Tag Archives: smartphone

Gadget Man – Episode 130 – Why are people not upgrading their phones as often?

Many of us will remember the halcyon days when upgrading our mobile phone handsets was a six-month event.

No so now it would seem, instead, we are waiting much longer and are clearly looking for greater incentives to part with our beloved devices and even more importantly, our money.

You can listen into my interview with James Hazell on BBC Radio Suffolk where I talk about why the smartphone market is slowing down. Click on the link above to hear what I had to say. 

A Short(ish) History

My first mobile phone was bought in 1993 (some 26 years ago) from Dixons in Derby. It was an NEC P100 and I think it cost me £50 and then £7.50 per month for the contract with Vodafone, no calls were included, so I paid 50p per minute if I did need to call anyone.

The phone itself ran on the old 1G analogue network at 900MHz which was very quickly superceded by the digital 2G networks split between 900MHz for Vodafone and Cellnet and the alternative 1800Mhz for Orange and Mercury One2One.

Note: if you don’t recognise many of these names, it’s because due to buyouts, rebrands and mergers, Vodafone remained, Orange became EE, Cellnet became BT Cellnet, then O2. Mercury One2One became just One2One and then changed to T-Mobile which in turn is merged with Orange to become EE. Then of course 3 launched a 3g service later on and of course, two dozen or so ‘piggy-back’ operators such as Giffgaff, Sky Mobile, Virgin etc, who don’t, in fact, run their own networks but instead using the Big Four’s network. 

So my first phone was relatively cheap in today’s terms and in fact in ‘yesterdays’ terms too. the NEC P100 was meant to be a durable portable phone which it was and I kept it for some years until the analogue network was phased out and I had to get a more modern phone. The 2G network roll-out in the UK caused a market explosion and along with it came the Nokia 5110 and then 3310 phones which completely dominated the marketplace.

This explosion in popularity came with reasonably cheap phones with cheap and short contracts, this meant that phones could be renewed quite regularly and soon cupboards would start filling up with unwanted and out of date devices, fuelling development and in reality, a war between manufacturers and networks to provide more and more functionality. Heading this surge was Orange and O2 who had struck up a deal with little known manufacturer HTC to produce the very first Microsoft Windows CE based ‘Smartphones’, long before the birth of the iPhone.

HTC was at the time manufacturing the Compaq and HP iPaq Pocket PC and by adding cellular functionality, the Orange SPV (Sounds, Pictures and Video) and O2 XDA (extended PDA) began to be sold and the Smartphone was born.

Suddenly our dumb phones became ‘Smartphones’ and with it rapidly increasing prices. These costs had to be passed onto consumers via increased contracts with longer minimum terms (mainly to allow for the handset and network infrastructure costs to be absorbed ). Minimum six-month contracts became twelve, then eighteen, then twenty-four months. All of this was necessary to pay for the device and network overheads!

The phone networks began bundling minutes (and later, data), in part to placate phone users who were starting to become caught up in the ever increasing contract times.  Subsequently, devices became more expensive, resulting in more expensive contracts.

With the launch of Apple’s iPhone, O2 and T-Mobile began offering ‘all you can eat’ data plans in order for these data-hungry devices to take advantage of the vast amount of content appearing. Once the iPhone 3G was launched, with its ability to consume vast amounts of bandwidth and data, the all-you-can-eat model was scrapped or altered with ‘acceptable usage’ policies to limit data consumption, unless you were prepared to pay more.

Now that the smartphone had become established as a Super-Gadget, the manufacturers began an ‘Arms-Race’ to establish themselves as the Go-To brand in the multi-billion dollar marketplace, the likes of Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, LG, Sony and HTC began pumping billions into product development, patent registrations, cross-licensing and all-out war!

In turn, the Smartphone industry has driven bigger, better, faster and more costly devices into the consumers’ hands! Meanwhile, in China, Xiaomi, Huawei and Honor are producing comparable and in some cases, better products, the market is now awash with products that were once competing with each other but are now blurring their differences making it difficult to see the differences

Summing Up

We now have a smart-device marketplace with astoundingly high-quality handsets costing £1000 plus! How can we justify paying over £100 a month for a mobile phone contract, when we are struggling to differentiate between ‘last-years’ model?

What is needed now is for the manufacturers to take a breath! They need to find out what their customers really want. Maybe we are becoming tired and bewildered of being told what functions we need by these companies and it’s time for them to start listening to their consumers.

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man

 

 

 

 

Gadget Man – Episode 121 – Too Much Smartphone Part III

As we enter the final year of the second decade of the 21st century, the smartphone will surely be considered the most revolutionary gadget of the last 10 years.

Our phones are now firmly ingrained in our lives, joining us at home, at work, at play, at the dinner table, in bed, they come with us everywhere! Our lives are documented in detail, where we go, what we do, what we think and what we eat. We’ve now become news gatherers, critics and voyeurs all without realising it was happening in front of us.

Too Much Smartphone III
Too Much Smartphone III

The use of mobile phones stretches to every age group, from the elderly to the very young and with this comes concern as to the use of these devices. Should young people be allowed to use their phones at any time of the day OR night? Does it reduce conversation? Are we become LESS social?

I have now covered this subject twice in the past, you can read a listen in here and here, however now reports are informing us that phones DON’T cause our children harm, listen in to the podcast, where I talk to Mark Murphy on BBC Radio Suffolk about this latest contentious report.

As ever, if you enjoy listening in, Like, Share, Subscribe and Comment, I will see you soon!

Matt Porter
Gadget Man

 

We’ve donated to British Red Cross

Red Cross Donation
Red Cross Donation

A little over a month has passed since we arrived back from the Scotland and as promised, we have donated the remains of our Gadget Road Trip fund to British Red Cross.

This afternoon, I transferred the remaining balance of £42.32 from our Monzo Card to the British Red Cross charity and thus rendered the account empty.

I was personally extremely upset by the Grenfell Tower disaster earlier this year, which I know also affected Paul. The British Red Cross were on the ground there immediately after it happened and provided much need assistance to the poor families that had lost their loved ones, their homes and everything they owned in a matter of minutes. It is because of this, that I wanted to donate to this charity. Since Grenfell, other disasters have continued to affect the people of our planet and the British Red Cross have continued to provide much needed support for these people who have lost absolutely everything they own and still lack the basics of clean water, electricity and food. If you would like to continue to help them, you can also donate via this link

Thank you so much again to the following people and organisations for their kind donations of funds or services!

XSItems Ltd
ACPlus
Favorite Fried Chicken
Free Reign Internet
Coderus
Gavin Dadd
Patrick Lohan
Jackie Robinson
Ian Brown
Olive Porter
Sandra Grilli
Callum McGilvery.

We wouldn’t have been able to feed ourselves during the trip and have something soft to sleep on. Thank you again.

Thanks also to Hillcroft Park in Ullswater for allowing us to stay at their lodgings for two nights (They will be featuring in the upcoming sitcom ‘Home from Home’ with Johnny Vegas, so keep an eye out!) and Far View Bed & Breakfast in Kilchoan (I won’t forget little Gracie exclaiming “My wellington boots fell over!!” as I took her and her dad on a little test drive).

 

 

The Gadget Man – Episode 102 – Nokia 3310 (re)launches in the UK

Click to buy the Nokia 3310 from Amazon

With the UK launch of the Nokia 3310, I talk to Mark Murphy at BBC Radio Suffolk about the nostalgia behind one of the most popular mobile phones of the last 20 years.

The original Nokia 3310 is without doubt an iconic mobile handset and in it’s original form which went on to sell 126,000,000 units.

Following the licensing of the ‘Nokia’ phone brand to HMD, four new phones, including three running Android, namely the Nokia 3, Nokia 4 and Nokia 5 are to be launched.

Nokia 3310
Nokia 3310

Alongside these modern smartphones see’s the  reborn Nokia 3310.

The handset is described as ‘a modern classic reborn’, retaining the durability and insane standby time of the original. Available in four distinctive colours and with a price tag of £49, expect the 3310 to be popular again.

Don’t forget to listen in to the stream to find our more!

The Gadget Man – Episode 77 – Touchability Grip Gloves from touchscreengloves.co.uk

Touchability GlovesIf you live in the UK, you will have noticed the sudden change in temperature over the past couple of days, whilst this time a few of weeks ago we were basking in warmer than normal October, are now plunged into the depths of winter.

 

Recently, I have taken to cycling to work on an e-bike and aside from a decent coat, hat, waterproof trousers, spare set of clothes and shoes, in this weather; gloves are a MUST!! These days however, gloves get in the way from our obsessive use of touch technology!! Not so, it would seem. Gloves no longer obscure the use of mobile phones and cause breakages with their slippery surfaces, not when they are Touchability Grip Gloves from touchscreengloves.co.uk.

Click to buy from Amazon!!

The gloves I tried were standard knitted type with the addition of silver woven in. The silver gives conductivity and allows the electrical signals from your fingers to travel through the glove material onto your touch screen device. Not only that, the palm side of the gloves had rubber dots attached meaning that even the most slippery phone would stay secure in your hand.

Listen into the stream to hear what I thought of the gloves and head over to www.touchscreengloves.co.uk to see the Grip gloves and their full range of products.

The Gadget Man – Episode 64 – LG G4 from Three

This week those very kind people at Three have again supplied us with a gorgeous LG G4 Smart Phone.

The G4’s stand out feature is it’s screen. It improves the QuadHD screen from it’s predecessor, the G3 but brings improvement in colour and brightness. It has a nice loud speaker and the phone controls are on the back of the phone under the camera lens which makes controlling it surprisingly easy.

Both cameras are excellent on the phone, with the rear facing main camera sporting a F1.8 sensor which makes low light photos really clear at it’s 16 megapixels. Coupled with LG’s clever ‘Laser focus’, this is a seriously cool phone.

Find out more about it by listening to the stream, more detailed review is coming soon!!!

Thanks again to Jocelyn Medhurst at COW PR who is super helpful indeed!!

The Gadget Man – Episode 31 – HTC One Mini 2

For our first official slot of the year, I talk to Mark about the HTC One Mini 2. Bringing the premium aluminium build quality to a smaller form factor. Listen in to find out more!

HTC One Mini 2
HTC One Mini 2

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The Gadget Man – Episode 28 – Anki-Drive, the Best of Both Worlds – Updated with purchase links

This morning’s gadget slot was probably the most fun we’ve had so far!! Today I featured the Anki Drive  a physical car racing game which effortlessly merges the real world with arcade racing and adds buckets of artificial intelligence.

You can buy Ankidrive online direct from Amazon by clicking the image below….

Both Mark and myself can vouch how quickly it can be unrolled and set up as I managed while a song was playing.  I haven’t even touched on what you can do with this ‘racing game’, but I can tell you I was seriously impressed!! Full written review coming soon, in the meantime listen to the attached audio stream and the short video filmed by the lovely Jaimielee.

Thanks to the wonderful Lauren Armour at Hotwire PR for getting this over to me at such short notice!!!

Nokia Lumia 1520 – It will keep your hands full!

Think big! Bigger. No, you’ll have to think bigger than that. Trust me, you’re going to need to be thinking pretty big, because today we’re going to be taking a look at one of the biggest smart phones currently on the market – the Nokia Lumia 1520. Continue reading Nokia Lumia 1520 – It will keep your hands full!