* Posts by Michael Jennings

214 posts • joined 14 Aug 2008

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Sky: We're no longer calling ourselves British. Yep. And Broadcasting can do one, too

Michael Jennings

Re: Once upon a time ...

It's a very rare (possibly nonexistent) "merger" that isn't really one company taking over another.

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Michael Jennings

Re: Once upon a time ...

One of the basic rules of company mergers is that when a series of mergers occur and the company name is constructed by combining the names of the parties that merged, then *eventually* the company name will revert to that of the company that was dominant in all this. Hence "Total Elf Fina" reverting to "Total", "Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Discover" (the comma in that one was a work of genius) reverting to "Morgan Stanley", "Maersk Sealand" merging with "P&O Nedlloyd" to form "Maersk", and "British Sky Broadcasting" merging with various other companies to form "Sky".

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BBC clamps down on ILLICIT iPlayer watchers

Michael Jennings

Re: illicit viewers?

I have a Philips Blu-Ray player that adds "Smart TV" functionality to my (older and not very smart) TV. Just about the most useful function of this player was that it ran an iPlayer app. However, a month or two back it stopped working and I started receiving "iPlayer is not supported by your device" errors instead. This is. well, annoying, as I now need to find another way to stream iPlayer to my TV.

Is the explanation given in this article why it no longer works?

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Pixel mania: Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display

Michael Jennings

Re: Bad Apple

The reason I don’t really like all-in-ones like the iMac is that screens are the longest lasting part of a PC for me. I tend to use a multi-screen setup with my newest monitor as the primary monitor, the next oldest as a second monitor, and the third oldest as a third monitor (if the graphics hardware allows it). I don’t want to throw a perfectly good monitor away every time I buy a new PC. Target monitor mode at least partly alleviates this (particularly when an iMac costs about the same as an equivalent screen on its own - this is not the first time this has happened) and the lack of it is a deal-killer for me.

I’m not into conspiracy theories as to why Apple has disallowed it - the explanation is that the present version of Thunderbolt can’t handle the bandwidth. I am sure the next version of this iMac will fix this, which is a good reason to wait for it.

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One million people have bonked on London public transport

Michael Jennings

I think the big reason why contactless travel has just increased on buses is that we now have capping. If you are making multiple journeys in a day or changing from one mode of transport to another, you now pay no more than a Travelcard and/or daily bus pass. Up until now, although contactless has worked on buses, you simply paid a single fare for each journey - no matter how many you made in a day. This means that it is now reasonable to simply use your contactless credit card to pay for all your daily travel, whereas in the past it was useful for those emergency situations when you had run out of money on your Oyster card (or left it at home) but you probably didn't want to use it for your regular use.

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Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer

Michael Jennings

Re: They are making profits of over £100m...

There is a class of middle-men (Carphone Warehouse, Phones 4U, Buymobiles etc) that exist between the mobile networks and many of their customers. These retailers are very expensive for the mobile networks, the networks have always resented their existence and have always thought that the profits being made by these people are rightfully theirs. The trouble is that many customers keep using the third party retailers rather than the mobile networks own direct sales businesses. This is because of the astounding level of incompetence of the networks' own in-house retail businesses. The networks are unaware of the level of their own incompetence at retail, which has made this very hard for them to fix. (Phones 4 U are pretty awful themselves, so their continued existence kind of baffles me, but they and the other third party retailers are providing *something* that the networks themselves are not).

It has always been inevitable that the networks would at some point squeeze out the third party retailers by simply refusing to do business with them. This explains Carphone Warehouse's attempts over the last few years to transform itself into a general consumer electronics retail business, variously by stocking other products in its shops (remember when they were full of laptops?), doing an ultimately disastrous deal with Best Buy, and ultimately through a merger with Dixons/Currys/PC World. I am not sure that this means better service for customers - in fact I am pretty sure it means worse - but that's where we are.

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Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy

Michael Jennings

Re: What about the unlicensed ones?

As long as the driver claims on some policy and that policy pays, then there really isn't a problem. If the normal situation is that the driver uses his own insurance, but that Uber also has "last resort" insurance for cases where this goes wrong, that seems fine to me. In fact, that seems good to me.

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PhabletPhace: All the cool kids are doing it in Asia

Michael Jennings

Re: Bluetooth

If you they are making most of your calls indoors and there is not a lot of ambient noise, they may just be putting everyone on speaker, too.

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Michael Jennings

Re: Phones with a 7"+ screen???

These are people who have never owned PCs, and don't make a lot of voice calls.

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Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

Michael Jennings

Re: No problem at all.

Clearly not, no.

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Michael Jennings

Re: No problem at all.

Some of us really like a £ symbol above the 3, too.

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Michael Jennings

Re: Premature

There will be new iPhones and new iPads in September and October, as there have been for several years. As for Macs, Intel is late with its next generation (Broadwell) hardware. Until Intel delivers this, all Apple can do is the occasional minor speed bump like this one. Intel is highly unlikely to deliver in significant quantities until next year. There have been a few rumours that Apple has a 12 inch retina display Macbook Air in the works. I suppose it is not unimaginable that they could release this with current Haswell hardware, but they will probably wait.

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Peak thumb drive is coming in 2016

Michael Jennings

Ah ye, another technology for which usage peaks long after it has become obsolete

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Game of Thrones written on brutal medieval word processor and OS

Michael Jennings

He has something that works for him, so he keeps using it. Nothing wrong with that.

Given that GRRM's published writing career goes back to the early 1970s, he presumably did originally use typewriters. I'm curious about when exactly he switched to a word processor. Did he use Wordstar on CP/M before on DOS?

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Faster Macbook Air pops out: What, a NEW Apple thing and ZERO fanfare?

Michael Jennings

Re: Without any fanfare

Apple gave one of its products a minor spec bump and a price cut. Both these things would be welcome if I were looking to buy one right now. (I am not, although I have the 2011 model and am happy enough with it for now. Undoubtedly some people are). Total non-story for everyone else, though.

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HOT AIR-FILLED Apple fanbois SHUNNED iPad 2 at Xmas

Michael Jennings

The iPad 2 is used by lots of corporate customers

There are lots of businesses using large fleets of iPad 2s for relatively simple tasks: at tills, as interactive guides to information, as electronic signs, and whatever. The hardware needs for such tasks are often low, and many such businesses have infrastructure set up to allow charging and software updating of their devices using Apple's old style hardware connector rather than the new Lightning connector. Apple continues to sell the iPad 2 to keep such customers happy. If you are a consumer, buying an iPad 2 makes no sense whatsoever, as it is ridiculously underpowered and overpriced for today's requirements. If you are a business who has hundreds or thousands of them, they are adequate for whatever task you are using them for them, and there are advantages of having common hardware for all the iPads you are using plus you don't want to upgrade your infrastructure, buying more iPad 2s might make sense.

Such customers aren't any more inclined to buy iPads at Christmas than at any other time of year, though, so the market share of the iPad 2 goes down at Christmas. Simple.

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Three offers free US roaming, confirms stealth 4G rollout

Michael Jennings

Re: Vodafone 4G

Three have a 2x10MHz chunk at 1800MHz, which becomes 2x15MHz in 2015 when EE are forced to divest a bit more spectrum. They also have 2x5MHz at 800MHz. O2 have only 2x10MHz at 800MHz. So although Three's spectrum holdings are not that huge, O2's are only half the size of Three's post 2015.

Vodafone have 2x10MHz at 800MHz and 2x20MHz at 2600MHz i.e. lots of spectrum

T-Mobile have 2x5MHz at 800MHz, 2x35MHz at 2600MHz and 2x50MHz (to be reduced to 2x45MHz in 2015) at 1800MHz i.e. lots and lots and lots of spectrum. (They do have to run a 2G network in that 1800MHz as well, but the can probably do that on 2x10MHz, so there is plenty of space left over that they are using and can use for 4G).

Plus there is 2x15MHz at 2600MHz that belongs to BT. It's quite possible O2 or Three will buy or licence that if they run into serious constraints.

Plus most of the operators have unpaired spectrum that could be used for TD-LTE in a pinch. (Some of this is from the 3G auction and some from the 4G auction). More of this might be auctioned, too. We will see how it plays out. My hunch is that O2 and Three will be able to find spectrum from somewhere when they need it.

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Michael Jennings

Re: What's to stop a US native using this?

If you look at Three's terms and conditions, it says that if you use nothing but the free roaming for an entire calendar month three times in a year, they will switch roaming off on your phone. This is clearly designed to prevent people from doing exactly what you are suggesting.

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Michael Jennings

Three are also doing the bulk of their 4G on the 1800MHz spectrum that EE were forced to divest when T-Mobile and Orange merged. This is a totally reasonable thing for them to be doing, but they got access to this spectrum three months later than Vodafone and O2 got access to the spectrum that they are using - the stuff that they bought in the auction in early 2013. This meant that Three were pretty much obliged launch their network three months later than the other two operators.

That said, Three were promising 4G December for all their London customers with a compatible handset, and they are now saying that only a small number are getting it in December and most people will have to wait until January or February. Looks like their network may have one or two teething problems. Again, there is nothing too surprising about this, but some of their customers are getting a little impatient now. The timing of the announcement about free roaming to the US was a nice piece of PR, as this seems to be a very popular announcement.

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Best budget Android smartphone there is? Must be the Moto G

Michael Jennings

With respect to the Amazon price, it might have been that Amazon themselves were out of stock and you were therefore seeing the price from a third party seller who had it in stock. Amazon themselves now seem to have it back in stock and are offering it for £135 as promised.

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Dear-ly beloved: Apple’s costly iPad Mini with Retina Display

Michael Jennings

Not really a fair comparison.

I don't think comparing the iPad mini with the Nexus 7 is terribly useful. Even though a 7.9 inch screen and a 7.0 inch screen sound similar in size, when you look at surface areas (taking into account that a screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio is smaller than a 4:3 screen with the same diagonal measurement), the area of the iPad mini's screen is 30.0 square inches, compared to 22.0 square inches for the Nexus 7. The iPad mini's screen is actually 36% bigger.

This actually is a good reason for many of us to buy an iPad mini rather than a Nexus 7. For me, 7 inch tablets like the Nexus 7 are too small, and the 8 inch size is much better. The Nexus 7 is a great device for the price, and if it works for you that's great, but there is actually a bit of a scarcity of high end Android tablets with screen sizes around that of the mini. Samsung makes a Galaxy Note 8 and a Galaxy Tab 8, but neither has anything like the screen resolution of the mini. (They are both 1280x800). I am sure the next generation of the Note 8 at least will have a high resolution screen, but for now we are waiting. A Nexus 8 would be nice, too, but once again, it does not presently exist.

In addition, those 8 inch Android tablets that do exist cost quite a bit more than the 7 inch tablets. The list price for the (lowish resolution) Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8 inch is £299 compared to £199 for the Galaxy Tab 3 7 inch. (Both products are selling at rather less than the list price, but 50% more for 8 inch seems to roughly hold). High resolution 8 inch Android tablets will come along, and will be cheaper than the iPad mini, but I doubt the price difference will be as dramatic as when you compare it to the Nexus 7 or other 7 inch tablets.

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Ofcom flogs ex-military 4G spectrum, but ONLY the iPhone 5 can use it

Michael Jennings

Re: iPhone 5? Nope.

Depends what you mean by "European bands". The TDD capable variants of the Samsung (and I think also LG) devices sold in Australia support the FD-LTE at 1800MHz and 2600MHz (bands used in much of the world, including Europe), but do not support the Europe only 800MHz digital dividend band. If sold in Europe, these devices would work on FD-LTE in areas with 1800MHz and 2600MHz coverage, but not in areas with 800MHz coverage only. The iPhone 5C and 5S are at present the only devices for which a variant exists that supports FD-LTE at 800MHz, 1800MHz, and 2600MHz, as well as FDD at 2300MHz. I can't imagine this is a problem. There will be many more devices that support all these bands available long before this spectrum is even auctioned.

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Custom ringback tones: Coming to your next contract mobe?

Michael Jennings

That precise problem of British people getting nervous at that long single foreign ringback tone that they hear when they call me when I am abroad is what I would like to get rid of. I don't necessarily want people knowing that I am abroad, so I would like the standard ringback tone. I fear that every foreign telco I roam to would have to know about my preference, though, so this might be somewhat harder than just changing the ringback tone that is send when someone calls me when I am in the UK.

I believe that the standard ringback tone in Macau used to be different to that in Hong Kong. This was a problem, given that Macau is the place that people in Hong Kong go for sinful activities. Men from Hong Kong did not necessarily want their wives to know when they were there, and the ringback tone was a dead giveaway. So it was changed to be the same as Hong Kong.

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Brit boson boffin Higgs bags Nobel with eponymous deiton

Michael Jennings

One should point out that Philip Anderson has won a Nobel Prize already for something else. While it is not unheard of for a second Nobel prize in the sciences to be awarded to the same person, it is very rare, and one thinks that the committee would be particularly unlikely to make such an award in a case where it was already fairly contentious as to who would be missing out.

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Michael Jennings

Re: These guys are old.

There have been cases where the Nobel committee have waited until after the person whose name was first on the paper (but everyone knows didn't really do the work) has died before awarding the prize. As the person with his name first in such cases has almost always managed it through having more seniority (a doctoral supervisor compared to a doctoral student, or a lab director compared to a researcher in the lab) and is therefore almost always older, this can be surprisingly effective.

There's no real question that Higgs and Englert deserve it here. The committee clearly decided not to try to choose one of the other three though.

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Michael Jennings

These guys are old.

This is all par for the course. It is unusual for there to not be more than three people involved in any major discovery. The Nobel committee almost always has to choose the most worthy winners from a group, and people with valid claims almost always lose out. The Nobel prizes in the sciences are very prestigious at least partly because the judges have almost always given them for the right discoveries over the last century or so. There's is always plenty of discussion as to whether they have given them to the right people though.

As for the theorists and not the experimentalists getting the prize, there is an unofficial rule that theorists do not get the prize until what they have predicted has been confirmed by experiment. At this time last year we were still waiting for results to be confirmed and published, so this year was realistically the first time Higgs and Englert could be honoured. As Englert is 80 and Higgs is 84 (and the prize is never awarded posthumously) there was a clear need to honour them as soon as possible. The experimentalists at CERN are all much younger, though, so there is plenty of time to honour them later. It might be that in a year or two there might be a better picture as to who exactly should be honoured. The same Nobel Prize could have been split between theorists and experimentalists, but this is a big enough discovery that there is much to be said for devoting two years' prizes to it.

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Tech specs wreck: Details of Google's Nexus 5 smartphone LEAKED over interwebs

Michael Jennings

I've seen things you people would not believe.

Nexus 4, Nexus 5, and Nexus 7. They are definitely taunting us.

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Apple blings up new iMac with latest Intel chips, next-gen Wi-Fi

Michael Jennings

Plenty still to announce.

New iPads, new MacBook Pros, new Mac mini, and the new Mac Pro will all likely be with us before the end of the year. That's plenty.

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Michael Jennings

Re: Did you really need to explain what an iMac is on a tech site?

Yes, I like the Mac mini, too. I don't want to have to buy a new screen every time I buy a new desktop.

I'd also like one with a core i7 and a powerful GPU, even if it meant the machine was a bit bigger. Apple doesn't do that though.

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Apple beckons fanbois back into its golden era... of, er, 2010

Michael Jennings

Possibly useful for the iPhone 3G though.

Also, the second generation iPod touch doesn't have any cameras. This would make running Instagram on it a touch sub-optimal, I would think.

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400 million Chinese people can't speak Chinese: Official

Michael Jennings

This map is enlightening.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_sinitic_languages-en.svg

the people in China who do not speak Mandarin, are the people in the southern coastal provinces. These places are where much of the recent economic growth has occurred. That is, the non-Mandarin speakers are the rich people. That is, the richer parts of China are also the parts of country that have the least in common with Beijing culturally. This is not necessarily a positive thing for Chinese stability. One thing that Beijing is attempting to do by pushing Mandarin is to assert its culture over that of its provinces. (Most of the time it will deny that these provinces have any culture at all).

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Google Nexus 7 2013: Fondledroids, THE 7-inch slab has arrived

Michael Jennings

Taking photographs on a tablet.

There is one thing that is good about using a tablet as a camera, which is the large screen of the tablet. Composition is much easier than on a phone sized screen, or on the postage stamp sized screens of many point and shoot cameras. This is particularly so on tablets with high resolution screens such as this one. Composition is still not as easy as on a camera with a proper viewfinder, but only a relatively small percentage of cameras in use these days have these any more. Because of this, I find photography to be easier on a tablet than on a phone or a digital compact. (Unfortunately, though, the cameras that manufacturers are putting in their high-end tablets are not as good as the ones they are putting on their high end tablets. The gap is closing, but it is still there).

Against this is the fact that some people are going to think you look like an idiot taking photographs with a tablet. Whether this bothers you is up to you.

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Finns, roamers, Nokia: So long, and thanks for all the phones

Michael Jennings

Ron Casey, an Australian radio announcer with a right wing / sports show, managed to get fired in about 1997 after making a racist anti-Japanese rant on air due to a local rugby league competition having been renamed the "Nokia Cup" for sponsorship reasons. It was really very funny.

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Apple throwing separate Chinese iPhone event

Michael Jennings

Re: Either the 5C or China Mobile agreement. Or both.

Given that the US uses different frequency bands to everywhere else, foreign variants aren't going to work very well in the US, particularly using 4G/LTE. (Chinese variants likely won't support LTE, as they don't have any LTE networks yet). For it to work properly in the US, Apple will have to release a US specific variant. (Asian/Middle Eastern variants should work OK in Europe, though). I think they probably will, but let's see.

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Michael Jennings

Apple's strategy for the last few years has been that they release one new high-end phone, and the previous models then become their mid-market models. (Apple don't do low end phones). When they introduced the iPhone to Verizon, they produced a CDMA compatible version of their current high end phone (then the iPhone 4), but did nothing for the earlier models, so Verizon offered a high-end model only at first. This did clearly cost them business - once new models had been released and the iPhone 4 became cheaper, the total share of iPhones at Verizon went up considerable.

For China, Apple clearly can't do it this way. China is much poorer than America, and many people who want an iPhone will not be able to afford the new high end model. Therefore, if Apple have done a deal with China Mobile, they will have to make TD-SCDMA iPhones available at multiple price-points and not just the high end. They could do this by releasing new, TD-SCDMA compatible variants of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 as well as the new iPhone 5S, but they could also simply produce a new mid-market model of iPhone.

My theory is that this is the story behind the iPhone 5C. Apple's motivation for producing it is the need for a mid market TD-SCDMA iPhone for China Mobile. It certainly won't be restricted to China Mobile, and we will see variants of it for other network standards as well. Although we have been hearing things like "The iPhone 5C is aimed principally at developing markets, but will also be sold in developed markets", I think it is likely to sell well everywhere. At least, it will if it is any good.

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Microsoft warns of post-April zero day hack bonanza on Windows XP

Michael Jennings

Re: Wait, hear that?

Apple has produced at least six good versions of OS-X in 12 years. They stopped selling the 12 year old version about 11 years ago. Microsoft has produced only one good version of Windows to follow XP in that time. Microsoft was still selling XP licences for new machines (netbooks only, but still new machines) as recently as October 2010, and some of them were still in the channel being sold new as recently as 2011. It's hardly surprising that some of them are still in use.

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You've got 600k+ customers on 4G... but look behind you, EE

Michael Jennings

Re: Battery drain

4G is more computationally intensive than 3G. The modulation and compression schemes used by 4G mean that bandwidth is used more efficiently than 3G, but they are themselves more complex and the price of that higher spectrum efficiency is more complex computation to turn your bitstream into something that can be transmitted over the air. That requires a more powerful CPU, which uses more power and hence you have worse battery life. The good news is that CPUs improve in power efficiency thanks to Moore's Law, so in a year or two 4G phones will have much better battery life. People may remember that this happened with 3G, too. The first 3G phones had horrible battery life, but this is not really a problem any more.

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Apple needs help: iWatch, 'Retina' iPad mini delayed until 2014?

Michael Jennings

The third generation iPad - the first with retina display - is too heavy. It's uncomfortable to hold for too long, and you are prone to drop it because it is heavy. Also, it is thicker than the previous generation, which is unusual for an Apple device. Also, the retina display sucks up far too much of the computational power of the thing, which is why it is not notably faster at doing anything than the previous generation. The revised fourth generation model that Apple released six months later fixed the second of these problems with a faster SoC, but the heaviness problem remains. Presumably the revised fifth generation model that we will see in two or three months will fix the size and weight issues, but big compromises were made for that retina display.

The whole reason why the iPad mini has been so successful is because it is so small and light compared to the big and heavy full size iPad. The last thing Apple wants to do is to lumber the mini with too much size and weight as they did the full sized iPad. Therefore, I have always been sceptical about seeing a retina mini this year. A second generation mini this year followed by a retina mini next year has been what I have been expecting all along.

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Fines 4 U: Mobe insurer cops £3m penalty for grumble dumping

Michael Jennings

It's always a scam

A basic rule is that if one is buying a product, one should never buy optional insurance from the same person who is selling you the product. This applies to mobile phone insurance, payment protection insurance, car rental excess insurance, extended warranties (just another form of insurance, really) and a whole pile of other things. At best the insurance will be overpriced, and at worst it will be overpriced and inadequate as insurance. That's not to say that you should not buy insurance, just that you should buy it directly from a financial institution or insurance broker.

Mobile phone retailers (including Phones 4 U) have been particularly bad in this regard. They are not as bad as they used to be - situations in which you are forced to take it out with "one month free" and have to do something in that month to cancel it seem to be rarer now. Regulators have been cracking down (as here). Good.

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Michael Dell: 'Cash in your shares, we are in a mess'

Michael Jennings

Oh, how the ghost of Steve Jobs is laughing.

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Apple to end support for original iPhone: report

Michael Jennings

Re: A few points

>The difference here is that Windows XP can still be installed on computers from 2001

>when it was released and they will receive updates from Microsoft right up until April 2014.

If you try installing Windows XP in a computer from 2001, you will find that once you install all the updates, the OS installation will demand more hard disk space and memory for itself than many computers in 2001 actually had. (If you try to install it with an SP3 installation CD, it may not even install for this reason). It's not that realistic to think that many PCs have been in use the full 12 and a half years of XP, or even close to it, at least not without significant hardware upgrades.

The long life of Windows XP occurred because Microsoft had great difficultly producing a successor to it. Windows XP Home was originally intended to reach end of life in 2006. However, this was extended a number of times, initially because a successor to XP was not even on the market in 2006.

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Michael Jennings

It's what the hardware can run.

The trouble with the iPhone 3G is that it had essentially the same internals as the original iPhone (apart from the 3G and GPS being added). This meant that the processor etc were fairly out of date even when it was released, which also meant that the hardware was too slow for many software updates. (It ran iOS 4.0-4.2 but terribly slowly and with many features disabled, which is presumably why Apple gave up on it at 4.3. This is the only time that Apple have discontinued support for a device at a point release of iOS rather than a major version.

The 3GS on the other hand was an upgrade to almost nothing but the internals. It received some criticism at the time for being a relatively minor upgrade. The 3GS is still running up to date software almost four years later, so the S version was clearly the one to get.

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BT and O2 ink deal to build mega 4G network

Michael Jennings

More importantly than that, perhaps, O2 bought very little spectrum in that recent auction, to the extent that I have been wondering how they would then manage to build a high enough capacity LTE network for their customer's needs. If this deal with BT allows O2 to use BT's 2.6GHz spectrum, O2 will have no longer have this problem.

As to why O2 didn't simply buy the spectrum in the auction, I have absolutely no idea. Is some sort of remerger between the two companies on the cards?

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T-Mobile UK punters break for freedom in inflation-busting bill row

Michael Jennings

Re: The Law of Contract in England and Wales

What T-Mobile should do here is revise the price increase in response to the revised inflation figure - that is retrospectively make the price increase 3.2% and adjust bills accordingly. Do that, and they are unequivocally complying with their own fine print. (As to whether the fine print itself is moral, legal, or justified, I will leave that discussion for some other time).

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T-mobile US in invisible handset handcuff contract smackdown

Michael Jennings

This is much better.

If you get a phone with a bundled handset in the UK, then it may cost £35 a month, compared to £15 a month for a similar contract SIM only. Obviously, that additional £20 is you paying off the cost of the phone.

However, after 24 (or 18, or whatever) months, the mobile network will continue charging you the full £35 a month every month until you tell them not to. If you ring them up and ask them to stop doing so, they are perfectly willing to (either by giving you a new handset to start paying off, or by cutting your monthly line rental if you don't want one), but you have to ask them. Lots of punters do not do this and end up paying vastly more to the mobile networks than they need to because they don't realise this.

This T-Mobile deal in the US explicitly separates the two things. You pay a monthly line rental, which potentially goes on forever, and you explicitly pay off the cost of the handset. After the 24 months, your monthly payment goes down to the line rental payment only. This is much clearer and much fairer on people who don't understand how the system works and just want to pay the bill that comes every month without talking to the customer retentions department. T-Mobile should be praised for it.

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EE extends network: Soon, 1 million users will pay us for 4G

Michael Jennings

Slot size

EE have 2x60Mhz at 1800MHz, which will dropp to 2x50MHz in September and then 2x45MHz in 2015 when Three gets the spectrum that EE were obliged to sell in return for T-Mobile and Orange being allowed to merge. As Bill Ray says, there is plenty of room for a 2x20MHz wide slot for LTE in there. T-Mobile have also bought 2x35MHz at 2600MHz, so they can put another 2x20MHz slot in there (and then some) too. (I believe 2x20Mhz is presently the maximum slot size for LTE, although it is very flexible below that). EE can also manage a 2x5MHz slot at 800MHz.

Vodafone have bought 2x20MHz at 2600MHz, and I guess they will go for a 2x20MHz slot there, in addition to a 2x10MHz slot at 800MHz. That sounds sensible, too.

O2 on the other hand have nothing at 2600MHz, only about 2x5MHz (or just over that) at 1800MHz, and 2x10MHz at 800MHz. That doesn't seem a lot. They might be able to recycle some of their 900MHz GSM spectrum at some point, but that is not contiguous and at least some of it is needed for 2G, plus there is not a lot of hardware support right now.

Three have that 2x10MHz (that becomes 2x15MHz in 2015) at 1800MHz from September, and also 2x5MHz at 800MHz.

So Three and O2 will not be able to do that wide slot thing that EE are now doing. I wonder if they will suffer because of this, and if so how much they will suffer.

(There's also the possibility that some 2100MHz 3G spectrum might get recycled at some point. The trouble is that it is full of 3G right now, the spectrum bands still aren't all that wide (2x10MHz for O2, 2x15MHz for Vodafone, and 2x20MHz for EE) and "European" variants of phones don't tend to support this band for LTE at present. (Japanese and Korean variants do, however). We may well get rather unequal performance from different networks for reasons of their spectrum holdings.

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Not got 4G? There's a reason we aren't called 'Four', sniffs Three

Michael Jennings

Re: TV is in the way

There are a fair chunk of phones that do support LTE in 2.1GHz, as this is being used for LTE in both Japan and South Korea. Not all phones aimed at Europe support it, but some do (including the iPhone 5, the Sony Xperia Z and a few others).

Three only got 2x5MHz at 800MHz in the recent auction, but they also recently bought 2x15MHz at 1800Mz from EE, who were required to sell it as a condition of the merger between T-Mobile and Orange. However, Three are not allowed to use any of this until September 2013, which means that they will launch their LTE network a bit late. Come September though and they will have enough spectrum.

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Review: HTC One

Michael Jennings

Is the reviewed HTC One LTE capable, and if so, which 3G and LTE bands does it support? I think the answer to this question matters quite a bit, as most people who buy the phone are going to keep if for something on the order of two years, and all the UK networks will be offering LTE within six months.

Most manufacturers high end phones last year were sold in the UK in both 3G only variants, and also 4G variants that also supported LTE. (Some of the 4G variants support fewer 3G bands than the 3G only version of the same phone). This year, my assumption is that manufacturers are mostly going to be selling the 4G variants of their high end phones in the UK. Confirmation that this is so for the HTC One would be a useful thing to get from a review.

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Ten ten-inch tablets

Michael Jennings

Where is the cellular version of the Nexus 10?

>The only serious fly in this otherwise fragrant ointment [Nexus 10] is the lack of a Micro SD slot.

The other problem with it is that it is WiFi only, and there is no 3G or 4G version even as an option. Google have this right with the Nexus 7 - you have the choice there, although there is no LTE yet - but for some reason not with the Nexus 10.

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Intel's Centrino notebook platform is 10 years old

Michael Jennings

Of course, whether a laptop was "Centrino" branded was not the point.

To put the "Centrino" branding on a laptop, it had to have a Pentium M processor, the Intel 855 Chipset that went with it, and a WiFi card using an Intel chipset. The Pentium M really was the goods - vastly better than anything else available for laptops at the time. One of the various variants of the 855 chipset was compulsory if you had a Pentium M. However, there were lots of alternatives for the WiFi card, many of which were as good or better than the Intel ones. So there were plenty of other Pentium M laptops which were just as good, but not Centrino branded. I think one reason that the brand faded before Intel withdrew it was that people realised this.

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