Apple sued over iPhone 4 gorilla glass


A Californian iPhone 4 owner has filed a class action suit against Apple over the quality of its gorilla glass screen.

Donald LeBuhn of Los Angeles has claimed that Apple failed to warn customers ‘that the gorilla glass is defective’ and deliberately shipped the iPhone 4 despite knowing about its design flaws.

The allegation comes after LeBuhn’s iPhone 4’s screen reportedly cracked from a fall at the hands of his daughter roughly three feet off the ground, which he said never, happened with his older iPhone 3GS.

LeBuhn’s attorney stated: “Months after selling millions of iPhone 4s, Apple has failed to warn and continues to sell this product with no warning to customers that the glass housing is defective.”

Apple claims on its website that the aluminosilicate glass, also known as gorilla glass, is the “same type of glass used in the windscreens of helicopters and high speed trains” and is “chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic”.

Naturally, given Apple’s own product description the iPhone 4 should indeed be more resistant to a drop than a creaking 3GS. But whether or not LeBuhn will be able to prove that there is an inherent flaw with the gorilla glass design is a whole new matter.

Warranties firm SquareTrade published a damning report last year after reviewing 20,000 claims from iPhone customers, that revealed iPhone 4 is 68 per cent more susceptible to damage than the iPhone 3GS with a staggering 82 per cent more reports of the iPhone 4’s screen being damaged in the first four months than the 3GS.

LeBuhn’s lawsuit is seeking an injunction on Apple to reimburse all customers affected by similar situations. The case continues.











Branded Android phone by HTC denied by Facebook


Facebook has rubbished claims of a branded handset reportedly being developed by Taiwanese smartphone giant HTC.

Rumours of the widely hyped ‘Facebook phone’ have been doing the rounds lately, but the social networking site has been quick to quash the latest gossip with an official statement to the press.

Dan Rose, head of business development with Facebook, said: “The rumours around there being something more to this HTC device are overblown.”

Business daily City AM recently claimed that the phone by HTC “will run on a tweaked version of Google’s Android operating system and will prominently display users’ Facebook messages and news feed on the home screen”.

However, Facebook would have none of the speculation and clarified the handset’s status once and for all.

“This is really just another example of a manufacturer who has taken our public APIs and integrated them into their device in an interesting way”, Rose added.

Asked if the phone would be Facebook branded, Rose replied with a categorical “No”.

Talk of the Facebook phone first emerged with the INQ Cloud Touch, which makes use of Facebook features on the phone’s home screen but is not branded. We are still baffled why a phone needs to be slapped with a Facebook logo at all.











Contactless mobile phone payments coming to Everything Everywhere


Orange and T-Mobile customers will be able to pay for low-ticket goods using their smartphones, it has been announced.

The brands’ umbrella company Everything Everywhere plans to introduce Near Field Communication (NFC) technology enabled SIM cards this summer. When inserted in handsets, users can simply swipe their mobiles over a reader to pay for items in 40,000 retail outlets across the UK.

Gerry McQuade, Chief Development Officer, Everything Everywhere, said: “This is the beginning of a revolution in how we pay for things on the high street. It’s a cultural shift that is as important as the launch of the personal credit card or ATMs.

“We’re making something that’s been talked about for many years a reality and very soon, using your mobile to buy a sandwich, a cinema ticket or in time, even something bigger like a computer will simply be the norm.”

The company’s announcement comes amid forecasts that NFC, which is already used in Oyster cars on the London Tube system, will become increasingly widespread this year.

Google is already onboard after incorporating NFC tech in the Android powered Nexus S and rumours are afoot that it’ll also be feature of the next generation iPhone and iPad.









O2 plans UK-wide wi-fi network


Mobile operator O2 is launching free wireless in the UK, which it promises will be double the size of existing networks by 2013.

Initially the hotspots will be available in 450 O2-owned sites but will be expanded to other locations, including shops and restaurants. Previously O2 had offered free wi-fi on some of its tariffs via BT Openzone and The Cloud.

The Cloud is rumoured to be close to sealing a buy-out deal with Sky.

O2 said access to the hotspots would be through a simple sign-up process and would be free to both O2 and non-O2 customers.

For Jeremy Green, a principal analyst with Ovum, the move is a “step in the right direction” to sorting out O2’s capacity issues, brought about by high iPhone ownership and the increasing desire for data on the move. 450 sites is not fantastic coverage and wi-fi isn’t something that smartphone users will be able to rely on but it is a gesture in the right direction,” he said.

He said it was “surprising” that O2 was prepared to offer it free to non-customers, something the firm is hoping to fund via advertising.

In a swipe at BT’s Fon network, which offers connections which piggyback on BT home broadband networks, O2 said that its service would offer “premium public hotspots, as opposed to using residential connections with limited bandwidth”.

BT’s Openzone and Fon networks are currently the biggest networks in the UK. The second largest The Cloud claims to have around 22,000 hotspots internationally. BT recently launched an iPad app allowing its broadband customers to gain access to wi-fi hotspots around the country. It already has Android and iPhone apps, which has proved popular, attracting 400,000 downloads. Rival Virgin Media is also toying with the idea of creating a nationwide wi-fi network.

O2 wants to help kick-start more wi-fi usage.

“Only 20% of people who have access to free public wi-fi on 02 tariffs actively use it despite the majority of devices being wi-fi enabled,” said O2’s business development director Tim Sefton “We know that wi-fi as a technology has great potential and can be a very fast service, however customers are discouraged by barriers which include complexity in activation, uncertainty of where wi-fi is free and the variable quality of the current experience,” he added.

Mr Green said that O2’s wi-fi network would have to go hand-in-hand with other network upgrades.

O2 said that it is continuing to invest in its existing network but Mr Sefton confessed to UK technology news site TechRadar that it would be “years rather than months before we’ll have a commercial 4G network”.

Check the latest o2 deals here






Brits have £320m of gadgets lying unused from Christmas



Brand new gadgets worth £320m are lying unused in Britain’s homes after Christmas, according to new research from phone and broadband firm TalkTalk.

TalkTalk’s survey found that around one in 12 people who were given a gadget as a Christmas present – the equivalent of 1.42m adults – still haven’t got it working yet, a month on from Christmas Day.

A further 9% admitted they couldn’t get their gadget working on Christmas Day – some taking days or weeks to get it working properly.

This means over 3.3m Brits received gadgets for Christmas but spent a frustrating day by the tree, unable to get them to work.

The average cost of these gadgets was £225, although nearly a quarter of those surveyed (24%) reckon their gift cost over £300. The total value of the gadgets received by the 1.42m adults who haven’t got them working yet is a whopping £320m.

TalkTalk’s research reveals that all this unused technology has created a phenomenon of “gadget guilt”, with one in seven people (14%) admitting they feel guilty about spending money on gadgets that they rarely or never use. Over a quarter of people (26%) feel they are not getting the most out of their gadgets.

And a further quarter of those polled (28%) said they would appreciate more help from companies that sell or make gadgets on how to get the most out of them.

Mark Schmid from TalkTalk said: “It’s a little sad to see how many people still haven’t got their Christmas gizmos working. Consumers clearly need and want more help in getting their technology up and running. Many useful starting points can be found online, which is why at TalkTalk we’re trying to do our bit by providing guides for customers on how to optimise their broadband connection.”



Check the latest TalkTalk broadband deals here.




Apple app store reaches 10 billion downloads

peoples phone apple logo

The 10 billionth download has been made from Apple’s app store, the company has announced.
The world’s largest technology firm reached the milestone on Saturday night (22 January). The downloaded game was a free app called Paper Glider, developed by British company Neon Play, where users control a paper aeroplane.
Of all the millions of Apple users from around the world, it was downloaded by Gail Davis from Orpington in Kent.
She said: “I have to confess it wasn’t actually my download, it was my daughter’s. 

I had no idea, when Apple called me. I thought it was a prank call and I declined to take it.”

But after speaking to her daughters she found out they’d downloaded the game and realised she’d made a mistake.
“I had a moment of blind panic but thankfully Apple called me back. They said it’s not a joke and you are the winner.”
As the app store account holder Gail is being given an iTunes gift card worth more than £6,200 ($10,000).
It’s taken just two and a half years for the app store to reach 10 billion downloads. Apple says seven billion of those have come in the last 12 months.
There are 350,000 apps available to more 160 million iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users in 90 countries around the world.
But Apple is facing growing competition.
In the mobile phone market Google’s Android and RIM’s (the makers of Blackberry) operating systems have a greater share than Apple’s.
The company’s iPad is also facing a much tougher market than when it launched last year. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas around 80 new tablet PCs were unveiled.

3 denies throttling customers


3 has refuted claims it is throttling customers on the One Plan – the all-you-can-eat-data contract aimed at smartphone users with heavy mobile internet habits.

The network introduced unlimited data usage to the contract, which previously featured a 1GB limit, last year amid much fanfare. Not least because rival networks are increasingly imposing much tighter restrictions, with Orange and T-Mobile now applying 500Mb per month caps.

However, it has now emerged that some One Plan customers are complaining of slower connections when they exceed monthly usage of 1GB and at peak times. Thus affected, they have concluded that 3 is throttling their mobile web use.

Not so, says 3. A post from 3 blog moderator Kaz stated that slower connections are due to a “slight issue with data speeds on The One Plan with a few customers” and promised that a fix is on the way “very soon”.

He added: “I can assure you that The One Plan has all you can eat data and there is not any throttling.

“You can download as much as you like, as long as it is for personal use. It all depends on how you use your phone, each tariff is designed for different types of usage.”












Orange unveils ‘Tiny Top Ups’ PAYG top-up system


UK network Orange is set to launch an innovative new Pay As You Go service called ‘Tiny Top Ups’ that allows users to top-up their mobiles with spare change in their pockets.

According to research conducted by the carrier, a staggering 94 per cent of 1,019 consumers quizzed plan to “tighten their purse strings this year” and a quarter of 18-24 year olds are used to carrying less than a pound in loose change in their pockets.

With Tiny Top Ups, Orange hopes to enable consumers get the most out of their quid and make use of their otherwise neglected coppers. Punters will be able to top-up with as little as 10p and contribute to the economy – albeit in a very small way – at the same time.

Pippa Dunn, VP of Propositions for Orange, said: “Tiny Top Ups make it easier for Orange Pay As You Go customers to top up using their loose change.

“It’s a big change to your small change; and with many people managing their personal finances more closely than ever, Tiny Top Ups will help people who are watching their pennies to stay in touch.”

To celebrate the launch of the service, Orange is giving away a massive tube packed with 10p coins to the first person to correctly guesstimate the amount inside. To enter, you must follow @ConorfromOrange on Twitter and tweet your answer.

To sweeten the deal even further, Orange is also offering to double the amount users top-up during March. So for example, if you put in a quid, you get two quid’s worth. Neat.














T-Mobile clarifies mobile phone data cap

T-Mobile has clarified its policy on mobile data use after anger from its customers. The company initially said that it would slash the amount of data all of its customers could use to 500 MB.
T-Mobile has clarified its policy on mobile data use after anger from its customers. The company initially said that it would slash the amount of data all of its customers could use to 500 MB.
For Android handset owners, previously allocated 3GB per month, the drop would have been more than 80%. But the company has now said that the changes would be introduced from 1 February, “to new and upgrading customers only”.
“There will be no change to the data packages for existing customers for the duration of their contract and we apologise for any confusion caused,” said Lysa Hard, VP for T-Mobile UK.
On 10 January, the firm said that it would reduce the monthly allowance for most people from 1GB (gigabyte) to 500 MB (megabytes). The company said the move was necessary to provide “a better experience for all our customers who use internet on their phone”. But many were not happy.
“Given that data allowance was a driving force in choosing T-Mobile over competitors last year, this is a huge blow,” disgruntled T-Mobile customer Steve Anderson said after the policy was announced.
The caps followed similar moves by mobile operators including Vodafone and O2 in the summer of 2010. Having initially followed suit, Three decided to scrap its data caps completely in December 2010.

BT denies paving way for internet fast lane

BT today rejected claims it is paving the way for a “two-tier” internet by creating a service that will allow broadband providers to charge the BBC, Google and other content companies for better delivery of their video to the nation’s homes.
BT today rejected claims it is paving the way for a “two-tier” internet by creating a service that will allow broadband providers to charge the BBC, Google and other content companies for better delivery of their video to the nation’s homes.
The telecoms company’s wholesale arm is starting to sell a new service that allows broadband providers – such as Virgin Media and Sky – to put video from paying clients, like the BBC’s iPlayer or Google’s YouTube, in an internet fast lane.
BT’s new service, dubbed Content Connect, has provoked accusations of breaching the broad principles of “net neutrality”, whereby all content is delivered equally to internet users.
The BBC’s traffic-hungry iPlayer and other video-on-demand services are putting an increasing strain on internet service providers’ networks, many of which argue that they should be able to charge for better delivery of these companies’ content.
But BT today denied claims the new service will create a two-tier internet, saying that it “supports the concept” of net neutrality but believes that ISPs should be free to charge content owners for a “higher quality” delivery service.
“Contrary to recent reports in the media, BT’s Content Connect service will not create a two-tier internet, but will simply offer service providers the option of differentiating their broadband offering through enhanced content delivery,” a BT spokeswoman said.
“BT supports the concept of net neutrality but believes that service providers should also be free to strike commercial deals should content owners want a higher quality or assured service delivery.”
BT, which is the largest broadband provider in the UK, has already been in fights with the BBC over the amount of bandwidth used to stream iPlayer content. In November the BBC said it would introduce a traffic light system on the iPlayer, where users could easily see if their viewing was being hampered by their internet provider.
Other large internet providers including Virgin Media and TalkTalk have also openly expressed a willingness to charge content companies for better delivery of their video to the nation’s homes.
Sally Davis, head of BT Wholesale, said providers had expressed “considerable” interest in the network, which is expected to launch in the spring.
The service, which has been in development for more than a year, will operate on an opt-in basis for ISPs, giving them the tools to improve users’ online viewing experiences by using a new digital delivery network.
Content Connect enables ISPs to store video within their own networks, closer to the user, as opposed to third-party companies – such as Akamai, which delivers the BBC’s iPlayer – caching popular content around the globe. By paying the ISP, rather than the third-party company, users could get a guaranteed delivery of service even at peak times.
But it would also create a situation where companies that are unwilling – or unable – to pay would have their content delivered less efficiently to the end user.
Jim Killock, executive director of consumer campaigns organisation Open Rights Group, said: “We are talking about ISPs competing with the internet for content delivery. Whether films, music or gaming services, the idea is that ISPs will deliver this stuff better and more reliably than the internet.
“The result could be a fundamental shift away from buying services from the internet to bundled services from ISPs: which would reduce competition and take investment away from internet companies. That would be bad for everyone.”