Mobile phones from 1920s unearthed


A film clip showing a portable phone being used back in 1922 has been discovered by British researchers.

The term ‘mobile’ is slightly misleading in this instance, as the clip shows a pair of women strolling along with a large phone-like device, which they then hook up to a fire hydrant before unfurling an umbrella to act as a large transmitter and receiver.

At the other end of the line is a switchboard operator, who sticks on a record to play down the line to the ladies. Researchers at British Pathe are attempting to unearth details as to just how the filmmakers went about creating the technology all those years ago.

”It’s amazing that nearly 90 years ago mobile phone technology and music on the move was not only being thought of but being trialled,” said researcher Mark Harris.

Even more amazing is the fact that the mobile is actually being classed as the first example of a flip phone, because the design incorporates a movable lid.

”We would be delighted to hear from anyone who can tell us anything about the film, from where it is shot to who the women might be or even about the phone itself,” Mr Harris continued.










‘Cursed’ mobile number axed


Mobile number 0888 888 888 is no longer in use after the last three users who were allocated it came to premature and rather grisly ends.

The most recent victim who happened to have the number was millionaire drug dealer and real estate broker Konstantin Disheliev, who was killed in a restaurant back in 2005.

The previous owner was one Konstantin Dimitrov, another narcotics kingpin who also met his maker at a restaurant when assassinated by alleged mobsters from Russia in 2003 whilst eating a meal with his girlfriend.

Before these two crims bit the bullet, the precedent was set by mobile phone executive Vladimir Grashnov, who died of cancer in 2001, although this disease was allegedly inflicted upon him by a competitor, according to The Telegraph.

For five years the rather unlucky number has lain dormant, although when you consider the activities of at least two of the victims, it is unsurprising to see that they might possibly be targets for violence.










Android Fring app enables video calls


Fring has launched a new version of its Android app offering the chance to make video calls to other Fring users on various smartphone platforms.

Fring can encompass the profiles that users have with Google Talk, Skype and instant messaging apps and now allows people to call an iPhone-owning friend in full colour video from their Android mobile, provided they also have Fring installed.

Fring says that its video calling service will only be available if the app can get enough processing power to make the experience smooth. The likes of the Google Nexus One should be fine, but this means that older Android-based smartphones might be left behind.

Fring and Skype go hand in hand, so video calls with Skype contacts should be easily achieved whether users have a Wi-Fi connection or good 3G coverage.

Consumers with unlimited mobile internet deals can use Fring’s video calling for free, according to The Register, although the whole concept of video calling has never really taken off in the UK despite being around for many years.









Google responds to Android phone battery life problems


Google’s Larry Page has spoken about the issues that some Android users have experienced with limited battery life, in an address in which he seemed to shift the blame for the problem away from his firm.

Mr Page, who is one of the founders of Google, told an audience at the Google Zeitgeist event earlier in the week that Android-based phones that do not give users a day’s worth of operation from a single charge had technical flaws rather than software issues.

“I have noticed there are a few people who have phones where there is software running in the background that just sort of exhausts the battery quickly. If you are not getting a day, there is something wrong,” said Mr Page.

“The primary consumer of the battery life on these phones is the transmit/receive circuit. So tuning that and obviously figuring out a way to not use too much of that extends your battery life. And people bring in applications that are not particularly smart about that,” added Google’s Eric Schmidt.

Battery life is one of the areas in which current Android users believe there needs to be significant improvement, according to Tech Radar. With Android 2.2 on the horizon, battery optimisation could be a key priority.












Remote wiping coming to Android phones


An Android app allowing smartphone owners to delete their personal data from their handset remotely is being developed by security software firm Symantec.

The Norton Smartphone Security for Android app is going into beta testing in June and will enable users to erase everything on their mobiles just by sending a text, which is certainly useful if the phone becomes lost or stolen.

The softer option of simply locking your Android smartphone from any kind of unauthorised access is also going to be available.

Symantec’s cloud computing service is also becoming integrated into Android, as well as the iPhone, with users able to access data they save to the cloud from wherever they are, effectively storing it away from the phone and out of reach of prying eyes.

Software developers that typically work on anti-virus suites for desktop computers are yet to see substantial market demand for mobiles as the threat from malware and viruses is minimal.

However, there is a chance that with greater internet access via mobile phones, we will have to start scanning them regularly to keep them spyware-free.







iPhone app launched to find World Cup pubs


Phone owners with a football and drinking habit will be able to find out which of their local hostelries will be showing key World Cup 2010 matches thanks to a newly launched app.

Available now from the App Store, Footy Pubs 2010 app lets users home in on the pubs showing the games that they want to see, no matter which national team they’re backing to lift the Jules Rimet trophy.

A spokesperson for developer Drinksin said: “When you next need to find a World Cup pub, don’t waste time wandering the streets trying to find somewhere, download Footy Pubs 2010 for Free.

“Tap the Matches Nearby button, which uses GPS to locate you, for instant access to a list of glorious pubs showing the game just around the corner from where you’re stood.”

The app will give step by step directions to pubs wherever and allows buyers to broadcast their intentions to friends and family.














diamond-studded iPad unveiled


Britons grousing about inflated iPad prices in the UK have been given food for thought in the shape of a gold-plated, diamond festooned version of Apple’s wonder device.

At a cost of £130,000, the new Gold edition of the Apple iPad from designer Stuart Hughes is not for anyone on a budget, or those with any sense, but nonetheless is the latest in a long line of luxuriously modified mobiles and gadgets he has created.

A total of 53 diamonds have been embedded in the iPad’s golden shell, bringing its weight up to a meaty 2.1KG.

People with slightly smaller budgets can still get a gold-plated iPad, minus the gemstones, for about £2000.

Last year, Hughes unveiled a £2 million jewel-encrusted iPhone 3G and has previously turned his hand to crafting a £300,000 Nintendo Wii console.













Cameron outlaws mobiles in meetings


One of David Cameron’s first actions as Prime Minister has been to ban his ministers from bringing mobile phones to Cabinet discussions.

It is understood that the move has been made to keep attention focused on the job of running the country, rather than on whatever messages or calls ministers may receive during an important discussion.

At the moment, mobile phones must be set to silent mode if they are to be brought into the House of Commons, but they are seen as essential to the modern MP’s job and are not thus banned outright.

The new Prime Minister is less convinced than many as to the vital role of mobiles, with a history of distractions leading to their banishment from the Cabinet table.

Some have dismissed the rule as an insignificant bit of publicity, but a spokesperson said that the Prime Minister was committed to delivering a focused environment amongst the key members of his team.















Vodafone backtracks on data charges


Vodafone customers who go over their monthly mobile data allowance will not be affected by the decision to scrap unlimited mobile internet plans for several months, it has been announced.

Earlier in the week it emerged that the network is canning its unlimited data deal and replacing it with strictly enforced allowance limits.

Anyone going over the limit could incur a charge, something that has prompted an angry response from customers.

For its part, Vodafone has stressed that the charges will only be enforced as a last resort, with the minority who exceed their limits being coached on ways in which to reduce usage or simply being switched to more generous data plans.

A spokesperson told Tech Radar: “In June we’ll be introducing a free text service to tell our contract customers when they’re approaching the upper limit of their data bundle.

“As the vast majority of our mobile internet subscribers (more than 97 per cent) never reach the limit they will not be receiving the text alerts at all.”

Observers believe that this move is intended to help Vodafone identify those users with the heaviest data requirements.
















Orange and T-Mobile become Everything Everywhere


Orange and T-Mobile are set to rebrand as Everything Everywhere when the companies complete their merger later in the year.

100 high street stores will be occupied by the new network provider, which also disclosed plans to improve Wi-Fi coverage via national hotspots.

Job losses are expected once Everything Everywhere is formed and begins to settle, with duplicate positions in middle management being axed.

New chief executive Tom Alexander said: “What I wanted was a company name that did not distract or confuse from two very strong brands.

“What I wanted was something that was additive. I love Everything Everywhere because it really does encapsulate the vision and the ambition for the company”.

Mr Alexander continued by saying that smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone and platforms including Android and Windows Phone 7 are changing how people use mobiles and that he hopes Everything Everywhere will be able to cater to the shifting needs of the consumer.

The Orange and T-Mobile brands will remain, but the umbrella force of Everything Everywhere will make an appearance in advertising campaigns operated by both companies.

“Yes it will be on our payslip and we will use it as a description of the holding company but we will also use it as a tag line appropriately. You will see it popping up occasionally,” Mr Alexander stated.

It was initially suggested that the 713 retail shops owned and operated by both T-Mobile and Orange would be cut to a more manageable number, but now even more high street expansion is on the cards and an in-store deal with HMV will see Everything Everywhere come close to living up to its name.