Enjoy our round-up of ten mobile phone related news stories you may have missed this week including an umbrella that charges your phone, the cities currently featured in iOS 6′s Flyover feature and the death of Ping.
1. Vodafone Booster Brolly
Here’a s clever concept from Vodafone and University College London. It looks like a normal umbrella, but it has solar cells in the canopy to collect energy, which is then stored in some rechargeable batteries. A USB port lets you plug in your phone to keep it charged up, and there’s even a small antenna and amplifier in the tip of the brolly to keep your phone’s signal at full strength. It’s only a concept at the moment, but it will be trialled at the Isle of Wight Festival next weekend.
2. TomTom Provides Maps for iOS 6
Apple has dropped Google Maps for iOS 6, and although it claimed to be building its own software from the ground up, it’s actually getting some help from TomTom. The well-known GPS company will be providing “maps and related information” to Apple, helping to offset the decline in sales of standalone GPS units.
3. Nokia Reaction Headset Announced
Nokia has released a new Bluetooth headset, which also uses NFC to connect to your phone. Cleverly, it recognises when it has been put in an ear, and automatically takes the call from your phone to the earpiece, so you don’t always have to have the headset in your ear. It also features noise-cancelling microphones and an auto-levelling volume control. Watch this video for a look at how it works.
4. Huawei Ascend P1 Edges Closer to the UK
Remember the Huawei Ascend P1? It was announced at CES in January, but has yet to make it into stores, however that could change soon. The phone has appeared on two websites as a pre-order – Amazon Germany and an Italian retailer – at a cost of €450, or £365. That’s not a bad price considering the 4.3-inch screen, 8 megapixel camera and 1.5GHz dual-core processor.
5. Cities Currently Rendered in 3D for iOS 6 Maps
Apple’s new mapping software and the Flyover feature were two of the most interesting aspects of iOS6, announced at WWDC earlier this week, and the newly released beta version has given us a glimpse at the first cities to be rendered in 3D. So far, you can fly over Sydney, Seattle, San Francisco, Sacramento, Montreal, Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Copenhagen, Chicago and the Apple headquarters. No love for London yet, but it could all change before the autumn release.
6. Sony’s Tablet P Update
If you own a Sony Tablet P, then there’s a chance you may receive an update to Android 4.0 very soon, as the company has announced its availability in “selected markets” this week. Annoyingly, it hasn’t clarified exactly which markets, leaving it to customers to continually check the update screen for news.
7. Max Payne Finally Arrives on Android
We reviewed Max Payne for iOS a short while ago, and at the time it was expected to be released on Android too, but it faced several delays, resulting in a release this week. If you’re a fan of the original game, then it’s worth picking up, and it’s compatible with a wide-range of Android phones running version 2.2 and above.
8. Goodbye Ping
Apple’s music social network, Ping, hasn’t been a huge success, and will be removed from the next major release of iTunes, effectively shutting it down. Facebook will be added to iTunes and the App Store when iOS is released later this year, replacing it as the default social option, along with Twitter.
9. Tesco Buys We7 Music
Already a 91% share owner, Tesco has bought out the remaining 9% to become the sole owner of music site We7. Once a competitor to Spotify, it has recently concentrated on personalised radio stations. Tesco wants to do on-demand streaming, and will introduce on-air adverts to avoid a subscription fee.
10. New Smart Case Covers Your iPad
Apple has quietly released the Smart Case, an evolution of its Smart Cover, the folding screen protector announced alongside the iPad 2. The Smart Case has a polyurethane body cover to protect the aluminium body of the iPad 2 or new iPad, plus a built in Smart Cover to keep the screen free from dust and scratches. It’s priced at £39 and available in several colours.