Archives for posts with tag: Mobile phone

By Deborah Burley

Who says that the end of summer and festival season means that we shouldn’t get out into the open air and camp throughout the winter? The wind may be enough to blow your tent away, you may experience torrential downpours and maybe even snow. But as long as you’ve got the gadgets to get you through any tricky situation then you’re quite happy, right?

Or, maybe like us, you’ll opt for a  Bed and Breakfast until spring.  Whatever your trekking style, make sure you’ve got our top energy-efficient products with you…

Five must-have items for when you’re out in the wilderness

Eton Scorpion

 This is the ultimate camping tool. It has a torch, a USB charger, an audio line output (AUX), a built in flashlight, a weather band radio and even a bottle opener for those crucial beers!

POWERplus bear lantern

With a traditional look and durable build, the bear can be charged through four different power sources. It has an impressive 24 LED light which means that the light will shine for up to four hours. Plenty of time to get your camp fire songs in before lights out.

POWERplus lynx dynamo


 The solar and dynamo powered Lynx may have a stylish white finish but it is certainly not just a pretty face: the heavy-duty radio with AM and FM frequencies looks like it’s ready to take on just about any weather condition  and it’ll also charge your mobile phone.

POWERplus cobra

When you’re exploring the great outdoors you’ll probably be on the move a lot, which is why the POWERplus Cobra is so useful – you can attach it to your backpack during the day to collect optimum solar power and charge your gadgets as you go.

POWERplus seal weather station

It may be a stylish weather station for your home, but you can take this on your adventures too. It’s solar powered so there’s no need for batteries and it’s a great gadget to have when planning those weather dependant activities.


We asked Ernest Doku, our mobile phone expert and general technology guru, to explain the wonder of 3D mobile phones without any of the teccy jargon.

The 3D Market

From Avatar – the highest grossing movie of all time – to the latest PlayStation 3 shooters and even this year’s Wimbledon tennis tournament, 3D has become a huge proportion of the media industry’s output and is likely to only increase over the new few years.

Whether seen as a ploy to get more money from movie ticket sales and sell new TVs or adding a valuable added level of immersion to the entertainment experience, the move of 3D from the cinema into the home is continuing unabated, with sights now set on dominating our mobile phone screens.

3D Mobile Phones

The era of 3D mobile phones is already here, with the LG Optimus 3D and HTC EVO 3D both promising to not only give a boost to the adoption rate of this new three-dimensional medium, but also breathe life to the mobile market from July 2011.

Not only are these mobiles displaying images, movies and even games in 3D, but how they do this differs vastly from the old style red-and-green glasses, or even the new Rayban-style ones offered in your local movie theatre, these handsets harness the latest in glasses-free technology.

How does glasses-free 3D work?

Offsetting the relatively small size of these screens with the high resolution of their displays and fact that no glasses are needed at all, 3D mobile phones truly represent the bleeding edge of current technology.

These displays consist of a ‘switching LCD,’ a different type of screen from earlier, big-screen version of 3D that enables both 2D and 3D imaging to be displayed on the same surface, but without the need for glasses.

Whilst the LCD switch is off, the screen sends the same image to both eyes, so these displays can look exactly the same as those seen on your average smartphone.

When turned on however, the method by which light leaves the screen changes, separating it and allowing for two distinct images to hit the left and right eyes…presenting a 3D image when processed by the brain.

Hopefully the below image helps to explain the complicated technology behind this:

Taking 3D Photos and Making 3D Movies

A great thing about these new phones is that they are as good at creating 3D content as they are at displaying it!

Both the Optimus 3D and EVO 3D come with a pair of 3D cameras on the rear of the device, enabling 3D images and even high-definition 3D videos to be recorded.

With access to YouTube’s new 3D channel on the phone itself in the case of the LG Optimus, a whole new world of user created 3D content is just around the corner!

With simple connectivity to the HDMI ports of new 3D televisions, broadcasting of homemade content is equally as straightforward.

Whilst perhaps seeming a gimmick at first, the promise of capturing a child’s first steps or a couple’s wedding vows can literally take on a whole new dimension once 3D mobile phones take off.

They aren’t even significantly more expensive than the current range of smartphones on the market, so this trend of glasses-free 3D technology embedded in our mobiles could continue for some time to come!

See Also:

Want to see a 3d phone in action? Ernest demonstrates in this video of the LG Optimus 3D

by uSwitch communications expert, Ernest Doku

Whilst we’re all still getting to grips with using the web via 3G internet on our phones, networks are gearing up to take things supersonic with new 4G speeds, coming to the next generation of mobiles.

What is 4G?

4G is very much the next step – the 4th Generation – of mobile communications, and stands to make the transfer of files or data to and from our phones blisteringly fast.

Currently available in the US, plans are in place to bring 4G (also known as ‘LTE’ or Long Term Evolution) to our shores in 2012/2013, once Ofcom helps sort out exactly how the service will be distributed amongst the major telecoms providers.

What is so good about 4G?

Whilst most smartphones currently surf the web using 3G networks (when not connected to wi-fi hotspots), the promise of 4G means a quality service akin to that found on home broadband – meaning that we will be able to do so much more with our mobiles.

4G promises speeds up to 10 times in advance of current 3G services, meaning that the opportunity is there for providers to bring a whole host of new kinds of content to our handsets, as well as bringing super-fast internet to new corners of the population.

Faster song downloads, viewing better quality video (high-definition shows on BBC iPlayer for example) and silky smooth web browsing are all on the cards in the future – provided you have a mobile phone capable of supporting these 4G networks.

O2’s Guru Jack is on hand to explain the difference between 3G and 4G, in his inimitable style…

What are the downsides of 4G?

Well, despite the speedy browsing and downloading wonder that is 4G, it may not do much for current networks when it comes to old-fashioned calling and sending text messages. If your infrastructure is currently patchy when it comes to reception, there is a risk that 4G may not fix it.

Also, the distribution of 4G might be a repeat of many of the problems we currently experience when using 3G in the outside world – namely that there are often gaps in coverage or reception that can throw our shiny new smartphone back into the Stone Age…

Also, the risk is that with speeds ten times faster, we could reach our network-imposed data limits ten times quicker that we currently do.

Whilst a 1GB data limit is a significant amount per month on existing bundles, one episode of The Apprentice (in standard definition) is currently equivalent to around 645MB…almost 2/3rds of our limit!

Factor in the additional size of HD content, and suddenly 1GB doesn’t sound like so much… Hopefully networks will see fit to be more generous with data caps when 4G is introduced, otherwise we may see higher mobile bills before long!

Where are the 4G phones?

Well, as the US infrastructure is somewhat ahead of ours in the UK, the first 4G phones have already landed in stores across America.

Whilst full-fat 4G hasn’t quite rolled out in the US just yet, these phones are enabled to take advantage of existing advancements and will be ready to go once the network is up and running at those impressive speeds.

A 4G version of the modular Motorola Atrix phone is currently available over there, whilst an offshoot of the landmark HTC Evo 4G found itself in UK shops with a revamped form and beefed up specifications as the HTC Desire HD.

Tablets haven’t been immune to the 4G revolution either, with our HTC Flyer being dubbed the HTC Evo View 4G over the pond and the Android-powered Motorola Xoom also gets a boost on US-network Verizon with a 4G-enabled variant.

When it comes to when the raft of 4G-enabled devices will be arriving in the United Kingdom, much like the service it may be late 2012 or 2013 before the mobiles reach the UK.

So when it comes to 4G, it may be a super-fast service and incredibly exciting, but the UK certainly seems in no hurry to embrace the future of wireless communication…

by Ernest Doku

Despite our extensive knowledge of the UK broadband market, a question that we are always inundated with by uSwitch customers is one of data usage.

“How much is my limit?” “How many e-mails can I send before I go over my maximum?” “How much BBC iPlayer can I watch on 1GB of data per month?”

Lucky for us that O2’s new Gurus were on hand to help us decipher the mystery of data amounts!

The Guru initiative has been started up by the network to help consumers to navigate the minefield of broadband and mobile technology by engaging with users, advising them in a clear and concise manner.

In our case, O2 Guru Jack has equated megabytes to peanuts, an analogy so obvious that I don’t know why we hadn’t done it in our broadband comparison section already!

Check out the (handily personalised) video below:

See also:

Just what exactly is a smartphone? Our communications expert breaks it down.

What is an Android phone?