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Orange brings HD Voice to UK: Scream if you wanna talk louder

Orange is the first in the UK to launch HD Voice, a new technology that promises to make calls clearer and combat shouty-phone syndrome

We do everything on our phones, from ordering our groceries to getting our groove on. But on some phones, actually making phone calls makes us want to scoop out our eyeballs with a melon baller. Poor connections, tinny sound and echoes are just some of the voice-quality issues that leave us shouting impotently into our mobiles.

Orange is promising to replace fuzzy ear abrasions with crystal-clear chat by introducing a new voice-compression codec with a wider bandwidth compared to the current one. The new codec is called adaptive multi-rate wideband, but Orange has given it the spicier name of HD Voice.

Orange says that early this year it will be the first UK network to start testing HD Voice, with the technology launching around the country later in 2010.

Tom Alexander, Orange's CEO, claims that HD Voice "makes it sound as if callers are actually in the same room. Once people have tried it, they won't want to go back."

But most of us won't get to try it any time soon, because we'll have to upgrade to a new phone that supports the technology for it to work. No handsets have been announced so far -- unless you can scrape together enough Moldovan lei to get your hands on a Nokia 6720 Classic that was exclusively released in Moldova to support preliminary testing of HD Voice in that country. Orange says it's still working with phone makers to develop devices for next year.