england

Latest

  • Virgin Media to roll out free WiFi in London, bums with iPads rejoice

    by 
    Joseph Volpe
    Joseph Volpe
    08.03.2011

    Fancy some free municipal WiFi, London? Yeah, we know, the service has been promised several times before, but that's not stopping Virgin Media from giving it the ol' college try. In his address to investors, CEO Neil Berkett announced plans to piggyback the gratis service on its existing cable backhaul "in the not too distant future," shoring up the gap left by operators' unreliable 3G coverage. Seems the media conglomerate's cable network runs mostly idle during the day -- a fact revealed during last week's earnings call -- and with only four percent market share, Virgin could certainly handle the extra traffic. The move is a straight shot at BT's similar, albeit partially free offering, and would provide download speeds of 0.5Mbps to the general public, with the truly blazing 10Mbps reserved for the company's own internet subscribers. But don't expect this business extension to break Virgin's bank, costing only a "few million pounds," this free-of-charge WiFi network's just a drop in its two tonne bucket. All that's left is a few permissive nods from the city's councils and you Londoners can keep up with the latest TOWIE drama wherever you go.

  • T-Mobile's You Fix gives budget-minded Brits a new approach to pay-as-you-go

    by 
    Zachary Lutz
    Zachary Lutz
    08.03.2011

    If you're a Londoner who's struggling to live within your means, T-Mobile is hoping its latest You Fix plans are the solution to your budgetary woes. The Magenta-clad carrier's UK arm promotes You Fix as the ultimate hybrid of pay monthly and pay-as-you-go. Customers sign a 12 month commitment to one of three plans that range between £15.50 ($25) and £26 ($42) per month, and the most expensive plan brings 300 minutes and texts. Once the allotment is met, consumers can top off their accounts based on T-Mobile's traditional PAYG rates, or bide their time until the new month rolls around. Additionally, You Fix'ers may choose between one of seven free add-ons each month, including options to add data or unlimited texts. Subsidized phones are also on the menu, with the BlackBerry Curve 8520, HTC Wildfire S, and Samsung Galaxy Gio leading the pack. Looking to save a few quid? Check the full schedule of plans in the PR beyond the break.

  • Xperia Mini Pro taunts Orange UK customers with free pricing, 'coming soon' status

    by 
    Zachary Lutz
    Zachary Lutz
    08.01.2011

    Let's assume you're enjoying a warm pint in Notting Hill while texting your mate, when suddenly it hits you: the Xperia Mini Pro (X10) is no longer the beguiling beauty you once adored. If this describes your plight, worry not, because Sony Ericsson's latest Xperia Mini Pro is coming to Orange UK, where along with its 1GHz Snapdragon CPU and Gingerbread OS, it's teasing a free price with qualifying monthly plans. While the citrus-themed network hasn't named an official release date, it's erected a "coming soon" page in anticipation of the QWERTY slider's inevitable debut. If you're hoping for something more definitive, O2 is tempting its customers with a September arrival -- although pricing remains up in the oxygen-rich air.

  • Virgin Media testing 1.5Gbps internet for lucky Londonites

    by 
    Terrence O'Brien
    Terrence O'Brien
    07.25.2011

    Jealous of Comcast customers with their 105Mbps cable hook ups or those lucky residents of the Kansas cities relishing in Google's 1Gbps service? Well add Londonites to the list of people that drive you to indulging in one of the seven deadly sins. Virgin Media has finally started testing its DOCSIS2-powered 1.5Gbps network in the heart of merry ol' England. Right now it's being enjoyed by a group of test sites around Old Street that also get a 150Mbps upload connection. Virgin claims it's the fastest broadband in the world, which may be true if you're not counting lab experiments. The really good news is that it's based on the same tech already delivering 100Mbps to residents across the country so, if the trial goes well, it should be trivial to deliver these mind numbing speeds to the rest of its customers. PR after the break.

  • ZTE Skate coasting into UK retailers... in September

    by 
    Zachary Lutz
    Zachary Lutz
    07.20.2011

    Oh, now it's on. Not too long ago, we learned the ZTE Skate Monte Carlo would be "coming soon" to Orange in the UK. While the citrus-flavored network has yet to pin down an actual release date -- or price -- Clove Technology, a mobile-centric reseller based in England, is telling its customers to expect a September 19th arrival and £250 price tag (subject to change, anyway). Naturally, the announcement of an actual, honest-to-goodness Skate falls in line with ZTE's recent announcement that it would begin selling its hardware -- replete with ZTE badging -- directly to UK consumers. If you've got the gamblin' spirit and are willing to put money on Clove, the pre-order madness has already begun. So, ZTE, who's claiming the coveted "First!" dibs?

  • ZTE emerges from carrier shadows with direct sales strategy in UK

    by 
    Zachary Lutz
    Zachary Lutz
    07.18.2011

    In spite of Nokia still reeling from its direct sales-induced hangover, ZTE is pursuing this very sales model with hopes of bolstering its brand recognition -- and it's going to start with the tea and crumpets crowd of England. Following a recently-inked deal, unlocked ZTE handsets will be sold to British consumers through Brightpoint's online and retail distribution channels. While far from mainstream (despite 60 million units sold in 2010), the Chinese manufacturer is looking to escape its private-label shackles and "become a household name synonymous with high quality smartphones and tablets." Of course, the company must contend with a trending consumer preference for carrier-subsidized handsets, blamed by the bigwigs in Espoo as the reason for Nokia's direct-to-consumer pains. Still, if the Shenzhen-based company finds any luck, Londoners will soon discover scores of Amigos, Blades and Skates popping up on the Tube. Hungry for more details? Just follow the link after the break for the full PR.

  • HP TouchPad goes on sale in the UK, starts at £399 for 16GB WiFi model

    by 
    Darren Murph
    Darren Murph
    07.16.2011

    Here's an interesting titbit: HP's TouchPad has already begun to ship to speciality shops in the US, but for the pernickety among us, you may know that the company's first webOS slate hasn't actually hit the streets of Londontown. Until now, ole chap. The 16GB WiFi model is going for £399, while a doubling of capacity will tack on a few extra quid. It's available now directly from HP's webstore, but if mum always criticised your rampant online shopping sprees, we hear aeroplanes and coupés are colourful alternatives for acquisition.

  • Netflix coming to Spain and the UK next year?

    by 
    Darren Murph
    Darren Murph
    07.15.2011

    File this one in the unconfirmed-but-hopeful file, as Variety has it on good authority that Netflix could be making its first foray into European waters as early as Q1 2012. After taking Latin America by storm (and subsequently storming the wallets of plain 'ole Americans), the company is purportedly lining up Spain and the United Kingdom for its next trick. Unnamed sources at "leading European film distributors" have confirmed that representatives from the company were looking to "put roots down" in both of those nations as soon as next year, and while Netflix itself is refusing to comment, it's certainly a tale that's easy to believe. 'Course, breaking into the UK market won't be as easy as it has been in other nations -- Lovefilm already has a firm grip on the local rental market, but as your favorite capitalist always says, there's never not room for increased competition. We'll keep you posted. [Thanks, Eric]

  • UK education boss Michael Gove wants games in the classroom

    by 
    Jordan Mallory
    Jordan Mallory
    07.05.2011

    Michael Gove has served as Brtitain's Secretary of State for Education since May of 2010. Since being appointed, Gove has called for a number of reforms for the British education system, including restructuring and intensifying language requirements both foreign and domestic, as well as strengthening standards in science and "maths." Now, Gove has set his sights on video games as a way of making the British education system more engaging for children. "When children need to solve equations in order to get more ammo to shoot the aliens, it is amazing how quickly they can learn," said Gove, speaking to the Royal Society in London regarding Oxford professor Marcus du Sautoy's Manga High system. Manga High, which allows educators to schedule online assignments that automatically reward items in accompanying flash games, represents the future of early science and math education, according to Gove: "These developments are only the beginning." In related news, we somehow managed to make it all the way through this post without making an "Eh, Gove?" joke.

  • Nokia shutters online and retail stores in UK, US web store

    by 
    Zach Honig
    Zach Honig
    06.30.2011

    Nokia will be entering Q3 free of any direct-to-consumer sales channels in the US and UK. The Finnish smartphone maker shuttered its remaining UK retail stores earlier this month (with the exception of Heathrow Airport, which remains open), and also discontinued sales on its US and UK online stores -- joining France, Spain, and The Netherlands, which all went offline last month. We spoke to a former Nokia UK retail employee, who cited poor marketing, high prices, slowing traffic and a high product return rate as a few of the reasons that the stores closed -- returns of the N8 and E7 dominated other handsets, with customers complaining of device crashes and corruption, hardware failures, and usability issues. He reports that the stores were also only able to sell devices on Vodafone and T-Mobile, and only Vodafone allowed customers to upgrade in a Nokia store. The majority of customers came into the store for support, rather than to make a purchase. "The last two months were particularly quiet. Even if the shopping centre was busy, the Nokia store would have perhaps no more than 30 people through the door a day, usually for technical assistance. And that was that, all stores were closed abruptly on June 20th." We imagine pricing played a large role in the decision to close the UK and US online stores, just as it did with UK retail and online stores in other countries. Both country's online stores have been replaced with a closure notice, with the US store directing customers to Amazon, and the UK store referring visitors to eight retail partners, instead.%Gallery-127496% [Thanks, Karl]

  • Caption Contest: iPad hat is so last season

    by 
    Tim Stevens
    Tim Stevens
    06.16.2011

    Fashion genius or major faux pas? Obviously the latter. Really, who would be seen in public wearing last year's iPad on their head? This woman, apparently, who donned a particularly feathery contraption before heading to the Royal Ascot horse race, where one's social status is dictated largely by the caliber of their hat. We have it on good authority that the Galaxy Tab 8.9 will be the hot ticket next season. Terrence: "Hey, my eyes are down here, buddy." Brad: "You can look, but you can't multitouch." Zach H.: "I can't believe you gave me a frozen iPad. You think it'll thaw after an hour or two in the sun?" Brian: "I know I had it with me when I left for work this morning..." Michael: "I went to Cupertino and all I got was this lousy hat!" Zach L.: "This is sooo the last time I let Jonathan Ive design my wardrobe." Christopher: "iPad-toting parrots reportedly dive-bombed attendees of the 2011 Royal Ascot." Tim: "Oh don't get so excited, it's just a big iPhone hat." Richard Lai: "My husband insisted." Joe P.: "iPad 2 shipping delays made for something rather old-hat." Don: "I asked the stylist for something magical." Darren: "Believe it or not, I didn't even have to jailbreak!" Dana: "Sorry, dahling, but if you don't have an iPad hat, well, you don't have an iPad hat." [Image credit: Getty Images]

  • Emporia RL1 doesn't think your smartphone is all that great

    by 
    Brian Heater
    Brian Heater
    05.27.2011

    In this age of perpetual smartphone one-upmanship, calling your handset the "most straightforward mobile phone in the world" seems a strange selling point. Still, there are surely people out there who need a reprieve from the complications of iPhones, BlackBerrys, and Android devices, and Emporia's RL1 does eschew pretty much everything that's not a phone call or text. The handset has a bright screen with adjustable text size and big buttons that light up when a call comes through, nice features for older users with vision and hearing problems. The phone comes with the above angular cradle and should give you about three hours of talk time on a charge. For those who want to get fancy with the thing, there's also a calculator, alarm clock, and a feature that'll help you remember birthdays -- the primary reason a lot of us use Facebook. The phone is available now for Vodafone's monthly and pay as you go plans. It runs £60 ($99) -- you didn't think straightforwardness like this comes cheap, did you? Press release after the break.

  • HTC Desire S gets a candy apple makeover exclusively at Vodafone UK

    by 
    Zachary Lutz
    Zachary Lutz
    05.25.2011

    Oh, the Desire S. It's attracted plenty of attention around these parts, and if a thorough review or family scuffle wasn't enough to draw your attention, we imagine this fire engine paint job will do just nicely. Vodafone is bringing this exclusive red-headed beaut to its UK network, where it's available free with all monthly plans £30 or more. So, if you're the type who loves aluminum unibody enclosures but detests the color of... well, aluminum... it seems that you're in luck. Just don't get too cocky around MacBook Pro fans -- they're likely to get jealous of your free paint job.

  • Solar-powered butterfly chandelier is a fluttering mass of art and light

    by 
    Terrence O'Brien
    Terrence O'Brien
    05.24.2011

    Look closely at that blue blob up above and you'll realize it's made up of 500 butterflies, each one meticulously cut from photovoltaic cells. The hundreds of insects collect the sun's rays as they flutter around a giant glass bulb that turns into a churning mass of light after dusk. The Virtue of Blue chandelier is a stunning work of art by Dutch designer Jeroen Verhoeven that draws connections between the beauty and power of nature and the importance of sustainable energy... or, you know, just something trippy to stare at while you sip a few cocktails at the Blain|Southern gallery in London. %Gallery-124262%

  • 20 gigapixel, 360-degree panorama of Wembley Stadium is among world's largest, most detailed

    by 
    Vlad Savov
    Vlad Savov
    05.17.2011

    Jeffrey Martin is a busy man. Having already shot an 80 gigapixel panorama of London's skyline and a 40 gigapixel peek inside a Czech library, he has now turned his attention to England's hallowed Wembley Stadium. The recently rebuilt home of football served as the stage for a new 360-degree panorama, shot during the FA Cup Final this Saturday, which spans 10 20 gigapixels in total and has been made available online at the source link below. Recording was done using a DSLR mounted to a custom robot rig that would continually pump out imagery to an equally exclusive Fujitsu workstation equipped with 192GB of RAM and 24 processing cores. All that grunt was used to automatically stitch more than 1,000 high-res images together, earning the finished product the honor of being one of the world's largest 360-degree sports panoramic photos. Give the source a bash to tag yourself if you were at the Final or to check who else was there. [Thanks, Adam] Update: We originally had this at 10 gigapixel, going from information on the FA's website, but it turns out to be a 20 gigapixel pic. Its claim for being the largest sports panorama may actually be disputed by Essendon FC in Australia, who managed to pull together a 20 gigapixel image of their own at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in late April. You can see that jumbo pic here, or check out a couple more from Daytona and the NCAA Final Four this year.

  • Royal wedding livestream breaks hearts, records

    by 
    Brian Heater
    Brian Heater
    04.30.2011

    No frogs transformed into princes and no wicked stepmothers were vanquished -- not on camera, at least -- but today's royal wedding managed to capture the world's imagination. Thanks to partnerships with CBS, the Associated Press, UK Press Association, and Entertainment Tonight, the marriage between Prince William and Kate Middleton broke viewing records on Livestream.com, maxing out at 300,000 simultaneous viewers and a total of "at least 2 million" unique users, according to Max Haot, the site's CEO. We reached out to YouTube and Facebook to see how they did on the streaming front, but neither site has a final tally -- though a Facebook spokesperson did tell us that 6,819,072 people have commented on the wedding in the past 24 hours. We don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but we hear News Corp. has secured the rights to the Royal Divorce -- just in case.

  • 4 apps for the Royal Wedding

    by 
    Michael Grothaus
    Michael Grothaus
    04.25.2011

    When it comes to European royalty, Americans go crazy. Beyond the garden-variety obsession with royalty, British royalty in particular is like Yank catnip. The ultimate bonkers-maker, however, is British royal weddings. When there's a royal wedding across the pond, Americans absolutely seem to lose their marbles. There's just no getting around it. You can't listen to the radio or turn on the TV without hearing about Prince William and Kate Middleton. Seriously, right now those two are bigger than Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, which I didn't think was even possible. And don't even think about browsing a newsstand. Close to half of the magazines have the royal and royal-to-be on the cover. Maybe it's the romanticism of it all or the fact that we Americans tend to mix fantasy with aspiration, but whatever the cause, I'm happy to contribute to the hysteria. Without further ado, here is a list of four iOS apps that allow you to live out the royal wedding on your iPhone and iPad. Best of all, all the apps are free, so you can hold onto the family jewels. The Royal Wedding by Hello! -- This app, brought to you by one of the trashiest gossip magazines in the UK, is little more than a photo scrapbook of the fairytale romance between Wills and Kate. It's got dedicated albums for the bride and groom, along with albums dedicated to royal wedding rings, wedding dresses and gifts. One of the cooler albums shows images from past royal weddings.

  • New radio wave technique could detect alien planets, receive interstellar tunes

    by 
    Jesse Hicks
    Jesse Hicks
    04.24.2011

    Any experienced planet hunter will tell you: finding exoplanets is the real challenge, where hardened professionals go to test their mettle. These tricky bodies stymie conventional methods – like seeing a planet pass in front of its parent star – because exoplanets often have decades-long orbits, meaning you could spend a lot of lonely nights fruitlessly searching the skies. So scientists at the University of Leicester in England developed a new approach: looking for radio waves emitted when ultraviolet flares light up the atmospheres of planets like Saturn and Jupiter. The flares – auroras – even if invisible to ordinary telescopes, are detectable by radio telescopes like the European Low Frequency Array (or LOFAR, pictured above). The scientists hope those methods will help them discover planetary systems up to 150 light-years away, perhaps even some that can sustain life. And, of course, keep them one step ahead of Richard Branson. [Image credit: LOFAR / ASTRON]

  • Virgin Media to test 1.5Gbps broadband on London's Silicon Roundabout

    by 
    Christopher Trout
    Christopher Trout
    04.20.2011

    Just last week we reported on Fujitsu's plans to get in on the gigabit broadband game, and now Virgin Media is taking things a step further by announcing its intention to test internet speeds up to 1.5Gbps in east London. The trial, which plans to deliver upload speeds of 150Mbps, uses a similar fiber optic setup as the one employed by Fujitsu, and targets multimedia companies near the junction of the city's Old Street and City Road, also referred to as the Silicon Roundabout. These tests have been made possible by a £13 billion investment from Virgin Media. If this thing pans out, it looks like Google might have some catching up to do. Full PR after the break.

  • Virgin confirms 'baby TiVo,' expects 500GB model to become the new standard DVR

    by 
    Richard Lawler
    Richard Lawler
    04.12.2011

    Richard Branson apparently wasn't kidding about how much he loved Virgin Media's new TiVo-powered DVRs, as the company revealed this week it will start offering a cheaper model with a 500GB hard drive to all of its customers, differing from the original which is only available to those with the XL package of channels. We can expect the "baby TiVo" -- aside from the HDD space, it is similar to the original in all respects including the three tuner capability -- to start shipping for existing customers May 16th. The up front pricing has been slashed, at just £49.95 (plus installation) while TechRadar mentions the price of the 1TB will be reduced to £149.95 for existing customers with preorders, or £199.95 for new customers but with the £40 installation fee waived.The existing V+ HD service isn't going away immediately, but it seems like the TiVo will have more features for the same price, but we'll wait to hear if our UK readers find the experience worthwhile.