Archives for July 2006
July 31, 2006
Pheeder allows you to communicate with your friends simultaneously, with a single phone call. Call Pheeder, leave a message and hang up. Seconds later all of your friends, or anyone you want, receives the message at the very same instant. And if they want, they can send a reply to your message.
It's been going for a few days in NYC, and the developers plan to launch it in Europe soon.
Another example of what mobile communication meant a few decades ago.
"Friends and relatives on opposite sides of the French-Swiss border must exchange greetings across a forbidden zone of seventy feet wide, but that doesn't matter to the well-equipped conversationalist. He talks through a megaphone and listens with ear trumpets like airplane detectors, while his binoculars completed the illusion of nearness."
[via vintage ads]
"Matthew Gardiner shows us a way forward from the clutches of paper with the graceful Oribotics Laboratory . Built on idea of phototropism in flowers, Gardiner has put together five robotic flowers that react to SMS messages from cities around the world, opening and closing as satellite beams bounce off their origami petals."
More pictures here.
Thousands of less-well-off Brazilians who use mobile phones pose a problem for operators in one of the world's most rapidly growing mobile phone markets, reports the FT.
"Companies have had no problem about winning new customers, with the market increasing by 295 per cent since 2000 to reach 91.8 million users.
But four out of every five customers use pre-paid cards and generally spend far less on calls than their better-off counterparts. Competition among the operators has been so fierce that the Brazilian market has become one of the least profitable in the world."
By next year, you'll be able to pay simply by swiping your cell phone a few inches from a cash register, with a new wireless standard called Near Field Communication. CNN reports.
"An NFC chip in your phone will send your credit-card number -- stored on your phone or on the chip -- by way of short-distance radio waves.
Unlike radio-frequency identification (RFID) and other existing contactless payment systems, NFC chips allow two-way information exchange by rolling an RF transmitter and reader into one five-millimeter package.
An electronic reader at the checkout will decode the number and ring up your purchase.
You don't even have to buy a new phone. When it hits stores next spring, the miniSD-card-size adapter from SanDisk can add NFC to any smartphone with a Symbian operating system when it hits stores next spring.
The first pay-by-phone option should roll out later this year, with more applications to follow."
Jason Fry's three-year-old son may never answer a phone that's not ringing specifically for him. And he may go his entire life without changing his personal number. As cellphones replace landlines, telephone habits and etiquette are taking turns into the unknown. [WSJ]
Flame 5 (F5), by Nina Marquart and Richard Etter (you might remember his AwareFashion shirt that senses mobile phones) allows to notify a remote person via heat that he or she has just received an SMS. The clothing heats up depending on the personal message.
Embedded in the jacket is light-weight technology that allows the mobile device of the wearer to connect to the jacket via Bluetooth and to heat different parts of the clothing.
Today’s mobile phones use sound, vibration and light to interact with the user. Flame 5 offers mobile phones a more sensual and calm communication via heat. Heat has been chosen since it is often associated with emotional connectedness. Moreover heat can be felt unobtrusively and in the periphery of a wearer’s attention.
July 30, 2006
Mobile phone use in the Arab world surged 70% in 2005, boosted by lower prices due to more competition, a study said yesterday, reports the Gulf Times.
The study by Dubai-based Madar Research said mobile phone subscriptions in Arab countries jumped to 87.06 million by the end of 2005 from 51.19 million at end-2004, equivalent to a pan-Arab penetration rate of 28%.
... "Mobile phones have interestingly become a more viable alternative in many Arab countries where fixed telephone service is either unreliable or unable to meet demand,”
... The study, which covered 18 countries, said Libya had the fastest growth rate in mobile subscription while Bahrain and the UAE had penetration rates comparable to Europe".
An in depth articleon 3G by Kevin J. O'Brien for the IHT.
"European mobile phone companies spent $129 billion six years ago to buy licenses for "third-generation" networks that were supposed to give people the freedom to virtually live from their cellphones, reading e-mail, browsing the Internet, placing video calls, enjoying music and movies, buying products and services, making reservations, monitoring health - all from the beach, the bus, the dentist's waiting room, wherever they were.
But today, most people use their cellphones just as they did in 2000 - to make calls - and the modest gains 3G has made do not begin to justify the massive costs of the technology, which has strapped some mobile operators financially, bankrupted entrepreneurs, spurred multibillion-euro lawsuits against governments and phone companies, and sapped research spending.
Over the long term, 3G runs the risk of becoming the Edsel of the mobile phone industry - an expensive, unwanted albatross rejected by consumers and bypassed by other, less costly technologies, some experts say. ....
July 29, 2006
As cell phones proliferate in jails around the world, enabling gangster to organize crimes on the outside from behind bars or have access to cash by selling minutes or actual handsets to other inmates. A company in Tenessee is selling a product to help detect where prisoners are stashing them in their cells - even when the phone is turned off.
"A private prison management company in the United States, The GEO Group Inc. is offering a new application of patented hightech equipment for detecting and locating hidden contraband cellular phones (even if the phone is not transmitting or even turned off).
The equipment, the ORION Non-Linear Junction Detector (NLJD) manufactured by REI in Algood Tennessee, responds to electronic components, allowing the user to detect and locate electronic items (such as hidden cellular phones), even if the electronic item is turned off or not transmitting. This technology offers a working solution for correctional facilities to manage contraband cellular phones".
In one of the biggest demonstrations seen in Swaziland in years, HIV-positive people marched on the offices of the prime minister and the national AIDS council this week to protest an "insulting" new text messaging campaign, reports AllAfrica.
"The project by the National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS seems to suggest that HIV is caused by sexual infidelity. It was launched last month without consulting people living with the virus.
"The campaign further stigmatises the HIV infected. It is an insult, we are angry. It is time we are involved in matters pertaining to us," said protest leader Vusi Matsebula, chairperson of the Swaziland National Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS. Around 1,000 people participated in the demonstration.
The media campaign, called "Makhwapheni", SiSwati slang for illicit lovers, has sent out tens of thousands of cellphone text messages mimicking secret lovers arranging a sexual rendezvous.
he marketing company behind the initiative was quoted in the local press as saying its critics failed to understand the campaign's creative rationale, and said cellphones were the primary means of communication for couples having affairs."
July 28, 2006
mopocket's post titled "Mad Cow Disease is Linked To Bovine Cell Phone Users" certainly caught my attention. A fun and satirical article which I'm forwarding to you.
They seem well, pretty extreme to me. A personal favorite point 10: "Take nutritional supplements".
1. Limit use to essential calls and keep calls short
A mobile and wireless phone kiosk in Kamapala draws its power from a car battery. Despite its bicyclesque design they were not particularly mobile - one or more tyres were often flat and they remained tethered in one place for the duration of the day.
-- Mobile phone booths in Narobi - Childhood polio has confined both men in this video to wheelchairs. For years they strugged on the streets selling materials to live. Now they have a mobile phone business thanks to their goverment.
-- Uganda's new bike payphones - In an effort to bring telecommunication closer to Ugandans, MTN publiCom has unveiled its latest payphone innovation mounted on a four-wheeled cycle.
-- Rickshaws connect India's poor - Shyam Telecom, which operates in the state of Rajasthan, has equipped a fleet of rickshaws with a mobile phone. Drivers pedal these mobile payphones throughout the state capital, Jaipur, and the surrounding countryside.
ASiQ Pty Ltd has applied for a patent for a new concept that allows cell phones to be operated in-flight, without interfering with the aircraft's avionics and the ground networks and eliminates the problem of annoying voice calls. [Seattle Busienss Wire press release.
"The ASiQ unit is attached to the cell phone via a standard Bluetooth or cable connection. What makes the invention unique is that it is designed to work with all cell phone networks, GSM, CDMA, UMTS and EDGE.
The unit communicates via the existing certified aviation communications networks and reduces data delivery cost as it does not rely on the cellular roaming network for transmission. The unit will be inexpensive and is designed to comply with aviation standards. As the cell phone cannot transmit on its normal frequencies it also addresses the approval and safety concerns.
The benefit to the airline is their passengers will have cell phone access to a low cost data service, without the airline having to install and certify expensive and complicated Pico Cell equipment. For the cabin crew the concerns of privacy will also be addressed."
Logitech G5 Laser Mouse and Nokia 6610 Mobile Phone LCD Screen Hybrid
Other mouse phones:
Around 80% of mobile phones will be blocked on all five UK networks within 48 hours of being reported stolen in future , industry leaders have pledged, according to the BBC:
"The pledge is part of a charter aimed at reducing mobile phone crime launched by the Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum (MICAF) and phone networks."
"Today, most cell phones and other small electronics are shredded instead of taken apart for recycling, because the disassembly time is too expensive for the amount of material reclaimed. In contrast, a process called "active disassembly" is all about creating gadgets that can break into their component parts just by being exposed to heat or magnetism. It saves money, and the materials can be recovered more efficiently.
Here is Nokia's outline of the disassembly processes they are working on":
Nokia Research Center, together with a student group from Helsinki University of Technology, the Finnish School of Watchmaking and the University of Art and Design Helsinki have developed a process for heat disassembly of portable devices.
The idea is to disassemble a mobile phone by a heat-activated mechanism without any contact. By using a centralized heat source like laser heating, the shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator is activated, and the mobile phone covers are opened.
The battery, display, printed wiring board (PWB) and mechanical parts are separated and can then be recycled in their material specific recycling processes. The required temperature for the disassembly is 60-150 ºC. If it were lower the phone could dismantle by itself, for instance in a hot car, and if it were higher the plastics would melt.
Laser heating is a feasible method due to its speed and precision. However, it requires investment in a proper disassembly line.
With rising cell phone use and vandalism and neglect taking their toll, pay phones are disappearing around the nation, reports ABCNews.
"Consumer activists and advocates for the poor have protested the drop in numbers saying that public phones are necessary in emergencies and represent a lifeline for those who can't afford a cell phone or even a landline.
Nationwide, the number of pay phones estimated to have dropped by half to approximately 1 million over the last nine years.
"If a pay phone isn't covering its costs, we take it out," said Jim Smith, a spokesman for Verizon, which operates more pay phones in New York than any other company.
The drop in pay-phone numbers angers advocates, who are quick to point out that cell phones and sometimes any phones at all are prohibitively expensive for many people.
A full 7.1 percent of the nation's households had no phone of any kind in November 2005, up from 4.7 percent three years earlier, according to the Federal Communications Commission. For those people, and for the estimated 43 percent of U.S. residents with no cell phones (as of June 2004), pay phones are especially crucial, advocates say.
Pay phones also serve an important purpose during disastors. Many pay phones will keep working when most lines are down because of their direct wiring and the phone company's backup power stores."
Related stories from around the world:
LifeForce by James Tunick, turns the mobile phone into a digital paintbrush. Waving the phone allows users to "paint" with light and sound on a screen.
LifeForce envisions a future in which such artistic tools are commonplace and city sidewalks and sides of buildings become our canvases.
July 27, 2006
Fifty families in Oulu near the polar circle in northern Finland will test Wi-Fi Internet mobile calls over the next two months, Nokia said on Thursday, reports Reuters.
"Mobile subscribers with handsets enabled for so-called unlicensed mobile access, or UMA, can make calls over the Internet when they are in range of an unlicensed wireless network such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
When they move out of range, the connection will automatically revert to a GSM, GPRS or UMTS mobile phone network."
File under trivia. In Fujian, China, authorities have sent 18 million text messages with storm information during five typhoons this year, according to the provincial government. [via the AP]
Justin Oberman for mopocket reports on a project underway by Erik Sundelof, a fellows at Reuters Digital Vision Program at Stanford University.
As part of InTheFieldOnline.net, a project aiming to strengthen the citizen journalistic part of news media in troubled regions and empower people to tell their story, this new program tries to advance humanitarian goals in underserved communities.
"Erik has set up a Typepad blog that both sides can post to via their cell phones. And built an SMSBlog for MobileActive.org, the online community for mobile technology and social activism."
The point is to allow people 'in the field' to report news stories (or any other types of content for that matter) to the web using just a cell phone, but is developed in such a way as to be extremely extensible. As such one can basically push any piece of information - text, audio, graphic, picture, video from any cell phone to the web. It is the natural extension to citizen journalism as it creates the vehicle for people without internet to be able to get their voices heard on the internet.
China's mobile-phone market remained the largest in the world in the first half of 2006 and grew at the highest rate, reports the Asia Times.
"By the end of June, there were 70 enterprises authorized to produce mobile phones in China, as the market grew at a double-digit rate based on the volume of more than 80 million sets in 2005.
Sino Market Research found that domestic brands had a 32.7% share of China's mobile-handset market by the end of April. This figure dropped to 29.4% in May. Experts say that because of an onslaught of foreign producers, the market share of domestic brands has dropped to a record low, after exceeding 50% in 2004.
Nokia took a 30.3% share of China's mobile-handsets market in the first five months of 2006, exceeding the total made up by domestic brands. It was followed by Motorola, which took a 21.4% share. The two foreign mobile-handset giants took the first two places in the market."
"Prosecutors say a man shoved a cell phone down his girlfriend's throat because he was angry and jealous. But defense attorneys insisted as a trial got underway that the woman swallowed the phone intentionally to keep the defendant from seeing whom she had been calling.
Interesting. From The Wall Street Journal. "U.S. cellphone companies are shying away from wireless search and ad deals with Internet giants such as Google and Yahoo in favor of partnerships with small start-ups they can more easily control.
... "By aligning themselves with start-up search companies, the carriers believe they will keep a greater share of the generated advertising revenue, say people familiar with the matter. The wireless companies also worry that their brands will be diluted if they gave a prominent marketing slot to a major Internet brand."
From mass targeting of mobile phones with voice and text messages to old-fashioned radio broadcasts warning of imminent attacks, Israel is deploying a range of old and new technologies in Lebanon as part of the psychological operations ("psyops") campaign supplementing its military attacks. The BBC reports.
... Israel has been targeting SMS text messages at local officials in southern Lebanon, urging them to move north of the Litani river before Israeli military operations intensified.
The UK's Guardian newspaper said mobile phone users in Lebanon were regularly receiving messages to their phones which purported to be news updates, attempting to discredit Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah or his party.
July 26, 2006
In their own words:
ShoutOuts are a killer new way to communicate with your friends. Artists can send voice messages to their mobile fan club and fans can listen to their favorite artists on their cell phone and even send a reply.