O2 CEO Says Mobile Ad Blocking “Isn’t The Answer”

A few days ago, mobile giant Three, announced plans to block adverts on a network level and provide a more enjoyable user-experience. It’s important to remember that only “irrelevant and excessive mobile ads” will be blocked which ensures unobtrusive ads can still bring in revenue. This seems like a sensible balance and I applaud Three’s decision to tackle mobile advertising in a direct manner. However, this viewpoint isn’t shared by O2’s (Telefonica) CEO Ronan Dunne. In an interview with Campaign at MWC, Dunne claimed ad blocking “isn’t the answer”. To be fair, Dunne did criticize companies employing intrusive adverts. Although he clearly believes a widespread network level blocking policy is flawed. Dunne also went onto say:

“In this market there is an imbalance between the interests of the consumers being supported and the interests of advertisers, and both are legitimate, but there doesn’t seem to be a fair balance.”

“The challenge is, if more and more ads are trying to be squeezed into the same time of consumption, that was never a deal that the advertising industry or brands ever signed up to.”

“What we’ve seen with some of the research we’ve done is, if it’s relevant and contextual, a lot of customers are comfortable with advertising. Good, well-considered advertising is akin to curation – it’s actually delivering value to customers.”

“It’s when it’s unsought and it disrupts their ability to consume the content that they’re after that it’s a problem. The current environment isn’t tenable, so it has to evolve.”

I’m not entirely convinced by the notion that customers accept adverts especially when you consider how many people use Adblock plugins on PCs. There’s a battle ranging between advertisers, and content providers trying to make money, and consumers wanting a clean and enjoyable experience. Wired recently waged a war on readers using Adblock and decided to block access to their site. This story across web and mobile is going to be so important and could dramatically alter the future of media companies.

Image courtesy of onwindows.com

Mobile Operator Three to Block Ads at Network Level

Three, the phone network with a focus on mobile internet, has announced that it will begin blocking ads at a network level within the UK and Italy, the first network in Europe to do so. In partnership with Israeli company Shine, Three will introduce adblocking over the next few months, with a “rapid roll-out” to other Three networks to follow.

Three promises that it will not block all ads – “Our objective in working with Shine is not to eliminate mobile advertising,” the statement reads – but those that negatively impact customer experience. “Irrelevant and excessive mobile ads annoy customers and affect their overall network experience,” Tom Malleschitz, Three UK Chief Marketing Officer, said.

Three has outlined, aptly, three “principal goals” for introducing adblocking:

  1. That customers should not pay data charges to receive adverts.  These should be costs borne by the advertiser.
  2. That customers’ privacy and security must be fully protected. Some advertisers use mobile ads to extract and exploit data about customers without their knowledge or consent.
  3. That customers should be entitled to receive advertising that is relevant and interesting to them, and not to have their data experience in mobile degraded by excessive, intrusive, unwanted or irrelevant adverts.

“These goals will give customers choice and significantly improve their ad experience,” Malleschitz added. “We don’t believe customers should have to pay for data usage driven by mobile ads. The industry has to work together to give customers mobile ads they want and benefit from.”

Everywhere Sim Uses All Four Major UK Networks

Tired of having a poor signal on your mobile? For those who live in rural areas in the UK, signal issues can be tiresome, while those in built-up areas benefit from the fastest speeds, you may be struggling to find a single bar on your signal strength.

A Lancashire-based start-up may finally have the solution you’ve been waiting for. The company uses the O2 network as its home network, but thanks to deals with EE, Three and Vodafone, the sim allows your phone to jump to whichever network has the strongest signal at that time. The downside is that for now, it could be a little expensive if you use your device a lot, plus you’re only going to be limited to 3G services for now. However, if you’re having signal troubles, this could be a vital lifeline for you.

The basic pay-as-you-go sim will cost you 5p per minute for calls, 5p per SMS text message and 5p per megabyte of data. The costs remain the same regardless of which of the four major networks your phone is connected to. However, the sim cannot swap networks mid-call, so it’s best to see if it’s on the best network before you start dialing.

The service is still in its infancy, but it’ll be interesting to see how its services and more importantly, its tariffs, mature over time.

Google Wireless Plan to Offer Free Roaming Abroad

 

A new report from The Telegraph suggests that Google is to enter into a partnership with Three network owner Hutchison Whampoa to offer smartphone use abroad without customers incurring roaming charges, according to “industry sources”.

The free roaming plans include voice calls, SMS and internet data, with the cost of each limited to existing contract agreements. Hutchison Whampoa, which owns UK-based Three and operates a number of other networks across the globe, would allow Google to use its networks as part of the agreement.

Google’s Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai announced plans to offer a “small scale” wireless service only last month, during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 2nd March.

Though Google has no plans “for the foreseeable future” to offer network coverage to European customers, an agreement with operators within Europe means it would be well-placed to do so should it change its mind.

Both Hutchison Whampoa and Google declined to comment on the story.

Source: Mashable

O2 Sold to Three for over £10 Billion

The deal has been finalised and the British operation of Telefónica, O2, has been sold to Three. The people behind Three, Hutchison Whampoa have signed the final deal and O2 is being sold for £10.25 billion (€14 billion).

The sales price is divided into £9.25 billion in cash and another £1 billion “once the cumulative cash flow of the combined company in the UK has reached an agreed threshold”.

The next step will most likely be the removal of the O2 brand as the two companies get merged and Three will get a lot more customers and infrastructure at their disposal. While it removes one competitor from the market, it strengthens another. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the long run.

Thanks to Coolsmartphone 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.

Guy Pulls off a ‘One-in-a-Million’ Snipe in Halo

A Halo player by the name of Lawrencce 1 apparently made the most ridiculously amazing shot in Halo, and probably even in the history of gaming. You can watch the footage below.

And this is what he had to comment about it:

“Of course the kill was intentional!! I accurately predicted the spawn of the player after I killed him for the first time, knew exactly where he was positioned when he shot at me and therefore deliberately ricocheted the bullet of three surfaces to take him out, it was very simple really!

…That was a joke of course, I am well aware that this kill was probably the luckiest I’ve ever seen on Halo. I got the kill and initially thought that it was nothing more than a decent no-scope, but when I later reviewed the footage in theatre mode, it turns out that the bullet ricocheted THREE times before landing in the head of the opposition player. I know that I was incredibly fortunate and the only purpose of this video is to entertain, I am not professing to be anything more than a slightly-less-than-averagely skilled Halo player, I play the game for fun and for moments such as this one! Thanks very much for watching, hope you enjoyed! “

Judging by his comment, he does indeed agree this was one of those epic moments when a shot is fired at the exact spot and time. Even so, the shot is truly amazing!

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information

Valve Starts Teasing People with New Half-Life 3 Rumor

Valve has been ridiculously trolling people with various hints of a new equal to its Half-Life title, either through memes or other forms of hilarious trolls. In its latest attempt, the signs might be more obvious than ever before.

RagnarRox has recently added a Facebook post stating that Valve has scheduled a public press-conference on the 3rd of March, at 3pm. Let us stop and think for a second on that. March, which is the 3rd month of the year, the 3rd day of the month and at 3pm. Is it a coincidence?

We can even go deeper into the “conspiracy” here and take into account the place of the conference, which is San Francisco. The word “San” can also be interpreted as “three” in Japanese, further adding to the craze of the 3’s. Could it be that this is the real deal?

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information

Three Austrian Men Receive First Bionic Hands

Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. The well-known quote spoken during the opening sequence of The Six Million Dollar Man is not science fiction anymore.

The world’s first bionic reconstructions have been performed on three Austrian men to help them regain their hand function. This technique enabled the newly amputated patients to control prosthetic hands using their minds and once again perform various tasks that most people take for granted.

These weren’t just crazy people having their arms replaced with bionic ones but rather victims of serious nerve damage. In order to be fitted for the prosthetic hands, the three men had to undergo preliminary surgical work where leg muscle was grafted into their arms to improve signal transmission. Once this was healed, sensors placed on the arm allowed the men to learn how activate the muscle after which a virtual hand was mounted to their arm.

The process took about nine months just for the cognitive training and all three men had their new bionic hands mounted and in use. Amazing. But getting a new hand is really that. You have to learn to use the new limb from scratch and it took several more month for the men to get full control of the new hands.

Prior to the new hands, the three men scored an average of 9 out of 100 points in the tests shown in the video below, with the new hand they increased this score to 65. Further, the men reported less pain and a higher quality of life after the operation. Science when it’s best.

Thanks to NewScientist for providing us with this information.

Three Beat Sky and TalkTalk to £10.25 Billion Purchase of O2

Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong-based owner of UK mobile network Three, has confirmed its purchase of rival network O2 from Spanish telecoms company Telefonica for £10.25 billion.

Hutchison has trumped both Sky and TalkTalk to complete the deal, which as agreed requires £9.25 billion up-front from Hutchison, with a further £1 billion deferred payment, making Three and O2 combined the biggest mobile operator in the UK, taking a 41% share of the market.

“The deal remains subject to satisfactory due diligence over O2 UK, agreement on terms, signing of definitive agreements, and obtaining required corporate and regulatory approvals,” a spokesperson for Hutchison Whampoa said.

Telefonica were desperate to sell O2 in order to pay off its existing debts, but managed to get £1 billion more for the company than early reports suggested.

Source: The Guardian

Owner of Three Network in Talks to Buy O2

Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong conglomerate that owns UK mobile operator Three, is in talks to buy rival network O2, owned by Telefonica. According to the Sunday Times newspaper, Hutchison will pay up to £9 billion for O2.

Telefonica is said to be keen to leave the UK to help pay off debts, hiring investment bank UBS AG to explore exit strategies, and going so far as to consider floating O2’s shares for public sale. Hutchison are being helped by Moelis & Co to pursue possible deals within the UK.

All parties involved, including Moelis & Co and UBS AG, have declined to comment on the potential sale.

Source: Bloomberg

iPad Mini 3 Expected for Release on October 16th

Apples latest iteration of its iPad mini is expected to be unveiled on the 16th of October – a date that Apple has sent press conference invitations for.

This new 7-inch tablet is expected to be released under a different name however, with speculation from some sources claiming it won’t follow suit of a normal number naming protocol – its older brother was not released as the ‘iPad mini 2’, but called the ‘iPad mini with Retina display’.

Starting 10pm Pacific time (6pm UK time) on Thursday, Apple is expected to release this new product to the world in Berlin, Germany. The new tablet is expected to be for sale before two weeks time after this date.

There isn’t really any official information as to the new iPad mini specifications, but we’ve been able to bring together some leaks and rumors for you:

  • A very similar look and feel to the iPad mini 2
  • Featuring a Retina display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536
  • The introduction of Retina HD (as seen in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus)
  • A rear-facing 4MP and 1.2MP front-facing camera
  • Out-of-the-box iOS8

The price for the new iPad mini is unknown, but be sure to check back to eTeknix as we’ll report on the launch when it happens. For now, we’ll share with you an image leaked of the final design thanks to nowhereelse.

 

Image courtesy of MacRumors

$5,000 Can Nab You a Copy Cat of Your Ex-Partner Thanks to Match.com

Do you have a hard time letting go? Possible attachment issues? Match.com has the answer for you!

Thanks to a new advancement in their technologies, Match.com now gives users the option to search for a new relationship candidate based purely on their facial structure. It has been reported that Match.com are running this service through Los Angeles-based facial recognition experts Three Day Rule – as reported by Mashable.com.

In a more scientific and positive approach, Three Day Rule’s founder Talia Goldsetin stated:

“People have a type and it’s not necessarily about height or race or hair color, but a lot of it is about face shape” Mashable.com

As with all new technology however this comes with a hefty price tag of $5,000 USD, which includes a six month total package. Not only do you get access to the facial recognition technology, but you receive a personal ‘dating guidance councillor’ (matchmaker) who will meet with you to determine your wants and needs, sift through potential applicants and even go on pre-dates to determine the candidates potential.

To help determine the type you’re after, this matchmaker will process photo’s of your ex-partners and use Three Day Rule’s software to help determine some potential matches.

Goldstein also stated:

“I’ve noticed over my years in matchmaking that people have types. I always ask my clients to send me photos of their exes. They say that they don’t have a type, but when I see the photos, to me they look very similar. The ex’s may be different ethnicities, or have different hair color, but their facial structures are the same.”  Mashable.com

For those desperately seeking love, what have you got to lose? This service can be found on Match.com

Photo courtesy of cngl

Blue HTC One Now Available In The UK and Blue One Mini To Arrive Shortly

The blue HTC One launched in the US last month, and now the handset is available in the UK from mobile retailer the Carphone Warehouse. The Blue HTC One is available with a number of different carriers through the mobile retailer, the handset is available from free on contracts which start at £32 per month. The Carphone Warehouse are offering the Blue HTC One with all of the major UK carriers, the list includes EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three.

Hardware wise the handset has the same specifications as the existing model, which include Android Jelly Bean, and a 4.7 inch full high-definition display. The display on the HTC one comes with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, the handset is powered by a quad-core 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 600 processor from Qualcomm, and it also features an Adreno 320 GPU. The devices features 2GB of RAM and a choice of either 32GB or 64GB of built-in storage, it also features HTC’s new Ultrapixel camera.

There are no details as yet on when the blue HTC One will be available off contract SIM free, however it should be made available in time.

Thank you Geeky Gadgets for providing us with this information.

Images  courtesy of Geeky Gadgets.