Top Ten Mobile Phone News Stories of the Week

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Enjoy our round-up of ten mobile phone related news stories you may have missed including free premium calls from Virgin, the release of iOS 6.1.4, and the best Nokia phone advert yet.

1. Virgin Mobile Offers Unlimited Free Premium Numbers

Virgin Mobile has become the first network to offer its subscribers the chance to call 0800, 0845, 0870 and 0809 numbers for free, as part of its VIP tariff. This is either available as a contract or on a SIM-only deal and costs either £31 or £15 per month, respectively, with unlimited calls, texts and data.

2. Apple Releases iOS 6.1.4

We often provide full coverage of each new version of iOS, as usually they contain important security updates or new features you need to know about. For iOS 6.1.4, however, it’s a different story. There is one, single alteration, which is listed as providing an “updated audio profile for the speakerphone.” That’s all, nothing else. It’s an 11MB over-the-air update, or a full, system wide extravaganza if you decide to update using iTunes.

3. Find Photos of You on Instagram

Instagram has announced a new tool for its photo sharing social network. Named Photos of You, you can now tag people in the photos you take, then have them added to a new section in your profile so you can easily find them. If you think that sounds very Facebook, well, it is, because it owns Instagram. It’s part of version 3.5 of the app, now released through iTunes and Google Play. You can see how it works in the video below.

4. Microsoft Rumoured to be Preparing New Surface Tablets

A rumour report suggests Microsoft will release the next generation of Surface tablets at its Build conference scheduled for the end of June. While the Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets have large, 10-inch screens, Microsoft may decide to go with smaller, 7-inch or 8-inch displays on these new devices. It’ll find itself up against some stiff competition if it does, particularly if they have high price tags.

5. HTC Announces Earnings for “Pivotal Quarter”

It’s a well known fact that HTC has been struggling against the might of Samsung and Apple recently, with CEO Peter Chou calling the first quarter of 2013, “pivotal” for the company. It has subsequently released its earnings for the initial three months of the year, reporting $1.45bn in sales with $2.88m revenue, the lowest it has ever recorded. The good news is that the outlook for the next quarter is better, but these are difficult days for the company.

6. LG Launches Another Optimus G Pro Variant

LG just can’t help releasing different versions of its smartphone/tablet hybrid, the Optimus G Pro. This time we’ve got the Optimus GK, which has a 5-inch, 1080p screen, a 1.7GHz Snapdragon processor and a 13 megapixel camera, making it very similar to the Japan-only version of the Optimus G Pro. This time, it’s headed only for the KT network in Korea.

7. Nokia Produces Best Mobile Ad Ever?

Mobile advertising can be a mixed bag, but Nokia has excelled itself with its latest ad, encouraging people to make the switch from an Apple or Samsung device. It’s set at a wedding, a gathering overflowing with emotion, which this time emerges as arguments about which phone is best. There are industry gags, pokes at competitors’ ad campaigns and plenty more. You can take a look at it below and we think it’s one of the best efforts in a long time.

8. BlackBerry’s Heins Says Tablets are Doomed

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has said he can’t see tablets surviving as a form factor past 2018, calling them a poor business model and saying that soon, we’ll have no need for them at all. In the past, Heins has said the smartphone would become the only mobile device we’ll need, and this latest quote fits in well. Does this mean the PlayBook won’t get a sequel? We’ll have to wait and see.

9. Angry Birds Friends Released for iOS and Android

The latest edition of Angry Birds has hit the app stores. Angry Birds Friends is an adaptation of the Facebook game, where you compete with your friends in weekly tournaments. It’s free to download (but does come with in-app purchases) and the events begin on May 6, so you’ve got some time to practice and make sure your friends are all ready to go.

10. HTC Watch Closes in Six Countries.

The HTC Watch video service has been closed in Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Italy. The streaming video system launched in 2011, and will cease operation on 15 May. It’s still available in the UK, but given HTC’s struggles, that may not continue forever.