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We’re all familiar with that dreaded warning: “SIM card not recognized”. Rendering our phones incapable of receiving calls or text messages, mobile phone SIM card faults are an inconvenience at best and a total nightmare at worst. SIMs are integral to a fully functioning mobile device, but how does such a tiny, flimsy card perform such an important task? To answer this question, we explore how a mobile phone SIM card actually works. But, first we ask:

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What does a mobile phone SIM card do?

The very first SIM card was created in Munich in 1991, by a company named Giesecke & Devrient. Since then, they have become integral to the workings of mobile telephones across the world - from older handsets to modern day smartphones. 

One of the main functions of a mobile phone SIM card is to hold a set of very important data including:

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With 8.5 million users per month, British start-up Songkick has been revolutionising the music scene since 2008. With 50% of Songkick users utilising the mobile app, why have only a fifth been purchasing tickets through their phone? We take a look at the most recent Songkick app and its potential for revolutionising - and perhaps saving – the live music industry. But, first we answer the question:

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Who is Songkick?

For those unfamiliar with the company, Songkick tracks its users’ favourite music, alerting them of any upcoming events. Typically, when your favourite bands announce their latest tour dates, the task of acquiring tickets online is not always a simple task. The endless links to multiple ticketing websites can be rather off-putting. Combined with the hassle of registrations and sign-ups, it can be a complete hassle. Songkick’s aim is to tackle this issue.  

Launched in 2011 on iPhone and a year later on Android, Songkick’s app has allowed users to not only browse upcoming concerts, but also purchase tickets using their phone. Songkick even provides space for commentary and feedback - be it through images, videos, or text - during or following the event. 

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Smartphones are pretty, well, smart. Even the most technophobic among us can appreciate their many features beyond making calls and sending text messages. Smartphones allow us to communicate in almost every way possible (including face-to-face!) and offer endless apps for business, chores and leisure. The popularity of smartphones in 2013 is unprecedented but not surprising and they are fast becoming the go-to gadget for just about anything.   

 

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Tagged in: Smartphone Smartphones

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The iOS 7, a new operating system for the iPhone, has been in the pipeline for some time and finally it seems to be within reach. Apple enthusiasts will be excited to learn that it is due to hit the UK sometime in the autumn. The new OS will be available for the iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPad Mini, iPad third and fourth generation and the fifth generation iPod touch. Users can expect a new look and lots of exciting iOS 7 features - so let’s take a look at what we know about iOS 7 so far...

iOS-7

A Fresh Design

The new operating system has been given a complete makeover, which might please some Apple fans and dismay others. The new interface has a more minimalist aesthetic, intended to make the iPhone experience much more effortless. Apple claim to have deliberately removed unnecessary elements such as buttons, bars and any enhancements that don’t add value to the user.

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Tagged in: iOS 7 iOS 7 features

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4G providers EE have been having a rather hard time of it lately with slow sales and somewhat negative press. Exorbitant prices and limited data allowances appear to be putting consumers off. But while 4G itself is slow to impress, 4G phones are experiencing a taste of popularity, according to global telecommunications analysts CCS Insight.

 

Fresh-faced 4G only launched in the UK late last year, but that didn’t stop consumers snatching up a whopping 64 million 4G-enabled devices in 2012. If you think that’s an impressive number, compare it to the 227 million sales estimated for 2013. And that’s not all; CCS Insights predict 4G mobile sales to rocket to 650 million units per year by 2017.

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We’re all very familiar with the issues surrounding smartphone batteries. Just a few hours of browsing the web, sending messages and playing Candy Crush can cause the battery to drain. It’s a sensitive issue that mobile providers seem keen to ignore but experts predict that we will begin to see improvements in the coming years. Unfortunately for fans of superfast connectivity, 4G battery life is an even bigger issue.

 

4G is the latest generation of cellular networks. It offers incredibly fast speeds for downloading and uploading data via the internet. 4G is certainly superior for web browsing, streaming and sharing content but users sacrifice battery life to enjoy the speed and ease of 4G.

 

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Tagged in: 4G 4G Battery life

Technology is currently being developed to create shape-shifting smartphones. This sci-fi sounding gadgetry uses intelligent materials which allow your phone to change shape according to context. The research has been conducted by scientists at the University of Bristol in the UK and they recently unveiled their incredible innovations. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the shape-altering smartphones affectionately dubbed ‘Morphees’.

Smartphones can do a hundred different things and as technology progresses, their features and functions will only increase. Researchers are currently developing intelligent hardware that will change shape to fit the different uses of a phone.

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How Do Morphees Work?

In order to achieve shape-shifting devices, scientists have employed new plastics and metals that react to an electric charge. The electric charge forces the material to change shape. But, how does it know what shape to become? Well, that’s the really clever part. The metals have a memory and will ‘remember’ the shapes they have been ‘trained’ to make.

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A new generation of timepieces dubbed ‘smartwatches’ are taking the gadget world by storm. These clever devices combine some of the most useful smartphone features with the fashion credentials of a watch to create a wearable gadget.

Users can make calls, send email, capture video and even stay social with these innovative new gadgets. In this article we take a look at two new Android smartwatches launching this year.

The Burg 13 Smartwatch Phone

The first of two new Android smartwatches phones is the Burg 13. Designed by Dutch company Burg, founder Hermen van den Burg believes his product will “change the watch industry”. The Burg 13 certainly looks slick with a 1.54 inch colour screen and stylish strap, but how does it run? Let’s take a closer look.

Burg-13

The Burg 13 uses the Android 4.0 operating system and has a host of features that will put conventional watches to shame. It can make and receive calls with an in-built loudspeaker and if privacy is required it can be hooked up to a Bluetooth headset. The watch has full Wi-Fi capability, GPS and useful functions such as a calendar, organiser, media player and image viewer. Perhaps most impressively, the watch has a 2 megapixel camera and voice recorder.

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The hotly anticipated Facebook Home app launched in April, but despite initial excitement, the app has struggled to impress consumers. The app boasts over a million downloads but has achieved an average rating of just 2.5 out of 5. Where did Facebook Home go wrong?

A Quick Guide to the Facebook Home App

Facebook Home is an app overlay for your home screen. It takes over your Android phone, replacing apps and notifications with a highly interactive and personalised Facebook feed. The overlay allows you to access all of Facebook’s features, including chat, email and the newsfeed, from your home screen. The feed is constantly rotating, providing you with an ever-changing display of images, updates and content. You can read more about the intriguing Facebook Home on our previous blog post here.

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The app comes exclusively pre-loaded on the new HTC First device. However it was made available for download on a variety of Android devices prior to the launch of the new smartphone.

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The new 4G network is struggling to gain ground as consumers are put off by astronomical prices. The super-fast service, which was exclusively launched on EE in October last year, is failing to impress. EE’s 4G pricing has since been on the receiving end of harsh criticism over initial high prices and data allowance restrictions.

The company reduced prices in January 2013 with hopes of winning over consumers, but a new report by price comparison website uSwitch has unveiled worrying results.

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uSwitch Survey Reveals Consumer Concerns

Price comparison experts uSwitch polled 1,415 smartphone users about the 4G network. The report revealed that many consumers are turned off by the high prices of the cellular network. In fact, over one third (38%) of those surveyed claimed they would not sign up to 4G because of the cost. The survey indicates that more people have become cynical towards 4G, as a similar poll back in October revealed just 31% were put-off by the cost.

Consumers also used the survey to voice their concerns about data usage on the 4G network. The transmission speeds of 4G allow for faster data downloads, which could cause users to inadvertently overstep their data limit. Nearly 70% of survey participants claimed that running out of data was a major worry.

A uSwitch spokesperson, Ernest Doku offered the following words of comfort to consumers; “Pricing is highly likely to become the new battleground for 4G, especially in light of Three’s ‘no premium for superfast’ pledge. We hope that more networks offering 4G will lead to real competition on numerous fronts, including cost, data, handsets and coverage, so that consumers can enjoy the next generation of mobile internet without the sky-high price tag they fear.”

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