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Ofcom have announced the winners in the 4G mobile spectrum auction.
After more than 50 rounds of bidding, Vodafone Ltd, Telefónica UK Ltd, Everything Everywhere Ltd, Hutchison 3G UK Ltd and Niche Spectrum Ventures Ltd (a subsidiary of BT Group plc) have all won spectrum. This is suitable for rolling out new superfast mobile broadband services to consumers and to small and large businesses across the UK.
So what does this mean for you?
Telefonica UK (O2) and Vodafone UK have already begun their joint project to share network infrastructure providing a more robust GSM and 3G service providing 98% population coverage for voice and data for 2015.
Obtaining a license from the Ofcom auction was the next step. The infrastructure improvements have been designed as a platform for 4G. Vodafone and O2 can start rolling out 4G services to consumers which is expected in spring or early summer 2013.
Obviously this will be great news if your handset is 4G but will also benefit other smartphone or tablet users. 4G is not necessarily the Kevin Bacon experience of downloading entire movies whilst on a park bench but more the intention is to provide the brunt of the data services. This alleviates the burden on the presently taxed 2G and 3G networks which will improve our general speeds all round and ensure better GSM voice service (results in less dropped calls).
A further stage of the auction will be the assignment of specific locations for the spectrum wins. UK networks will be jostling to make the lower bandwidths in urban areas are used for better in-building coverage whilst relying on the 2.6 GHz spectrum to provide the greater general area coverage.
View the full Ofcom story here.
With the iPad being dominant for a number of years I thought I’d pitch it against a contender from Samsung – the Galaxy Tab 2.
Use as a business device
In terms of business functionality I would rate both of these tablets very highly. Both have have great support for enterprise email, access to corporate systems, and depending on which variant you choose, access to the internet via SIM cards.
The Galaxy Tab 2 does trump the new iPad with excellent support form MS Office support. You get integrated apps for creating and editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. The iPad however has no out of the box support but you can buy third party apps like Documents To Go from Dataviz or Apples iWork suite from the app store.
What are the differences in spec?
Both the iPad and Tab 2 have excellent screens and very similar dimensions. The iPad does have a more vibrant display thanks to its Retina display however the Samsung is not far behind with bright colours and sharp contrast.
Turning to the camera the iPad wins again with a five megapixels rather than three on the Samsung.
Where the Samsung does well is with the use of microSD removal storage for upgrading capacity and easy transfer of files rather than the iPads built in storage. It’s also a tad cheaper than the iPad.
It’s difficult to choose between them; both have excellent App catalogs, excellent build quality and are great replacements for a laptop.
As a generation 1 iPad user (pre-ordered and delivered on day 1) I can say the iPad’s been a constant companion for all my business and personal needs over the past two years. It’s performed very well and I’ve been impressed by the battery life which has meant a trouble-free workday without searching for somewhere to charge it. With the launch last year of the iPad2 I couldn’t see any immediate need to upgrade - the iPad2 had a camera, was slimmer and lighter than the first generation but in all other regards there wasn’t really much difference.
With competition from other tablet manufacturers producing HD screens and cameras it was a foregone conclusion that the third generation iPad would include a higher resolution screen and better cameras. However it was the speed improvements to the updated processor which finally enticed me into getting the new iPad (plus the prompting from my brother who has purchased my Classic iPad at a family rate!).
I’m getting eyestrain! Oh wait, no I’m not.
The new iPad has one huge advance over the two previous models - Retina display. The advanced display introduced in the iPhone 4 has been scaled up to the iPad’s huge 9.7" display. Now with a 2048 by 1536 pixel resolution, text looks sharper and images clearer. This is noticeable when compared to earlier iPad’s. So the adverts are right when they state the screen resolution is higher than HD.
Text based applications such as iBooks and Safari browser benefit the most as everything becomes sharper and easier to read. Application developers are rushing to update their apps with hi-res versions and updates are appearing on a daily basis on the app store.
Feel the force
The new A5 1GHz processor does make a noticeable difference. After using the new iPad for a few days I’ve found that apps load faster and multi-tasking is much smoother. Outside of the office I like to boot up the odd game or two and graphics intensive apps do seem to run much faster.
If you’ve questioned why the new iPad is slightly larger and heavier than its predecessor, it’s down to a larger battery being fitted. The higher resolution and faster processor put more pressure on resources, so to stay up and running longer a new battery was a priority. It’s slower to charge but overall provides a similar rate of power to previous iPad’s (approx 10 hours of use) when used conservatively. However I’ve found that you must pay attention to the brightness settings to get the best from this tablet.
The battery does get warmer than previous models but considering the power output and the fact that this is still not as hot as laptops Apple have done very well in keeping this degree of heat to a manageable level.
Upgrade or ignore?
Original iPad owners (the iPad1or Classic iPad) will definitely appreciate the improvements in speed and processing power and upgrading makes sense. If you’re an iPad2 owner though you may not feel so compelled to part with your hard earned cash. In some blind tests users have struggled to distinguish between the iPad2 and the new iPad. Apple will no doubt expect the majority of iPad2 owners to update to the next variant in a year’s time which is probably why they’re still selling the iPad2 alongside the new iPad.
Any regrets about the new iPad? Just one. I’ve purchased too many iPad cases - they don’t all fit the new iPad!