Consuming Issues: New handsets take a bite out of Apple's iPhone
Saturday 11 September 2010
Several years ago, a phone company boss proudly showed me Britain's first mobile phone with internet access. I was surprised by just how bad it was: a tiny screen, incredibly slow downloads and an inferior, stripped-down version of a web page. When Apple's chief executive, Steve Jobs, stood up at the Macworld exhibition in the US in 2007 to launch the iPhone with pizzazz, mobile communications – how we interact with friends, relatives, employers, companies and government – changed for ever.
Since then, iPhones have become the gadget of choice for the trendy well-off, a device for flaunting one's modernity and connected-ness, despite its often mediocre reception. Media coverage has, generally, been fawning and excitable. But the simple fact is that, despite the iPhone's functionality and style, it has only ever been a small part of the UK mobile market and most handsets are still basic models costing £100 or less.
Figures from the research group Nielsen show that in the second quarter of 2010, Nokia had the largest market share; one in three UK mobile phones is made by the Finnish company. Next is Samsung (20 per cent) and Sony Ericsson (16 per cent), then Apple and Korea's LG, both on 6 per cent.
Apple's popularity is likely to continue to grow as more people buy smartphones which, like its versatile invention, can display the web, take pictures and play music. Last year, one in seven UK phones (14 per cent) was a smartphone; now the figure 27 per cent. Nokia is still the biggest player in smartphones, with 38 per cent against Apple's 27 per cent. BlackBerry, once the only practical way to access emails on the go, has 17 per cent, ahead of Taiwan's HTC.
What do all these figures mean? Not much on their own perhaps, but they do illustrate there are many alternatives out there to buying a £499 iPhone. Apple's two biggest handset rivals are about to launch new products. Nokia, whose web-enabled phones have tended to have small screens and physical keyboards and retail for around £200, will start selling the N8 for £429 later this month. Next month, BlackBerry launches its £480 Torch 9800.
Several devices with iPhone-like dimensions and functionality are already on sale. At £449, the Samsung Galaxy is a neat piece of kit with Apple's sleekness and ease of use. HTC's £429 Desire has also garnered good reviews, as has the Motorola Milestone XT720 which is keenly-priced at £350. These devices are really iPhones in all but name and price, except they use Google's Android operating system. Unlike Apple's OS system, handset-makers are free to use Android, meaning it is likely to become hugely important for "apps" – the downloadable software that furnishes phones with extra functions, some merely amusing, others highly practical. Nielsen's figures show that in the second quarter of 2010, 4 per cent of UK smartphones ran on Android, but it is growing and – because its phones are cheaper – it may eventually eclipse OS, in the same way that JVC's VHS videos triumped over Sony's Betamax.
If you have an old, un-smart phone is it worth buying a new one? Until the iPhone, new phones offered little more than cosmetic improvements to their 10-year-old forerunners. But smartphones are different; they are not really mobile phones at all, but mobile computers. You can already do a vast range of things with them: email, hold video conferences, book films, restaurants and concerts, run a bank account, even bet on a horse on the 3.45 at Kempton.
They are likely to change our lives in a way most of us are only just beginning to understand.
Heroes and villains: Spreading a little sunshine for home-owners
So, this is the deal: a firm called HomeSun will install solar panels on your roof, providing it's south-facing, unshaded and a minimum of 30 square metres; in return it will snaffle government grants for the next 25 years. Some complain that home-owners will miss out on the grant money, but their fuel bills will fall. What's not to like?
Villain: EDF Energy
EDF has put up its standard electricity tariffs in 11 of 14 regions. The changes, affecting 1.2 million people, mean electricity bills rise from £429 to £438 and dual-fuel bills from £1,159 to £1,167. Price rises are not necessarily bad, unless EDF has not fully passed on falls in wholesale electricity costs ... as many commentators suspect.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
- 4 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
iJobs Money & Business
Up to £80000: Saxton Leigh: My client, a large commodities broker, is looking ...
£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize