Techradar - All the latest technology news
iPad mini: when will you get it?
The iPad mini has finally arrived after months of rumours and speculation and as stores around the world gear up for the November 2 release date of the Wi-Fi only models we take a look at who's offering it in the UK.
The iPad mini price, as expected, is a little steeper than the likes of the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD, and for those wanting to get hold of a cellular model, you may want to start saving, as you've got a couple of weeks to wait until these 4G/3G enabled slates hit.
Apple also dropped a bit of a surprise at the iPad mini launch event, announcing the new iPad 4 as well, with a beefed up processor and HD FaceTime camera, so we've also taken a look at who's offering this alongside the 7.9-inch tablet.
EE will offer the iPad mini and new iPad 4 with a range of attractive data plans that will allow customers to connect to the UK's first 4G mobile network.
The brand was one of the many logos shown on stage by Apple at the launch, but only recently have we got confirmation of its appearance.
EE's 24 month tablet plans have now popped up on its website, with the cheapest offering setting you back £25.99 a month for 2GB of data.
There's another two tariffs to choose from, with 3GB of data costing £30.99 per month and 5GB coming in at £35.99.
Don't forget there will be an upfront charge for the iPad mini and new iPad 4 (no word on exact cost yet) on top of this, so you may want to call your bank manager and shuffle your finances.
Orange and T-Mobile
Parent company EE also revealed: "Orange and T-Mobile will also offer iPad mini and fourth generation iPad on fast HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA networks" – still no word on the iPad 4 and iPad mini price though.
Three claims it will offer a range of data plans for the iPad mini and iPad 4, but exact details of price and release date remain unknown.
Customers who opt to take out a Three data plan on a new iPad mini or iPad 4 have been promised connection to the carrier's "ultrafast network, planned to cover almost 50% of the UK population by the end of the year with average speeds of 6-8 Mbps".
A Vodafone spokesperson has told TechRadar: "Vodafone UK will be offering iPad mini and fourth generation iPad. We'll confirm availability date and pricing soon."
The high street retailer has confirmed it will be stocking the iPad mini, although it hasn't said which networks the 7.9-inch tablet will be available on, nor is there any word on release date or price.
We've contacted O2 about the iPad mini or new iPad 4, and we'll update this article once we hear back.
Phones4U is yet to jump aboard the Apple bandwagon and furnish us with iPad 4 and iPad mini prices.
Android 4.2 release date, news and rumours
The new version of Google's OS will launch soon under the guise of Android 4.2 – but it will still be called Jelly Bean.
This means the change will be more of a refining evolution of the platform, rather than bringing multiple new features – we'll have to wait for Android 5.0 (Key Lime Pie) before we get anything ground breaking.
But until that fateful day, we'll at least get a few more Android features to play with as Google brings another iteration to its OS – read on to find out more over what we can expect from the launch:
Android 4.2 name
Well, we'll be honest: we already covered this in the strapline here. It's going to be called Jelly Bean, so those that were waiting for information on Android Key Lime Pie will be sorely disappointed.
However, that does mean that some new cool features are on the way in the new update, and let's be honest, if you're disappointed that a name hasn't changed for a version of Android you should probably take a step back, look at life's priorities and go work for a charity for a bit.
Android 4.2 features
From what we can discern from the font of vague knowledge (the internet rumour spewer) Android 4.2 is going to have a new button in the notification bar to allow access to quick settings.
This was previously a second drop down from the notification area, but it seems this has evolved to just be a single button that leads to a zone where you can perform quick functions like turning on and off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Flight mode.
If we're honest, it's not overly exciting as all the Android skins around have this feature already embedded, with the likes of Samsung's TouchWiz giving you access right from the notification bar itself.
As we said this feature is evolving all over the place, so don't be surprised if it changes again before the Monday launch – or gets dropped altogether.
The other relatively large change looks set to be to the Gallery app, which will see the UI become a bit more open and surrounded by white frames, in a bid to make Android look that little bit more professional once more. It could be that fewer photos are displayed on the screen at once though, in a manner similar to Google+, which may not please those that love more information on the screen at once.
And a more recent placeholder from UK retailer The Carphone Warehouse outed another new feature: a 360 degree camera app, which will presumably lead to loads of blocky and confusing pictures from friends on Facebook, with the odd one with astonishing clarity thrown in by a professional.
According to Android Police, which got a chance to tear down an early build of Android 4.2, there were also big changes to the Gallery and Camera icons, replaced by something that looks a lot more like Instagram, but these were proved to be placeholders.
However, this does strongly hint that Android 4.2 is also going to come with revamped icons for these apps, which will excite approximately 32.6% of Android users, we predict.
Another change in Android 4.2 will be more minor and will let you dismiss your data counter when you get warned you're heading close to the limit you pre-set… usually this remains and you're forced to change the limit to remove it, but now you can accept the warning like an adult (ie forget about it until it's too late, and blame someone else).
Android 4.2: multiple user accounts
Something that appeared on the Sony Xperia Tablet S that got tongues wagging was the ability to set multiple user accounts in the same way as Windows allows now.
This means users can set the apps they want for their own accounts, handy in the case of a family tablet. Android Police again was the detective here, noting that some apps required permissions for different users on the same device, so this will be a key area in the tablet area especially.
And on that subject, parental controls will be built right into the system as well, meaning you can change the level of interaction each person has on the tablet - for instance, stopping downloads from the Play Store or working out which apps should be restricted for each person.
Android 4.2 release date
Here's the main problem with Android in our eyes: users can't generally get their hands on it for bloody ages after announcement. Just look at the amount of phones still rocking Gingerbread (Android 2.3), which was released years ago, and you can see we're not optimistic that the newest version of Android will be available any time soon.
However, that said at least there will be flagship devices available sporting the new software sooner rather than later, with 31 October already being mooted as the shipping date of the new version of the Nexus 7 which you'd think would have Android 4.2 on board.
At the very least the new Google Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 will both be rocking the new software and have been strongly tipped to launch in early November to catch the Christmas rush. And with Android 4.1's launch Google promised that it was working with manufacturers to get the software to them ahead of time for easier deployment... could we see such a thing happen already?
Android 4.2 launch
The Android 4.2 launch has been set for 29 October, with Google promising a fancy event to live stream the launch of the three new devices set to support the new OS in multiple locations across the globe.
We're pretty sure there will be devices rocking the fancy new version of the software at these events, so we'll be able to bring you our early thoughts on whether it's something you should bug your network for as soon as our toned, lithe fingers can bash out the letters.
Android 4.2 review
And then, of course, we've got the main event: our Android 4.2 review. We'll be working as fast as possible to bring you our preview, as we mentioned above, and then as soon as we get a full review unit we'll update you with our multi-page full review, taking the new OS apart and seeing what treats is has on offer.
Updated: EE confirms 4G iPad mini and new iPad 4 for UK
The network hasn't yet revealed its pricing for the 4G iPad deals, but says it'll have a "range" of "attractive" data plans.
Whether the iPad mini and new iPad 4 plans will be more "attractive" than the mobile 4G deals unveiled earlier this week remains to be seen.
Update: EE's 24 month tablet plans have now popped up on its website, with the cheapest offering setting you back £25.99 a month for 2GB of data.
There's another two tariffs to choose from, with 3GB of data costing £30.99 per month and 5GB coming in at £35.99. Don't forget there will be an upfront charge for the iPad mini and new iPad 4 (no word on exact cost yet) on top of this, so you may want to call your bank manager and shuffle your finances.
There was mass disgruntlement when EE confirmed that its 4G plans would start at £36 per month for only 500MB of downloads a month, with prices only getting more eye-watering from there on out and no unlimited downloads deal.
However, there was fear that the new iPads may not be compatible with the UK's particular brand of next-generation network (despite being shown on stage at Apple's press conference); EE's release at least confirms that they will.
As well as the EE 4G deals, Orange and T-Mobile will be offering the iPad min and fourth-generation iPad on their HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA networks.
Microsoft: Apple's walled garden isn't its main app issue
Microsoft's coroporate VP for Windows web services has told TechRadar that he believes that is not Apple's walled garden that upsets consumers, but the Cupertino-based giant's decision to not allow apps that compete with its own products on its store.
Speaking at a round-table, Antoine LeBlond was asked by TechRadar is the decision of Microsoft to have its own store would bring criticisms of creating its own walled garden.
But LeBlonde insisted that it was important to dig a little deeper into what people expect from their app stores.
"The funny thing is that I think you have to dig a little bit into the walled garden argument because there are a lot of different parts to it," he said.
"There really, truly is a pure philosophical point of view that says 'I should be able to create and distribute an app that has all kinds of horrible things in it no matter how horrible they are' and I don't really know what to say about that."
"I think what frustrates people with Apple's model in particular is that they have carved out some specific things for their own ownership, so the fact that you can't build an app that sells music, you can't distribute a competing browser [although this is actually possible], you can't distribute a mail app - those are the things that become frustrating to people.
"There's that and then there's the economic side of it that says you can't distribute an app where you acquire subscriptions without sharing 30 per cent of fees with Apple.
"It's a pretty drastic constraint on developers."
LeBlond believes that Microsoft has avoided these pitfalls with its own offering, as Windows 8 makes its long-awaited public debut.
"We've taken a very different approach to this," he added. "We're happy with having stores in our store, we're happy having mail apps, browser apps.
"If you read our terms and policies we're not carving places out for ourselves."
In Depth: Pre-orders for Verizon's Samsung Galaxy Note open now
Verizon joined its carrier cohorts Wednesday by giving official word it will carry Samsung's Galaxy Note 2.
Big Red has opened pre-orders for the signature Samsung phablet and will sell the device on a new two-year contract for $299.99, according to its site.
The carrier can now count itself among the five companies that South Korea has teamed up with stateside to bring its 5.9-inch handset to the masses.
T-Mobile was first to place the quasi-tablet on its shelves, news it shared earlier Wednesday. Sprint and U.S. Wireless also plan to stock the device in the coming days.
Gotta be different
Verizon threw its own flare onto the Note 2, sticking its logo on the device's home button.
No other carrier has such branding. Sprint stands apart in that its logo is missing from the back of its version, whereas all other devices include the rear markings.
Verizon also hasn't released official word on when the Note 2 will arrive in stores or when pre-orders will be filled, though a quick check on the site has a pre-ordered phone shipping by Nov. 27.
Takin' it to the streets
Now that Verizon has jumped into the Note 2 fray, the device has a home at a handful of U.S. carriers.
Though pre-orders are open for all carriers, don't expect to get one from AT&T until Nov. 9.
T-Mobile is selling the device for the princely sum of $369.99 with a new, two-year service agreement, making it the highest charger for the eagerly awaited phablet.
While TechRadar gave high marks to the Note 2, Samsung's U.S. release of the device has been less than forthcoming. Here's hoping that all the dust soon settles and customers can start playing with those S-Pens.