O2 to Finally Launched 4G LTE Network Later This Month
At long last, O2 is to launch 4G LTE in the UK later on this month. Don't get your hopes up too much, as come August 29th the LTE network will only be launching in three markets: London, Leeds and Bradford. Everyone has to start somewhere though, right? By the end of 2013 though, O2 are saying that they'll have rolled LTE in the following cities and areas as well: Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, Liverpool, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry, Sheffield, Manchester, and Edinburgh. As for pricing, the superfast network is going to be available on plans from £26 a month and upwards. There's no word yet on which devices are coming to the network with LTE but, the iPhone 5 is one that isn't on the guest list. Are you looking forward to this, or have you already switched to EE?
MasterCard's Answer to Google Wallet; MasterPass Hits the UK
Soon, the UK will be able to pay using smartphones and tablets through MasterCard's MasterPass online wallet system. It's nothing too fancy, and is essentially a mobile version of Amazon's one-click system. Of course, you will be able to use it across a wider variety of stores, a selection of which will be rolling out soon. Including: Argos, Boots, House of Fraser, MBNA, and The Hut Group (including Zavvi). Here's what MasterCard had to say about the new service:
"For retailers, MasterPass provides a faster, easier way to check out their customers, and increase sales without significantly changing the way they currently process payments. MasterPass can help retailers reduce checkout abandonment rates, which affected 37 percent of all online transactions in the first quarter of 2013, equating to more than £6 billion in much-needed revenue per year according to IMRG and Capgemini. UK consumers spend more than £62 billion a year online."
NFC-based payments aren't rolling out just yet, but they are said to be coming soon.
Vodafone Makes Red Freedom Freebee Plans "Unlimited"
For those on Vodafone's Red Freedom Freebee plans, you might be glad to hear that the network is making them "unlimited". Of course, you have to cough up £30 to lose those limits and it only applied to texts and calls, your data is only 1GB and 2GB if you opt to spend £40 a month. Considering how widespread free WiFi is thanks to services like Cloud and O2 WiFi, you might not be needing so much data. This Editor for instance gets by with just 2GB of data.
Google Play TV Shows Finally Available in the UK
If you're a big fan of Google's services, you know what it's like to wait for their offerings in the Play Store. Those waiting for Google Play TV Shows however, have no more waiting to do. It's finally available in the UK and prices range from £1.89 to £2.49 for SD and HD episodes, respectively. There are season bundles available but, those vary on price, show to show. While these prices aren't anything too special, there is a decent selection already live in the Play Store, shows like The Walking Dead for instance. Now, if only we have the new Nexus 7 and the Chromecast, sort it out Google!
HTC One Mini Launching in the UK Soon, With a Not So Mini Price Tag Attached
HTC made a pretty big promise when they said that the Mini delivers the same experience as the full-sized One. It seems that promise is going to cost somewhere in the region of £380 unlocked. That's not exactly "expensive" but for a device that's obviously designed for those not willing to spend the extra on the One, it's not an inspiring price tag. Especially when you consider that the Galaxy S4 Mini was priced far too high. Regardless, if you want to get your hands on the One Mini, it's going to be available at some point in the next couple of weeks from Carphone Warehouse.
GiffGaff and Tesco Mobile to Get O2's 4G, Too
With the recent announcement that August is lift-off for O2's 4G network, we've been wondering whether or not O2 will be giving GiffGaff and Tesco Mobile the keys to speed, as well. Now, they're confirming that they will. There's no other information regarding release dates or plans from GiffGaff or Tesco Mobile but, it is nice to know that O2 aren't going to be forgetting their partners.
Sony Xperia Z Ultra Priced in the UK
Sony's massive device is coming to the UK, and now Unlocked Mobiles have a price for the thing. It's going to cost £600 (inc VAT) unlocked. That's a lot of change for a lot of smartphone but, if you're looking for that dizzying speed of 2.2 Ghz then this might be worth it. Just don't take this thing out in the pub, you might get laughed out of it. Contracts and network availability is still up in the air but, the release date has been outed as 12th September.
UK Government to Ban Glass Use While Driving
As we covered earlier in the week, the Department of Transport has plans to ban the use of Google Glass while at the wheel. This parked a lot of debate on G+ and social media. While we can see the disappointment of potential Glass buyers, we're also sure that taking them off while driving is not that big of a deal. Here's what the DoT had to say on the matter:
"It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road when they are behind the wheel and do not behave in a way that stops them from observing what is happening on the road. A range of offences and penalties already exist to tackle those drivers who do not pay proper attention to the road including careless driving which will become a fixed penalty offence later this year. We are aware of the impending rollout of Google Glass and are in discussion with the Police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving."