Archives for May 2007

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May 31, 2007

Manitoba chiefs want cellphone revenue

caindian.gif reports that Manitoba First Nations (the Indian people in Canada,) are seeking compensation from Manitoba Telecom Services for every cellphone signal that passes through First Nations land, saying the airspace should be considered a resource like land and water.

"When it comes to using airspace, it's like using our water and simply because there's no precedent doesn't mean that it's not the right thing to do.'—Ovide Mercredi, Grand Rapids First Nation

... Anna Hunter, a University of Saskatchewan professor of political studies specializing in aboriginal governance, says the AMC's request is unique but she says other First Nations groups across the country will likely follow suit."

[via Tech Digest]

emily | 2:49 PM | permalink

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs


This is everywhere. But it's here on textually too. Because it's historic and very enjoyable.

Not since Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously interviewed Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates as a possible suitor during the “Macintosh Dating Game” back in 1984 have the two men appeared in a joint bill.

And at D5, the two shared a stage last night for the first time in more than 20 years for what promised to be a historic discussion. transcript and the complete Steve Jobs and Bill Gates interview videos.

emily | 1:56 PM | permalink

Maxis unveils cell phone money transfer

fp071906_b.gif Malaysia's top mobile phone operator Maxis has tied up with the Philippines' Globe Telecom to introduce a new mobile international money transfer service called M-money (but this is not a first, as they claim - see links below), enabling thousands of Filipino workers in Malaysia to remit money to their families back home. Associated Press reports.

"Under the system, Maxis customers can wire up to 500 ringgit ($143) per transaction to Globe subscribers in the Philippines, who can retrieve the money at Globe's 6,000 outlets, the statement said.

Maxis customers must cash in the money with Maxis before making any overseas remittance and are charged only a five ringgit ($1.47) service fee per transaction, less than half the fee that bank charges, it added."


-- Using text message to send cash - 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 . According to bank data, nearly 8 million Filipinos in more than 100 countries sent nearly $100 billion home over the past 30 years.

-- India Tests Sending Money through Mobile Phones - India's Bharti Airtel has joined hands with The GSM Association to launch a pilot program that will eventually enable over 25 million Indians abroad to remit money to India through their mobile phones.

-- Kenyans to transfer money using cell phones - Safaricom, Kenya's biggest cell phone firm, on Tuesday launched a money transfer service Known as M-Pesa, or mobile money. Apart from transferring cash - a service much in demand among urban Kenyans supporting relatives in rural areas - customers of the Safaricom network will be able to keep up to 50,000 shillings (£370) in a "virtual account" on their handsets.

-- Mobile carriers facilitate cash transfers - A group of 19 mobile operators with networks in more than 100 countries and representing more than 600 million customers joined forces to create a global system joined forces on Monday to make it easier and cheaper for hundreds of millions of immigrants and migrant workers to send money home by using their mobile phones.

emily | 1:16 PM | permalink

Cellphone Deflects Gunshot - Saves Life

A man survived a shooting earlier this week in Coloroda, thanks in part to his cellphone - which slowed and deflected the bullet when it struck him.

"Despite being shot in the chest Tuesday, the hospital released him, saying he was in good condition. "It hit me in the cell phone, went through the cell phone, and projected down and grazed me," said Baxter. Baxter had the phone in his left shirt pocket, over his heart.

Police say the two people involved in the shooting of were 14 and 15 years old."

[ via Cellular News]

emily | 1:04 PM | permalink

Chinese City halts construction after receiving 1 million SMS protests

xiamenport.gif A Chinese city has halted construction of a chemical plant after residents sent more than 1 million mobile phone text messages protesting possible pollution dangers, news reports said Thursday, reports Cellular News.

"The plant was to be located 10 miles from the center of Xiamen, a center for Taiwanese and Hong Kong investment. The nearest homes were about a mile away, according to news reports.

"The city government has listened to the opinions expressed and has decided, after careful deliberation, that the project must be re-evaluated," a deputy mayor, Ding Guoyan, was quoted as saying."

emily | 11:11 AM | permalink

Mobile phone users pay less for handsets but keep them longer

Customers are keeping handsets for 17.5 months, an increase over the 16.6-month ownership term reported in November. ITNews reports. They're also paying less for their handsets -- US$103 in 2002 versus US$93 in 2007.

"Cell phone term contracts are influencing mobile phone users to keep their handsets longer, according to a survey released Wednesday by J. D. Power and Associates.

The market research firm said the average time of users are keeping their cell phones has increased 5 per cent since last fall.

"It's clear that wireless service carriers are using mobile phones as bait to increase consumer traffic," said Parsons. "The problem with this strategy is that, in most cases, the discounted handsets being offered are older models, which typically lack the latest technological advancements or desired design features."

emily | 8:50 AM | permalink

May 30, 2007 A Student project from Paul Notzold's "All things mobile phone" class

bujemu.gif is a project created by Kimba Kerner & Yudi Rusdia for Paul Notzold's all things mobile phone class, Me & My Mobile, at Parsons the New School for Design, in the Design and Technology program.

It offers to bring different religions together in the form of advice from spiritual advisors Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed. The project allows people to experience what these three religions have to say about different issues.

From May 30th til June 6th, you can get advice on your most pressing questions by simply sending an SMS to +1-646-238-1806.

The answer can be be from any of the three religious figures and it may not be what you expect.

emily | 10:36 AM | permalink

Japanese mobile users to get advance quake warnings

According to the AFP, Japanese mobile telephone users may soon be warned of an earthquake in their area before it even strikes.

"Japan's two biggest operators, NTT DoCoMo and KDDI, said Wednesday they are jointly developing a system to notify customers of an imminent earthquake, while number three Softbank said it is separately working on a similar service.

The system, which is expected to go into operation within a few months, will pass on information from the Japanese meteorological agency which has developed a way of detecting earthquakes several seconds before the main tremor strikes."

The companies did not say which type of messaging they would use but acknowledged that email -- a common way of communicating via cellphone in Japan -- would risk overwhelming their mobile networks."

emily | 10:30 AM | permalink

Device Lets You Report Noisy Audience Members

lg.jpeg CBS reports that Regal Entertainment Group, which owns several Chicago area theaters, is offering a device to enable audience members to rat on those talking/texting on their cell phones, or filming the movie.

"Using a device the size of a cell phone, certain patrons will be able to push a button to alert the management to somebody else's rude behavior, or even a problem with the movie.

The device, called a “guest response system,” has four buttons corresponding to problems; one is to report piracy if you see someone recording a movie with a camera.

The devices are now in use at just over 100 locations nationwide and could be headed for Chicago in the near future."

emily | 9:45 AM | permalink

Washington lobbyists develop strategy for Nigerian politicians

The Democratic consultant who brought Silicon Valley strategy to Howard Dean’s 2004 White House bid exported his brand of high-tech campaign tactics to Nigeria during the run-up to the country’s April presidential election. The Hill reports.

"Joe Trippi, currently advising former Sen. John Edwards’s (D-N.C.) 2008 campaign, designed a text-messaging campaign for opposition Action Congress Party candidate and then Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

“What drove me on this one was the need for an opposition party. Democracy has only been there for eight years,” Trippi said.

He was just one of many Washington consultants and lobbyists hired by Nigerian politicians to meet with policymakers here or campaign across the Atlantic. Abubakar and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, through the West African country’s government, each spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the months preceding the vote on such services."

emily | 9:40 AM | permalink

Poetry Slam Supported by SMS to Wall System

stripe_top.jpg The locally well known livelyrix poetry slam took place in Dresden last Friday again.

Ten poets presented their poems and texts in the sold out event centre Scheune.

Additionally, every guest was invited to send its poem as a text message from its own mobile during the show breaks. All texts sent were received by SMS Chatwall and were projected onto a screen on the stage.

The audience took part actively, as there were one hundred messages broadcasted during both breaks. Mobile poets could write anonymously. Therefore more people dared to present their lyrics to a broader audience.

[via The Open Press]

emily | 9:38 AM | permalink

Japan: Cheap Cell Phones at What Price?

0529_mobile.jpg Subsidizing fancy handsets with high service fees is routine. It also stifles competition and hurts some clients. According to Business Week, Tokyo regulators are seeking a way out.

"Technology sells. That's NTT DoCoMo's rationale for ordering manufacturers to stuff cell phones with every gee-whiz feature possible. The latest handsets don't just e-mail, browse the Internet, and take digital photos; they double as global positioning systems, anti-theft alarms, bar code readers, music players, TVs, and portable gaming gadgets. The downside to all the high-tech goodies is that such handsets cost more than $600 each to make.

Then why do Japanese consumers rarely pay more than a couple of hundred dollars for a new cell phone? Because DoCoMo subsidizes the cost of every handset on its network. Japan's No. 1 wireless operator is willing to lose more than $300 per phone to make sure that consumers won't get spooked by exorbitant prices.

DoCoMo's rivals KDDI and Softbank spend as much as $70 more per phone than DoCoMo, according to the companies' own estimates. The fight over customers is so fierce that, for new subscribers, operators will even offer their year-old models for as little as a penny. The tab for subsidies alone can set the operators back some $16 billion a year.

Sounds like a bonus for the common man, right? Not necessarily. The operators recoup their spending by charging consumers steep prices for air time. Though Japanese wireless operators earn only slightly more from each customer per month than their U.S. counterparts in average revenue per user—or ARPU—Japan's per-minute connection fees can be more than five times higher.

Now the government is asking whether the subsidies do more harm than good. " ...

emily | 8:55 AM | permalink

A Phone That Doubles as Hearing Aid


A phone concept that doubles as a hearing aid. Designed by triagonale

[Yanko Design via TechBlog]

emily | 8:50 AM | permalink

U.S. Seniors Doting on Simple Cell Phone

0525_cellphones_2.jpg A simplified mobile phone with just three green, yellow and red buttons is shaking up the U.S. mobile phone market, writes Digital Chosunilbo.

"Seniors who don't feel comfortable with complicated technology are the main buyers. The phones has just three buttons: one to dial 911, one to reach a telephone operator, and one that can be programmed with a frequently-called number chosen by the user.

According to Business Week magazine on Tuesday, the simplified mobile phone has caught on with seniors since it launched in the U.S. last year. Although the handset market is already saturated, "bridging the technology gap" for 100 million baby boomers is starting to "look like a real market opportunity."

Related: Links to elderphones

emily | 8:45 AM | permalink

The perfect walking companion


Because sometimes we leave our cell phones at home. The perfect companion to go Nordic Walking with!

Spotted on China Daily

emily | 7:35 AM | permalink

May 29, 2007

Transparent Sheet Blocks Mobile Phone Signals

Cellular News reports on a new transparent film for windows which claims it can block or seriously degrade radio signal penetration.

"While aimed at companies seeking to secure internal wireless communications, doubtless some organisations will investigate the possibility of using this to block mobile phone signals.

... Developed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Defense and CPFilms' technology partner, ASTIC Signals Defenses, the film uses a patented combination of metal and metal oxide layers to reduce the signal strength across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. "

emily | 9:44 PM | permalink

Mobile Phone Accessories Generating More Revenue than Smartphones in 2007

gollabags.jpg The market for mobile phone accessories will generate over US$32 billion in revenues in 2007, more than the US$28 billion expected from the Smartphone market. Cellular News reports.

"Around 77% of these revenues will come from the sales of "after-market" mobile phone accessories and the remaining from "in-box" accessories shipments.

Handset vendors now recognize that to increase sales of their high-end mobile phones and smartphones, they need to provide accessories that allow users to fully enjoy and benefit from the features provided in those handsets.

Nokia is addressing the handset accessory market with a distinctive approach of "Mobile Enhancement" products while Motorola is playing special emphasis on the growing "Personalization" and "Self-Expression" trends."

emily | 5:55 PM | permalink

Scratch-proof transparent skins protect your mobile devices

Spotted on Popgadget, Bodyguardz, scratch-proof transparent skins to protect your mobile devices from scratches.

In their own words: "Designed to custom fit each particular device, these protectors are made from the same material that is used to protect the front of automobiles from stones and other abrasive elements. Tough and durable, you can be assured that your device is protected by BodyGuardz."

emily | 5:50 PM | permalink

EU condemns organ donor tv show

BNN_84250h.jpg Dutch News reports that The European Commission has condemned Dutch public-service broadcasting network BNN reality show scheduled to air on June 1st - whereby a 37-year-old terminal patient with a brain tumor, will chose, live, on TV, which of three contestants in need of a kidney transplant, will get her kidney once she dies.

The program has already been criticised by the cabinet and MPs. However, ministers Ronald Plasterk (media) and Ab Klink (health) will not ban the show. Plasterk says the media law does not allow him to act before the program is shown.

Klink's spokesperson has said however that the star of the Donor Show is not free to decide who will receive her organ, reprots Expatica News. "Only donors who donate a kidney while living are allowed to designate the recipient. In the case of posthumous donation the kidney will go to whomever has been waiting the longest."

BNN says the programis a serious attempt to highlight the scarcity of donor organs and to honour the memory of the broadcaster’s founder, Bart de Graaff, who died five years ago at the age of 35. De Graaff suffered from kidney disease all his life, which stunted his growth and eventually killed him, despite a kidney transplant in 1997."

Previously: - Dutch TV show has viewers voting on who should get donor organ

emily | 4:06 PM | permalink

Health Conscious Tracking Phone (concept)


This health conscious phone designed by Kristina Lee, enables users to track their health through nutrition and fitness.

The phone is equipped with eNose technology in order to "smell" and recognize foods eaten by their unique chemical signature.

It tracks intake wherever you go, and will periodically analyze info to let you know what food groups you are missing.

[via Yanko Design]

emily | 10:16 AM | permalink

The Domino Phone (concept)

domino-phone1-thumb.jpg domino-phone2-thumb.jpg domino-phone5-thumb.jpg

The Domino Phone, a concept piece from Stockholm-based Syntes Studio, juxtaposes old-world gaming and high-tech utility.

[via Cool Hunting]

emily | 9:57 AM | permalink

May 28, 2007

New Oriental Announces Mobile Learning Project with Nokia in China

koolearn.gif New Oriental Education and Technology Group Inc., the largest provider of private educational services in China, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Nokia, to launch a mobile learning initiative that will give students access to select New Oriental course content via their mobile phones.

Under the one-year agreement, New Oriental will provide specially designed English language and test preparation course content for download on both the website and New Oriental's online learning site

Mobile learning content will be available in selected new Nokia mobile phones with the educational programs pre-installed. Course content will be formatted as short sound bytes that users can listen to at their convenience. New Oriental and Nokia along with other parties will kointly promote the educational offering in the China market.

Press release

emily | 6:14 PM | permalink

Fidel is better, Cuba the same...

Insight on Cuba, from the Russian News and Information Agency, where cell phones are forbidden.

"... Cell phones are prohibited, but Cubans can easily find a foreigner who would buy them a phone in his name and then rent it out. The authorities are turning a blind eye to such tricks. This is typical of socialism in decline, when formal compliance with bans is more important than their implementation, and ostentatious loyalty means more than convictions."

emily | 6:08 PM | permalink

Designing mobiles for the world

_42978913_phone203152.jpg Mobile phones have shaped global communications. But who shapes mobiles? BBC News speaks to Jan Chipchase, everyone's favorite researcher at Nokia Design.

"Jan Chipchase tours the world looking at how people use mobile phones in their everyday lives and, more broadly, how people live. "This is my office, my workspace," he says, pointing to a map of the world.

In the last 12 months he has visited 15 countries, carrying out eight full-scale research projects.

Mr Chipchase's focus is on the uses to which people put their phones; where they keep them, how they answer them, and a million other details about our relationships with these devices that have helped shape our world

His research has included looking at home battery charging services in rural Uganda, street charging in Kampala, how illiterate people use a mobile and more recently where we keep our phones.

"I specialise in human behavioural research. It often starts with a very simple question like 'what do people carry?'. This is interesting to Nokia because we want to put things in people's pockets - something of value. If you can understand one element of that value then you can understand people's motivation."

But why would Nokia pay someone like Mr Chipchase to travel the world and to have all of those experiences? Where is the value in that?

"We do this research work to inform and inspire the design stage. To bring designers into the field so they know whom they are designing for. Often designers are designing phones for markets they have little experience of - so we want to bring the world to them and them to the world."

N>Mr Chipchase works three to 15 years ahead of the market. His team carries out research using a method called convergent validity - it is not quantative scientific work but qualitative.

"We deal with informed opinion. If we do our jobs exceptionally well, then it is very informed opinion."

emily | 5:57 PM | permalink

Hong Kong spammers face jail

Hong Kong spammers will face big fines and a long jail terms under a new law to control unsolicited advertising, reports ABC Radio Australia.

"Officials say a new ordinance will regulate all messages sent by electronic means that advertise or promote goods or services, including faxes, emails, SMS text and pre-recorded voice messages.

Violators could be fined up to $US128,000 and face up to five years in jail. "

emily | 5:50 PM | permalink

Why subway cars in Japan are more quiet than in the US


Why subway cars in Japan are more quiet than in the US.

A screen capture from the video of Nokia's Younghee Jung presentation entitled “Insight and Innovation” at the 2007 New Yorker Conference.

emily | 5:03 PM | permalink

Mobile Technology: 2012 (video conference)

Younghee Jung leads a multidisciplinary research team at Nokia called “Insight and Innovation.”

Jung talks about what to expect next from your mobile phone, the newest ideas in the pipeline, and the questions that Nokia is asking women. From “2012: Stories from the Near Future,” the 2007 New Yorker Conference.

[via Smart Mobs]

emily | 9:41 AM | permalink

Chalkboard and Eraser Cell Phone Strap


Mixing high tech and quaint: a chalkboard and eraser cell phone strap. Spotted on Tokyomango.

emily | 9:35 AM | permalink

Brits Using Mobile Phones to Bypass Office Internet Restrictions

A nationwide study by T-Mobile UK has revealed that over 25% the UK's workforce, still deprived of web access, are now turning to the Internet on their mobile - as employers enforce blanket bans on net usage. Cellular News reports.

"Nearly half of the employees surveyed (48%) use their mobile phone to access the Internet at work; from downloading music to buying groceries online, with further research illustrating that 15% of users resorting to hiding in the toilet just to get online."

emily | 8:13 AM | permalink

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