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Ofcom says mobile contracts should ditch inflation-related price rises

Ofcom says mobile contracts should ditch inflation-related price rises

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom wants to ban inflation-related rises in phone and broadband contracts. Instead, it says any potential mid-contract price rises should be set out in pounds and pence.
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Global smartphone market is set for recovery, says new forecast

A new forecast from research specialists Canalys shows the smartphone market is set to recover next year. Worldwide shipments declined by 12% last year but that decline is expected to slow to 5% this year.
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Vodafone and Three plan to merge their UK businesses

Vodafone and Three plan to merge their UK businesses

New Hutchison/Vodafone network would be biggest UK operator

Vodafone Group plc and CK Hutchison Group Telecom Holdings Limited have agreed to combine their UK telecommunication businesses, respectively Vodafone UK and Three UK. The merger will create a large new network operator to compete with Virgin Media O2 and EE.
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UK mobile payment service Paym to close in March 2023

UK mobile payment service Paym will close on 7th March 2023. The service, which allowed users to make and receive payments using their mobile phone numbers, was launched in 2014.
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Qualcomm legal action moves forward in the UK

Qualcomm legal action moves forward in the UK

Which? seeks payout for Samsung and Apple smartphone owners

Consumer protection organisation Which? has been given permission by the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal to represent Apple and Samsung smartphone buyers in a legal case against chip manufacturer Qualcomm.
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Opinion Articles

Friday, December 18, 2020

Whatever happened to all my tech?

Mark Bridge revisits his mobile technology reviews

Mark Bridge writes:

Over the past few years I’ve bought a fair amount of mobile technology. I’ve also been lucky enough to be given some. But times flies – nowhere faster than in the tech sector – and yesterday’s best-selling handset can quickly find itself at the bottom of the recycling bin.

I’ve been taking a look back at the devices I’ve written about during the past few years. Some are still faithful companions, others... well, let’s just say my faith was misplaced.

Kapture audio-recording wristband
Let’s start with the biggest disappointment: 2015’s Kapture wristband. Launched on Kickstarter in 2013, it arrived late with a trail of broken promises. It recorded sound into a ‘buffer’ that was constantly overwritten. If you heard something you wanted to keep, you pressed a button on the watch-like device and it saved the last 60 seconds of audio to your smartphone. Cool or what?

The reality was just-about-adequate recording quality, the need for watch-wearers to attach a device to both wrists, a patchy app and a reliance on Kapture’s cloud service. When Kapture quietly slipped off the internet a few years ago, my recording wristwatch stopped working.

Apple iPhone 6
“Would you like to borrow an iPhone 6 for a few days?” asked Three UK. I did. It was unremarkable. Not bad, just not as good for me as the Android-based HTC phone I was using at the time.

Nomad ChargeCard
Battery life may not be as glamorous or as headline-grabbing as other features but it’s an essential. So when Nomad asked me to try a couple of their robust ultra-portable charging cables, they received a very enthusiastic reply. I liked the idea of the ChargeKey cable on my keyring, although eventually the microUSB plug started wearing through my pockets, which isn’t so practical. However, the Carabiner version seems much better – so I bought one as a gift.

HTC One M7
Oh, I loved my HTC One. Great design, great functionality, great annoyance when the camera started playing up, great delight when they fixed it. I’m currently rocking a Huawei P20 Pro, which I’d like a whole lot more if it hadn’t just fallen off the company’s list of supported devices. There’s nothing wrong with my phone after two years – except a potential lack of security patches for the operating system.

Barclaycard bPay wristband
Another departed piece of tech, although this one’s largely evolved rather than died. bPay was effectively a tiny contactless debit card embedded in a wristband (or assorted other handy devices, such as key fobs). It worked in association with your phone for checking purchases and adding money to the account. When most payment cards weren’t NFC-enabled, bPay made contactless payment a simple add-on for anyone who wanted it. Today, with most debit and credit cards able to handle contactless payments – and contactless payment supported by all major mobile operating systems – bPay has very much become a victim of its own success.

Philips Voice Tracer DVT6000 recording machine
I love this. I was sent it to review by Philips and was allowed to keep it afterwards, which is something of a rarity. What an absolute delight. It’s designed as a voice recorder – some people would call it a ‘dictation machine’, although the sound quality is much better than that description suggests. I always use it for interviews, either as a main recorder or a backup, and I’ve even used the automatic timer function to record the Dawn Chorus. Still as good as new, six years on.






Mark Bridge is a freelance writer who continues to invest unwisely in new technology. You can find him on Twitter @markbridge.
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