Friday 30 November 2012

30/11/2012: EE to sign a naming deal with Wembley Stadium? $99 Nexus 7? Jelly Bean for the Razr HD's and much more!

Wembley Stadium to sign a naming deal with phone network EE!

   England's most iconic sporting arena may be on the verge of getting a little name change! The mobile brand EE is on the verge of becoming a "naming partner of Wembley Stadium," according to John Reynolds of Marketing Magazine. 

   It's been reported that The FA has been on the look our for a commercial partner for the stadium for quite a while. If the rumours are correct it looks like this deal could be worth somewhere in the region of £8M per year, which translates into 12.8M US Dollars. 

   Thankfully the agreement will not mean that the Wembley name will be changed to the EE Arena, or whatever else EE's marketing guys could come up with! The FA realised that that would have been an alienating decision, but EE will likely be incorporated into the stadium name in one way or another, probably along the lines of 'Wembley in association with EE.'

   This would be EE's first move into the football advertising world but T-Mobile and Orange have sponsored Bayern Munich and the French football league already.

Via CampaignLive.

In other news:

  • Android Community think they may have proof of a $99 Nexus 7. What do you think? Check out the sourcelink here!
  • Sony has overtaken HTC in the amount of Android based mobile phones sold during Q3 in the UK! HTC, who were previously second, sold 440,000 handsets during the autumn, whereas Sony pushed ahead selling 500,000!

    Unsurprisingly it was Samsung who were out in front but it's good news for Sony, who put their success down to the greater confidence in its name since they dropped the Ericsson branding, but Sony has released so many different handsets to cover every budget and every need that that must have had something to do with their success!
    Mobile Today via Eurodroid.
  • The Xbox SmartGlass app for Android has been updated to have compatibility with 7" tablets as well as phones! Unfortunately there's no news on if or when 10" tablets will have compatibility, but we'll let you know if we hear any more. You can get the update here!
    Via AndroidCommunity.
  • A study from analytics group called App Annie has been released today. The research looked into the revenues generated from both Google Play and the App Store. This first report suggests that Google Play revenue is up 311%! Revenue for the App Store was up a much smaller 12.9% to 2012. Revenue for the App Store was up too, but the growth wasn't quite as spectacular with revenues up 12.9%, but on the whole iDevices are still more profitable. Is this finally the growth of developer profit on Android? Have you got an app and noticed a big difference lately? Let us know!
    Via Slashgear.
  • For those of you without an Xbox Live Gold subscription you will be able to play online for free this weekend because it's a free Gold weekend! Get online guys!
    Via Slashgear.
And finally, if you're the proud owner of a Droid Razr HD or a Droid Razr Maxx HD then it seems that all your Jelly Bean dreams are set to come true next week as Verizon has promised that an OTA is going to arrive "in phases starting next week"! The update will include both Google Now and ISIS compatibility!
Via Engadget.
Android 41 Jelly Bean roll out for Droid RAZR HD, RAZR Maxx HD to begin next week

Thursday 29 November 2012

29/11/2012: Microsoft unveils Surface Pro tablets, HTC HD2 gets a WP8 ROM, Wii U info and more!

Microsoft announces Surface Pro tablets!

   Microsoft's Surface RT have received a relatively lukewarm reception from customers, but Microsoft has something which power users might find more enticing. From January 2013, Microsoft will offer up their Surface Pro tablets which have relatively hefty price tags with them starting at $899 for the 64GB version and $999 for the 128GB variant.

   These tablets will be “standalone” versions, meaning you’ll have to splash out a little bit more cash if you're in need of that keyboard attachment. But, on the plus side you will get a stylus completely free! Obviously this device is very similar to the Surface RT devices and thankfully it keeps the same minimalist styling and the kickstand. 

   There's one quite important change here though and that's with the screen. This time you'll get a full HD, yep 1920x1080p, screen which spans 10.6-inch display and has a 16:9 aspect ratio. The rest of the specs include an Intel Core i5 processor, instead of the ARM processors in the RT versions, as well as a Mini DisplayPort that can output a 2560×1440 resolution, a USB 3.0 port, and a copy of Windows 8 Pro, which comes with all the normal desktop compatible apps.
Via BBC.

In other news:

  • Some lucky UK residents have had their new Wii U's turning up a day early if they pre-ordered from Amazon!

  • It's been reported by Digitimes that TSMC has been struggling to meet Apple's demand since Samsung got their orders ended. Apparently Apple’s consumes somewhere in the region of 200 million mobile processors a year. That on it's own isn't necessarily a problem but we assume TSMC also has to fulfil their orders from Nvidia and Qualcomm and it's unlikely they would choose to drop them in favour of Apple. This might go some way to explaining the slight delays we've seen or delivery times on Apple's various outlets.
    Via Slashgear.
  • According to Android Community Google's Nexus 4 has so proved so popular, or has been hugely under-produced that the current ship times for both the 8 and 16GB models won't arrive at your doorstep until 2013. At the moment the 16GB Nexus 4 says it'll be a 4-5 week wait. But, the 8GB version can go a raise that another few weeks! So an 8GB Nexus 4 will arrive with you at the end of January, in the region of 8-9 weeks time! Is this enough to put you off? Would you head to T-Mobile instead? Get in contact with us on Twitter to let us know!
  • Have you ever heard of VLC Player? Well the guys behind it have had to take to KickStarter to get VLC on Windows 8 off the ground. The guys are looking for somewhere in the region of £40,000 or $64,100 to hire some professional freelance designers  to rework the user interface for Metro. These are donations because the app will be a free download when it's completed.

    Unfortunately this time there will be a few additional issues. Firstly, there won't be a version of VLC for Windows RT available initially, but they have promised support in the future and the other issue is that it's quite likely the app won’t make it in the Windows Store, when it's ready for Windows 8, because the app utilizes banned API's. It seems developing these apps was a step to far for the guys to rely on the standard donations they normally receive. Check out the KickStarter page here if you're feeling ultra-generous!
    Via TheVerge.
  • The Android 4.2.1 binaries for the Nexus 7, 10 and the Galaxy Nexus have been added to the AOSP. Although, the Nexus 4 has been omitted again for the time being.
    Via Engadget.
  • In an interview with IGN, Nintendo's President, Satoru Iwata, said that he was "very sorry," for the painfully long set-up process on their new Wii U console and in a perfect world he thinks users should be able to "use all of the functions [of a console] as soon as they open the box."
    Via Engadget.
  • According Samsung's German Facebook page the Samsung Galaxy S Advance will be getting an update to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and it's scheduled to hit in January! Obviously because this is a Facebook page and they're been slightly unreliable in the past we can't guarantee it, but fingers crossed!
    Via SamMobile.
  • Angry Birds Star Wars has been updated to include 20 new levels. The update was best describe by Rovio themselves when they launched it:
    "It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Evading the dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters has established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth. Unfortunately the evil Darth Vader discovers their hideout, and the desperate Rebel birds must escape the AT-ATs and Pigtroopers hot on their trail. But the Rebels have an ace up their sleeve with the debut of PRINCESS LEIA!" Via IntoMobile.
    And finally, HTC's perpetual phone the HD2 has got another unofficial update to Windows Phone 8! You can see it working in the picture below and the source link here for more information on how to do this to your phone!

    Wednesday 28 November 2012

    28/11/2012: Android gaining on Apple's market share in tablets, Microsoft to fix WP8 rebooting issues, Apple vs. Samsung, RIM vs, Nokia and much more!

    Android is starting to catch Apple in tablet market share!

       It seems Apple is finally having to deal with genuine competitors in the tablet market with Android devices making up 44% of the world's tablet market!

       ABI Research that during the third quarter of 2012 Apple slipped to it's lowest market share in 2010 and the launch of the initial iPad, with a 55% of the tablet market. The guys also said that “with the introduction of a smaller, lower-cost iPad mini, Apple has acknowledged Android’s beachhead of 7-inch-class tablets", although the iPad mini is a considerably pricier competitor. 

       We'll have to see what effect Amazon's stellar Black Friday sales of their Kindle Fire's has on these stats when Q1 2013 rolls round!

    ABIResearch via Eurodroid.

    In other news:

    • Amazon's Android AppStore has finally landed in Japan!
    • Microsoft is reportedly looking into issue which some people have been reporting on their HTC 8X's and new Nokia Lumia's. The Redmond guys said, “We’re continuing to investigate some reports of phones rebooting and have identified a cause with our partners.” They said they "are working to get an over-the-air update out in December.” Via LaptopMag.
    • Apple has successfully got a ban on Samsung phones and tablets in According to the court, those are Samsung's Galaxy device versions 2.2.1 and higher that don't use Samsung's updated "blue flash" photo gallery technology. Samsung has been ordered to pay Apple 100,000 euros for each and every day it violates the ruling. Samsung alos has to disclose how much profit it has made from the infringing products since late June 2011, something the court will later use to decide how much Apple will earn from the lawsuit.
      Via CNet.
    • HTC have appointed a new marketing manager called Benjamin Ho who will replace the outgoing John Wang. He will be in charge of launching “Marketing 2.0″ which will focus the company’s efforts on “holistic marketing and mass-market brand outreach.”

      There's quite a lot of work to be done to turn HTC around and the success of this marketing will determine HTC's future.
      Via Slashgear.
    • RIM has lost to Nokia in the courts after the company "was in breach of contract and is not entitled to manufacture or sell WLAN products without first agreeing royalties with Nokia". This could be a big issue for RIM as they seek to get back on track with their upcoming release of BB10.
      Via ITPro.
    • The Carphone Warehouse is currently selling the 32GB Nexus 7 for £179 which is £20 cheaper than Google's Play Store. The tablet is currently out of stock but we're sure there will be more available soon! You can check here!
      Via AndroidMagazine.
    • There's been reports today that Microsoft may be planning yearly software updates! Which would mean Windows 9 would be here this time next year. This is pure speculation at the moment but we'll let you know if we hear any more!
      Via Slashgear.
    And finally, Pheonix Devices have shown off an updated version of their upcoming WebOS for Android app. You can check out the demonstration below!
    Via Phandroid.

    Tuesday 27 November 2012

    27/11/2012: Google rolling out Android 4.2.1 as the HTC One X gets 4.1, Surface phone pictured? Wii Mini, Cambridge researches studying robot uprisings and much more!

    Google starts rolling out Android 4.2.1 and Play reviews now require Google+.

       A lot has been made in the past few weeks of Android 4.2 and it's seemingly buggy introduction, something we don't normally see with Google's releases. Thankfully, though Google is currently pushing out an update to Android 4.2.1 which addresses most of the problems people have been experiencing on their shiny new Nexus 4 or 10's.

       First up there's a fix for that slight issue where the month of December went AWOL, as well as a fix for Bluetooth stuttering and along with the more minor bugs that have annoyed other early adopters.

       Don't worry about downloading this one over Wifi because the update is just 1.1MB is size, so it won't destroy your data allowance, but at the same time remember this is not a big update, it literally will only fix the calender issue and a few other bugs.

       Secondly, we heard today that Google Play reviews will now need your 'Google+ name and picture' in order for you to post. This is probably a good move on Google's part because it will stop the people who hide behind the veil of anonymity when they issue scathing reviews of apps which developers have spent ages slaving over. On the other hand, it may make the Play Store less accurate as people will be less inclined to offer negative reviews of apps because they'll likely have to offer retorts from the developer!

       What do you think? Should Google have kept the old system or will this one make ratings more accurate? Let us know in the comments below.

    Via DroidDog 1 and 2.

    Sometimes you just can't make this stuff up! Cambridge researchers launch research into the possibility of a robot uprising!

       It seems those clever bunch of people over in Cambridge in England are running short of things to do at the moment because a group of academics has launched a joint project from the CSER, or the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, which is very intriguing indeed. The intellects will form a research group which includes; a philosopher, scientist, and a software entrepreneur and no this is not the start of a joke!!!

       Their goal is to ensure that the 'scientists [who] are concerned that developments in human technology may soon pose new, extinction-level risks to our species as a whole' have their minds set as ease.

       Essentially they're researching the possibility of a robot uprising. Surprisingly 'such dangers have been suggested from progress in AI, from developments in biotechnology and artificial life, from nanotechnology, and from possible extreme effects of anthropogenic climate change.'

       Apparently the 'seriousness of these risks is difficult to assess, but that in itself seems a cause for concern, given how much is at stake.' Erm, we're not really sure quite how to end this one, but when their research is conducted and something is published hopefully we'll have a very interesting follow up editorial to post!

    In other news:

    • Analysts don't seem to be holding out much hope for RIM's upcoming BB10 smartphones. A report published by Morgan Stanley, which Forbes got hold of, explains why they don't see much value in BB10:
    "We continue to believe BB10 has a low chance of success... While some of the new features on BB10 seem innovative, we had a similar reaction to Palm’s WebOS when we saw it at CES in ‘09. Ultimately we believe BB10 is too late, and subs continue to shift to competitive devices. According to a global mobile workforce survey in mid-Oct, just 5% of respondents expect to upgrade to a BB, even below MSFT at 8%.” Via TechnoBuffalo.
    • Hot on the heels of Barnes and Noble's launch of the Nook HD tablet here in the UK, the company has released their free Nook applications for Android, the iPad and the iPhone! Check out your app store of choice to download them!
      Via The WSJ.
    • Nintendo has launched the Wii Mini. It'll be $99 in Canada and it'll be slightly lacking in a few departments. First up there's no internet connection, so no Netflix, there's no GameCube compatibility and Nintendo won't promise it'll work with all Wii accessories. You can find out more details and see some snaps here.
    • On the subject of new Nintendo consoles, the company told CNet that they sold 400,000 Wii U consoles in the US in their first week! Unfortunately there's no news on the rest of the world just yet!
    • Samsung, in a bid to get a bit more exposure for their Galaxy Note II handset, have teamed up with Steak Studio for a little bit of interactive water art. It's pretty cool, the Note II essentially controls pumps which create whatever you draw on the phone in the water!
      Via Android Central.

    • There's a mandatory Xbox 360 update rolling out at the moment. If you sign into Xbox Live you'll be prompted to install the update. At the moment it looks as though the update fixes the issues people have been experiencing with Xbox Music, Video and Smartglass.
      Via Slashgear.
    • Jelly Bean is finally rolling out to owners of HTC's One X! HTC Source said: 

    "The inevitable has finally happened Android 4.1 for the HTC One X is finally here. We’re received dozens of tweets today from our followers who can confirm that the Jelly Bean update for the HTC One X is currently making its way to unlocked HTC phones across the globe. We’ve been able to confirm the update has hit CID_038 and CID_044 devices in India, Argentina, UK, Russia, Dominican Republic, Peru, Brazil and Sri Lanka, but we’re sure the update will be coming to even more markets in the coming hours." Via CoolSmartphone.

    And finally, Neowin has today suggested that this picture, which has turned up on the Windows Phone Facebook page, could be the rumoured Surface phone. It seems the commenter's like the design as much as we do. Unfortunately, we have a sneaking suspicion it is just a render because Microsoft has a habit of promoting their software on make-believe hardware, but we're more than happy to be proved wrong Microsoft, if you're reading!

    Monday 26 November 2012

    26/11/2012: LG Optimus G2 details, Cheap Kindle Fire's, Nokia's Facebook phone, HTC Pop-Up Stores and much more!

    LG Optimus G2 details: Are these next specs for 2013's superphones?

       A Korean publication that has a habit of leaking Samsung and LG's future plans, has reported that LG's production of the Optimus G2 is a way ahead of schedule and will be released at the same time as the Galaxy S IV (or whatever it is called given the number 4 is unlucky in Korea) in approximately six months time.

       If this leak is right then this will quickly become the standard in 2013 and just as we thought specs were starting to plateau there's reportedly; a 5" Full HD LCD panel with 440ppi, made my LG themselves, and a 2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon Prime processor with a next generation LTE radio which will reportedly be even lighter on battery consumption. We're not sure whether the camera will be improved, especially given the 13MP unit which is in the Optimus G is already class-leading and hopefully manufacturers will be prepared to take internal storage to the next level, starting with a minimum of 16 or 32GB's!

       We'll have to wait and see! Perhaps this could be an LG phone which will be successful in Europe given their dwindling mind and market share on this side of the pond!
    Via PhoneArena.

    In other news:

    • Just in case you missed it, you only have this evening to snap up a £99 or $129 Kindle Fire from Amazon because of their Black Friday discounts. Amazon issued this statement today highlighting just how popular the sale has been in Europe:
    “In response to strong customer demand we included Kindle Fire in Black Friday deals week, dropping the price to just £99, and the reaction has been incredible. Customers purchased more than three times as many Kindle devices on Black Friday than on any other day in its history on, and our previous record was impressive,” said Jorrit Van der Meulen, Vice President, Kindle EU.  “This fantastic Kindle Fire offer runs until midnight, Monday 26th November, so customers still have time to snap up a Kindle Fire in time for Christmas.” Via Android Central.
    • Nokia has showed off their new Symbian Series 40 powered Asha 205, which is also a Facebook phone! Now for most people the phone isn't anything to get excited about unless you're a huge fan of bright colours; there's black, cyan, magenta, yellow, and white options to choose from. On the spec front there's 2.4-inch non-touch display, a VGA camera, microSD card support and connectivity is limited to 2G only.
      Via PhoneArena.

    • Samsung have recently been showing off some of their 'stores within stores' and it seems like HTC thinks it's a pretty good idea too, with the Taiwanese company opening their very first 'store' in a branch of Saturn electronics in Hamburg, Germany. We would love to see every company having their own section in a retailer like Phones4U or BestBuy and this is a trend we expect to see more and more. What's your take on the HTC green of that table? It certainly catches your attention!
      Via UnwiredView.

    • Sprint has announced that their 4G LTE will be expanding to eleven new cities today. It's not an earth shattering roll out this time, but it's always good to see carriers expanding their network. The places going live today are: 
    • Anderson, Ind.
    • Clarke County, Va./Jefferson County, W.Va.
    • Harrisburg/Carlisle/Hershey, Pa.
    • Hagerstown, Md./Martinsburg, W.Va.
    • Harrisonburg, Va.
    • Muncie, Ind.
    • Peabody, Mass.
    • Salina, Kan.
    • Shenandoah County, Va.
    • South Bend/Mishawaka, Ind.
    • Winchester, Va.

    • LG's Nexus 4 isn't meant to have LTE capabilities, but that Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset which runs the show has LTE built in and, as we reported on Friday, some Canadian users have managed to get access to their LTE networks. Since then LG has sought to clarify the reason why the Nexus 4 has an LTE radio inside of it. It's because:
     “In order to provide the best possible specification for Nexus 4, LG utilised the same powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset as can be found in its 4G LTE product, namely LG Optimus G. This powerful chipset is only available with a combined processor and modem and cannot be implemented separately.” Via Phandroid

    •  It appears that HTC has confirmed there will not be a version of their 'J Butterfly' or 'Droid DNA' coming to European shores, if a post on their Facebook page is to be believed. We do find it strange that HTC would choose to ignore Europe which has traditionally been a good market for them. Perhaps their statement just means it won't be coming with the HTC Deluxe name? We'll have to wait and see.
      Via GSMArena.

    • The Financial Times has reported that Microsoft may well be planning to launch some of it's retail stores in Europe, with the UK first in line! They reported that 'Microsoft is already in talks with landlords in the UK and is feeling "confident" about launching several stores in 2013'. A store in the UK would be a good platform for Microsoft to launch off of if they wanted to expand to the rest of Europe as well!
      Via PhoneArena.
    • Apple reportedly leased the 'lightning' trademark from Harley-Davidson so that the company could call their adaptors that name.
      Via PhoneArena.
    • Samsung has reportedly terminated their supply of batteries for Apple's iPad's and MacBook's. This comes a couple of months after Samsung terminated its LCD contract with the Cupertino giants. That means that Apple will have to rely on it's other manufacturing partners to make up the gap!
      Via Geek.
    • Digitimes has today said that Google has plans to launch a 12.85-inch touch-screen Chromebook early next year. They have said that Taiwanese company, Compal Electronics , will build the device and Wintek will supply the touch panels. Apparently the device will be shipping as soon as the end of this year!
      Digitimes via Slashgear.
    And finally, we know that smartphones get put through their paces with extensive manufacturer testing before they're released onto the market. But, if you'd like to see a video, not in English, which shows you how mechanised the process is, then hit play below! It's quite interesting to see how Samsung recreates some of the real life situations your phone is exposed to every day!

    Friday 23 November 2012

    23/11/2012: LTE on the Nexus 4: only if you're lucky, Samsung releasing a 'Premium Suite' update for the Galaxy Note 10.1 and more!

    So you can use LTE on the Nexus 4... But only if you're lucky.

        A few days ago the dismantling of LG's Nexus 4 revealed there was in fact an LTE chip inside it, but for various reasons no one thought that that chip would be able to work. It turns out it can, but only in a specific set of circumstances! Find out what they are after the jump!

    Thursday 22 November 2012

    22/11/2012: Happy Thanksgiving! Is this the Blackberry London? Nexus stock checkers, YouTube on Wii U and more!

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

       To our American readers we hope you're having a great day today and that you'll stomachs will be suitably full by the time the evening rolls round! We'd just like to say thank you again for using our site, we really do appreciate it, you're all great!

       If you have any suggestions or a topic you'd like us to cover in an editorial feel free to drop us a line via our contact form or hit us up on Twitter! (We're not scary honest!)

       Anyway have a great day guys and here's today's news!

    Is this the upcoming Blackberry London?

    Blackberry London Leak

       The picture above may be the first sighting we've got of RIM's upcoming BlackBerry London, or L-Series as we know it. The device is actually relatively similar to the Blackberry Dev Alpha, which you can see to the right. 

       The device, if it's definitely real, is due to be launched at a press event on the 30th of January, along with another BlackBerry 10 phone which will be equipped with a QWERTY keyboard.

       There's a good set of specs which have also been floated around which read like this:

    • 4.2-inch display
    • Dual-core processor
    • 1GB RAM
    • 16GB internal memory
    • MicroSD card for memory expansion
    • 8 megapixel camera
       We're really hoping RIM can deliver something which catches the attentions of websites like ours and consumers at large! The industry definitely wouldn't be the same without Blackberry's!

    In other news:

    • Android Police have dug up a little website which will automatically check the stock of Google's latest set of Nexus devices in your area. Annoying we can't get the page to open at the moment but we'll take the guys word for it that it does work! Perhaps they're just have trouble with a huge influx of hits at the moment? You can see if the site works for you here.

      If you can't get that to work then Product-Review have found an app on Google Play which promises to let you know when there's availability! The only thing is it uses a lot of data to keep checking availability, somewhere in the region of '150MB's a month' so unless you're on Wifi or Unlimited data please be careful! You can check this out here!
    • The Barnes and Noble NOOK HD and the NOOK HD+ are available for purchase in the UK! The former has a 7-inch 1440 x 900 pixel display, a 1.3GHz dual-core processor, and is £159 for the 8GB version and £189 for the 16GB version. You can get this one in white or grey and both have an SD Card slot.

      The NOOK HD+ on the other hand is rocking a Full HD 9-inch display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and comes in a choice of 16 or 32 GB's of storage. The smaller option will set you back £229 and the 32GB one is £269.

      If you're after one then you can pick them up from any one of these stores; John Lewis, Argos, Asda, Dixons, Sainsbury, Waitrose, Blackwell’s or Foyles. Or if you'd rather you can metaphorically pick one up from Barnes and Noble's website!
    • Samsung has added the iPad Mini to their lawsuits against Apple and the company has also been allowed access to the finer details of HTC and Apple's recent agreement!
    • An official YouTube app is now available for the Wii U and it allows you to play videos on your TV, while your GamePad acts as the control and shows you all the details about what you're watching including the description, category, views, tags, and comments. Just in case you were worrying it's a free download and a very welcome addition!
      Via Slashgear.
    And finally, it looks like a white Asus' Padfone 2 is on the way!

    Wednesday 21 November 2012

    21/11/2012: Jolla show off the Sailfish OS, Asus perhaps working on Android 4.2 updates? Orange launch messaging app Libon and much more!

    Jolla show off their 'Sailfish OS': Can the little guy make it big?

       Today Jolla showed off their elegant new Sailfish OS, they also brought with them a host of other details about what we can expect from their Meego-based operating system. Head on past the break for the full details!

    Tuesday 20 November 2012

    Editorial: Why I don't want a mobile phone without Samsung's Touchwiz!


    There's not normally a company who can lock me down when it comes to my technology. Let me give you a brief overview of my current set of devices so that you can see my distinct lack of brand loyalty:

       This is something which runs through my phone history too (You can see the full history written during my time at Coolsmartphone here); there's only one brand which can keep me relatively locked down and that's Samsung.

       Why Samsung? I hear you ask, well there's one very good reason for that and that's Touchwiz. Yes you did read that correctly, the only thing which stops me from buying another manufacturers phone is Samsung's Touchwiz. I'm fully aware people despise this piece of software; it slows down updates, it makes the annoying 'blub' sound and it brings with it a host of apps with silly 'S-something' names, but it's the best thing about my Samsung Galaxy S3.

    "It slows down updates, it makes the annoying 'blub' sound and it brings with it a host of apps with silly 'S-something' names, but it's the best thing about my Samsung Galaxy S3."

       Let me explain. Touchwiz does things not everyone else's phones do and these next three things may seem menial and rather unspectacular, but for me and how I use my phone, they make my day so much easier.

    Swipe to Call or Message:

       This is perhaps the best thing other manufacturers have missed from their Android skins. It's unbelievably simply and it works a treat.

       The premise is that you head over to your contacts list you locate the person you wish to contact and then if you would like to call them you pull across their name from left to right and if you would like to send them a text message you pull from right to left. It's flawless and it definitely builds on Google's 'swipe to dismiss' idea very well. Although, credit has to go to Samsung for implementing it as far back as the original Galaxy S.

       This is without a shadow of a doubt something which only saves a couple of clicks, but it is a great addition and was something which I sorely missed when I trialled Windows Phone.

    Sensor controls:
    Secondly, there's my sensor controls. With these there's a bit of a learning curve and I'm not sure I know all of the 'moves' or that I ever will know them all, but they again help to make things simpler and quicker.

    "Direct Call: It's unbelievably simple!"

       My favourite and most used is undoubtedly the 'Direct call' or more accurately the 'Phone to ear' move. Essentially what happens is you get a message from your friend, perhaps they want to meet at the pub in half an hour, but you can't make it for an hour and you want to find out who else is going or sometimes you just want a little chat with them! Well fear not, you've already opened the message to read it, so you put the phone to your ear and like magic it rings.

       It's unbelievably simple, but noone else has thought to do it before, which makes it totally brilliant. I would say I use this five or more times a day! It make it a lot easier, instead of backing out to your messages and swiping left or right as described in the 'swipe to call or message' section. Or if you use a normal Android phone you'd have to return to the main menu and head into the contacts app to place the same call.

       Samsung also added an easier way for you to take screen shots and being in the tech world it's a lot easier to swipe across you screen with a full hand then it is to press a combination of two or three buttons. But, this is something you have to already use to appreciate the change here.

       There's a list of other little things here too; you've got a choice to move your palm to the front of the phone or you can flip the phone over to mute a call (the latter was unashamedly borrowed from HTC's Sense). Or you can double tap the top of your screen to whip back to the top of a long webpage. Or you can shake your phone to rescan for a Wifi or Bluetooth connection instead of clicking away on the screen until it works! There's a few other things too, but these are the only one's I've ever discovered!

    Voice commands:

       Google had a good set of Voice commands running on Android a while before Siri turned up with a genuinely compelling organisation and voice command suite, but this isn't quite on the same level as Siri or Google now, instead it's more simple and surprisingly useful.

       The one voice command I've found myself using more than I thought I would. This time it's making the phones cameras take pictures without pressing the on screen button! I think we've all been there; we've got a group photo coming up, maybe we're using the front-facing camera but reaching for that shoot button blurs the picture as you reach for it. The same could perhaps happen as you move to take a shot with the rear camera, sometimes that small movement blurs the picture. So Samsung kindly lets you say 'shoot' to take the picture. It works flawlessly about 90% of the time and I don't mind saying it twice to get it to work if it means I get that perfect picture! There's a couple of things you can say; "picture", "photo", "cheese" and "shoot" will all work!

    The Wrap-up:

       Perhaps manufacturers get a hard time from people in the tech industry; sometimes they deserve it for releasing shoddy software and never fixing it. Sometimes they deserve it for back tracking on their promises and sometimes they hide behind a their Android overlays and use them as the excuse for not updating to latest version of Android. But, in this case I appreciate Samsung's offering and although I don't use the home screen, it's the other little touches which make Touchwiz. I definitely wouldn't willingly choose another phone over the Galaxy S3 at this moment in time.


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