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Simon Rockman

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Founder of What Mobile, creative experience director at Motorola and head of requirements at Sony Ericsson, Simon Rockman is a phone geek turned suit. He now runs Fuss Free Phones, a mobile phone service for older users.
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Lost your credit card PIN? No worries! Get a new one - over SMS

Text messaging isn’t secure. It was never meant to be, as befits something which the chair of the SMG4 standards committee thought was a good idea at the time. No-one ever thought that it might be used for particularly valuable data. SMS expects everything to happen in plain txt so nuttin iz encryptd, bruv. So it’s pretty …
Simon Rockman, 16 Apr 2014
Look at the pixels on that

Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER

It’s trade show season in Hong Kong and the Taiwanese display manufacturer AU Optronics has trumped its rivals, principally Samsung, by producing the highest resolution phone display yet. The AMOLED 5.7-inch display has 2560 x 1440 resolution – which gives you 513ppi (pixels per inch). This compares with the iPhone’s retina …
Simon Rockman, 16 Apr 2014
Hologram communication - Star Wars

Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'

Amazon is reportedly planning to launch a smartphone with an active 3D display. It is claimed the device has been shown to developers in California ahead of an official unveiling in June, and that the tech will go on sale in September. The Wall Street Journal reports that the glasses-free 3D technology uses "retina" tracking, …
Simon Rockman, 15 Apr 2014
A spy in your bags

A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally

Trakdot is a little device you hide in your suitcase so that if an airline loses your luggage, you can, in theory, find it. Inside is a SIM card with a global roaming agreement, and the necessary electronics to connect to GSM mobile networks. As the aeroplane trundles down the runway, the gadget uses an accelerometer to detect …
Simon Rockman, 15 Apr 2014
Pano Pro enclosure for GoPro

GoPro's new lens: Like a GOOGLE STREETMAPS car... for your life

If you've taken the trouble to carry a camera around rather than using your smartphone, you certainly won't want to miss anything. GoPro's newest offering solves this problem by looking in every direction. Of course resolution suffers as you are spreading the pixels over a bigger image. The Pano Pro lens is a parabolic convex …
Simon Rockman, 14 Apr 2014
The ReSound LinX uses bluetooth not propreitory radio

Danes debut Bluetooth-connected 'made for iPhone' hearing aids

Danish company ReSound claims the LinX for the iPhone is the first "cool hearing aid". That might be stretching things a bit but perhaps only because of attitudes. The ReSound LiNX can use the iPhone as a phone, with the audio through the hearing aid like a Bluetooth headset, play music stored on the phone for the hearing …
Simon Rockman, 10 Apr 2014

Qualcomm uncloaks new chips for 'ultimate connected mobile computing experiences'

Qualcomm has announced two new 64-bit processors in its Snapdragon line, both aimed at high-end smartphones and tablets, and both "designed to deliver the ultimate connected mobile computing experiences in video, imaging and graphics," the company modestly says. The Snapdragon 810 and 808 are both based on ARM Cortex-A57 and …
Simon Rockman, 07 Apr 2014
Mobile Broadband

Lycamobile launches 'unlimited' 4G for £12 a month. Great. Now where can I get a signal?

Mobile phone networks need to learn what the word “unlimited” means. Both Three and Lyca claim to offer “unlimited” mobile broadband, neither of them do. International MVNO Lycamobile has launched what it calls “unlimited” 4G mobile data but there is a catch. After the first 10GB of data, the speed drops to 2G speeds of 128kbps …
Simon Rockman, 07 Apr 2014
Tesla Model S

Tesla cars can now 'do an ET' without hurting anyone's bottom line

Electric car firm Tesla's products are almost as talkative as the company's CEO. They constantly ET* to allow the company to check that the battery is in tip-top condition, the car isn’t being driven badly or that the owner isn’t thinking negative thoughts about Tesla. The company can collect a huge amount of data, although CEO …
Simon Rockman, 03 Apr 2014
Handshake

Soz, BT: All EE's 4G goodies still won't give you 'seamless voice'

BT can't seem to kick the mobile habit. Since selling O2 (nee BT Cellnet) to Telefonica back in 2002, the former state-owned telco has been in bed with all of the mobile operators. Now it has signed up with EE. What makes it interesting this time around is that BT now has spectrum. This makes the big difference between BT being …
Simon Rockman, 03 Apr 2014
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini tech specs REVEALED

Hot on the heels of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and new Galaxy tablets we can expect the Galaxy S5 Mini, Active and probably Zoom, according to a recent report. "All Things Samsung" website SamMobile claims to have specs for the Mini, citing a 720p resolution on a 4.5-inch screen, which would correspond to 1280 x 720 and a 326ppi. …
Simon Rockman, 02 Apr 2014
HTC One M8 camera tricks

HTC One M8: Reg man takes spin in Alfa Romeo of smartphone world

If phone companies were car manufacturers, HTC would be Alfa Romeo to Samsung's BMW. Customers look at the HTC One, see how it matches the Galaxy spec for spec, how it's that little bit more interesting and significantly nicer as a physical object... and then buy the Samsung anyway. HTC One M8 The road less travelled? HTC's One …
Simon Rockman, 01 Apr 2014
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Vodafone brings African tech to Europe

Vodafone is to launch mobile-money-for-the-masses service M-Pesa in Romania, which introduces and interesting challenge for the European telcos and banks who have spent a decade wrangling over mobile money and got nowhere. M-Pesa was launched in Kenya under the stewardship of Nick Hughes of Vodafone, initially as a corporate …
Simon Rockman, 01 Apr 2014
We were going to show a pic of Simon wearing it but thought you'd prefer this on instead

Facebook, you fools! Forget Oculus, you could have bought TRON-type headsets

It's quite exciting putting on the Durovis Dive virtual reality headset, but watching someone else do it is even better as they coo and gasp at the world in which they have become immersed. The HTC One M8 is speedy and there is no VR lag Durovis Dive set up with an HTC One M8 proved speedy with no VR lag The Durovis Dive from …
Simon Rockman, 31 Mar 2014
The HTC One M8

Gr8, it's the new M8! Ideal for that celebrity funeral selfie

Taiwanese phone-maker HTC unveiled its quad-core HTC One M8, the snappily named successor to the M7, on Tuesday. Predictably, it's powered by a 2.3GHz ARM-compatible Snapdragon 801 chip from Qualcomm with 2GB of RAM, and runs Android KitKat 4.4. The battery isn’t removable, it has 16 or 32GB of on-board storage, and it can …
Simon Rockman, 26 Mar 2014
Fight Night Champion

It's EE vs Vodafone: 'How good is my signal' study descends into network bunfight

Vodafone has implied that a mobile network test by RootMetrics was not "impartial" and included dodgy data. Vodafone came bottom in the testing. EE, which came top in the testing, has reacted with outrage at Vodafone's assertion. Vodafone says: “We’d love to give a fully detailed response, but believe the way Root Metrics …
Simon Rockman, 25 Mar 2014
EE 4G banner

EE...K: Why can't I uninstall carrier's sticky 'Free Games' app?

Do you have a Samsung Galaxy S4 on EE? Have you downloaded the Infomedia Free Games Widget? Is it on your phone? If the answer to the first question is “yes” then the answer to the third one is “probably”, regardless of what you said to question two. EE has done it for you. And if you do what it asks when you install it, it …
Simon Rockman, 24 Mar 2014
Spy glasses not a telescope

Oculus Rift? Tchah, try 'Oculus Thrift' ... You bet your vrAse we tested these bargain VR specs

If you thought dressing smartly had something to do with not wearing jeans, then the "smart" clobber at the Wearable Technology Show in London this month wasn't for you. If you think it’s about having as many ARM processors attached to your body as possible, well, then now we're talking. Cameras that you can pin to your lapel …
Simon Rockman, 21 Mar 2014

Nokia tries to lure Android porters with free Nokia X mobes

Nokia has started encouraging Android developers to support its Nokia X platform. The phones, primarily aimed at developing markets, run a highly customised version of Android and to ensure compatibility Nokia has wound up its developer outreach programme. Next week Monday – 24 March – Nokia will be around the corner from …
Simon Rockman, 19 Mar 2014
Original 'Blue Marble' pic taken by Apollo 17 astronauts in 1972

What have Cherie Blair, Jonathan Porritt and El Reg's mobile desk got in common?

For all the trumpeting of Silicon Roundabout with its app companies and ecosystem start-ups, or northern California with improved user experiences and social media, the real work in mobile gets done here in old Blighty: specifically, on the silicon fens of Cambridge. Cambridge, as all the world knows, is the home of ARM and CSR …
Simon Rockman, 19 Mar 2014
Spain

Spanish cable firm Ono says oh yes to €7.2bn Vodafone takeover

As has been widely speculated, the Spanish cable company Ono has accepted a €7.2bn (£6bn) offer from Vodafone, dropping its plans for an IPO. Vodafone is growing its unified communications strategy across Europe and this follows a similar purchase of Kable Deutschland. The price of 7.5 times EBITA is considered low by some …
Simon Rockman, 17 Mar 2014

Windows Phone beats BLACKBERRY in mobe OS popularity stakes

The difference is small, and they are both way behind the leaders, but online data analytics specialists comScore have reported that while usage of Windows Phone stayed steady as a rock at 3.2 per cent, BlackBerry slipped half a percent down at 3.1 per cent. This puts Windows in third place, behind Apple (at 41.7 per cent) and …
Simon Rockman, 12 Mar 2014

Mastercard, Syniverse target holiday payment security with mobile verification system

It’s ironic that when people are abroad so many people switch off their mobile phones' data and so many banks switch off customers' credit cards. But a deal between Syniverse and Mastercard aims to keep both switched on. You’ll have heard of Mastercard but are less likely to know about Syniverse unless you work in the mobile …
Simon Rockman, 12 Mar 2014
Sim card

It's BANKS v TELCOs: Mobe payments systems go head-to-head

The GSMA's Mobile Connect mobile payments project is going head-to-head with the Payments council's rival Paym system after both systems launched this week. The mobile operator creates a token which is then shared with vendors to verify who you are. Customers do not necessarily have to tie their actual mobile phone to the token …
Simon Rockman, 12 Mar 2014
Onyx_Boox_the_non-gaming_phone

Blurred lines: Android e-ink mobe claims TWO-WEEK battery life

Chinese handset manufacturer Onyx has announced the 3G OnyxPhone E43, a mobile-phone-cum-e-reader, claiming a whopping two weeks on its 1800mAh battery. The e-ink smartphone has a 4.3-inch display which dramatically improves battery life. How long it lasts will of course depend on how much you use it; e-ink only uses power when …
Simon Rockman, 11 Mar 2014

Vodafone Germany looks to provide end-to-end encryption with SIM signatures

German SIM card manufacturer G&D has announced that it will be supplying Vodafone Germany with an end-to-end security system based on the phone SIM. Emails, documents and VPN connections are signed and encrypted by the SIM so that the user doesn’t have to enter a password or use a security token. The service will not be offered …
Simon Rockman, 11 Mar 2014
EE 4G result

Got 4G? Wake up, grandad. We're doing 4.5G LTE-A in London - EE chief

Olaf Swantee, the CEO of EE, says that his network is planning a scorching 300Mb/s upgrade to its London coverage using the LTE-A (LTE-Advanced) specification. This will roll out in South London first and then to cover the whole of the area within the M25. While Swantee claims that this will make London the place with the …
Simon Rockman, 05 Mar 2014

Hot, fit, SWEATY users stroke Backbeats model, beg: DON'T CALL US

While the new Plantronics Bluetooth sports headset does have a microphone and you can make phone calls – that’s really not the intention. The whole phonecall bit features is listed as the ninth item in a 10-item feature list – and even then with the phrase “BackBeat FIT headphones built-in microphone allows users to take and …
Simon Rockman, 05 Mar 2014
Landmine-sniffing rodent recruit

Aargh! My EYEBALLS are MELLLTING! Curse this DEVIL LAPTOP

According to a recent study, lap-warming, ball-cooking laptops pose yet another threat to users, and this time it crosses the gender divide: "Computer Vision Syndrome". "On top of this, recent in-vitro (or experimental) studies conducted by UCM and Dr Celia Sánchez-Ramos, an important expert on ocular phototoxicity, have shown …
Simon Rockman, 05 Mar 2014

Facebook: We want a solar sky cruiser comms net that DARPA couldn't build

Facebook hopes to operate a fleet of solar-powered flying drones to provide wireless internet connectivity to the poor, it was suggested on Tuesday. And the Mark Zuckerberg-led social network is considering buying New Mexico-based Titan Aerospace for $60m to make this happen, it's reported. Titan's drones fly at vast heights – …
Simon Rockman, 04 Mar 2014
Gives you connectivity

New 4G router pitched at biz bods sick to death of titsup networks

With increasing 4G coverage, mobile data is becoming a sensible option for corporates who want resilience for their company networks. This is especially true in major American cities which have more mature 4G coverage than the UK, a stark turnaround from the early days of GSM. Cradlepoint from Idaho has launched a router which …
Simon Rockman, 04 Mar 2014
Not Smart and not a book, but a smartbook

Alcatel unveils 'cheaper-than-Chromebook' Lapdock-alike phablet-powered laptop

Alcatel had the distinction of previewing the least powerful device at MWC. At the mobile extravaganza, the French firm unveiled the prototype of the Hero, a dumb terminal which interfaces to its Hero mobile phone to provide a full screen and keyboard. The device is called a smartbook, but all the smarts actually reside in the …
Simon Rockman, 03 Mar 2014
Un Frog

French silver foxes use Fujitsu's Grandroid mobes... to send each other selfies

One of the features of the Fujitsu Stylistic phone, a device targeted at the older French market and sold by Orange France, is its dedicated social network. The Raku-Raku phones Fujitsu sells in Japan have a similar feature, and the silver-haired beta testers of the er, francophone, will soon be using it to get friendly with …
Simon Rockman, 28 Feb 2014
The Can

Software containers for BYOD/mobile device management: Big Tin Can

An environment which runs on a number of mobile platforms seeks to solve lots of the BYOD issues faced by corporates. It creates a balance between locking down a device so completely that people won't or can't use it and leaving the door open to miscreants. Such environments these days are often known as "containers" (or " …
Simon Rockman, 28 Feb 2014
frustration_anger_irritation_annoyance pain

Blink once to turn right: Samsung asks software dev Teleca to talk Tizen

Symphony Teleca is the company the big equipment manufacturers go to when they want software written. Unlike most development houses it doesn't do apps for iPhone and Android and, er that's it. Teleca writes low level code and was commissioned by Samsung to look at the Tizen engine. Teleca head of mobile and media biz, Andrew …
Simon Rockman, 27 Feb 2014
A man shouting angrily

New radio tech could HALVE mobe operators' bandwidth needs

A team from Stanford University has patented a technology which could make a huge difference to mobile phone operators by halving their bandwidth requirements overnight. Kumu Networks is showcasing tech which allows radio equipment – such as that used by mobile telephones – to send and receive on the same frequency. It does this …
Simon Rockman, 27 Feb 2014
Angry woman on mobile

What the world really needs: A telescopic SELFIE STICK

Mobile World Congress is often as interesting for the silly gadgets as it is for the mainstream announcements. Bluetooth Gew-gaws abound at mwc This (right) is the Selfie Stick, an extendable pole with a Bluetooth control for your phone. The Selfie comes in two versions: a general one and one for Samsung phones where you …
Simon Rockman, 27 Feb 2014

HTC One grabs BEST SMARTPHONE gong

The GSM Association (GSMA) announced the 19th Annual Global Mobile awards at its Mobile World Congress now underway in Barcelona, and the award for Best smartphone didn't go to an offering by either of the two market leaders – Apple and Samsung – but instead to a company that's been facing some challenges of late: HTC won for …
Simon Rockman, 26 Feb 2014
Tree sampling in the Monteverde cloud forest. Credit: Jorge Porras

Hey, Apple. THIS is how you flog iPhones in new markets

Last year mobile phone trade-in firm eRecyclingCorps announced that they had recycled 10 million phones in the past four years. This year they said they'd chewed through the same 10 mill in the last year alone. It would be nice to think that people recycle old phones out of a love for the planet, but the company has found …
Simon Rockman, 26 Feb 2014

Hey 4G bods: We need to make 'phonecalls' with our 'voices', too

It’s well documented that voice is little more than an afterthought on 4G. That’s now being addressed, says Paul Gowans from network tech specialist JDSU, but it will be some time before you can reliably pick up a 4G phone and make a call to another one. JDSU runs services for all kinds of networks, not just mobile. It does …
Simon Rockman, 25 Feb 2014

LG offers BRAIN-SAVING CANCER-BL... er 'good luck charms'

What LG would like us to be writing about is its Knock Code – a system which takes the idea of drawing a shape to unlock a phone and replaces it with a Simon-style pattern of taps. That might have been the case if LG hadn’t chosen to promote the technology by handing out a, ahem, "radiation shield". This will "protect" you, but …
Simon Rockman, 25 Feb 2014
The lauch felt more like a rock concert than a press event

Samsung brandishes quad-core Galaxy S5, hopes nobody wants high specs

Samsung has announced its new Qualcomm-powered Galaxy S5 smartphone, focussing on how fashionable and fitness-friendly the thing is rather than waste time revealing specifications during its glitzy launch. Luckily, we got our hands on the device and a spec sheet so we can tell you how the mobe measures up. In your correspondent …
Simon Rockman, 25 Feb 2014
ZTE Goes blue

Cheap'n'cheerful Chinese mobesters ZTE launch Firefox phones

As Telefonica pushes Firefox as a foil to the dominance of Apple and Android, ZTE is keen to play ball with a couple of new Firefox phones. Called the Open C and Open II, they are looking to ship more than one million devices this year. The new phones run Firefox OS 1.3. It’s Telefonica’s strategy to sell Firefox phones to users …
Simon Rockman, 24 Feb 2014

Sony enlists Michael Jackson's GHOST to flog Xperia Z2

Sony has announced the new Xperia Z2, an Android KitKat phone, as a predictable progression on the Z1 and has enlisted the help of the its single-gloved departed partner, popstar Michael Jackson, to help pimp it out. Despite the slightly larger 5.2-inch screen size, the new phone is a mere 2.8mm lengthier than its predecessor at …
Simon Rockman, 24 Feb 2014
Global Wireless solutions coverage testing backpack

Mobe operators, need to check your network? There’s an app for that

US mobile network checking company Global Wireless Solutions says there is a gap between its traditional way of testing mobile coverage using vans driving around with $300k of testing kit in the back and crowd-sourced reports on quality of mobile network coverage. The problem with using vans to check networks goes beyond cost. …
Simon Rockman, 24 Feb 2014
Just Add Sugar

Big Beardie's watching: Gaze into the screen... it shall gaze also into you

Walk into a petrol station in the UK and you might see an Amscreen advertising things to you. But it's not only you who's doing the looking; it is looking at you too. It's nothing personal... The screen uses technology from Quividi to work out your age and gender. It looks at hair length, cheek structure, eye distance and dark …
Simon Rockman, 20 Feb 2014

El Reg gives it a wrist at MWC: From not-so-smartwatch to the selfie-taker

Several new smartwatches are set to be shown at Mobile World Congress, demonstrating software improvements since CES at the start of the year. Creoir is a Finnish company, so you can guess where they all worked before. They are the people behind the Jolla smartphone. The former Nokia bods are currently working on its “Ibis” …
Simon Rockman, 18 Feb 2014
The existing, human crewed Caterpillar 797B

Ericsson and Kodiak in Europe WALKIE-TALKIE-style push-to-talk push

Push-to-talk company Kodiak has struck a deal with Ericsson to sell the systems it is currently touting to the US market through American firm Cspire to European telcos. The pair are aiming to sell these services to both real mobile network operators and virtual ones. The technology emulates an old-fashioned walkie-talkie using …
Simon Rockman, 18 Feb 2014
First Data's Claover an Android based point of sale terminal

First Data hoiks out custom Android point-of-sale fondleslab

Around half US online transaction revenue goes through payments firm First Data’s systems. They have such a large volume of transaction information they are used as an economic barometer by the US government. In Europe they have 660,000 point-of-sale terminals, and nearly ten times that across the world. $58bn went through their …
Simon Rockman, 18 Feb 2014
USB Stress Panic Button

So cool it 2.4 gigahertz: BATTERY-FREE comms for international band

Embedded wireless solutions company EnOcean is planning to show the first self-powered transmitter to work at 2.4GHz. The radio isn't passive, the power to run the radio is generated through motion, light or temperature changes. Specifically this takes the form of an electromechanical converter which is as easy to press as a …
Simon Rockman, 12 Feb 2014