Archives for January 2004
January 31, 2004
I am not sure how old this is, but sounds recent: Vodafone has developed a funky flash site, called "Vodafone Future Vision" which outlines what it envisions as the future of mobile communications, and indeed, mobile life. It is a long and sometimes confusing presentation, for the simple reason that it is perhaps too interactive..too much effort is required, and I'm not sure I am willing to do that at 12 AM on a cold, cold London night ...
Nonetheless, click through it, and enjoy...
January 30, 2004
In another presentation at the "Delivering Mobile Adult Content Responsibly" conference yesterday in London, Angus Cormie, head of portals at UK operator O2, gave some interesting figures on some research the company had done late last year:
By the way, that 5 percent who are willing, the estimated revenues from them are in 8-figure annual gross, bigger than the 2003 personalisation (ringtones etc) market!
I was at the "Delivering Mobile Adult Content Responsibly" conference yesterday in London...most of it focused on legal issues. One presentation by Linda Criddle of Microsoft had some interesting points on what MSN plans to do with putting in access control within MSN Mobile tools (and I'm copying the slide presentation below):
January 29, 2004
The novel, "Pa Sage a Taba" -- which, translated from French jargon, means "Not Wise to Smoke". An example passage in the book has a Dtektive (detective) asking the villain: "6 j t'aspRge d'O 2 kologne histoar 2 partaG le odeurs ke tu me fe subir?" Which, once expanded and translated, would come across as "What if I spray you with cologne so you can share the smells you make me suffer?"
And did someone say it took less time with this?
January 28, 2004
The latest Wired magazine has an interesting tidbit on flirting via texting, in British bars... When partygoers arrive, they're each given a badge with an ID number, which is their identity for the night. They never have to disclose their names or phone numbers; a suitor's SMS advances are routed through a central server to the intended's phone. And then, rest is history & luck....
And this may be coming to U.S. as well: Bars in New York City could be the first to see it this spring.
And as a result of a complain from the French prime minister's office, Orange France has launched two new SMS pricing plans that can cut the price consumers pay by 50 percent, reports 160 Characters.
And even though the pricing has come down with these new packages, critics say that by offering different pricing depending whether the message is sent to another Orange subscriber or other operators, consumers are likely to remain confused.
A UK company has launched the concept of mobile domain names, and hopes that it will spur the same revolution that cheap domain names did in the late 90s, reports New Media Age. The company, Messages, a leading UK domain name provider, is letting any consumer or SME register their own interactive SMS keyword for £9.99 a year.
The mobile domain name service, called iTagg, takes the form of a unique keyword. The owner can then set up automatic responses which are sent via SMS to anyone texting that keyword to a shortcode. The responses can be set at standard or premium rate; at premium rate, the itagg owner would receive a commission on the price charged.
January 27, 2004
You've probably heard of voting for "American Idol" contestants via SMS, and how big of a success that was in U.S...now you can play against each other via SMS. Telenor Mobile Interactive USA and FremantleMedia have launched an American Idol premium text messaging game that allows AT&T Wireless subscribers to compete and become a Virtual Idol, reports Mobile Commerce World.
The game, developed by Mindgames, is pretty expensive: costs $1.99 per play in addition to standard text messaging rates. Players can win or lose fan points depending on how well they respond to a series of questions based on particular scenarios.
That's what Malaysian academic authorities think, at least. The Malaysian director of education is pretty sure on that...he attributes students' falling grades in English to SMS...[The Star, Malaysia]
Universiti Malaya English language lecturer associate professor Dr Karen Kow Yip Cheng even proposed that the Education Ministry conduct a quantitative study on the impact of SMS on languages to understand the matter deeper so that corrective measures can be employed to stop the drop in the standard of English.
However, another professor quoted in the story says that the decline in English grades has nothing to do with SMS, and SMS is a good thing: "At least they are beginning to use English now," the professor said.
Freever, a European SMS content provider has just released a survey (PDF file) that shows Brits in a pretty poor light: cowardly, careless and sneaky.
Some interesting results, though inherently meaningless, according to Jeremy Wagstaff:
This is scary, straight out of some Bond movie: Cell-phone guns have become a security threat at airports in U.S., according to Time magazine.
Though heavier than normal phones, the lethal ones look nearly identical. The hollowed-out devices, made in Croatia, are fired by punching buttons on the keypad and can shoot four .22-cal. bullets in rapid succession.
So far, none have surfaced in U.S., though.
January 25, 2004
January 23, 2004
Funny this: The Norwegian royalty used SMS to announce the birth of a baby girl to the Queen of Norway..."We have given birth" says Queen of Norway in a Royal text message announcement. [160 Characters].
January 22, 2004
Well, it's official, British are getting the texting thumb: about 20 billion texts were send in 2003 in UK, according to Mobile Data Association, reports Guardian. In December, mobile phone users sent an average of 61m text messages per day, up from 52m a year earlier and 42m in 2001. The overall total for last year was 20.5bn, representing a twenty-fold increase since 1999.
In 2004, that figure is going to rise to 23 billion...
All you Matrix lovers, even ones in rush-hour traffic...here's one for you. Sanyo has developed a new handset with a difference, one which enables users to listen to calls inside their heads - by conducting sound through bone. So no more straining to hear when in noisy situations...[Source: Mobile Commerce World]
The new Sanyo TS41 phone is equipped with a "Sonic Speaker" which transmits sounds through vibrations that move from the skull to the cochlea in the inner ear...If the user holds the handset to the top of the head, the back of the head, cheekbone or jaw and plugs his or her left ear, the call will be heard internally on the left side.
So the cell phone has finally overtaken the television in U.S...so much for the small mercies of life...nearly one in three (30%) American adults say the cell phone is the invention they most hate but cannot live without, according to the eighth annual Lemelson-MIT Invention Index study, reports Cellular News.
However, on the negative side, most people also dislike cell phones because they either feel tethered to them or they are annoyed by others who use them in inappropriate public places, such as restaurants or movie theaters, according to the survey. You can't have it all, can you?
China Everbright Bank has teamed with a leading Chinese ISP to launch a new SMS banking service, reports Mobile Commerce World. The SMS banking service is targeted at credit loan clients, who receive a SMS that shows their bank account balance and reminds them of loan repayment.
Well, so goes this reasoning of why 3G may not take off: the beauty of SMS text messaging is that it allows you to lie to your other half...cheat on them, or just generally tell them off. With 3G, the horribly honest medium of video conferencing will easily betray you when you are not in the office [Silicon.com]
Mike Grenville, CEO of mobile messaging association 160 Characters, said: "Does technology mean we lie more? Maybe it does. Maybe this is also a reason why 3G video conferencing won't catch on. After all, maybe there are some benefits to the other half not being able to see where you are."
January 21, 2004
Sprint has launched a mobile comics service, in association with Funmail's Mobile Comics Networks, somehting you've read about here earlier. These daily comics include strips from household names such as Dilbert, Dick Tracy, Zits, Baby Blues, Momma and Beetle Bailey.
Sprint comics subscribers can scroll through the comic at their own pace, clip favorite comics to a virtual scrapbook, and also rate comics from "Great!" to "Blah!" The top-rated comics are available to the Sprint Comics community in a "Top Ten" area. Each of the Sprint comics applications are available for $1.99 per month. [More in the press release].
Credit card issuers in Hungary and other eastern European countries are doing an interesting experiment to cope with credit card fraud: Each time a credit card is used, the cardholder immediately gets a text message on his or her cell phone confirming the transaction and notifying the cardholder of the balance, report Chicago Tribune.
Initially developed in Hungary, the messaging system is used widely in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is now being introduced in Western Europe.
January 20, 2004
Well, you decide...these content cards haven't really gained much ground except perhaps in the video games market....now UK retailer Phones4U and Maxim magazine are the first distribution channels for an innovative new mobile content play that lets consumers purchase content simply by holding a branded card to their handset, reports New Media Age.
The Kibi Card is a credit card-sized card featuring eight interactive buttons which are associated with different types of mobile content. To buy content, consumers press the relevant button and hold the card to their handset. The card then automatically dials an IVR number which recognises the tune being played and delivers the content via an SMS containing a WAP Push link.
The cards are being launched in association with Icon, the content division of DCI.
A bomb explosion in Bulgaria yesterday has reportedly been set off by a mobile phone... Bulgaria's Interior Chief Secretary Boyko Borissov said that he suspected a mobile phone was used to activate the bomb.
January 19, 2004
U.S. mobile operator Sprint has launched a multi-media app. for its wireless users, through which they can get up-to-the-minute election results and complete coverage of the 2004 campaign, featuring color graphics and narration, according to a company press release.
The downloadable app. from 1KTV, provides breaking news from The Associated Press, Reuters, The Weather Channel, Fox Sports, and a wide spectrum of entertainment choices. The election coverage will be through AP--its data feed instantly converts real-time election data into a wireless multimedia experience with TV-style graphics and full narration.
This new service will provide customers the option of sending a local or national SMS to any mobile phone in the country at just Re. 1. The usage of the AirTel ExpresSMS is similar to that of a coin-operated phone booth. The customer can also wait and receive a reply SMS from the mobile number to whom they had sent a message.
UK mobile poerators will release the mobile content code for children, today, reports Guardian.
Under the new rules an independent content board will lay down guidelines governing what should be classified as suitable for over-18s and the mobile phone companies will ensure that, if such content is offered by themselves or their commercial partners, it cannot be accessed by children.
Children will also be kept out of mobile phone chat rooms which do not have a moderator policing the conversations.
January 18, 2004
An aggrieved father in Australia has warned people not to send SMS messages while driving, reports Herald Sun. Ted Marsh's son Anthony, 36, died when a 24-year-old woman crashed into him while he was riding on his cycle along Port Arlington Rd in 2001.
Speaking at the launch of a new community service campaign to highlight the dangers of text messaging while driving, Ted Marsh said more lives would be lost if people did not start heeding safety calls. A recent survey undertaken by Telstra in Australia shows one in five motorists send SMS messages while driving.
January 17, 2004
A great line: SMS may very well be the Rodney Dangerfield of the U.S. mobile wireless sector, writes David Deans on AlwaysOn. He also has some good tips on how to use SMS in the corporate enterprise:
January 16, 2004
Text your way to ether, literally: A service promising to answer people's prayers with a text message apparently sent by Jesus has been shut down after complaints by Finland's mobile services watchdog, reports Reuters.
The heavenly service offered answers from Jesus in response to a text message prayer at the cost of a hefty 1.20 euros ($1.52) per message, but lasted less than a month.
Mark this one in your favorites, for sure: Peter Rysavy, a wireless consultant, has began publishing Spotlight on SPOT, a great compendium of information about Microsoft's SPOT (Smart Personal Objects Technology) efforts, including the network, devices (the wireless watches), applications, etc. (via Alan Rieter)
This may be connected to the post below on enhanced 999 service: technologists in UK are demontsrating a new car-based device called E-merge, which automatically sends an SMS to the local emergency operator when a vehicle crashes, giving the precise location, model, colour and licence plate number in the local language of the country where the accident occurred [New Scientist].
The device includes a cellphone circuit, a GPS positioning unit, and a microphone and loudspeaker. It registers the severity of the crash by reading the deceleration data from the airbag's sensor. Using GPS information, it works out which country the car is in, and from this it determines in which language to compose an alert message detailing the precise location of the accident.