We’re now just 4 days away from the live X-Factor Final. The show takes place on Saturday evening, with the result on Sunday, but that’s not what’s getting us excited – it’s the X-Factor style give-away that also ends this weekend!
Over the last 3 months, we’ve been asking our blog readers, twitter followers and Facebook fans to vote for the mobile phone that they think has the X-Factor.
If you’ve not cast your vote in this poll you have another chance to win now, but you’ll need to be quick as voting closes on Monday morning at 10 am, when we’ll be announcing the winner of the vote and then drawing a name out of hat to find that phone a new home.
To be in with a chance of winning, simply head to the Love Your Mobile page on Facebook, ‘Like’ us and then head to the polls tab to cast your vote and don’t forget to tell all your friends so that they can be in with a chance too.
We’ve already had a number of winners with Love Your Mobile. Mike Grove won a Sim Free HTC Desire back in July and Nadine Gruber, Amy Suddens and Glenn Cameron all won tickets to the live X-Factor Auditions in Birmingham in June. Will you be our next winner?
Some great news for all you Streakers out there – Dell have announced that they’re going to abandon attempts to update the device to Android 2.1 and skip straight to Android 2.2, which will be pushed through before the end of the year.
The news comes after an failed roll-out of Android 2.1 in September, which caused glitches galore and left a lot of users unhappy. Dell are hoping to endear themselves to customers again with a speedy update to Froyo, which they promise should be out by early December. A Dell employee has posted on the Dell support forums, saying, “I can tell you that our target date is NOT December 31. In fact, the over-the-air update to 2.2 target date is much sooner than that”.
Many (including me) were initially sceptical about the Dell Streak, as it didn’t seem to fit neatly into any category: too big to be a smartphone, yet too small to really be classed as a tablet. However, it’s been one of the unexpected triumphs of the year, and with Apple now developing a smaller version of the iPad (presumably at least in part inspired by the Streak), it seems that Dell managed to find themselves a gap in the market after all – a 5 inch sized gap, you might say!
In case any of you are planning on upgrading to the Streak now that Android 2.2 is on the way, here’s a run-through of what Dell Streak accessories are available to keep that massive screen safe and protected.
MFX Screen Protector – Dell Streak
The first and most obvious thing to get your hands on is a Dell Streak screen protector. The MFX version is great value, as well as being easy to apply. It won’t leave any residue on your screen if you take it off, and it’ll protect your touchscreen from most scratches and scrapes.
OtterBox for Dell Streak Impact Series
Whilst a screen protector will protect the front of your phone, it won’t protect the back or sides, so it’s worth getting hold of a Dell Streak case too – not to mention that they can add texture, colour and personality to a device. The Otterbox Dell Streak cover shown above is made out of a sleek silicone which will prevent scratches whilst still allowing you to access all the buttons and functions on the phone. It’ll protect from some knocks and bumps, too, though if that’s something you’re really worried about (bit of a butterfingers, are we?) then you might be better with a more heavy duty case or pouch, such as the Norever Leather Case, which is available for preorder now.
Noreve Tradition A Leather Case for Dell Streak
The Noreve is padded to cushion the device as well as being made from top-quality, handcrafted leather. It’s also a nice one to go for if you want that business-like, professional look.
After a quiet few months for handset releases, things are starting to get interesting again! The HTC Desire is already dominating the handset charts, leaving the old favourites (Nokia, Motorola & LG) way behind.
Over the next few months we’ve got some great new handsets due to make an appearance and not only will we have a full blown handset war on our hands, but also a battle for the number one operating system too.
Android on the Desire
Android phones are all the rage at the moment, with most handset manufacturers now offering at least one smartphone running Google’s operating system. Over the next few months we’ll see Android phones from Motorola & Samsung with the Backflip and Galaxy S both making an appearance.
With touch screen fast becoming the new standard way to interact with your phone, Samsung decided to give their ageing TouchWiz interface an overhaul. TouchWiz lives on in their standard handsets, but future touchscreen phones are set to use Bada, Samsung’s new finger controlled touch based OS. The Samsung Wave will be the first phone to run the new OS as well as feature a gorgeous Super AMOLED screen.
The Apple fan boys are getting excited already – the new version of iPhone software was previewed last month and looks set to add a number of long awaited features. As with previous years, a new OS means a new phone’s not far behind, and thanks to Gizmodo, we’ve all got a pretty good idea on how it’s going to look.
If there’s one company that’s struggling to get to grips with touch based phones, it’s Nokia. Their attempts so far haven’t really been anything special. The X6 took steps in the right direction by having a capacitive touch screen, (what’s this?) and since then have been working hard on making the operating system more finger friendly. The Nokia N8 is the first handset to run the new interface and will be due very soon.
Microsoft caused quite a stir a few months back when they previewed the new Windows Phone 7 software. The menu system almost makes the iPhone and Android operating systems look dated. We’ve still not seen any handsets that will run Windows Phone 7, but rumours are that HTC and LG will be amongst the first to release Windows Phone 7 handsets later this year.
Palm debuted the WebOS platform on the Palm Pre a couple of years ago, it was praised by many and was predicted to knock the iPhone off it’s perch. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and Palm found themselves in all sorts of trouble. HP have just agreed to buy them so it’s going to be interesting to see what’s in store for the troubled operating system. Nothing is on the roadmap yet for WebOS, but it could be just what HP need to finally get noticed in the mobile world.
If you’ve been waiting patiently for a decent, free Sat Nav app for your HTC Desire, Sony Ericsson X10 or any other Android handset you’re in luck as Google have rolled out an update to their Maps application that provides full turn-by-turn navigation on your phone.
Google Navigation has been available for a while in the United States, but Google only flipped the switch for UK customers last night and while most of your were sleeping, your phone was hard at work updating itself.
HTC Desire Now includes Free Sat Nav
How to upgrade:
If there’s one thing that I think Android does better than the iPhone, it’s performing software updates – they happen automatically in the background when you’re phone has a data connection and is not in use.
This means that you should already have the update on your phone, without having to do anything – if you can’t see the changes you may need to re-boot your phone, or if you’ve turned OTA (over the air) updates off, then you just need to head to the Android market place and download the latest version of Google Maps.
Google Navigation is available on all Android devices that are running Android 1.6 or higher – regardless of manufacturer.
Handsets that should have received the update include:
Sony Ericsson X10
The most popular Android handset to date – the HTC Hero won’t have received the update to Google Navigation as it’s only running Android 1.5. If you’ve got one, don’t worry – you’ll get your update soon enough, infact, you’ve got an even bigger update coming in the next 8 weeks – Android 2.1 should be with you by the end of the first week in June and will bring with it a range of new features and improvements, as well as Google Navigation.
I have to admit, when I saw Google’s launch video for the navigation app I was impressed. I’ve put the video for you below, it’s a little cheesy, but shows what the app can do.
There is one feature that isn’t shown in the video that I think is worth a mention. You can save a location to your home screen as an icon, when ever you want to get there, you don’t have to mess around searching for them in the maps app and planning the route, just hit the shortcut on your home screen and you’ll be taken straight to Google navigation with the end address already defined.
Using Sat Nav in the Car:
To really make the most of Google Navigation you’ll need a couple of extra bits to keep your phone secure and charged. To give you an idea on what’s available, here’s a few accessories that are well worth investing in if you’re planning on using your phone as your main Sat Nav device.
Using the GPS functionality on your phone severely drains the battery, so if you want to be able to use your phone when you get to your destination. Most phones now use the standard Micro USB charger and the HTC Car Charger will work with all the handsets that currently support Google Navigation.
HTC CC C200 Micro USB Car Charger
The HTC CC-C200 consists of a tangle proof Micro USB charging cable and a USB Car Charger adapter. This allows you to not only charge your phone, but by using a different USB cable you can also use it to charge MP3 players, Bluetooth Headsets and portable games consoles. Chances are that you had a USB Charging cable in the box with your phones, so if you wanted to, you could use that to charge your phone in the car – you’ll just need to get yourself a USB Car Charger adapter.
Car Mounts & Holders:
The safest way to use your phone in the car is to have it secured in a car holder. There are loads of different styles to choose from ranging from simple, universal holders, right through to phone specific holders that are securely fitted to your dashboard.
For the best possible hold, I’d recommend using a Brodit Active holder/ Brodit Passive holder. These are specific to your phone and are sturdy, robust holders that are designed to be screwed into place. Now I’d never dream of drilling holes in my car just to keep my phone safe, and Brodit know that this is something people won’t want to do, so they have developed theBrodit ProClip. ProClips clip on to your dashboard and provide a solid, flat area that you can screw your HD2 Car Holder onto. They can be removed easily without causing any damage to your vehicle. Active holders have a built in car charger where as Passive holders will just hold your phone.
Brodit Passive Holder for HTC Desire & Nexus One
If you want something a little less permanent, then a Car Pack or windscreen holder is a good option. The HTC Desire Car Pack has a heavy duty rubber pad that stays stuck to your windscreen and won’t fall off when you park in sunlight or have the heater on. If you share a car with other drivers and all have different phones, then you may be better off with the Dash Genie Car Holder. It’s a universal holder that sticks firmly to almost any dashboard and will hold any phone – without and awkward spring loaded clamps. You can see the Dash Genie being put to the test when Mobile Fun’s very own Stig took it for a test drive. You can see the results on the Mobile Fun YouTube Channel.
Car Pack For The HTC Desire
If you really want to get the best from your Android phone and want an in car set up that can be used with your phone for handling calls, listening to music and satellite navigation there are a number of Plug & Play Car Kits and Fully Installed Car Kits available.
Play music from your Desire through your Car Stereo with the Jabra Cruiser
There are a number of Plug & Play Car Kits that will work with the Desire, Milestone and Legend. The Jabra Cruiser is one of the best. The Jabra Cruiser is a self install Bluetooth Car Kit that simply clips to the sun visor of your car and pairs to your phone using Bluetooth. The Cruiser supports the A2DP profile, which means that you can stream your music to it over Bluetooth and listen to it either using the internal speaker or you can stream the music from the Cruiser to your car stereo speakers using its built in FM Transmitter.
When you use a Google Navigation, any voice commands will also be played through your car stereo speakers so you won’t miss any directions. The battery life of the Cruiser is up to 14 hours talk time and 250 hours stand by.
Streaming using Bluetooth can be a drain on the battery, especially if you are using Sat Nav at the same time so you’ll almost certainly need a car charger.
Fully Integrated to your Car
If you want a more permanent solution or one where you don’t need to recharge the handsfree unit, then a fully fitted Car Kit will be your best bet.
Parrot MKi Car Kits - Perfect for Android
Of all the car kits available, the best kit you can get for calling, music playback and sat nav is one of the Parrot MKi Car Kits. Parrot only make Bluetooth accessories and because of that they make sure that every phone works brilliantly with their car kits.
There are three kits in the MKi range, the main difference between them is the screen that comes with them.
The MKi9000 doesn’t have a screen and relies on you using your phone for caller ID and music information.
The MKi9100 has a 2 line OLED screen that shows you song information and names and numbers from your phonebook.
The MKi9200 has a full colour screen and built in card reader
Given that most Android phones have a large screen and great media controls, I’m not convinced that the external screen is all that necessary, so I’d opt for the MKi9000. You can play music from your phone through the MKi9000 either by connecting the 3.5mm headphone jack or you can stream your music to it using Bluetooth. The Mki9000 will synchronise with your phone book automatically and supports voice dialling.
There is also a small remote that you can attach to your dash or steering wheel to control your music (Play/Pause, track skip & volume). When you use Google Navigation on your phone, voice instructions come through your car stereo clearly, and if music is playing at the same time, it briefly mutes out the music so that you don’t miss any directions.
Unika is compatible with Vauxhall, BMW, Ford & Honda Steering Wheel controls
If you’ve got stereo controls built into the steering wheel of your car you can use the optional Parrot Unika for a fully integrated solution. This then allows you to control the MKi9000 car kit using your existing steering wheel controls instead of the remote. Regular software updates that improve compatibility with Android phones are available free of charge from the Parrot website.
If you’ve not seen a holder or car kit here that’s right for you, head over to the main site to our full range of accessories.
Earlier this month, Microsoft released a new version of their mobile phone operating system – Windows Mobile 6.5. Unlike most updates though, not every0ne will be able to upgrade their phone to run this new software as it requires certain hardware features in order for it to work.
If you’ve got a Windows Phone and are looking to upgrade to the latest version, this post should tell you what you need to do to upgrade the software on your phone.
Can You Upgrade?
For most people, the answer unfortunately will be no as the number of handsets that can support Windows Mobile 6.5 is very limited. There are a couple of things that you’ll need to check to see if your handset is one of the lucky ones.
Firstly, you’ll need to know what version of Windows your phone is currently running. To find out you’ll need to access the settings window on your phone.
Click on the ‘System’ Tab
Click on the ‘Information’ or ‘About’ icon
The window that appears will then give you information about your phone and the software that it’s running. Compare your software version to the ones listed in the chart below to see if the upgrade is available.
Windows Mobile 6.5 - Can you upgrade?
One thing that is worth mentioning here, is that if you’ve previously upgraded from 6.0 to 6.1 then you won’t be able to upgrade again to 6.5 as your phone will lack the hardware that’s needed for Windows Mobile 6.5.
So how do you upgrade?
To upgrade your phone you’ll need to download the software from either your network or handset manufacturers website. Unfortunately though, not all manufacturers and networks are that fast at releasing the software, so you may have to wait a while for the software you need to be released.
Currently, updates have been released for the following handsets:
I’ll add to this list as and when updates become available. If you have a network variation of one of the phones listed above you will need to wait for your network to release their version of the software before you update as the generic HTC Touch Pro2 version, for example, won’t work on the T-Mobile MDA V or Vodafone Touch Pro2 – even though they are the same handset.
Before you begin the update process we strongly recommend that you back up all data stored on your phone and remove the memory card. Once you’ve downloaded the software, plug your phone into your PC and launch active sync/mobile device manager. The phone should then begin the update process and can take up to an hour to complete.
If you’ve found an update for a UK handset that isn’t listed here, let me know using the comments form below and I’ll get the post updated.