Browse Month: March 2012

FLA finds three Foxconn factories guilty of breaking labour laws – factory workers overworked

The Fair Labour Association (FLA) has found that three Foxconn factories have broken labour laws, overworking factory workers, which goes over the overtime limit required by law. Foxconn is mainly responsible for manufacturing Apple products such as the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2.

The FLA investigators uncovered that in time of peak production weekly working hours exceeded not only the FLA’s standard but Chinese legal limits as well. This was the case in all three factories. There were even cases when Foxconn required workers to work for more than 7 days non-stop, when employees are required by law to take at least a 24-hour break. Overtime pay was also subject to criticism.

FLA’s report says, “The FLA also discovered that 14 per cent of workers may not receive fair compensation for unscheduled overtime. The assessment found that unscheduled overtime was only paid in 30-minute increments. This means, for example, that 29 minutes of overtime work results in no pay and 58 minutes results in only one unit of overtime pay.”

Following FLA’s report, Foxconn promises to improve working conditions and a pay increase for workers. It has also promised to fully comply with FLA standards and Chinese legal limits by July of 2013. This means that working hours will be brought down to the legal limit of 49 weekly working hours (including over time). Monthly overtime hours will be reduced from 80 hours to 36 hours.

We only hope Foxconn lives up to its promise.


Nano-SIM vote postponed – rivals slug it out

The ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) was scheduled to vote whether to Apple’s or its rivals nano-SIM technology would be the industry standard. However, according to the BBC, the ruling has been postponed until the end of June, due to the squabbling of rivals.

In a surprise move, Apple offered its nano-SIM tech royalty-free, just as long as its tech becomes the standard. Nokia, however, threatened to withhold crucial patents if ever Apple’s tech was chosen.

Nokia claims that their nano-SIM is 23% smaller, which they say adheres more to ETSI’s strict requirements. Nokia is supported by both RIM (Research In Motion) and Motorola Mobility, which is in the process of being acquired by Google. Furthermore, RIM is accusing Apple of registering its European subsidiaries to rig the votes in their favour.

One of the ETSI’s requirements is that these nano-SIMs must not confuse the consumer into thinking that they are similar to current SIMs. This is to prevent the consumer from accidentally damaging their devices by inserting the wrong type of SIM. Currently, there is the original SIM, which we are all familiar with. Another is the micro-SIM, which is used by the iPhone 4S and the Nokia Lumia 800.

The Finnish firm argues that Apple’s nano-SIM is around the same length of the width of micro-SIMs, which it feels is the reason why Apple’s nano-SIM does not meet ETSI’s requirements.

If ever Apple’s tech is approved, Nokia threatens to withhold over 50 patent families that it feels are crucial to the technology. Speaking to BBC, Nokia’s director of communications, Mark Durrant, says, “We are not prepared to get into a position where our technology is used to implement a standard that is technologically inferior, and doesn’t meet ETSI’s own requirements.”

Apple failed to comment.

What do you make of these squabbles between Apple, Nokia, RIM, and Motorola? Give us your thoughts.


Ice Cream Sandwich for Sony Ericsson XPERIA handsets delayed until mid-April

If you own a Sony Ericsson XPERIA handset, you may be wondering when the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) update will be rolling out to your phone. Sadly, Sony announced that the ICS update for its XPERIA range will be delayed until mid-April instead of March. Some handsets will not receive the update until summer.

The ICS update will first roll out to the Arc S, Neo V, and Ray in mid-April. The update will roll out from four to six weeks. This means that your phone may receive the update from mid-April to June.

The next phones to receive the update will be the Arc, Play, Neo, Mini Pro, Active, and Live with Walkman. The update will roll out to these phones towards the end of May or early in June. It too will roll out to the handsets in a span of four to six weeks.

The update will not be released OTA (over the air). Instead, Sony will be rolling out the ICS update via PC Companion or Bridge for Mac. Furthermore, your phone will not receive a notification one the update is ready. This means you’ll have to constantly check manually for the update.

Are you enraged the ICS update for your Sony Ericsson XPERA handset has been delayed? Give us your thoughts through a comment.


O2 offers On & On – unlimited calls and text 1 GB of data from £26 a month

Good news for people who just can’t get enough of talking on the phone or sending text messages. O2 now offers On & On, a tariff offering unlimited calls and text plus 1 GB of data for £26 a month (SIM-only). If you want a phone to go with the package, it’s £36 a month.

With the SIM-only option, all you have to do is slip the SIM in your existing handset to enjoy unlimited calls and text. If you’re looking for a new phone, £36 a month will get you a Samsung Galaxy S2, a Sony XPERIA S, or the Nokia Lumia 800.

If you’re opting for a new phone, the package comes with a 24-month contract. So if being tied down to a contract doesn’t sit well with you, the SIM-only option is the way to go. Besides, not being tied down to a contract means that you get to buy a SIM-free version of the latest phones out there instead of having to wait for two years to for an upgrade. True, the Galaxy S2, the XPERIA S, and the Lumia 800 are high-end handsets, but there are a number of new phones scheduled to launch in the coming months such as the Galaxy S3. This means that you might regret getting one of the three once the new releases come out.

Have you opted to go for the £26 a month SIM-only package from O2, or did you opt to get the tariff with a new phone for £36 a month? Let us know through a comment.


Silver Sony Xperia P joins the Xperia S and U on O2 deals

The third smart phone from Sony’s new ‘NXT’ series has been released, joining the flagship Xperia S and budget Xperia U the new Sony Xperia P sits slap bang in the middle and is now available on O2 contract deals with further network launches on Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone expected very soon.

This first colour scheme of the Sony Xperia P is the silver edition with a black and red model soon to join the range, deals on O2 start with line rental prices of £13.50 and a free phone is available on O2 100 at £18.50 which allocates 100MB of data, 500 SMS and 100 minutes of calls to use each month, to sweeten this offer even further there is currently £20 automatic cash back available with the package.

Sony Xperia P Silver
Sony Xperia P Silver

The silver Xperia P has a slightly smaller touch screen display than the Sony Xperia S at 4 inches compared with 4.8, it uses the same BRAVIA engine graphics but also includes a screen technology called ‘WhiteMagic’ which adds in a fourth white sub-pixel and reacts to surrounding light conditions, with a 540 x 960 pixel resolution the Xperia P won’t play back video on-screen in HD like the S model but with the help of a clever docking station it can be hooked up to an HD TV via an HDMI cable and connect to USB keyboards so could even me used as a PC at home.

The housing of the phone is manufactured from aluminium and uses a unibody design which results in a modern and durable finish, this silver edition looks especially sleek with a minimalistic design approach which just sees the camera lens on the back of the phone.

Run by a dual core 1GHz processor with 1GB of RAM the Xperia P has an 8 mega pixel camera which can capture full 1080p HD video and features the same Exmor-R low light technology as all four handsets in the ‘NXT’ range (the other ‘yet to be released’ phone is the Sony Xperia Sola), the camera also features 3D sweep panorama mode, LED flash, auto focus and 8 x digital zoom.

On board is 16GB of memory for storing pictures, videos and music and with access to the Google Play shop there’s plenty of room for saving downloaded applications, running Android 2.3 Sony have confirmed that the Xperia P will get an update to the 4.0 instalment of the new HTC One X, S and V in the summer.

Sony Xperia P Silver deals

Sony Xperia P deals

Sony Xperia P Red