Archives for December 2006
December 28, 2006
Using mobile phones while driving is now banned in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan's neighbour, according to UzReport.
"President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov signed the Law "On introduction of amendments to the Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Administrative Accountability" on 26 December 2006 and will go into effect January 1, 2007.
... Uzbekistan has thus joined 77 countries, where a ban has been placed on the use of mobile phones while driving".
December 27, 2006
According to SMS Text News some mobile operators have suddenly withdrawn the discounted benefits for SMSs on some “key” days of the year when the load is heavy. Operators like Hutch, Idea and Airtel have sent messages to their customers saying that that “discount schemes will not be applicable on festive days like Christmas, Diwali, New Year, Valentine’s Day.
Short descriptions of criminal suspects’ appearance will be provided by the Korean National Police to private guards and taxi drivers in 2007. SK Telecom, which was the first company to participate in the program, will tip "information about people suspected of serious crimes to around 100,000 private guards and taxi drivers" who registered to its mobile services, reports the Korea Times. KTF and LG Telecom are among other mobile carriers to be included in the program. For criminals, there's the bicycle alternative.
While there is some confusion about the consumers right to break a contract when a provider raises text messaging rates, Ben Popken editor of the Consumerist, interviewed Jack Leaker of Cingular and asked him about the legal terms to terminate a subscription while this provider changed it's rates for text and instant messages on a per-use basis.
also read on Gizmodo: Cingular TXT Message Cancellation update: Not so Good
December 26, 2006
"China, the world's largest mobile phone market, had 455 million mobile-phone users at the end of November, up 61.6 million since the end of last year, the ministry said in a statement dated Friday. Subscriber numbers were up around 6 million in November alone." [fec China]
"At the end of November, there were 33.9 mobile phones for every 100 people in China, and 28.3 fixed-line telephones per 100 people, both unchanged from the end of October."
In their own words:
All the parts you can see are vintage, but with a state-of-the-art microphone, wiring and cord, they work like they're brand new. Russell Johnson and his crew in Argentina collect thousands of antique phones to find the perfect parts for each restored model, and it can take up to five phones to have enough parts to create just one beautiful vintage telephone. Available in red and baby blue, the phones are fully tested and ready to plug into a modern phone jack. Restored by hand in Argentina.
Beginning early next year, Verizon Wireless will allow placement of banner advertisements on news, weather, sports and other Internet sites that users visit and display on their mobile phones, reports The New York Times.
"Verizon officials said their initial foray would be a cautious one — they will limit where ads can appear, and exclude certain kinds of video clips — and thus may invite greater demand to place ads then they can accommodate.
In absolute terms, the amount of money spent on advertising on mobile phones has been small but it has been growing rapidly. In 2005, advertisers spent $45 million on such messages, and should spend around $150 million this year, according to Ovum Research, which projects that such spending will reach $1.3 billion by 2010."
December 25, 2006
The mobile, almost unlike any other device, has changed the way we work, socialise and live our lives. The BBC reports.
"But although many of us could now no longer live without our mobiles, according to Sir David Brown, Chairman of Motorola, the mobile industry had no idea how successful they would become.
Speaking at a conference in 2006, he admitted that in the mid-1980s the mobile phone industry estimated that by the year 2000, there would be a market for about 900,000 mobile phones worldwide.
When we reached the millennium, he said, 900,000 phones were being sold every 19 hours.
And although the mobile market is now mature it still continues to grow at a phenomenal pace.
At the end of 2006 there were nearly 2.7 billion mobile phone subscribers globally, according to research firm Informa Telecoms and Media.
In 2007 Informa predicts that the total number of subscribers will top three billion for the first time, almost half of the world's population."
Buzz about an iPod cellphone has propelled Apple shares to near-record highs, reports the The WSJ. "The anticipation is extraordinary in the financial community," says Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.
"In the past six months, talk about an Apple device that combines the entertainment functions of the company's hit iPod digital music player with a cellphone has reached new heights. Wall Street analysts and investors believe a device will likely debut next month at MacWorld.
... In a research report last week, Morgan Stanley analyst Rebecca Runkle estimated Apple could sell six million cellphones next year and 12 million in 2008, generating $5.41 billion in new revenue for both years combined.
Ms. Runkle wrote that she had been told that two cellphone models went into production this month with four-gigabyte and eight-gigabyte storage capacities, similar to the iPod nano and enough to store as many as a few thousand songs She has Morgan Stanley's most positive rating on the stock. Apple is an investment-banking client of the bank.
Image from iPhone Concept Blog
December 24, 2006
According to mobile14.com, prison guards at one of the Australia's biggest jails in Auckland are under police investigation for selling mobile phones (for up to $ 500 a phone ) and other contraband to inmates.
One of the inmates went public "because the guards welshed on the deal - they tipped off other prison officers who searched his cell and confiscated the phones."
Your mother may not approve of your doing this in public, and I'm not sure if this is really acceptable behaviour in Japan either. Anyway, favorite Tokyomango has come up with another crazy cell phone strap, this time it's an ear scratcher - the shape of an elephant..
Fifteen counties across New York do not have the ability to pinpoint the locations of people calling 911 from their cell phones despite state funding for the technology, reports The Democrat and Chronicle.
"Auditors from the state Comptroller's office charged that the New York Department of State is failing in its responsibility to oversee the implementation of the service. The state has allocated almost $150 million for the project, but only $60 million has been spent.
According to the report, the Department of State has been tracking which counties have implemented E911, but has not been providing aid to counties that still lack the technology.
The report calls on the department to step up the effort by working more closely with county call centers."
December 22, 2006
LG Electronics has launched a special edition cell phone called Shine Designers, the second from the company’s Black Label series inscribed with Korean alphabet motifs, the work of Sang-bong Lee, fashion designer. Beautiful! [via MobileKorea.TV].
"U.S. Cellular brought various types of wireless telephones to the shelter and residents could make free long-distance calls, anywhere in the world, as part of the initiative.
“We wanted to help make the holidays a little brighter for the homeless,” said Alicia Ellis, retail store manager of the Beckley."
"Next to providing the public with mobile phone booths, these public phones also offer a great small-scale business opportunity for the owners of such handsets. And for those who obtain their pre-paid scratchcards at a wholesale price, there’s a 5% revenue coming along. These public phone booths are just a perfect way of helping people start their own business where the initial starting costs are quite low.
... Another Afrigadget-solution: Cheap fixed-line phones from China which are taken apart, with different displays replacing the one that came along with the phone.
DIY-handsets for public phone booths come at a price range of about Ksh. 2.000 - 5.000 /= (~ US-$ 28 - 70) and are about half of the price the “official” handsets are selling for."
December 21, 2006
The Inquirer has written a funny post on new security software called Mnemonic Guard for smartphones, which replaces passwords with pictures. The Inquirer's slant is that it's for "the stupid people". Hey, I think it's a great idea! If remembering a sequence of pics is really easier.
"Japanese software developer Mnemonic Security recognised that increasingly people are too thick to remember a four digit security codes. So now it’s invented a picture security code.
... Mnemonic Guard replaces alphanumeric passwords with "pass-symbols", a series of pictures or illustrated images that are easy for the user to remember".
Infoworld, reports that Samsung has developed a cell phone capable of receiving a new real-time traffic information system that is already in use in some countries.
"The company's new SPH-B5800 handset can receive and decode the information broadcast using the Transport Protocol Experts Group (TPEG) format."
Shopping helper NearbyNow just began offering shoppers at three malls in California and one in Arizona a chance to check merchandise availability at most of the malls' stores by sending text messages from their cell phones.
A similar service called Slifter, from GPShopper, focuses on the availability of electronics and toys at big chains, like Best Buy and Staples.
Other companies, including Google, are building networks to help shoppers figure out what's at local stores before they get there. [via MediaPostPublications]
Jan Chipchase's current report on future perferct, co-authored with Indri Tulusan, is on mobile phone sharing -- an important socio-technical practice, especially in the developing world. [via Smart Mobs]
"Much of the growth in the telecommunications industry is coming from emerging markets - places like India and Africa and for many new consumers their first mobile phone experience is a shared one.
This essay uses the term sharing in the sense of primary usage orientated around borrowing and lending rather than 'let me show you the photos I took at last night's party'.
Mobile phone sharing is not just limited to personal use - from the streets of Cairo to Kampala kiosks are springing up with little more than a mobile phone and a sign advertising call rates.
What happens when people share an object that is inherently designed for personal use? And based on how and why people share in what ways can devices and services be redesigned to optimise the shared user experiences? Indeed, should they be re-designed?
A summary of this essay appears here.
December 20, 2006
Verizon Wireless subscribers will be able to "sign-up" for Santa Tracker mobile alerts as to Santa's whereabouts on Christmas Eve.
Pre-Christmas Day text-based programs will include comments from Santa in response to submission of whether the sender has been "Naughty or Nice" this year, a polling program to determine "Favourite Reindeer," which returns Christmas fun facts, and an associated WAP site which is chock-a-block with Christmas fun.
Visitors to the web site www.geolistings.com/santa - may also download exclusive mobile holiday ringtones and mobile/PC wallpapers.
Starting on January 8th 2007 and ending on Febuary 12th 2007, a total of ten Nokia 8800 Sirocco Brian Eno Signature Edition mobile phones, individually numbered and engraved with Brian Eno's signature, will be auctioned online with all proceeds going directly to both charities.
To place a bid on one of these rare collector's items or to learn more about this joint charity project between Nokia and Brian Eno, please visit www.nokiacharityauction.com.
"All three designs focus on using the natural movements of the user to automatically recharge the phones:
-- The YoYo (right) - is meant to be worn around the neck. It draws energy from the bounces and swings created by the user and can also draw additional power from the built-in solar cell
-- The U-Turn (middle) is a business phone that draws energy from the opening and closing of the keyboard.
-- The Runaway (left) is a sports phone that draws energy from movements during exercise."
DailyIndia.com reports that Sriprakash Jaiswal, the Indian Minister of State, said that action was being taken to check use of mobile phones by militants based in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir for communication with their cadres operating on the Indian side.
December 19, 2006
Samsung Electronics is launching a mobile phone featuring an optical joystick for a whole new mobile experience, reports HuliQ.com.
"Samsung 's latest ‘Optical Joystick' Phone (Model: SCH-V960 ) is suited technology that may revolutionize the way users interact with the menu and user interface of mobile handsets.
Users utilize the optical joystick key by placing their finger and moving a cursor to navigate through the menu, similar to a cursor of a mouse on a PC.
Optical sensors will read and react to users' finger movement, thus breaking down the traditional four-way menu navigation and providing 360 degrees of freedom. "
The Chinese government - in what sounds like a perfectly good idea - is to set a single national standard on mobile phone chargers sold in the country to avoid waste and to lower costs, the Ministry of Information Industry has announced. [via People's Daily Online]
"Under the new standard, cell phone manufactureers are expected to change their sales strategy, putting an end to the package sales of cell phones and chargers to save resources.
Lou Peide, executive secretary general with China Mobile Communications Association, estimated the new standard could save nearly $ 306 million each year for handsets made in China."
Thanks to Philippine wireless telecommunications giant Smart Communications, the system of using text messages to transfer cash now delivers at least $50 million a month to families in the Philippines, according to Washington-based lender International Finance Corp , reports The Mercury News
"The Philippines was an obvious place for the evolution to occur, given the huge popularity of text messaging there and the large numbers of people who receive regular remittances from abroad. According to bank data, nearly 8 million Filipinos in more than 100 countries sent nearly $100 billion home over the past 30 years.
... While convenient and inexpensive, text-message money-transfer systems have come under scrutiny as possible conduits of cash for terrorists. ... But Vicente Aquino, executive director of the Philippine Anti-Money Laundering Council, said the text-message transfer technology complies with rules against money laundering because "it tracks the sender and the recipients.'
"The microphone and earpiece cavities in a cellphone make a warm and comfy breeding ground for bacteria. Squirting germicide into the holes can damage the electronics but now Motorola has a better way to kill bugs.
Motorola patented a phone containing an LED that radiates ultra-violet light with a wavelength of 250 nanometres which is particularly lethal to bacteria. Optical guides inside the phone body steer the UV light into the cavities. Sanitising only takes around 3 minutes, the company claims.
Related: - Bacterial Paranoia And Device Handling