Monthly Archives: May 2011

Where to use contactless payment in the UK

I wrote a brief post based on a BBC News article on the recently announced tie-up between Orange and Barclaycard who together are bringing mobile contactless payments to the UK

There are claims that 50,000 shops now support this technology in the UK according to the Sunday Times InGear magazine.


Here are some of the businesses accepting contactless payment:

Boots – 21 stores

Caffe Nero – Over 400 branches

Crussh – 24 London branches

Eat – 100 branches

Krispy Kreme – 50 branches

Little Chef – 162 restaurants

McDonald’s – 1200 branches

National Trust – 350 locations

Pret A Manger – 220 branches

Subway – over 1400 branches

There are also selected IKEA stores and Yo! Sushi restaurants and many more independent businesses.

Source: InGear magazine.

The Nissan Leaf…

Social networks and their mobile user base #infographic

This great infographic has been recently updated and shows the numbers of mobile users as a proportion of their overall userbase. Of particular interest is Skype who have recently been acquired by Microsoft. An estimated 663m Skype users have mobile access higher than any other service including Facebook. There is definitely a valuable user base there for Microsoft especially as we know that there will be a Windows Phone 7 version coming when the Mango update is released.


Some other points of interest:

  • 5.3bn mobile devices worldwide
  • Over half of these are in the Asia & Pacific region where Nokia are strong
  • Microsoft properties Skype and Hotmail have access to over 1bn mobile devices
  • Where would BlackBerry’s BBM be on this map?

Source: @jess3


18,000 Windows Phone 7 apps now in the Marketplace

The football season is over

The English football season is over, Chelsea sack their manager and some players are requesting transfers others are trying to sue social networks.

I was thinking about the Football World Cup in particular 1990 – and remembered the BBC titles for their coverage with the voice of Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma. If the hairs on the back of your neck do not stand on end there is something wrong with you 😛

England should have won that year :S


Sleepless? Then Stop Taking Your iPhone To Bed #infographic

Great infographic and article from @gigaom about how we just cannot bear to be without our mobile phones so much so it can affect our sleep!

The study found that mobile workers have a hard time being physically separated from their smartphones, even when it’s ostensibly time to sleep. More than half at 61 percent of those surveyed keep the phone in the bedroom, and 41 percent have it within arm’s reach of where they sleep. Those figures jump to 77 and 60 percent respectively when you’re talking about the younger crowd (respondents between the ages of 22 and 34). Just over a third at 35 percent of mobile workers check their email before doing anything else when they wake up in the morning, and another 38 percent admit to checking their email at various times during the night.


New Windows Phone 7 rumour, HTC Bresson…

BBC News – Mobile wallet offered to UK shoppers

Mobile wallet offered to UK shoppers

I mentioned NFC on a recent post and came across a new service launched in the UK with Orange and Barclaycard called “Quick Tap” and featured on BBC news.

Does this mean mobile wallets are on the way? This service requries the NFC enabled Samsung Tocco Lite, clearly more handsets need to released and many more NFC readers installed in retailers / merchants.

I think that this is a good start in terms of adoption as you have a large mobile operator and a well known credit card working together. If the NFC rumours about the iPhone 5 are true and more handsets are released (no doubt on the Android platform) you too could save space in your wallets and purses 🙂

Paying with your phone
Continue reading the main story

The first service that allows users to pay for purchases via their mobile phone has been launched in the UK.

Among shops signed up to the system are McDonalds, EAT, Pret-a-Manger and some Boots stores.

Users wishing to use the system – dubbed Quick Tap – will need Orange and Barclaycard accounts as well as a handset set up for contactless payments.

The idea of the mobile wallet is gaining popularity around Europe.

Motorway toll

The service is made possible by Near Field Communication (NFC), the short-range wireless technology that underpins many wireless payment systems.

Quick Tap is a collaboration between Orange and Barclaycard. It will require a NFC-enabled Samsung Tocco Lite handset, which also goes on sale on Friday.

Mobile money looks like a useful addition to the way we handle our finances, rather than a necessity”

  Rory Cellan-Jones Technology Correspondent

Only purchases up to a value of £15 can be made using the service but users can preload their mobile with up to £100.

“Having a wallet on my phone has made it much more convenient to make purchases on the move and I like that it allows me to keep track of what I’m spending as I go,” said David Chan, chief executive of Barclaycard Consumer.

“It is going to start a revolution in the way we pay for things on the high street,” added Pippa Dunn, vice president of Orange.

Other stores signed up the service include Subway, Little Chef, Wilkinson and the National Trust.

Later this summer, users will also be able to use the service to pay the toll on the M6 motorway.

Olympic vision

Giles Ubaghs, an analyst with Datamonitor, thinks take-up may be sluggish.

“It is an important first step but I think there could be a lack of incentive. Early adopters may like it for the novelty value but the majority just won’t see the point,” he said.

Mobile wallet services have been available in Japan for some years and operator DoCoMo NTT spent a good deal of cash getting them up and running.

“They even had to buy a convenience store chain to get the readers in there but all the evidence is that people don’t use it that often. Only around 10% seem to use the NFC functionality on their phones,” said Mr Ubaghs.

Mobile couponing, where people can swipe their handsets in order to get discounts on goods, could kickstart NFC technology, he thinks.

Or it could find popularity in the future as an alternative to Bluetooth.

“It may be used for swapping data from phone to phone or for, say, taking pictures from a phone and putting them on a TV,” he said.

Nokia is believed to be bringing out an NFC-enabled version of the popular game Angry Birds later this year.

In 2009 O2 trialled contactless payments, using mobiles in place of the popular Oyster card which allows commuters to pay for their tube journeys.

It has said it will launch its mobile wallet service later this year.

By the time of the Olympics it is expected that transactions, transport and tickets will all be available via contactless technology.

Currently there are 50,000 stores with NFC-enabled readers in the UK.

Some 12.9 million credit and debit cards are already in circulation.

Power Monkey – A gadget everyone should have!

I purchased a Power Monkey Classic v2 from last year to charge my power thirsty iPhone 3GS on the go as its battery lasted 12 hours before it died. It is a device that you can “charge up” and connect to your phone or other gadget when you require power. It quite capably recharged my iPhone to full capacity.

The iconic powermonkey-classic: a charging device that’s become one of the most widely recognised and versatile portable chargers available on the market today.


Having switched to a LG Optimus 7 running Windows Phone 7 I have had less of a need for charging on the go and this great gadget has been lying collecting dust on my desk. On a few occasions in the past few months I have been on a train home after using my phone to tweet, call people and check email all day and the battery has run out of power. I have had to use a phone box to get someone to pick me up.

About an hour ago I thought I would have a look at the many connectors that came with this unit and I found a micro-USB attachment for my phone. The Power Monkey also has interchangeable plugs so you can use it in different countries.


What a great product, light, durable and it charges everything, it even has a USB connector to charge the Power Monkey from your PC! I highly recommend this and encourage you to throw something out of your laptop bag for this.

More info here:

12 hardware features for my dream Windows Phone 7

Whilst jealously watching the what seems daily release of Android handsets I have been looking at the new hardware features being announced as manufacturers try to distinguish themselves from each other. All this new mobile technology inspired me to write an article on what my dream Windows Phone 7 handset would look like and hopefully one day it might appear (not in my dreams)

Here are my Top 12 hardware features I would love to see in the dream Windows Phone 7 handset:

1) An LED notification indicator

A fixture on BlackBerry phones and such a simple feature. I am wondering why manufacturers have removed this from handsets as this surely extends battery life. When I receive a text or have missed a call the indicator flashes red otherwise it flashes green to show you have network coverage. This saves having to switch the full phone screen on to check your texts etc. and wasting precious battery.


2) NFC enabled

NFC, or near-field communications, is a way for two devices to communicate small amounts of data when they’re placed about four inches apart. This technology is already beginning to appear on handsets namely the Samsung Nexus S, upcoming BlackBerry Bold 9900 and rumours that it may appear on the next iPhone. This would allow you to buy items by hovering your mobile phone over a NFC enabled terminal. Emerging NFC applications include mCommerce, P2P payments and electronic keys. This technology would allow transactions between merchants to happen faster and the reduction of queues at stores and events. NFC requires adoption by manufacturers on their handsets so the potential of the technology can be utilised.


3) Camera

The camera technology that can be found on mobile handsets has come a long way in terms of quality. I am hoping that one of the new Nokia Windows Phone 7s has a camera that is better than the one found on the Nokia N8. This unit has an outstanding camera boasting 12 megapixels, xenon flash and a Carl Zeiss lens (here are some pictures taken using the N8 My dream Windows Phone 7 should also be able to take 1080p HD video too (maybe even in 3D). I want to take great photos and videos as my phone is always with me.


4) Screen


Having been initially wow’ed by the brightness of the AMOLED screen on the Samsung Omnia 7, I thought I want this display? But the the awesome Retina display in the iPhone 4 and more recently I have seen the Super AMOLED Plus on the Samsung Galaxy II are far superior. My dream Windows Phone 7 has to have something equivalent to the Retina and Super AMOLED Plus displays. Here is a great link to compare these screen technologies: The screen should naturally be protected by Gorilla Glass which most handsets appear to have now.

5) A Dual Core processor

Whilst Quad Core is all the rage on desktops, Dual Core seems to be the answer on mobile phones. There is NO dual core Windows Phone 7 handset available at present and I have not heard any murmurings of upcoming models either. The upcoming hardware acceleration support in Mango will benefit from faster and multi-core processors.


6) Thickness

The iPhone 4’s thickness of 9.3mm is really impressive and it sets the standard in terms of its compact design. The Samsung Galaxy II is thinner still but I prefer the robust and heavier feel of the iPhone 4.


7) External microSD socket

External removable storage through a microSD expansion slot is something that with faster networks, the ability to create documents, record HD video and play music should be compulsory. You cannot save and retrieve everything to/from the cloud over your 3G connection, think of your data costs!


8) Front facing cameras

With Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Skype, I am hoping that it should be almost guaranteed that we see front facing cameras to allow video calls on Windows Phone 7.


9) Wifi Hot Spot

Both iOS and Android allow you to turn your phone into a WiFi hot spot so your friends can surf the net or you can get your laptop / tablet online. This would be a great and very simple feature; although no charge for tethering is most likely only going to happen in my dreams.


10) HDMI out

Many of the handsets out there now are able to record video in HD and stream HD content. The LG Optimus 2X already has the ability to connect to your HDTV to play games and drive 1080p HD videos. The gaming element is really important here as Xbox Live gamers could play higher quality games that are more immersive with their friends without the need for a console.


11) Dolby Sound

The sound element of mobile tends to have been neglected falling behind many if not all new features. Dolby are looking to get 5.1 channel HD audio into the mobile world with their “Dolby Mobile” technology This will add richer sound to mobile gaming experiences and coupled with HDMI will mean the sound matches up to the picture quality on your phone and HDTV.


12) Battery Life

All of my dream features are going to require power. The handset should aim to not require a charge every 12 hours. I would like to make 2-3 phone calls a day and play some Angry Birds and still have at least 50% left.


I was very tempted to add 3D capability as a feature I wanted to the AMOLED screen but having seen the Nintendo 3DS and the Optimus 3D I am not yet convinced by 3D on smaller devices. 3D may be more suited to next-gen tablets due to their larger screens?

Come on Microsoft, HTC, Nokia, LG and Samsung et al. I want to see some new Windows Phone 7 handsets so I don’t look so green with envy at all my friends with their iPhone 4s and in particular the amazing Samsung Galaxy II.