T-Mobile CEO Confirms Unlimited Data Plan Has Restrictions

T-Mobile’s CEO, John Legere has made a very direct announcement accusing some customers of flagrantly abusing the networking infrastructure. The controversy surrounds T-Mobile’s “unlimited” 4G LTE data plan which costs $80 per month and includes 7GB of tethering before network traffic management occurs. According to Legere, there are 3000 customers using up to 2TB of data per month and concluded that users have been:

“..stealing data so blatantly and extremely that it is ridiculous.”

“I’m not sure what they are doing with it – stealing wireless access for their entire business, powering a small cloud service, providing broadband to a small city, mining for bitcoin.”

Supposedly, the people in question are bypassing the 7GB tethering limit by using an LTE network to download content on their phone via a browser. In reality, the proportion using 2TB of data or more is only 0.01%. Therefore, this public damnation of such a small sector of T-Mobile’s consumer base seems rather foolish and not a brilliant idea from a PR perspective. On the other hand, at least the company is being transparent and clearly defining what constitutes fair use.

Technically, the term unlimited refers to an uncapped plan but many network providers utilize a fair usage policy in the small print. Personally, I feel these companies have to make the terms explicitly clear and perhaps change the wording from unlimited. This is because, the wording could constitute as false advertising and you cannot expect customers to inspect the small print. Perhaps T-Mobile feels this small percentage is affecting their profit margins and wants to set out a clear strategy for the future when it comes to acceptable data usage.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

TP-Link Announces VR900 AC1900 WiFi VDSL2 Modem Router

TP-Link were recently in the news as the company behind Google’s fancy new OnHub router, but they’re also working on their own products. The latest which just has been released is the AC1900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit VDSL2 Modem Router, the Archer VR900. The Archer VR900 offers a versatility of connection options, making it suitable no matter which type internet connection you have. At the same time, the VR900 offers great speeds with its AC1900 wireless signal as well as great coverage thanks to beam-forming technologies and three external antennas.

For maximum flexibility, the DSL and WAN input on the TP-Link VR900 support VDSL, ADSL, fiber, and cable connections. You can even use it for with your 3G and 4G dongles when connected to the built-in USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports.

The Archer VR900 utilizes the latest 802.11ac wireless standard to deliver data at speeds of up to 1900Mbps. Simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi provides excellent stability and eliminates wireless interference by transmitting and receiving on both 2.4GHz band and 5Ghz bands. You’ll get up to 600Mbps via the 2.4Gbps band and up to 1300Gbps via the 5GHz band. The modem router also has four Gigabit Ethernet ports for the best possible and wired connection.

The Archer VR900 is built around a 1GHz processor that should deliver enough power even for data-intensive tasks. No need to worry about speed caps because you’re using a lot of connections at once. Connect all of your network-dependent devices and let the VR900 balance the load to avoid bottlenecks at the processor level.

Nelson Qiao, assistant general manager at TP-LINK UK Ltd, says, “As the foundation of your home network, choosing the right router is an important decision, complicated by the various connection types. The VR900 takes the guesswork out of getting the right type of router so customers get the latest wireless features for high performance networks now and in the future, even if they change ISP.”

TP-Link VR900 Key Features and Specifications

  • AC1900 Simultaneous Dual-Band Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz 600Mbps + 5 GHz 1300Mbps)
  • Beamforming Technology
  • 3 High-Performance Antennas
  • 1GHz Internal Processor
  • 1 USB 3.0 Port and 1 USB 2.0 Port
  • 4 Gigabit LAN Ports
  • Web Interface for Easy Setup

UK Boasts Fastest Average 3G and 4G Speeds in the World

A new report has revealed that the UK has the fastest average 3G and 4G mobile internet speeds in the world, with figures over twice as big as the second ranked country. Akamai, producers of the quarterly State of the Internet report, has complied figures that show UK citizens to enjoy average mobile internet speeds of 20.4Mbps, which is a 27% increase on the previous quarter’s figures, and more than double that of second-place Denmark, which has an average speed of 10Mbps.

At the top of the table, the UK has bested such nations as Sweden (8.9Mbps), Russia (7.5Mbps), and the US (a meagre 4Mbps). The lowest-ranked country is Vietnam, with an average speed of 1.3Mbps.

In terms of peak speed, though, the UK was decimated by Australia, where the natives enjoy glorious speeds of up to 149.3Mbps, compared to the UK respectable 90.0Mbps.

“We saw generally positive results across all of the key metrics during the first quarter of 2015,” David Belson, Senior Director of Industry & Data Intelligence at Akamai and editor of the report, said. “The increase in global broadband speeds demonstrates an ongoing commitment to higher standards.”

“While connectivity will continue to differ across many regions, we see the highest broadband speeds in countries/regions with high population densities and strong government backing or support, as well as those that foster competition among internet providers,” he added.

Thank you The Inquirer for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of The Independent.

EE Unveil Action Camera with Built-In 4G

At a small event this morning in London, the UK’s largest mobile service provider EE unveiled the next stage of their “Connected Vison” plan. The 4GEE action camera.

It is essentially a GoPro camera, but has built-in 3g and 4g connectivity so you can stream your crazy videos direct from your device. You will be able to add it to your monthly plan for £10 per month and will be available from Jue 16th. So what are the specs?

  • 13-megapixel sensor
  • Can record at 1080p @ 30 FPS, 720p @ 60 FPS, 480p @ 120 FPS,
  • Still image capture resolution :(4288×3216).
  • Live streaming is limited to 720p @ 30 FPS.
  • F/2.8 lens
  • 4GB internal memory
  • SD Card Slot
  • 2260mAh internal battery

Streaming of the video will be done via EE’s own video streaming platform, Skeegle. This then uses permission from Facebook to decide who can view your streams. It will ship with several accessories. Once of which will be a Viewfinder Watch (for setting up your shot), an underwater enclosure that’s good at depths up to 60 meters and also an adapter to allow you to mount it on GoPro tripods and other accessories.

All this 4g streaming talk makes me wonder about data usage and caps. One hour of streaming will use around 1GB of data, EE charge roughly £30 for 5GB of data per month. You could buy the camera outright (£400) and then you get 2gb of data per month, for the year. You’ll also be able to get the camera on contract, with a £50 one off charge, then £15 per month after for 2GB of data allowance. Pretty tight eh?!

Thank you to ArsTechnia for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of ArsTechnica

NETGEAR Partners With AT&T on Prepaid 4G LTE Mobile WiFi Hotspot

NETGEAR is mostly known for the local area network (LAN) devices, but they also got a range of mobile routers for people who also want great connection options on the go. They have now partnered with AT&T that will sell the NETGEAR AirCard 779S Mobile Hotspot under the AT&T Unite Express for GoPhone brand name.

The mobile hotspot will provide you with AT&T’s 4G LTE internet connection through prepaid data plans, allowing you to customize your costs to your needs. You can enjoy secure and affordable WiFi when you need it, on your terms, with three flexible rate plans and no annual contract or credit check.

The mobile hotspot is about as big as a deck of cards and easily slides into your pockets, purse, or backpack so you have it where ever you go. You can connect up to 10 devices simultaneous for up to 10 hours mobile internet. The hotspot also features Guest access for one-time users that you don’t want to share your normal password with.

“Our newest mobile hotspot is an easy-to-use device that our customers can simply turn on and connect, without adjusting settings,” said Judy Cavalieri, vice president, AT&T voice and prepaid products. “NETGEAR has designed our AT&T Unite Express with the intuitive setup and the outstanding experience that meets our high standards for quality. We’re also happy to offer our Spanish-speaking customers an optional Spanish language interface to make using the hotspot even easier.”

Key Features

  • 4G LTE / 3G support
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge
  • Color LCD screen to monitor battery life and network connections
  • Guest WiFi for one-time users
  • Securely connects up to 10 WiFi devices
  • 802.11b/g/n WiFi
  • Optional Spanish language interface
  • NETGEAR AirCard App compatible

EE Introduce Two Affordable Smartphones With 4G Capabilities

In the growing market of smartphones there is no denying that whilst the technology improves dramatically, prices still remain unaffordable to many, with new phones costing over £600 for a top of the line model. But now the UK mobile operator EE has announced 2 new smartphones, both of which have full 4G mobile internet support as well as WiFi calling, all whilst being under £200.

The 2 phones, named the Harrier and the Harrier Mini, offer up powerful competition to the current market giants, with the Harrier boasting an impressive 1.5Ghz 8-core processor, a 13MP rear facing camera, and a 5.2 Inch full HD screen all at £199.99 whilst the less powerful Harrier Mini crams in a 1.2hz quad core processor, 8MP Rear camera and a 4.7 inch 720p display at only £99.99. The phones are set to release of the 28th April, with EE rightfully called the Harrier Mini the “UK’s most affordable 4G smartphone with Wifi calling”, with the new phones holding the potential to revolutionize the current premium prices associated with the smartphone market or at least pave the way for more easily affordable and powerful phones in the market.

As well as the phones EE have announced 2 new mobile 4G hotspot device, the Osprey 2 and the Osprey 2 mini. The 4G devices will provide coverage for a total of 10 devices and are available at £69.99 for the Osprey 2 and £49.99 for the mini, although you may be able to get some free on selected contracts.

Hopefully we can expect other companies also trying to capitalise on the budget smartphone market, but will you sacrifice power over price?

Thank you Tech Radar for providing us with this information.

Voice-over-LTE Set to Launch in the UK on Three This Summer

The UK is laying the ground for an intense competition between carriers this summer. Three, the 4th largest mobile carrier in the country, has just announced that it will be launching its VoLTE feature in Q3 this year.

This means that Three will be competing with carriers such as Vodafone, who has already announced that it will be launching VoLTE, and EE, the UK’s largest carrier, who has similar plans in enabling the feature on its networks this year as well.

VoLTE is similar to VoIP, but operates over the 4G/LTE networks as data, compared to the previous “closed-circuit” calls on 2G and 3G. The result is said to bring faster call setup and crystal clear audio, while in turn making better use of the available spectrum.

This sounds pretty amazing, but there have also been a lot of battery performance issues with 4G smartphones in the past using this type of feature. However, new chipsets are said to be rolling out more optimized than their predecessors. But questions regarding what handsets will be compatible with the VoLTE networks still remain.

Three has not stated which devices will be compatible with its future VoLTE network, however handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 onwards should have no problem in connecting to it once it is launched.

Globalgig and D-Link Team up to Bring 4G Router into Your Home

Globalgig and D-Link have released a new router based on 4G technology to give you the ability to have multiple devices connected wherever you might be. The D-Link DWR-922 comes with the standard cable, NDN and ADSL ports to connect to the internet traditionally, but it also features a SIM slot for a 4G mobile data SIM should you wish to run it off 4G entirely.

It is said that D-Link will be selling the router along with a Globalgig 4G SIM and $30 starting credit through its website. While Globalgig offers fast 4G internet through its Optus’ 4G network in Australia, it also has some great deals through its flat-rate 3G mobile broadband net access in 84 countries. Tariffs for roaming stretch from $20 for 250m and up to $70 for 5GB.

Staying connected in today’s era is something everybody is trying to achieve, and with the D-Link DWR-922, users won’t have to rely on a hotel or other venue for internet when travelling abroad. D-Link is selling the router bundled with a Globalgig SIM and $30 starter credit for 5GB of 4G in Australia and 1GB abroad for $249.95.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Mobile Power Consumption – Attention Turns to Network Connections

In today’s fierce market, manufacturers have designed ever more power efficient processors and displays; this has resulted in attention being turned to another of the most power-hungry components, the modem.

“The modem is, without a doubt, one of the most crucial parts of the smartphone in today’s connected society. With 4G LTE, users consume orders-of-magnitude more data than with 3G. Increased consumption, paired with the advent of cloud technologies, requires that smartphones always be connected to the network—always sending data back and forth. As a result, the modem and RF frontend have become pivotal components of the smartphone in enabling connectivity and doing so without impacting battery life.”

Coinciding with becoming more efficient, modems also strive to become more powerful, something that typically doesn’t go hand in hand without innovative leaps in technology, similar to new nano-processes in processors.

Moor Insights & Society have published a research paper delving in-depth into throughput, power consumption and antenna tuner capability offerings from Samsung and Qualcomm; this research paper can be found here.

Thanks to Moor Insights & Society for sharing this information with us

BT to Buy EE For £12.5 Billion

British Telecom is to buy mobile network Everything Everywhere (EE) for £12.5 Billion ($19 Billion). This unprecedented deal makes BT, an already giant organisation (owning much of the UK’s landline infrastructure), even bigger with the largest UK mobile network in the fold.

EE was formed as a partnership between Orange and Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile) in 2010. It currently has 31 million customers and the largest 4G customer base in Europe. This new deal will make BT exceptionally large – BT is already one of the world’s largest telecom companies, a company that consists of most of the assets that belonged to the UK’s state telecoms network before privatisation under Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s. Deutsche Telekom will still have a part to play however – they will hold 12% of the new company, with a seat on the board.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out – whether EE will be rebranded as part of BT, or whether it will stay as a separate entity is something we don’t yet know.

Source: The Verge

Huawei: 5G Will Be Here By 2020 – Speeds Up To 100X Faster Than 4G

4G has now been implemented around the globe in major cities for just over a year now. Looking for constant advancement in technology, Huawei have claimed that their new 5G infrastructure and technology will reach 100 times the speed of 4G by the year 2020.

As we reported, Huawei have announced their plans for a 4.5G opening in China by 2016, so this information coming to light is quite interesting. Will 4.5G still be worked on, or is Huawei looking to skip it and reach straight for the stars? 4.5G is set to provide the average user with 100Mbps speeds stable and support up to 30,000,000 connections per tower – set to be somewhat of a ‘patch’ for the current 4G offering, which often experiences connectivity, signal and data transfer issues.

In comes 5G, claiming a 10Gps peak transfer speed – quite possibly faster than your phone can process. Coming from backward Australia, I can only dream of a day when internet will out-perform things like your computers HDD speeds or LAN infrastructure – with 5G in the pipeline, it seems like somewhat of a reality.

As with all new major advancements in technology from 4K cable streaming to 10km data “fricken lasers”, the cost of the research, installment and implementation is always something to consider. Taking a look at 4G speeds currently, they’re amazing and offer the user with speeds that are likely much faster than their current ADSL2+ offering, but are extremely expensive. An Australian eSports group called ACL PRO often experience issues with venue internet being poor in Australia – meaning that they have to run their StarCraft II tournaments via multiple 4G ‘wireless sticks’ – seeing hundreds of dollars worth of data transfer flushed down the drain per event. Wouldn’t it be amazing if one day, we could do away with home line ADSL style internet and simply power our whole houses infrastructure simply by walking inside with our mobile phone? Until then, enjoy thousands of dollars a month in downloads of shareware programs and creative commons music through your 4G connection – if you can even get one.

Back to the topic at hand, 5G is set to allow you to reach speeds of up to 10Gpbs, we’ve decided to list out the speeds below to give you an easily viewable comparison of past and future technology.

  • 2G: A few hundred k per second
  • 3G: Up to a few M per second
  • 4G: Two hundred M per second
  • 5G:  10Gbps

Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Chief Engineer Zhang Feng has announced that the global information and communications industry is ushering in a new wave of innovation, cloud computing, networking and other technologies alongside the rapid redevelopment of new applications. All said to be supported by an amazing 5G mobile internet infrastructure.

We will continue to report as the story develops.

Image courtesy of TNW

700MHz TV Spectrum to Be Used for Mobile Data in UK

Ofcom has announced that the 700MHz part of the digital TV spectrum is to be cleared for mobile data use. By 2022.

The new initiative means some digital TV signals will be moved to a new band, while mobile data will take over 700MHz, giving much more bandwidth to networks who are finding more and more people are using more and more mobile data.

The advent of 4G means mobile data is now a much more viable way to get your internet connection, whether that be via a mobile device or even for a PC. However, mobile data is incredibly constrained, with only limited amounts of bandwidth and not yet complete enough coverage.

This all means higher prices, and mobile data is easily the most expensive way to get an internet connection, with all its usage caps included.

This new plan, which should be ready by 2022, “will bring considerable benefits to citizens and consumers” according to Ofcom, hopefully making it easier and cheaper to get access to mobile data and its increased speeds.

Source: Gizmodo

China’s 4G now Capable of Double Speeds

Domestic 4G standard TD-LTE offerings in China have undergone a massive improvement in network speed. Testing sponsored by Shenzhen Mobile has come back with positive results about TD-LTE’s ‘enhanced version’ technology, allowing for 4G transfer rates to be doubled under field testing conditions.

These results were tested throughout various regions in China including Huaqiang North, Sakata, Lo Wu and Shenzhen. Results from these tests came back with a peak 218 M/sec rating, doubling the peak rate of data transfer from their old 4G testing. Reports claim that this was achieved through Shenzhen Mobile utilizing carrier aggregation technology, which is a global 4G advancement project – designed to carry out improvements as seen above.

These results are made more impressive by the fact that these speeds were reached even whilst in the shopping district of Shenzhen, surrounded by old buildings and containing a crowded mess of people, storefronts and dense infrastructure. This carrier aggregation technology hasn’t yet been placed into all handsets however. Samsung, ZTE and many other manufacturers are developing launch terminals to support this technology, whereas many major brands already have this support installed.

All of this news is quite exciting, 218 M/sec ratings whilst contained within a crowded environment is nothing to sniff at. But unfortunately for countries such as Australia, 4G still isn’t’ widely available. Not only do some carriers chose not to support 4G’s infrastructure in the first place, the signal strength and distance is rather poor – rendering the ability to use 4G practicality useless unless you’re located within a major cities CBD.

Here’s hoping that 4G signal technology is improved, or skipped entirely and moved to 4.5G – as we’ve already reported on.

Image courtesy of Blogspot

December Sees 4G Mobile Vehicle Networking Products Released

Finally, we are one step closer to Knightrider’s sidekick car ‘KITT‘ becoming a real-life thing! Shenzhen’s mobile 4G network construction has doubled in recent times and will be reportedly being utilized in motor vehicles as soon as December, 2014.

According to a report on November the 16th, Tencent Technology claim that later this month China Mobile will launch a 4G network based within motor vehicles (cars), allowing for advanced development of car networking and various other tasks. This technology will allow the car to place internet, entertainment, navigation, security, rescue, diagnostics and other functions all into one package. It will also provide users the ability to monitor fault checking and real-time remote viewing through their mobile devices – alongside applications for anti-theft and location methods.

Some other useful features on offer include mobile electronic central locking, cargo monitoring, route planning, yaw management and pet monitoring services.

The first 4G licenses were issued by the Ministry of Industry Operations to China Mobile earlier this year in April under the titles of “4G Utility Vehicle Machine”, “Travel Guardian” and “Bus Steward”. All of these were debut at the 2014 Bejing International Automotive Exhibition.

Shenzen Mobile has reportedly opened the first 10,000 4G base stations, citing Shenzhen as the forefront of China’s 4G technology. Shenzhen has now been provided with 4G coverage density as seen similarly in many major western nation cities. Why the upgrade from the commonly offered 3G? 4G technology offers up to 218 M/second transfer speeds, allowing for advanced applications such as what you’ve been reading above.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

GiffGaff Goes 4G from £12 per Month

UK mobile virtual network operator GiffGaff is now offering 4G data at a very low £12 per month.

They’ve joined the 4G crowd a year later than the other UK networks, but their low priced 4G ‘goodybags’ should appeal to new and loyal customers. Those who joined the network before October 29th can take advantage of the speedier connectivity at no extra cost, meaning their 4G packages will cost exactly the same as their 3G ones.

That deal will only last 2 months though however, and from January 12th these customers will have to pay the same prices as new customers today. You’ll get 1GB for £12 per month, 3GB for £15 per month and 5GB for £18 per month.

Source: Engadget

UK Mobile Data Signal Hotspots Uncovered in New Map

Phone retailer, mobiles.co.uk has released a new crowdsourced map that reveals the true strength of mobile data coverage across the UK.

The map uses a handy colour code to show areas of strong and weak signal, offering the ability to separate coverage by 2G, 3G and 4G data reception. It also displays average speeds for a particular area and reports that the entire UK average for 4G connectivity stands at 14.7Mbps.

It also allows us to see where 4G has really caught on (in cities) and exactly where it hasn’t (mostly in the rural areas of Wales, Scotland and the North of England). We also get a chance to compare different networks, with the map suggesting that EE is the best for 4G, covering 75% of the UK.

Source: The Telegraph

More MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming TwinForz V Details Revealed

MSI have been teasing their new graphics cards for a few weeks now. First they teased images of their new TwinFrozr V graphics card cooler and more recently they teased their new GTX 9xx graphics card design; now we have even more details to share with you!

The new MSI Geforce GTX 970 Twin Frozr V graphics card is easily the best 970 we’ve seen so far; it features two 100mm propeller-blade fans fitted into a new black and red shroud. The new cooler design looks like complete overkill for the 148W TDP this card produces, but that extra cooling should allow for extra overclocking headroom.

The card features 1664 CUDA cores, a factory overclock of 1140 MHz and a boost clock of 1279 MHz, 4GB of GDDR5 memory and a 256-bit interface. Interestingly this is the first GTX 970 card I’ve seen that features 8+6 power connectors, compared to the 6+6 connectors featured on all the other cards we’ve seen so far.

Connectivity is handed by DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI and a DisplayPort connector. The card is expected to launch on Friday, but prices for this model are currently unknown.

Thank you VideoCardz for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of VideoCardz.

Highspeed Cows Hit Glastonbury With 4GEE – “It’s Udderly Fast”

One of the most globally recognised music festivals – Glastonbury – has this morning kicked off in the Somerset hills of South-West England and like any other music festival, staying current is a fundamental value that organisers have to take into account. Keeping Glastonbury current is not just about ensuring that the headline acts are secured and that there is enough space to cram in over 135,000 people, as well as the tent space, food, 4000 toilets, 2m litres of water on tap plus the capacity to generate the 30,000 megawatts of electricity that is needed to power everything. In 2014 we need internet, and lots of it.

As social media is more on an integral part of our lifestyle and culture, EE have taken it upon themselves to provide as much of the festival with high-speed 4GEE internet as they can – all for free. Obviously wiring up a mesh network with a ton of access points is not going to be an easy operation so EE have instead created a herd of fibreglass cattle that stand around the site acting as wireless hotspots – allowing anyone with a wireless device to connect to them to upload their favourite photos, video clips and stories to the rest of the world whilst not worrying about a mobile signal.

The cow design came as inspiration from the award-winning herd of cattle that reside at Worthy Farm and keeping in with the Glastonbury ethos, the entire herd have been hand painted by one of the festivals legendary artists – Hank, after which they are placed in key locations around the site to provide high-speed wireless to as many people as they can.

Running from 10am to 10pm each day from Thursday to Sunday, the WiFi enabled cows are just one part of the infrastructure that EE are bringing to this years festival, with 100 contact-less payment terminals stretching across the 25 main bars, along with ‘Cash on Tap’ facilities for EE customers, where they can pay for items up to the value of £20 as long as they have a compatible phone.

Source & images courtesy: EE

Data Roaming Charges To Drop 55% In EU From July 1st

As a result of the recent European Commission ruling that is due to come into effect from July 1st data roaming charges will fall across the European Union. In the European Union all network carriers will not be allowed to raise prices higher than EU maximum rates. The most significant of these decreases in charges is with data roaming, the price per MB of data will fall from €0.45 to €0.20, that’s $0.61 to $0.27 and £0.36 to £0.16. The price of making calls, receiving calls and sending text messages will all decrease as well by around a quarter.

Additionally from July 1 mobile providers can offer you a specific roaming deal before you travel and they can allow you to choose a local mobile provider for data services. The future also looks fairly bright for EU travellers as the EU Commission is currently working to eliminate roaming charges altogether, the EU may not be something everyone agrees with but I’m all for less data roaming charges when travelling!

Vice President of the European Commission, @NeelieKroesEU, responsible for the Digital Agenda said: “This huge drop in data roaming prices will make a big difference to all of us this summer. But it is not enough. Why should we have roaming charges at all in a single market? By the end of this year I hope we see the complete end of roaming charges agreed – the Parliament has done their part, now it is up to Member States to seal the deal!”

Source: Europa

Image courtesy of Europa

EE to Offer Voice Calls, Text Messaging via Wi-Fi

UK wireless carrier EE is launching a program for subscribers to make voice calls and send text messages over Wi-Fi, promising sound quality better than what’s provided by Skype.

The company has invested upwards of £275 million to try to eliminate white spots throughout the UK. Many customers living and working in parts of the UK with poor phone coverage complained about the inability to receive calls and text messages.

The Wi-Fi calling is scheduled to launch this call, EE confirmed in a press statement. In addition, here is what Fotis Karonis, EE Chief Technology Officer, said:

“Our Wi-Fi calling capability will let customers make calls where they have access to Wi-Fi but not to the mobile network. The customer experience is seamless because it’s the same as making a network call and uses the normal call interface of the handset. This is a major part of our strategy to invest in giving customers the ability to make a call wherever they are, and we’re confident that this service can make a big difference to people in homes and large offices across the country, especially in the most rural areas, that don’t have mobile coverage.”

It’s a clever offering from EE, understanding that clients living in areas with poor 2G, 3G or 4G network coverage still should have the ability to make and receive dependable phone calls.

Thank you to EE for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Bristol Bulletin

MediaTek 64-bit LTE-enabled Quad-Core MT6732 Announced

MediaTek has revealed one of two 64-bit LET chipsets at MWC for smartphones, it being the Quad-Core MT6732, Qualcomm’s 64-bit Snapdragon 410 competition on the mid-ranged market.

The CPU features four 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores, a highly advanced 16-core Mali-T760 GPU, a multi-mode 4G LTE modem, and an imaging chip, having test showing performance results higher than a A9 core while cutting down on power cost.

Looking at the T-760 GPU, it is claimed to have a 400% energy efficiency increase than previous Mali-T604 chips, in addition to having OpenGL ES 3.0, OpenCL 1.2, and being Direct3D 11.1-compliant. The power saving technologies consist of ARM Frame Buffer Compression and Smart Composition, both optimized for data transfer, cutting power costs by up to 50% each in the process.

When talking about the 4G LTE connectivity, we can say that it has Category 4 speeds with 150 MB/s downstream and 50 MB/s upstream, while 3G/DC-HSPA+ networks have their seed set at 42 MB/s downstream and 11 MB/s upstream. There is also TD-SCDMA working as legacy 2G/3G networks, having the Dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as the ‘cherry on top’ in terms of connectivity.

The MediaTek MT6732 is said to support low-power 1080p, 30fps video playback for media encoded with H.265 and legacy H.264 codecs, while offering 1080p, 30fps H.264 video playback and recording. it also features an integrated 13MP camera image processor with support for “picture-in-picture”, “video-in-video”, and, *gulp*, Video Face Beautifier, packed together with the company’s proprietary ClearMotion and MiraVision algorithms for jitter reduction, smooth playback, and “DTV-grade” picture quality.

While everything sounds fine and dandy, MediaTek will not start producing the chipset anytime soon, having it planned to start at the end of this year. Besides, no information about the second 64-bit Octa-Core MT6752 has been released just yet as well.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Phonearena

Chrome Update To Reduce Data Consumption Up To 50% for iOS and Android Users

Google announced an upcoming update to Chrome for iOS and Chrome for Android will feature a way for you to save on your data usage by as much as 50%. According to a survey from Pew, 20% of U.S. adults do the majority of their surfing on a mobile browser. The only problem with depending on your mobile browser is the consumption of data when you’re not connected to a Wi-Fi network. If you’re depending on a 3G/4G connection to your mobile operator to hook up to the internet, you could find your monthly data allowance spent before you know it.

However, Google has reportedly found a way to deliver data more efficiently. Once you receive the update, you can use Chrome’s data compression and bandwidth management on your iOS or Android device, and cut your data usage in half. At the same time that you’re saving precious data, you are also protecting yourself against malicious websites by using Chrome’s Safe Browsing.

After the update, users can go to the Bandwidth Management section inside the application’s Settings, and then use the Reduce Data Usage feature. Turn the toggle switch to on and your browser will start saving data. And this menu will also show you how much bandwidth you are saving each month by using Chrome.

Google has also announced that it will be adding Google Translate to Google Chrome for iOS in the next few days. That will make translating foreign websites on your Apple iPhone and Apple iPad a snap. And finally, the upcoming update for the Android version of Chrome will allow you to create shortcuts to your favorite websites right from your homescreen.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information

Archos’ First LTE Smartphones To Debut At CES 2014

Archos has revealed some 4G LTE smartphones that the company is thinking of showing at the upcoming CES 2014. Namely, the Archos 45 Helium 4G and 50 Helium 4G are Archos’ first LTE smartphones which will be released on the market. Both devices will have Android 4.3 pre-installed, with a future upgrade to Android 4.4 undergoing development. The smartphones also boast a 1.4GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm processor, an Adreno 305 GPU, 1080p HD video capture, and 1GB RAM.

The Archos 50 Helium is going to be a higher-end handset, having a larger 5-inch 720p HD LCD display, 8-megapixel camera, and 2-megapixel front-facing camera. It also has a 2,000 mAh battery and a higher price tag of $250 off-contract to go with it. The Archos 45 Helium 4G is said to be an entry-level handset, having a smaller 4.5-inch display with a 854×480 FWVGA resolution, a 5-megapixel main camera, a VGA front-facing camera, and a smaller 1,700 mAh battery. The more budget Helium is reported to have a price tag of $200.

If you haven’t associated Archos with smartphones, you’re not alone. The company is better known for audio and video equipment, with its newer tablet and smartphone efforts more active in European markets than in the US. While these two rise to the top of Archos’ portfolio, they’re positioned to bob around the midrange in terms of their features and specs.

Thank you Cnet for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Cnet

Qualcomm QFE1100 Envelope Tracking Chip To Improve Nexus 5 Battery Life

According to latest news, Qualcomm has revealed that the new Google Nexus 5 not only features the company’s fastest mobile processor, the Snapdragon 800 SoC, but also features a certain Qualcomm QFE1100 envelope tracking chipset, which is a front-end for OEMs to design global 4G LTE compatible devices, like the Nexus 5. This isn’t the first time that the QFE1100 is being used in a Smartphone. Samsung was first to the finish line with the Galaxy Note 3, launched nearly two months ago.

“The Nexus 5 also utilizes the Qualcomm QFE1100 feature, an important component of the upcoming Qualcomm RF360 Front End, a comprehensive, system-level solution that allows OEMs to develop a single, global 4G LTE design.”

Qualcomm states that the new chipset offers 30% lesser heat and 20% decreased power consumption. Thanks to the improvements made by the chip designer, the Nexus 5 will last longer while being used over 3G/4G networks than any other device with a similar battery capacity and internal specifications.

“The QFE1100 feature is the world’s first envelope tracking (ET) technology for 3G/4G LTE devices and offers significant performance improvements, including reduced heat by up to 30%t and decreased power consumption by up to 20%, enabling thinner form factors with longer battery life.”

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of Anandtech

Nokia Tablet “RX-114” Approved by the FCC and Heading for AT&T and Verizon

Until now there were rumors circulating about a new Nokia tablet said to be running Windows 8.1 RT in the works. This rumor became official when the device was approved by the FCC and will become available, according to Nokia’s tweets, on the 22nd of October. The Nokia team did a good job at covering it up with a 167 page document full of measurements and technical graphs. Below are some leaked diagrams of the device along with specific references to its slate-like state.

Nokia RX-114 packs support for LTE bands 2,4,5,13 and 17 in addition to full 2G and 3G connectivity, which means both variants of the tablet will support 4G LTE.

At Nokia World, scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi on October 22nd, gets closer and while four of the six devices that were to be announced on that day day have already been revealed, details about the two other “mystery” devices are still unknown.

Thank you NextPowerUp and Engadget for providing us with this information. 

Images courtesy of NextPowerUp.

Amazon to Roll Out Kindle Fire HDX in November

Amazon have launched two new Kindle Fire tablets; the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX and the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX 8.9. Amazon has also upgraded the software so that the core is now based upon Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

In terms of performance, both HDX models are equipped with a staggering 2.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, the Adreno 330 graphics chip and 2GB of memory.

The Kindle HDX and HDX 8.9 resolutions have also been enhanced to 1920 x 1200 (323 ppi) and 2560 x 1600 (339 ppi) respectively. Aside from the increase in performance and pixel density, both new tablets provide significantly better battery life.

In addition the new tablets come with more storage options, faster Wi-Fi and an optional 4G connectivity feature as well as front facing HD cameras. The HDX 8.9″ however offers customers a 8MP rear-facing camera for the enthusiasts that want to capture that right picture at the right moment.

An upgraded version of Amazon’s custom Android Fire OS called “Mojito” has also been added, along with the “Mayday” feature deemed a “revolutionary on-device tech support system” by Amazon.

The Mayday service is available 24/7, 365 days a year at the touch of a button. You will be able to contact an Amazon Tech Advisor within 15 seconds with any of your tech inquiries. The assistant can “co-pilot you through any feature by drawing on your screen, walking you through how to do something yourself, or doing it for you – whatever works best”. This feature has been added, according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, because “You shouldn’t have to be afraid of your device”.

The Kindle Fire HDX models will be available for customers starting November the 7th. More about prices and specs can be viewed below.

Thank you Hexus for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Hexus.

Second-Gen Surface Tablets Have No 4G LTE Support – WiFi Only

ZDNet reports that Microsoft’s second generation series of Surface tablets will not have 4G LTE support. In fact the second generation Surface tablets will apparently have no cellular connectivity at all – they will be WiFi only. Clearly Microsoft hasn’t learnt its lessons from the failure of the previous generation of Surface tablets. At best consumers will look to Microsoft partners like ASUS, Acer, Lenovo and so on to provide Windows 8.1/RT tablets with cellular connectivity, at worst they will simply use Android or iOS instead as cellular connectivity is a vitally important buying consideration for most consumers in the market for a tablet.

Connectivity aside, the second generation Surface RT is expected to have an Nvidia Tegra 4 at its heart with 8 hours of battery life and a ClearType 1920 x 1080 display. The second generation Surface Pro will be powered by an Intel Haswell Core i5 processor and will have a larger battery to provide around 7 hours of battery life. The second generation Surface Pro also has a full HD 1920 x 1080 display. More details on all the second generation Microsoft Surface tablets will be revealed on September 23rd at Microsoft’s official press conference.

Image courtesy of Microsoft