Archives for May 2005

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May 31, 2005

Secure GSM for, um, secure GSM cellphone calls

encryption.gif Anyone touting “unbreakable” encryption is just asking to be shown up, but an Australian company by the name of SecureGSM is offering a new app for Windows Mobile-powered Smartphones and Pocket PC Phones that uses 256 bit encryption to protect your calls from electronic eavesdroppers.

[via Engadget]

Related:

-- File encryption solution for text messaging - Nokia and Pointsec announced that they have jointly developed a solution designed to protect enterprise customers' data on mobile devices.

-- Texting in secret interests GCHQ - Fortress SMS is designed for a growing number of security conscious SMS users seeking to protect their sensitive messages from interception and snooping, in an easy to use, simple and effective fashion.

-- The CryptoPhone - German company Cryptophone is selling a special version of HTC's XDA Pocket PC Phone that comes complete with built-in encryption technology that makes it next-to-impossible for anyone to intercept and listen in on your phone calls.

emily | 10:03 PM | permalink

Banana Cell Phone Cover

bananacellphone.jpg This gentleman who is CEO of Nanaco, the importer of the banana cell phone cover, demonstrates just how one would use this delightful item.

The Banana Cell Phone Cover, which is patent pending, fits on both flip and candybar phone. It can be purchased online or through local retailers for $ 9.99.

via Gizmodo

via sfist

emily | 9:41 PM | permalink

Bonanza ahead for wireless IM

The global messaging market continues to be important to mobile carriers, with the bulk of the revenues coming from text messaging, newly published research has found, reports Computing / vnunet.

According to In-Stat, the greatest growth in mobile messaging is expected to come from wireless instant messaging, which is expected to increase revenues sixfold between 2007 and 2009 driven by corporate users, the high-tech market research firm said.

The In-Stat report also found that Multimedia Message Service, which delivers pictures, sound clips and video, is expected to show nearly 50 per cent compound annual growth rate through 2009".

emily | 9:35 PM | permalink

Shangai Prefers Nokia, Motorola to Samsung, LG

china_1.jpg Shanghai is the center of the Chinese economy and home to 22 million people including 5 million of floating population. Its flourishing economy consumes more handsets than other cities, reports Telecoms Korea.

"Asked which maker is most popular, a shopkeeper at a store dealing with various brands said, “Nokia and Motorola are the most wanted".

Samsung phones are said to be imitated or smuggled more often than others. Samsung handsets were most highly in demand a couple of years ago but the popularity is waning these days. It is mainly attributable to the company's strategy in China where it releases old models one or two years after they were introduced in other countries."

emily | 4:25 PM | permalink

Cell Phone market shares in China

Global handset makers, Nokia, Motorola and Samsung, are rapidly expanding their presence in China, while domestic handset maker are losing ground, according to Telecoms Korea.

"Market research firm Analysys International recently reported that Nokia increased its market share in China from 19.88% in the last quarter of 2004 to 21.87% in the first quarter, followed by Motorola that recorded increase from 12.57% to 13.20% during the same period". Samsung nudged Chinese handset maker Ningbo Bird and came into the third place with market share rising from 9.40% to 9.87%".

emily | 4:20 PM | permalink

UK. Phone theft law to be tightened

_40139316_keypad203_i.jpg A new crime law to prevent mobile phones from being doctored is to be introduced under the government's forthcoming Violent Crime Bill, reports BBC.

"The measures are aimed at reducing the numbers of street robberies and mobile phone thefts.

Under the Mobile Telephones (Reprogramming) Act 2002, it is illegal to reprogramme a phone, or use equipment to reprogramme with the intention to do so".

emily | 3:44 PM | permalink

Tailgaters and phone users 'most dangerous'

Drivers who tailgate other vehicles or use a handheld phone while at the wheel are the most dangerous threats on the road, according to a new survey from the Institute of Advanced Motorists. [via PhysOrg]

That seems quite obvious...

emily | 3:24 PM | permalink

Cellphones powering cigarette lighters

A rather odd patent has just been filed in South Korea, that enables a cellphone to be used as the power source for a cigarette lighter. The patent, reference WO2005043040 suggests connecting the phone to the lighter so that the phone can supply electrical power to the lighter.

[via Cellular News]

Related, sort of:

-- A cell phone that doubles up as a lighter

emily | 3:01 PM | permalink

Brain wave sensor system taps Bluetooth marshaled for mind readers

image_01.jpg NeuroSky, wants to get into your head. By fusing brain wave recognition algorithms with a sensor chip and dry electrode, NeuroSky hopes to simplify cell phone-based applications that today require error-prone human input, as well as revolutionize applications from gaming to medical diagnostics and therapy, reports CommsDesign.

"Five companies, including a Bluetooth headset provider, game console maker and trucking company, are said to have signed up to market end-user products containing NeuroSky's chips. Its biggest customer thus far is Ziyitong Technology Co. Ltd. (China Mobile), which has more than 100 million cell phone subscribers, 13 million of whom have high-speed 3G service".

Ziyitong already offers a suite of mobile gaming applications. With NeuroSky-enabled headsets, Yang said, the provider could market its games as "good for kids" because they make gaming proactive. "Our sensor can train users to concentrate, plus it requires them to become proactive in their gaming skills. This transfers over to making them more outgoing in their social lives," he said.

Ziyitong also offers an online dating service. Users must answer a long list of questions from which their profile is generated. The catch is that users aren't always truthful. "But on a cell phone equipped with a headset using our sensor, the content provider could just flash images that represent the questions, and our sensor would record users' reactions," said Yang. "You cannot lie with your brain waves."

emily | 2:43 PM | permalink

In the Netherlands, More cell phones than people

According to CNN Money, the number of cell phone subscribers surpassed the number of citizens in the Netherlands in the first quarter this year, a survey showed Tuesday.

"Mobile phone operators in the Netherlands added 356,000 net connections, lifting the total to 16.4 million customers at the end of March, or 100.4 percent of the population, Dutch research group Telecompaper said.

The survey counted the number of subscribers, measured by SIM cards that are put inside a mobile phone to connect it to a network, and did not measure how many individuals owned a handset."

emily | 2:37 PM | permalink

Forget-me-not panties

homepic.jpg While not real (though these Forget-me-not panties are being picked up on the Web as an actual product for sale) it would certainly be uh, an interesting use of location technology. [via Gear Live].

In their own words:

Forget-me-not panties will monitor the location of your daughter, wife or girlfriend 24 hours a day, and can even monitor their heart rate and body temperature.

Based on pioneering research developed by the U.S. military at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), we have brought this revolutionary technology, previously only available to the military, to you!

These "panties" can trace the exact location of your woman and send the information, via satellite, to your cell phone, PDA, and PC simultaneously! Use our patented mapping system, pantyMap®, to find the exact location of your loved one 24 hours a day.

The technology is embedded into a piece of fabric so seamlessly she will never know it's there!

Forget-me-not panties is one of the many sites taking part in the Eyebeam Contagious Media. Prizes will be awarded to the entry that receives the most unique visitors or or blog links during the contest time period (May 19 - through June 9). All entries must be a new work and the project must be created specifically for the Contagious Media Contest.

Other entries which have been in the news; cryingwhileeating.com, the Ring Tone Dancer and Blogebrity.

Related projects:

-- Chastity belts for the wireless world - "Under(a)wareables" are a project that features new kinds of chastity belts.

The devices are intended to be worn by people who are aware of their function, some would also allow clandestine surveillance by paranoid partners. The where(a)ware undergarments are aware of their geographical position and they can only be safely removed in certain locations, otherwise the underwear sends a text message to alert the jaleous lover when the wearer has left it and is not where s/he's supposed to be. [WMMNA]

emily | 9:34 AM | permalink

Transgender Band to Release Nude Photos by MMS

200505290001_01.jpg Wonderful and bizarre. Korean Transgendered band, Lady, are due to release a photo album revelaing them in all their buff glory.

An interesting (and perhaps not so incidental) facet of this is that the images will be delivered to mobile devices first.

[via Aflie's Blog and Digital Chosunilbo]

emily | 9:02 AM | permalink

Why North Korea Is Prohibiting Mobile Phones

northkorea.jpg According to a source reported by English Donga, “Frequency blocking device installation operations are taking place in cities that share borders with China such as Shinuiju, and mobile phone services will be resumed in the North after this construction is over.”

It seems the decisive factor that made North Korea install frequency blocking devices is the Ryongchon train explosion.

At the time, the Ryongchon train explosion was made known to the outside world immediately after the accident occurred. Though Chinese mobile phones that had been smuggled into North Korea could not be directly connected with Ryongchon, North Korean mobile phones could be used to call any area in North Korea from places like Dandong in China

It is highly likely that the first person to report the train explosion to the outside world was a North Korean mobile phone user in Dandong.

North Korea began telecommunications services in August 2002, and had nearly 30,000 subscribers with a telecommunications network in its major cities in April last year at the time of the accident.

When the North finishes installing the jamming devices, covert use of Chinese mobile phones in North Korea-China border areas will also be blocked.

Because the two nations both use the European GSM standard, North Korea will be able to send blocking waves that fit Chinese mobile phone frequencies."

Related articles:

-- North Korea is fighting a losing battle

-- Will cell phones crack North Korea's totalitarian regime?

-- North Korea: Chinese cellphones spawn an information boom

-- New agent of change in N. Korea: cellphones

-- North Korean authorities and cellphones

-- North Korea bans mobile phones

emily | 8:26 AM | permalink

SMS alerts as human rights tactic

NewTactics in Human Rights reports on a smart mob mobilized via SMS to successfully prevent the torture of a political prisoner.

"Golden Misabiko, a journalist in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was arrested and imprisoned without any charge in January 2001. It was feared he would be tortured.

Amnesty International sent out an Urgent Action to members all over the world. We, at the Dutch section, sent out a text message to 8,000 cell-phone users in the Netherlands who participate in our new text-message alert network. Within 48 hours we sent a protest fax with thousands of signatures to the authorities in the DRC.

Golden was released in May 2001. He had not been tortured. Golden wrote to Amnesty, “When I heard in prison that Amnesty campaigned for my release I knew: Je vais sortir (I will be released).” And so it happened.

Amnesty International has found a new “weapon” to use in its battle against torture: cell-phone text messages.

[via Smart Mobs]

emily | 8:19 AM | permalink

Spain offers SMS heat wave alerts

heatwave.gif The southern Spanish region of Andalucia is to send text messages to residents sensitive to high temperatures warning them of any extremely hot spell, regional health officials said, reports the AFP via Slashphone.

"The scheme particularly targets the elderly and the infirm living alone, as well as to parents of children aged under four, health authorities said, although others can also ask for the service.

In the southern city of Cordoba, for example, residents would be sent a text warning as soon as temperatures hit 41 Celsius (105.9 Fahrenheit).

The Spanish government foresees a slightly hotter summer than last year, when the health ministry logged 39 heat-related deaths."

emily | 8:11 AM | permalink

Mobile Donation Culture Gaining Strength

More people who get auspicious news over the cell phone decide to make donations to share happy occasions like promotions, success in tests, weddings and birthdays by pushing the dialogue button of the phone, giving rise to a new donation culture, according to Digital Chosunilbo.

Since November 2003, SK Telecom has been operating a so-called Beautiful Dialogue service allowing mobile subscribers to donate specified sums of money. Over 108,000 people have participated in the service designed to raise funds for children who are handicapped or suffering from rare diseases. Their donations totaled W190 million (US$190,000) in the last year and a half. Subscribers can donate W100 (10 cents), W1,000 (US$1), W3,000 or W5,000 at a time.

KTF operates a "mileage" donation system50 where subscribers make donations for children and adolescents according to membership mileage accumulated by telephone calls.

"Donations made through the mileage system totaled W50 million ($50'000) last year and are expected to increase to W90 million this year," a KTF official said Monday.

emily | 7:58 AM | permalink

May 30, 2005

Trade group wants to keep airborne ban on cell phones

callinginflight.jpg A U.S. trade group representing wireless telephone service providers has asked the U.S. Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to continue its ban on cell-phone calls during airplane flights, saying those calls could interfere with other wireless calls, reports
Computer World.

The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) on Thursday filed comments with the FCC saying the agency should hold off on its effort to approve the use of wireless phones during flights because no solution exists for the interference problem.

But other groups that submitted comments before Thursday's electronic filing deadline in the FCC proceeding disagreed with CTIA's analysis.

Aircraft maker The Boeing Co. and aircraft telephone service provider AirCell Inc. offered comments saying the interference problem can be fixed through pico cell systems, which are specialized cellular base stations installed onboard aircraft.

The FCC proposed rulemaking had been expected to take a year or more, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would have to give its own approval before wireless phones could be used during flights".

emily | 5:44 PM | permalink

Cell phones will accelerate the newspaper's renaissance

Newspapers around the world may have had a good year in 2004, but the industry still faces many challenges, reports The Korea Times, following the first full day of the 58th World Newspaper Conference yesterday.

[...]"At the opening session of the conference on Sunday, participants talked about the importance of new digital media. Jim Chisholm, a strategy advisor for WAN argued that "Mobile will accelerate the newspaper's renaissance."' He went on to describe a set of strategies from as simple as sending out text message announcements of breaking news, to more complex tools such as participation in opinion polls and the addition of still photography and video feed to supplement written content.

At a minimum, Chisholm argues, newspapers have to build readership among youth by learning the market and leveraging interest among younger segments of the population for new technology."

emily | 4:38 PM | permalink

m-coaching for the Baccalauréat

m-coaching.jpg French Wireless operator Orange has just launched an "SMS mobile coaching service" to help students study for their Baccalauréat exam. The m-coaching aims to motivate, inform and help the students to be better organized.

Students needs to sign up online and define his/her profile by answering several questions such as which Bac section they are in, and their priorities... as well as define the number of messages he/she would like to receive.

This is only the first of many m-coaching services Orange plans to launch, the operator has already made deals with Danone, Vocable, Adidas, le journal Management, Club Med Gym and Larousse Dictionary.

via L'atelier (in French).

emily | 3:47 PM | permalink

No Privacy in Your Cubicle? Try "Babble"

Maxwell Smart's "cone of silence" is finally a reality, according to The New York Times.

The cone of silence, called Babble, is actually a device composed of a sound processor and several speakers that multiply and scramble voices that come within its range. About the size of a clock radio, the first model is designed for a person using a phone, but other models will work in open office space."

emily | 2:56 PM | permalink

Pink mobile phone headset sales to benefit breastcancer.org

c250_pink_hl.jpg From May 1 to June 30, 2005, you can lend your hear to a good cause. Jabra will donate $1 to breastcancer.org for the first 15,000 Pink Jabra EarWave Boom mobile phone headsets sold exclusively at Sprint Stores nationwide.

The pink version of the popular Jabra EarWave Boom makes a functional yet fashionable gift for a loved one that supports a worthy cause.

[via Darla Mack and Techie Diva's Guide to Gadgets].

emily | 2:39 PM | permalink

Cell Phone Meets Fancy Input Device

Atrua Technologies, the U.S.-based high-tech venture, may change the rules of the cell phone game with its new-concept input device using intelligent touch control, according to The Koea Times.

"Atrua Technologies detects and converts finger movements of users into responsive control capabilities, thus enabling fingerprint recognition or improving the usability of mobile phones through easy mastery of games and other applications.

Atrua Wing is better than a four-way keypad or four-way joystick. As it saves space in a mobile phone compared to traditional button-type keypads, handset makers will increasingly adopt it over the next five years."

Related articles on haptics technology:

-- The touchy-feely side of telecoms

-- New Cell Phones Will Reach Out and Slap Someone

-- Cellphone to vibrate in tune

emily | 1:44 PM | permalink

Japan mobile makers face challenges at home, abroad

kimonocell.gif Not only have Japanese mobile phone makers' global ambitions been dashed, but they may soon face challenges at home as foreign firms compete with cutting-edge camera phones, mobile Web access and 3G handsets, reports Reuters.

"So far, mobile phone makers in Japan have been able to keep the domestic market, which accounts for about 7 percent of global demand, virtually to themselves. That's mainly because Japanese second-generation mobile phone networks were based on a unique, home-grown technology.

But users are gradually shifting to a global W-CDMA standard for high-speed third-generation (3G) services, helping to crack open the market for overseas makers.

[...] With their cost competitiveness falling far behind global giants and reputation as technological leader eroding, growth prospects for Japanese mobile phone makers look dim, raising expectations for an industry shakeout.

With their cost competitiveness falling far behind global giants and reputation as technological leader eroding, growth prospects for Japanese mobile phone makers look dim, raising expectations for an industry shakeout."

emily | 12:59 PM | permalink

New mobile system uses phones as middlemen

The developers of a new mobile phone system which transmits signals by jumping them from phone to phone to phone, rather than using towers, believe it could revolutionise communications in the bush, reports ABCNews Online.

"Scientists at the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre have designed a network where mobile phones work together to transmit calls.

The centre's chief executive, Mark Stafford Smith, says the technology should work better and be cheaper to set up than traditional mobile phone systems.

"[It] uses the different phones as the linkage, through from one phone to another to another to another to the person that you are trying to call," he said."

emily | 12:43 PM | permalink

Baghdad locked down

1692-8-2.jpg An SMS message is seen on a screen of a mobile phone, “Congratulations to all Iraqis, the wounds of [Abu Musaab] Zarkawi and to hell with all the killers” in Baghdad.

SMS messages are circulating across the country, hours after news that the al-Qaeda chief in Iraq, Abu Musaab Zarkawi, was badly injured.

The war of Internet statements has escalated since Islamist websites posted the announcement of Zarkawi's injuries, adding to confusion about the fate of the man whose group has claimed some of the most horrific attacks in Iraq since Saddam Hussein's ouster in April 2003.

[via Monday Morning].

emily | 12:34 PM | permalink

SMS aids stuttering therapy for rural children

Children in rural areas who stutter may soon receive more effective treatment through the use of SMS technology, according to ABC NewsOnline Australia, though the article doesn't really explain how this works.

"A recent study has found speech pathologists can use the technology to gather information about the severity of a child's stutter.

"We know that many pre-school age children will stutter and parents can measure their children's stuttering very effectively by using a 10-point severity rating scale," Elisabeth Harrison from Macquarie University said.

"They give a rating of one when the child wasn't stuttering, two when it was very mild stuttering up to 10 when it was very severe stuttering."

emily | 9:33 AM | permalink

Ericsson Pictures Fixed-Line Sales As Growth Market

After cementing its position as the world's leading wireless network equipment maker, Telefon AB LM Ericsson aims to make a comeback in its fixed-line business, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"Ericsson's push follows other moves by companies such as France Telecom SA and Telecom Italia SpA to integrate their fixed and mobile units. They have added to expectations for convergence, under which fixed-line and mobile core networks are combined into a single system that will enable new revenue-generating services. Combined systems will also be cheaper to operate."

emily | 7:50 AM | permalink

Why Cellphones Still Aren't Fully Reliable

verizonguy2.gif Wireless carriers have spent small fortunes trying to improve their networks. So why are cellphone users still experiencing dropped calls, interference and weak signals? The Wall Street Journal reports.

"Most call problems are traceable to gaps in the quality of the network, including the number of cell towers and the number of radios connected to the towers. Lack of proximity to cell towers -- and the insufficient number of radios in the towers -- can also lead to service problems because callers are unable to get a signal.

Coverage problems affect customers of all the major cellphone providers and encompass many well-trafficked areas.

And Wireless carriers rarely let their customers roam onto another carrier's network in a large market where they already have their own infrastructure. This lack of cooperation inhibits better service."

emily | 7:42 AM | permalink

Phone Ring Tone Set to Top U.K. Charts

_40764127_crazyfrog.jpg This was big news last week in Ringtonia, but here goes again for those who missed it. A cell-phone ring tone appeared set to top the British singles chart Sunday, outselling the new single by the band Coldplay by nearly four to one, reports the Associated Press

"Crazy Frog Axel F," a ring tone based on the sound of a revving Swedish mo-ped, is the first tune being used on mobile phones to cross into mainstream music charts, said Gennaro Castaldo, a spokesman for HMV, the British music retailing chain."

Related articles:

-- 'Crazy Frog' becomes cult figure

-- The Crazy Frog: History and Success Explained

-- Crazy Frog Ringtone to be released as UK music single

-- Crazy Frog ringtone has earned an estimated £10m

-- Ringtone Frog's Genitals Deemed OK for British TV

emily | 7:39 AM | permalink

'But I Neeeeeed It!' She Suggested

29pestor.jpg The New York Times has an interesting article on how parents are coping with their teenagers' demand for tech gadgets, and their struggle with how and how much to provide.

"According to Michael Wood, a vice president at Teenage Research Unlimited, which tracks youth buying patterns for more than 150 companies, "Whereas in the past it was an expensive pair of shoes or jeans - something on the fashion side - today the excitement and buzz is really around technology.

These items, which teenagers say they must have to maintain their place in the social pecking order, are increasingly out of reach for most high school students, who are less likely these days to hold part-time jobs.

Researchers who study child behavior call this pressure "nag factor" or "pester power," and often use it to describe how young children, in whom advertising has planted a desire for junk food or toys, lobby their parents. Now the same pestering is reaching a fever pitch among teenagers, who crave an ever-expanding collection of high-tech items they can't possibly afford.

The must-have items now - iPods, cellphones with cameras, and portable DVD players - are high-tech, constantly in need of upgrade and can cost up to $500 each.

The upshot is that more parents are finding themselves in the situation that Ms. Stangeland faced: footing the bill so their children can maintain social face."

emily | 7:33 AM | permalink

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