Lost In Mobile

Shaun McGill

07412 655899

Lost In Mobile is the continuation of PDA-247 which, under various names, provided news, reviews and commentary on the mobile world for 10 years.

I have been writing about the mobile industry, mobile products, apps and everything else in between and beyond for more than 10 years, and currently write freelance for Imagine Publishing and also undertake one-off projects upon request.

I welcome your comments and thoughts and if you want to get in touch, please do so via the email address or phone number above.

Thanks for stopping by.

Shaun McGill

The Interview

A cyber attack on Sony Pictures that forced the cancellation of a major film release is being seen as a serious national security matter, the US says.
A White House spokesman said the US believed the hacking was the work of a "sophisticated actor" - but refused to confirm if North Korea was responsible.
Sony withdrew The Interview, a new comedy film about North Korea's leader, after threats from hackers.
Hackers have already released sensitive information stored on Sony computers.
They later issued a warning to members of the public planning to see The Interview... More at the BBC.

I can understand why the cinemas would not show it because of the threats and I can understand why Sony had to pull it because of the cinemas, but the whole thing leaves a bad taste. So sad...


Updates could be slow for a few days, possibly until after Christmas, as I have a lot of work to complete in the next few days.

If I don't update beforehand, have a great Christmas if you celebrate and I will get some new posts up as soon as time allows.

BT in talks to buy EE for £12.5bn

Telecoms giant BT is in exclusive talks to buy EE - Britain's largest mobile network group - for £12.5bn.
It said the period of exclusivity would last "several weeks" to enable it to carry out the necessary negotiations.
In late November, BT said it was in talks to buy either EE or O2, which is owned by Spanish firm Telefonica.
"The proposed acquisition would enable BT to accelerate its existing mobility strategy," BT said in a statement.
Under the terms of the proposed deal, EE's owners Germany's Deutsche Telekom and France's Orange would take a 12% and 4% stake in BT respectively.
Deutsche Telekom would also be entitled to appoint one member to the board, BT said... More at the BBC.

Most unexpected. I was sure BT would buy O2, but I guess it does not affect the ability to offer quad-play and a network over Wi-Fi as well as masts.

Don't you just love Amazon

Amazon has refused to come to the aid of thousands of small family-owned businesses that have lost tens of thousands of pounds due to a technical glitch that caused their products to be sold for a penny.
The US technology giant, which raked in more than $74bn (£48bn) of sales worldwide last year, has ignored calls to offer compensation to its selling partners, some of whom have lost up to £100,000 in the week before Christmas.
The sellers, many of whom are operating from their garage or spare bedroom, have demanded that Amazon take some responsibility for the error caused by a third-party software glitch. Some have already instructed lawyers.
Amazon has accepted no liability for the loses suffered by its sellers, from whom it takes a slice of each sale helping it to make annual profits of $20bn... More at The Guardian.

As I said, don't you just love Amazon.

What does your phone need for Christmas?

Christmas is not far off and so a strange question seems timely. If you could give your phone a Christmas present what would it be?

Not surprisingly, I would give my iPhone 6 a bigger battery because after impressive performance in the first few weeks, it now seems to be falling back to its old limited ways.

App design

A couple of recent app downloads have highlighted to me how far we are moving forward in terms of design. The first was from DeviantArt which is absolutely stunning to look at and use. Much of the content is not to my tastes, but the design has caused me to spend some considerable time just scrolling through and enjoying the experience.

The next is Thoughtful Gift Finder which is a good example of how to present products in a small mobile screen. Some of the interface touches are subtle, but they all comes together to create a shopping experience which feels different to what I have seen before.

Hopefully these are examples of what is to follow because some developers are really pushing the boat out in terms of design which is not only great to look at, but lovely to use.

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge for £1,453

Hi Shaun,
I just wanted to let you know that the NEW Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is now available and is exclusively connected to the Vodafone network up to and including 9th January 2015. You can pick up the device on a Vodafone Red XL plan for £58.50 per month with a £49 upfront cost which includes unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 10GB of data, as well as your choice of NOW TV, Sky Sports or Spotify for the duration of the contract.  For a limited time, customers can also enjoy a 3-month NOW TV Sky Movies Pass when they purchase the device on a Red 4G plan as part of Vodafone’s Ultimate Entertainment Package.

I received the above email yesterday and was somewhat taken aback by the price. The unlimited texts and minutes + 10GB of monthly data is good, but that is still a very high price for any phone.  The marketing, however, is interesting because it is available from £39.50 / month with a, wait for it, £249 upfront price and then you only get 600 minutes voice, unlimited texts and 500MB of data. 

A further look shows the iPhone 6 (64GB) from Vodafone selling for very similar prices so maybe the whole tariff structure is creeping up for no good reason?

Apple Maps vs Google Maps

We went hiking a couple weeks ago and took two cars to get to the natural area we were to hike in. One of us used Google maps and the other Apple. It wasn't intended to be a contest, but one car got to the destination and the other was diverted onto a side road and ended up calling the other for directions. Yes, it was Apple maps that ended up on the side road. I never would have thought that would happen, but in this case the Apple map had a general pin for the area and the Google map had the specific visitor center for the natural area. It's just one instance, but it made the difference in getting to the destination. Tom.

Well there you go, but Tom did add that this is the first time he has had a problem with Apple Maps. Personally, it is terribly vague where I travel. Come on Apple- great hardware aligned with terrible cloud services and flaky maps is not good enough.

What's wrong with Windows Phone?

Matt says he's "extremely disappointed that Microsoft continues to ignore the high-end smartphone buyer with a focus on the affordable phone market." He argues that focusing on price is a losing strategy and that targeting "smartphone enthusiasts" who buy top-of-the-line phones is key to growth in the U.S. market.
I only wish he were right.
If the problems with Windows Phone as a platform were as simple as Microsoft getting their product strategy together, it would probably be easy to fix. But that focus ignores the real problem.
This isn't an equal partnership between Microsoft and U.S. mobile carriers, except perhaps in the most technical sense... More at ZDNet.

I remain confused by the lack of success coming to Windows Phone. The software is good and the hardware is at times fantastic, but it continues to gain no ground at all. Can it really just be the apps?

I've always been slightly frustrated at the lack of Windows Phone apps, but as the gaps have been gradually filled, a new frustration has emerged: dead apps. Developers might be creating more and more Windows Phone apps, but the top ones are often left untouched with few updates or new features. That's a big problem for apps like Twitter that are regularly updated on iOS and Android with features that never make it to Windows Phone. My frustration boiled over during the World Cup this year, as Twitter lit up with people talking about the matches. I felt left out using the official Windows Phone Twitter app because it didn't have a special World Cup section that curated great and entertaining tweets, or country flags for hashtags... More at The Verge.

Maybe it is the apps.

Apple removes more Google Maps

Apple appears to have finally dropped Google Maps from iCloud.com, replacing it with its own in-house maps almost two years after removing Google Maps from iOS and most of its other products. Apple started slowly rolling out the feature to its iCloud beta site for select users earlier this year before pulling it, but it now seems to have replaced Google for all users of iCloud.com’s Find My iPhone feature... More at 9to5Mac.

My experience is that Apple Maps is still a long way from Google Maps in terms of accuracy and completeness, and I suspect that Google is able to throw many more resources at mapping now and in the future. Can't remember the last time I used Apple Maps.