Entertainer Will.i.am has dabbled in everything from music to fashion, but it's in technology where he's had the least success. That hasn't deterred him, however, as his latest wearable device, a smartwatch called the Dial, will be launching in the UK soon and is now available for pre-order. As a follow-up to Will.i.am's previous smartwatch, the Puls, the Dial now voice recognition and digital assistant features, plus it can still work without being tethered to a smartphone.
Music and fashion mogul Will.i.am has made several previous attempts at developing tech products, including wearables and a camera-like case for the iPhone. They've all turned out to be duds, but that isn't stopping him from trying again. This time it's another smartwatch, called the Dial, and its main focus in on voice recognition features, complete with its own OS and voice assistant. It couldn't possibly be worse than the Puls, right?
UK wireless carrier Three has announced that it will begin block ads for all its subscribers at the network level. The company has partnered with the startup Shine, with the intent to remove "excessive and irrelevant mobile ads" for users, and in turn reduce the strain on their bandwidth. Three says this move isn't an attempt to eliminate mobile advertising altogether, but instead is to give customers "more control and choice" over what appears on their devices.
The first UK network to offer VoLTE has gone live with its voice-over-data service, with Three lighting up what it's calling 4G Super-Voice. Kicking off today in London, Edinburgh, Exeter, and Birmingham - where Three says it has more than three quarters of the population covered - 4G Super-Voice also boasts better indoor calling performance.
Three has acquired UK carrier O2 in a deal worth over $15bn, as the fiercely competitive British mobile segment continues to condense. The culmination of "exclusive negotiations" that began earlier this year, the deal will leave the combined carriers as the largest - in terms of subscribers, at least - in the UK, though regulatory approval is yet to be gained and could take some time. However, even in the short-term there are still plenty of unanswered questions.
UK wireless carrier Three has made a significant change to its data plans for new users. The carrier will begin placing a 2GB data limit on tethering for all new users, no matter what plan they are on. That means that even subscribers that are on an unlimited data plan will still have a 2GB monthly data limit for tethering.
UK wireless carrier Three has offered its fear-free mobile roaming service called Feel At Home for a while now. This service allows Three subscribers to travel abroad and not worry about getting massive overage charges for international roaming. We've probably all heard of the overage charges some people have been hit with for simple things like streaming a show while traveling abroad.
A prospective roadmap of releases has been leaked today detailing the upcoming arrival of both the Samsung Galaxy Note III and the Sony Xperia Z1, aka Honami. These devices have been tipped as getting their first full showing during the Berlin-based festivities at IFA 2013 at their own unique events on the 4th of September. If this release schedule is correct, both devices will be on the market in the United Kingdom by the end of the month.
O2 Ireland has been sold to Three parent Hutchison Whampoa Group, in an €850m ($1.1bn) deal that will see Three surge in subscribers to around 2m active users. O2 Ireland parent Telefonica described the deal as part of its "proactive management" [pdf link] of its portfolio, with the payment used to offset the carrier's financial situation, which dropped 1.6-percent year on year in Telefonica's most recent financials.
UK carrier Three has detailed its LTE price strategy, intending to charge no extra data premium for the use of its 4G network, though subscribers will have to wait until it actually gets rolled out later in 2013. LTE will be "available as standard" on every Three price plan, the carrier says, albeit requiring a device - such as the iPhone 5, BlackBerry Z10, or Nokia Lumia 920 - that can actually access the 4G frequencies.
Telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced the seven bidders in the UK 4G spectrum auction, with the process itself set to kick off in January 2013 and networks potentially switching on midway through next year. Vodafone, Hutchinson 3G (aka Three), and Telefonica (aka O2), are all among the bidders, as well as Everything Everywhere which is currently the only UK network to offer commercial LTE service through its EE brand.