Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong set for May Surface Pro launch
The Microsoft Surface Pro will start shipping in a number of other countries later this month, as part of the company's plans to expand its retail availability further than the US, Canada, and China. The United Kingdom will see the device appearing on store shelves on May 23, while a number of markets in Europe looking to get the slate computer on May 30.
Move would become second time BT creates a mobile network
British Telecom will be using the spectrum it picked up in the United Kingdom's 4G spectrum auction to start up its own 4G network. BT CEO Ian Livingston claims it is "highly possible" that BT-branded SIM cards could be issued out to customers by this time next year, with the cellular usage being paid for through current landline bills.
Skype in Outlook.com accompanied by Windows client update
Microsoft has added the ability to make Skype calls within the Outlook.com e-mail service. The site, which left beta in February, will allow Outlook users in the United Kingdom to access their Skype contacts, make calls, and communicate using instant messages, all from within the browser instead of launching external applications.
New Lumia device expected to be revealed at event
Phone manufacturer Nokia is holding an event in the United Kingdom, where it is expected to unveil a new Lumia device. Invitations sent out to members of the media for the event on May 14 in London provides little in the way of clues for what will be shown, but it does use the taglines "See What's Next" and "The Nokia Lumia story continues."
High bills generated by children using freemium games under scrutiny
A United Kingdom government department has launched an investigation into in-app purchases aimed at children. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is attempting to find out if the methods used by developers to encourage children into performing the purchases are "misleading, commercially aggressive, or otherwise unfair."
Orders for Q10 to reach UK customers by end of April
Pre-orders for the BlackBerry Q10 have opened up in the United Kingdom, after a relatively successful launch of the Z10 in the country. Both the Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U chains are taking orders for the keyboard-equipped BB10 smartphone, while the national carriers themselves appear not to have done so.
Online, radio royalties still dwarfed by physical sales
Revenues from online music licensing has beaten revenues from radio for the first time in the United Kingdom. The Performing Rights Society (PRS), collector of music royalties in the country, found that online revenues of £51.7 million ($78.1 million) outweighed the £47 million ($71 million) earned from radio royalties last year.
Facebook updates Android app in UK with VoIP access
Facebook has updated the Android version of its Messenger app in the United Kingdom, enabling Voice over IP (VoIP) calls in the country. The new version comes just days after the same update appeared on the iOS version for the UK, with users being able to place calls to other Messenger users by tapping the "i" button then "Free Call." The unannounced Android update has taken place in a much shorter time-span than the two-months seen when the feature first rolled out in the US and Canada.
Google patent application details GPS-based camera settings
Google has filed a patent application with the USPTO for using a GPS to alter the settings on a camera. The abstract in the filing suggests that a weather report based on a specific physical location could give the camera important data to optimize its settings for a photograph or video recording, such as how much ambient light there is to work with, reports Engadget. While it is possible that the method may not make its way into digital cameras, it is possible it could appear in a Google-produced handset, like the X Phone, in the future.
Galaxy S4 to cost $250, on two-year AT&T contract
The Samsung Galaxy S4 will be able to be pre-ordered in the US in the near future, and is already available for pre-order in the UK. AT&T managed to be the first carrier to announce when the smartphone will go on sale in the United States, while on the other side of the Atlantic, most carriers in the United Kingdom have started accepting orders for the 4.99-inch mobile device.
Backers will receive shipping notices for Ouya via e-mail
The Ouya game console has started shipping, with the first wave of shipments being sent today. The commencement of sending consoles to Kickstarter backers follows announcements that Game, a computer game retailer in the United Kingdom, has opened up pre-orders for the device, both in-store and through its website.
Paywall additions continues trend in online newspapers
Two newspapers in the United Kingdom are placing their content behind paywalls, a move already performed by a number of prominent news organizations. The Telegraph has expanded its existing paywall for international readers to cover the UK, while News International has confirmed that tabloid The Sun will be under a similar arrangement later this year.
Free voice calls via Facebook lands in Europe
Facebook has enabled Voice Over IP (VoIP) in its messaging app for users in the United Kingdom, and possibly other areas of Europe. After being launched in Canada in January before rolling out to the United States, the iOS version of Facebook Messenger allows users to call each other through the service instead of passing voice messages to each other as previously offered.
OLED screen measures 4.5mm thick, under 22lb
LG has opened up pre-orders for its 55-inch OLED HD television in the United Kingdom. Shipping to customers in the US and South Korea later this month, the 55EM970V weighs less than 22 pounds, measures 4.5mm (0.18-inches) thick, and though will not offer the same Ultra-HD resolution as its larger 84-inch counterpart, it will still provide what is claimed to be "exceptional picture quality."
Five Nokia, HTC handsets with WP8 go on sale
British carrier Vodafone has started to offer a number of Windows Phone 8 devices on it's network in the United Kingdom. The Nokia Lumia 920, Lumia 820, and Lumia 620 is joined by the HTC 8X and 8s for the carrier's WP8 launch, with only the Samsung Ativ S making a notable absence from the device roster.
Acquisition to give Virgin Media stronger position against Sky
British cable service provider Virgin Media has been acquired by Liberty Global. The deal, worth $23.3 billion in cash and stock, gives Liberty a bigger stake in European businesses, as well as providing both companies the chance to save around $180 million per year after regulatory and shareholder approval and the acquisition closes.
UK carriers may be allowed to roll out 4G LTE outside of auction
United Kingdom telecommunications regulator Ofcom is considering the prospect of allowing carriers to reuse existing spectrum for LTE-based services, such as those offered by EE. Such a proposal from Ofcom would potentially offer more spectrum for the faster network services than its current 4G spectrum auction could provide, with little in the way of extra licensing cost for phone networks.
Donation to help encourage students to start programming
Schools in the United Kingdom will be receiving free Raspberry Pi Model B boards, courtesy of Google. The grant from Google Giving will help provide the schools around 15,000 units of the low-cost micro computer, in a bid to encourage more students to take up computer programming, and to encourage change in the way computing classes are currently taught.
Gaming network intrusion 'could have been prevented'
Sony has been fined £250,000 ($395,000) by the Information Commissioner's Office of the United Kingdom over the April 2011 hack of the PlayStation Network. The UK authority criticized Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, claiming the online gaming system's infiltration "could have been prevented" if security software used by SCEE had been kept up-to-date, with increased security on user passwords.
Administration causes loss of over 1,300 jobs
Jessops, the largest photography chain store in the United Kingdom, has closed down all of its 187 stores, two days after entering administration. More than 1,370 jobs will be lost due to the closures, with more expected to be lost at the company's head office in the future. Administrator PriceWaterhouseCoopers is currently managing the firm's closure.
UK-based price-hike denied, priced in line with US
The dock for the Google Nexus 7 will be shipping in the US in the next two weeks according to reports. If true, the Asus-manufactured official accessory for the tablet will finally go on sale six months after the Android-based slate went on sale, but is overshadowed by reports it will also cost far more than anticipated in the United Kingdom compared to the United States, something the company denies.
New purchases stopped, gift cards still accepted
Spotify has stopped users in the United Kingdom from buying music tracks. A notice stating "We're no longer supporting new download purchases on Spotify" appears when users attempt to purchase songs on the service, with the link leading to the download store FAQ not offering any immediate explanation for the change in policy.
Short-form ebooks reach UK after period in US
Amazon has started to offer its short-form Kindle Singles in the United Kingdom. The ebook novellas, with word counts below 30,000, are already available in the online ebook store to purchase, with the initial offerings covering subjects such as video games, Christmas holidays, and an exploration into the history of James Bond.
Major UK networks joined by PCCW, BT in auction
UK regulator of communications Ofcom has revealed the companies that can bid in its oncoming 4G spectrum auction. The list of seven companies that have qualified in order to take part includes all of the major phone networks in the UK, as well as two that do not currently operate as mobile carriers in the United Kingdom.
Contextual features, camera app updates added to smartphone
Samsung has started rolling out its Premium Suite for the Galaxy S III in the United Kingdom. The update, which adds multi-window support and camera enhancements, among other changes, is being pushed out starting from today according to the company, though this could take up to a week to actually complete, depending on individual networks.
Four main carriers to sell new RIM handset at launch
Major phone networks in the United Kingdom have expressed their intent to support BlackBerry 10 handsets when they are released. Carriers Vodafone, O2, Three, and EE will all carry the new handsets, which are set to be on sale shortly after Research In Motion's operating system global launch event, set for January 30th.
Carrier aims to cover 98-percent of population with 4G access
The first 4G-based carrier in the United Kingdom has announced its network expansion plans for early 2013. An extra 17 towns will receive the high-speed mobile access from Everything Everywhere, now EE, by March, on top of the 14 existing towns and cities that it has launched in, and the four areas set to go live before the end of this year.
One SV to use EE initially, other carriers in future
HTC has prepared a new Android smartphone for the United Kingdom, this time with 4G LTE connectivity. Already set to launch in Australia and Asia, the HTC One SV extends the One series catalog and takes advantage of the current 4G LTE network from EE, as well as other carriers when they launch their own high-speed connections.
Streaming service first to offer UltraViolet purchasing in UK
Literary retail chain Barnes & Noble has opened its Nook Video movie and TV store in the United Kingdom. The video service is also the first digital retailer in the UK to offer UltraViolet titles for sale, allowing customers to buy films through the system as well as registering codes from purchased DVDs and Blu-Ray discs bought in stores.
UK copyright law updated to reflect 'reality'
Vince Cable, the United Kingdom's Business secretary, has announced major changes to that country's copyright law concerning digital media. The government will legalize "format shifting," or allowing consumers to rip content from CDs and DVDs for personal use. The government will also reverse part of last year's Digital Enforcement Act, which would have blocked websites for hosting copyrighted material. Cable said the law needed to change to conform to reasonable expectations of consumers. "We've got to bring law in line with reality," he said.
Impressed by large screen, grandsons' demo
Yet another world leader has opted to become an iPad 2 user. Following President Obama's lead, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth has acquired an iPad for her personal use, according to a report in the British tabloid newspaper The Sun. Reportedly the monarch was given a demonstration of the device by her grandsons, princes William and Harry. She was said to be impressed by the ease of use, the large screen and light weight of the device.
Vodafone BB Storm official
Vodafone recently launched an official website for the upcoming BlackBerry Storm 9500 handheld for its customers in the United Kingdom, offering users a 360 degree view of the device, as well as views of several of its features. While Vodafone is silent on when to expect shipment (a notice on the page merely says "Coming Soon"), the company highlights a promotional give-away, in which there are 20 of the devices for users to win before October 25th.
Telefonica iPhone 3G
Dow Jones reports that Telefonica SA has received 300,000 pre- registrations in the United Kingdom and Spain to buy the iPhone 3G. A company spokesperson said that individuals have been reserving units of the device on the Telefonica Web site. Telefonica will begin selling the 3G iPhone July 11 in Spain, the Czech Republic and twelve Latin American countries. Apple's own retail stores in the UK may not be able to sell the iPhone 3G on July 11th, an industry publication reports. The issue stems from Apple's new activation policy, which forces customers to subscribe to a given carrier in-store, rather than at home through iTunes.
Apple expands iTunes U
Apple on Tuesday further expanded its international iTunes U offerings into four new countries: Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. According to Macworld, the free resource provides students with access to a wide variety of educational rich media from colleges and universities around the world, including UC Berkeley, University of Melbourne, Texas A&M, MIT, Yale, and Trinity College Dublin, among many others.
40 new retail stores in 08
Some 40 new Apple retail stores will open in 2008, a company executive says. Speaking at a press event for the 14th Street store in New York City, senior retail VP Ron Johnson has said that Apple will expand with an international focus in the new year. The first Brazilian store is in fact opening this month in the Shopping Iguatemi mall in Sao Paulo, and the city will get a second store within 2008, located inside Shopping Marketplace. Apple is meanwhile rumored to be negotiating for space in the Torre Mayor office complex in Mexico City, a structure that includes 33,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.