Archives for March 2007

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March 30, 2007

Recharging your cell phone from the air

powercast.gif CNN writes up a startup called Powercast that has developed technology that gives you all the battery juice you need directly from the air.

"It may sound futuristic, but Powercast's platform uses nothing more complex than a radio--and is cheap enough for just about any company to incorporate into a product. A transmitter plugs into the wall, and a dime-size receiver (the real innovation, costing about $5 to make) can be embedded into any low-voltage device. The receiver turns radio waves into DC electricity, recharging the device's battery at a distance of up to 3 feet.

Picture your cell phone charging up the second you sit down at your desk, and you start to get a sense of the opportunity. How big can it get? "The sky's the limit," says John Shearer, Powercast's founder and CEO. He estimates shipping "many millions of units" by the end of 2008. "

[via digg]

emily | 3:07 PM | permalink

Forum Nokia Wiki

Announce.jpg Darla Mack announces the launch of a new Nokia developer resource managed by Ron Liechty (AKA Nokia Ron), Forum Nokia Wiki.

Here you will find a wealth of useful information, Code Snippets, How To's - and more.

This Wiki is intended for the Nokia developer community, a shared library for code samples and articles. You have already made a great start, thanks to everyone for contributing.

Ron is looking for moderators and nominated experts to cover subject areas.

emily | 2:59 PM | permalink

Nokia building Semantic Visual Search Engine

According to a patent filing published today, Nokia may be building a Semantic Visual Search Engine to organise the multimedia content on future mobile phones. mad4Mobile Phones reports.

"The patent covers a method "enabling a system to learn, categorize and search items such as images and video clips according to their semantic meanings."

Essentially the phone would contain software capable of learning about the photos and video clips on your phone and categorising them according to the elements they contain. "

Read more.

emily | 2:14 PM | permalink

Celicases

Celicase.JPG.jpg

Spotted on Shiny Shiny, pretty colored small bags to hold your cell phone + essentials, called Celicases.

emily | 11:02 AM | permalink

Chinese cell phone makers make U.S. push

Two Chinese cell phone makers are looking to crack the U.S. market. The Associated Press reports.

"Alcatel Mobile Phone and Haier Group, well-established wireless brands abroad, showed off their wares here for the first time at this week's cellular industry gathering, CTIA Wireless 2007.

The two handsets, named Elegance and Sterling, are compatible with the cellular networks operated by AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA but won't be sold by any service providers. Instead, they will be sold "unlocked" through retailers, meaning that customers of those companies will be able to remove the small "SIM" cards from the battery compartments of their current phones and then slip them into the Haier handsets."

emily | 10:25 AM | permalink

Cell phone fashion show at CTIA

C/net 's Veronica Belmont and Bonnie Cha filmed the "Fashion in Motion" show at CTIA. You can watch the show on video, or read a full text description here. Of note:

The Panda Leash concept. A "micro-thin" leash that attaches to cell phones, iPods or digital cameras and clips to your belt, bag or bracelet. It is 5-inch long but can stretch to 3.5 feet and it comes in various colors and styles. (About)

panda-leash.jpg leashphone.gif

The ChattBag with a prominent, easily accessible pocket for your phone. (About)

chattbag.jpgpocketphone.gif

emily | 9:12 AM | permalink

Philips Unveils Cellphone That Can Run on AAA Battery

philips-xenium_1175013880.jpg Royal Philips Electronics NV is introducing a mobile phone called the The Xenium NRG, with a built-in compartment for an ordinary AAA battery to power the device when the main battery runs low, providing up to three extra hours of talk time. The WSJ reports.

"The AAA battery inserted into the phone can be of any brand or type, whether rechargeable or disposable. In the case of a rechargeable, the phone will recharge both the main battery and the backup AAA when it is plugged into an electrical outlet."

emily | 9:01 AM | permalink

EU report: More mobile phones than citizens

Mobile phone subscriptions in the European Union outnumber citizens for the first time, The European Commission said Thursday in its 12th annual report on the E.U. telecommunications market. Computerworld reports.

"With 478.4 million mobile phones in use, penetration in Europe is now at 103 percent of the population, up from 95 percent in 2005, the Commission said. But the level of penetration varies widely from country to country.

Penetration is highest in Luxembourg (171 percent), Italy (134 percent) and Lithuania (133 percent).

It is lowest in France (82 percent), Malta (83 percent) and Slovakia (86 percent), the Commission said.

emily | 8:51 AM | permalink

Central Queensland farmers receive SMS weather reports

AG1153a.jpg Farmers in parts of central Queensland can now receive their local weather details sent via text message and they say it is helping them to reduce the problem of spray drift, reports ABCnet.

"In a new project in the Gindi farming area, a network of 13 automated weather stations has been established to gather data for grower use.

The stations measure temperature, relative humidity and wind speed."

'It allows landholders to assess the risk so they're making more informed decisions when they go to plant or to spray," said Anna Keetels from the local land management group. "It is improving their cost efficiency because they're not paying for, for example chemicals, to spray out weeds that isn't hitting the spot where it's supposed to.'

emily | 8:39 AM | permalink

Cambodian election authority bans SMS on election day

The National Election Committee of Cambodia has requested the The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications to close their Short Messaging Service from March 31 to April 1 at 3:00 p.m., because it can be used as a tool for election campaign by political parties. [via People's Daily Online]

emily | 8:33 AM | permalink

March 29, 2007

The M&M's phone

mm2-a.JPG

File under silly. The M&M's phone. [Via Neotorama]

emily | 8:03 AM | permalink

US text Messaging Traffic Almost Doubled in 2006

More than 158 billion text messages were sent in 2006, representing a 95% increase over 2005 and more than 2.7 billion MMS messages sent in 2006, up from 1.1 billion in 2005.

[via Cellular News]

emily | 7:56 AM | permalink

Vertu phone for Ferrari's 60th anniversary

Untitled-1.jpg Nokia luxury subsidiary Vertu is releasing a new Limited Edition phone, the Ascent Ferrari 1947, marking the sports car company's 60th birthday.

"The bezel nose on the front of the phone features the famed Ferrari Prancing Horse, while on the rear back plate there is a scaled down iconic Ferrari brake pedal, crafted from high-graded aluminum, like that used in Ferrari cars. The case is made of from Ferrari red & black leather."

New Launches via electronista.

Other Ferrari Phones:

-- Motorola and Ferrari launch RAZRmaxx

-- Vodafone's limited edition Ferrari branded cellphone

Other sports' car related cell phones:

-- LG's Sports Car Mobile Phone

-- Vodafone launch McLaren Mercedes inspired mobile phones

-- Sportscar-looking cell phone integrates alco test

-- Nokia 8800 Aston Martin Special Edition

-- Aston Martin-Motorola branded cell phone

-- Siemens Grand Prix cell phone

emily | 7:39 AM | permalink

March 28, 2007

You are your cellphone

manwalkingtalking.jpg According to research by Nielsen Media Research, while all makes of mobiles have a wide spread of customer types some groups are more attracted to certain brands than others. The Sydney Morning Herald reports

See if you fit the stereotype:

Nokia : Family-minded / Middle aged managers / Balance seekers / Health conscious

Motorola : Fashion conscious / Under 24 / Fun seekers / Individualistic

Sony Ericsson : Ambitious young men / Professionals / Success driven / Individualistic

LG : Favourite of mums / Stay-at-home parents / Success driven / Harmony seekers

Samsung : Young women / Career focused / Success driven / Fun seekers

Links to related you-are -your-ringtone articles.

emily | 4:20 PM | permalink

Why Are Text Messages Marked Up 7314%?

According to The Consumerist, "Verizon and other cellphone companies mark up the cost of text messages by at least 7314% when compared to their rates for data transfer services."

[via digg]

emily | 4:05 PM | permalink

Tamagotchi phone from Bandai

bandaitamogtchi.gif Bandai Wireless is offering a prepaid cellphone that comes pre-loaded with a Tamagotchi for young users to care for. [via Ubergizmo]

"This virtual digital pet will roam about your handset and act very much like its predecessors back in the mid-90s, making them suitable for children. "

Related:

-- Shuku Keitai 'Tamagotchi' capts cell phone signals

-- The Tamagotchi's next step: Invading your cellphone

emily | 2:31 PM | permalink

Virgin Mobile USA to offer Yahoo mobile services

VMU_logo.gif According to Reuters, Virgn Mobile USA has agreed to make Yahoo's mobile services available to their 4.6 million wireless customers.

"Starting in early April, Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Messenger can be downloaded onto several Virgin Mobile handsets, and the applications will be preloaded on select phones in the future, Virgin Mobile said."

emily | 2:07 PM | permalink

Humanizing China, a Series of Great Photographs

Neotorama links to a series of great photographs from China posted a while back by EastSouthWestNorth. The series are divided into 3 sections: Survival Relationships and Desires.

The two photos below are related to cell phones.

20041226_14.jpg

In the scenic tourist zone, a taoist monk gives a reading over the mobile phone. (Relationships)

20041224_23.jpg

Streetside cobbler in the early days of the mobile phone. (Desires)

emily | 1:40 PM | permalink

Ultra-thin MoGo Headset to charge via cellphone

img_headset.jpg img_phone.jpg Newton Peripherals' new Bluetooth MoGo Headset claims to be the "thinnest, lightest headset in the world" and the first device that stores and recharges by snapping onto a cell phone or sliding into a laptop.

Allows six continuous hours of talk time.

[via Engadget]

emily | 1:22 PM | permalink

Operatic Gadget

slideshow-left.jpg In the last few years, Opera theaters around the world have been offering simultaneous translation of the librettos, speeches and dialogues as they are performed on stage. It makes the whole experience more enjoyable and especially more accessible to non-opera experts. I've been to operas where the text has scrolled across a screen over the stage, or on the side, and once n Vienna, the text scrolled on a screen fitted into the seat in front of me.

The technology behind the Vienna Opera House seats and many other such installations, is thanks to a company called Figaro Systems, which is literally initiating a whole new generation of theatergoers into the performing arts.

Multilingual text displays from Figaro Systems help theaters reach wider audiences - with 20,000+ installed worldwide since 1998.

From the Royal Opera House Covent Garden to La Scala to the Teatro Perez Galdos re-opening in Las Palmas in April, this personalized cultural experience allows individuals to choose subtitle translations - in their own language.

Of relevance to this column, their technology can extend from personal seatback systems, to handheld wireless devices to LED supertitle screens, delivering up to seven simultaneous translations.

emily | 8:57 AM | permalink

Origami gadgets

celphone.jpg Sony’s Tokyo labs have filed a patent on a clever way to get bulky electronic devices into small pockets. Wonderful Barry Fox reports on New Scientist.

"Their plan is to create handheld computers, phones and portable games consoles that fold up for carrying and then become rigid for use.

The body and screen of folding gadgets would be made from a flexible polymer containing conductive rubber bracing struts filled with a gel of aluminosilicate particles suspended in silicone oil.

When a current is passed through the struts, the particles clump together and harden the gel, making the gadget solid enough to use. Sony has found that it would take very little power to make such a folding device harden, so the drain on its battery should be low.

The company's patent adds that the transition from soft to hard takes just milliseconds".

(Picture above left: Joseph Wu's Origami cell phone)

emily | 8:30 AM | permalink

Clickatell now offers two-way SMS on a whopping 400+ networks

interface.gifClickatell, the world’s #1 global mobile messaging operator, announced its customers can receive reply SMSs using its popular Communicator desktop application.

The two-way, or reply SMS, functionality is available on 400+ networks worldwide.

[via SMSText News]

emily | 8:06 AM | permalink

LG to install Google on millions of phones

LG Electronics said Wednesday it has reached a deal with the world's leading search engine Google to pre-install its services on millions of mobile phones. The AFP reports.

"Mobile users worldwide will be able easily to search for information, find locations, update blogs and manage e-mail while on the move, LG said in a statement.

Selected LG handsets, pre-installed with Google products and services, will be shipped globally in the second quarter. They will offer one-click access to Google's search engine as well as Google maps, Gmail and Blogger Mobile.

Samsung Electronics in January signed a similar pact with Google."

emily | 8:04 AM | permalink

Texas Instruments Demos Mobile Phone Projector

mobile-projector-lg.jpg Texas Instruments demonstrated its digital light processing (DLP) ‘pico’ projector - a tiny movie projector that fits into a mobile phone - at the CTIA Wireless 2007 show in Orlando. [via Digital-Lifestyles]

Read also Core77 on the same subject with a link to an article on shrinking tech vs. interface design.

Related:

-- A video Pico Projector for cellphones?

-- Siemens Study: Cell Phone with Built-in Projector

-- Phone with built-in projector system

-- PowerPoint Projected From Your Cell Phone?

emily | 7:57 AM | permalink

March 27, 2007

Lose a Phone? YouGetItBack Will Help Get It Back

yougetiback.jpg PC Magazine writes up a newly launched lost-and-found service, Yougetitback.com, that offers an electronic e-tagging system for lost cell phones and PDAs at CTIA.

"Designed to help customers retrieve their missing portable devices, the new e-tag service will reside on a user's cell phone as an application, according to the company, and prevent anyone but the phone's owner from making calls if it is misplaced or stolen.

The service also provides a denial of service, remote delete, data backup and recovery, and guaranteed replacement functions for customers who use e-tagging."

And my favorite part, "as an added incentive for those who find a missing phone or PDA, the company also doles out a small $20 reward to those who return the device"

emily | 9:01 PM | permalink

USA. Mobile phone sales ring in strong

Consumer mobile phone purchases in the U.S. jumped by double digits in 2006, spurred by music-enabled devices and Bluetooth capabilities, according to a study released Tuesday by Market Research Firm NPD Group, reports ZDNet.

"During the fourth quarter of 2006, 39 million units were purchased in retail stores, marking the largest three-month sales period in the year. That increase represented a 14 percent jump over the same period a year ago."

... Despite strong sales growth during the year, cell phone makers still encountered meager profits, as they engaged in price wars in emerging markets.

-- Music-enabled phones represented 32 percent of all sales in the fourth quarter.

-- Mobile phones with Bluetooth capability accounted for nearly half of all consumer phones sold during the fourth quarter.

-- Camera phones generated two-thirds of all mobile device sales during the fourth quarter.

emily | 6:18 PM | permalink

Cell Phones of the Future Could Survive Being Dropped

clphchps.gif Cell phones and iPods could soon be made with all-plastic chips that would allow the gadgets to survive being dropped over and over, thanks to work of a Dutch researcher. Live Science reports.

"The reason iPods and cell phones stop working after pavement bounces is that the chips contain many nearly microscopic pathways that send operational signals throughout the device. Those pathways are disturbed by drops. Plastic chips could absorb bounces better.

Currently, the chips inside electronics conduct electricity at least 1,000 times better than plastic. Paulette Prins of the Delft University of Technology discovered that in plastics, the movement of charge was mainly hindered by the structure of the material.

Prins extended the work of a German group that had rebuilt the chain in plastics to form a ladder-like structure. By bombarding the specially developed plastic with electrons from a particle accelerator, she was able to study rapid electrical reactions and demonstrate the new plastic's ability to conduct electricity much better than regular plastic and as well as silicon chips."

emily | 6:10 PM | permalink

AT&T says received 1 mln inquiries on iPhone

Cingular Wireless has received about 1 million requests for information on Apple's new iPhone. Reuters reports.

"While the biggest U.S. wireless service is not taking advance orders for the phone, it set up a section on its Web site inviting visitors to leave their e-mail addresses to receive information about the phone when it is released.

"One million people have asked us to call when this phone is available," Stephenson said during a keynote speech at the CTIA wireless technology conference."

emily | 5:16 PM | permalink

The New Face of Emoticons: Warping photos could help text-based communications become more expressive.

photo_face_x220.gif Computer scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have developed a way to make e-mails, instant messaging, and texts just a bit more personalized, reports the MIT Technology Review.

"Their software will allow people to use images of their own faces instead of the more traditional emoticons to communicate their mood.

By automatically warping their facial features, people can use a photo to depict any one of a range of different animated emotional expressions, such as happy, sad, angry, or surprised.

All that is needed is a single photo of the person, preferably with a neutral expression, says Xin Li, who developed the system, called Face Alive Icons. "The user can upload the image from their camera phone," he says. Then, by keying in familiar text symbols, such as ":)" for a smile, the user automatically contorts the face to reflect his or her desired expression."

emily | 4:00 PM | permalink

Samsung Makes a Cell Phone Display You Can Still See in Direct Sunlight

Samsung has developed a display for smartphones and mobiles that automatically adjusts brightness depending on its surroundings.

[via Gizmodo]

emily | 3:55 PM | permalink

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