Archives for September 2005

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September 30, 2005

Find and book a hotel room with your mobile phone

hotelroom.gif Mobile shopping service Reporo has teamed up with Active Hotels to offer a mobile hotel booking service, reports Netimperative.

"The deal means business and leisure travellers can find and book accommodation on the move via their mobile devices.

Active Hotels' complete European inventory of over 11,000 hotels is set to be made available on Reporo over the coming months.

A search function allows users to find a wide selection of hotels within a specified radius of their chosen location or simply search by hotel name.

In addition, full hotel information is displayed, including a photo of the hotel, a description of amenities and maps to help find the hotel.

The Reporo service can be used across multiple operator networks, including O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin and Vodafone."

emily | 6:13 PM | permalink

BT Adds SMS Alerts

Call answering service, Call Minder from BT in the UK, has added the option to receive an SMS alert when a voice message has been left on a landline. [via 160characters.org]

To activate the service users just enter the desired mobile number on their phone. When a voice message has been left, an SMS is automatically generated that includes the date and time of the message. However no details of the caller or even their number are included in the message.

emily | 6:10 PM | permalink

Solar Cell Phone Charger

Ultimate_Solar_Charger_hj85.jpg Roland Kleinfeld, a jeweler and entrepreneur, has designed a cell phone charger that uses solar energy. It looks like a cell phone, except the flip-out reveals solar panels, and the body contains the battery pack, which can hold adequate charge for up to 14 days. [via Open Source Energy Network]

The company says the solar cell phone charger is compatible with most cell phones, including over 30 Nokia models, 20 Ericsson models, 14 Motorola/Nextel models, and 8 Seimens models.

Other solar battery charger systems have proven counter-productive for the damage that the sun's head does to the batteries and their longevity, as well as causing leakage."

Related articles:

-- Vodafone Portugal launches solar cell phone charger

-- A solar battery for a mobile lifestyle

-- Vodafone Netherlands offers solar charger for mobile phones

-- Soldius1 solar cellphone charger

-- Solar cell blouse to charge your cellphone

-- Solar-powered cell phones for Emergencies

-- Longer-lasting solution for power cell phone batteries

-- Solar Cell Doubles as Battery

-- Sun powering mobile phone base

-- A portable solar bag to recharge cell phone batteries

emily | 12:18 PM | permalink

Yahoo! is testing cell phone search ads

Yahoo! Inc. is testing ways to show advertisements with Internet search results on mobile phones in Japan and Britain, according to Bloomberg.

"Yahoo! is adding text ads that appear when people use its search engine from their handsets in Japan, and the company is auctioning off spots on its mobile travel Web site in Britain, Senior Vice President Doug Garland said.

The trials mark Yahoo!'s first experiments with search advertising on phones and may provide an avenue to sell more ads to companies seeking to reach younger consumers.

The company is competing with Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN for products that let cell phone users find restaurant locations, movie show times and stock quotes."

emily | 12:09 PM | permalink

Cell Phone Ads Are On the Way

WorldRecPost1-sm.jpg Red Herring has an article today on mobile marketing's potential in the US.

"In Western Europe and Asia, brands already regularly use wireless as a promotional tool. Some 84 percent of European wireless users are open to the prospect of receiving text-message ads on their cell phones, said London-based research firm Empower Interactive. The mobile marketing industry took in $300 million in South Korea and Japan last year.

But only 20 percent of U.S. mobile phone users received an ad text message on their cell phones last year, and the vast majority of that group found the messages annoying or deleted them, according to research firm Yankee Group.

... "In the U.S., mobile marketing's day may come. As advertising dollars shift away from traditional media like newspapers and television, brands are investing in advertising on cell phones and the Internet.

Another advantage of delivering ads over cell phones over TV or print? The cell phone also creates an opportunity for interactivity, as opposed to a television or print ad campaign."

Related: - Yahoo! is testing cell phone search ads.

emily | 12:02 PM | permalink

Finnish "SMS breathalyser" Alert Service

Promile SMS, a text message-based blood alcohol level assessment service developed by Finland's A-Clinic Foundation, launched as part of a nationwide campaign to prevent drunk driving, is now available in the Czech Republic, according to NewsRoom Finland.

Promille GSM, can be used by sending a text message to a designated short code. The message should begin with PROMILLE, followed by the sex (M for male, N for female), weight in kilogrammes, consumed units and time when consumption started (example: 2100 means 9pm). Each piece of information is to be followed by a space.

The service replies with a message with a blood alcohol level estimate and time needed for said alcohol to be broken down by the body.

emily | 11:40 AM | permalink

Régine Debatty launches new blog: No Garlic Please

donnalapmar.jpg Régine Debatty, New Media Evangelist and publisher of everyone's favorite blog, we-make-money-not-art, has just opened a new fabulous blog on design called no-garlic-please.com.

In her own words:

This summer i couldn't find many interesting "media art" stories to blog, so i wrote lighter posts about design, illustration and even (when i was really desperate!) fashion. I'd still like to report on all the nice products and projects i see around Europe but i wouldn't like wmmna to loose its essence so i've just launched a new blog.

It's about what's beautiful or interesting in Europe, starting this week with a special on 100%design London. There will be big images and short texts to keep the "prises de tete" (roughly translated by headaches) for wmmna.

emily | 9:36 AM | permalink
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Cell phone charm of Brussels landmark

FlashStrap0210Csa.jpg FlashStrap0210Esa.jpg Now this is creative, a cell phone charm of Brussels landmark, Manneken Pis, a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a little boy urinating into the fountain's basin.

Fortunately, the charm doesn't squirt you when an incoming call comes in, but flashes a blue light. [via The Gadget Blog]

emily | 9:03 AM | permalink

Danes and Swedes fume over mobile 'bridge toll'

The_Řresund_Region.gif According to The Register, Danes and Swedes living in the Řresund region are gnashing their teeth because mobile phone companies charge a 'bridge toll' for crossing a 16km-long bridge tunnel over the Sound of Řresund, separating Denmark and Sweden.

"According to recent figures, more than 7,000 Swedes and Danes currently commute across the bridge every day.

Customers of telecom companies pay up to 1000 per cent extra for using their mobile phones when they commute from country to the other, despite the fact that the same companies operate on both sides of the strait. The roaming tariffs are seen as on the biggest obstacles in the way of increased integration and cooperation between eastern Denmark and southern Sweden, the Řresund Institute warned this week".

This article reminded me of earlier post in 2004, about how mobile users walking along the border of China can turn a 10-cent call into one that runs to $5 -- a 50-fold increase, as calls can accidently be routed by a mainland China carrier -- even if the caller remains physically in Hong Kong.

emily | 8:36 AM | permalink

A hand-held kiosk

get_image.gif When Travis Misurell arrived for freshman orientation at Montclair State University last month, he received the ultimate welcome gift.

School officials handed him a $250 Motorola cellphone - and told him to use it, according to North Jersey Media Group.

"Not for phone calls, but to tap into a multitude of "channels" packed with news and updates on campus happenings.

Misurell and his classmates soon discovered they could use the phone to display everything from daily dining hall menus to a map updated every few seconds showing the exact location of campus shuttle buses.

So far, more than 1,400 of Montclair's 16,000 students are using the phones, and more are signing up daily. Incoming freshmen living on campus received the phones for free. Other students pay $50.

... In many ways, Rave's system is simply a Web community accessed by cellphone.

Students can set up their own "channels" or ask Montclair State to set one up. They can receive as many channels as they wish. Any text or photos posted on that channel - by fellow students or the university - is then automatically sent to a student's phone. A channel can be updated from a computer or from a Rave phone".

A similar service exists at the University of Florida, called Mobile Campus.

emily | 8:21 AM | permalink

September 29, 2005

Snoopy Phone

snoopyphone.jpg Phoneyworld reports on "the new Snoopy handset, launching on the occasion of the 55th Birthday of everyone's favorite cartoon character.

Like the earlier two theme based handsets (Bewitched and Mickey Mouse phones), rather than the technical features it is a collectors item and should be bought since it is a limited edition."

emily | 9:55 PM | permalink

The terrorist plumber

A few days ago, scores of people received a "breaking news" SMS on their mobiles reporting that Al-Qaeda had claimed responsibility for the New Orleans flooding disaster and that the alleged culprit was "a suicide plumber".

Though clearly sent by a prankster, it took its recipients moments to realise that it was a sick joke with no basis in fact. The incident is significant in that it shows how people have been conditioned in recent years to believe in the omnipotence of terrorism and the long reach of terrorists. [via Al-Ahram[

emily | 9:02 PM | permalink

Tanzanian Lottery goes mobile with Openlot

frontfade.jpg Tanzanians are the first on the African continent that can play the lottery with a regular mobile phone.

Selcom Gaming, the Tanzanian lottery operator, partnered with Openlot Systems to launch a mobile lottery. The lottery offers both sports betting and numbers games.

Consumers pay with their mobile phone using SMS. Prizes are redeemed through a player account. An age check is performed and Openlot's SMS Secure technology provides end-to-end security.

Players are informed about the results of the games in either English or Swahili through the phone, the Internet or call center and receive an SMS text message if they have won a prize. Winners are directed towards a partner bank branch where they identify themselves and receive the prize money. Regulators and lottery management can follow ticket sales in real-time". [via e-mail press release]

emily | 6:55 PM | permalink

Motorola's Bluetooth Jacket on the runway

pro-burtonjacket.jpg Burton Snowboards unveils its '05–'06 outerwear and streetwear as part of Vancouver Fashion Week tonight (September 29). The Burton Audex Jacket has Bluetooth wireless technology in the jacket which allows you to link up to your Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone and cruise and converse with ease.

How does it work?

Use the control panel on the left sleeve to take or make calls and switch songs on your iPod without removing them from your pockets. There's even a mini caller ID screen. A removable control panel, detachable hood speakers and microphone complete this super tech getup and make it easy to clean your jacket.

Related:

-- Modeling Motorola & Burton's snowboarding jacket

-- Motorola to build cell phones into ski jackets

emily | 6:46 PM | permalink

A bulletproof cell phone? LG makes the case for it

A Korean-made cell phone has saved the life of a Briton, according to JoongAng Daily.

"LG Electronics Inc. relayed yesterday a story regarding a jewelry shop robbery in which a bullet fired at jeweler Darren Prior was deflected by an LG phone in his breast pocket.

Mr. Prior, 23, was chasing an armed robber who had stolen a bag full of jewelry from the store in West Sussex when the robber turned to fire two shots at him. The first one missed, but the second hit him in the chest, where, in the outside pocket of his jacket, the U8210 LG phone was located.

"I felt the impact and realized I had been shot. I opened up my jacket to check where, and I couldn't work out why there was no blood," he was quoted as saying.

Police on the scene also credited the phone's presence for helping Mr. Prior escape unscathed.

emily | 5:31 PM | permalink

Vertu unveils Ascent White special edition mobile phone

White-Ascent-Ice.JPG Following the recent launch of the Motorsport model and the Ascent Pink earlier this year, Vertu unveils yet another special edition model called "Vertu Ascent White". [via Strategiy]

In their own words:

“The Vertu Ascent White is a response to customer requests for a classic colour following the success of Ascent Pink which had sold out in some stores within the first week of its arrival.

... The Ascent White Special Edition handset is packaged with a white holster. To ensure exclusivity, the Ascent White will have "Special Edition" engraved on the back of its battery cover. Special Concierge offers will be made available for Ascent White owners as well."

emily | 1:48 PM | permalink

Local Search on Mobiles Not That Popular - report

In the newly released report entitled "Mobile Search: Searching for an Audience," JupiterResearch finds that although 81% of online users carry out online searches, few mobile subscribers have used their cell phone for search. [via Cellular News]

"Although the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN have developed mobile search offerings (e.g., SMS, WAP sites), they are not yet monetizing the experience as they do with PCs online."

..."As such, content and information providers must be patient, invest pragmatically and continue to offer free trials while educating consumers and marketers alike about these services".

emily | 8:21 AM | permalink

Cellphone Messaging Finds Its Voice

bubbletalk.jpg The WSJ reports on a Singapore technology company, Bubble Motion, which has teamed up with Swedish telecommunications giant Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson, to market a messaging service that eliminates the need to tap out a text message and replaces it with voice.

It is a potentially hot product for wireless-service providers in developing countries and could make inroads in places where people haven't quite gotten the hang of tapping out text messages with their thumbs on a cellphone keypad.

...Users of the "voice SMS" service aren't trying to talk directly to the people they call. Instead they just want to send a message in the form of voice instead of text. The recipient's phone doesn't even ring for a voice SMS; the recipient is alerted with a beep and can retrieve the voice message by pressing the star key.

The technology was developed in Bangalore, India, by Sunil Coushik and his partner, who dubbed the new voice-text service "bubble talk." They describe the service as an ideal match for service providers looking for ways to use idle phone capacity."

Related technology:

-- Hey - send me a voicemail, Anita! - Why is the idea of voice messaging appealing? IT Analysis.com, looks in to the benefits of a voice messaging solution from Hey Anita, called Rapid Message Service.

emily | 7:42 AM | permalink

September 28, 2005

Mobile market shifts its focus

_40850974_mobile203body.jpg Phone manufacturers are increasingly turning their attention to the developing world, reports the BBC .

"As the developed world reaches mobile saturation levels, easy-to-use, cheap handsets will be crucial for vendors, according to a new report from research firm Informa Telecoms and Media.

Services specifically tailored for this market will be essential.

It could see an increase in cheaper, data-based voice services and a rise in voice-based messaging services. The latter will be particularly popular in areas of low literacy, the report finds.

... Voice-over IP would be an attractive option for consumers in both the developing and developed world as it means cheaper calls."

emily | 5:31 PM | permalink

Nokia's Chris Heathcote at the Pro-Am Panel at the Helsinki Design Week

Chris Heathcote from Nokia's Corporate Strategy describes how mobile phone users around the world are personalizing the look and the function of their phones, and how device manufacturers react by introducing mass-customizable products.

According to Chris, the internet changed personalization by allowing people to share images and sell their craftwork online. Now, new technologies of personal fabrication are taking crafting to the next level. "There has been a fashion for mass consumption over the last 30 years, and we're finally breaking out of that," he sums. See video

[via Hobby Princess]

emily | 5:14 PM | permalink

SMS Communicates with Deaf Arts Attendees

stagetext.jpg StageText , a charity delivering captioned performances throughout the UK has selected HSL to help increase its use of SMS to communicate with its deaf audiences. Mike Grenville for 160characters reports.

"Established in May 2000, StageText works to improve access to the performing arts for all deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people through the provision of captioning in theatres and any venue where the spoken or sung word is performed.

Outbound SMS messages sent from StageText alert deaf arts attendees to upcoming captioned performances, ticket availability and special offers.

In addition, the dedicated Virtual Mobile Number allocated to StageText allows them to receive incoming SMS containing feedback about the performances and the number is also promoted on the website to allow incoming SMS to be received on any subject."

emily | 4:57 PM | permalink

LG Chem Develops Long-Life Fuel Cell Battery

LG Chem has developed a long-life methanol-based fuel cell battery, the company said Wednesday, reports Digital Chosunilbo.

"The battery, which will be ready for mass release by the end of the year, weighs less than 1 kg. It has a lifespan of more than 4,000 hours, the company said, eight times longer than competing Japanese and U.S. products."

emily | 1:29 PM | permalink

Booths Silence Cell-Phone Boors

image006.jpg Stepping into one of Dennis Raney's narrow, handmade phone booths may feel like a return to simpler times, but a quick look around reveals the key element is missing -- the telephone. Wired reports.

"In the age of BYOP (that's "bring your own phone"), Raney is capitalizing on what he sees as a growing demand for private spaces in which people can talk on their cell phonesB> He started a cell-phone booth company, C.P. Booth, in early 2005, and has sold about a dozen booths to customers across the United States.

... So far, booths have mostly been installed in restaurants, like Manhattan's Biltmore Room and Chicago's Boka. However, the University of Maryland has one in its Thurgood Marshall Law Library."

Click here for more Isolation from Cell Phones ideas

emily | 1:19 PM | permalink

Bangladesh mobile help-line for women tops gender and ICT awards

pallitathya.gif Pallitathya, an innovative Mobile Help-Line programme via cell phones for underprivileged women in rural Bangladesh beat 39 other entries from all over the Asia-Pacific to win this year's Gender and Information & Communication Technology (GICT) Awards. [via Asian Age via Information for Development]

The Help-Line deployed women in the community as "Mobile Operator Ladies" who move from door-to-door to enable other women -- mostly housewives -- to ask questions related to livelihood, agriculture, health, and legal rights via a mobile phone, while Help-Desk operators respond to the women's queries with the use of a database-driven software application and the internet.

With women's economic empowerment as its centrepiece, the Pallitathya Help-Line Centre directly addressed the community's information needs while keeping the beneficiaries' anonymity intact. As mobile operator ladies, women were consciously given a crucial role as "infomediaries," increasing their self-worth, their potential to earn, and their knowledge about various issues."

emily | 1:10 PM | permalink

Swiss-designed solar antennas

asolant.gif A satellite equipped with novel solar antennas developed by the EPFL will be part of the payload on the Russian rocket Cosmos, scheduled for launch September 30 from Plesetsk, Russia. This satellite incorporates advanced technology that combines antenna functions and solar cells on a single surface. [via Innovations-report]

... "Because Asolant is autonomous, providing its own power source with the solar cells on its surface, it also has the potential for many exceedingly practical Earth-based applications.

Sheets of solar antennae on residential rooftops could simultaneously power the home and send and receive TV, radio and wireless phone and internet signals. ... Solar antennas could be used in increasingly power-hungry cell phones. Information from remote regions could be sent via autonomous transmitters".

emily | 1:03 PM | permalink

Village phones for farmers in Uganda

pineapples2.jpg Faced with the challenge of improving communications among grassroots farmers in the Kayunga district in Central Uganda, Information Communication Technologies for Africa Rural Development (ICTARD) has distributed village phones which form a key part of the information and communication system there for the farmers helping them to plan their crop production and gain access to markets. [via Information for Development]

"The farmers themselves have maximized the use of the village phones to access market information from any part of Uganda. They use locally developed SMS services to send and automatically receive updates on market prices. Because of this, farmers no longer have to wait for buyers and middlemen who con them.

emily | 12:51 PM | permalink

Samsung's hand warming mobile

050926_2259.jpg Samsung showed a prototype of mobile handset, developed in Russia, with a built-in hand warmer. [via Techdigest]

Don't miss Engadget's take. "Although they claim that this is new tech developed at Russia's Ural State Academy, we have a sneaking suspicion that some shady OEM simply delivered a batch of defective batteries. “These batteries overheat and explode, you say?"

emily | 11:02 AM | permalink

New security proposed for do-it-all phones

As mobile phones become digital do-it-alls, handsets need better protection from hackers and from unauthorized access when they're lost or stolen, says an industry group proposing new, hardware-based security standards for the devices. [via News.com].

"Trusted Computing Groupplans to unveil its plan Tuesday at a conference sponsored by the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association."

In addition to voice calls, cell phones are increasingly used for taking pictures, keeping a calendar and sending text messages and e-mail. In the future they could replace wallets, say industry pundits, with consumers whipping out a specially equipped phone instead of a credit card to pay for a purchase. That would make securing the gadgets even more important.

The proposed standard doesn't just protect user data. The security hardware also enables copyright protection, according to the TCG, a feature demanded by the entertainment industry. This so-called digital rights management technology could mean access to more exclusive content on cell phones, but it could also limit the content that will play on devices..

emily | 8:35 AM | permalink

China's tech commissars target SMS porn

opera 2.jpg China's Ministry of Information Industry, the regulator of telecom, Internet and information-technology development, said it is targeting cell-phone smut, according to Phys.org.

"China's first set of short-message-system content rules, which will cover objectionable materials, should be released soon.

"The restrictions reportedly will attempt to curb pornography and prostitution and were developed in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Security.

There are no official data on the extent of the cellular porn-message problem; however, many mobile-phone users in China are thought to have received some type of suggestive short-message spam at least once in the last 18 months. Increased numbers of mobile-phone subscribers are filing complaints concerning pornography and other illegal content SMS spam.

Related article: - First SMS regulations coming out in China

emily | 8:01 AM | permalink

September 27, 2005

a Star Wars game for mobile phones

According to Reuters, video game publisher THQ Inc. on Tuesday said it will work with Lucas Film. to develop a Star Wars game for mobile phones.

"Star Wars Battlefront Mobile," is expected to launch November 1 exclusively on Cingular's cellular service.

emily | 5:11 PM | permalink

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