It’s been a long time coming, but on October 30th, EE launched the first high speed 4G network in the UK, enabling customers to take advantage of the superfast data speeds of LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology.

EE or Everything Everywhere, is the new name for the joint network created by the merger of T-Mobile and Orange. EE is now the UK’s biggest mobile network, and has re-branded all it’s 700 high street stores to reflect the new marketing position.

EE is offering a range of phone and mobile broadband packages, including the iPhone 5 and the latest Android devices plus a range of mobile broadband USB dongles and 4G mobile Wifi hubs.

Branded as 4GEE products, prices for mobile broadband contracts start at £15.99  per month plus £49.99 for the USB dongle. Unfortunately at the moment there are no pay as you go contracts available, these have been delayed, so the only option you have is to take out an 18 month contract.

A more attractive proposition is the new Huawei E589 Mobile Wifi hub. The sleek device lets you connect up to 5 Wifi devices at once at superfast LTE speeds. Although there have been similar 3G mobile wifi dongles around for years, with 4G it makes a lot more sense because of the increased bandwidth. Now you can do things like stream HD movies and download large documents on the go without having to wait for the dreaded progress bar to catch up.

The only downside to the new EE offerings is the data limitations. The smallest mobile broadband package allows only a paltry 2GB per month. Whilst you’ll still benefit from lightning fast broadband speeds, if you want to watch movies with your new EE contract, you’ll find that 2GB will run out in a matter of a few hours.

Regardless of the pricing points, these are exciting times for mobile broadband in the UK. These  are the first offerings for 4G customers and EE have done a good job in providing a range of hardware and packages for early adopters to choose from. However, the UK broadband scene is one of the most competitive in the world and with 4G being launched by Three by the end of 2012, the market is set to look a lot more interesting in the near future.

In the US, I recommend getting a Verizon FIOS promotion code to save on broadband. If you don’t have FIOS in your area, you can try a ATT uverse coupon code too.

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The comparison of two different technological products often brings me great pleasure. It allows decisions to be made on what to opt for, and for joy’s sake is just a really fun thing to do. The emergence of so many apps means that very few apps are ‘appsolutely’ unique and for the ones thataren’t, a comparison is in order! So here today in the red corner we have the Official iPhone App, challenging the new kid on the blog in the blue corner: SmugMug’s Camera Awesome. This should be interesting!

Functionality
The original iPhone camera is easy to use and navigate around. The fact it’s been the native application for iPhone photography gives it an advantage over all the others in terms of usability.Anyone looking for iPhone 4 deals, for example will know what they’re in for with the camera app.However, Camera Awesome very intelligently strikes a combo of jabs back with their interface beingalmost identical to that of the official iPhone camera app. This leads to a stalemate in the first round with both apps cancelling each other out.

Features
The second round starts with Camera Awesome striking an unbelievable uppercut followed by a jaband yet another uppercut. The iPhone looks dazed. Camera Awesome simply offers more than the iPhone in this round. With a plethora of touch screen image adjustment capabilities, its opponentlooks like its struggling to keep up. Nearly 300 filters, frames and textures give SmugMug’s app a strong edge. But hang on, what’s this I see? Camera Awesome have tripped over its own feet! The first version of the app allowed us to use the iPhone’s volume up button as the camera’s shutter, just like the original. However SmugMug’s latest version has this feature omitted. A reckless move but Camera Awesome nonetheless still wins the round.

Quality
Both apps start the round strongly. The iPhone’s original camera app provides the firstdemonstration of ability with top quality photos and exemplary end product. Camera Awesomedoes the same, and it looks like this one’s going to be settled on points. However, Camera Awesome makes a surge for a victory through exhibiting a further range of options that allow the picturequality to improve just that little bit more. The original camera app looks like it’s going down. Wehave a knock out!

We have a winner. Camera Awesome came up trumps today. But we’ll have to wait until it challenges Instagram before we can see who the real Heavyweight Champion of the Camera AppWorld is.

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These days most of us carry around some kind of expensive gadget in our pockets. Whilst we all love the convenience and enjoyment our iPhones, iPad and Androids  bring, how many of us consider the expense of having to replace a new smartphone if it gets lost, broken or stolen?

What’s The Cost?

The real cost of smartphones and tablets is hidden from us, obscured by huge subsidies which the networks make back by locking us into 2 or even 3 year contracts. If you lose your smartphone unexpectedly, it could leave a serious hole in your pocket.
For the latest models, the economics are simple. A quick look on Amazon reveals the cost of a new, contract-free iPhone to be over £500. The same goes for the top Android phones. However, if your phone is a bit older, you should seriously weigh up the cost of insurance versus replacing your current phone. Virtually all mobile phone insurers charge an excess, sometimes up to £100 so you really need to do your homework before forking out on a premium.

Types Of Mobile Phone Insurance

There are lots of places selling insurance for phones, here’s a breakdown of the main options.
Mobile phone companies
Every network has it’s own insurance policy it can sell you. Although convenient, these policies tend to be a bit pricey. For example, both Vodafone and 02 charge over £12/ month to insure an iPhone with them, that’s over £300 over a standard 2 year contract.
Specialist providers
There are a handful of specialist companies selling mobile phone insurance. Some of the biggest are Foneguard, Talkcover and Gadget Guardian. They offer a range of policies from as low as £1.49 for a PAYG phone. It’s a competitive industry so it’s best to browse all of the offerings. These companies will also typically offer policies for laptops, iPads and other electronic gadgets.
Home contents insurance
If you have an expensive phone, you’ll get the best insurance deal if you can include it on your home contents insurance. The biggest downside here is that you may suffer a big no-claims penalty if you decide to reclaim back the cost of your lost or stolen phone.
Premium bank accounts
Many banks now offer a range of extras like phone and travel insurance if you pay for one of their premium accounts. In the same way you would look for the best mobile phone deals , just make sure you check the small print before signing up, to ensure you’re getting the right policy for you.

The Pitfalls

Many people have had bad experiences with phone insurance. Unlike other forms of cover, the price you pay doesn’t depend on age, sex or any other demographic factors. Therefore, you generally get a one size fits-all policy, full of get-out clauses for the insurer and little comeback for the consumer.For instance, most thefts are not covered unless they are accompanied buy a ‘threat of violence’. Therefore if you’re pick-pocketed, your bag is stolen on the beach (as happened to me last summer!) or you are in a public place while the theft occurs, your claim is likely to get turned down. Also, most policies say you need to report the theft within 24-48 hours to the police.To avoid disappointment, you should think of every eventuality where your phone might be lost or stolen and then quiz your insurer to see if their cover still applies.

Take Precautions!

Apart from spending money on insurance, there are lots of preventative measures you can take to save the massive inconvenience of losing your phone. These will also protect you against any security risks of having your private data comprised.
Backup strategies
You should always have your numbers and contacts stored separately away from your phone. Even the most basic phones now have sync software that lets you load your phone’s data onto your home computer. There are also web based services like Mobyko and Anywr that allow easy backup of all your phone data including calendars. Apple ios5 users now have the benefit of iCloud technology which auto-magically syncs contacts, calendars – even music and photos between iPhones, Macs and iPads – very smart! Finally, you could always resort to a pen and paper backup. It might be old school, but you’ll be very grateful if you suddenly find yourself without any of your contact numbers following a loss or theft.
Common sense rules
Remember to be streetwise when using your phone in public. Walking and texting without a care in the world will make you an obvious target to any opportunist thieves. Be extra careful when abroad. Only set your phone to make international calls if absolutely necessary. And most importantly, report any crime to both the police and your network provider as soon as you can.

Finally, it’s up to you to weigh up the pros and cons of buying insurance. If you’re a scatterbrain with the latest expensive smartphone you might need the extra peace of mind. But if you’re a risk-adverse individual and your phone isn’t the top of the range, you might decide otherwise. Just be careful, do your homework and you’ll make the right decision.

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After much delay and deliberation, the mobile giant 02 has finally started  it’s first large scale testing of next generation ‘4G’ LTE ( Long Term Evolution) mobile networks in the capital, London. This trial will pave the way for mass adoption of 4G mobile broadband in the UK, allowing much faster data transfers, ( at least 10 times faster that current 3G speeds)

Although LTE does not initially  qualify as a true 4G technology (officially it’s 3.9G), it’s likely that the marketing channels will use the 4G moniker to refer to this new generation of mobile networks, which will eventually replace 3G.

This is an extension of earlier trials in Slough earlier this year. During the 9 -month testing period, participants will be given Samsung B3730 mobile broadband dongles which theoretically can support 100 Mbps. However, the 2.6GHz technology when it is fully up and running will be able to rival the speeds of the fastest current fibre networks, up to 150Mbps.

Several organisations are taking part including the department store John Lewis, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and some small businesses.

The London trials cover a 40 km square area in the heart of the city and are designed to fully explore the capabilities of a high speed network in a dense urban sprawl such as London.The area extends, not surprisingly from the landmark 02 Arena in North Greenwich, and over to the financial district of Canary Wharf. It also covers other important regions includingWestminster, Soho, Kings Cross and Paddington.

Areas covered by the new LTE O2 trials in London

LTE allows a much greater bandwidth, so users will be able to make high quality video calls on the move and stream HD video straight from their mobile devices. Although this is an exciting development for mobile broadband in the UK, we are still lagging by several years compared to other parts of Europe. Sweden and Norway have enjoyed 100Mbps LTE speeds since 2009. A fully commercial 4G offering in the UK is not realistic until 2013 at the earliest.

Sources:

http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/networking/2011/11/14/o2-turns-on-london-4g-trial-40094406/

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/broadband/3317972/o2-4g-trial-offers-50mbps-for-some-consumers-businesses/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15717913

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5 iPhone functions that Apple don’t want you to know about….

August 9, 2011

The iPhone is capable of many functions, most of which Apple like . There are a few that Apple doesn’t talk about and really don’t want you to know about. Here are the top 5 functions  the they try to hide. 5 iPhone functions that Apple don’t want you to know about 1. Device Firmware […]

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Satellite Broadband – Another Option For Rural Internet Access

July 29, 2011

Broadband connectivity has long been a problem for rural parts of the UK. While the number of broadband ‘not-spots’ and ‘slow-spots’ are slowly falling and connectivity is improving, there are parts of the UK that are still unreachable to traditional forms of broadband, with a satellite broadband service often being the only solution for homes […]

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High Speed 4G LTE Trials Begin In Cornwall

June 7, 2011

Although we have well and truly entered the digital age with the vast majority of households in the country being online, there are many areas of the UK that are still unable to hook up to the internet through no choice of their own. Many rural areas receive laughable speeds that would be outperformed by […]

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Mobile Apps Boost Pizza Profits

May 21, 2011

DOMINO’S TOPS £10 MILLION IN MOBILE SALES AND LAUNCHES NEW ANDROID APP Domino’s Pizza, the pizza delivery expert, has topped sales of £10 million through its mobile channels. The company’s phenomenal growth in mobile sales has today been bolstered with the launch of Domino’s new Android ordering app. Domino’s existing mobile channels include an iPhone […]

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Ipads, Tablets and Smartphones Keep On Driving Up Mobile Broadband Usage

May 11, 2011

Mobile Broadband Usage on the Up All the statistics show that mobile broadband usage is growing faster than ever before. There are clear reasons for this, the most obvious being that people have never had a greater hunger for mobile internet access and there are a rash of new devices which are allowing more people […]

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Mobile Broadband is it compatible with Linus system?

March 4, 2011

Question by JULES B: Mobile Broadband is it compatible with Linus system? Will vodafone mobile broadband work with the linus system I mean Linux system, as i am buying netbook Best answer: Answer by jamesmicoffOnly if the product says so. Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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