Archives for October 2004

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October 31, 2004

Sms: Pray to oust Bush

Throughout the first two weeks of their annual month of prayer and fasting, Nigerian Muslims have been bombarded by mobile telephone text messages urging them to pray for US President George W. Bush's defeat, according to 24Hours.com.

"A few days to US presidential elections, join us in praying for the defeat of Bush, an arrogant bigger evil and enemy of Islam and Muslims. Please pass to 10 others," one of the messages read.

It is a campaign more likely to boost the profits of Nigeria's South African-run mobile telephone networks than unduly worry White House strategists, but the response on the streets of the northern city of Kano underlines the depth of anti-American sentiment here."

emily | 9:23 PM | permalink

Is Wireless Messaging the Next Campaign Frontier?

0,1311,i=86452,00.jpg Just as blogging has revolutionized election-year reporting, text messaging via cell phones and PDAs has served as a constant reminder to the mobile community that it's time to vote, reports eWeek, who looks into the organizations which targeted young voters with politically themed text messages.

Not related to text messaging, but interesting, eWeek reports that campaigners are pushing out a 30-second video commercial to AIM users..

"The commercial appears in the window at the top of the AOL instant messaging client, where easy-to-ignore text ads usually reside. (Perhaps we should call them "IMmercials?) The political spot includes audio, but doesn't repeat unless you click on it. You can also stop it once it's running."

"Do people really want to see streaming video pop-ups from their instant messaging clients? Or more to the point as this election season winds down, do users want to see a political ad from a group or candidate they do not support, or worse, may actually despise?" read more.

emily | 10:37 AM | permalink

Need directions? Just point your cell phone

Ever wish you could use your cell phone as a navigator? That you could point it in the direction you're walking and have it guide you to the nearest Starbucks or, in an emergency, the closest hospital?

San Francisco's GeoVector plans to let you do just that, as well as play outside adventure games and locate friends and family. It will launch its service with a cell-phone company in Asia early next year and soon follow in the U.S. market, according to founder John Ellenby. [ via the Bradenton Herald ].

[...] The technology will let you point your cell phone at a building and have it tell you, for instance, that there's a hairdressing salon on the third floor. The salon might list its phone number, which you can then click on and make an appointment. The salon might even send an ad to your phone giving you a discount. Or if you're touring San Francisco and are unsure of which bridge spans out to Treasure Island, GeoVector will tell you it's the Bay Bridge.

emily | 9:35 AM | permalink

How people use their cell phones

20041029_cellusage.jpg
Here is a survey portraying the top three functions used most frequently on a portable device.

[Source: Jupiter Research/Ipsos-Insight Consumer Survey]

[ via Unmediated and And Far Away... via Eyebeam reblog ]

emily | 9:34 AM | permalink

October 30, 2004

Errant motorists beware: one SMS can bust you

New cellphone technology launched on Friday by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department will enable officers, through the touch of a button, to get updated information on both the vehicles and their drivers.

"Over 1,4-million warrants of arrest have been put onto the new data system – 750 000 current ones and 650 000 old ones, where culprits have changed addresses.

Linked to the new cellphone technology is a brand new, clean database which has been updated with the assistance of outside agencies. The system will eventually be rolled out to catch by-law and criminal offenders as well."

emily | 4:52 PM | permalink

Cell phones: Too hot to handle?

121703wifi_sm.jpg A good article in News.com on the safety issues surrounding cell phone batteries and how "the threat of a cell phone turning into a sort of Zippo lighter is rare, but real."

"Bad batteries have made 2004 a year of living dangerously with cell phones. Watchdog groups devoted to the safety of consumer products say they've fielded dozens of reports this year of cell phone meltdowns that have resulted in injury and property damage.

Defective or counterfeit batteries have caused nearly all of the reported incidents, while others were caused by dropped phones, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The incidents have involved a tiny percentage of the 170 million cell phone subscribers in the United States. But consumer advocates believe that the increase in battery failures points to a worrying trend.

Related articles and incidents in the US:

Kyocera recalls 1M phone batteries

Industry groups to address exploding phones

Kyocera phone blows up in South Carolina

Verizon recalls cell phone batteries

Related articles and incidents from around the world:

-- In August 2004 a Nokia handset exploded in Hong Kong and injured a man.

-- In July 2004, a man was injured when a mobile phone he was using exploded in Beijing..

-- On July 2nd, 2004, a 16-year-old California girl suffered second degree burns Thursday when her Verizon Kyocera cell phone caught on fire in her back pocket.

-- Verizon Wireless - on June 2004 and for the second time this year - recalled 50,000 cell phone batteries some of which may be counterfeit, after reports suggesting that they may cause minor fires and injuries.

-- Good Morning America reported in January 2004, that the phone manufacturer Kyocera was voluntarily recalling batteries for one of its phones, the first-ever recall of cell-phone batteries. About 140,000 batteries custom made for the Kyocera 7135 Smartphone were recalled.

-- Nokia has confirmed that one of its 3310 handsets, which exploded and caused minor injuries to a woman in Finland in November 2003.

-- In a rare accident in Amsterdam in August 2003 a mobile phone exploded in a woman's face causing burns to her face and neck.

-- In February 2003, Cellular News reported that Nokia had admitted that cases had been reported of non-original mobile phone batteries overheating in the European, African and Asian regions, causing damage to both batteries and Nokia phones.

-- An incident in Norway was reported by Belgian newspaper Le Soir, in November 2002, when the Nokia handeset of a 15 year-old boy exploded in class. His cell phone was equipped with a non Nokia battery. No one was hurt.

-- The first case tracked down of a cellphone fault causing an explosion occured in Taiwan in June 2002, injuring its owner, and reported by Cellular News. The woman appeared on ETTV television channel saying: "The phone heated up and I could feel the heat coming from my bag, but I did not pay attention because I was eating. A few minutes later it exploded. The hot debris burned my arms and feet."

emily | 4:00 PM | permalink

Biometric Cell Phones Coming

biometrics-cell-phones.jpg Steve Mansfield, vice president of marketing with AuthenTec, estimates that new biometric features will be built into mobile phones in China during the first half of next year. These same features will hit the European market during the second half of 2005. "The U.S. will see those same features by the end of 2006," he told TechNews World.

Biometric technology has been around for more than a decade with little fanfare. However, interest is heating up forbiometric security devices in communications. Iris scanners, voice recognition modules and fingerprint readers promise to raise the bar on locking down access to computers, networks, Web sites and even cell phones.

One of the hottest markets for biometrics is the mobile phone industry, where consumers abroad are already embracing its security and convenience.

"Biometrics in much more convenient than PIN security. And convenience is what sells biometrics in phones," Mansfield told TechNewsWorld.

According to Mansfield, five cell phone models with fingerprint sensors are already in the Japanese marketplace. South Korea's LG Electronics introduced two biometric security models in September.

emily | 2:40 PM | permalink

Super-tough coating for cellphones and discs

The colour LCD screens on cellphones and PDAs can get badly scratched in pockets stuffed with loose change and keys. Now a tough, transparent polymer coating developed by chemists in Japan is set to make scratched phone screens and scuffed discs a thing of the past, according to New Scientist.

emily | 1:59 PM | permalink

October 29, 2004

Cyber dissidents rattle China's thought police

Mobile phones, text messaging, computers -- these are the new weapons of dissent in modern China. And they're making its rigid Communist rulers extremely nervous, according to the GlobeAndMail.com.

"With 80 million registered on-line users, Chinese authorities are only too aware of the Internet's potent force. They encourage its use but simultaneously are building a new Great Wall of technology to shut out dissident views.

With the help of Western technology firms, China has developed the world's most invasive cyberspace security techniques. Human-rights organizations say as many as 30,000 government employees are dedicated full-time to monitoring the Internet. China leads the world in jailing on-line dissidents. More than 60 are now incarcerated for terms as long as 15 years -- simply for posting "unhealthy things."

emily | 3:30 PM | permalink

Vodaphone to Hire Chat Room Monitors

Smarting from the bad publicity surrounding a pedophile case involving mobile phone chat-rooms, Vodafone Australia announced its intention to employ round-the-clock moderators and install profanity filters. Mark Frauenfelder comments in The Feature.com.

emily | 3:27 PM | permalink

Florida can you hear me now?

verizon1.jpg Like political candidates crisscrossing the Sunshine State in the final days before Election Day, November 2, teams of Verizon Wireless technicians have been canvassing Florida to test and boost wireless coverage for residents and the thousands of visitors now descending on the important political battleground state.

Verizon Wireless has added capacity to key cell sites, deployed mobile transmission units and dispatched crews of real-life "test men" to fine-tune its network for voice and high-speed wireless data calls, according to a company press release.

Over the past four years, Verizon Wireless has spent more than $800 million building, testing and enhancing its digital network in Florida alone. The network now covers more than 25,000 square miles and serves nearly 15.5 million of Florida's 17 million residents.

The specially equipped Verizon Wireless test vehicles simultaneously test seven wireless providers, using a computerized program to generate phonically diverse "conversations" as well as data transmissions..

emily | 3:23 PM | permalink

Mobile Phone Gaming to Top $1 Billion in '04

Video game and mobile phone companies are set to make money this year as customers use phones to zap space invaders or sink game-winning golf putts, pushing the mobile gaming market over $1 billion, reports Reuters.

"According to London-based consultancy Screen Digest, mobile phone gaming also will grow by more than six times to $6.4 billion between 2004 and the end of decade."

emily | 2:30 PM | permalink

Send 19secret: Anonymous Text Messages

anonsms-homepageflowchart.gif 19secret.com.au was launched today by Beep Interactive Pty Ltd. 19secret is a service that allows people to send anonymous and masked (“spoofed”) SMS messages from their mobile phone. Company press release.

Usually when you send an SMS, the sender's number is displayed and the recipient can identify whom it is from. With 19secret you can hide the sender's number (an anonymous SMS) or replace it with another name or number (masked SMS).

With numerous applications, 19secret is expected to appeal to the late teenager/early 20 s markets. Potential applications include:

- Sending a secret admirer SMS, before you have the courage to approach a girl/boy you like.

- Ask friends to send you feedback on a certain topic in the form of an anonymous message. Without as much risk of personally offending, answers are more likely to be direct and truthful.

- Send an anonymous tip-off (e.g. a friend's boyfriend is cheating on them) thereby avoiding the “shoot the messenger” mentality.

- If you leave your phone at home, or it is out of power, you can borrow a friend's phone, send a message and make sure any response is sent back to your phone.

emily | 2:20 PM | permalink

Young Female Prodigies Drive Korean Mobile Phone Industry

Female executives are holding their own in the nation's male-dominated mobile phone industry with its third-largest handset maker Pantech Group and frontrunning wireless carrier SK Telecom leading the way, reports the The Korea Times.

Pantech Group, hired Chen Su, an ethnic Chinese with a strong connection to Korea, as head of its Chinese division earlier this year.

SK Telecom took the business world by surprise when Korea's top wireless carrier recruited 28-year-old Yoon Song-yee and assigned her as its executive member in March of this year.

The hiring of Yoon as SK Telecom's vice president made her its youngest executive member ever as well as in the entire telecom industry. "

emily | 1:46 PM | permalink

Japanese GPS School Bag

gps_school_bag.jpg Secom and bag maker Kyowa Corp. announced a line of backpacks for school kids that feature built-in GPS transmitters that work with Secom's locational information service called Koko Secom.

The small terminal is attached to the outside of the backpack. The GPS transmitter can be removed from the backpack and attached to a belt or carried in a pocket.

The locational information can be accessed via phone, over the Internet or mobile phone. [ via I4U News ] More in RFID in Japan.

emily | 1:39 PM | permalink

Kyocera recalls 1M phone batteries

Kyocera Wireless, along with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, is recalling 1 million cell-phone batteries, pointing to concerns that some of the batteries supplied by the manufacturer may be counterfeit.. via RCRWireless News.

Related:

-- Industry groups to address exploding phones

-- Verizon recalls cell phone batteries

emily | 1:00 PM | permalink

October 28, 2004

WebtraffIQ Alerts

Web analytics agency,Webtraffiq announces the launch of their new SMS and email alert service, WebtraffIQ Alerts.

WebtraffIQ Alerts checks the customer's website every 10 minutes, and then alerts them by SMS and email if their sites do not respond. Once the site is recovered, the customer will receive a notification also by SMS and email, informing them what has transpired.

The new 24 hour, 356 days a year service is freely available to all current WebtraffIQ clients; being an added functionality within their administration settings option. Notifications can be sent up to 10 individuals to their mobile phones or email. ‘WebtraffIQ Alerts' is also available as a stand-alone service to companies wishing to invest in their websites uptime.

Company press release.

emily | 9:40 AM | permalink

Yahoo launches mobile search

newmast_2.gif Yahoo added a search feature for cell phones Wednesday, Yahoo! Mobile Search just a few weeks after rival Google launched one of its own, reports Asia C/Net.

"While Google SMS uses text-only messages to deliver its results, Yahoo's new mobile service offers localized search results, maps and Web site icons that let people point, click and make a call.

The two companies took their most significant steps yet into the cell phone market within a few weeks of each other, showing just how eager the Web search industry is to expand its reach.

Yahoo's mobile search is available now to AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless and Sprint subscribers. Meanwhile, Google's SMS test product works with the top five U.S. operators."

Related articles:

-- Google SMS to include driving directions?

-- Cell phone search takes on Net engines

-- Google SMS search beta launches

-- and more in the Ask Experts category of Textually.org.

emily | 8:36 AM | permalink

October 27, 2004

The Bagmovil

bagmovil.jpg For the winter season, something to keep your cell phone warm. The bagmovil.

"Designed by a Spanish company, this woolly protection for your mobile phone and other electrical appliances can be customized according to your whim with different colours, slogans or logos".

[ via Popgadget ]

emily | 5:44 PM | permalink

Talking while driving can be deadly

An 18 year old girl was killed Sunday night in a head-on traffic collision in Citrus Heights, California. The other driver, an 18 year old boy was moderatley injured, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Witnesses said the young woman did not brake before the accident and that both drivers were using cell phones when they collided.

Be careful out there.

emily | 4:43 PM | permalink

Pak Punjab uses SMS for birth control

Keen to spread the message of the benefits of having a small family, the government of Pakistan's Punjab province has introduced a novel way to promote it, by text messaging, reports new kerala.com.

"The Punjab government has decided to launch a short message service to four million mobile phone users in the province on the issue of family and population welfare.

Messages would be sent to cell phone consumers once or twice a week and this process would continue throughout the year."

emily | 4:15 PM | permalink

Phone Choices May Affect Polls

americanflag.jpg Political polling outfits exclude cell phone users from this year's presidential surveys. But a new survey indicates that mobile phone users are a distinct voting group whose ballot preferences might not be reflected in traditional polls. Elisa Batista reports for Wired.

Related articles:

-- Are younger voters flying under the pollsters' radar?

-- Cell Phones Left Out

-- Conflicting polls add to election confusion

emily | 1:49 PM | permalink

Where is the nearest midwife? By SMS

Swiss mobile customers of wireless operator Swisscom, can send a text message to find out where the nearest doctor or hospital is, thanks to a new service provided by Sanday (”Santé (health) every day”).

"Mobile users need only send a text message to short code 858 with keywords that correspond to the care center or type of doctor they are looking for: hospital, pharmacy, doctor, dentist, gynecologist, opthtamologist, veterinary, mid-wife, physiotherapist... The service locates the position of the mobile user and sends back the nearest name and address at a premium rate (75 cents)."

Translated from Smooth Planet (in French)

emily | 1:00 PM | permalink

3 'chavs up' its advertising

Chavweb128.jpg Mobile phone group 3 is tapping into the "chav" phenomenon, modifying its current advertising campaign to include a character complete with Burberry-style peaked cap, reports the MediaGuardian.

"It is hoping the cartoon turtle, who also sports "bling" jewellery, will help it sell mobile accessories such as hands-free kits, chargers and Bluetooth headsets.

The image is being used for print ads and in-store posters, alongside other manga-style cartoon "critters" that have featured in the campaign so far."

A spokesman for 3 said the advert was a humorous and would appeal to the group's target market of 18 to 34-year-olds.

emily | 11:50 AM | permalink

World mobile phone shipments up 25%

Shipments from vendors reached 168 million units, up 24.7 per cent from the year-ago quarter, Strategy Analytics (SA) said this week. [via The Register]

"The researcher reaffirmed its earlier forecast that some 670 million handsets will ship worldwide in 2004. It said the Q3 shipments were led by "surging" replacement/upgrade business in established markets and booming demand in newer territories."

emily | 11:00 AM | permalink

Call of the Wild

callofthewild.jpg networked_performance reports on a a project by Amos Latteier, Call of the Wild "a series of audio tours of downtown Portland that are accessed by cell phone.

"The tours focus on plants and animals in downtown, contrasting them to their human cohabitants. Using natural history, philosophy, and humor the tours reveal urban biological systems that we see everyday but seldom notice."

Other city tour guides by cell phone:

-- Dream On: Celebs Lead Local Walking Tours - Would you like Steven Tyler to tell you to "walk this way" in Boston?

-- Cell phone walking tour - A cell phone walking tour of New York City's Lower East Side launched September 15, 2003 narrated by Jerry Stiller.


-- Call up the past! - Handheld History is a new service launching this Spring, which allows you to use your mobile phone to access history based on London's famous Blue Plaques.

-- Talking Street - In May 2004, Minute Man National Historic Park became the first in the country to offer a cellphone guide. For $5.99, visitors can call up an hourlong take on Paul Revere and the North Bridge.

emily | 11:00 AM | permalink

DONT CUM BAK 2 SKOOL

This is a first. I've heard of employees being fired by text message, even a school principal, but never a student expelled by SMS! It happened at the Cheam Common Junior School in south London.

An exasperated headmaster expelled one of his pupils by sending a text
message to the child's mother
, according to Sky News.

"Roger Easterhope had been trying to contact the mother of Meshack Bennett all day with no luck.

At 7pm he gave up on special delivery letters and endless telephone calls and resorted to texting her the news."

Talking about the text message, Mr Easterhope, 52, told the Daily Mail: "I didn't think I had any other option - she didn't respond (to phone calls)."

He added: "As far as I'm concerned, all the correct policies and procedures have been gone through."

But Meshack's mother, Naomi Bennett, told the newspaper: "I was shocked the school would send me a text about something like that."

Related articles:

-- Belgian School Principal Fired by SMS - The Principal of a school in Belgium, Saint-Joseph de Presles, was fired by text message last year in June.

-- South Korean credit card firm sacks staff via SMS - South Korea's third-largest credit card issuer, KEB Credit Service Co, sacked a quarter of its workforce (161 employees) via text messages.

-- Thousands are sacked - by text - A UK insurance company fires thousands of employees.

-- Sacked by SMS - An Australian traffic controller is fired by SMS.

The first report of an employee being sacked by SMS I ever read about occured in England, in February 2001, when an office adminstrator, Zoe Halls, received an SMS from her boss, stating: "We don't need you in at work tomorrow, I'll phone you AM to explain - John". Other than calling him a coward, Zoe Halls had little recourse in fighting her case as she was still in a probation period. (cf archived article in The Register).

emily | 10:43 AM | permalink

October 26, 2004

The Diane Von Furstenberg Couture Cell Phone

709.jpg Beginning this fall, Samsung and Vogue will debut an unprecedented co-
marketing program
, including a highly-targeted, high-fashion advertising campaign, exclusive promotional and multi-media content partnerships with Style.com and visionary designers, as well as extensive outreach to the fashion elite.

As the cornerstone of this fall's campaign, Samsung and Vogue have
partnered with Diane von Furstenberg, known for the legendary "wrap" dress, to create a limited edition designer phone -- DVF Mobile bySamsung.

Von Furstenberg created DVF Mobile by Samsung by reproducing an Andy Warhol painting that features her own likeness.

[press release]

emily | 6:13 PM | permalink

Cingular and AT&T Wireless merge

The Federal Communications Commission gave its approval Tuesday to Cingular Wireless's $41 billion acquisition of AT&T Wireless Services Inc., completing the federal regulatory blessing necessary for creation of the country's largest cellphone company. WSJ.

"The deal will result in the nation's largest cellphone operator with roughly 47 million customers nationwide. Customers of AT&T Wireless, which has been plagued with network problems during the past year, should see an improvement in coverage as a result of the merger. Cingular customers, in turn, could get wireless access to the Web at higher speeds". WSJ

emily | 3:55 PM | permalink

Waazzzuuuppp ... on local highways

trans_gallery_pic12s.jpg A new mobile advertising scheme aims to target captive Malaysian (bus) passengers.

Celcom Mastro (Mobile Advertising Services For Transport Operations) have launched "Wazzup Highway," an SMS and GPRS program for Transnasional bus commuters, reports The Star.

The program would allow commuters to download a variety of "data infotainment" services via the Celcom network.

Transnasional has a fleet of more than 1,200 buses covering 234 routes throughout Peninsular Malaysia, with some 5,200 trips taken daily. This translates to around 55 million passengers annually, making it the largest operator of public bus transportation in Malaysia, claimed Nadicorp.

Celcom users travelling on these buses will be able to access services such as ringtones, wallpapers, games, chat, jokes, Info Solat (prayer times) and others.

emily | 1:45 PM | permalink

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