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Love your smartphone? Huawei thinks you could love it more

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At Huawei's most recent innovation day in Milan, there was a lot of talk about innovation in Europe, research and development centres, and the highly anticipated 5G. 

Quite clearly very passionate about the technology, chief Huawei device designer Joonsuh Kim told me that the main aim for him was to make people fall in love with Huawei devices. Kim hopes to provide consumers with something other than just technology.

He said: "Literally we are touching the consumer's heart. That means you can feel that you are emotionally engaged with a Huawei device."

To Kim, the device is all about user preference, and he believes that once consumers start adapting to their devices, they will want to use them for everything. 

He states that even though the Huawei brand may not be big yet, it's starting to get through to consumers. Its aim it to deliver users with a "pleasant surprise" through usability, comfort, and a perfect combination of hardware and software.

When building the concept for a phone, Kim considers several user scenarios to make sure there is always a device that caters to what consumers want - including the ability to have multiple SIMs, a more professional device which is lighter for increased portability, low-cost devices, or a personal-only device.  

The design team make sure that the hardware appeals to the user they are targeting, providing particular features to appeal to different types of audience such as business professionals, young users and entry-level users. 

Kim also believes that using Huawei's knowledge and connectivity in networking, it can be a leader in 5G when the time comes. 

During a presentation on device innovation, Kim used Angelina Jolie as an example of a perfect human being (following up by commenting that although she might have been considered the most attractive woman in the world, that was several years ago... ouch) and that aesthetics are very important when targeting the appropriate market. 

It just goes to show that even the smallest tweaks in design can make the biggest difference to consumer behaviour.

CES 2013 VIDEO: Amzer screen protectors

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Would you risk hammering or drilling your smartphone?

In this video from CES 2013 in Las Vegas, Kyle Zurkan from Amzer, demonstrates the company's ShatterProof screen protection for smartphones.


CES 2013 HANDS ON: Huawei Windows 8 phone and giant phablet

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Huawei launched a few devices at CES in Las Vegas this week, while none of them were confirmed with regions, dates or prices, two smartphones, which are expected to ship to China and then worldwide, caught my eye.

The Ascend Mate - giant phablet with the "worlds largest screen"

Again, a growing trend at CES this week has been a huge leap in screen size, be that in tablets, phones, monitors or TVs. Huawei's Ascend Mate is a monster. Huuuuge, at 6.1-inches of HD 1280 x 720 LCD touchscreen compared the 5.5-inch screen of the Samsung Galaxy Note.

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But tell me something, when tablets are generally growing to ridiculous sizes, but also shrinking to 7-inches, and smartphones are growing to 6.1-inches, where will the line eventually be in the phablet space? In six months time, what will be a phone and what will distinguish a tablet?

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I found the Android device surprisingly light in the hand. The rows upon rows of Android apps sitting on the screen could get very messy or be a joy to organise for someone as OCD as me.

The Ascent W1 - Huwaei's first Windows 8 device

This entry-level Windows 8 device looks much simpler than a Nokia Lumia 920 or a HTC 8X. It still has the insanely bright colouring of the other Windows 8 devices, however it doesn't feel as superior as the other devices did when I first held them.

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It's light enough, but still feels a bit chunky, like the Lumia. I found the back panel in the bright blue to look not very appealing in plastic, which made it look like a child's toy.

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The device was fairly responsive, with easy scroll feature, but not as light to the touch as the Lumia and HTC models. It also comes with the standard additional features of Windows 8, such as kids corner and this model also features NFC.

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As I said, no pricing or availability announced as yet. 

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Testing out 4G in London

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Thumbnail image for EE_Logo.jpgLast week my colleague and networking editor, Jennifer Scott, received an EE Huawei MiFi device to test out the speeds of the new network's 4G superfast mobile internet.

We were both very impressed with the wireless hotspot, to which three of us connected our smartphones and tablets and hit the big download button. Data did download extremely fast and Jennifer even managed to get fast connection speeds while on the move.

This Huawei WiFi/MiFi unit starts at £15.99 a month, with a 2GB data allowance.

Between us, however, we did manage to exceed 500MB in less than a day on what I consider very light and sporadic use (ie. emails, internet browsing and updating applications). To compare, the basic 4G mobile phone price plans begin at £36 a month for unlimited calls and texts but only 500MB of data. 


Also a review on a 3G MiFi device for people who want to connect devices on the move.
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Testing out 4G speeds on the EE network

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EE, the new brand for mobile operator Everything Everywhere, offered a sneak preview of 4G speeds yesterday.

I was given the Huawei Ascend P1, HTC One XL and the Apple iPhone 5 to test out the speedy mobile broadband, which the company is soon to make available in the UK. 

Additionally I was given an iPhone 5 locked to 3G to compare speeds. So for the purpose of this test, the white iPhone 5 is on the 4G EE network, while the iPhone 5 in black is on the 3G EE network.

And generally the 4G speeds did impress, check out my video tests below:

4G vs 3G on Apple devices 

Testing 4G on Android devices 

Streaming YouTube on 4G vs 3G 

Downloading Angry Birds over 4G on a HTC One XL 

Downloading the Amazon app over 4G on a Huwaei P1 Ascend 

However, during my experiments I discovered that downloading anything through the iTunes store was taking an unusual amount of time on 4G. I found that it was taking up to three minutes for a single song and the seconds seemed to increase rather than decrease on the download bar.

This is quite likely that the handful of Apple devices EE was using to demonstrate 4G speeds were all connected to the same account which was being used by five different people at the same time. It could also be an Apple/4G compatibility problem - Apple failed to provide comment by the time of publication. 

So while there are claims that upgrading to 4G will be seamless, I don't think we can expect not to have a few bumps in the road.


EE has announced that from today, 4G ready handsets including the Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE, HTC One XL and Huawei Ascend P1 LTE will be available to buy on Orange and T-Mobile 3G price plans. Once the superfast EE network launches in the coming weeks, Orange and T-Mobile customers with 4G ready handsets can then choose to move across to the new 4G EE network or remain on the existing 3G network.  

Three's Huawei MiFi (E5331) - £29 plus £15.99 per month for 5GB of data

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I am constantly adding devices to my life that are in need of fast connections to the internet in order to perform at their best. Gartner research stated that apparently we will carry an average of seven devices by 2015. We failed to be able to count seven in the office, but at moment, I do have at least a smartphone, tablet, laptop, e-book and iPod around me most of the time. 

While on the move it is sometimes difficult or impossible to connect those devices, often rendering them useless. Portable WiFi devices attempt to solve this problem and Huawei/Three's latest offering is the E5331 MiFi, described as a 'high-speed, multi-mode wireless terminal.' 

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I have used a Three dongle in the past, which I found fairly useful and was used intermittently until I purchased an iPad and the USB-connected device was left in a drawer.

A MiFi is a portable device which can provide internet via WiFi, meaning you do not need to physically connect the device to the MiFi. This one in particular claims to be able to provide Wi-Fi for up to five devices.

A network outage at the Computer Weekly offices proved a fine testing ground for the device. At one point we managed to connect two PCs, a laptop and a tablet to the device, but we stopped there, as the quality of connectivity did decrease the more devices we attached. 

I found the quality of the network when using one of our web content management systems, Vignette, did vary depending on which browser we chose to use and we experienced intermittent problems. But on the whole when the rest of the office was sat twiddling their thumbs, we were able to continue relatively as normal.

The MiFi is very sleek, weighs less than a phone and fits easily in your pocket. It has an LED screen and just one button to switch the device 'on' and 'off'. The screen informs you of signal strength, battery life, connection and whether the SIM has received any SMS messages.  

Its battery lasts around 4.5 hours, but when you're based in a fixed location you can power it from the power point.

During the test, I also took it on a train journey to Norwich, during which I was able to stream video with intermittent disruptions - as I expected while moving at high speeds. However, the big test was taking the device into the depths of the country. While visiting family in Wales - where the internet is painfully slow and reminds me why I left the country-bumpkin lifestyle a long time ago - the MiFi was a god-send. Connecting two phones and a tablet was no trouble and I was able to stream video with ease.

Interestingly, I used the MiFi while moving home recently, but I had trouble using it in parts of my new flat. Like with any mobile network, I expected the device to work well in some areas and not so much in others, but this often proves a little frustrating.

I was told that the device was likely to download at a speed of up to 21.1Mbps using HSPA+ and you can monitor how much data you are using and read any messages by logging into the MyThree account.

Available from Three, you have to pay £29 upfront for the device and you then take out a one-month rolling contract which offers 5GB of data for £15.99. Alternatively, it can be purchased for £49.99 on a pay-as-you-go basis.

A device like this, depending on your day-to-day activities can be very useful. If you travel a lot for work and spend a lot of time outside the office, then it may be worth investing in a contract.

And even for myself, with fixed internet at home and at work, a pay-as-you-go option would ensure I have a 'back-up' for those generic network failures or the occasional trip, meaning my ever growing family of gadgets is always connected. 


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Four years in the making: The best of the best.

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karate-kid2.jpgHaving created this blog and nurtured it for the past four years, I've decided to put the best blog posts/videos from the best on one page.

Diary of an outcast: Apple's Special iPad 2 Event
I will start with my favourite post, the infamous Apple event. I had been invited to Apple events before but somehow started getting missed off the list. I hate Apple so it was no surprise that they didn't want me there. Safe to say that after this post not only was I missed off the list but Computer Weekly never received an invite from Apple ever again.

iPhone Vs N97
This was the first big video project that me and David (video editor) put together. At the time I was so happy that I'd got the N97 I decided to make a video pitting it against the iPhone while mocking Apple's advertising campaign. Little did I know that the N97 would prove to be the worst purchase I've ever made in my life.




HTC Desire HD Review
David (who stars in this video) and I wanted to do something different and create a cool video review. This is what we came up with.

Sadly once we started recording David (and the department he worked for) were made redundant. It didn't effect the video but it wasn't a happy time for us. Having cleared out his desk he set up at home the next day to finish it. This was our last hurrah and the last video I made. Very proud of it.




What is the best mobile OS around?
At this point, no one wanted to be in any of my videos. The company was starting to cut back on them and so I tried to play four roles with four outfits and a moustache before I got told that what I was doing wasn't a productive use of my time. Honestly, how could they say that?

This video used to have a voting element that has since been removed because we couldn't afford to pay for the server the flash sat on.

The most ambitious video we ever tried.





Video: The future of business cards, I'm not taking the Poken
There was a girl I was desperate to go out with at my work. I needed to do a video to have a reason to talk to her but the only thing I'd been sent was a Poken. No phones or cool gadgets. Somehow I persuaded her to help me make this video. We're still together :)




Video review of the wiimote like Gyration Air Mouse
This video is pretty much when I realised that I can be funny. What people don't realise is that filming didn't take long but discussions between David and I on what was funny took forever.

He would stand there saying "That's not funny" every time I cracked a joke or did something stupid. Or one of my favourite lines of his was "You might think that's funny, but it isn't".




Video: Palm Pre vs the iPhone - The big debate
I had 2 weeks before Christmas to do a video armed with my wit and a white wig that was left over from a very bad 'Back to the future' spoof I'd made where I played the Doc. That video was so bad that the company we producd it for sent us a letter saying that if the video ever saw the light of day, they'd sue my a** off. 

David went on holiday with a week left of editing/filming to do so I didn't have anyone to tell me that what I was saying wasn't funny and some of the editing is a bit off. It's still a good video but we felt it was rushed.




Video: I heart iPad - Dating website matches man to iPad
What do you do when you get your hands on an iPad before the UK release? Write a review. Then what? Make a video about having a special relationship with it. Yep, not sure why.



The HTC and Google story: A love affair and a tragedy
Lord knows what compelled me to write this. Had I taken more time to craft it, I think it could've been great but when I read it now I feel it's rushed. Still good, where the idea came from I'll never know.

Video: Flip Mino HD review
This video took 84 takes. For no reason at all I couldn't stop laughing during recording. We got in trouble because it was meant to take a couple of hours but took almost two weeks.

Video: Zeemote review - Is this the future of mobile gaming?
I did this video because Zeemote said that they'd give me a free phone if I reviewed it. So...

GeeklyWeekly Sexy Halloween Special
Wow, how bad is this video? It doesn't even have anything to do with gadgets!!

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