Not so long ago, the mobile technology arena was alive with rumours of something bigger than all we had ever seen before. Every major phone manufacturer was preparing for it, every major service provider had to ensure they had at least some handle on it, and every marketing guru in the country was rejoicing at the possibilities it will present. These rumours became a reality and the age of “3G” was upon us - the third generation of mobile technology allowing streaming video to be exchanged over the mobile network. Despite all this talk of video and wider bandwidth, one network decided to come out with something different again, utilising current technology in a different manner. Thus “Vodafone live!” was born.
Vodafone live! is a service that pulls together all the best parts of pre-3G technology. It is based off WAP over GPRS but is different in the fact that it connects to one centralised site with links to specialised features. There is no searching through several WAP sites to find what you need, no need for pages full of bookmarks of your favourite WAP sites; it is all available on one site which has been specially designed to meet every mobile need. Vodafone quoted their Vodafone live! as “... a place where your mobile phone becomes a camera, a newspaper, a sports reporter, a games console, a pocket DJ and your access to the best of mobile internet.”
But yes, I can hear the cynical among you saying “This is nothing new! We’ve had things like this for a while now”. Then again you are partially correct. WAP has been available for quite some time, offering news and sports and entertainment, but never has it come together in quite the same comprehensive way that Vodafone is presenting. Not convinced? Read on as I delve into the exciting depths of Vodafone live!
First up, the service is only available in Australia at the moment on the Sharp GX10 handset (and the Panasonic GD87 if brought from another Vodafone Live! network overseas). Whilst this sounds very narrow minded and monopolistic, it actually works to an advantage as all the content is then custom made for the handset and vice versa. A very smart move to keep things simple.
The handset is a pleasure to use. The 65K-colour LCD screen amply displays the big colour menu icons, and the 4-way (North-South-East-West) navigation pad combined with 3 action keys (one in the centre of the “compass” and 2 under the bottom corners of the screen) make for easy navigation of menus and options. Everything is logically placed menu-wise and everything is easily accessible. For more in depth on this handset see the
Sharp GX10 review.
A Picture is worth a 1,000 words
First noticeable item (probably because it’s the first item in the menu!) is probably the camera and its associated features. Without going too far into the merits of the camera (again, see the review) it does the job nicely. The entire screen is used as a view-finder and there’s even a handy mirror next to the lens for the tricky self-portrait type shots. There is space for a large number of pictures on board the phone and you can even choose three different resolutions of picture for memory economy. Once taken, the photos can be saved and/or sent. You can send your happy snaps, along with text and a short voice clip, via MMS to any compatible phone (for a flat fee of 75 cents). Or alternatively you can send them directly via emails, worldwide, of course! Your happy snaps also can be used as the wallpaper for your phone allowing you to carry a picture of your beloved dog around your belt all day long!
Let’s face it, the two gadgets that most people never leave home without, are the cellular phone and the digital audio player. Hence, it makes sense in combining the two devices into one convenient package... more...