Archives for January 2004
January 11, 2004
In Clint Swett's look for The Sacramento Bee at some of the devices that are generating buzz at this year's CES, this one related to cell phones caught my eye.
"A mini-battery that will add 60 minutes of talk time and 60 hours of standby time to your phone. The Cellboostt auxiliary battery is about the size of a small cigarette lighter and plugs into the charger outlet on your phone. Models are available for most major phone brands.
January 10, 2004
Verizon Wireless said yesterday that it would deploy an advanced data network that will allow people to use the Internet at high speed on mobile phones and other devices, including laptop computers, according to the New York Times.
Some good news: Researchers in Finland tested 12 of the most popular cell phone models worldwide, and found the phones meet safety standards, emitting radiation well below the level that would be considered dangerous. cf clickondetroit.com.
Some bad news: Radio signals for the next generation of mobile phone services can cause headaches and nausea, according to a survey conducted by three Dutch ministries on the impact of tomorrow's data networks on health, reports Wired.
Telenor and the airline company "Norwegian" have entered into a partnership that enables customers to order and purchase air tickets for "Norwegian" flights from their mobiles, reports 160characters.org.
"With the help of SMS messages, users may find, book and pay for tickets. Their receipts, which will be issued in the form of SMS messages, will be used as valid tickets when travellers check in".
Here we go again, another story on a Nokia cell phone blowing up. This time, according to The Times of India, a Nokia 8310 exploded in a man's pocket in Vietnam's central City of Danang.
"The mobile was in a normal state in my trouser pocket and there were no communication at that time when suddenly I heard a little explosion and my phone became hot," said the unnamed man. "I took it out and found the mobile was off and I couldn't use it."
The man, who suffered no injuries, said the blast caused a thumbnail-sized hole in the handset's front cover and blackened the screen.
The Finnish mobile phone giant has cited faulty batteries from independent electronics manufacturers for similar incidents in the past".
Subscriptions to mobile phone services in Japan totaled 79,787,200 in December, up 8.5 percent from a year earlier and 0.6 percent from the previous month, the Telecommunications Carriers Association said Friday, according to the Japan Times.
"Parents can also set up a system of "forbidden zones" where an alarm SMS will be sent to them should they enter that area.
Privacy experts warn pedophiles and stalkers could hack the system and engage in clandestine tracking".
And I agree with Mike when he says "generally speaking, it's sends the wrong message to your kids to spy on them without their knowledge".
Hong Kong mobile operator Sunday Communications is offering it's subscribers SMS text alerts enabling them to locate infected SARS areas; buildings or neighbourhoods where people are known to be infected with SARS. A service launched initially in April 2003.
Wired reports that "earlier this month, the Hong Kong government sent millions of mobile text messages to residents to debunk a hoax that led many to believe that the city was soon to be formally declared "an infected place," causing mass panic and buying binges throughout the region".
Sounds like 2003 all over again. For more on SMS alerts, rumors and hoaxes that were part of the SARS outbreak last year, check out this category in Textually.org.
January 8, 2004
The mobile Internet may have gained popularity in Japan because of cool ring tones and text messaging, but now businesses are finding that using cell phones to track information increases productivity -- and saves money, according to Japan Media Review via Smart Mobs.
"It is estimated there were between 100,000 and 200,000 business people accessing information in corporate databases from their mobile phones as of April 2003.
"The reason for this unexpected turn of events is that screen savers and ring tones -- and the micro-payment services that support these contents -- created a critical mass of users in Japan, which in turn has driven innovation in the market. Improvements in displays, camera phones, application processors, memory and software are improving the performance-cost ratios of business applications "
Children under the age of 13 should not have their own mobile phones according to Norway's Ombudsman for Children Trond Waage, reports the Aftenposten.
Waage is concerned not only over radiation but of children's spending habits: "Owning a cell phone has become a schoolyard status symbol, and the increasing use of text messaging among children can create a dependency where the child writes constantly until his account is emptied".
Shares in Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker, have soared by up to 16% after it delighted investors with an upbeat trading statement, according to the BBC.
"Thanks to strong demand the firm said mobile phone sales had increased by 4% to 7bn euros ($8.9bn; £4.9bn). Analysts had expected sales to be flat or only slightly higher".
Wireless Access Protocol may have been declared dead on arrival, but the technology is now experiencing a renaissance, largely driven by WAP sites offering customized phone ring tones, according to figures released this week by the Mobile Data Association. [News.com]
"The number of WAP pages viewed in the United Kingdom for November hit 947 million, up from October's 897 million, and significantly ahead of industry expectations."
BT is trialing a service with UK mobile operators that will allow SMS messages from mobiles to be sent to fixed-line phones using automatic text-to-speech conversion technology. If the internal trails are successful the service could be live within weeks. [160characters.org]
January 7, 2004
But of note in this article, the claim that worldwide, the number of mobile users already outstripped the number of fixed lines in 2002.
"The shifting balance was largely driven by the popularity of mobiles in developing countries whose landline infrastructure has been held back, often by corrupt or inefficient monopolies".
"A significant number of survey respondents had problems with their cell phone service, but only 40% of those who called said their carrier's response was very helpful".
And alarming, Consumer Reports said "most of the nation's 6,000 emergency call centers still are not equipped with the latest wireless enhanced 911 system, which means they can not locate people who make calls from cell phones".
Anyone wanting to talk on a cell phone while driving through the nation's capital better have a hands-free device, reports nbc4.com.
January 6, 2004
Norwegian based E-bank Contopronto claims to have been granted the first-ever European E-banking license allowing for payments and money transfers to any bank, credit card, business or individual through mobile phones from Europe, according to 160characters.org.
"The system has already been trialed for a one-year pilot program in Norway. Companies such as McDonald's, Peppe's Pizza, and Norway's number one loyalty program Trumf are participating in Contopronto's e-banking system".
Justin Hall for TheFeature.com has written a thoughtful article on the future of predictive texting and the differences between the technologies offered. Tegic's T9 (which stands for Text on Nine Keys), where the sequence of what you type is compared to possible letter combinations in a built-in dictionary, airtx which offers "solutions that read your mind" and Eatoni Ergonomics who's software doesn't predict entire words, but letters.
"The struggle to predict the next word in mobile text messages foreshadows a larger struggle to shape communications and rewire our minds.
A peek into the future of text prediction immediately conjures ever-closer computer-human cooperation, collaborative thinking between people and their devices. The aim is always to reduce that stutter and make fast texting seamless".
What I love best are Justin's last words: "What do we stand to lose and gain when we rely on machine to help us express ourselves? Perhaps our frustration with misplaced words will be replaced with more profound frustration at being led in the wrong direction by software purporting to read our minds. There's likely to be an ever greater struggle as we compose more text on our phones, not just to plan a date with a friend, but also to share with the world the subtlety of our experience as we hurtle down the road.
And in a related post on mobitopia Matt Croydon cries out his frustration of having to type long URLs without the assistance of T9 or other forms of predictive text in his mobile phone. His suggestion, a top-level domain (TLD) aimed at mobile use. The obvious choise being .m.
"Karla Jackson, a shop manager, walked out after her staff complained that she was wasting time on her mobile telephone". Karla said the meeting was designed to humiliate her and she resigned, later claiming constructive dismissal".
The tribunal rejected Miss Jackson's claim.
The figures published from around the world on text messages sent over New Year's are quietly rounding up. Click here, to view numbers from the UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, India and South Africa.
Embarrasingly absent, figures from the US. There were so few text messages sent it in America that is has not been worth mentioning? I have yet to see an article or a press release.
Also disapointing, reports of MMS sent over New Year's Eve. The only operators who even mentioned MMS sent over their networks were in Switzerland.
Update In an article titled 'Wild Night for SMS' The Australian newspaper reported on January 3 that Telstra Australia had delivered 62,000 MMS on Dec 31. (Thanks Kevin!)
A report from the WorldWatch Institute has said that in 1992, only one in 237 people worldwide used a mobile phone. A decade later, by 2002, this had soared to one in five. [Cellular News]
"In 1992, only one in 237 people worldwide used a mobile phone, and one in 778 used the Internet; by 2002, the numbers had soared to one in 5 and one in 10, respectively."
-- The Lord of the Rings Trivia: Enables players to answer more than 360 multiple choice trivia questions and put their Middle-earth smarts to the test.
-- The Lord of the Rings Pinball. Players must lead Frodo and Sam across two challenging tables on their quest to destroy The One Ring.
-- The Lord of the Rings Wallpapers. Users can download and view "The Lord of the Rings" images that include characters, locations, scenes, and maps.
Eidos, one of the world's leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, announced that the company's video game heroine Lara Croft will make a celebrity appearance at this year's Nokia Sugar Bowl, according to Mobilemag.
"Nokia and Eidos plans to give away more than 70,000 copies at the pinnacle college football game on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2004.
January 5, 2004
How are mobile phones changing the cultural experience of being in a city? The very experience of urbanity that is supposedly changing under the pressure of thumb-tribes is itself a sense of social place as old as civilization (the city as agora, part market, part information-exchanging machine) that was changed irrevocably by rapid mass adoption of place-altering technologies such as skyscrapers, railroads, automobiles, and wireline telephones. Now what? By Howard Rheningold on TheFeature.com.
Techno Mart - a 10-story shopping and entertainment complex in Seoul - is holding an extraordinary office opening ceremony on January 5 for the launch of a new “010 service”, reports donga.com.
Though this article doesn't specify what the service is for, it's launch is extremely cool.
"The cell phone manufacture company's staff and sales people are celebrating the new “010 service” with a rice cake shaped as a huge cell phone along with models with body-painting wishing for the customers' luck".
An Israeli team has recently designed and produced a new device for monitoring cardiovascular disease, according to Arutz Sheva.
"The Biolapis heart monitor is a handheld computer device for screening cardiovascular disease, which achieves sensitivity currently available only in high-end imaging equipment.
It offers general practitioners, clinicians, and cardiologists an affordable method to reliably diagnose and monitor cardiovascular risks.
Negotiations are currently underway with Samsung to produce a new line of cell phones incorporating the new technology".
Mobile phones, computers and other such gadgets are seriously disrupting the sleeping patterns of a growing number of children, according to a Beglian study, reported by The Independent.
"A survey of more than 2,500 teenagers found that many of them were losing sleep, particularly as a result of the boom in the popularity of "texting" with mobile phones.
Jan Van den Bulck, a senior lecturer in psychology at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, found that text messages interrupted the sleep of most adolescents and that up to one in five said they were awakened regularly by friends texting late at night.
Dr Van den Bulck said: "These preliminary findings suggest that mobile telephones may be having a major impact on the quality of sleep of a growing number of adolescents. The threat to healthy sleep patterns is potentially more important than the threat posed by entertainment media. The latter mainly appear to influence time to bed, while mobile phones actually seem to lead to interrupted sleep.
"It's not so much whether they are disturbed in their sleep by being awakened. If they take their phone with them and leave it switched on, they sleep at a different level because they are constantly aware of the phone."
See previous article on the Belgian study and a similar study conducted in Australia:
And just for fun, in Textually's Year End Review, I rounded up in an entry entitled Cell Phones' Bad Rap, a list all sorts of things cell phones were blamed for last year - from making children fat, to triggering the onset of Alzheimer to being responsible for a new form of addiction disorder as well as leading to sexually transmitted diseases.
Three quarters of a million old mobiles will have been discarded or dumped since Christmas, according to a survey, reports the BBC.
Some organizations are doing someting about it by turning to recycling programs, as dumped mobiles can harm the environment.
From 5 January, those with a new mobile will be able to take their old ones into The Body Shop for collection to be recycled or reconditioned, and even reused in developing countries.
Each phone handed in will raise £2.75 for the domestic violence charity Refuge, as part of their nationwide «Help Stop Domestic Violence» campaign".
Related articles on cell phone recycling:
In their own words:
"Thus, you can get a glimpse of the latest Apple products even if you are stuck in a boring classroom reading your new semester syllabus.
We plan on sending approximately 20 short blurbs (100 characters or less) via SMS as updates - if this is a problem for you, do NOT submit this form. 10 PM PST on Monday, January 5 will be your last chance to register for this service".