, and the availability of unlocked units is unknown. We’ve been waiting to get our hands on a production Pre 3 ever since we first saw the sleek smartphone back in early February, and it looks like the wait might almost be over. More →

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BlackBerry PlayBook landing in the U.K. on June 16th, pre-orders start now

By on May 17, 2011 at 11:33 PM.

BlackBerry PlayBook landing in the U.K. on June 16th, pre-orders start now

RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook will make its U.K debut on June 16th. The 7-inch QNX-powered tablet will be available from a number of retailers, including Phones 4u and The Carphone Warehouse, and the 16GB model will start at £399.95 ($648). iPhone 4u will also sell a 64GB version online for £559.95 ($907), while The Carphone Warehouse will also carry a third 32GB model for £479 ($777). U.K. customers can pre-order the PlayBook from either retailer beginning today. More →

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iPhone SIM unlock firms abruptly close up shop, shrouded 'suppliers' vanish

By on April 22, 2011 at 3:32 PM.

iPhone SIM unlock firms abruptly close up shop, shrouded 'suppliers' vanish

Earlier this month we told you about a few new services that were capable of unlocking the iPhone remotely without the need for jailbreaking. Now it appears that some of those services have abruptly closed up shop — or at least discontinued their iPhone unlocking services — without any real explanation as to why. One service, CutYourSim, claims to have unlocked more than 400 devices, but says it’s suspending services and no longer has access to funds acquired through its operations. “Unfortunately, we were not able to complete the rest of the unlocked [sic] waiting in our queue due to our supplies being unable to offer the service anymore,” a CutYourSim representative told Cult of Mac. “Our suppliers have told us that there is a possibility that the service may return, but they do not know when, so we have decided to start processing refunds for any orders that we were not able to complete.” We also discovered that GSM Phone Service is no longer offering its SIM unlock service. “I have decided to suspend the sales of the iPhone unlocking service until further notice. Until the turnaround time from the source improves I cannot comfortably offer this service,” GSM Phone Service’s Adam Roth said in a post. The “suppliers” named by both firms are shrouded. “We are not sure where the service comes from, or whether it’s a contact through AT&T or Apple. We do know that the service is performed in the UK, but that’s about it,” CutYourSim told Cult of Mac. More →

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Samsung's Galaxy S II hits UK on May 1st, 1.2GHz processor in tow

By on April 11, 2011 at 9:10 AM.

Samsung's Galaxy S II hits UK on May 1st, 1.2GHz processor in tow

Good news for those of you reading this from across the pond. Samsung has let it be known that its new flagship handset, the Galaxy S II, will be available in the United Kingdom on May 1st. The company confirms that the S II — which will be knighted with the model number GT-I9100 — will indeed have its processor upgraded to 1.2GHz as rumored last week. Other specifications include a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, 21Mbps HSPA+ radio, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with 1080p video recording, front-facing camera, and the Gingerbread operating system (Android 2.3). Price was not specified, but Samsung noted that the handset would “be available in the UK across all major networks and retailers.” The official press release is after the break. More →

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Three UK’s summer lineup leaked; Galaxy S II Mini, Flyer, PlayBook and more

By on March 22, 2011 at 3:31 AM.

Three UK’s summer lineup leaked; Galaxy S II Mini, Flyer, PlayBook and more

UK wireless provider Three has had the misfortune of having its entire summer handset lineup leak online, but its loss is our gain. What does the next few months look like for the carrier? Busy. In April alone, the company will release no less than three handsets, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, the Samsung Galaxy Pro, and the until-now-unknown Samsung Galaxy S II Mini. The smaller version of Samsung’s high-end smartphone will boasts a 3.7-inch WVGA screen, 1.4GHz processor, 21Mbps HSDPA radio, 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, VGA front-facing camera, Wi-Fi b/g/n with hotspot capabilities, and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). And that’s just in April. In May, the company plans to release the HTC Flyer tablet, HTC Wildfire, Nokia E7, and Samsung Galaxy S II. June will bring the Nokia X7, HTC ChaCha, LG Optimus 3D, and the Wi-Fi only BlackBerry PlayBook. It’s going to be quite the summer for Three customers looking to upgrade their mobile hardware. Let’s hope some of these device, especially that S II Mini, make their way across the pond sooner rather than later. More →

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Apple passes on NFC in iPhone 5, report suggests

By on March 14, 2011 at 7:37 AM.

Apple passes on NFC in iPhone 5, report suggests

According to information garnered by UK paper The Independent, Apple will not include Near Field Communications (NFC) technology in its next generation iPhone. Citing sources at “several of the largest mobile operators in the UK,” the paper states that Apple informed mobile carriers of its decision to forgo NFC over several meetings. Analysts suspect that Apple may be working on its own NFC-like payment system — one that routes payment through the company’s iTunes Store — as it has been discouraged by the “lack of a clear industry standard.” NFC is expected to handle over $150 billion by the year 2015, making it a trend that no mobile carrier or manufacturer wants to be left out on.  More →

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Samsung Galaxy Pro unveiled; low-end Android phone with BlackBerry form factor

By on March 7, 2011 at 9:34 AM.

Samsung Galaxy Pro unveiled; low-end Android phone with BlackBerry form factor

British cellular carrier Three on Monday unveiled a new Android device from Samsung that will launch soon in the UK. While pricing and availability have not yet been detailed, the Samsung Galaxy Pro appears to be an entry-level Android smartphone that will target enterprise users. The phone features a 2.8-inch touchscreen display, Android 2.2 (Froyo), HSDPA, Samsung Hub compatibility, a 3-megapixel camera and a BlackBerry-like form factor with a full QWERTY keypad. Like many Nokia devices, however, the keypad layout on the Galaxy Pro places letters in columns instead of staggering them properly, which could be a problem for some potential customers. Hit the break for a video of the Samsung Galaxy Pro in action. More →

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PC World UK tips pricing on Wi-Fi Motorola XOOM; £449 ($730)

By on March 1, 2011 at 11:24 AM.

PC World UK tips pricing on Wi-Fi Motorola XOOM; £449 ($730)

For a very brief moment, PC World UK was displaying a pre-order advert for the Wi-Fi Motorola XOOM — complete with pricing — on its website. What’s the bottom line, you ask? £449.99 (that’s around $730USD at today’s exchange rate); the XOOM being hawked by Verizon Wireless currently retails at $799. The Wi-Fi only XOOM has the same specs as the tablet currently being sold here in the States, sans a cellular radio. Hopefully, when this second XOOM leaps across the pond, it will be priced for slightly less than $730. What do you think an appropriate price for the Wi-Fi XOOM is? More →

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Smash and grab at Vodafone UK facility leaves ‘several hundred thousand’ users without service

By on February 28, 2011 at 1:56 PM.

Smash and grab at Vodafone UK facility leaves ‘several hundred thousand’ users without service

A late night burglary at a Vodafone technical facility in the UK has affected the service of “several hundred thousand” users. Via its forums, the company explained:

We had a break in last night at one of our technical facilities which resulted in damage done to some of our equipment. This means that some customers may be experiencing temporary loss of voice, sms and internet services. We are working quickly to restore these and will be back to normal as soon as we can. There has been no impact on the privacy of customers’ data.

In a subsequent FAQ post, Vodafone confirms that the vandalized site was in Basingstoke, the event occurred between 1:00AM and 2:00AM GMT, and that “specialist network equipment and IT hardware was stolen.”

The company expects its services to be fully restored by this afternoon. Any of UK readers experience this outage? More →

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Is Apple’s Jony Ive cashing out and moving to England?

By on February 27, 2011 at 3:25 PM.

Is Apple’s Jony Ive cashing out and moving to England?

The Times of London is reporting that Jonathan Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of product design, could be itching to cash out his Apple’s option grant from 2008 and move with his wife and two kids to the UK. If the article is accurate, Ive’s options are worth about $30 million and would ring up his net worth to around $128 million. The paper quotes a friend of the Ives as saying:

Unfortunately he is just too valuable to Apple and they told him in no uncertain terms that if he headed back to England he would not be able to sustain his position with them … It’s a shame. We hardly ever see anyone at the house.

An Apple spokesperson wouldn’t comment on the option grant part of the story and deemed Jonathan Ive’s desire to move to England as “speculation.” More →

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Samsung Galaxy S II launching at the end of March, tips UK retailer

By on February 25, 2011 at 8:45 AM.

Samsung Galaxy S II launching at the end of March, tips UK retailer

UK-based online retailer Clove has posted some interesting information concerning the availability of Samsung’s Galaxy S II. Via a brief blog post, the company writes, “we’ve had word today that the first stock of the Samsung Galaxy S II i9100, both the 16GB & 32GB versions, will be landing mid to late March.” The March timeline predates Samsung’s target release, which has been communicated as Q2. The Gally S II — which boasts a dual-core 1GHz processor, 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, 1GB of RAM, NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, 2 megapixel front-facing camera, and Android 2.3 — is available for pre-order from Clove; £510 for the 16GB model and £590 for the 32GB model. The retailer does caution that “release dates are always subject to change,” but it’s nice to hear rumors of an early (as opposed to late) release by a manufacturer. Still no word on when/if the Galaxy S II will make its way to the States. Fingers crossed. More →

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Play in white an O2 Xclusive

By on February 18, 2011 at 11:21 AM.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play in white an O2 Xclusive

Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Play in a black tuxedo not doing it for you? If you’re living under O2′s coverage area in the UK, you have an exclusive offering — the Xperia Play in white, complete with matching dock. If you are outside the UK, though, there’s still hope as availability of the white device outside of the UK hasn’t been announced just yet. A shot of the front of the handset after the break! More →

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