Pixels aren’t everything

I came across a short post which sums up why a load of pixels on a phone’s camera doesn’t mean great pictures. They need to concentrate on other areas, not just impressing the foolish with numbers. This post and its links sum up why. I think it should also be added that the crappy lenses on most cameras on phones don’t help the situation.

Apple working on flash player for iPhone

I read on Josh’s blog that Apple were working with Adobe on a new flash player for the iPhone. This would be fantastic if it goes ahead as it looks to be an integral part of the phone rather than a 3rd party app s should perform very well.

Photos of Android G2 (maybe)

Gizmodo has what may be first pictures of the next Android handset, the G2. THey are not entirely sure if they are real, but worth a look. Looks, quite similar to the G1 without a keypad, not much else to say really.

iPhone to be usable as a modem

I noticed this article in the Guardian by Jemima Kiss and can only hope that she is right and in the none to distant future it may be possible to use iPhones as modems. Although it appears this might be restricted to make users (which I am, but slightly unfair if correct). Also it would be a bit of a joke if there was an additional charge to get to use this service. 02 said they were giving unlimited internet usage, so why should this change when used as a modem?

Is the mobile phone industry recession proof, and Vodafone returns

Finally got some answers from old colleages about whether targets and sales were bigger than last year. Which I asked to get some indication of whether the mobile phone industry is recession proof. Also got an update on Vodafone’s returns policy.

Both targets and profits are actually bigger than last year, suggesting my thesis was right and mobile phones won’t really be affected by the recession. Well at least in simple terms of people continuing to buy them, I won’t try and get my head round more complex recession issues. We seem to have an insatiable appetite for the latest phones, regardless of the economic climate. Although I should point out this is feedback from one store so it is possible (although unlikely) that they are doing really well and are a one off store. I doubt this, but worth pointing out.

On Vodafone’s return policy they have got a lot stricter and really push to only exchange within 14 days, not return. This is the case even on mobile broadband devices, which is a stupid policy. I guess understandable given what it must cost, but a bad policy. The store I spoke to says if people insist then they will allow a return, especially if it’s due to bad signal where being used most. I got the impression this varies store by store, so can only advise checking all terms and conditions for a return before signing on the dotted line. By check I mean really check every detail of how any network may try and prevent you returning.

As a final note I am told Vodafone’s pay as you go mobile broadband is now £39 for the device including 1gb of browsing.

Palm Pre

There is a lot of excitement floating round about the un-veiling of Palm’s newest phone the Palm Pre. It’s not out yet, so I really can’t pretend to know anything about it, but from what I have read it certainly looks exciting. For a rundown of the specs of the Pre head to engadget, or for a video from the CES of some of the Pre’s features head over scobleizer tv.

 

Engadget have also released a interface tour which makes the Palm Pre look even more interesting. Nice to see simple menu layouts, rather than previous complicated menus that many Palms had.

Vodafone’s head of corporate communications vision of the future

At the end of November I received a lecture from Simon Lewis, Head of Corporate Communications for Vodafone. I asked him where he saw mobile phone technologies going in the future and thought his response was worth sharing.

 

He thought that mobile phones had the greatest potential in developing countries, as the flexibility they can offer could be very important. He suggested that mobile phones could, and would have the ability to fil in for the infrastructure that doesn’t exist in those countries. An example he used that is already taking place is in India where mobile phones are being used to transfer money, replacing the need for banks.

 

A second example he mentioned was that in Kenya where software for mobile phones has been developed that allows fish farmers to know fish prices while out at sea. This allows them to catch certain fish and know prices that they should be getting when returning to shore to sell the fish.

 

In all Simon Lewis was very optimistic of mobile phones having an increasingly important role in the future. But then he would be I guess.

Easter egg on Google iPhone app

Just a quick link to a story of how to find an easter egg on your google app on your iphone. I haven’t got round to checking if this is correct yet, so don’t shoot the messenger if not.

Simple phones for technophobes, elderly people and the disabled

I was asked for some advice earlier on today as to which (cheap) phone might be good for an elder person. This left me realising that in my time working in a phone shop this was probably the question I was asked most. It even made me recall that when Vodafone branded a handset the Simply, it sold incredibly well, despite being one of the most confusing phones I have ever come across.

 

My response to this almost every time was to advise a low level Nokia such as the Nokia 1208  or Nokia 2630. The 1208 is the simpler phone as it doesn’t have a camera, but it also doesn’t have bluetooth which is a feature many want. Realistically even the biggest technophobe would probably be okay with any of the Nokia range beginning with 1-6 (i.e. 6300 or 5110) as these all have the more simple menu layout. It is probably best to go with the simplest model with the longest battery life, and in my opinion that means the Nokia 1208 every time. The menu is really easy to use, the battery should last a minimum of 3 days even if used a reasonable amount, and finally most people have used the simple Nokia menu so shouldn’t be too troubled by it.

 

As a final note on this front. For anyone that is looking for a handset for a disabled person there are phones out there specifically designed for disabled people. The only site I could easily find that sold them was MatobMobile. They sell a range of handset from those with very large buttons to others that only have a 6 buttons which you can set for each number to be set to a certain person. Many of the handsets also have a preset emergency button which can also be programmed to a set number. For a period the store I worked in had some of these handsets in stock and they seemed to work pretty well, however, I should stress I didn’t really roadtest them, so can only advise from using a few for 5 minutes or so.

Orange mobile broadband returns

Time for me to dint Orange’s reputation a little more. In a recent post I mentioned that I had tried out Orange’s mobile broadband, and it had not has signal where I needed it.

 

Before taking the modem out  had asked all the questions to check I would be able to return the modem if it didn’t get signal where I needed to use it. Yes, no problem as long as it is returned within 7 days. I checked this with two different staff in two different shops. I checked in a second shop as the assistant in the first shop had not been very knowledgeable (again see earlier post). 

 

So when it came to returning the modem, I assumed there would be no problems. Well, in fact, I assumed there would be problems, just because there always is. So I went into the store where I had first enquired about the device. I explained I couldn’t get signal where I needed to use it, at my home address in Llangollen. They then tried to claim that Orange policy stated that you could only return the modem if it didn’t work at the address they had for you, i.e. the address you provided for the credit check. For the credit check I had provided my Wrexham address, which had fine signal. 

 

In fairness the staff did get the modem returned for me, without much argument on my part. They did have to get this return okayed by their manager as they weren’t abiding by normal company policy. I was even told that I was a one off case.

 

The thing that I have the issue with, is that mobile broadband, is meant to be MOBILE. So why should the company policy be that it can only be returned if you don’t get signal at your home address. If you don’t get decent signal where it is going to be used mostly while on the move, it’s still no good for you and should be returnable.

 

 Also what if they don’t bargain for the 8 foot walls that I have in my Llangollen house. They did try and claim the signal would be fine for 3G at this house, but (presumably because of the walls) it was not. They would try and prevent you returning this device, as they wouldn’t account for thick walls. 

 

Another factor to be considered is that coverage maps are notoriously un-reliable and un-accurate. So to try and prevent a product being returned on the basis of a coverage map is nonsense.

 

A final point is that they told me that once you found you couldn’t get signal in order to return the device, you have to not make any further use of it. So if my device had more than a few megs of usage they wouldn’t let me return it. This is ridiculous again as if you want to check the device out at several locations then you would have to make higher use of the device than allowed. Also given that you have to pay for the percentage of the month that you have the device (so around £3.50 for 7 days), it should be yours to use as you please.