British carrier O2 has today launched a new VoIP and messaging service called TU Go, which is available to its pay monthly customers with Android and iOS devices. The service allows users to make calls and send texts over the Internet, so even when they have no cell reception, they can connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot and get in touch with friends and family.
Viber, the popular cross-platform mobile communications service, has today announced that it has now surpassed more than 140 million users across six platforms, with 400,000 people joining the service each and every day. To celebrate the milestone, the company has introduced a number of new features to its Android and iOS apps, including the ability to send “fun stickers” and “playful emoticons,” and support for the iPhone 5’s larger display.
Seems like there’s been an explosion of small, portable, Bluetooth speakers onto store shelves this last year — the most popular or well-known of which is probably the Jawbone JamBox — from the advance notices we’ve seen, in a few weeks the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas will herald a whole new crop of the little tribbles.
Let me begin this review by saying, while I’ve found some love for certain models, I don’t really care for most canalphones: They’re uncomfortable, and while I love the idea of plugging a foreign object into my ear and having that object deliver magical sounds just like an owl delivers a Howler, I usually wind up being disappointed with either the sound or the fit. So, with that in mind, it was time to try the Etymotic mc3 ($100).
This set, with a three-button remote on the cable and four sets of super-sealing, deep-seating eartips (two flanged, two foam), was now tasked with being tested by me. May the Force, that I’ll probably have to use to shove them into my ears, be with them.
So you’ve got your new iPhone 4S, and now you want to talk to Siri (and maybe friends) and enjoy some tuneage. Step one: Donate those pathetic white buds that came with your iPhone to your favorite charity, if they’ll take ’em. Step two: Get yourself a snazzy pair of microphone-equipped canalphones — earphones that fit snugly in your ear. Why? Because a good set of canalphones are the best accessory ever made for an iPhone; they’ll create a seal that will block out ambient noise while enhancing sound coming from the earphones, especially bass — which means better conversations with friends (or Siri), and better music.
Around $100 seems to be the point at which there’s a big jump in quality; also, most in that range are now equipped with inline volume controls (in addition to the play/pause and track-skip controls like the ones on Apple’s stock buds).
We’ve assembled an Apple Store’s worth of canalphones at that level, and we’ll be reviewing them over the next several days. Up first is Sennheiser’s MM 70 iP earphones ($100).
Boy, those blue-shirted Apple employees must be going nuts just trying to keep up with all the different in-ear headphones out there. Still, can’t hurt to have a few more at the party — especially if they’re from a manufactrer with a rep for awesome bang-for-buck.
The ATH-BT03 (pictured above) is going to grab all the attention. It’s an $80 wireless Bluetooth headset that does the whole phone and music thing and looks wicked small.
Audio Technica’s other anouncement yesterday, the less flashy ATH-CK400i (jeez, their marketers must have attended the same fun product-naming class the marketing peeps at Sony did) is simply an in-ear set with an inline controls and a mic — but it’s priced at a measly $60.
Skype’s official iOS client can now make video calls using an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, or fourth-generation iPod touch. People using any of these devices can share real-time video between themselves and people using Skype clients on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux. If you are using an iPad or third-generation iPod touch you can receive video from the other clients, but since you don’t have a camera you won’t be able to send video.
The new client supports video over Wi-Fi and 3G connections and with an installed base of clients greater than those currently using FaceTime it may give FaceTime a run for its money.
Skype version 3.0 for iOS offers the following improvements: