Welcome to the Ciao smartphone information page. Here you'll
find everything you'll need to know about
smartphones and answers to questions such as, what
should you consider when buying a smartphone? How do
smartphones and mobile phones differ? And finally, why
has the world gone
app-crazy and how can these smartphone features be used?
We also have an interesting interview with our user
and smartphones aficionado Sghawken.
Follow our news updates and get instant information about new products
and accessories. Bookmark this page and stay tuned!
On the 11th October Microsoft unveiled the sleek new
smartphones that will be launching with Windows Phone 7 on the 21st October.
HTC is showing strong support of the
Windows Phone 7 OS and has 3 models leading
HTC HD7 is the flagship model,
featuring a giant 4.3 inch LCD screen, 576MB of RAM and a 5 Megapixel camera which
is capable of 720p HD video resolution. The
HTC HD7 is exclusive to O2 in the UK,
bringing 16GB of storage and is available
for free on a £40 per month 2 year tarif
which includes 900 minutes, unlimited texts
and a rather generous 750MB of data. It is
also available on a Pay & Go tarif for
£379, should you want to go down that
Next up is the
HTC 7 Mozart, which shifts the focus
from the screen to the camera, offering an
enhanced 8 Megapixel with Xenon flash and
featuring a smaller 3.7 inch LCD screen.
The HTC Mozart has 8GB of storage space
and is being offered by both Orange and
HTC 7 Trophy, featuring a 5 Megapixel
camera with LED flash and 720p HD video
recording along with 8GB of storage, is
exclusive to Vodafone in the UK on a £25
per month 2 year contract which includes
300 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of
LG is joining the game with
LG Optimus 7, rocking a 3.8 inch
screen, a 5 Megapixel camera with LED flash
& 720p HD video recording and 16GB of
storage, is available for free on a
Vodafone £30 per month 2 year contract
which includes 600 minutes, unlimited texts
and 500MB Data.
Samsung is bringing
Omnia 7 to the Windows Phone 7 party,
featuring a gorgeous four inch super AMOLED
screen, 512MB of RAM and a 5 Megapixel
camera, again capable of 720p HD Video
Resolution. The Omnia 7 is available on
Three, O2, Orange and T-Mobile, so it might
be a good idea to shop around for who is
providing the best contract for you.
Its clear to see that all of the phones
are pretty similar, with some small
differences in screen size, camera
functions and one or two features exclusive
to certain mobile phone carriers; but all
phones will offer the standard Xbox LIVE
and Zune multimedia capabilites and feature
of course the rather nifty and pleasingly
original Metro interface. The deciding
factor on which phone to get will most
likely come down to the contracts on offer
and your budget. Be sure to keep an eye out
for reviews on these products as Ciao
members no doubt get hold of them shortly
Yep, you've read that correctly. At
this year's IFA convention Sharp have been
showing off stereoscopic 3D screen
technology for use in smartphones and
tablets, which they claim will not require
the user to wear glasses to experience the
effect. The screen will use parallax
barrier technology, similar to
3DS console, where each eye has a separate
"view" or set of pixels, which are walled off
from the other eye, which creates a sense of
depth to the display.
Sharp announced that they were working on 10.6-inch and 3.8-inch displays but were not
drawn on which smartphone or tablet
manufacturers would feature their displays.
They did however state that a smartphone
product using the technology would be coming
Windows Phone 7 to
receive Xbox Live support
At GamesCom 2010 in Cologne Microsoft
announced a killer app (excuse the pun)
for their new
Windows Phone 7.This
introduction of the popular Xbox Live
service via your handset will allow owners of the phone to try
demos of games, take part in Xbox Live
leader boards, online multiplayer gaming and
earn achievements, just like on its' bigger
Achievement whor...hunters can sate their
desires for increasing their gamer score on
the go, as each game on Windows Phone 7 will
allow 200 gamer points to be unlocked.Clearly it seems that Microsoft are
leveraging the success of the Xbox to help
Windows Phone 7 achieve success among the
generation of on-the-go gamers.
If the games line-up in the coming months
remains as strong as the launch line-up,
which includes versions of smash hits
Crackdown 2 and
Halo, then this will be
something very special indeed.
the initial launch, it has been
announced that new Xbox Live titles will hit
the games catalogue every week. It
will be interesting to see how the tried and
tested quality of Xbox Live goes up against
behemoths such as Apple's App store, but one
things for certain, a portable version of
Splinter Cell Conviction
and Crackdown 2 can't ever be a bad
thing. This year it seems the mobile gamer
will be spoilt
The Hot Stuff
The recent buzz and hype surrounding
the latest smartphones may have stemmed from Apple's iPhone and
the latest iPhone 4, but Google's Android OS really seems to be
gathering pace, featuring the extremely popular HTC Desire. With Microsofts very own
Phone 7 just around the corner, the battle will be heating
up for sure in the coming months! But until then, check out the
hottest smartphones currently making the rounds:
The HTC Desire is currently the Ciaoee's smartphone of choice,
and it's easy to see why. With a shockingly beautiful
display wrapped inside a sleek and stylish exterior, it's
certainly a pretty piece of kit. Of course, beauty is only
skin deep and luckily the HTC Desire has a great personality to boot.
Sometimes seen as the choice for the "really cool people",
"people who don't like Apple" and "people who want a mobile
browser with Flash", the HTC Desire has certainly won over a lot
of hearts and minds with it's quiet brilliance.
Featuring Android Market, the only real alternative to the Apple
App Store, the HTC Desire gives you access to around one hundred
thousand Apps, the majority (estimated to be around 65%) of which
Some of the negatives sides to the HTC Desire as pointed out by
Ciao users, are the poor battery life (requiring charging pretty
much every day), somewhat clumsy Bluetooth contacts adding, it's
lack of Mac connectivity and the fact that the iPhone 4 is out
which makes everything else look less shiny.
But don't take it from us, read some of our most helpful Ciao
HTC have been on top of their game in the past year.
Following on from the Hero, the HD2 their newest
Android-packing handsets the Legend and the Desire are
out to put the pressure on Apple. But has the Desire
really got the moves to make Jobs fidget ... t3.com
Read review »
HTC Desire review
The HTC Desire is well named, as it's probably at the
top of every Android fan's wish list. With a 3.7in
AMOLED screen, a 1GHz processor, a 5-megapixel camera
and room for up to 32GB of storage, it's got the specs
to compete with anything on the ... expertreviews.co.uk
Read review »
Where would smartphones today be without the iPhone?
Apple returns to take everyone back to school with the latest
iteration of the wildly popular iPhone. The iPhone 4 is
currently the gadget to have, eclipsing even the mighty
iPad in consumer excitement levels.
The iPhone 4 features probably the best display on the market
today, boasting a resolution of 960 by 640 pixels, all lovingly
crammed into 3.5 inches. And with an excellent
camera to boot,this genius handset by Apple puts all those fears that the camera would be as disappointing
as previous models to rest.
Ciao members have been extolling the virtues of Apples new piece
of kit, praising the user-friendly and lighting-quick user
interface, the outrageous selection of apps available and the
eye poppingly gorgeous Retina display screen.
The main fault that was pointed out is the widely reported signal problems, featuring heavily on
members' dislikes, tarnishing by all accounts an otherwise almost
The term is bandied about more and more regularly these days,
but sometimes it’s nice to take a step back and really look at
what it means.
After all, the term “Smart” is relative in technology terms.So what is a smartphone exactly? What qualities does it have that graduate it from a “dumb phone”
to the realms of smartness?Well in its most basic description, a smartphone is
essentially a mobile phone with more advanced computing ability
and connectivity (thanks Wikipedia!) than a regular run of the
most telling feature of a smartphone is simply the inclusion of
a mobile operating system (or simply mobile OS), like Apple iOS,
Google Android or Microsoft Windows Mobile, and some form of
connectivity to the net via Wi-Fi or 3G.
The enhanced computing ability and connectivity allow the
smartphone to perform tasks that your poor little
was-cool-in-the-late-90s flip phone could only dream of.For instance, you are on the way to a friend’s party, but
you forgot where it was again.With your smartphone you can simply pull up your emails,
find the invite in question and then look up the location on a
map, which can then even track where you are and tell you
exactly how to get there, either by foot, by car or by public
"OK you got me, I want one, what should I look out for?
The OS It might sound boring, but the choice
of which OS your potential smartphone should have is becoming
increasingly more important, if you decide to purchase
people prefer the closed nature of Apple's iPhone OS, but others
find this unreasonably restricting. The most popular
smartphone Operating Systems at the minute are
Symbian OS (found
RIM BlackBerry (on, you've guessed
it, BlackBerry smartphones),
Apple iOS (on iPhone, natch),
Google Android (spread out on a number of different
manufacturers' handsets), and
which is currently in the process of being rebranded as
Windows Phone 7 in preparation for a new push in
the mobile market by Microsoft, starting with new Windows
Phone 7 enabled handsets coming in October.
manufacturers have their own Operating Systems, such as
which has an exclusive app store known simply
as Samsung Apps.As per usual, it depends on what exactly you want your
phone to do, but for some the difference in OS can make
a big difference. Fans of Flash enabled websites for
example may want to stear clear of Apple's offerings due
to their dogged determination not to include Flash
support on their iPhones. Android has reportedly a
better overall support of various video codecs and
plugins online too, meaning you're going to have better
support for watching videos from various sources on an
Android enabled phone versus an Apple one. Battery life
on an Apple OS seems to be untouchable however, although
Google's Android 2.2 (Froyo) update has been reported to
increase battery life on some of its devices.
What do my friends have? Aside from just wanting to fit in, or
keep up with the Jones’, the model of smartphone that your
friends have can play an important role in your decision.Certain features, such as the ability to use free
messaging apps to send messages for free to other
handsets, will only work if you have the same app on
your smartphone. Plus it’s always good to have a spare
charger from mates should something happen yours!
A recommendation from a friend is always one of the best
ways to really find out how good something is. The
other great way of course is to read reviews on Ciao!
itself/functions Of course, at the end of
the day, the device itself will always be the main
Important things to look out for here are:
Internet & other network connectivity options
screen or buttons?
You should always have in mind how you will use the device to
work out what your requirements are. With the current leaders in the
smartphone market you are
pretty well covered on all of the above, the exceptions being
the HTC Desire’s somewhat weak battery life, and the fact that
you need to watch how you hold your shiny new iPhone 4 when
Most manufacturers offer multiple handset options for differing
storage capacities too, so if you feel that you need your entire
collection of movies and music on the go then a larger capacity
handset may be the way to go.For most people the standard 8GB and 16GB models should
be enough, especially as you can simply “top up” your phone with
a few movies/tunes from your PC collection that you want and
swap them out.
When it comes to aesthetics,
most of the manufacturers don’t stray too far away from the
standard “Slate with touch screen” template.If you loathe texting with a touch screen, then perhaps a
model with a keyboard as featured on the majority of
BlackBerry models or on some HTC models such as the
Touch Pro2 , the
or T Mobile
G1 are the way to go.
Even if you aren't 100% happy with the look of your
smartphone, there are of course thousands of skins,
protectors and carrying cases that are sure to keep your
spiffy new gadget looking cool and unique!
For Internet on the go, you’ll need a 3G enabled smartphone, otherwise you are stuck to standing outside places
like Starbucks, sapping on their free
Wi-Fi.If you feel that you won’t be using your smartphone’s
internet capabilities too much, then a model with simply Wi-Fi
may be enough.3G
enabled smartphones also mean having a data contract plan with
your network provider.Some of them offer unlimited data for higher monthly
fees, while others have set data limits that when crossed over
reduce your Internet speed to a crawl until the next month.
camera on a
smartphone is always a nice addition, if
only to take photos when you are on holiday and send them
to jealous mates. Some
smartphones are better than others here, with earlier iPhone
model’s cameras circling around “why bother?” to newer models
having quality comparable with some low-to-mid-range digital
The HTC Desire, for example has a 5MP autofocus with LED flash
and face detection, whereas the new iPhone 4’s camera
has 2 cameras, a forward facing 0.3MP camera capable of 480p
video at 30 frames per second, used for video calling, and a 5MP rear camera
with 5x digital zoom and LED flash, that can capture 720p HD
Video at 30 frames per second.It
also features a new “tap to focus” feature, allowing you to
specify who or what exactly in your photo or video you want to
focus one. Both of these
features are not too shabby for a smartphone and as
video calling becomes more popular in future, a smartphone with
decent video recording may become more and more important.
Whatever you choose, we, at Ciao, hope
you get the most out of your fun new handset!
Remember to hop on to Ciao.co.uk to let everyone know
rise to popularity has been a swift one. Since Apple launched their
Store in July 2008, the creation and buying of
games on mobile devices has grown at an astronomical rate.
Today there are no fewer than 225,000 apps on Apple’s service
alone, with competing services such as Google’s
Market catching up quickly; already topping 100,000, with an
arguably larger ratio of free to paid for apps than Apple’s
service. Not that paying for apps seems to be putting people
off; more than 4 Billion apps have been
downloaded from the Apple App Store alone.
The numbers are continuing to
accelerate too. In May 2010 alone, there
were over 9,700 new apps and games added to the App Store, with
more and more bedroom developers and would be games companies
being attracted to the service with the promise of get rich
quick app ideas. If you can think of an idea for
an app, it’s probably already out there, or someone’s currently
working on it. There are at least half a dozen "toilet
finders" for example, allowing users to locate their nearest
toilet, and some even allow users to rate them. You can
almost imagine owners of such apps standing uncomfortably in the
street, torn between the 1/5 rated toilet just around the
corner, or the 5/5 further down the road.
The relatively low costs of apps and
games; ranging from free to hundreds of pounds in some extreme
cases, with the average cost sitting somewhere around 2 pounds
and falling by the day, have dramatically affected the number of
impulse buys. The result: numbers of apps sold are growing
exponentially. How many of us have had that pang of regret the
morning after buying a ridiculous
Fart App after one too many beers the
night before? This guy certainly.
As one might expect, the top apps
downloaded are primarily games, and indeed, of Apple’s top 20
all-time paid for apps, 14 were gaming in nature, proving that
people are more likely to game on the go with their smartphones.
But what do Ciao users think?
Out of the
iPhone apps and games products that members have written reviews
on at the time of writing, the insanely addictive titles
Doodle Jump and
Angry Birds were the most popular, with7 reviews
each and Doodle Jump just pipping Angry Birds to the post with
7/7 5 star reviews vs
6/7 5 star
seems that people enjoy the simple
style of games and prefer to leave the full-on 30 hour epic
Role-Playing-Games for their
360 at home. On the app side of things, the most popular
genre there is the closely related
It seems Ciao members share the same
mindset as the average iPhone app consumer, where having fun
with apps is paramount.
As the numbers of app capable
smartphone owners will undoubtedly increase over the next few
months, particulary as apps are seen as a key battlefield in the
Mobile Operating Systems wars, we can only imagine the breadth
of new ideas for apps that will appear on our shiney do-it-all
handhelds. The future is certainly a bright one for the
app market and we are, of course, ready and waiting for all your
Remember, if the app you want to review is
not on Ciao already, then simply send us a proposal for the
Ciao's resident smartphone expert member, Spencer
Sghawken to give us a few tips on what he
thinks are important for prospective smartphone users.
Member since: 31.10.2005
Reviews written: 922
Trusted by: 337 members
Community Points: 520393
• What smartphone
do you currently have?
I currently have the HTC Desire, and have no plans to
change that in the near future.
• What do you think
are the most important factors to consider when choosing
I believe the internet experience is the most important
aspect, we now live in an age where our mobile phones
can provide the same internet experience as a home PC. I
think to go with half measures when that option is open
to you is a little foolish. Most android phones now
allow you to watch embedded video, and use flash
applications. The popular iPhone is great, but limits
the internet experience meaning for certain websites you
still need to turn your main PC on.
• What type of
smartphones do your friends have?
My friends all seem to have iPhones, all of whom look
down on my HTC Desire, until they realise its far more
capable than their phones.
• Do you currently
have any favourite apps?
My favourite apps at the moment are mainly news
applications, the Sky News Application not only allows
you to find out what's going on, but make the news
yourself. You can report and film events and the submit
them to Sky News at the click of a button. While I like
Sky News the BBC News application is the best, because
as well as being far more up to date it alerts you to
important breaking news.
Other apps I enjoy are Google Places which running off
your geographical location allows you to find shops,
restaurants, hotels and cashpoint machines by putting
them on a map you can follow, and that moves with you.
It also allows you to ring instantly the place you are
going to from the application. I also enjoy the Yahoo Mobile that gives you all the top news, entertainment
stories, and cultural happenings, as well as integrate
your Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr accounts.
Obviously in this day and age the most important
application is Facebook, which offers the best
integration of any mobile phone on the HTC Desire and
Wildfire phones. It cuts out all the nonsense posts,
such as who is doing what on Farmville, on the iPhone
you can see these status's but can't do anything about
it, its also not everyones favourite cup of tea. On the
plus side the HTC Desire certainly allows you to play
the aforementioned games on Facebook, but via your
mobile. All videos play from the application unlike the
iPhone, and it seamlessly integrates with your personal
Not so much an application as such, but a recent update
to the Android operating system means that I can turn my
phone into a wi-fi hotspot. Just activate the option and
anyone with a wi-fi connection (and the code I give
them) can access the internet via my mobile, great when
on the road with your laptop. Or for portable games consoles on the move.
• If you were to buy
another smartphone in the future, which would it be?
Being as thrilled as I am with the HTC Desire, it would
have to be a future HTC phone, it sounds silly but the
phone has really changed the way I use a mobile, so
future phones would surely only be better. Hopefully it
would also have a better battery life, as any smartphone
out there at the present time is lacking on the battery
• Where do you see
the future of smartphones going?
To be honest i'm not really sure, maybe some state of
the art gaming? We can currently do pretty much anything
with our smartphones, but gaming is always limited due
to memory limitations. It might also be nice to use a
mobile to write letters etc. I know its possible at the
moment, but its not the most friendly way to write a
letter or word document, something a little easier so
you really never have to switch on your home computer.
• Any other tips for
would-be smartphone buyers?
It's easy to look at the Apple iPhone and say you want
it, after all everyone else has it why should you be no
different. But different is good, and the growing range
of Android phones which now outsell the iPhone have far
more to offer. From becoming a wi-fi hotspot, to
allowing you to play any sort of video. From better
Google integration, to the best GPS systems that will
even beat your car satnav, and work a treat when on
foot. There are so many options available, when buying a
smartphone think about everything you ever plan to do
with it, and make your choices from there.