O2 slapped with £150,000 fine for providing inaccurate information during bill investigation

Ofcom has fined O2 £150,000 for providing “inaccurate and incomplete” information during an investigation into problems with the operator’s billing system that concluded earlier this year.

The regulator concluded O2 had been overcharging customers over an eight-year period between 2011 and 2019. As many as 250,000 people were affected, with 140,000 paying a combined £2.5 million.

O2 was handed a £10.5 million penalty, refunded anyone who was overcharged, and changed its billing system to avoid a repeat.

O2 penalty

However, Ofcom says its investigation was hampered by O2’s “carelessness” in responding to its information requests and said it had failed to adhere to its regulatory obligations.

“We regularly make statutory requests for information from companies as part of our work to protect consumers,” explained Ofcom. “This evidence is vital to our decision-making, and so it is essential that companies respond by the deadline, with accurate and complete information.”

“Earlier this year, we fined O2 £10.5m for overcharging thousands of its customers. As part of this investigation, we requested information from O2, but it provided incorrect and incomplete responses. This contributed to our investigation taking longer to complete than necessary.”

The fine takes into account a 25% reduction because O2 admitted liability and agreed to enter a settlement. The operator has also been told to review its processes and systems for responding to Ofcom’s information requests.

O2 has been contacted for comment.

If you're in the market for a new contract then our best O2 mobile phone deals is a good place to start

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The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is rumored to cost the same as the S20 FE

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is expected to finally make its debut next month, and according to the latest rumor, it's going to go on sale at the same price point as the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE that it's replacing.

This comes from well-known tipster Roland Quandt, who has said that the Galaxy S21 FE will retail for $699 in the US. Other territories aren't mentioned, but the 5G version of the Galaxy S20 FE was originally sold for $699 / £699 / AU$1,149.

A previous leak put the European pricing for the Galaxy S21 FE at €649, so we're starting to get close to the complete picture when it comes to how much of your hard-earned cash you'll have to part with to get yourself this phone.

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What we know so far

We've seen so many leaks and rumors around the Galaxy S21 FE that there's not going to be much left for Samsung to reveal in January. The handset is expected to make its debut at the CES 2022 event at the start of next month.

The smartphone is said to sport a 6.5-inch, 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution OLED display, and is apparently fitted with a 4,500mAh battery – those specs match the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE exactly, so there's no change there.

There is going to be a faster processor though, with the Galaxy S21 FE following the lead of the Samsung Galaxy S21 by making use of a Snapdragon 888 chipset. That's expected to be paired with a modest 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.


Analysis: the price needs to be right

Samsung Galaxy S21

The Samsung Galaxy S21. (Image credit: Future)

The Fan Edition phones that Samsung now puts out each year have traditionally done a good job of taking the best bits of the Galaxy S series flagships – typically the screen quality and the processor power – and putting them in a more affordable package.

RIght now all the indications are that the Galaxy S21 FE is going to offer plenty of value for money, but as always pricing is crucial: Samsung can probably get away with a starting price of $699 for the phone, but it isn't going to want to go any higher than that.

Remember that the standard Galaxy S21 has an official retail price of $799 / £769 / AU$1,249, and you may even be able to get it cheaper than that with the Galaxy S22 around the corner. Samsung does well to cover a multitude of price points with its phones, but it can make it difficult for some in the range to stand out.

And there's plenty of competition around at this price point as well, from the OnePlus 9 to the Google Pixel 6. The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE has had a long road to market, and it'll be interesting to see just how many people find it appealing enough to buy.

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Ofcom looks at Terahertz spectrum for terabit 6G future

Ofcom is asking for views on how to maximise the long-term value of the Terahertz (THz) spectrum, extremely high frequencies that could provide huge bandwidth for applications of the future and enable 6G networks.

The Terahertz band sits at the very top of the spectrum range between 100GHz and 3THz and is currently only used for limited scientific applications, such as weather forecasting.

However, the significant capacity of the spectrum, coupled with advances in technology, mean it could be harnessed for mobile networks in the future, enabling terabit speeds. Terahertz spectrum will also be attractive for 6G networks.

Terahertz spectrum 

Ofcom believes Terahertz will enable terabit-speed networks will provide a boost to applications like robotics, autonomous vehicles, holograms, and general mobile broadband services. It adds it is starting its work now to ensure the benefits of the frequencies can be realised as soon as the market demands.

“To help realise the full benefits of Terahertz, we intend to ensure our approach to managing spectrum is as flexible and efficient as possible – both to enable existing services to grow as well as supporting innovative new ones,” it said, asking for individuals and organisations to share their views.

“The unique properties and capabilities of new technologies mean the rules and approaches to spectrum authorisation that apply at lower frequencies need not dictate the way we approach the authorisation and use of Terahertz spectrum. Greater collaboration and cooperation between the different types of emerging spectrum users in these bands will be essential in underpinning an alternative approach.”

The development of 6G is still at a very early stage and it is still unclear what network technologies will form a commercial standard and what use cases will emerge. There is a consensus, however, that the addition of integrated intelligence and new spectrum will deliver superior speeds, capacity and latency.

These characteristics, it is argued, will overcome current technological limitations - such as the limited processing capability of mobile devices – to enable truly immersive extended reality (XR), high-fidelity mobile hologram and digital twin applications.

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iPhone 13 sales aren’t matching the iPhone 12 according to reports

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The iPhone 13 got some very good reviews when it was launched in September (ours included), but it seems that the actual sales numbers for these smartphones aren't quite what Apple might have been hoping for.

As Bloomberg reports, Apple is telling its component suppliers that demand for the iPhone 13 has “weakened”, and that there's no guarantee that either supply or demand will ramp up next year, as had previously been predicted.

Apple had already cut down production numbers for the iPhone 13 from 90 million units to 80 million units, due mainly to the global chip shortage that is affecting just about every electronics company on the planet at the moment.

iPhone availability

If these communications between Apple and its suppliers have indeed happened – Bloomberg is one of the most reliable outlets out there, so it's likely – it may not mean all that much in terms of how easy it will be to buy an iPhone 13 over the Christmas period.

A quick check on the US and UK Apple websites shows shipping times for the standard iPhone 13 at about a week, and for the iPhone 13 Pro at about two weeks. Not exactly express delivery, but not a huge delay either.

In other words, the difficulties that Apple is having in manufacturing iPhone 13 units seems to have been balanced out by reduced demand, at least for the time being. We'll have to wait and see how that picture changes through the course of 2022.


Analysis: why is the iPhone 13 selling slower than the iPhone 12?

iPhone 12

The iPhone 12. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Cast your mind back to the start of this year and you might remember that the iPhone 12 was helping Apple to a record quarter of smartphone sales. This time around though, it seems that the demand for Apple handsets isn't on the same level – so what's going on?

Some supply problems have affected both the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 13: primarily the ongoing effects of the pandemic and the global chip shortage that means manufacturers can't get gadgets out of the door fast enough. But the iPhone 12 managed strong sales even with lengthy shipping delays.

Part of the explanation is down to the iPhone 12. It was the first iPhone with 5G, its launch was delayed (leading to more pent-up demand), and it came at a time when much of the world had been sitting in their homes all year – meaning people perhaps had a little extra time and cash on their hands.

In contrast, the iPhone 13 doesn't have a flagship new feature, launched on time, and has arrived while we're all much busier and more distracted. Add in stronger competition (consider the Pixel 5 vs the Pixel 6, for example) and it's perhaps not surprising that the iPhone 13 hasn't hit the sales highs of the iPhone 12.

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Samsung Galaxy S22 camera modules show up again in a new leak

If the rumors are true, the Samsung Galaxy S22 series is going to launch in February 2022, and in the meantime the leaks continue to flood in – including a new image showing off the rear camera modules for the S22, the S22 Plus, and the S22 Ultra.

Published on Chinese social media platform Weibo (via SamMobile), the snap clearly shows the three lenses that make up the rear camera on the S22 and the S22 Plus, as well as the more advanced setup that the S22 Ultra is getting – it reportedly adds an extra telephoto zoom lens to the mix and adopts a different P-shape configuration.

If we can use the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra as our guide, those extra three holes on the right on the S22 Ultra module are for the laser autofocus system, the flashlight (which is separate on the S22 and S22 Plus), and the additional telephoto zoom lens.

Leaked Samsung Galaxy S22 camera coverings on a table.

(Image credit: 8090 Digital Beauty / Weibo)

Camera quality

We've now seen multiple leaks around the Galaxy S22 handsets and their cameras, and there's now little doubt that the rear camera modules will follow the lead of the Galaxy S21 series, with additional lenses and capabilities on the Ultra model.

What's not yet clear is whether there's actually going to be a raised shelf to house these cameras or whether each lens will protrude from the rear casing separately. We've seen conflicting reports on this, especially when it comes to the S22 Ultra model.

One rumor doing the rounds is that there may actually be two variations of the S22 Ultra, with two different rear camera designs – one with S Pen support and one without. We should only have to wait another couple of months to find out for sure.


Analysis: the S22 Ultra breaks away

The back of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra showing its rear camera.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. (Image credit: Future)

If we can assume that most of the Galaxy S22 leaks we've seen so far are accurate – and there have been a lot of very similar ones – then it would appear that the Ultra model is going to be quite distinct from the standard S22 and the S22 Plus editions of the phone.

Well-respected tipsters have predicted that the Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy S22 Plus are going to rock up with triple-lens 50MP+12MP+10MP rear cameras. The configuration on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, meanwhile, is said to be a quad-lens 108MP+12MP+10MP+10MP affair.

Those dual 10MP telephoto lenses will apparently enable an optical zoom level all the way up to 10x, according to those in the know. But the Ultra model will also stand out in terms of its design, with a larger 6.81-inch screen and flatter edges.

In fact, it sounds as though next year the Ultra model will be more like a Galaxy Note phone than a Galaxy S phone – and it may get a name change to reflect that too. It's an appealing prospect, but it's likely to come with a hefty price tag attached as well.

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Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 made me love mobile gaming again

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Cast your mind back to 2008 – the year that saw Apple's groundbreaking iPhone 3G launch alongside its industry-changing App Store. Suddenly, users were able to access a storefront filled with thousands of games that could be instantly downloaded to their handset, essentially granting them a portable phone/gaming device that could be carried with them at all times (and not in a lame Nokia N-Gage way).

I, like many people, jumped into this new gaming landscape with absolute enthusiasm, and over the next few years I would take the opportunity to pull my phone out and play a quick game of Doodle Jump, Real Racing or Monument Valley whenever I had a free moment.

Of course, that enthusiasm would eventually dwindle, leading me to abandon mobile gaming entirely. This was due in large part to the limitations of on-screen controls on tiny mobile displays, along with the aggressive monetisation that would make mobile gaming an insufferable grind for those unwilling to succumb to microtransactions.

So believe me when I say that I'm especially surprised to find myself returning to mobile gaming in a big way in 2021 – something that probably never would've happened if not for the release of Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3.

Suddenly, I felt compelled to take advantage of the foldable device's large inner display and beastly specs, seeking out the most visually impressive games to play on it – I've even purchased a third-party Bluetooth gaming controller dedicated exclusively to smartphones, so there's no going back now.

So without further ado, here are the main reasons why Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3 made me love mobile gaming again.

Its large 7.6-inch display is unbeatable

Gaming on Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

(Image credit: TechRadar / Aquiris Game Studio)

I might be in the minority here, but I find it more or less impossible to get excited about Nintendo's incremental Switch OLED update when I already have access to the (admittedly expensive) Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 – a powerhouse device in its own right with a screen that absolutely wipes the floor with Nintendo's meagre 720p offering. 

Now, I may not be able to play Metroid Dread on the Z Fold 3, but I can play a large number of other games which boast sharper graphics and smoother frame rates. It's not overstating things to say that Nintendo Switch OLED's much-hyped display fails to hold a flickering birthday candle to the Z Fold 3's screen. 

Not only does its inner 7.6-inch OLED display provide a larger screen real estate than the Switch OLED, it also boasts a 1440p resolution and support for ultra smooth 120Hz refresh rates. On top of this, it's incredibly bright, offers blue light-limiting modes and other visibility enhancements, and allows you to tweak color vibrance and white balance to your liking.

It must also be said that the Z Fold 3's more squared aspect ratio works tremendously well on a screen of this size – if the normal 20:9 aspect ratio of phones like the Galaxy S21 Ultra is meant to invoke the feeling of a mini widescreen television, the Galaxy Z Fold 3's inner display is more like the IMAX-expanded equivalent (coincidentally, Zack Snyder's Justice League fits almost perfectly on the Z Fold 3's 11.2:9 screen).

its specs make it a gaming beast

Gaming on Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

(Image credit: TechRadar / Activision Blizzard)

From a performance standpoint, Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3 is at the top of the Android smartphone pack. Its specs read like a list of the best components currently available, with Qualcomm's best Snapdragon 888 chipset powering the device and a hefty 12GB of RAM accompanying it.

Every game that we've tested with customisable settings has played magnificently on Z Fold 3, with such titles as Call of Duty Mobile, Fortnite, PUBG and the gorgeous loot-shooter Shadowgun Legends running at a smooth 60fps on Ultra / Max settings, and options like anti-aliasing and real-time shadows switched on. Certain games, like Call of Duty Mobile and the Diablo Immortal beta, offer downloadable texture packs, making their visuals even more impressive – so long as you have the storage space to spare.

It's also worth noting that the device is 5G compatible, meaning players whose phone plans offer access to 5G speeds get faster, smoother online gameplay when outside of a Wi-Fi network.

A larger display means better on-screen controls

Gaming on Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

(Image credit: TechRadar / Activision Blizzard)

There's also no question that the device's larger display provided this writer with a competitive advantage while playing the likes of Call of Duty Mobile. Enemies were larger and easier to spot on the battlefield, and on-screen controls felt more comfortable to use, given that they were now spaced further apart.

As mentioned earlier, I became so invested in FPS games on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, that I ended up buying myself a third party Bluetooth gaming controller. After some research, I settled on the GameSir X2 Bluetooth Mobile Gaming Controller, as its flat-edged design and expandable backing allowed me to easily fit the larger Z Fold 3 into its clamps. Additionally, its Bluetooth functionality meant that I didn't need the controller to line up exactly with the Z Fold 3's USB Type-C port.

Talk about a gameplay upgrade! While on-screen controls worked well enough, I now had real triggers, buttons and sticks, affording me with Xbox-like gameplay responsiveness. Combined with the advantage given to me by the foldable's large inner display, I became an unstoppable force in every ranked match I played from that point on.

Access to a suite of gaming features

Gaming on Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

(Image credit: TechRadar / Activision Blizzard)

Along with the ability to play graphically intensive games with ease, Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3 also offers a suite of Game Booster tools which can be accessed by simply swiping up from the bottom edge of the display when a game is running.

Aside from allowing you to monitor your device's temperature and memory usage, the Game Booster also allows you to turn on Priority Mode, which is intended to block out distractions, such as incoming calls and notifications. It'll also close background apps which use your network connection to prevent your online gameplay from being hindered.

Additionally, you can connect to Discord via the Game Booster section, and you can also access controls which let you set touch protection, lock the navigation button, take screenshots, record video, download gameplay plugins and more.

It's got powerful stereo speakers

While most handsets are happy to just give you one small speaker alongside their charging ports, the Galaxy Z Fold 3's larger frame allows for two rather large speakers, providing you with surprisingly powerful audio on either side of your device (when played in landscape mode).

We all know that good sound is enough to give you a competitive advantage during online play, and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 absolutely delivers that, even managing to emulate spacial audio thanks to the device's Dolby Atmos functionality. 

Don't get me wrong – the effect isn't as convincing as having proper rear and upfiring speakers, but it absolutely does help you gauge which direction attacks are coming from in the heat of battle.

It's ideal for emulation


What emulation might look like on Galaxy Z Fold 3

A fan-created skin intended for use with DraStic (Image credit: TechRadar)

Although emulation can hardly be considered an official selling point of the device, given that emulators and ROMs are frowned upon by most game publishers and console manufacturers, let us (quietly) tell you that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is an absolutely sublime device for this particular purpose – especially when playing older games in the 4:3 aspect ratio.

Also, the Z Fold 3's ability to fold in the middle, along with its built-in stylus support, make it absolutely perfect for playing games for a certain dual screen handheld gaming device from the past which shall remain nameless (you didn't hear this from us, but the Android app DraStic even lets you import skins which can make your display look nearly identical to the device in question).

Paired with a Bluetooth controller, we found the Galaxy Z Fold 3 excelled in emulating games from the 16-bit and 64-bit era, and even did well with other games from the console generation that followed right after. Many emulators allow you to tweak graphical settings, such as resolution and anti-aliasing, making certain titles look even better than they did originally.

That said, there's room for improvement

So far, each title we've played on the Z Fold 3 has adjusted its aspect ratio to the device seamlessly, however, one issue we've come across is due to the act of switching between the outer and inner displays while a game is already running. 

PUBG, for instance, would sometimes become stretched or squished in the transition between screens, but really, how often would anyone opt to play a game on the outer display anyway? We understand the appeal of ultra-wide gameplay, but ultra-tiny? Not so much.

It's also worth noting that not every game looks better on a large display. The best looking games are the ones which offer adjustable graphics settings, as they're actually designed to take advantage of powerful handsets. Luckily, all of the biggest games available on mobile devices, such as Fortnite, PUBG and Call of Duty Mobile, are among these titles.

Unfortunately, there are still many games which haven't been optimized for large screen devices. We booted up EA's Need For Speed: No LImits only to find that it looked downright fugly on the Z Fold 3. We were also disappointed to find that the immensely popular Genshin Impact seemed to suffer from frame rate issues that were not present when played previously on the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

That said, we imagine that future patches will be able to iron these issues out. Minor inconveniences aside, Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3 offers an unmatched mobile gaming experience which has made this writer excited about the future of the format.

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Microsoft is finally dropping a fix for a frustrating Your Phone issue on Surface Duo 2

Microsoft’s Your Phone app is finally getting a fix for one of its more frustrating limitations on the Surface Duo 2: it can now connect to multiple Windows 11 PCs.

Version 1.21111.176.0-beta_3060351 of the Your Phone app is rolling out on the Google Play Store, allowing users to choose "Add computer" when connecting their mobile phone with their PC through the Android phone app. 

The process isn’t perfect by any means. You still need to manually add each PC to the app, and there’s no “Apps'' support but instead a much less efficient "Phone screen" mode. That being said, the beta support is definitely far better than the alternative.

The Your Phone app was introduced not long after the death knell of the Windows Phone. In the beginning it was a way to allow users to sync text messages and photos from their phone to whichever PC they connected it to. Since then, the app has received tons of support in the form of added features such as access to contact lists, running other apps on the PC, changing settings on the phone from the PC, and more.


Analysis: Other Surface Duo 2 updates on the way

Microsoft has plans to release other upgrades for its recently launched Surface Duo 2. Alongside the Your Phone app fix, the tech giant seems to be adding the inking toolkit to Outlook. The feature had been promised for the phone in the past, but was nowhere to be seen at launch.

And there have been rumors of several December updates including the ability to launch OneNote directly by clicking the Surface Slim Pen's button, a Photos app beta, and being able to choose what display is the default (for single-screen mode). Finally, Windows 11 will be coming to the original Surface Duo according to these same rumors.

Of course, as with any other rumors, keep your expectations in check with these particular rumblings until things are officially confirmed by Microsoft.

Via Windows Central

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Huawei could launch a foldable phone to rival the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Huawei has already dabbled in foldable phones with the Huawei Mate Xs and Mate X2, but it could be changing direction with its next effort: the latest rumor is that Huawei will soon launch a clamshell device in the vein of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.

This leak comes via sources on Chinese social media platform Weibo (via Notebookcheck.net), and mass production has apparently already started on the new phone. That means it could be officially unveiled before the end of the year.

We don't have much more information about what this clamshell phone is going to look like, though it's apparently the manufacture of a simplified hinge that has revealed the device's existence. Let's hope a simpler hinge means a lower price too.

A simplified hinge

The only other detail we get from this particular source is that the foldable phone will come with a "fashionable" design and a "rich" color scheme (if Google Translate can be trusted). It sounds as though the new clamshell will be made to catch the eye.

This is by no means the first time we've heard rumors of a clamshell Huawei foldable phone – we saw patents for this device over a year ago. More recent leaks have suggested that the upcoming handset could be called the Huawei Mate V when it appears.

Due to the ongoing trade restrictions that the US is imposing on Huawei, it is going to have to settle for 4G technology for the time being. The Huawei Mate V could well come running a 4G version of the Snapdragon 888 when it makes its debut.


Analysis: a tale of two form factors

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. (Image credit: Peter Hoffmann)

However you like your foldable phone – as a clamshell you can snap shut, or as a device that opens up like an electronic book – the main appeal is the same. You've got a fully functioning, full size phone that also fits neatly in your pocket.

There's a lot that's different in terms of these two form factors though. The phone-to-tablet transformation ultimately gives you much more in the way of screen space: the display on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, for example, measures a rather impressive 7.6 inches when opened out.

The clamshell form factor, meanwhile, is much more about keeping the dimensions of the device down and making it more convenient to use. The likes of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and the Motorola Razr can be operated with one hand, you'll notice (and can be locked with a pleasing snap as well).

Samsung has decided that it wants to cover both bases with its foldable phone range, and it would appear that Huawei is about to follow suit – and as always, more hardware on the market means a wider choice of devices for consumers to pick from.

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Samsung Galaxy S22 camera specs detailed in new leak

The Samsung Galaxy S22 phones are going to be heading our way early in 2022, and we just got some new information about what to expect from the camera setup on the two more affordable models: the standard S22 and the S22 Plus.

According to well-known tipster @UniverseIce, both of these phones are going to come with the same front and rear camera configurations. On the back, the camera modules will be led by a main 50MP camera, with a 1/1.57-inch sensor, 1µm pixels, and an aperture size of F1.8.

That will apparently be accompanied by a 3x optical zoom 10MP telephoto camera bringing with it a 1/3.94-inch sensor, 1µm pixels, and an aperture size of F2.4. Rounding out the triple-lens rear camera will be a 12MP ultrawide camera (1/2.55-inch sensor, 1.4µm pixels, F2.2 aperture).

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Going ultra

Then there's the selfie camera around the front – this is said to be a 10MP camera with a 1/3.24-inch sensor, 1.4µm pixels, and an F2.2 aperture. As per previous leaks, the Samsung Galaxy S range of phones won't be making the switch to in-display selfie cameras until 2023 at least.

The same source also confirms the screen sizes for these two phones that we were already expecting: the Samsung Galaxy S22 is going to come with a 6.06-inch display, while the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus is said to have a 6.55-inch screen attached.

This particular leak doesn't mention anything about the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, but from previous rumors it looks as though we'll get a 108MP main camera as well as 10x optical zoom in a quad-lens rear array – so significantly better than the other two handsets in this range.


Analysis: the S22 cameras come into focus

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus. (Image credit: TechRadar)

There's always a certain point in the rumor cycle for a particular smartphone when we start to get the same information over and over again from different sources. That means we're able to be more certain that these leaks are in fact accurate.

It looks as though we're starting to get to that point with the Galaxy S22, and in particular the camera modules. A rear camera of 50MP+12MP+10MP now looks very likely, with 3x optical zoom and ultrawide capabilities, plus a 10MP selfie camera on the front.

The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus brought with them 64MP+12MP+12MP rear camera arrays, but megapixels aren't everything: Samsung will be hoping to improve image quality and light capture with tweaks to the sizes of the sensors and individual pixels.

We should know for sure at some point in February. The word on the Samsung street is that the launch of the Galaxy S22 series has been pushed back to the second month in 2022 in order to make room for the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE in January.

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European operators want tech firms to help fund 5G and fibre rollouts

Several of Europe’s largest telecommunications firms have called for large technology companies to contribute to the cost of rolling out fibre and 5G across the continent, arguing that the current situation is unsustainable.

Although next generation networks offer significant opportunities for operators to increase revenues through faster speeds and new services – particularly in the business market – there is increasing dissatisfaction among operators about the present situation.

They argue that services such as Netflix, Facebook, and YouTube benefit greatly from investments in network infrastructure without sharing the associated risk, effort, and expense of construction.

European operators 

Furthermore, they believe it is these services that are driving huge growth in network traffic that makes such upgrades necessary.

In a letter signed by the chief executives of Telefonica, Orange, KPN, BT, Telekom Austria, Vivacom, Proximus, Telenor, Altice Portugal, Telia and Swisscom seen by Reuters, they said:  

"A large and increasing part of network traffic is generated and monetized by big tech platforms, but it requires continuous, intensive network investment and planning by the telecommunications sector.

"This model – which enables EU citizens to enjoy the fruits of the digital transformation – can only be sustainable if such big tech platforms also contribute fairly to network costs.”

The letter also criticises the high cost of spectrum auctions and plans by the EU to scrap charges on calls made between member states, arguing both measures also restrict their abilities to invest in networks.

Earlier this month, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, TIM and Vodafone urged EU policymakers to help fund developments in OpenRAN R&D and testing and to incentivise supply chain diversity by lowering the barriers to entry.

Via Reuters

If you're looking for a new phone then you should check out our best 5G mobile phone deals 

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra case images show off its weird new camera design

The design of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has been extensively leaked now, with even case makers getting in on the act, and the latest selection of images do a good job of showing off the likely look.

Shared by @UniverseIce (a leaker with a solid track record) the images below show the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in (and out of) a transparent case. The phone is shown in a purple shade – so that might be one of the colors that the Galaxy S22 Ultra will be sold in.

Beyond the color, you’ll note the curved edges, the Samsung logo, and on the bottom edge you can make out an S Pen slot, while on the left side there's volume and power buttons.

Image 1 of 2

An unofficial image of a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra next to a case

(Image credit: @UniverseIce)
Image 2 of 2

An unofficial image of a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in a case

(Image credit: @UniverseIce)

The camera though is arguably the most notable design feature. It includes four lenses, a flash and a laser autofocus sensor, with everything except the flash jutting out of the back of the phone.

The design here exactly lines up with what we've seen before, and while some early leaks suggested the Galaxy S22 Ultra's camera might be housed in a block rather than the individual lenses sticking out, it looks increasingly like the design shown above is actually what we'll get, with every recent leak showing this.

We would of course take this with a pinch of salt though, as it’s not clear where these images were sourced, and even if they’ve come straight from a case maker it’s still possible that they’re based on leaks rather than inside information.

Opinion: a change, but not for the better

The new camera design shown on these unofficial Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra images is quite a change from the setup Samsung used on the Galaxy S21 Ultra. That has a rectangular metal camera block housing the lenses, and the color of this provides a contrast with the rest of the back.

Here, not only do you not get the contrast, but the lenses arguably look a bit more awkward, and potentially more vulnerable to damage.

It also seems slightly odd that the rest of the Samsung Galaxy S22 range – from what we’ve seen so far – appears to stick with the old camera design.

Changing the design could make sense, given that Samsung has used similar camera blocks for a couple of years now, but we’re just not sold on the specific way it’s seemingly been changed here – or the fact that only model appears to have a new camera design.

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Chinese smartphone brands slip in China – but India is different

The irony is interesting. Chinese smartphone-makers are slipping in their home turf but seem to be doing rather well in a place where they weren't expected to --- India. Chinese brands' loss in their country is a gain for Apple, where it has put it past Vivo in October 2021 to become the largest smartphone brand for the first time since December 2015.

As per Counterpoint Research’s Monthly Market Pulse Service, Apple’s sales grew 46% MoM, driven as it was by the demand for the iPhone 13 series. For the record, the iPhone 13 series was launched cheaper than the iPhone 12 series in China. 

Overall, China’s smartphone market grew only 2% MoM in October.

Chinese companies make the most out of Make in India campaign

Though the numbers for India for the corresponding period (October) are still to arrive, the previous months' stats establish that the Chinese brands continue to flourish even though there is a larger anti-China sentiment persisting since last year when Indian banned several of its apps

According to market research, all the Chinese brands put together held a whopping 79% share across segments in the previous quarter in India.

Individually, Xiaomi led the market in the second quarter of 2021 with a 28% shipment share in India. The brand registered its highest-ever ASP (average selling price) in a single quarter due to the strong performance of the Mi 11 series.

Samsung captured the second spot with an 18% share. But it was again a Chinese brand, Vivo, that got the third place with a 15% share.

In the second quarter, Realme became the fastest brand to reach 50 million cumulative smartphone shipments in India. 

In the premium segment, things were no different. Another Chinese brand OnePlus led the market (> Rs 30,000) with a 34% share.

Brands like Xiaomi and Realme were able to maintain high volumes in India because of their better online reach. 

More importantly, they have shed the image of being Chinese companies as most of them have managed to make the most out of their local production facilities.

Chinese companies benefiting out of Make in India initiative nicely completes the circle of irony.

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Chinese smartphone brands slip in China – but India is different

The irony is interesting. Chinese smartphone-makers are slipping in their home turf but seem to be doing rather well in a place where they weren't expected to --- India. Chinese brands' loss in their country is a gain for Apple, where it has put it past Vivo in October 2021 to become the largest smartphone brand for the first time since December 2015.

As per Counterpoint Research’s Monthly Market Pulse Service, Apple’s sales grew 46% MoM, driven as it was by the demand for the iPhone 13 series. For the record, the iPhone 13 series was launched cheaper than the iPhone 12 series in China. 

Overall, China’s smartphone market grew only 2% MoM in October.

Chinese companies make the most out of Make in India campaign

Though the numbers for India for the corresponding period (October) are still to arrive, the previous months' stats establish that the Chinese brands continue to flourish even though there is a larger anti-China sentiment persisting since last year when Indian banned several of its apps

According to market research, all the Chinese brands put together held a whopping 79% share across segments in the previous quarter in India.

Individually, Xiaomi led the market in the second quarter of 2021 with a 28% shipment share in India. The brand registered its highest-ever ASP (average selling price) in a single quarter due to the strong performance of the Mi 11 series.

Samsung captured the second spot with an 18% share. But it was again a Chinese brand, Vivo, that got the third place with a 15% share.

In the second quarter, Realme became the fastest brand to reach 50 million cumulative smartphone shipments in India. 

In the premium segment, things were no different. Another Chinese brand OnePlus led the market (> Rs 30,000) with a 34% share.

Brands like Xiaomi and Realme were able to maintain high volumes in India because of their better online reach. 

More importantly, they have shed the image of being Chinese companies as most of them have managed to make the most out of their local production facilities.

Chinese companies benefiting out of Make in India initiative nicely completes the circle of irony.

Posted in Uncategorised

Samsung Galaxy S22 phone sizes shown off in latest image leaks

We've already seen a plethora of leaks around the Samsung Galaxy S22, but we're happy to add another one to the pile: new pictures show off what look to be official screen protectors for all three phones in the range, giving us an idea of their front-facing design and their relative sizes.

These come from prolific and reliable tipster @UniverseIce, so it's more likely than not that they're the real deal. The clues that they give us match up with what we've seen from previous leaks and rumors as well.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is clearly the largest of the three smartphones, and takes a more Galaxy Note-like approach to its design, with squared corners – in fact, there has been talk that the S22 Ultra is actually going to adopt the Note moniker this time.

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Selfie cameras

Based on previous rumors, we're expecting the standard Galaxy S22 to have a 6.06-inch screen, the Galaxy S22 Plus to have a 6.55-inch screen, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra to have a 6.81-inch screen. That fits in with these new images that have found their way online.

These screen protectors also confirm that all three models are going to come with punch hole selfie cameras cut out of the front display. As per earlier leaks, under-display front-facing cameras are going to have to wait until the Galaxy S23 update (or perhaps even later than that).

Screen protector accessory leaks like this one aren't the most revealing, but it does mean that we've got more evidence for some of the rumors we've been hearing about these phones. As for a launch date, they're likely to be arriving in February 2022.


Analysis: the Samsung empire strikes back?

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. (Image credit: Future)

We've seen strong showings from Apple and Google in recent months, with both the iPhone 13 and the Pixel 6 impressing us and attracting lots of interest from smartphone buyers – and that means the next Samsung Galaxy S series phones are going to be up against some stiff competition.

Like just about every other company on the planet, Samsung has been affected by the ongoing pandemic over the last 18 months. Add in the global electronic chip shortage and it's no surprise that the Galaxy Note 21 was canceled and the Galaxy S21 FE is appearing later than we expected it to.

With that recent history in mind, it's going to be interesting to see what Samsung is able to offer consumers with the Galaxy S22 range. These phones will of course be faster and better than ever, but just how much better they'll be than their Galaxy S21 equivalents remains to be seen.

It looks very much as though the Galaxy S22 Ultra is going to fill the Note-shaped void in Samsung's 2022 line-up, and it would seem to be the most interesting phone of the three – complete with support for the S Pen stylus and a more advanced rear camera.

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These iPhone 13 deals lead the Black Friday sales this year

The Apple iPhone 13 has predictably been one of the most sought after products of Black Friday 2021, and the deals have been...OK. We haven't seen the kind of jaw-dropping discounts of years gone by, but there have definitely been savings to be made.

If we were buying one (and we may very well do!), we'd probably go for one of the two best options that Mobiles.co.uk are pushing this year. Starting at £32 per month on Vodafone, you won't be left wanting for data, calls or texts.

Then again, if you're happy to commit to the same tariff for the next three years, Sky Mobile can go even cheaper. The bills are almost as cheap, with the benefit of a free handset, too.

Below you'll find our favourite five iPhone 13 deals of Black Friday 2021.

2021's top 5 Black Friday iPhone 13 deals

iPhone 13: at Mobiles.co.uk | Vodafone | £150 upfront (with code 10OFF) | 200GB data | unlimited minutes and texts | £32/pm
If you have a bit of cash to splash upfront, then you won't do much better than this tariff from Mobiles.co.uk. Our 10OFF discount code brings the upfront price down to £150, but the £32 monthly bills are very tempting indeed.

iPhone 13: at Mobiles.co.uk | Vodafone | £29 upfront (with code 10OFF) | unlimited data, minutes and texts | £40/pm
200GB data not enough? Or has the chunky upfront spend put you off? Then £30 now will get you the iPhone 13, unlimited data every month and reasonable monthly payments of £40.

iPhone 13: at iD Mobile | £19 upfront (with code IDM10OFF) | unlimited data, minutes and texts | £38.99/pm
Another unlimited data deal, but even cheaper thanks to iD Mobile. Use the code above to bring the upfront spend down to less than £20, then after that you're left with monthly bills of just £38.99. For that price, you'll get all the data you like.

iPhone 13: at Sky | FREE upfront | From £33pm
Sky Mobile really comes into its own if you don't mind going from a 2-year to a 3-year phone contract. It costs you £27 per month with nothing to pay at the start, and then you add the data limit to suit you. So if you can cope on 2GB, then the monthlies are £33. But the best value is if you go for 60GB of data, which makes the whole thing £42 per month. Plus, after two years, you can upgrade to a newer model for free.

iPhone 13: at Affordable Mobiles | O2 | FREE upfront (with code TRBF25) | 400GB data | unlimited minutes and texts | £45/pm
Changing up the network, this tariff could be the perfect option for you. And because it's on O2, it means you get 6 months of Disney Plus thrown in absolutely free. The network just cranked up the data from 250GB to 400GB, so no excuses for not streaming more Star Wars, Marvel, Simpsons and Pixar.

What is the iPhone 13 like?

The iPhone 13 is the main device of Apple's four 2021 models, sitting in between the Pro models and the mini, offering a blend of affordability and specs, as well as a slightly larger design than the mini for those put off by its size.

It includes Apple's A15 Bionic chip, the same durable glass display, dual camera technology and more. The main differences is its larger and slightly brighter display as well as featuring a larger battery.

The iPhone 13 has a dual camera set-up but those two lenses are the best we've seen from Apple so far. This is mostly in internal improvements to processing, drastically improving low light ability and ability to stop blur.

TechRadar is scouring every retailer and rounding up all the top deals over the Black Friday period, and we’ve put all the best Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals in easy-to-navigate articles to help you find the bargains you’re looking for.

More Black Friday deals in the UK

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