Free SMS Twitter on your phone returns to the UK – for Vodafone users – is this their iPhone killer and is it exclusive? (yes it is)

It’s confirmed on the Twitter blog after being broken on Electropig (great scoop lads) and Mashable – very soon free SMS text service for Twitter will return – but only for Vodafone UK customers.

Many said that the loss of the free SMS service from Twitter was a blow for the service and there was the usual outraged moaning (I thought it made perfect sense – you can’t give stuff away forever) and Twitter went from strength to strength afterwards.

Anyway, let’s look at this another way – is this Vodafone UK’s way of fighting the iPhone? O2 has the iPhone, Orange are rumoured to be joining them (as well as getting the option for the 3G sim-enabled macbook when it comes out) and it seems to be a fairly tight agreement, so what do you do if you can’t have the iPhone? Go get the main channel of communication instead. I wonder if a phone network could insist on this as an exclusive – and make that the carrot they offer to customers?

I’d watch and see what phones Vodafone start to tout now becuase they’ll push phones that let you make the most of this – though I wonder if they will charge a small amount – £5 a month say – as an add-on for the unlimited Twitter option or if it will be free for everyone. If so, who the feck is scaling their network?

Be interesting to see how this plays out.

UPDATE: It’s a Vodafone exclusive right enough. According to Yashin19 

devices tab in Twitter settings confirms SMS alerts are exclusive to Vodafone. Along with good coverage in Edinburgh it seems!

I think this could be a bit of a gamechanger – though the debate has already started (guess where).

iPhone gets media friendly with iPhone 3G

Well, the new iPhone is out (let’s be honest, we don’t need hyperlinks for this one) and while the 3G and unlimited data plans will make it a winner for most, there’s a couple of other add-ons available via the Apps Store (via iTunes as with all things Apple) that make it an improvement on what has gone before for media types (and, as far as I know, most of these work on the original iPhone).

There appears to be at least three voice recorders – ranging in price from 99p to £6 – which is such a basic omission I really don’t know why Apple left it out. The only questions remaining are what audio format they use (and quality), if they sync over to your mac/PC for editing and if they also record phone calls as well as chats.

There also appears to be a form of file manager, which goes a long way to address the concerns of those who moan that they can’t use their iPods/iPod Touches as a storage device. Again, there’s a couple of questions involved in how it works, but again, it’s an improvement on something Apple inexplicably removed from these iPods.

The NY Times has also managed to bring out a nice iPod-friendly version of its paper, which begs the question of why no paper from the UK thought about doing the same. Given the size of the code, I can’t imagine it was a programming nightmare to do and it would have been nice bragging. (and yes I know a few online editors think that the size of the screen means most people will surf about. I think for a year or two yet, it might be nice to have mobile only versions).

The one thing that surprises me by not being there is a version of MS Office. I really thought MS would have had something in there for kick off in a friendly style format.

For me though, it’s still a no-buy for a few reasons:

1) My N-95 has a built in video camera and 5M camera. The ‘JesusPhone’ doesn’t. Now the video may not be HD quality, but it’s decent and there are a lot of impromptu times in my life where I need a video camera and regardless of what some people say, you just can’t always lug about another piece of kit.

2) Why would I go from a decent 5M to a decent 2M camera? That makes no sense at all. This is the one area of the iPhone where you can tell it was designed for the US market and not abroad because everyone on this side of the world left 2M cameras behind ages ago. Heck in Asia they are on to 8M.

3) Stuck on an Orange 18 month contract (1 year to go). Even if I wasn’t I probably wouldn’t for the above reasons, but as I’m going to go into a rant about this lot soon, let me just say that anyone who isn’t an Orange customer: you lucky gits. There has never been a company so awkward and hellish to deal with as a customer.

(and for those of you sick of the iPhone, The Register has a list of competitor phones here.)