Archives for February 2008

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February 29, 2008

New York Schools Give Students Free Cellphones in Pilot Reward Program

girlcellphone_djc.jpg When students in select New York schools score good grades, they won’t just be getting the kudos of teachers and parents -- they will also be rewarded with talk time, ringtones and games for cellphones given to them free. Digital Journal reports.

In a pilot program affecting 2,500 students in Manhattan and Brooklyn, education officials are giving away Samsung flip-phones to seven participating middle schools. Each student receives a free phone with 130 prepaid minutes.

When a student does well at school with good behaviour or impressive grades, they can earn “points” that can be redeemed for talk time, ringtones, games and other downloads.

The Million Motivation Campaign’s cellphone project will also allow principals and teachers to text-message students to alert them to school events, tests or study tips.

... But there’s a small wrinkle to the Million plan. New York has banned cellphone use in schools, so the Million phones can only be used after class."

emily | 9:37 PM | permalink

Text driver jailed for bike death

_44398976_textdriver2.jpg Another reminder, not to text and drive. It can ruin too many lives.

A motorist who was texting on her mobile phone when she hit and killed a cyclist has been sentenced to four years in prison. The BBC reports.

"Jordan Wickington, 19, died from head injuries when he went through a red light and was struck by Kiera Coultas' car in Southampton in February 2007.

Judge Jeremy Burford also banned her from driving. "The serious part of your conduct was that you were sending a text on your mobile phone having just received one," he said.

Sgt Alyson West, of Hampshire Constabulary, said the ruling would hopefully discourage others from using their mobile phones while driving.

"Today's sentence will not bring back Jordan Wickington. However, it will hopefully help to deter drivers who continue to flout the law by using their mobile phones while driving.

"The answer is quite simple - don't use your mobile phone and drive. Nothing is so important that it can't wait until you stop or arrive safely at your destination."

emily | 5:41 PM | permalink

3G iPhone within 6 months?

UBS predicts the 3G iPhone could be making an appearance within the next six months or by September. Interestingly, they also make the claim that the 3G chips themselves will be made by German corporation Infineon Technologies AG.

[via Uberphones]

emily | 5:33 PM | permalink

Google offers phone numbers, voicemail to homeless

projectconnect.gif Google today said on Thursday that it would make donation of phone service to
Project Homeless Connect
, an effort dedicated to providing ordinary services to the very poor. electronista reports.

The search engine giant says it will supply any homeless person with both a phone number as well as a voicemail inbox, giving them an opportunity to communicate both with possible employers as well as with family that might otherwise never hear back.

While the voicemail is accessible from any phone, the phone number is local and is treated like any number; the homeless do not have to feel pushed into a special service, Google explains.

The project is immediately active and currently limited to the San Francisco Bay area, but is planned to expand across the US and will primarily offer the phone services through homeless shelters; no one will be required to accept the phone number and inbox, but those who do will have the phone number for life or as long as necessary."

emily | 8:35 AM | permalink

February 28, 2008

As campus shootings make headlines, students still slow to embrace cell phone alert systems

virginia-tech-massacre-18.jpg The massacre at Virginia Tech last year sent colleges nationwide scrambling to improve how they get alerts to students during crises on campus. One solution: Text messages sent to cell phones.

But while hundreds of campuses have adopted text alerts, most students are not embracing the system - even in an age when they consider their mobile phones indispensable, reports the Associated Press.

"Omnilert, a Northern Virginia company that provides an emergency alert system called e2Campus to more than 500 campuses, reports an average enrollment rate among students, faculty and staff of just 39 percent.

Across the country, colleges 'are really struggling with how to get the enrollment numbers up,'' said Steven Healey, Princeton University's public safety director and an expert on campus security.

The University of Missouri's Columbia campus tried a giveaway - students who signed up for the alerts were entered in a drawing for an iPod Nano - in hopes of improving its rate. Just 15 percent of the roughly 28,000 students have requested text message alerts or cell-phone calls during emergencies.

... Campus safety experts point to several factors to explain the lack of interest among students, including feelings of invincibility and reluctance to give out personal information.

Others hesitate to pay the fees - generally a matter of pennies - that some cell phone providers charge to send and receive texts. Colleges generally pay $1 to $4 per enrolled student to the companies that set up the alerts."

emily | 8:00 PM | permalink

Prototype Android touch phone in BBC video

googleandroid-bbc.jpg A new, previously unspecified phone running Google's Android mobile OS has been spotted, courtesy of a new BBC video via electronista.

"The British news organization was told that the early, prototype device was manufactured by one of Google's partners in the project and veers away from the button-driven form seen in the initial example. The mystery device is almost entirely driven by a touchscreen and includes just a minimal set of physical controls for taking calls and jumping to familiar hotspots in the interface, such as the home screen."

emily | 7:50 PM | permalink

iPhone will sell in Ireland. Switzerland - still no news

O2 has announced that it has snapped up the iPhone for Ireland, reports MacUser. The network operator, which also has the exclusive UK rights, will begin carrying the iPhone as of 14 March.

Lucky Ireland. There were strong rumors that the iPhone would be available in Switzerland on February 29 via Swisscom. But today no news, nothing!

That's it, I'm not waiting anymore, I'm going to buy an unlocked one.

emily | 3:11 PM | permalink

Bamboo, the degradable mobile phone

greener_gadgets_03_sm.jpg greener_gadgets_01_sm.jpg

The Bamboo phone is not only biodegradable, but when it is thrown in the compost, seeds stored within it are released and begin to sprout new shoots. [Core77 via Trendhunter]

Once the phone is no longer of use, the user removed the batter, antenna and print board and tosses throws the casing, which is filled with seedlings, in the compost. These new seedlings will eventually become bamboo trees, the thought behind it being that they will counteract the environmental impacts made by the manufacturing process.

The phone was entered in the Greener Gadgets Design Competition by Gert-Jan van Breugel, a designer from the Netherlands.

greener_gadgets_02_sm.jpg

emily | 10:39 AM | permalink

1 billion phones sold globally in 2007

With more than 1 billion phones sold globally for the first time, 2007 was a banner year for mobile phone sales, reports Conputerworld.

"Worldwide sales of mobile phones ended up surpassing 1.15 billion units in 2007, a 16% increase from 2006 sales of 990.9 million, according to figures from Gartner Inc.

Emerging markets, especially China and India, are now the driver for growth, with many people in those countries now buying their first phone.

Nokia continues to dominate worldwide. It sold 435 million mobile phones last year, and gained a market share of more than 40% for the first time during the fourth quarter, according to Gartner.

It is followed by Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG. Everyone except for Motorola, which lost its second place to Samsung during the fourth quarter, increased its market share."

emily | 10:35 AM | permalink

Taliban highlights militants' mobile tracking fear

talin1.jpeg A Taliban threat to attack Afghan telecoms companies is the latest sign of paranoia from militants who fear their mobile phones will betray their hiding places. Reuters reports.

"The Islamist militia on Monday gave mobile operators a three-day ultimatum to shut down their networks at night or face attacks on their towers and offices.

It issued the demand because "the occupying forces stationed in Afghanistan usually at night use mobile phones for espionage to track down the mujahideen," a Taliban spokesman told Reuters.

The threat comes several months after publication on the Internet of a "security encyclopedia" for militant Islamists which urges strict precautions when using mobiles. It even recommends a particular handset model it says is hard for the enemy to open to implant a bugging device.

Howard Melamed, chief executive of U.S.-based cellular communications group CellAntenna, said the Taliban threat reflected a lack of understanding of the technology.

"Common sense would dictate: turn your phone off and it's OK," he told Reuters. "I have a feeling they're not really in tune too much with this kind of technology."

Analysts believe that senior leaders of al Qaeda do not use either mobile or satellite phones at all in order to avoid detection, instead relying on people to carry messages by word of mouth."

emily | 10:34 AM | permalink

Mobile phones as language learning tool

According to The Daily Yomiuri, several companies are offering language-learning services as an option to the usual video games or e-mail.

"Recent advances in cell phone technology have resulted in sound quality high enough that users can distinguish slight differences in pronunciation of the target language. The cited disadvantages of using cell phones for such study methods--small screens--are not likely to bother people using their phones for listening practice.

... Students using the cell phone system progressed faster than those using the computer version."

emily | 10:25 AM | permalink

Camel Cigarette Cell Phone Case

camelcigarretes.jpg

Spotted on Ubergizmo, a Camel cigarette cell phone case.

Related: - A Chinese Cell Phone Cigarette Case

emily | 9:42 AM | permalink

Apple Affirms iPhone Target

Apple affirmed on Wednesday its iPhone sales goal for this year and said it will give details next week of how outside programmers can create software for its iPhone, a move expected to spur demand for the multifunction device.

Apple will detail the software road map for the iPhone on March 6 at its Cupertino, California headquarters, the company said in an invitation sent to reporters.

... Apple also said it will unveil new iPhone features aimed at businesses.

[via The New York Times]

emily | 8:41 AM | permalink

February 27, 2008

Robo-Phone!

softbank-robo-phone.jpg

Spotted on Engadget:mobile, a robo-phone from Toshiba.

emily | 9:45 AM | permalink

1st English-Chinese mobile paper launched in China

Jointly produced by China Daily and China Mobile and launched yesterday, China Daily Mobile News sends English-Chinese news to users' cell phones as multimedia messages through wireless technology.

China Daily Mobile News will allow Olympic athletes, officials and visitors the opportunity to experience China's internationalization, technological advancements and improved English communication standards, from the moment they set foot in China.

[China Daily via SMS Text News]

emily | 8:50 AM | permalink

February 26, 2008

Searching for Miss Playboy Mobile 2008

missplayboymobile.gif Playboy Mobile recently announced its 2008 strategy for extending the Playboy brand to a broader audience via its newest mobile initiative -- the inaugural "Miss Playboy Mobile 2008" model search.

Playboy Mobile will invite sophisticated, sexy women to register and build online profiles in their quest to be crowned Miss Playboy Mobile 2008.

Visitors to the online and mobile mobile sites can view the beautiful candidates and then vote for their favorite -- bringing her closer to the 2008 crown, a $5,000 cash-prize, and a professional photo-shoot at the world-famous Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.

Voters must cast their ballots via mobile phones.

[via Press release]

emily | 6:22 PM | permalink

Private Telephone Concerts

personal-telephone-concert-thumb.gif The Danish music-poetry duo Bo hr Hansen & Nils Lassen has come up with a novel - and potentially very time consuming - way to promote their latest CD "Hvem er jeg?" (Who am I?).

Those buying the CD are offered a free private concert - via telephone.

In order to qualify for the concert, you need to send them an MMS (a photo via mobile phone) of yourself holding the CD, preferably with the receipt. Upon receiving the documentation, the duo will do their best to find a concert date and time that suits all of you.

[via Guerrila Innovation]

emily | 4:34 PM | permalink

Exclusive iPhone Deal Could Be Illegal in Australia

The release of Apple's iPhone in Australia this year could be illegal under the country's competition laws, say Queensland University of Technology law researchers. Cellular News reports.

"Mr Clapperton said Apple's plans for releasing the iPhone in Australia had not yet been publicly announced but if its US marketing strategy were adopted in Australia, it would likely be prohibited by the Trade Practices Act 1974 (TPA) provision dealing with third-line forcing."

emily | 4:15 PM | permalink

The Soft Concept Phone

soft_phone3.jpg

The Soft Phone concept by designer Qian Jiang takes what we know about electronic cellulose structures and squeezes every last ounce of performance out of it, literally!

[via Yanko Design]

emily | 10:13 AM | permalink

Greater Connectivity Between British Police, Residents Enhanced

The British police is tapping Information Technology to connect better with their neighborhood, reports All Headline News.

"Under a $639 million plan, the method of policing will adapt a more local approach. All households in England and Wales will receive a mobile phone number and email address for police assistance.

The plan, to be effective April, will also require police heads to conduct regular public meetings. The new system is under pilot testing at Lambeth, south London."

emily | 9:26 AM | permalink

"No-Key Nokia X-SIM" Unlocks Nokia Phones

no-key-nokia.jpg A new product, compatible with most Nokia mobile phones, allows users to bypass the lock and utilize different service providers.

The No-Key Nokia X-SIM, available at www.one-stop-china.com, can unlock Nokia mobile phones that operate with a SIM card, allowing phones to work in any network.

The user will need to combine their SIM card with the X-SIM, then insert into the phones SIM slot.

Factory testing shows the No-Key Nokia X-SIM to unlock 2630, 5300, 5700, 6120c, 6110 navigator, 6500c, 6500s, N76, N95, N95 8GB, N61 8GB, E65, N73, N80, 6120c, N75, 6300, as well as all DCT4 and BB5 Nokia mobile phones.

[via Press release]

emily | 8:37 AM | permalink

SMS share trading service

Australian online share trading and wealth creation platform, Bell Direct, has launched an SMS share trading service.

Customers wanting to buy or sell via the new SMS service simply have to text message their order to Bell Direct in a simple buy/sell-stock code-quantity-price format. Shortly after, they’ll receive confirmation of the order, which, if correct, is then sent back with a hash-encoded time-stamp unique to that order.

Although brand new to Australia, SMS share trading is already extremely popular in South East Asian markets such as China, Malaysia and South Korea.

[via MoneyManagement.com.au]

emily | 8:35 AM | permalink

Toaster Phone Concept

toasterphone.gif

Spotted on Gizmodo, a toaster phone concept by Brazilian designer Renata Quintela.

emily | 8:30 AM | permalink

February 25, 2008

Cell Phone Spy Extracts Deleted Texts, Data

yhst-81126207287951_1991_37706270.jpeg A company in New York is marketing a product it says allows spouses, parents, employers, and others to recover deleted data from mobile phones and read it on PCs. It works on many, but not all, cell phones. [via Information Week]

"BrickHouse Security sells a small, portable SIM card reader that it says retrieves deleted messages. Users can remove a SIM card, put it in the $150 Cell Phone Spy, and plug the reader into a USB port. The data transfers to PCs. The company claims its reader is the only one that can access deleted messages."

simcard.jpg

emily | 7:18 PM | permalink

The mobile phone as a universal remote controle

A little-known private company, Akoo International, is setting up a network of digital screens that can send and receive messages from cell phones. The New York Times reports.

"The company aims to transform mobile devices into universal remote controls that can select on-demand content from big-screen TVs in airports, bars, and restaurants.

With Akoo's network, namedm-Venue, cell phone users can send a text-message request for a music video, sports clip or fashion show to be delivered to their phone or played on a nearby Akoo television screen, which would act much like a high-tech jukebox.

In return, companies can deliver digital coupons and promotions to the cell phones. "

emily | 5:48 PM | permalink

Nokia Morph Nanotechnology Concept Devices

nokia-morph-nano.jpg Nokia announces Morph, a joint nanotechnology concept, developed by Nokia Research Center and the University of Cambridge. I4U reports.

Morph was launched today alongside the "Design and the Elastic Mind" exhibition, on view from February 24 to May 12, 2008, at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.

gallerythumb.jpg Morph is a concept that demonstrates how future mobile devices might be stretchable and flexible, allowing the user to transform their mobile device into radically different shapes. It demonstrates the ultimate functionality that nanotechnology might be capable of delivering: flexible materials, transparent electronics and self-cleaning surfaces.

The examples of Morph phone designs include a wrist phone and a translucent card that basically just consist of an interactive user interface. The future looks bright, once again.

Nokia press release

emily | 11:27 AM | permalink

BeamMe

Now in public Beta mode, BeamMe.info offers users a simple and useful platform to retain information from a website on their mobile phones.

A Beam is a button that sits next to website content, and when clicked allows users to immediately send that information directly to their mobile phone for free.

To view a live Beam in action click here.

emily | 11:19 AM | permalink

Taliban Threaten Phone Companies

taliban%20fighters.jpg Taliban militants threatened Monday to blow up telecom towers across Afghanistan if mobile phone companies do not switch off their signals for 10 hours starting at dusk. [via the AP]

"Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujaheed said the U.S. and other foreign troops in the country are using mobile phone signals to track down the insurgents and launch attacks against them.

The Taliban have "decided to give a three-day deadline to all mobile phone companies to stop their signals from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. in order to stop the enemies from getting intelligence through mobile phones and to stop Taliban and civilian casualties," Mujaheed told The Associated Press by telephone from an undisclosed location.

"If those companies do not stop their signal within three days, the Taliban will target their towers and their offices," he said.

There are four mobile phone operators in Afghanistan, but employees at the companies would not immediately comment."

emily | 9:45 AM | permalink

NY Times launches ShifD


shifd.gif The New York Times is launching a service today called ShifD that sends your content to the cloud to make it easily accessible from your computer, phone or other devices. MocoNews reports.

"The service works like this: let's say you see a headline for a news story that sounds interesting, you can clip it and read it later on any device. If you are at a restaurant, you can send yourself a message with the name of the wine you enjoyed, so you can buy it later.

Or, when you are at the grocery store, you can pull up the recipe you wanted to make for dinner to ensure you have all the right ingredients. "

emily | 8:37 AM | permalink

Mobile phone radiation might alter protein expression in human skin

femmeautel.jpg A new study completed by the
Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) on effects of mobile phone radiation on human skin strengthens the results of the human cell line analyses: living tissue responds to mobile phone radiation. Science Daily reports.

"... In the study, a small area of forearm’s skin in 10 volunteers was exposed to GSM signal for one hour. After that skin biopsies were collected from exposed and non-exposed areas of skin and all extractable proteins were examined. The analysis of 580 proteins identified 8 proteins that were statistically significantly affected.

According to Dariusz Leszczynski, Research Professor at STUK it is much too early to say will these changes induced by the mobile phone radiation have any effect on health.

”Mobile phone radiation has some biological effect. Even if the changes are small, they still exist”, says Dariusz Leszczynski, Research Professor at STUK.

The entire article "Mobile phone radiation might alter protein expression in human skin" is available in the BMC Genomics web journal.

emily | 7:30 AM | permalink

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