Alice in Wonderland comes to iPhone


Disney’s latest re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland will soon be hitting big screens around the world, but iPhone owners can already play their way through a game based on the movie.

The game, dubbed Alice in Wonderland: An Adventure Beyond the Mirror, is a 2D platformer with an emphasis on puzzle-solving. Players take on the role of Alice, with her various sidekicks joining in to provide hints.

Every playable character has his or her own special abilities, including one that allows gamers to pause time and another that let them move objects around with telekenesis.

The developers have gone for an old-school look for the game, which means that players will not find any sign of the advanced 3D graphics that some other recent iPhone titles feature.

However, the iPhone’s camera and GPS technology have been harnessed by developers and are used for unlocking some extra features for use in the game world.

Alice in Wonderland: An Adventure Beyond the Mirror is on sale at the App Store for £2.99.





























Quiz games for iPhone from BBC


The Generation Game and Mastermind could soon make an appearance in app form if the BBC decides to bring the famous family entertainment franchises to the iPhone.

The Generation Game was Bruce Forsythe’s show back in the ’70s and ’80s and it clearly has a nostalgic appeal for those who grew up during that period.

The BBC has already made two paid-for apps available for iPhone users, providing TV listings and more with the Radio Times app and appealing to motoring enthusiasts with the Top Gear app.

The BBC’s Simon Dinker told Media Guardian that the BBC is “looking at taking [its] entertainment brands and developing games around them”.

Mr Dinker went on to note that the iPhone was just a small part of the BBC’s multi-platform approach to its television properties, suggesting that many more mobile and static formats will be getting BBC gaming content in the future.

Speculating over how the Generation Game would work, He said: “[It] could work well as a memory game, particularly the conveyor belt!

“We’re also talking about taking on quiz shows. However, these are still aspirations and we have things like rights still to consider.”




























Survey shows mobiles make holidays hard work


Women and youngsters are the two groups most likely to keep their mobile phones on them at all times, a survey has shown, even when they are sunning themselves on the beach during periods away from home and work.

A consumer poll conducted by Travel firm Kuoni found that 25 per cent of respondents to a survey would keep their mobiles by their sides while on holiday.

Given that the survey also found that 75 per cent of respondents considered holidays as important for strengthening (or in some cases ending) relationships, there is a high probability that persistent mobile phone use has far wider ramifications.

Over 2000 UK citizens took part in the survey, once again proving that mobile phones are a national obsession in this country.

With the cost of roaming on a downward spiral and data charges for mobile internet use abroad becoming ever more reasonable, the number of people who pack their mobiles along with their flip flops and sun cream can only continue to rise.





























US network to launch 4G smartphone


US network operator Sprint has been building a next generation 4G WiMax network for some time and it appears to be preparing to launch the first 4G compatible smartphone in the next few months.

Sprint claims that its 4G coverage will encompass more than 30 million people in the USA, with more cities and regions getting coverage as time progresses. It hopes to have 120 million potential 4G customers by the close of 2010.

The usual bandwidth limitations of 3G connectivity are irrelevant with a 4G-enabled mobile phone, making high quality video streaming, file downloads and VoIP calling all seamless experiences.

So far the suggestions that HTC will be the first manufacturer to provide Sprint customers with a 4G mobile phone option are nothing more than rumours.

However, it is known that HTC is working on a brand new smartphone that will be 4G compatible and feature the Android operating system.

4G connectivity is coming from Verizon later in 2010, although this will use LTE rather than WiMax technology.

LTE should also make it to the UK by the end of 2010 or early in 2011, although coverage levels might be limited to start off with.






























Sky TV app coming to Nokia mobile phones


Sky News and Sky Sports are set to come to Nokia mobile phones in the near future, after Nokia and Sky struck a deal to create an application that will be made available on the Ovi Store.

The companies co-authored a press release which indicates that the N97, 5800 XpressMusic and 5530 are all compatible with the app.

Mobiles such as the Nokia X6 and 5230 will also be getting the app after it is tested for complete compatibility.

Nokia UK’s Rupert Englander commented: “Modern lifestyles have driven demand for great mobile content and services on-the-go and it’s great to know that this app will make a real difference to Nokia users.”

Nokia has been keen to push the availability of TV content on its current and upcoming mobile phones, which it hopes will eventually lead to mobiles with support for 3D broadcasts.

The 3D revolution is still some way off for now, so Nokia customers will be making do with various live programs from Sky on their mobile phones.































Virgin Media unveils broadband Travel Passes


Fibre optic broadband provider Virgin Media has launched new passes designed for mobile internet customers who want to surf the web while abroad.

Bundle provider Virgin Media has announced the launch of new Travel Passes for its mobile broadband users.

The company, which also offers fibre optic broadband, digital TV and home phone services, has revealed that the items allow its consumers to surf the web while anywhere in the EU.

Four mobile broadband options are available, with prices starting at £10 for a one-day pass offering 10MB of data.

Jonathan Kini, director of mobile at Virgin Media, said the services mean that customers do not have to worry about accessing the web while abroad.

“Whether it’s searching for the best pizzeria in Rome on your mobile or uploading photos onto Facebook with a laptop and mobile broadband, customers now have control over what they spend on holiday,” he added.

Virgin Media recently confirmed the launch of its new business broadband service, which operates from 40 offices across the UK and is designed to rival BT’s existing services.

Complaint from Kodak has triggered US enquiries


The International Trade Commission (ITC) will begin investigations into the technology used by Apple and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) in their flagship smartphones, after photography firm Kodak complained of patent infringements.

The disputed technology is that which allows users of the smartphones produced by the respective firms to preview the images that they have captured with the built-in digital cameras.

According to Kodak, a settlement of its complaints was attempted with both Apple and RIM, but no satisfactory agreement could be reached, so it was forced to file its case with the ITC.

You may remember that Kodak has already taken smartphone manufacturers to court over the same infringements – and won. Samsung had to pay significant compensation after it was found to be breaching the patents back in December of last year.

Kodak’s complaint to the ITC is being made in parallel with two other lawsuits against Apple, both of which are being fought on US soil.

Apple is seemingly under legal pressure from all sides, with Kodak’s complaints being registered on the same day that other claims surfaced, this time implicating Apple’s use of the digital camera hardware and computing processes.

































Docomo debuts eye-controlled mobile phone


Using in-ear electrodes mounted in headphones, Japanese firm DoCoMo has produced what must surely be the first mobile phone to be able to detect eye movement and translate it into on-screen interactions.

The eye-sensors work by detecting the variations in electrical signals given off when users move their eyes and as such it does not matter whether people have their eyes open or closed; the control still works fine.

DoCoMo has used these sensors to detect movement and then allow the user control over a range of basic functions.

These included answering calls, skipping tracks or pausing music with nothing but a few flicks of the eyes.

Unfortunately, the prototype is not going to make it into mainstream mobile technology any time soon, but the demonstration proved that touchscreen interfaces are by no means the pinnacle of interactivity for handheld devices.



































Orange slashes roaming charges


Mobile phone carrier Orange has announced changes to the way it charges customers for using their mobiles to go online and download content when overseas.

The new flat daily rate could represent significant savings for many Orange users. The plan is to set a base rate of just over £1.70 (2 Euros) for 2Mb of usage per day.

If customers do not opt into the deal, they will be charged £3 for every Mb of data that you download if you surf within an EU country.

Larger daily bundles are also going to be offered, with the most expensive offering 50 megabytes of usage for £8.50 per day.

Orange is hoping to prevent customers from coming back home and finding that they have spent an exorbitant amount on data charges without realising that they were doing so.

Orange’s Yves Maitre said last week that the 2Mb allowance would provide enough wiggle room for “approximately thousands of Twitter messages, 80 to 100 emails (not attachments), 80 to 100 web pages (text) or approximately 15 to 20 images”.



































iPhone users wangling upgrades with insurance scams


The number of iPhone owners who report ‘accidental damage’ to their smartphones rises dramatically when Apple launches a new version, an insurance company has revealed.

A 50 per cent rise in insurance claims accompanied the release of the iPhone 3G S in June 2009, Supercover has disclosed.

A spokesperson for the firm said: “We asked our customers making a claim to send in their damaged phones where possible and when we got the examples back often they were in pieces.”

It was later discovered that many phones exhibited similar markings, where the damage had clearly been caused by a tool such as a hammer, or sometimes the heel of the owner’s footwear.

This is leading experts to believe that many are deliberately breaking their mobiles to get an automatic upgrade.

Supercover’s Ian Macauley said that seeing iPhones sent back in a complete state of disrepair was unusual in genuine cases of accidental damage.

Water damage or scratches and scrapes were common, but the amount of force that is required to smash a phone to bits is far greater than that which is typically exerted upon a damaged phone.

In the end around 25 per cent of the suspicious insurance claims get investigated and turned down by the firm, which could leave some would-be insurance scammers feeling rather silly – and out of pocket.