Home Blog

Disney+ set to launch in Ireland a week earlier than expected!

We’ve got great news Disney, Pixar & Marvel fans of Ireland! Disney have just announced that their new streaming service Disney + is going to launch in Ireland a week earlier than they previously announced. The service which launched in the US back in November and gave us the Baby Yoda meme will launch in Ireland on March 24, with Disney confirming that its streaming service will cost €6.99 per month for Irish subscribers.

Image result for baby yoda meme

Content Galore

Originally the Disney + release date was supposed to be March 31st for the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Ireland but luckily this has been brought forward to the 24th. One extra week of Disney, oh yes! Disney + will feature a pile of content from Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic films and other tv shows, will also offer a €69.99 annual subscription if you’d rather than instead of the €6.99 monthly charge.

So we are being promised the full catalog of content from across the Disney brand and unlike Netflix it seems like this won’t be country specific. That also means we will get all of the Disney + originals based on some of their existing portfolio such as a modernized Lady & The Tramp,  The Mandalorian, a western set in the Star Wars universe, and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.

Better yet, Disney + will be a totally advertising free regardless of whether you’re on mobile, TV, console or laptops….unlike the disaster that is our very own RTE player.

At any point in time Disney + will allow 4 users to stream at the same time and will include unlimited downloads on up to 10 devices. The app also comes with personalised recommendations as well as the ability to create seven different profiles, including kids profiles with access limited to age-appropriate content. Sounds very similar to Netflix right?

So what does this mean for Netflix?

Well Disney have already confirmed that Disney + will be the only place to stream the entire back catalog and will be the home for films released by them in 2020 and beyond. That means that any Disney titles found on Netflix or Now TV won’t be sticking around for long.

We have already seen Netflix Ireland stripped off all it’s Disney/Pixar content in the lead up to this release as Disney try to gain a foothold in household entertainment within the thriving streaming market. What’s interesting is that the Disney + release did have a knock on effect for Netflix, sure they 58.3m paid subscribers at present, but 10m people reportedly signed up to Disney+ on the first day of launch in the US in November, growing its domestic audience to more than 30m by the end of 2019 with a good portion of these people claiming they have wiped their Netflix account in favour of Disney +.

Netflix are expected to release their annual financial results soon, it will be interesting to see how much of an impact had Disney on their streaming service and whether it’s a trend we should expect to see in Ireland.

Garda Website Showed Incorrect Information About Electric Scooters

electric scooters ireland

I’ve been walking to the office again for the past month or so. Last month, I learned that an electric scooter rider had been given five penalty points for driving uninsured. For me, that was the final straw. I could no longer risk riding to the office on my scooter because the legal precedent had been set. But has the person who’s received five penalty points and a €300 fine been hard done by? I’ve submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Road Safety Authority of Ireland and can confirm the website of An Garda Siochana did display incorrect information which suggested electric scooters were legal on Irish roads.

A quiet change

From the Freedom of Information request I submitted to the RSA, I found that on 16 July 2019, the Principal Officer from the Department of Transport wrote to An Garda Siochana, informing them that the Garda website was displaying information that was “not correct” and that “may cause confusion” with the following information regarding the use of eScooters:

“The use of these types of scooters has become very popular in recent years, especially with children. The legal position is that if one of these scooters can be powered by mechanical or electrical power alone, and does not require pedalling or scooting for propulsion, then the scooter is considered to be a mechanically propelled vehicle (MPV) in terms of road traffic legislation, irrespective of engine capacity. If such scooters are to be used in any public place, they require insurance and road tax as with any other MPV. The driver would also require a driving licence and is obliged to wear a crash helmet. If the user of such a scooter cannot fulfil these legal requirements, then the scooter should only be used on private property”.

The bold text was specifically highlighted and the “correct position: outlined as the following:

“The Road Traffic Act 1961 defines a mechanically propelled vehicle as a vehicle intended or adapted for propulsion by mechanical means, including a bicycle or tricycle with an attachment for propelling it by mechanical power, whether or not the attachment is being used. It also includes a vehicle the means of propulsion of which is electrical, or partly electrical and partly mechanical. eScooters and suchlike vehicles fall into this category and are therefore considered to be mechanically propelled vehicles. Any users of such vehicles in a public place (as defined in the Road Traffic Act 1961) must have insurance, motor tax and a driving licence, with penalties under road traffic laws (including fixed charge notices, penalty points, fines and possible seizure of the vehicle) for not being in compliance with these requirements. As it is currently not possible to tax or insure eScooters etc., they are not considered suitable for use in a public place”.

A copy of this mail was also sent to the CEO of the RSA.

The website was then quietly updated which posted a problem for electric scooter riders who were already carrying slips of paper from the Garda website to show them why scooters were road legal.

Here’s one such slip of paper getting an electric scooter rider back on the road.

What’s the significance?

The Road Safety Authority doesn’t make the laws. I was informed of this one day when a member of Garda Traffic pulled me over while riding my electric scooter. I discussed electric scooters with the Garda and the grey area I believe they operated in because of the requirement to scoot for propulsion. He disagreed with me, but he still told me to go along my way and that another Garda might have have been so lenient.

This same grey area is where another electric scooter rider found themselves debating with a Garda on the roadside. Their outcome was very different. They had their scooter seized and, after their day in court, they were given five penalty points and a €300 fine.

I’ve used the term grey area, but I think I’m being unfair on myself and other scooter riders prior to the Garda website being updated. That highlighted line more or less allows for certain models of scooters which require a human start.

and does not require pedalling or scooting for propulsion

But I don’t want to simply argue about that grey area any more.

The problem here is not the RSA, electric scooter riders or even the Gardai. The problem here is that there are thousands of electric scooters on our roads today with many users not even knowing they are deemed to be illegal. In fact, many riders would have bought their scooters last year after reviewing the Garda website only to find information on this site saying that electric scooters fall outside the classification of MPV because you need to scoot to start them. This was quietly removed, leaving these scooter riders without a leg to stand on.

So what now?

What we need is action from the Department of Transport and Shane Ross. Consider this by public plea, during election times, for Minister Ross to get a move on as he has been sitting on that electric scooter report for months and public consultation has closed but still he has taken no further action.

Poor air quality in Dublin has been linked to poor health. I regularly pass bus and Luas stops heaving with people. Sometimes, buses just won’t stop because they’re full. While I love the exercise I get walking, I would probably get the Luas only for it’s a horrible experience. It’s unreliable and overcrowded.

The electric scooter isn’t a scourge. It’s arguably one of the most logical modes of transport for inner-city workers like me. How it’s taking this long to legalise them when countries like Sweden, Germany and France have already taken the leap is beyond me.

Ultimately, it’s only a matter of time until more scooter riders and stopped and given penalty points and fines because our laws are archaic.

General Election 2020 – Make Sure You’re Registered

Saturday February 8th..the date of the big General Election. By the sounds of it on social media, most of the country seems rather done with Leo and his Fianna Gaelers while there seems to more of an appetite towards voting than we have seen in a long time. Homelessness, Universal Social Charge, Teachers & Farmers strikes, Healthcare and more, people want better and deserve better but if you aren’t registered to vote than you are missing out on your chance to make a difference. Remember this, your name must be entered on the Register of Electors, which is compiled by your Local Authority and contrary to belief, you are not automatically registered when you turn 18. So how do you make sure you are registered to vote and more importantly how do you get registered if you aren’t already on the list?

Check The Register

Image result for check the register

There are two different ways to check the register, one is to ask to see the Register of Electors at your local post office, Garda station, library or city or county council offices but obviously we’re a tech site so let’s focus on that side of things. Checktheregister.ie is the place to go and check if you are registered to vote. Simply key in your province, County/County Council, Eircode and your name. Then bish, bash, bosh, the system will tell you if you’re good to go.

All residents of the Republic of Ireland regardless of nationality or citizenship must be at least 18 years of age on 15 February, the day the Register comes into force. You must also have been ordinarily resident in the State on 1 September in the year before the Register comes into force.

How To Register

Image result for general election 2020

If you aren’t on the register and you intend on voting then it’s time to get registered. Don’t tell us “oh sure it doesn’t matter, X will just get in anyway” well yeah sure they will if there are enough people who feel disillusioned and don’t bother voting. So every vote counts and if you want a change or things to stay the same (whatever you’re having) then it’s really important that you get on the register.

Registration forms can be found online through this link on Vote.ie or of course, you can get them from you’re local post office, library, county council and Garda station. Worst case scenario, you can get yourself on what’s called the Supplementary Register until 14 working days before polling day. There’s a form you can get from any of the usual places called the RFA2 which needs to be witnessed by a gaurd, grand same as passports and the likes so nothing to worry about. What’s important to note is that the closing date for the receipt of these is 14 working days before the Election and is published in local and National Newspapers in the run-up to the General Election.

For a better country for all of us, we all need to use our right to vote, regardless of our beliefs, teams or thoughts and we hope that this teeny tiny article helps make sure you’re registered in time for the 2020 General Election.

Google Pixel 4 Review: Google’s Fourth Attempt At Their Own Smartphone

I’ve been a massive fan of Google Pixel phones for years. On paper, they are probably one of the best all-round smartphones on the market. After years of waiting, last year, the first Google Pixel, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL, finally launched in Ireland. Later, the simply remarkable Pixel 3a launched too to round off a great year for Google coming to Ireland. In the latter half of 2019, Google brought the Pixel 4 to market and I’ve been testing it out ever since. Here’s what I thought of it.

Pixel 4 Design

Google has taken some radical approaches to design with its latest flagship smartphone. The first thing I noticed was the lack of a fingerprint scanner anywhere on the phone. I looked on the back, on the power button and was left assuming it was under the screen, as is all the rage these days. But no, there isn’t one. Instead, the Pixel 4 relies on facial recognition – more on that later.

pixel 4 in korea
Picture of the Google Pixel 4 taken in Samcheong-dong, Seoul, South Korea.

The standout design feature for me is Google’s approach to the notch. Rather unusually, they’ve just killed it completely. Now, given the requirement for serious tech to recognise faces, this makes sense. The result is a phone with a big forehead and chin. To be honest, much, like I was surprised by being blind to notches, the inclusion of a forehead and chin really made no impact to my use of the phone. I was testing the slimmer version of the two Pixel 4 phones and I’ve got to say it’s a lovely looking phone even with this unusual design choice. If you’re after a slimmer phone, design-wise you’re onto a winner here.

Beyond these key features of the design, The Pixel 4 does have a rather unusual camera array with a corner quadrant. Again, while it initially looks unusual, it’s not at all off-putting. All in all, The design of the Pixel 4 shows Google is willing to stand along on certain elements of smartphone design, an important point in a world where phones are struggling to be unique.

Pixel 4 Camera

As was the case with previous Pixel phones, Google promised big with the Pixel 4 camera. Personally, I couldn’t see much improvement from the Pixel 3XL I reviewed last year. Now, that’s not a bad thing because the Pixel 3XL camera was incredible. Google did add a telephoto lens but didn’t add an Ultra-wide angle lens which has almost become a must-have feature in smartphone photography these days.

My mobile shooter of choice is the Huawei P30 Pro and it’s hard to hold any smartphone up against that phone’s camera. Here’s how the two stack up against each other.

One mighty feature on the Pixel 4 is Night Mode. While Huawei does have this feature too, Google manages to make this shooting mode lightning quick. The P30 Pro night shooting mode always feels like it takes an age which can lead to bad shots of moving objects. Here’s a comparison of the two modes on both industry-leading smartphone cameras.

I feel the P30 Pro does capture more detail and even arguably delivers a better shot, but the speed the Pixel 4 delivers this shot at is important to note.

The only additional point I’d make here on camera is that the same camera could very well feature in a Pixel 4a this year. If it does, you’ll once again have the chance to get a great camera at a great price.

Pixel 4 Hardware

When it comes to hardware on the Pixel 4, we’ve got to discuss the screen. The Google Pixel 4’s 5.7-inch screen boasts an impressive 90Hz refresh rate for silky smooth screen transitions. For many, this is a nothing feature but considering this phone supports the new Google Stadia gaming platform, it’s a must-have feature for gamers.

The Pixel also features a very random feature called Quick Gestures. This means that waving your hand in front of the phone can skip through Spotify tracks without touching your phone. It’s a bit gimmicky and I feel it inclusion only came thanks to the extra space afforded by going notchless.

Which brings me to the lack of a fingerprint sensor. It’s a brave move by Google and I can confirm it’s largely paid off. I think it was only once while testing the phone that I needed to type in my pin as a result of the phone not registering that I was staring at it.

Finally, we come to what I have to describe as the most disappointing feature of the Pixel 4 – battery. The Pixel 4 has a 2800 mAh battery and when I saw that number I was worried, left hoping Google has some smart battery management up their sleeve. Unfortunately, they don’t. I was struggling to get a full day from my Pixel with it really only delivering mid-range battery performance. It’s an aspect of the phone which, for me, really leaves the Pixel 4 teetering on the edge of being a flagship.

Is The Google Pixel 4 a Good Phone? The Verdict

In short, yes. The Google Pixel 4 is a good phone. But it’s not a great phone. Last year’s Pixel was a great phone. I’m conscious of the fact that I tested the regular Pixel versus the XL this year, but for me, that was actually a positive. If you’re after a smaller phone with big spec, the Pixel 4 might be exactly what you’re after.

If you’re a power phone user who wants a phone that does it all, I’m afraid the Pixel 4, and likely even the Pixel 4 XL, will pack enough punch for you. Considering the fact the Google Pixel 4 remains quite pricey when weighed up against nearest competitors, it’s a much harder sell this year versus the Pixel 3 series, unless you want that smaller flagship which Google now owns.

You can now buy the Pixel 4 series is directly from Google Ireland.

 

 

 

TikTok Frequently Asked Questions: Everything You Need To Know About The New Social Media Platform

tiktok faqs

This past week, TikTok announced that they would be creating 100 jobs in Ireland. Naturally, this led to headlines and left people scratching their heads as to what the hell TikTok is. Here’s everything you need to know about TikTok.

What is TikTok?

TikTok, formerly known as musical.ly, is a social media platform. On TikTok, users can create videos up to 15 seconds long and combine these videos with music or other audio. The goal is to generally create a funny video and you can combine 4 videos to make a combined 60-second clip.

Picture taken November 7, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

What is the point of TikTok?

TikTok borrows from several entertainment concepts to create the core attraction of the platform. It combines elements from the now-defunct Vine, Instagram stories and, believes it or not, karaoke. Yep, music and singing, or perhaps more so miming, make up a massive part of TikTok.

Is TikTok safe and is TikTok safe for kids?

Well, all social media platforms come with inherent risks. People pretend to be people they’re not and the platform does have underage people. So you can see the risks already. With adult usage or adult supervision, like all social media platforms, TikTok can be perfectly safe and a hell of a lot of fun.

When you join TikTok just remember your account is public, so if you prefer, I’d recommend you set it to private. Also, according to the app’s guidelines, remember that TikTok is intended for use by kids 13 years and older. 

Can you make money on TikTok?

There’s no direct way to make money on TikTok. However, as is the case with a lot of social media platforms these days, users can promote products. These “influencers” are an attractive way of advertising for many companies due to the authentic way of connecting with groups of people.

How many Irish users does TikTok have?

TikTok is reported to currently have 90,000 Irish users.

Where is TikTok based?

TikTok is a Chinese-based company. Today, they either have or will be opening offices in London, Los Angeles, Mountain View, Singapore, New York, Dublin, Mumbai, Sydney, Palo Alto, Berlin, Moscow, Warsaw, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Culver City, Chicago, Jakarta
San Francisco, Dubai, Tokyo, Ho Chi Minh City, Munich, Sao Paulo, Toronto, Menlo Park, Mexico City, Paris, Gurgaon, Hong Kong, Manila, Bangkok, Washington D.C., Beijing and
Shanghai.

Despite being a Chinese company, TikTok itself is not available in China although an alternative version of the app called Douyin is popular.

How do I get a TikTok account?

If you’re over the age of 13, you can setup a TikTok account by downloading their app. Once you open the app, you’ll need to enter your birthday, your emails address, verification code and your marketing preferences for the service. Then you’ll need to set a password. Remember, I always recommend using a password manager and creating a unique password just for TikTok.

Is TikTok banned in some countries?

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has stated that the app is not available in China and its data is stored outside of China. The app has also found itself in hot water in some other countries too. TikTok was briefly banned in Indonesia and, while it wasn’t banned in the U.S., they did have to pay a multi-million dollar fine for collecting personal information of kids under the age of 13.

Does TikTok pay money for videos?

TikTok does allow people and brands to pay for placements within the app. This means paid videos appear in peoples feeds as they scroll through content.

Who is the most famous person on TikTok?

Celebrities have started streaming, no pun intended, to the platform. Will Smith, Cardi B, The Jonas Brothers, 5 Seconds Of Summer, Post Malone, Liza Koshy, Britney Spears, David Dobrik and Meghan Trainor are amongst the most famous people on TikTok.

Who Has Highest followers on TikTok?

Loren Gray is the most-followed person on TikTok with nearly 38 million followers.

Who is the most popular Irish person on TikTok?

It’s tough to find specific users by country on the platform, but one of my own personal favourite social media funny guy has a massive following on TikTok. You might remember me going on about Tadgh Fleming. This social funny guy has been creating some of the funniest videos online I’ve ever seen and even made it as far as Ellen thanks to him and his dad, Derry, chasing a bat around the kitchen. He’s tear-inducingly funny and that’s garnered him nearly 800,000 TikTok followers.

How many people are on TikTok?

Tiktok is in over 150 countries, used by people speaking 75 languages. It’s estimated that there are 500 million TikTok users around the world, suggesting there’s plenty of room for growth in Ireland given our relatively low number of users.

Does TikTok take and store data?

TikTok does take certain amounts of data and, where required, stores that according to national laws. For example, U.S. data is stored in the U.S while Irish data would be stored somewhere in the EU. We’ve reached out to TikTok to confirm where Irish user data is stored.

Which country uses Tik Tok the most?

India is the biggest base of TikTok users with nearly 120 million users. Next up is the United States with nearly 40 million users and Turkey with 29 million users.

What happens when you delete your TikTok account?

When you delete your TikTok account, your account will appear as deactivated and your videos will be unavailable. 30-days later, everything is deleted.

Is Tik Tok inappropriate?

I’ve found myself browsing through TikTok in public a few times and feeling content was a little inappropriate. You do need to be careful about the accounts and trends you follow as some content may be offensive of inappropriate for your age. That works both ways in terms of content for young people but also young people creating videos which are then viewed by people in a much older age-group.

How many followers do you need on TikTok to go live?

Going live on TikTok is only possible once you have a minimum of 1000 followers.

What is the average age of TikTok users?

The majority of TikTok users are young social media users with two-thirds of users being under the age of thirty. 60% of the app’s users are between 16 and 24 and a slight majority of 52% are iPhone users.

 

Is Huawei Preparing For A Google-free Future?

huawei dev conference

Last week, Huawei held their first UK and Ireland developer conference in London. At this conference, the Chinese tech manufacturer announced a €23.5 million fund to support developers in the UK and Ireland with creating apps for Huawei Mobile Services. On the surface, it’s good news for skilled app developers looking to make a decent buck and claim a greater slice of revenue from building an app, but a big question can’t be ignored off the back of this news. Is Huawei moving towards a Google-free future?

What is Huawei Mobile Services and why are they investing?

At the core of your Android phone is software called Google Play Services. This software allows Google Apps to speak to each other, draw upon Google services like Maps data for navigation and also helps to update your apps. Google Play Services is at the very core of how your Android phone works.

Introduced during the launch of the Huawei Mate 30 Series back in September 2019, Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) is Huawei’s relatively new version of this which they will manage and develop themselves. Within HMS are the Huawei AppGallery, Browser, Mobile Cloud, Themes, Music, Video, Reader and Assistant. Last week’s developer conference is the latest step in Huawei encouraging the wider adoption of their own software, but what does Huawei benefit from a Google alternative?

Well, as you might have heard, Huawei has fallen foul of a trade war between the United States and China. As a result, Google can no longer permit Huawei access to the licensed version of Android. It would appear that Huawei is investing heavily in HMS in an effort to remove their dependency on Android, Google Play Services and the wider Google app eco-system. Indeed, it would appear that Huawei is prepping for a Google-free future.

Is Huawei plotting a Google-free future?

It’s no secret that Huawei is working on their own operating system called Harmony OS, but the Chinese company has yet to explicitly state this is a mobile phone operating system, instead of positioning it as an operating system for general hardware.

If Huawei is moving towards a Google-free future, it’s important to note that this might have actually started back before the U.S. and China trade war.

Huawei dumped WearOS back in 2018

Back in 2018, I got a first look at the Huawei Watch GT during a preview of the Huawei Mate 20 Series in London. This new wearable would be powered by Huawei’s own operating system, LiteOS. This was originally designed for smart home devices but Huawei quickly ported it for wearables, removing their dependency on Google’s WearOS. Huawei then released the Watch GT 2, again with LiteOS as they continue to plot a future where some of their products would not depend on Google’s technology.

Mate 30 Series launched without Google Apps

The launch of the Huawei Mate 30 Pro was incredible. I got to play with the phone in Munich and was mighty impressed by it. The Mate 20 Pro, as much as I love my P30 Pro, remains my favourite phone of all time so I was gutted when the Mate 30 Pro never came to Ireland. The reason for that was a much pared back launch due to Google Apps being unavailable.

In my opinion, Huawei didn’t really push this phone in Europe because it’s a niche smartphone. While its predecessor proved popular, Huawei will need their first phone to launch without Google Apps to be a beast, in the hope the technology in your hand overcomes not having Google Apps.

Huawei has signed maps deal with TomTom

In what is arguably the boldest statement from Huawei in terms of independence from Google, the Chinese phone maker has signed an agreement with Dutch navigation company TomTom. While this deal was signed some time ago it’s only now that both companies made this public. The timing is hard to ignore as it would appear that Huawei is gearing up for even more bold moves towards a Google and Android-free future.

For me, navigation is one of the most important functions on my smartphone and I do miss having that functionality transfer to my watch. Fingers crossed this happens with the Huawei Watch GT3. Much more important is the likelihood that securing a mapping partner is an essential step towards a future free from Google and Android for Huawei.

The Huawei P40 Series will define the future of Huawei

While Huawei kind of sidestepped launching the Mate 30 Series in Europe to save face, launching the P40 Series is unavoidable. The new P40 and P40 Pro are set to be codenamed Anna and Elsa, one for fans of Disney’s Frozen there and maybe a play upon being frozen out of the Google ecosystem? Indeed, it’s widely accepted that the P40 Series will launch without Google Play Services or Google Apps while running the open-source version of Android. While Huawei is frantically trying to get popular apps onto HMS, I just cannot see this being done in time for the launch of the P40 Series with a mooted date of 26th March 2020.

Much trusted leaker Evan Blass has already given us a first peek at the new P40 Series and it certainly looks like Huawei will try to dazzle us with incredible technology in an effort to encourage adoption of a phone without easy access to Google apps.

leaked P40 pro

 

Unfortunately, I don’t have a definite answer to the big question of whether or not Huawei is preparing for a Google-free future. The last company to challenge Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android was Microsoft with Windows Phone. They’ve long since the market after struggling for many years to gain a foothold.

Huawei is a very different scenario. They have a massive reputation for brilliant phones and an even bigger base of users, the vast majority of which are in the Chinese market where Google App usage is restricted. If any company could challenge the duopoly of Apple and Google, it’s certainly going to be Huawei. Even with the complications, they hit in 2019, in Q3 of last year they still shipped 19% of all smartphones versus Samsung’s 22% and Apple’s 13%.

While the P40 Series is almost certainly too soon for this big leap, I can’t help but feel it’s coming and if it does it will be the biggest change the smartphone change the industry has seen in years.

 

 

GoMo Announce New €12.99 Offer

Ireland’s newest network, Gomo, has announced their latest offer for customers in the Irish market.

Gomo’s New Offer

After reaching 100,000 customers, Gomo has, as promised, removed their €9.99 offer and replaced it with a slightly less appetising offer. Now, customers joining Gomo can get all texts, all calls and all data for €12.99 – €3 more than the initial offer from the new network.

This new offer from Gomo isn’t the final offer that the MVNO will offer customers. This particular offer will remain in place until March 1st 2020 when it’s likely the monthly rental for this plan will increase again.

The Catch With Gomo

Gomo has been referred to as the Ryanair of mobile networks. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Personally, I love Ryanair and I’ve seen lots of Europe thanks to the no-frills airline and Gomo’s approach has really appealed to the Irish public who just need a SIM card in their phone.

The network, an MVNO built on Eir’s infrastructure, has reached over 100,000 subscribers already after a very competitive €9.99 offer shook up the telecoms market. The offer which promised all texts, all calls and all data did come at an additional cost for customers. The catch with Gomo from our testing was underperforming network speeds and poor customer care. ComReg has reported a high volume of complaints along with Gomo being under investigation for using the term “offer for life” while also retaining the right to change customer price plans.

Regardless, because Gomo is a SIM-only plan and you need to have your own phone, it’s a low-risk trial given the price and the fact it’s a 30-rolling contract.

Check out Gomo’s new offer

Mindframe Arena – A Smart & Safe Game for the Family

Dublin based game and mobile app developers are on a mission to wean kids off Fortnite and make Irish kids smarter! The company specialises in innovative new strategy and action games for mobile and PC platforms

Who would have thought that video games can help in your child’s development? Well, they can as part of a ‘balanced diet’ of educational content. Irish game developer Fierce Fun has just released their digital board game Mindframe Arena – a ‘Smart and Safe’ game designed for a family-friendly environment.

While games like chess are great for the mind but to in the era of Fortnite and the likes, these games can be considered off putting. Well, Mindframe Arena have made a game that introduces children to intellectually stimulating activities such as board and strategy games. Based on classic board games like chess, Mindframe Arena requires skill and strategy to play – yet it is easy and fun to learn.

Mindframe combines quirky characters, spell casting and one-on-one challenges – all on a unique tactical game board. Journey to the secret centre of the arena by leading your faction of brave and brilliant Tecs. Each Tec comes with a powerful spell and a power bar for direct challenges. There are 6 Tec classes to collect including the ultra-rare Bionics and Primes.

Peter Lynch from Fierce Fun said

“From showing the game at events and conventions in Ireland, we found that 7 to 10-year olds really enjoyed it as did their parents.”

Some of the games features include:

  • A unique combination of collectable card gameplay, Tec challenges and spell casting
  • A specially designed game board that requires strategy and skill to master
  • 6 Tec classes to collect:
    • Rebels
    • Warriors
    • Militants
    • Mystics
    • Bionics
    • Primes
  • Over 30 powerful defensive and offensive spells to acquire
  • Over 100 levels (6 worlds) to unlock – with more on the way

Mindframe is a ‘Smart and Safe’ game designed for a family friendly environment.  It is a non-violent game designed for all age ranges. Parents can enjoy playing it with their children. Based on classic board games like chess, it requires skill and strategy to play – yet it is very easy and fun to learn. Playing strategy games, you’ll only succeed through skilful planning, spatial awareness and critical thinking. With Mindframe, an awareness of maths and numbers will help a young player to succeed in the game. Research has shown that playing board games helps brain development.

Irish parents can rest assured with the following Smart and Safe game features:

  • No in-game chat or messaging
  • No graphic violence
  • No analytics or tracking
  • Parental purchase & social media locks

The game is currently available as a free download so why not give it a shot on Google Play and the Apple Apps Store.

 

Google Buy Irish Startup Pointy For Big Bucks

Over the last few years Google have been trying to increase their grip on the world of e-commerce and one way of doing that has been to work closer with highstreet stores. So it should come as no real surprise to hear that they have begun the process to buy one of Ireland’s most exciting startups…Pointy. Based out of Dublin, Pointy is a device that automatically lists a shops inventory online so customers can find local products. While right now neither party has disclosed the exact finances involved, the rumour mill says the deal could be worth roughly €150 million.

Dealing with the Big Boys

Google and Pointy have both made their formal statements and at the time of writing we expect the deal to close within the next few weeks. According to one of the statements the deal hinges on “customary closing conditions” AKA it’s a done deal and we’re just waiting on the paperwork. Mark Cummins, CEO of Pointy said:

“The last six years have been an incredible adventure, and today marks the start of a new chapter. From small beginnings, we’re very proud to serve local retailers in almost every city and every town in the US and throughout Ireland.

The company will continue to operate as usual with the aquisition but now they will have the backing of Google’s reach and resources meaning that this is a great outcome for the Irish Startup and the startup scene in the country in general. This is a company that in 6 six years had raised almost €20 million worth of investment from high-profile investors including WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, Bebo’s Michael Birch and Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen as well as  former Ireland rugby captain Jamie Heaslip.

Image result for pointy

Pointy is a one of kind product and right now they don’t have many, if any comparable competition in the market and as a result they have not only been playing in the domestic market but they have also been working with around 10% of all physical retailers in the U.S. You can see no why Google had the interest to buy!

Making a Pointy

Irish company Pointy was founded by Charles Bibby (CTO) and Mark Cumming (CEO) and it’s worth noting that this isn’t Mark’s first rodeo with Google. In fact his previous venture Plink was Google’s first ever buy out in the UK and Irish markets for what was described at the time as a “life changing sum of money” and Pointy have worked with the search engine giants since 2018 after being listed in their Adopt A Startup program.

 

Image result for pointy

When the partnership with Google began, Pointy was a simple and beautiful product that plugged into a stores point of sale unit and every time they scanned a product it would upload the item and remaining quantities into an online database. From there then it could keep track of stock numbers and further purchases. Now with the shops products online, you or I could be searching for something on Google and Pointy will be able to direct you to the business where you can buy the item you desire. Simple really isn’t it and it only costs a retailer about €600, not bad if you can get an extra few sales out of it.

I think this partnership makes total sense when you think of the competition between Google and Amazon. In the last couple of years we have seen Amazon attack the market both with their online efforts as well as increasing their physical retail presence, this move goes someway towards fixing the Amazon threat to remain the first port of call for online shoppers.

Pointy have also started to work a little closer with retailers, giving them insights into what was selling well, and what they might want to stock more of in the future, but it had never delved into the actual transaction aspect of products that it was listing online: that was left to the retailer and a shopper visiting a store to buy in person.  All of that leaves a wide door open to how Pointy — and Google’s own retail commerce efforts — might develop in the future.

Jabra 65t Elite Review: Great For Music And The Best For Calls

jabra elite review

I’ve been testing out a lot of wireless earbuds over the past 12 months or so. There are some bargains out there to be had with the likes of the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air buds topping that list. In a review coming soon, I’ll be looking at the Creative Outlier Air earbuds which excel when it comes to battery life without giving up much in terms of quality. But, when it comes to buds I personally use quite a bit, I’ve overlooked the Jabra Elite Active 65t earbuds. In tech terms, these have become my daily riders so it’s only fair I tell you why.

Design

The Jabra Elite Active 65t earbuds, at first glance, look as if you’re going to hate them. That was my honest first thought. They look huge and the model Jabra sent me was bright Red. I didn’t have much hope. Considering the size of these Jabra buds, I was blown away by how comfortable they are. They fit my ear perfectly both in terms of comfort and security. Ear fatigue is a real issue for many wireless earbuds. In short, that means your ears will generally get tired when having an earbud hanging in your ear for a few years. The Jabra Elite Actives 65t buds are nice and light so they’ve never outstayed their welcome in my ear.

jabra elite active design

As the name might suggest, Jabra expect you to get out and about with these buds. More me that meant jumping on a treadmill to give these a proper runout. This high-impact training provided a great test for ear security and the 65t’s didn’t disappoint. I don’t recall the buds falling out of my ears once in the past few months of using them.

If you’re going to get really active with these buds from Jabra you’ll be glad to hear that they are also IP55 rated. This is plenty for getting caught in the rain or working up a sweat in the gym. Hell, it’s even enough for working up a sweat while running in the rain.

Sound quality

All the design in the world won’t help a pair of earbuds with crappy sound. Thankfully, Jabra has avoided such issues. While noise-cancelling isn’t on the menu here, the design of the buds naturally blocks enough surrounding noise so that pure volume from the buds leaves you with a nice isolated listening experience. Quite cleverly, with the touch of a button on the buds you can control volume, access your smart assistant or enable passthrough to ear your surroundings again. I’d imagine this is great if you’re a cyclist but I’ve not tested this because the thoughts of cycling of scooting with music on terrifies me.

Beyond these clever bits, I’ve enjoyed listening to music through these buds. My “go-to” over-ear headphones of choice being the Bose QC35 II while also testing the Sennheiser Momentum 3 headphones with Tidal for lossless music goodness, I never once felt let down swapping back to my Elite Active 65t earbuds. I’m quick to distance myself from the classification of “audiophile” but I know enough to know that most everyday music listener will enjoy the sound quality Jabra is delivering here.

Other tech specs

For me, design and sound quality are the most important things when choosing some wireless earbuds. For that reason, I’m going to leave the focus of this review on those two key specs and simply sum up the rest here. (Naturally, pop a question below or on social and I’ll come back to you!).

Battery life

There are few wireless earbuds on the market that will surpass Jabra here for battery life. While the aptly named Creative Outlier Air earbuds are an exception here, at worst the Jabra Elite 65t earbuds fall in-line with the rest of the competition if not slightly outperforming. You can expect to get at least three or four hours of battery from your buds. I can’t recall getting the advertised six hours but then again buds like these are rarely worn constantly for long periods without being popped back into the charging case. Speaking of which, the charge case gives you an additional ten hours of power on the go.

User interface

On-ear button functionality is another great victory for Jabra. You can activate passthrough, call on your smart assistant, control music playback and volume all from on-ear buttons. Something many other earbuds simply don’t seem to consider a feature worth focusing on.

Call quality

I understand call quality will be a much more important feature for some than it is for me but it is certainly a standout feature of these buds. It’s hardly a surprise given consumer audio comes as a result of a pivot for Jabra who used to specialise in calling technology. The problem with earbuds and calls is usually the distance of the mic from your mouth which leads to very frustrating phone calls.

Again, I assume owing largely to the design of the bud and the mic positioning, the Jabra Elite 65t earbuds are pretty good for calls. If you’re outside in the wind, others may struggle to understand you but beyond that I see no issue with taking calls on these buds.

For some additional context, when using other earbuds like the Soundcore Liberty Air wireless buds, I’ll disconnect and take the call on my phone rather than trying to talk with someone.

Jabra Elite 65t earbuds: The Verdict

The red design grew on me. The earbuds fit perfectly. The sound quality never disappointed. The call quality was remarkable. How do I fault these buds?

jabra in ear

Everything I’ve written so far is largely positive right? If I had to fault the Jabra Elite 65t earbuds I could call upon their micro-USB connection. Maybe the lack of wireless charging? To be honest, I’d be scraping the barrel to give you a reason not to buy these buds. The one definite catch is the price. At the guts of €170, I’d most likely direct you towards the Creative Outlier Buds purely based on price versus quality.

But if you take price out of the equation, Jabra has delivered the best combination of quality and comfort with special focus being given to call quality.

Buy the Jabra Elite Active 65t on Amazon.co.uk.

 

Disney+ set to launch in Ireland a week earlier than expected!

We've got great news Disney, Pixar & Marvel fans of Ireland! Disney have just announced that their new streaming service Disney + is going...
electric scooters ireland

Garda Website Showed Incorrect Information About Electric Scooters

I've been walking to the office again for the past month or so. Last month, I learned that an electric scooter rider had been...

General Election 2020 – Make Sure You’re Registered

Saturday February 8th..the date of the big General Election. By the sounds of it on social media, most of the country seems rather done...

Google Pixel 4 Review: Google’s Fourth Attempt At Their Own Smartphone

I've been a massive fan of Google Pixel phones for years. On paper, they are probably one of the best all-round smartphones on the...
tiktok faqs

TikTok Frequently Asked Questions: Everything You Need To Know About The New Social Media...

This past week, TikTok announced that they would be creating 100 jobs in Ireland. Naturally, this led to headlines and left people scratching their...