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No data roaming = freedom

No data roaming = freedom

Lewis Curdie  Aug. 28, 2013 at 13:00

As Treab inferred from my Review of the week rambling, I’m on – shock horror – some sort of holiday this week, trading gloomy Glasgow for the sights and sounds of beautiful Barcelona. I have to say, being here and not having to attend Mobile World Congress (as per my last two visits) is quite fantastic.

Indeed, with data roaming set firmly to off, I’m largely wandering around Barca tech-free. It’s great.

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The changing size of smartphones

Lewis Curdie  Aug. 22, 2013 at 13:00

The changing size of smartphones

At some point while sitting on the couch last night I found myself thinking: ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to see some sort of graph depicting the change in smartphone sizes over the years?’ and quickly set about creating the chart you see before you.

Specifically I looked at the flagships for Apple, Samsung (Galaxy S and Galaxy Note), LG, Motorola, HTC and Sony from 2010 to 2013, and the results are – dare I say – quite interesting.

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Five mobile technologies we can live without

Five mobile technologies we can live without

Lewis Curdie  Aug. 20, 2013 at 13:00

Technology is an ever-advancing beast, though not always for the better. A paper-thin smartphone, for example, is something we’re simply not interested in, while manufacturers are seemingly obsessed with shaving off every last tenth of a millimetre.

With that notion in mind, I scoured my brain for five further technologies that we’re really not bothered about; five things our mobile phones are quite happy without.

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IFA 2013 > MWC 2013

Lewis Curdie  Aug. 15, 2013 at 13:00

IFA 2013 > MWC 2013

This year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) was a bit of a washout, with the biggest names generally choosing to launch their flagships either side of the conference, rather than fight for the Barcelona limelight. Yes, we’re looking at you HTC and Samsung.

Conversely, by some stroke of luck, IFA 2013 gets underway next month with several high profile mobile products eager to make their debut, and if the rumour mill’s to be believed, it’ll be an infinitely more interesting show than MWC.

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What’s next for Nexus?

Lewis Curdie  Aug. 13, 2013 at 13:00

What’s next for Nexus?

Time was, Samsung was very much Google’s favourite son, with the South Koreans churning out the Google Nexus S and Samsung Galaxy Nexus back-to-back in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

But with Google adopting a phone/small tablet/large tablet formation as of last year, there’s lots of Mountain View-flavoured affection to go around, the question being: who’s next for Nexus loving?

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They might be giants part 2: four more phablets

A couple of days ago I penned They might be giants: five top phablets, an admittedly odd collection encompassing five of the world’s largest phone slash tablet hybrids.

With the hypothetical (diagonal) height restriction raised to 5.5in from the usual 5in, Matt rightly moaned that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 – easily the most successful “phablet” in the world – wasn’t included. Which brings us here, with the second Note and three others.

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They might be giants: five top phablets

Time was, a “phablet” (that’s half phone, half tablet) was defined as anything with a display measuring 5in or above, but with phones like the Sony Xperia Z sitting at 5in and the Samsung Galaxy S4 just 0.01in behind, that definition has changed. Well, in my head, anyway.

Purely because I like a) lists, and b) phones, I present unto thee a collection of some of the biggest phablets kicking around – in terms of both size and status. I’ve set the phablet bar to 5.5in here, so anything below that I’ll class as simply a large phone.

Ready? It’s quite a motley crew I’ve assembled. Let’s rock!

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Now Playing: five from the Playing folder

I mentioned the Playing folder last week in Sonic Dash: to delete or not to delete, a hallowed virtual ground where apps go if they impress me enough to warrant further attention beyond my review-related obligations.

The Playing bouncer is pretty strict since I don’t have a lot of free time, so there aren’t many apps in there. Here, I present unto thee, five games that I keep going back to.

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Sorry, Animal Crossing, I’m too busy with Kingdom Conquest II

The gaming types among you will inevitably have read about – or maybe even played – Animal Crossing over the past few weeks, Nintendo’s ultra-addictive super-cute town simulator thingy for the 3DS.

But despite the fairly unanimous feeling that it’s pretty much The Best Thing Ever – coupled with my fairly obsessive personality, it has utterly failed to grip me. And you know what? I’d rather play stuff on my iPad; stuff like Kingdom Conquest II.

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Two years later, Nokia's still expecting the impossible from Microsoft

Partnerships are great when things are going well, but when they're not it's all too easy to point the finger.

Which is exactly what Nokia vice president Bryan Biniak has done, suggesting the main reasons the Windows Phone partnership with Microsoft has failed to really take off are failings on the US firm's side.

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Apple's 2013 iDevices: what are the chances?

It’s been an incredible nine months since we’ve been introduced to any new iDevices (specifically the iPad mini and iPad 4; that was back in October 2012), but Apple is tipped to give birth to as many as five new iProducts later this year.

I recently covered what we can expect in Apple 2013 H2 iDevice preview, now I figured I’d go back and give them a possibility rating. Out of 10, let’s say. Yeah, that’ll do it.

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To delete or not to delete: Sonic Dash

For any apps passing through the Mobot review conveyor belt, three potential fates await. Fail to win me over and you’re probably looking at deletion (heck, space is tight on the 32GB iPad); prove to be worth remembering and you might find yourself in one of the Reviewed folders; impress me so much that I vow to soldier on post review, and there’s a ticket to Playing with your name on it.

Guardian Cross was the first app to sit in front of the review board, having consumed several dozen valuable hours of my time. It was initially consigned to death, but successfully appealed with Guardian Cross 2.0. Now it’s Sonic Dash’s turn.

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2013: a golden year for smartphones?

I had a bit of a moan the other day in Five things smartphone manufacturers keep getting wrong, listing – yes – five things that continually irk me about the latest and supposedly greatest smartphones.

But, removing my slippers of cynicism and instead donning the pants of positivity, 2013 is looking pretty awesome as far as smartphones go – certainly better than recent years.

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Five things smartphone manufacturers keep getting wrong

Five things smartphone manufacturers keep getting wrong

Lewis Curdie  Jul. 16, 2013 at 13:00

It’s all too easy to be an armchair quarterback, endlessly criticising from the comfort of your couch while munching on a big bag of crisps.

With that fantastic notion in mind, I figured I’d don my loosest trousers, grab some potato chips (I’ve no idea why I’ve turned American all of a sudden, sorry), and criticise the heck out of smartphone design. Guys; you’re doing it all wrong!

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Four phones that might never happen

Four phones that might never happen

Lewis Curdie  Jul. 11, 2013 at 13:00

Here in the world of mobile, it’s very rare that we’re genuinely surprised by anything, with the Nokia 808 PureView standing out as one of the few shockers of the past few years.

But while the rumour radar is generally great at picking up, well, pretty much everything, it also has a tendency to pick up a bunch of stuff that never comes to anything.

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Why I quite like the @tescomobile twitter thing

Why I quite like the @tescomobile twitter thing

Lewis Curdie  Jul. 9, 2013 at 13:00

One of the things that really gets my proverbial goat – in addition to terrible grammar (knowing your sh*t versus knowing you’re sh*t) and poor UI design (having studied it at uni for a while) – is poor customer service.

With that in mind, it pleases me to learn that Tesco has set up a twitter account, @tescomobile, where all the usual rigid customer service rules are thrown out the window.

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Coming round to 3D a little

Lewis Curdie  Jul. 4, 2013 at 13:00

Coming round to 3D a little

I’ve been fairly outspoken about 3D over the years, specifically that I think it’s quite possibly the worst thing to (re)happen (remember Jaws 3D?) to technology/entertainment since the death of Betamax.

However, a few things have happened over the past few weeks that have made me, well, not warm to 3D as such, but I’m definitely less icy than I was.

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Apple 2013 H2 iDevice preview

Apple 2013 H2 iDevice preview

Lewis Curdie  Jul. 2, 2013 at 13:00

Back at the beginning of June, I felt compelled to review Samsung’s 2013 output so far, as much for my own sanity as anyone else’s; it’s tough keeping track of them pesky South Koreans.

At the other end of the scale, we have Apple, which announced a grand total of zero new iDevices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) in the first half of 2013. Nothing whatsoever, for the first time since, like, 2006.

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Five tennis games ‘cause it’s Wimbledon time

Five tennis games ‘cause it’s Wimbledon time

Lewis Curdie  Jun. 29, 2013 at 10:00

It’s that time of year when we all put our differences aside; rich, poor; fat, thin; tall, short; purple, white; and collectively shout: “Come on Andy!” “COME ON ANDY!” “Come on Andyyyyyyyy!”

Yep, it’s Wimbledon time, arguably the best time of the year if you like grunting girls and smashing balls, and as such I’ve flung together a list of five tennis games to shove on your smartphone and/or tablet. Scanning through said list, most of the games are in fact free. Go get 'em!

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Five confusing things about mobile

Five confusing things about mobile

Lewis Curdie  Jun. 27, 2013 at 13:00

The world of mobile phones can seem daunting and ultimately confusing to your average consumer (my mum once asked if the iPhone was a BlackBerry), but sometimes following technology closely can actually make things more confusing. Ignorance is bliss and all that.

With that in mind, I compiled a list of some of the mobile-related things I don’t entirely understand. Not to get to the bottom of them or anything, just to point and say: “What the fu…?”

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