Delayed Samsung Ativ Odyssey Windows Phone will hit Verizon shelves on January 24th

Samsung Ativ Odyssey Verizon Windows Phone

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 launch event was headlined by the appearance of Jessica Alba, but otherwise very little unknown information surfaced about the operating system or the devices it would appear upon. One smidgen of news that did emerge, however, was that a Samsung device, depicted by a lonely silhouette and named the Ativ Odyssey, was in the pipeline for a December release on Verizon in the US. Of course December came and went without a release, but CES gave Samsung the opportunity to show the 4″ Windows Phone 8 device to the world. Now, a press release has stated that the phone will be available sooner rather than later, with stores set to receive the Ativ Odyssey and Valentine’s Day editions of the Nokia Lumia 822 and Motorola Droid Razr M tomorrow (January 24th).

The Odyssey joins the Lumia 822 and HTC 8X in Verizon’s lineup of LTE Windows Phones, and its microSD slot and 2100mAh battery should win it some fans, although the 800 x 480 screen resolution and 5MP camera show that it is pitched towards the lower end of the market. As with almost all other Windows Phone 8 devices, the package comes powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chip accompanied by 1GB of RAM, and it will be available for $49.99 with a new 2 year contract, while whispers of a European launch remain unconfirmed but not impossible.

Via Engadget
Source Verizon Wireless

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HTC One X+ review

When HTC unveiled the One family at MWC earlier this year, the simplified line-up was meant to represent a new beginning for the Taiwanese firm. One range of phones for the entire world was supposed to be the result of a shift of focus from quantity to quality, and overall they impressed us. When we reviewed the One X back in August, we concluded that it was a stunning phone and confidently pointed towards a bright future for HTC. Sense aside, HTC could be in a position to become market leaders. But then things changed.

Surrendering to the wills of various carrier partners, mostly in the United States, HTC’s production lines began to churn out even more devices. Since that impressive MWC launch in February, no fewer than 10 Android devices have been launched by the company in various parts of the world, many of which did not bear the One family name. The most recent of these – and the company’s new European Android flagship – is the One X+ which, at first glance, looks no different to the original One X. How does it fare against its latest rivals, and, with new devices just around the corner at CES and MWC after the turn of the new year, is it worth your money? Read on to find out.

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TIM opens 4G LTE network in 4 Italian cities

Yet another carrier can be added to the list of those bearing LTE compatibility as the Italian carrier TIM has flipped the switch on its new “Ultra Internet 4G/LTE” network. It debuts in Milan, Rome, Turin and Naples and is set to reach a further 20 cities by the end of the year, with half the Italian population in LTE areas by the end of 2014.

Currently the network is limited to LTE modems and tablets, and €35 gets you a very respectable 20GB per month in both tariff and contract form. Available at €349 upfront is also an LTE modem (Onda MT8205) with 12 months worth of the 20GB data plan. Tablet offers include a €35 plan if you already have a compatible 4G LTE tablet or €45 a month for the deal with a free Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE. The Italian arms of 3 and Vodafone are also set to launch LTE services by the end of the year, so 4G seems set for a speedy rollout through Italy.

Source TIM

EE’s ‘How Bacon Rolls’ advertising campaign launches 4G to UK consumers

Following the launch of their LTE network in 11 UK cities on Tuesday, EE has premiered their first TV commercial featuring Hollywood star Kevin Bacon. Entitled ‘How Bacon Rolls‘, the spot features Bacon speaking about his industry connections and how the use of EE’s services can help customers become as well-connected as Bacon himself. Further commercials featuring the actor reprising some of his most famous roles are set to follow, but for now you can see the 2 minute spot below. See if you can spot the HTC One S – a phone that EE is not offering with 4G LTE connectivity – being used by an EE customer in the advert.

Source @EE

EE confirms 4G pricing as LTE network launch looms

In preparation for the launch of their 4G LTE service on October 30th, EE today confirmed the pricing of devices and services on their network. All deals will include unlimited calls and texts, while deals above and including the £41 tier will get an additional media service from a choice of Deezer, 2 Gameloft games per month or live mobile TV from up to 20 channels. A £10 surcharge is applicable to any plan to reduce its length from 24 to 12 months, and existing Orange and T-Mobile customers who have signed deals in the last 6 months may make the switch to an LTE-enabled device for £99 plus any applicable change in monthly cost.

The reception to the tariffs has been hostile from many consumers, with some accusing EE of abusing their temporary monopoly on LTE in the UK and others pointing out that the late timing of this announcement allows for the costs to be buried while many customers sleep. As more networks introduce LTE services over the next year prices will undoubtedly be cut down, but until that point EE’s stranglehold on the market will ensure that the price you have to pay for the fastest data connection in the UK is not a cheap one.

Contract pricing with devices
All plans include unlimited calls and texts.

Monthly cost Plan length Data
£36 24 months 500MB
£41 24 months 1GB
£46 24 months 3GB
£51 24 months 5GB
£56 24 months 8GB
£46 12 months 500MB
£51 12 months 1GB
£56 12 months 3GB
£61 12 months 5GB
£66 12 months 8GB

Subsidised device pricing (plus 24 month contract)

Device £36 (500MB) £41 (1GB) £46 (3GB) £51 (5GB) £56 (8GB)
Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE £179.99 £139.99 £89.99 £39.99 £29.99
Apple iPhone 5 16GB £179.99 £109.99 £49.99 £29.99 £19.99
Samsung Galaxy S III LTE £149.99 £49.99 £29.99 £29.99 £29.99
HTC One XL £149.99 £49.99 £29.99 £29.99 £29.99
Huawei Ascend P1 LTE £19.99 Free Free Free Free

Via The Verge / Coolsmartphone

HTC Sense 4+ review

This summer I reviewed the HTC One X, a phone that came preloaded with Android 4.0.1 and HTC’s comparatively lighter but nevertheless bloated Sense 4 skin. You might recall I went on a bit of a rant about it, with the problem being that it lagged. A new operating system on a top of the line phone should not be stuttering on the homescreen. Now, to coincide with the release of the One X+, HTC has come up with an answer. The new Sense 4+ skin is layered on top of that buttery Android 4.1 goodness, also known as Jelly Bean, but does it fix the inherent problems its predecessor had? Read on to find out.

The Good

HTC really has fixed a lot with the new version of Sense. Most noticeably, the stuttering has been eradicated completely and utterly. I’m not completely sure whether this is down to the new Jelly Bean’s Project Butter or simply HTC’s optimisations, but it really doesn’t matter. Whatever they’ve done, it makes the phone a joy to use. Expandable notifications have been introduced too, bringing all sorts of new functionality to your pull down shade. The only problem with these is the slightly awkward two finger pinch gesture to open them up – something that is not present in stock Android. The keyboard is really a lot better than it used to be, nixing the pointless arrow keys at the bottom and adding altogether better feedback and responsiveness. My biggest annoyance with the One X has also been fixed – the menu button situation. It used to be that the One X did not have a hardware menu button, with a software version popping on screen as and when it was needed, wasting about a tenth of the screen real estate. With this update, TC has added the option in settings to reassign the multitasking button to menu. Holding down this button with this setting enabled will take you to recent apps, giving back the screen that was taken. Google Now, Android’s answer to Siri, has also been added, with a long press of the home button propelling you straight into the new voice search feature. While I don’t want to go as far as to compare it with Siri as they both perform different functions, I have to say the retrieval of data is snappier and the voice is not nearly as robotic.

The Bad

There isn’t really much that has become worse in Sense 4+. After all, it is an update: something supposed to make something else better, unless you are Apple.

The Ugly

There is a lot in this section, and while there is not as much as there used to be, the list of negative aspects of Sense only reinforce my desire to see stock Android being shipped on more than one phone a year. The first thing is the icons, which remain childish and displeasing to the eye. Compared to the polished look of iOS, Windows Phone and post-ICS stock Android, you realise how far behind such skins remain, and a little customisation with an icon pack goes a long way aesthetically. I still feel that the greens and whites of Sense clash with the deep blues and Tron-like lighting of Holo clash horribly, however certain elements appear pleasant and muted. Another thing that hasn’t been fixed is the lockscreen shortcuts, still default to the ones you have placed in your dock.

Conclusion

Overall, I think Sense 4+ is a great upgrade over Sense 4, making Sense a decent skin once again. It makes it smoother, faster, slicker and better looking while also tying in new functionality that you won’t necessarily find in a stock Android build. If you are a user of one of HTC’s One series phones, I urge you to upgrade to keep your sanity and enjoy the butter.

EE 4G LTE network to launch in UK on October 30th

After introducing themselves and their initial 4G plans to the UK last month, EE CEO Olaf Swantee today confirmed that the nation’s first LTE network will go live on October 30th. The network will initially become active in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield, and service will expand to Belfast, Derby, Hull, Nottingham, Newcastle and Southampton before the year is out. From that point, their ambitious rollout plans expect to have 70% of the country covered by the end of 2013, with this figure increasing to 98% a year later, matching their current 3G footprint. Device-wise, 7 compatible phones and 2 mobile broadband devices have had compatibility confirmed. These are:

Pricing and availability for these devices have yet to be confirmed, but the press release also confirms a forthcoming event where full details will be announced. As for customers who have already purchased the iPhone 5 from T-Mobile or Orange, they will be able to switch networks at launch.

Press Release

Statement to be attributed to Olaf Swantee, CEO, EE

We are delighted to announce that the official launch of our new customer brand, EE, offering the UK’s first superfast mobile 4G and fibre broadband service, will take place on the 30th October 2012. This is a significant milestone for the United Kingdom, and for the people and businesses of our country who will now be able to enjoy the huge advantages of superfast 4G technology for the first time. We are very proud to be pioneering, innovating and leading our industry in launching 4G for our nation through our new EE brand.

Notes to editors:

1. EE will be releasing invitations to a press event shortly to announce full details of its new brand and exciting new superfast services.

2. EE will be the first brand in the country to offer a mobile 4G LTE service, the pioneering new technology that offers superfast mobile internet at speeds typically five times faster than 3G speeds today.

3. EE will launch 4G in ten cities on the 30th October, and will cover 16 cities – a third of the UK population – by the end of the year. Customers on the EE brand will also have access to the biggest and best 3G network in the UK. Further towns, cities and rural areas, will follow rapidly with coverage to reach 98% by 2014.

4. 4G technology provides indoor and outdoor coverage for superfast web browsing.

5. EE’s 4G services will be available on a number of exciting handsets including the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S III LTE, Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Lumia 820, HTC One XL and the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE.

Via The Verge
Source EE Newsroom