Category Archives: mobile phone

Skype For iPhone

Although I’ve been using Fring on my iPhone, I’m delighted to see that Skype will now be available on the iPhone and should be on the App store sometime tomorrow (Tuesday, March 31).

CNET have had a first hand look and a bunch of screenshots, so check them out.

iPhone Saves The Day

The title may seem a tad excessive, but I assure you its not!

I had an assignment near Bristol a few days ago, involving a portrait of someone and several thousand trees they had planted. The best way to illustrate this was to get the subject in a helicopter and photograph them with the landscape below.
Photo taken in the air on the iPhone
I got onto the helicopter and we made our way to the subject’s farm. As we got close to the town, the pilot realised that there didn’t seem to be a grid reference for the location of the farm (although he did have one for the second location where the trees were).  Now anyone who has the slightest idea how expensive helicopters are to hire will begin to feel my panic!
I had a brain wave (instead of a heart attack) and got out my iPhone. Started up Google Maps and hit search, which found us (I have yet to see a faster moving icon!!). After typing in the postcode to the farm it showed that we weren’t too far away and we managed to locate the correct field and land in it, just by following our location in relation to our destination on the iPhone’s screen. Phew, the job was saved!
Now I’ve often resorted to using my iPhone when my car’s built in and rather expensive Sat Nav fails to find where I want to go, have also used it when on foot, and even used it for cab drivers who get lost, but never in a million years did I think I’d use it in the air!

Update: Good news folks. The iPhone V3.0 software has just been announced by Apple and its now got the facility for developers to write “turn by turn” Sat Nav Apps for it; Tom Tom, bring it on!!

iPhone 3G

Well, it was inevitable. After my appreciation for the way the iPod Touch works, it was only a matter of time before I gave in and got myself an iPhone 3G. After around a 30 minute process, I left the Apple Store with my shiny white 16Gb iPhone 3G.

I don’t want to go over matters already explored in the iPod Touch articles here and here, but all of these naturally apply to the iPhone 3G.
With the roll out of MobileMe (daft name, great service), any individual can now have a fully synced range of computers and iPhones (and iPod Touches) where all your contacts and calendar entries, Safari bookmarks, along with email accounts are all identical, on all machines. Those working in corporate environments have had this for a while; the necessary thing being an Exchange server (with which the iPhone 3G is compatible). Now, with nothing more than an annual subscription to MobileMe, this service is open to individuals. There are other benefits too like an email address, web space and a virtual 20Gb hard drive (for backing up important documents, off-site).
In use, the iPhone is pure elegance. Everything’s intuitive and like most things Apple, just works. After syncing with iTunes, all my email settings were copied over, contacts, calendars and bookmarks also followed suit. The only thing that I had to do manually was choose which music and presentation slideshows I wanted copied over, as the space on the unit is limited to 16Gb.
I’m still getting used to the keyboard, but its not too bad. The way the phone works in perfect harmony with its other apps is very neat. If you see a number on a web page, just hit it and the phone will ring it.
The GPS is quick, and very quick if WiFi is also turned on. It found my position accurately within 15 seconds of starting from cold. The inclusion of Google Maps is very handy and will serve navigating tiny streets in The City well, when away from my car and its Sat Nav.
I also really like the way it stores texts between you and individuals as conversations. No more trying to figure out what one word answers were about.
Safari works perfectly and having a 3G phone now means I’m not in search of hotspots.
With O2, all tariffs include unlimited UK data. Email and surf to your hearts content; you won’t be paying a penny extra. You also get use of The Cloud and BT OpenZone hotspots thrown in the deal.

Call quality on the handset is superb. Even with around 3 bars reception, all the calls I made were crystal clear, both for me and the recipient.
Its early days, so I can’t comment on how good O2’s service is going to be. I just wish that the iPhone 3G was available on Vodafone. Now that Apple’s mobile works more like traditional mobile manufacturers business models, I do hope that these exclusive deals will stop and the phone will be rolled out on other networks.
My only other wish at present is that battery technology catches up with the demand the phone makes. Hammering the phone with 3G and WiFi switched on, whilst playing music, games and other apps, making calls and sending texts, the battery got down to a quarter power in half a day. I realise this isn’t typical day to day usage, but I would advise always having a car charger handy and never travelling without a charger (or at least the USB charging cable for attaching to a laptop).

Since last writing, I’ve found a few more apps which are keepers:
AP Mobile News Network – bit US based, but a good source of international news.
Fizz Weather – very accurate.
Wiki Me – Finds articles to do with your location.
Chopper – great little game!

Apple has produced an amazing product. Married to MobileMe, its untouched in the market place. This is even more astonishing when you realise that this is only the company’s second phone!

UPDATE: Now that I’ve had the phone for a few days, I can comment properly on battery use. After the initial couple of days of constantly fiddling with the phone, things have settled down to me using the phone as I would normally. I’ve kept the 3G and WiFi on constantly and used it day to day to keep up with emails, surf the web, play music now and again and play the occasional game. I’m actually surprised that by the end of the day (around 11pm) I still have around a quarter power left in the battery. As I mentioned, part of this is the device being used as the tool it is, as novelty wears off and also because the battery’s had a few charge cycles and begins to bed in.

My second comment is to do with MobileMe syncing. At one point my iCal entries (there were two) weren’t being synced. The way I got this to work was switching off syncing on the iPhone itself (Settings/Mail, Contacts and Calendars/My .Mac Account and then slid the Calendars switch to off. Then press the home button). After a minute, I switched it back on and in a few seconds it synced everything up fully. This same trick should work with Mail, Contacts and Bookmarks.

Nokia E71

At long last, the Nokia E71 has arrived to our shores after its recent launch. Vodafone has it listed as “coming soon” and its available SIM free from several outlets.

I’ve been using the phone for over a week now and must say that I’m extremely impressed by it.
I had the E61 previously which served me well. The E71 does everything the E61 does, but better and in a much smaller and more stylish package.
Although the E71 is much smaller, the keyboard is a work of genius and is surprisingly much easier to type on than its predecessor.
The phone supports push email on both POP and IMAP services which is handy for checking out emails on the move without resorting to taking out the laptop.
The web browser on the device is also very capable and makes it very easy to check the internet when needed on both 3.5G and WiFi.
The user interface has been improved and the phone’s screen and hard key shortcuts are fully customisable. What’s more, the Symbian OS is much faster and there is practically no lag when using it.
I’ve also found the battery life (which is changeable) to be excellent, easily lasting for over two days of solid use.
The only negative point so far is that when syncing with a Mac using iSync and the Nokia plug-in, the descriptions field in the calender is cut short and will only carry a long paragraph. The E61 didn’t have this problem and long text could easily be added and synched from computer to phone and back again. I find this a huge problem as it means I can no longer put long details for assignments on the phone. I do hope this is sorted out soon.
Apart from that, I’m very impressed by the phone and can’t recommend it enough. The only other phone which has caught my interest is Apple’s new 3G iPhone which I’m toying with getting on a separate phone line.

First Reviews for Apple’s 3G iPhone

The first reviews are now hitting the internet for the 3G iPhone.

In a nutshell things seems positive with the faster 3G, the news apps and GPS with the only real downside seeming to be the shorter battery life (which still seems to last an average day).

See the reviews in their entirety at:


Apple 3G iPhone now available to order

I’m sure almost everyone has heard of the new 3G iPhone. Its launch date is July 11, but you can also now order it direct from O2 and have it delivered for the 11th.

iPod Touch


I’ve always been a fan of the Apple iPod. My first one was the second generation and it had 20Gb of storage space. I used it as much as a music player as I did a portable firewire hard drive.

How things have moved on! The latest models go up to 160Gb! However, the one that caught my eye was the iPod Touch. Not so much a music player, but a portable computer. The version I have is the 32Gb version and I have my music on there as well as a few videos.
However, the thing I use it most for is presentation of work. It can can handle pictures which can be seen as a slideshow or manually flicked through. More importantly for me, it can show audio visual slideshows which are in Quicktime format. I can now carry all my photo essays in my pocket!
Its next amazing ability is its full web browser. Now, our mobile phones can browse the web, but the Touch (like the iPhone) has a full version of Safari, which means you can see web sites in their fullest and not a cut down version that mobile phones show. Also, by turning the Touch on its side, you can view the site horizontally. The only downside is that the Touch doesn’t yet support Flash, but I’m hopeful that this will be addressed.
I use this a lot to do research when on the road and working on a story. It also has a brilliant email application (called Mail) which lets you download email and reply, much like you would from a laptop. The thing that puts it head and shoulders above mobile phones though is that it can open attachments properly and without fuss.
To add to its usability, if your mobile phone supports it, you can install Joikuspot. This turns supported mobiles in hotspots, which means if there’s no WiFi for you to hook up to with your iPod Touch, you just start the software on your phone, and look for it as a WiFi hotspot on the Touch. Naturally this will also work with a laptop.
If and when Apple bring out a new 3G iPhone (rumoured to be June), this will naturally eliminate having to set up your Joikuspot hotspot.