Sky Mobile TV Launched By Vodafone UK and BSkyB

Sky Mobile TV Launched By Vodafone UK and SkyVodafone UK and British Sky Broadcasting (Sky) have announced an agreement to launch Sky Mobile TV, the UK’s first commercially available mobile TV service available on a wide range of handsets, as we first covered back in September.

The service will be exclusively available to 3G Vodafone live! customers and serve up a total of nineteen mobile channels including Sky News, Sky Sports News, MTV, Cartoon Network, Discovery, Sky One and Living tv.

Sky Mobile TV Launched By Vodafone UK and SkyThe deal looks set to turbo-boost adoption of entertainment and information services to mobile phones, with users able to enjoy TV programmes on the move with access to live breaking news and sports reports from Sky News and Sky Sports News.

Available to 3G customers with suitable coverage, some programming will be broadcast ‘as live’ with others delivered as dedicated ‘made for mobile’ channels, featuring regularly updated blocks of programming.

In an attempt to lure in more customers, a special Sky Sports Mobile channel will offer ball-by-ball coverage of all three Test matches and five One-Day Internationals from England cricket team’s tour to Pakistan. But, sadly, no coverage of Cardiff City games.

Sky Mobile TV Launched By Vodafone UK and SkyThe Sky Mobile TV pack will be provided free of charge (subject to Vodafone customer fair usage policy) until the end of January 2006, with customers being charged £5.00 (~$8.90, €7.38) per month for each of the Sky Mobile TV packs subscribed to thereafter,

The two Sky Mobile TV packs are:

News, Sport & Factual: Sky News; CNN; Bloomberg; Sky Sports News; At The Races; Discovery Factual; National Geographic Channel; History Channel.

Entertainment & Music: Sky One; Sky Movies; MTV (two channels*); Living tv;Discovery Lifestyle; Nickelodeon; Paramount Comedy**; Cartoon Network; Bravo; Biography Channel.

Sky Mobile TV Launched By Vodafone UK and SkyAdditional mobile channels are likely to sign up to the Sky Mobile TV service over the coming months.

“This is a highly significant day for both the mobile and televisionindustries,” trumpeted Tim Yates, Chief Marketing Officer, Vodafone UK.

“We currently have over 250,000 3G subscribers in the country and 72% 3G population coverage across the UK. Mobile TV will be a mainstream service,” he insisted.


CoolZone: Nokia Open Another Content Channel

CoolZone: Nokia Open Another Content ChannelToday Nokia announced CoolZone, a Bluetooth-based distribution system that lets mobile phone users locally browse, pay for and download content on their mobiles while they are in shops supporting it.

When entering a CoolZone, the mobile user can download an application, customised for the retailer or service provider. Through this they can browse and download music, ringtones, wallpapers and videos which can be DRM protected. Paying for the content will be done at the shops till or using premium-rate SMS.

Firmly throwing the ‘retail opportunity’ language switch to on Sakari Kotola, Director, Nokia Ventures Organization said “Rich digital content is widely available and requires an efficient distribution channel. Local mobility solutions create new types of business possibilities to individuals, location owners and enterprises. CoolZone is a Bluetooth technology based content distribution system available to any retailer or location owner who wants to offer or sell digital content to their customers, and thus enhance the in-store experience,”

CoolZone is the short hand term to describe the Nokia Local Content Channel Solution. This consists of client software for the phone (Symbian client for Series 60, Java for Nokia Series 40 and other manufacturers’ phones), a small multiradio Nokia Service Point (LCP10) installed in each service location and the Nokia Service Manager (LCM10) for centrally managing the service points and the content. While the service is currently Bluetooth based, WLAN will be one of expected additions in the near future, as more phones will offer WLAN capability.

CoolZone: Nokia Open Another Content ChannelAs the user of the service needs the user to download an application to use the service, we can imagine little hacking groups are already forming plans to hang around near these shops offering their own ‘applications’ with similar names to unsuspecting, or inexperience users.

While see this as a good step forward as a new ways distributing content – frankly we’re surprised it’s taken so long to come to reality, we’d thought of it years ago – it’s acceptance among retailers will depend on the financial deal for the operators of these shops. Any retailer considering this will need to realise that anyone in their shop using this service will not be looking at the goods on their shelves when they’ve got their face stuck in their mobile, figuring out which tracks they want to download.

This could go some way to explain why the first limited trial is publicly available at three Free Record Shop music stores and three Rober’s Coffee cafés in Helsinki area, Finland – they have no conflict of interest.

It may be that the slight headless-chicken-mode surrounding digital music current – as those who don’t really understand what is happening but are wowed by the huge growth of iPod – will lead the retailers to blindly jump forward to have CoolZones on their premises.

CoolZone will also be demonstrated at the Nokia Mobility Conference 2005 in Palau de Congressos de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain during November 2-3, 2005 with content from EMI.

Nokia CoolZone

SGH-i300 Handset From Samsung Integrates With BMW 5-Series

SGH-i300 Handset From Samsung Integrates With BMW 5-SeriesThere’s been an orgy of synergistic back-scratching and brand backslapping going on in Samsung’s schmoozing department as the company announces an alliance with German luxury car brand, BMW.

As part of their strategy to achieve an “iconic image” for the brand, the Korean electronics giants said that it will be placing its SGH-i300 music phone into BMW’s series 5 models.

The SGH-I300 – scheduled for a European November release – runs on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system and comes with a capacious 3GB hard disk drive.

SGH-i300 Handset From Samsung Integrates With BMW 5-SeriesBMW drivers will be able to link the phone to the iDrive control interface, which features a control knob at the centre of the vehicle’s console, allowing access to various functions displayed on the in-dash monitor.

We’re not sure yet if the iDrive will just control the SGH-i300 MP3 playback or if it will also integrate communication functions too.

Back in September, we reported that Bang and Olufsen were joining up with Samsung to make a posh phone for folks with more money than sense with the resulting – and somewhat bonkers – ‘Samsung Serene’ phone expected sometime during Q4 2005.

SGH-i300 Handset From Samsung Integrates With BMW 5-SeriesSamsung have already been poking their dipstick into the field of mobile-to-car technology, announcing a partnership with Audi back in July.

The two companies teamed up supply a system that let users to beam MP3 tunes on their mobile handsets over the car’s stereo system using an adapted Bluetooth stereo technology called Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP).


Telefonica To Buy O2 for £17.7 billion

Telefonica To Buy O2 for £17.7 billionTelefonica SA, Spain’s número uno telecoms company, has agreed to shell out a massive £17.7 billion ($31.5 bn, €21.15bn) for U.K. mobile-phone operator O2, making it the largest acquisition in the European telecommunications industry for half a decade.

As the world’s fifth-largest telecoms firm by market value, Telefonica’s deep, deep pockets enabled them to offer 200 pence per share in cash (a 22 percent premium to O2’s closing share price on Friday) sending the company’s shares soaring 24 percent to 203-1/4 pence by 1017 a.m today.

With the acquisition of O2, Telefonica will scoop up 25 million customers from the U.K., Germany and Ireland – bringing their total count to around 170 million – and allow the company to break into the fiercely-competitive European market.

Telefonica To Buy O2 for £17.7 billionManagement execs at the two European telecommunications operators were positively purring at news of the deal.

“This transaction brings together two companies which are growing strongly with highly complementary geographical activities,” commented Peter Erskine, chief executive of O2.

Telefonica Chairman Cesar Alierta added, “O2’s integration in the Telefonica group will enhance our growth profile, it will allow us to gain economies of scale, it will open the group to two of the largest European markets with a sizeable critical mass and it will balance our exposure across business and regions.”

Telefonica To Buy O2 for £17.7 billionO2 was spun off from the BT Group in November 2001 and currently employs 5,000 people.

Starting off with a stock market value of 6.3 billion pounds, the company has reported a profit for the last two years.

Earlier this year Dutch telecommunications operator KPN and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom were sniffing about the company with an eye to a possible purchase, but no deal was forthcoming,


MDR-EX71SL Sony Fontopia In-Ear Headphones: Review

MDR-EX71SL Sony Fontopia In-Ear Headphones: ReviewIt’s almost always worthwhile upgrading the cheapskate headphones that invariably come bundled with MP3 players and phones – especially if you’re currently strutting around with a pair of ‘Mug Me Now!’ Apple iPod ‘phones.

Sony has acquired a fine reputation for their consumer headphones and we looked forward to testing the Fontopia MDR-EX71SL in-ear headphones.

Sony have cottoned on to the fact that a lot of people won’t want half a mile of excess cord flapping around, so have fitted the headphones with a short lead, ideal for plugging into lanyard remote controls.

If you need a longer lead, you can simply attach the extension cord to extend the cable to 1m.

MDR-EX71SL Sony Fontopia In-Ear Headphones: ReviewThe closed-type Fontopia design is powered by super-small 9 mm drivers kitted out in Spinal Tap black with go-faster silver accents (they’re also available in Mac-like white, but that’s just asking for trouble).

Looking and feeling disturbingly medical, the headphones come with three sets of attachable soft silicon earbuds in small, medium and large sizes.

These floppy bits of thin, rubber-like material fit on the headphones to provide a tight seal around your ears.

We have to say that fitting them felt a little strange, but once our ears were suitably isolated, we tried the Sony Fontopias through a variety of sources; an MP3 player, PDA smartphone and high end hi-fi system.

Playing back a selection of tunes on the MP3 player, we immediately noticed a huge improvement in the sound quality, with a deep, smooth bass making itself felt with vocals being rendered more crisply.

The same improvement was heard on the smartphone, but the hi-fi system merely served to highlight the limitations of the ‘phones – not unreasonable considering the $32 (~£18 ~€26) price tag.

MDR-EX71SL Sony Fontopia In-Ear Headphones: ReviewSuitably impressed with our tests, we decided to take the headphones with us on a business trip and here’s where the problems began.

With the silicon earbuds forming a super tight seal around your lug holes, everything starts to sound a bit weird and distant when you’re walking the streets.

Your own footsteps resonate through your head like you’re King Kong going for a walk in diver’s boots and if you hum along to a tune it sounds like there’s several hives’ worth of bees joining in.

It was really, really unnerving and, frankly, rather unpleasant and we wished we’d stuck with our original ‘phones.

However, once on a train, the Fontopias came into their own, doing a wonderful job of delivering high quality sounds while almost silencing the screaming kid and Cock-er-nee Geeza shouting into his mobile opposite.

So we’ve got mixed feelings about these headphones: if you don’t mind sounding like a leaden leviathan going for a stroll, then the Fontopias represent great value, with their sonic quality improving vastly on headphones bundled with popular MP3 players.

We loved relaxing in splendid sonic isolation on the train, but as soon as hit the city streets we couldn’t bear the disorientating feelings we got from the Fontopias.

As a result, we strongly recommend trying these ‘phones out before buying.

Sound quality 4/5 starstar
Build Quality 4/5 starstar
Overall 4/5 (on the train) 1/5 on the streets starstar


Frequency Response: 6 – 23,000 Hz
Headphone Output: Power handling capacity: 100mW
Impedance: 16 ohms at 1 kHz
Cord: OFC; Neck Chain, 4 feet (1.2m)
Magnet: 400-kj/m3 a Ultra-High-Power Neodymium Magnet
Diaphragm: PET, long-throw
Driver Unit: 9mm diameter
Other: Lateral, In-the-ear, Closed, Dynamic
Plug: Gold-plated, L-Shaped, Stereo Mini Plug
Sensitivity: 100 dB/mW
Weight: 0.1 oz. (4g), without cord


Linus Torvalds awarded Microsoft and Windows trade marks by mistake

Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux, has, thanks to HP Sweden, been awarded the registered trade mark for Microsoft and Windows.

Linux fans worldwide – don’t get too excited, just prepare to laugh your socks off. This very temporary assignment blunder was in fact carried out in an HP advert in thrice weekly mag, Computer Sweden.

Linus Tourvold awarded Microsoft and Windows trade marks by mistakeNestled down low in the small print of an advert for some HP servers which run unix/Windows and Linux, the following text can be found

“Microsoft and Windows is registred trademarks in USA and is owned by Linus Torvalds.”


HP were initially quick to pass the buck, placing the blame on the ‘London advertising agency’ that they say should have read the copy more closely. Then on reflection, they decided that they too should have read it too.

Hilariously the advert is for an HP range of servers call Integrity. Oh dear, HP will take a while to live this one down.

Linus Tourvold awarded Microsoft and Windows trade marks by mistakeQuite who originally spotted this blunder in the small print, isn’t known, but we suspect that it’s someone with a very keen eye for detail – verging on the fanatical.

Many thanks to the top Swedish spotter, and Digital-Lifestyles friend Anders M Olausson who spotted this being covered tragically in the magazine where the original error was made.

Linus Torvalds on Wikipedia

All Your Google Base Are Belong To Us

All Your Google Base Are Belong To Us – headline explained

All Your Google Base Are Belong To UsThe web wires are waxing wildly with rumours about Google Base, a hush-hush Google project that “accidentally” appeared on the Web for a few hours yesterday.

The “inadvertent” (yeah, right) unveiling of sent bloggers into a screengrabbing frenzy, prompting the search engine giant to confirm that the fleeting snapshot was indeed a legitimate Google page.

All Your Google Base Are Belong To UsUnder pressure from bloggers, Google company product manager, Tom Oliveri, revealed a little in his blog:

“You may have seen stories today reporting on a new product that we’re testing, and speculating about our plans. Here’s what’s really going on.

We are testing a new way for content owners to submit their content to Google, which we hope will complement existing methods such as our web crawl and Google Sitemaps.

We think it’s an exciting product, and we’ll let you know when there’s more news.”

All Your Google Base Are Belong To UsThe screenshots revealed an entry page where Google suggests the type of information to submit to Base, with one sharp eyed Dutch blogger Wouter Schut, saying that the test pages also included presets for housing, products, reviews, services, travel, vehicles and want ads.

A Google Base screengrab posted on flickr revealed the following text:

Post your items on Google.

Google Base is Google’s database into which you can add all types ofcontent. We’ll host your content and make it searchable online for free.

Examples of items you can find in Google Base:

• Description of your party planning service
• Articles on current events from your website
• Listing of your used car for sale
• Database of protein structures

You can describe any item you post with attributes, which will helppeople find it when they search Google Base. In fact, based on therelevance of your items, they may also be included in the main Google search index and other Google products like Froogle and Google Local.”

Naturally, the speculation-o-meter has been in overdrive ever since, with many believing it to be the start of a foray into the online classified field, with Google placing popular services like eBay and Craigslist directly in their sights.

All Your Google Base Are Belong To UsThis service would let individual punters submit classified adverts for free on Google Base and could possibly signal the imminent arrival of the much rumoured Google Payment (aka Google Wallet) product.

Rumours have spun up to tornado force by a recent Classified Intelligence report which claimed that Google had been discretely asking job boards and other classifieds providers to submit feeds of their listings.

And while we’re speculating with such wild abandon, we can’t help thinking that if Google Base does indeed materialise, Google could offer sellers a GoogleTalk button for their listings and offer similar functionality to the much-anticipated SkypeMe buttons on eBay listings…

Google Base

Sky Says Easynet Purchase “Solves All Problems”

Sky Says Easynet Purchase Solves All ProblemsBSkyB’s Director of Product Management, Gerry O’Sullivan couldn’t help sounding smug as he took centre stage at The Connected Home conference in London today.

“Those of you who read the papers may have noticed we bought a small Internet company last Friday,” he announced. “To have a combination of satellite distribution and broadband connectivity solves all problems”.

O’Sullivan’s presentation focused on Sky+ and stated the need for a “whole home solution” but he was keen to distance himself from existing IP-based offerings such as the Windows Media Player.

Sky Says Easynet Purchase Solves All ProblemsWhile Microsoft’s Cynthia Crossley and Telewest’s Mark Horley nodded collaboratively to Merlin Kister of Intel’s assertion that “We mustn’t be close minded and pick a winner. It’s important for all players to work together,” O’Sullivan looked disinterested.

“I’m a fan of Media Player – but my mum doesn’t want a reminder to renew her anti-virus subscription while she’s watching Coronation Street,” he said.

And, in response to an audience show of hands revealing nearly all had regular problems with programme crashes on their PCs, O’Sullivan added:

Sky Says Easynet Purchase Solves All Problems“There’s zero tolerance (among our customers) for that sort of unreliability and pain…we can only roll out products that you switch on and they work.”

And BSkyB has the money and ambition to keep turning out products it thinks consumers may need – the five day old Sky Gnome for example, enabling you to listen to satellite radio in the garden, or the new movies over IP service, Sky By Broadband – due to launch in the next two weeks.

The third generation Sky+ boxes have 160GB of space – only half are visible to the consumer – the other 80GB of disc space is for BSkyB to keep as a store for future ‘on demand’ programming, O’Sullivan revealed.

Sky Says Easynet Purchase Solves All ProblemsHorley mentioned that Telewest was launching its own 160GB PVR in early 2006, with the WHOLE disc available for recording “as we already offer video on demand”.

Sky can’t support true VOD – it’s satellite distribution network has limited bandwidth and lacks an intrinsic return path – but do consumers care?

With Sky+ proving a virtually churn-free proposition (apparently 90 per cent of viewers say they’re very satisfied), Easynet on board and plenty of money in its pocket, O’Sullivan can’t help but smile – looks like BSkyB is onto a winner.

The Connected Home 05

Wharfedale DV832B Review: Digital TV Box

DV832B Wharfedale Digital TV BoxAfter several years of battling with the clunky interface and weird quirks of our museum-ready OnDigital digital terrestrial television box, we decided it was time to replace it with something a little more contemporary.

With digital broadcast delivery technology moving so fast, we weren’t minded to shell out too much for something that may be rendered obsolete by some funky new feature in a few years, so we went looking for a cheap’n’cheerful option.

A quick visit to box-shifting supremos Argos saw our eyes fixing on an ideal candidate: the Wharfedale DV832B digibox.

Sure, it’s not much to look at and the plastic case – with its cheap, old-school red LCDs – is unlikely to woo the neighbours, but the feature list was far more than what we expected at the price level.

DV832B Wharfedale Digital TV BoxFor the princely sum of just £35 (~$62, €52), the Wharfedale offers a digi box with a 7 day electronic programme guide (EPG), digital text, digital interactive services, DVB subtitles, auto scan and setup and 2 SCART sockets.

Suitably impressed, we shelled out the readies and plugged the unit into our home entertainment system.

Once powered up, the unit asks if we want it to automatically scan for stations and after saying “Yes please Mr DigiBox”, we were presented with a long list of available digital TV and radio stations.

DV832B Wharfedale Digital TV BoxOnscreen menus

As with most digital boxes, you need the remote control to access the key functions with the front of the unit only offering controls for on/off and program up/down.

The onscreen interface was simple, crisply designed and easy to navigate, and proved fairly intuitive in operation.

Using the onscreen menus we were given options to delete channels, rename channels, select favourites, set up to five timers, add a parental lock, choose TV type and set up Over-Air software downloads.

Within minutes of getting the DV832B out if its box, we were skipping channels with glee, pausing momentarily to wonder who on earth watches those dire Bid TV programs.

DV832B Wharfedale Digital TV BoxPicture quality

Picture quality was good with no nasty outbreaks of the jaggies to be seen (although we do live within eyeshot of the Crystal Palace transmitter so we can’t say how it might perform in areas with weaker coverage), and we found the overall performance to be perfectly satisfactory.

The slimline silver unit (4.8 x 30 x 20.6cm) comes with a simple and straightforward 24-page manual, a SCART lead and a run-of-the-mill remote control (there’s no Top Up TV compatibility on board, but we’re not complaining at this price!).

Our conclusion

The Wharfedale DV832B provides outstanding value for money, is a thoroughly capable performer and we have no hesitation in giving it five stars.