May 21, 2013
The proliferation of mobile phones in low- and middle-income countries over the past decade has been rapid and remarkable. This boom in mobile technology offers an incredible opportunity to provide historically marginalized groups, such as girls and women, with increased access to information and education to improve their health and wellbeing. Forbes reports.
... The benefits of mobile technology reach far beyond the bounds of health in empowering women. For example, 41% of female mobile phone owners enjoy increased economic and professional opportunities due to owning a mobile, and 85% report feeling more independent because of their mobile phone.
Read full article.
May 20, 2013
A recent trial before the Samaria Military Court revealed a startling connection between Palestinians and the employee of at least one Israeli cell phone company − a connection that resulted in Palestinian prisoners obtaining working cell phones, even though they are forbidden to have them.
May 19, 2013
According to the recently published Kaspersky Security Bulletin 2012, 99% of newly discovered mobile malicious programs target the Android platform, with a very small amount targeting Java- and Symbian-based smartphones.
2012 was the second year to show explosive growth in Android malware. From a negligible eight new unique malicious programs in January 2011, the average monthly discovery rate for new Android malware in 2011 went up to more than 800 samples.
In 2012 Kaspersky Lab identified an average of 6300 new mobile malware samples every month. Overall, in 2012 the number of known malicious samples for Android increased more than eight times.
The use of a smartphone application significantly improves patients' preparation for a colonoscopy, according to new research presented today at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
The preparation process, which begins days in advance of the procedure, includes dietary restrictions and requires specific bowel preparation medication to be taken at strict intervals. The better the preparation, the easier it is for doctors to see cancer and precancerous polyps in the colon. The study, which was conducted by the gastroenterologists of Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, featured the first doctor-designed app of its kind.
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May 18, 2013
According to WebMD, new research suggests the dominant side of your brain may make the call on which ear you choose to use while talking on your cellphone.
The dominant side of your brain is where your speech and language center resides. Ninety-five percent of the human population is left-brain dominant, and those people tend to be right-handed. The opposite holds true for people who are right-brain dominant. In this study, scientists found that roughly 70 percent of those surveyed held their cellphone up to the ear that was on the same side as their dominant hand.
This insight into the way people use their cellphones could one day help doctors quickly and safely locate and protect a patient's language center before beginning a potentially risky brain operation, the researchers said.
Hemispheric Dominance and Cell Phone Use Michael D. Seidman, MD; Bianca Siegel, MD; Priyanka Shah, MD; Susan M. Bowyer, PhD JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013;139(5):466-470. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2013.2889.
Launching this week, the company’s new iPhone app features profiles of kids in developing countries who desperately require surgeries. You can donate directly through the app and receive real-time updates on the patient’s progress.
Once you’ve made a donation, the app invites you to send a get-well message. If there’s a language or literacy barrier, Cure.org claims its on the ground team will translate the messages and ensure they’re received.
May 17, 2013
The hottest space in mobile tech right now is messaging, with all the apps that let you skip past high-priced SMS and send texts for free (or very cheap). The Verge reports.
Just this week, we've heard that BlackBerry Messenger will soon work on iPhone and Android — and yesterday, Google Hangouts launched on those same platforms. Facebook, too, has made a big push to promote its Messenger solution with Facebook Home and Chat Heads just last month. Added together, these apps have surpassed traditional SMS in the total number of messages sent.
Yet for all that innovation in chat, there's still a problem. All these communication apps can't communicate with each other.
Read full article.
At the Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, nurses can see into the lives of some diabetes patients even when they’re not at the clinic. If a specific patient starts acting lethargic, or making lengthy calls to his mom, a green box representing him on an online dashboard turns yellow, then red. Soon, a nurse will call to see if he is still taking his medication.
This novel way of keeping tabs on patients is one of several studies of an app called Ginger.io taking place at hospitals in the United States. Once installed on patients’ smartphones, the app silently logs data about what they do and where they go. It’s looking for signs that something in their life has changed.
Read full article.
Pilots and air-traffic controllers texting each other? OMG! Your airline flight is finally starting to communicate the way the rest of the world does. The Wall Street Journal reports.
Controllers and pilots aren't using their cellphones to text, even though many passengers now do using apps and in-flight Wi-Fi. Instead, planes with modern cockpit systems can log on to new systems at air-traffic control centers and link digitally. Rather than sometimes difficult radio calls, pilots and controllers simply send each other text messages to change altitudes, routes and hand off from one controller to the next.
The system has been in use for flights across oceans for several years. Canada now has it active across its domestic skies and European controllers have it in use in two large regions. But the U.S. is way behind.
Read more. (PS The very handsome SkyGuide air traffic controller above is my son Max).
May 16, 2013
Mobile phone providers in the Irish Republic could be asked to cut signals during the G8 summit being held in Northern Ireland amid fears terrorists may use them to detonate bombs.
Defence Minister Alan Shatter warned that there was a "real danger" lives could be lost in such an event.
Eight world leaders will jet in for next month's G8 summit in Co Fermanagh, including US president Barack Obama, who will also use the trip to make his first visit to Belfast.
May 15, 2013
Samsung announces that it has developed a new mobile data transfer technology that's potentially up to "several hundred times" faster than current 4G networks.
More precisely, the company announced "the world’s first adaptive array transceiver technology operating in the millimeter-wave Ka bands for cellular communications."
Samsung's new technology, which the company plans to commercialize by 2020 would allow for mobile transmission of "massive" data files, which include high-quality movies, "practically without limitation.
Read full article in Mashable.
Even in death there is no escape from the familiar ping or ring of a mobile phone, with one in six people admitting to having made or received a call, texted, or used social media at a funeral. The Guardian reports.
... At the funeral last month of the late Margaret Thatcher, the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, was spotted by cameras apparently texting on her mobile from her seat in a pew near the front of St Paul's Cathedral.
A survey of funeral directors revealed that almost one in five funerals they had arranged had been interrupted by the sound of a mobile phone ringing or pinging.
Besides rolling out TV, radio, and Internet ads throughout the summer, the campaign will also travel to thousands of retail stores, create a social media presence, and display messaging on Goodyear blimps.
According to the U.S. government's distracted driving Web site, 3,331 people were killed by "distracted drivers" in 2011, while 3,267 were killed in 2010. A 2009 study by the VirginiaTech Transportation Institute showed that texting drivers were 23 percent more likely to get in a crash than those who pay attention to the road.
May 13, 2013
The 1stfone has no screen, no internet access or texting capability, it does have customizable buttons and can be programmed with important numbers so that children can keep in touch with the people they need.
Kids just press a name button to make a voice call.
According to The Guardian, a mobile phone app originally built to help authorities in Pakistan hunt down disease-spreading mosquitoes was to be used extensively during Saturday's general election to deter cheating at the polls.
The hi-tech solution will largely be restricted to Punjab, the country's most populous province, where more than half of the national assembly seats are up for grabs.
More than 15,000 smartphone wielding election observers will be able to send instant reports and photographs of any irregularities they encounter to a hi-tech control room.
Concerned about an increase in smartphone thefts, the New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, is trying to get the nation’s largest cellphone makers to do more to discourage the thefts.
Mr. Schneiderman will announce on Monday that he has sent letters to top executives of Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung seeking information from their offices about security protections, and asking for their cooperation in working on new measures to reduce theft.
This week ABC will quietly revolutionize its app for iPhones and iPads with a button called “live.” Users around New York and Philadelphia will be able to live-stream all the programming from ABC’s local stations there, the first time that any major broadcaster has turned on such a technology. The New York Times reports.
ABC will be able to stream all of its stations’ local newscasts, syndicated talk shows like “Katie,” and national series like “Grey’s Anatomy.”
The live-stream functionality comes at a time when ABC and its broadcast rivals are trying to keep the attention of audiences that are increasingly turning to cable channels and Internet streaming services like Netflix.
Read full article.
May 12, 2013
The Punjab Government has decided to set up helpdesks on the election day at a distance of 400 meters from the polling stations where arrangements will be made for safekeeping of mobile phones of voters. The Election Commission of Pakistan has imposed a ban on carrying of mobile phones into the polling stations and the decision to set up helpdesks has been taken to ensure its implementation.
[via The Nation]
May 11, 2013
Start-up mobile messaging apps have surged, displacing traditional SMS texts. Silicon Valley titans such as Google and Facebook want in on the action. The Los Angeles Times reports.
... In many countries, consumers have decided they prefer these mobile messaging apps," said Tero Kuittinen, an analyst with mobile diagnostics firm Alekstra.
Now they are taking the U.S. by storm. That's particularly worrisome to wireless carriers that have already lost billions in revenue from customers shifting from text to so-called instant messages such as Apple Inc.'s iMessage service, which each day delivers 2 billion messages free of charge.
But the growing popularity of these mobile apps is not good news for the Silicon Valley tech giants either. Analysts say people use the apps to connect with their closest friends and relatives, creating a new more intimate social network that could rival Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. for the attention of hundreds of millions of users and, eventually, advertising dollars.
Read full article.
In the early- to mid-2000s, the ability to play a customized sound for incoming calls -- usually a blaring few seconds of a favorite song called a "mastertone" -- was a fun novelty for people buying their first cellphones. Ringtones became an aural fashion accessory, as people scrambled to personalize their phones with the newest or coolest tunes. CNN reports.
Mastertones mimicked the clarity of what one could hear on the radio, making the ringtone an easy and addictive way to hear snippets of one's favorite music. People also could assign different ringtones to different callers -- say, "Take This Job and Shove It" when your boss calls, ha ha -- as a sonic form of Caller ID.
At the same time, much was made of the millions of dollars ringtone sales brought to a grateful music industry that was struggling to adapt to the digital age.
"It was a great barometer of how people were starting to live around entertainment on their phones," he said. "Ringtones were a really big part of that."
Ringtones were popular in part because they were one of the first audio products you could access over your mobile phone, said Richard Conlon, senior vice president of corporate strategy, communications and new media for Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), the music-licensing organization.
In 2006, the RIAA instituted the first awards system for ringtone sales. Lil Wayne's "Lollipop" earned the distinction of being the biggest-selling ringtone ever in 2009, going five times platinum.
But then the sales dipped. Despite the enormous growth of smartphones, mobile audio products such as ringtones and ringbacks (which is a song that plays while a caller's waiting for an answer) brought in only $167 million last year.
So what happened?
Two things: The novelty of the musical snippets wore off. And we learned how to make custom ringtones for free.
Read full article.
Anyone old enough to remember Crazy Frog?
Texting while driving has now replaced drunk driving as the number one cause of death among US teenagers, according to new research from the Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York. [via RedOrbit]
According to the study, more than 3,000 teens die each year as a result of sending SMS messages while operating a motor vehicle. In comparison, approximately 2,700 are killed as a result of driving while under the influence of alcohol, CBS New York reported on Thursday.
May 9, 2013
The debate surrounding the safety of using cell phones has raged for years, most recently coming to a head in San Francisco, where local leaders attempted to pass a law requiring retailers to display the amount of radiation emitted by each cell phone. DVICE reports.
In a case that has been closely monitored by mobile phone industry players across the U.S., San Francisco's Board of Supervisors has agreed to drop the warning requirement after a lengthy legal battle with the CTIA. The argument made by the CTIA claimed that such warnings could serve to mislead consumers regarding the risks associated with cell phone use, particularly in light of the fact that the FCC has deemed the devices safe to use.
Read full article.
The report [PDF] from the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union found that there were:
-- 6.8 billion cellphone subscriptions in the world, shared between 7.1 billion people. In 2005 there were some 2.2 billion subscriptions for 6.5 billion people.
--In 2013, there are almost as many mobile-cellular subscriptions as people in the world, with more than half in the Asia-Pacific region (3.5 billion out of 6.8 billion total subscriptions).
--As global mobile-cellular penetration approaches 100% and market saturation is reached, growth rates have fallen to their lowest levels in both developed and developing countries.
--Mobile-cellular penetration rates stand at 96% globally; 128% in developed countries; and 89% in developing countries.
May 8, 2013
A government-run system for monitoring every piece of citizens' telecommunications, including online activity, text messages, and phone calls, has been launching in India over the past month, reports The Verge.
The government's Central Monitoring System is meant to be used for enforcing "reasonable security practices and procedures" within the country, according to The Times of India.
Over the next month, in celebration of the forthcoming release of Tao Lin's latest novel, Taipei, Vice will be featuring a weekly selection of photos taken by the author during his recent trip to Taipei, Taiwan. This week's photos are named after a term in Taiwan for people who seem unable to stop looking at their phones while in public. All photos and captions by Tao Lin.
[See all photos]
May 7, 2013
The cellphone market is hugely lucrative, with the sale of handsets bringing in $69 billion in the United States last year, according to IDC, the research firm. Yet, thefts of smartphones keep increasing, and victims keep replacing them. Police officials say the cellphone and handset industry has not done enough with technology to solve the theft problem. The New York Times reports.
Some compare the epidemic of phone theft to car theft, which was a rampant problem more than a decade ago until auto manufacturers improved antitheft technology.
“If you look at auto theft, it has really plummeted in this country because technology has advanced so much and the manufacturers recognize the importance of it,” said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit group focused on improving police techniques. “The cellphone industry has for the most part been in denial. For whatever reasons, it has been slow to move.
Read full article.
May 5, 2013
Smartphones and fast mobile Internet access have transformed nearly all facets of life, but travel has seen some of the most dramatic changes. Business Insider reports.
Gone are the days of paper maps and awkward conversations trying to figure out a foreign transit system. Today's smartphones and apps can translate words live on screen, give real-time transportation advice, locate you anywhere in the world, act as your boarding pass, book your dinner reservation, and even help you find a cheap, last-minute hotel room.
By hooking a variety of gadgets onto a smartphone you could almost get a complete physical — without the paper gown or even a visit to the doctor's office. Wireless Week reports.
Blood pressure? Just plug the arm cuff into the phone for a quick reading.
Heart OK? Put your fingers in the right spot, and the squiggly rhythm of an EKG appears on the phone's screen.
Plug in a few more devices and you could have photos of your eardrum (Look, no infection!) and the back of your eye, listen to your heartbeat, chart your lung function, even get a sonogram.
... The University of California, San Francisco, hopes to enroll a staggering 1 million people in its Health eHeart Study to see whether using mobile technology, including smartphone tracking of people's heart rate and blood pressure, could help treat and prevent cardiovascular disease.
Read full article.
May 1, 2013
Researchers in Sweden have developed a new technique where you can charge your devices anywhere without electricity, provided there is a water source nearby. Zee News reports.
Just add a spoonful and get instant power, anytime anywhere.
Handy for anyone who spends time away from electricity, the small, lightweight PowerTrekk could power critical devices for warfighters and aid workers deployed to remote areas of the world.
Developed by a team in Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology and made by MyFC, it's the world's first water-activated charging device that powers using fresh or salt water, the developers claimed. It can extend battery life up to 3 watts.
April 30, 2013
Pega Design's Wind Up Chair shown at The Milan Design Week lets you charge your phone by winding a clockwork key on the back.