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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.
Crystal ball via http://www.manoftaste.de/

Ericsson: There'll be over 9 BILLION mobe subscribers by 2019

Smartphones accounted for 65 per cent of the phones which sold in 2014 so far, and by 2016 the number of smartphones in use will overtake the number of basic feature phones. Of the 6.8 billion mobile phone connections in the world, 2.6 billion are mobile broadband. These stats come from the 6th Ericsson Mobility report. Every …
Simon Rockman, 04 Jun 2014
Broadcom

Broadcom: If no one buys our modem biz, we'll DITCH IT

Chipmaker Broadcom is moving out of the mobile modem business. The company has announced that if it can’t sell its cellular modem division, the operation will be shuttered. The news has been greeted with glee by financial types, who point to the $600m the company expects to save as a result of the move. The Broadcom share price …
Simon Rockman, 03 Jun 2014
BlackBerry Z3

OK, execs. You want Apple kit. And Windows Phone, too? Really?

A “circle of despair” is causing CIOs to abandon BlackBerry, it's reported. The head IT honchos of Blighty's union Unite, and the Formula 1 team and sports car producer Caterham, said the cost of the devices and issues with BlackBerry's mobe management tool, BES10, had been a contributory factors to the switch. The financial …
Simon Rockman, 02 Jun 2014

Google to plonk tentacles on 'unwired' world with $1bn launch of 180-satellite fleet

Google has embarked on an ambitious $1bn plan to launch 180 satellites to provide internet access to remote parts of the world, according to the Wall Street Journal. It seems the race is on to be the provider of choice for the enormous (and un-invoiced) emerging market, though who will advertise to it is yet to be revealed. …
Simon Rockman, 02 Jun 2014
Just what the world needs - another phone platform and ecosystem

Samsung in a TIZZY: OH PLEASE make apps for our Tizen Z mobe

Samsung has unveiled the Samsung Z, a quad-core Tizen OS smartphone that's fuelled the rumour mill for months. The mobe is powered by an operating system championed by the Linux Foundation. It will appeal to network operators that want to tout apps, and object to Google and Apple taking revenue from software sold through Google …
Simon Rockman, 02 Jun 2014

Crikey! Three can buy O2, EU regulator says

The European Commission has approved Telefonica’s sale of O2 in Ireland to mobile network operator Three, in a deal originally proposed in June. This makes the network the second largest in the country behind Vodafone, but, as ever in these deals, the Hutchison Whampoa-owned Three - which paid €850m for the network - claims …
Simon Rockman, 02 Jun 2014
channel_partners_deal_handshake

Softbank gobbles T-Mobile ... 1 year after AT&T tried it on – report

Network integration seems to be the order of the day with mergers rumoured between T-Mobile US Inc and mega US wireless carrier Sprint, and – across the seas – Orange France and Bouygues Telecom. Reuters is reporting that T-Mobile US owner Deutsche Telekom has agreed a deal to sell the network to Sprint’s owner, Softbank Corp of …
Simon Rockman, 30 May 2014
3D print head with mixing

ProDesk colour 3D printer's secret: It gives hot models great head

The botObjects ProDesk3D isn’t the world's first full-colour 3D printer – but at £3,299, it’s substantially the cheapest. As a fused deposition modelling printer, it uses six cartridges to output a full spectrum of colours. The development of 3D printers today is akin to the heady days of microcomputers in the early 1980s, with …
Simon Rockman, 29 May 2014
Micro SIM Card

Hey, we'll do 4G for £15, says O2 (just mind how you go on the 1GB limit)

O2 is touting a new low-cost, low-limit route to 4G mobile broadband, and slipped in a few price rises for good measure. It's still not quite as low as Three UK. Calls on O2 Pay & Go are now billed by the minute, rounding up to the nearest minute; so a call lasting 1min 21sec will now count as 2min. And O2 has dropped its …
Simon Rockman, 28 May 2014
Artist’s impression of deep blue planet HD 189733b

GSMA: There are more mobile connections than PEOPLE... but WHO'S HOGGING them all?

By the end of the year there will be more mobile phone connections than people on the planet, although they mostly belong to the richer part of the planet – a whopping half the world’s population doesn’t have connectivity. But at present, the system simply identifies accounts rather than their users. Research by the mobile …
Simon Rockman, 27 May 2014

Vodafone turns to EU, asks it to FORCE 'fair' fibre pricing

Vodafone needs to get high-speed handsets into the hands of consumers to effectively compete in the market. But the company also needs to worry about how to handle all that data – and it's hoping the European Commission will help it get its hands on some cheaper fibre. It is hoping the EU will introduce mandatory price …
Simon Rockman, 27 May 2014
The World according to Truphone

Truphone debuts 66-country flat rate roaming deal

Data plans of up to half a terabyte are on offer from Truphone, the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) which targets businesses with lots of globe-trotting execs. Voice and data prices on the new Truphone tariffs are the same regardless of which of 66 countries you are in. They call this “Truphone World” and builds on the “ …
Simon Rockman, 23 May 2014
EE Eagle - more fun that  "I spy"

EE unleashes birds of prey onto unsuspecting customers

EE have released an Eagle, a Buzzard, a Kite and an Osprey. Sadly a Vulture is missing from the avian ensemble, but we can let that pass. These are devices rather than birds – the Eagle is a tablet and the other items are portable Wi-Fi hotspots. The 8-inch Eagle tablet runs Android on a 1.6GHz Balong V9R1 quad-core processor. …
Simon Rockman, 22 May 2014
Generic mast

EE boffin: 5G will be the LAST WORD in mobe tech – literally

Andy Sutton, principal network architect for UK mobile network EE and a visiting professor at the University of Salford, says 5G will be built around small cells and a heterogeneous network. According to the good prof, whose institution is working with EE on streaming 4K hi-def TV, there will be a level of meshing between small …
Simon Rockman, 21 May 2014
Vodafone UK booster brolly

Vodafone: Soz investors, we wrote down £6.6 BEELLION on Euro ops

Vodafone’s disappointing results pulled down the share price today after it announced a whopping £6.6bn writedown of its Europe operations. The impairment charges – which resulted in a group revenue slippage of 1.9 per cent from £43.8bn to £43.6bn – were due to competition and regulatory changes in Europe, said the telco. We …
Simon Rockman, 20 May 2014

So you reckon Nokia-wielding Microsoft can't beat off Apple?

Microsoft isn't used to being the underdog, but the company which owns the desktop is losing its grip on customers' wallets. While buying Nokia is an audacious move to redress that, to make it work Microsoft needs to understand some of Nokia's history. Of course, Microsoft has been the challenger before, with varying degrees of …
Simon Rockman, 17 May 2014

GCHQ grants security clearance to Samsung's Knox mobe security

The official containerisation solution for security on Samsung phones and tablets has passed muster with GCHQ. It’s now deemed safe enough for UK government employees to get a Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S3 S4 or Galaxy S5 all of which run the Korean firm's KNOX software. This is only to the OFFICIAL (PDF) level of security. This is …
Simon Rockman, 16 May 2014
 An officer of the U.S. Navy uses a sextant to determine his position.

Honey, the satnav app says you're to leave at 6am... Yup. I'll have that coffee off you

For all the cleverness of location-based services, which will tell you the best places to eat and sleep when you arrive somewhere strange, most people just do the same job and complete the same journey every day. The bread-and-butter for navigation app maker CoPilot GPS is providing routes to people who go to a lot of different …
Simon Rockman, 15 May 2014
Remember when all phones were like this?

Feature-phones aren't dead, Moto – oldsters still need them

Swedish phones-for-seniors company Doro has taken issue with the assertion that the days of the feature-phone are done, and has launched a new budget handset – with a keypad and no camera. This is in stark contrast to Motorola’s claim yesterday that the whole world wanted smartphones. The difference, however, is cognition. …
Simon Rockman, 14 May 2014
Better than a smartwatch

LG: Smartwatch? Pah! We'll measure your heart rate through your EARS

Fitness is the new fad among mobe-makers: first Samsung started to measure your heart rate through its smartwatches and now LG has announced headphones which do the same thing. The heartphones plug into a special module which interfaces to the LG Lifeband Touch or to a phone. The Lifeband Touch can then be Bluetoothed to a phone …
Simon Rockman, 14 May 2014
Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System footprint

Russia to suspend US GPS stations in tit-for-tat spat

Russia is about to shut down American GPS stations on Russian soil – not as a reaction to the Crimean crisis, but instead in response to Washington's failure to agree to host ground stations for the Russian GLONASS system. Russian deputy foreign minister Dmitry Rogozin said the suspension would take place beginning June 1, and …
Simon Rockman, 13 May 2014
Angry woman on mobile

We'd switch mobile networks, but we can't be bothered – survey

Inertia is a principle well-known in insurance and personal banking circles, but the mobile phone industry has always behaved as if subscriber loyalty were governed purely by discounts and phone upgrades. But new research by telecoms customer service provider WDS shows that apathy is just as important in mobile. A survey of 4, …
Simon Rockman, 13 May 2014
Parrot BeBop

BEAK DRONE: 1080p HD Wi-Fi quad-copter by Parrot takes to skies

French phone-accessories-maker-turned-drone-manufacturer Parrot has built a quad-copter with a super wide-angle lens and hi-def cam. Like its predecessor, the Parrot AR Drone, the new BeBop has a polystyrene foam shell that protects itself and whatever it collides into. Also, like the earlier version, you control the device by …
Simon Rockman, 12 May 2014
Google Loon balloon envelope

Hey, operators... 'member our edge-of-SPAAACE interwebs balloons? Help! - Google

Having failed to license spectrum around the globe, Google is now talking to mobile operators to make its Loon project work. Loon is Google’s attempt to provide internet connectivity in rural areas through, er, balloons sent up to the stratosphere. The revelation came in a presentation from Google X labs' Eric "Astro" Teller at …
Simon Rockman, 09 May 2014
NTT_docomo_car_trial_10Gbps

Ericsson puts 5G towel on Japanese deck-chair

We don’t know what exactly Ericsson might mean by "5G", since the next generation of mobile wireless internet technologies is still very much in the committee stage, but the Swedish firm is rolling out a trial in Yokosuka, Japan anyway. Ericsson will be conducting the tests together with Japanese mobile firm NTT DoCoMo, which …
Simon Rockman, 09 May 2014

Carphone Warehouse, Dixons embroiled in £3.7bn merger rumour

Sir Charles Dunstone once told your humble correspondent that he would never have more than 50 shops. Today his Carphone Warehouse empire has more 2,000 shops across Europe, and is rumoured to be about to add another 500 – through a merger with PC World and Currys owner Dixons. Discussions have been going on since February, we' …
Simon Rockman, 08 May 2014
TwitterIPO

Twitter jitters: Investors turn into quitters as shares hit the sh...

Shares in Twitter fell more than 11 per cent today as the six month lock-up period for early investors and staff expired. The end of the lock-up period, restricting the sale of 82 per cent of the company's equity, introduces 470 million shares to the market. It comes at a time when Twitter's share price has been falling off the …
Simon Rockman, 06 May 2014

Nokia: What to do with our euro BEELLIONS... Eh, let's spaff some on connected cars

Nokia has just announced that one of the things it is going to do with its newly acquired money mountain is to invest $100m of it (€71.7m, £58.9m) in connected cars. This is a bit of a change of heart for the Finnish firm, which six years ago sold its automotive business to the German VC Novero. But these are different times …
Simon Rockman, 06 May 2014
PayPal inStore app in action

Tesco to tout its own smartphone – now THAT'S an unexpected item in the bagging area

Tesco is preparing to launch its own high-end smartphone later this year, chief executive Philip Clarke revealed today. The Android mobe will follow on the heels of the successful Hudl tablet; has UK's biggest retailer was able to shift 550,000 units of its own-brand cut-price 7-inch slab. A new version of the Android tablet, …
Simon Rockman, 06 May 2014

50+ crowd are wolfing down tablets: Silver foxes are even migrating to the Twitters

As outlined by the recent surveys by UK comms watchdog Ofcom (PDF) and tech services company Kana, not only are older people using tablets, they are also using the internet more. It’s a dramatic rise, with Ofcom showing the number of people over 65 going online as 42 per cent compared with the previous year’s 33 per cent. The …
Simon Rockman, 06 May 2014
We were going to show a pic of Simon wearing it but thought you'd prefer this on instead

Reg readers wot won it: Five flee reality armed with smart strap-ons

Thanks to all Reg readers who took part in our competition to win a Durovis Dive, which turns a smartphone into a virtual reality headset. The winners, who answered a series of VR-related questions correctly and were drawn at random from a metaphorical hat, are: Spencer Allingham from Woking; Andrew Baxter from Yeovil; Phil …
Simon Rockman, 06 May 2014
gold ingot usb hub

Creating your GOLDEN statue of NICOLAS CAGE FINALLY possible

Lack the physical dexterity, design skills, workshop and talent necessary to make your own golden jewelry? None of that will stop you now! It's all thanks to a company which offers 3D-printing-as-a-service, Shapeways. The trinkets you design are not printed directly in gold, the process uses the traditional lost-wax casting …
Simon Rockman, 02 May 2014

Ofcom snatches spectrum from SPIES for mobile broadband

UK regulator Ofcom has put together a guide (PDF) for how radio spectrum should be used. It’s a mix of a plan and a request for input from the warring factions that use it, but provides a good starting point in the farming process. There is a principle that a new mobile technology appears every 10 years or so, which would put 5G …
Simon Rockman, 01 May 2014

It's spade sellers who REALLY make a killing in a gold rush: It's OVER for graphics card mining

If you’ve been mining "low-price Bitcoin wannabe" Litecoins with a rig of graphics cards, now is the time to shuffle them off to eBay – unless you can find a better use for them. Chinese chip manufacturer Innosilicon is now selling its “A2 Terminator”, a 28nm ASIC for mining Litecoins. It follows on the heels of its A1 offering …
Simon Rockman, 29 Apr 2014

Stephen Elop: I was RIGHT to BURN the PLATFORMS

Stephen Elop’s favourite pizza is prosciutto ham, mushrooms, green peppers and tomatoes. That was the most concrete answer he gave in an Ask Me Anything session on the Nokia website. Speaking through the Nokia website's Conversations blog, Elop said that Microsoft won’t use the Nokia name for very much longer as the smartphone …
Simon Rockman, 28 Apr 2014

94% of Brit tech bosses just can't get the staff these days, claims bank

No matter how optimistic British tech supremos may be, they're still battling to hire and keep skilled hands, according to a new study. This is a headline finding from the latest Innovation Economy Report by the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The financial institute surveyed 1,218 CEOs, CFOs and other executives around the world in …
Simon Rockman, 28 Apr 2014
A shiny new cash point

Internet of Thingies bods: Forget 3G, let's go straight to 4G

The M2M (machine to machine) industry is restyling itself as The Internet of Things, and in keeping with the new trendy name, it doesn’t want any of that old-fashioned 3G. Macario Namie, marketing veep at M2M stalwart Jasper Wireless, told The Register that while the names change, the problems don’t. He says his company is …
Simon Rockman, 28 Apr 2014
Hacker mug 06.12.02

It woz the Reg wot won it: UK mobe network EE fixes voicemail hack flaw

Since we alerted EE to the security flaw in its voicemail system that allowed us to access the messages of anti-terrorism bods, the mobile telco has been working to close the hole. As we explained in our original article, the vulnerability was only exploitable through certain routes, and we disclosed the problem to EE ahead of …
Simon Rockman, 25 Apr 2014

Reg probe bombshell: How we HACKED mobile voicemail without a PIN

Voicemail inboxes on two UK mobile networks are wide open to being hacked. An investigation by The Register has found that even after Lord Leveson's press ethics inquiry, which delved into the practice of phone hacking, some telcos are not implementing even the most basic level of security. Your humble correspondent has just …
Simon Rockman, 24 Apr 2014
Square payment system

No longer Square: Pear-shaped payments biz seeks buyer - report

Square, the darling of the first-world mobile payments community, is rumoured to be looking for a saviour. Despite having despite having raised huge amounts of cash the company is running out of the stuff. The Wall Street Journal reports that Square has been in abortive discussions about a buyout with Google, Apple and PayPal. …
Simon Rockman, 24 Apr 2014
Looks cooler than a flux capacitor

UK.gov chucks £28m at F1 tech for buses and diggers plan

Grant money amounting to over £28m will be awarded to four British engineering companies to take technology initially designed for Formula 1 cars and develop it for more widespread use. Four energy-efficient projects will receive a total of £28.8m in grants to "support investments of £133m". These grants is the first tranche …
Simon Rockman, 23 Apr 2014
Night scene of bank station in central london

EE & Vodafone will let you BONK on the TUBE – with Boris' blessing

London Underground commuters will soon be able to pay for Tube journeys via contactless credit cards thanks to EE, Vodafone and Transport for London. The pay-by-bonk system, currently undergoing trials, works by users charging a pre-payment wallet on their NFC-enabled phones and using it to pay for journeys. This sits between …
Simon Rockman, 23 Apr 2014
Opens phones like magic

Slip your finger in this ring and unlock your backdoor, phone, etc

An NFC Ring does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a piece of jewellery with two NFC tags embedded in it that pass information to nearby phones, tablets and other gadgets by radio. Given that NFC has been a bit of a flop, this may seem a little pointless. Even the technology flag-wavers have stopped claiming that “next year …
Simon Rockman, 22 Apr 2014
padlock

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