Friday, 30 March 2007

N95 has Arrived

Those of us that do not have a hangover because we were not invited to the do last night have just got excited because the N95 has now arrived at T-Mobile UK.

Richy has just ordered his and it only cost him for less than £40 for the upgrade (including P&P) as long as he agreed to extend his contract to 18 months. Worth every penny, its a great phone. Cannot wait for mine...

Hangovers all round

The Mobizines Team held a bit of a bash last night for all of our UK-based content publishers as a big thanks for their involvement in Mobizines and a big HURRAH! for their successes so far.

Thanks to all of the publishers that were there last night – not a bad turnout actually, with something like 25 of our titles present and a further 8 'soon-to-be' Mobizines titles there as well...

(We were expecting the event to take place in early February but the freak snowstorm pushed us back. As a result, it was a wee odd to be handing out our Christmas Prizes at the end of March. Not sure the winners were complaining though!)

The prizes we gave out were for those titles whose hard working independent activities generated the most user interest from October through December 2006...
Basically our way of bribing people to get promoting and it worked!

So, ladies and gentlemen...
The winner is...

– big drum roll please -

City AM


City AM launched last October and their front page promotion and editorial promotions were a grand way of getting City AM readers educated on the City PM Mobizine.

Now for the gushy bit:

Well done to the City AM team. We salute you for your splendid Mobizine; bringing City AM stories to the square mile and the rest of the planet with your updates on the morning’s stories as well as some tasty insight into tomorrow’s news.
Plus we are loving your rather big smiles in the 'official' photo...
All three of you - Martin Muncaster and Will Atkinson of City AM, (on the left and on the right respectively) with our CEO, Scott Beaumont (in the middle).
Looking good guys!

In second place was Time Out. One of our oldest titles which continues to attract interest for their up to date content and news on what’s happening in London Town. We're guessing people need to be in the know of what’s bubbling away in fair Londinium and what better way to do it than on le mobile.

The same can be said for Holy Moly - A mighty mobile experience and our well-deserved third place. A big thank you to the man himself for coming and missing out on his own team’s booze-up, what dedication! The stuff that appears in Holy Moly is still a winner with the Mobizines reading folk and the HM name has a very strong place in many hearts, especially those that can’t get enough of munching on scandalous gossip... You knows who you are.

Oh and finally...

Thanks to all of the publishers that made such positive comments about Mobizines, the service you receive from us guys and the team here at Refresh Towers.
It is really appreciated…
In fact we positively encourage any compliments…

(flattery after all gets you very far indeed…especially in this office... isn't that right Jim? You beautiful, beautiful person you)


Three new phones from Nokia

Just picked this up on my RSS...

"The Nokia 5070 is an affordable phone (100 EUR before taxes) from the company's active line of products, that targets young consumers.
The 5070 packs an FM radio, a camera, and it could be used as an MP3 player. Battery of the device should hold up to 3.5 hours of talk, and up to 12 days of standby time.
The Nokia 5070 will be available in red and blue colors.

The second device is the previously
rumored Nokia 5700 XpressMusic, a phone that "adds a new twist to mobile music."
It's a 3G device that runs Symbian OS with S60 3rd edition (Feature pack 1 or 2, I guess).
The 5700 XpressMusic aims to bring the combination of a music and a smartphone lifestyle to the younger crowd. In terms of specs, the Nokia 5700 XpressMusic comes with a 2 MP camera, a hiqh-quality screen which can display up to 16 million colors, the standard 3.5mm audio jack, a Bluetooth with A2DP support and the loud stereo loudspeakers. Memory of the device is expandable with microSD cards. Interested parties should wait for the Q2 2007, when the Nokia 5700 XpressMusic will start selling for the price of 350 EUR, before taxes and subsidies.

Finally, the Nokia 7088 is a device that targets the fashion-aware crowd in the CDMA markets. This phone is part of the Nokia's L'Amour Collection, and we've already seen its
first photos, as well as the FCC's approval. The Nokia 7088 a slider feature phone that boasts the high-quality screen, a camera, a voice recorder, and a music player. It is expected to be available in selected markets in Asia/Pacific, Middle East, Africa, China and Latin America during the 2nd quarter of 2007."

These phones arent available yet through Nokia...
But I've been considering putting something on the web site asking for volunteers/offering prizes for the first consumers to get Mobizines working on these phones...


Thursday, 29 March 2007

Minor bug fix release this morning*

We've just rolled out a new server release (no need to update your Mobizines client: it's just at our end) that fixes a problem some Symbian Edition 3 handsets were having where they couldn't get beyond the initial Mobizines catalogue download.

If you've recently tried installing Mobizines on a fancy new Nokia and have run into this problem it's worth having another try.

* That has to be the most exciting headline on the blog yet.

Dolce & Gabbana Gold RAZR with Eelskin Case

I was just putting together a post on the Prada phone (soon come), when this appears in my blog roll via Digital World Tokyo: the D&G RAZR. Not only is it gold (gold I tell ya!) but it comes in an eelskin case and costs four times as much as a standard RAZR. They are therefore flying off the shelves.

Incidentally the choice of eelskin is interesting as there's an old urban myth that says eelskin wallets can wipe the data off the mag strips on your credit cards. Luckily MythBusters showed that one to be wrong so your SIM data will be safe. In fact they had to go up to 800 Henries or Gausses or something to wipe the data - if Cap'n Hex was here he'd tell me the right term, but he's at Star Trek convention dressed as a tribble.

UPDATE: turns out we had Gold D&G phones in the UK two years ago, but they're now discontinued. A rare case of Japan being behind the rest of the world. Bet we didn't have eelskin cases though.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

The Power Outage

We had some problems with the electricity coming into our building earlier... this was Jim's far from unique approach to working through it.. ;-)

Jim adds: I was holding a phone. We're a phone software company. That counts as work.

And for "problems with power" Kevin means "have so many computers the junction box melted." Just so's you know.

Neil & Robin - Building the Future

It's all go today in the technology department!

We've been refining the new 'pre-installable' version for Symbian 3rd Edition handsets that ship in about 2 weeks time.

This is a picture of Robin and Neil creating a new "catalogue" version of our N95 and N73 client...
To commence shipping in the UK from around April 10th!

The picture was taken with an N95.

This is Mini Mobi

Being part two in the series of the heroes of Mobizines.

Also known as Simon Lie. Simon tests the service and builds all the installer files. It's a big job: Simon was our employee of the year last year.

Simon is currently applying to become a British citizen (he has the good luck to be born Australian, but likes the climate here better) and so knows lots of obscure facts about the British constitution and whether you put the tea in before the milk or vice versa.

Our New Blog...

Welcome to our new blog folks!

We've been working on it for a few days now and it is finally beginning to take shape.

Lets have a quick look around shall we?

This side of things is the actual blog.
This is where we'll wax lyrical about what makes us happy, what makes us sad and what makes us want to sit in the Marketing Den and eat cake.
As you can see we've covered off most of that already...

That's the main part covered...
Arrgh - Sorry, just being poked by Ops.

What is it?!
Oh.. Ok!

We will also be letting you know about any service outages/upcoming releases that will effect you directly.

Now - on the left of your screen we have the following...
  • Mobizines Preview - Believe it or not - this is VERY similar to what the Mobizines service will actually look like on your handset! We have a few titles for you to browse here on the blog - but the rest of them, (the other 60 or so), are only available on the mobile client itself.
  • Latest Mobizines - Kinda self-explanatory this one. Got Mobizines? Yes? Good! Make sure you update your list to see/add the latest titles to 'GO LIVE' on the service.
  • Blog Archive - Once again, does exactly what it says on the tin. 'Tis quite small at the moment, but hey! This place is only two days old! We do have actual work to do y'know?!
  • Your Hosts - The folk who write this place and keep it up to date. This list currently consists of plebans from Product, Web and Ops. We're working on adding more folks from the respective depts around the office(s). Marketing are next. Yes. You know who you are.
  • Our Links - We'd be silly if we didn't have links off to all things Mobizine/Eyemag related. The links here cover off everything that we have put online about ourselves. Have a look - see what you think - then let us know in the comments!
  • Blog Roll - Who do we like? What do we read? If you're on it - we read it. Wanna be on it? Drop us an email at or let us know in the comments. Expect this list to grow.
  • Technorati Search for: mobizines - This, I am reliably informed, is here to show us where we are being talked about as well as looking 'pretty cool'. Consider it our way of embedding ourselves more deeply into the mesh that is 2.0. ...whatever that means.
  • On the Office Sound System - Conveniently for us, the coolest cat in the office has her PC wired up to the speaker system. And fortunately for you - the tunes normally come via - so this list automatically updates! Huzzah! We like - it's how we share our love of underground Swedish thrash metal... and The Cure.
  • Labels - Labels are labels. We like to label things.

Have I missed anything?

SMS getting lost on the way to India and Pakistan

...lost before they reach Bombay

We seem to be having trouble getting the SMS that contains the registration PIN for My Mobizines through to India and Pakistan. We get a send receipt back from our SMS provider but it looks like somewhere down the chain the SMSes get forgotten about and they never end up at the phone they're intended for.

We're looking at a new registration method that will remove the need for the SMS step, but if you do get stuck, send us an email at (we already get all the world's spam on that address so I'm quite happy posting it here) with your phone number and we'll try to sort it out.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

James is being shy

And has suggested that someone post a link to his interview with SMS Text News.

That's SMS Text News interviewing him, not the other way around.

As I seem to be the only person blogging today, and if Whatley posted it himself he'd look like a big 'ead, here it is....

James Whatley is interviewed by - if you want to see the real face of Mobizines, here he is.

Big news from Samsung

64Gb worth to be precise, cos that's how big the new SSD hard drives are according to this magisterial post from DigitalWorldTokyo. At the moment these things are only found in the big Windows Mobile devices but with a 1.8 inch footprint (that's a smidge over 45mm) it would fit in the beefier variety of normal phones (yes, Nokia we're looking at you.)

64Gb would take my entire music collection and leave me with just enough space to store my contacts. Now I just need to find someone willing to build an audiophile headphone preamp for mobiles and my perfect phone could be around the corner.

These things will be everywhere soon: according to DGT Samsung is predicting an increase in revenue from $400m a year this year to $6.1bn by 2010. That's like a gazillion per cent or something.

Blog dev update

According to Google Analytics we're already getting visitors (hello!) - there's no such thing as a soft launch these days, but I'm going to link this formally to the Mobizines website on Friday. (There will be a small ceremony, featuring interpretative dance from the marketing team to honour this great event.)

In the meantime I'm trying to make the widgets on the left look a little less brutal so the layout of this page might change a bit (if you're reading this via the atom feed, ignore this witter.)


Monday, 26 March 2007

Look! We've got an N95!

Well - we've got three actually...

...and Guess what?!
Mobizines looks GREAT on it!

I managed to let the techies upstairs let one out of their sight for a whole week a little while back and I can safely say you are looking at the phone of 2007.

Do not misunderstand me when I say this - I'm not talking about 'the phone' that everyone will be chatting/blogging about (they're already doing that).
What I'm saying is - by the middle of the Summer; EVERYONE YOU KNOW WILL HAVE ONE.

Y'know how right now everyone's either got an N73 or a Sony K800i?
(that's the case in this office anyway)
Well forget about your iphones buddy - the N95 is the way forward.

What can I tell you about it?
Hmmm... Well - a few mobile bloggers have their own N95 RIGHT NOW - so there's probably not much I can tell you that hasn't been covered already...
My own opinion?
It's cool.

It slides both ways, which is cool.
It has a 'proper' headphone jack, which is cool.
It has a massive screen, which is cool.
It's got an AMAZING camera, which is also cool.
Nokia Pop-port? No.
Mini USB Port? Yes.

That last point - I'm sure it will a good thing in the long run (no - scrap that - I'm certain, I've already half-inched my colleague's blackberry cable) but Nokia just keeps changing things! AARGH!

That doesn't really count though - the phone is amazing and really needs to be seen to be believed.
Vodafone have promised me my own one in 2wks. These things often get delayed so we'll see - but if you manage to see one out on the market, get one!

Then once you've got one - Get Mobizines!

The man on the left is Q

Being part one of a brief guide to the heroes of Mobizines.

Q stands for "Quality" and he takes it very seriously. If there's a problem with the live service he can morph into a giant Swedish robot and fix it. The rest of the time he eats cake and keeps the rest of us honest.

From my Flickr account

Why's it free then?

We get this asked a lot. It seems that people simply can't believe that something with the crispy goodness of the Mobizines service doesn't come with a hidden cost.

The truth is a little more complicated: we don't charge most people to use Mobizines. Download the app, choose your content and we'll never bother you with a bill. But in some circumstances you can end up paying a little (less than a pint, assuming you drink premium imported lager in Central London) to read Mobizines.

People on the Three network in the UK and on T-Mobile in Hungary, for example, pay a small subscription. In both those cases you get charged a tiny amount (£2.99 at Three) a month to use Mobizines, because those operators have chosen to charge for services rather than data.

We're also launching some premium channels, such as the Chelsea FC Mobizine, that need a text subscription. (UPDATE: apparently, Chelsea's free too! Nobody tells me nuffink.) So there's a charge for that (UPDATE: or there isn't rather), although the other 60 or so titles are and will remain free (UPDATE: including Chelsea!).

Which brings us to the other way you might get charged for Mobizines: data. The mobile operators charge rather a lot for data access on the move in the UK. (We also have a South Africa operation and the average megabyte costs about 10% of the price in the UK.) Mobizines is a data service and grabs content from the server when it gets updated. The more Mobizines you have, the more data you use.

The best deal at the moment is the one I'm on: T-Mobile provide unlimited data access for something like £7.50 a month. The worst are things like the Orange Raccoon packages where data can cost you a £1 a megabyte once you go over your four megabyte allowance.

The other answer to the "Why's it free?" question is that we're planning to support the service on the back of advertising. If you're using Mobizines already then you'll already know what I mean by advertising and you'll know that they're not exactly intrusive. But the people with the big spreadsheets here reckon we can fund the entire operation on ads like those (and if you've ever been on the phone to one of our sales guys you're more likely to believe that, because they can talk the hind legs off a donkey, and then sell them back at 15% mark-up.)