Archives for May 2008
May 25, 2008
Far from being rbsh, it is actually gr8 for society. Experts believe that new forms of communication such as mobile phone texting, email and instant messaging are helping us stay in touch with each other.
And a new study has shown that far from being a scourge of grammar and correct spelling, users of instant messaging and texting are actually much more likely to use the Queen's English than the abbreviations that annoy purists.
Can your cell phone tell if you're happy or overworked?
Researchers at MIT think it can do that and more--separate the rich from the poor, the sick from the healthy, even the outgoing from the introverted.
Sandy Pentland, director of MIT's Human Dynamics Research program, has focused his work on that unlikely task: using gadgets as simple as a cell phone to better understand the quirks and patterns of human behavior.
May 23, 2008
Nokia N-Gage users will be glad to hear that the Finnish mobile giant is working on solutions to allow transfer of games between handsets, following concern earlier this week that gamers would have to buy games again each time they upgraded their N-Gage handsets.
Hmmm, it's hard to image someone would be able to get away with this, but the iPhone inspired iCondom is quite entertaiing.
iCondom's pokesperson Steve Jones claims their product "opens a new era in the history of safe sex" and has "latex with memory".
May 22, 2008
"If a gamer changes or upgrades to a different Nokia handset they have to purchase the games again if they want to continue playing.
Nokia relaunched its N-Gage mobile gaming platform last month.
The issue was uncovered by website All About N-Gage. "
AT&T and Verizon have won a $678.5 million contract over 10 years to supply data and voice security service and disaster communications systems for Homeland Security.
[via Crunch Gear]
In a Harris Interactive survey of 2,030 US adults of whom, 1,778 have actually flown in an airplane, a full three quarters say that cellphone usage on airplanes should be restricted to "non-talking features." In other words, email, texting, and surfing the Web.
AT&T on Wednesday said it would complete the deployment of its faster 3G wireless broadband service by the end of June.
... More than three quarters of the mobile phones in AT&T handset portfolio is 3G capable, the company said. AT&T plans to introduce more phones in the summer and fall.
[via Information Week]
According to Uberphones, the US Patent Office has approved an Apple patent that seems to look like an instant messenger application for the iPhone, with some improvements over its SMS feature, such as a word predictor which suggests more words.
This appears to be a different than the one reported in April.
The longest mobile phone concept seen so far. By designer Tamer Koseli.
Nokia and France Télécom said they had agreed to a joint venture to provide Internet services over mobile telephones in nine European countries. The New York Times reports.
"Under the agreement, France Télécom’s mobile phone unit, Orange, will provide its mobile music store, while Nokia will contribute digital mapping to enable location-based advertising and search services to Orange’s cell phone customers. Both companies will supply video games."
Nokia is said to be planning to launch around 40 new mobile phones this year - each containing biodegradable components that can be easily recycled.
The company is also evaluating plans to put a prepaid postage bag within each box when a handset is sold to allow customers to return their older model for recycling.
The Nokia 3110 is already said to by sixty-five percent recyclable - and the company has plans to reduce the power consumption of mobile phone chargers by 50% by 2010.
[via Cellular News]
May 21, 2008
US President George W Bush has said Americans will soon be allowed to send mobile phones to relatives in Cuba. The BBC reports.
"The change in US policy follows the Cuban government's easing last month of restrictions on mobile phone ownership.
Speaking at the White House on Cuba Solidarity Day, Mr Bush said:
"Cubans are now allowed to purchase mobile phones, DVD players and computers, and they have been told that they will be able to purchase toasters and other basic appliances in 2010.
Previously they could only be bought by government officials and people working for foreign firms.
The decades-old US trade embargo against Cuba remains in place. But Americans will now be able to include mobile phones in gift parcels for Cuba."
The government is quietly negotiating to help cell phone customers avoid expensive fees when they cancel contracts with wireless companies, The Associated Press has learned.
"Cell phone companies routinely charge customers $175 or more for quitting their service early. Under a proposal to the FCC, the wireless industry would give consumers the opportunity to cancel service without any penalty for up to 30 days after they sign a cell phone contract or until 10 days after they receive their first bill."
French luxury-goods company Christian Dior SA Wednesday will unveil a line of mobile phones, extending beyond its traditional fashion business
The new Dior phone -- priced from €3,500, or $5,000, and up -- comes after competitors such as Prada and Dolce & Gabbana have turned their fashion-branded mobile phones into significant businesses.
"In the same way that we have developed our watch and jewelry lines, we want to increase sales with the phone," Dior Chief Executive Sidney Toledano said in an interview.
[via The Wall Street Journal]
Microsoft on Tuesday began letting advertisers display banner ads to mobile users of Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Hotmail, following other companies already supporting mobile banner ads. PCWorld reports.
"Mobile users in France, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. will see the banner ads when using the Microsoft services.
Google made a similar announcement in April, inviting AdWords advertisers to display banner ads instead of only text on mobile phones. Yahoo, AdMob and Third Screen, which is now owned by AOL, are among other companies that also display banner ads on mobile phones."
Image from seattlepi.com
May 20, 2008
A recent Gartner study estimates that 189 billion mobile messages have been sent by U.S. mobile-phone subscribers in 2007. It forecasts 301 billion mobile messages sent in 2008. C/net reports.
"Iff correct, those figures would still account for only a small fraction of the 2.3 trillion messages to be sent across major markets worldwide in 2008 (a 19.6 percent increase from the 2007 total of 1.9 trillion messages). Asia is the biggest mobile-messaging market worldwide. China is in the lead, with approximately 560 billion SMS messages sent in 2007, followed by the Philippines' 430 billion and Japan's 190 billion.
The vast majority of the 189 billion mobile messages to be sent in the United States are expected to be SMS text messages, with an average use of about two SMS messages per U.S. subscriber per day.
... Despite the continued growth of SMS usage, however, Gartner expects growth rates to slow as direct mobile connections are becoming increasingly cannibalized by mobile-IM communities and social-network portals."
A massive UK government database holding details of every phone call, e-mail and time spent on the internet by the public is being planned as part of the fight against crime and terrorism. Internet service providers (ISPs) and telecoms companies would hand over the records to the Home Office under plans put forward by officials. The Times Online reports.
The information would be held for at least 12 months and the police and security services would be able to access it if given permission from the courts.
... Home Office officials have discussed the option of the national database with telecommunications companies and ISPs as part of preparations for a data communications Bill to be in November’s Queen’s Speech. But the plan has not been sent to ministers yet."
Left, Big Brother street art from Global Graphics.
Its been confirmed to Gizmodo :The new iPhone 3G model will be announced by Steve Jobs at his Keynote on June 9th and will be available worldwide right after the launch, and not at year's end, as previously thought.
Spotted on ChipChick, a cell phone watch with a keypad on it's strap.
Mobile phones branded with the popular children’s character Hello Kitty are due to hit the high street in July, prompting parental fears over the marketing of phones at the youngest in society, reports The Tmes Online.
"Health fears persist about mobile phone use by children, with an authoritative report in 2005 concluding that 9 to 14-year-olds should make only short, essential calls. The report by Sir William Stewart said that children under 8 should not use mobile phones at all.
Products with Hello Kitty cartoon cat images are aimed at children as young as five.
... Sue Palmer, author of Detoxing Childhood, which gives advice to parents on how to steer children through the problems of growing up, said that bringing a Hello Kitty phone on to the market was “very irresponsible”.
May 19, 2008
According to the Birmingham Post, mobile phones have replaced the traditional alarm clock in the British bedroom.
"More than a third (36 per cent) of respondents said they relied on their phone to wake them up in the morning, with 71 per cent claiming alarm clocks were now obsolete.
A total of 3,000 people were asked what method of wake-up call they used."
"Tests on a new GSM technology that seeks to enhance communication between local communities and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) are at an advanced stage.
Dubbed ‘Push to Talk on Cellular’ (PoC), the technology has brought together Safaricom Ltd as the lead organization, Groupe Spéciale Mobile Association (GSMA) Development Fund, Wireless Zeta Telecomunicaciones (Wireless ZT), Nokia, the Nokia Siemens Networks, and local conservation organizations.
The early warning system combines the functionality of a walkie-talkie with a mobile phone. It enables communication between two individuals, or a group of people, and is particularly useful in connecting a user group.
PoC can also be used alongside voice and data services on a single handset. Users can make standard phone calls and send text messages while accessing two-way communication and group talk."
A blast from the past. “Finger” Speeds Dialing (1939).
Easily attached to the top of a dial-telephone receiver, a metal finger now on the market fits snugly into the dial holes, helps prevent inaccurate dialing, eliminates the danger of broken finger nails, and speeds up the dialing process by about ten percent.
[via Modern Mechanix]
The shaky economy is starting to show up in U.S. phone sales. In the first quarter, consumer phone sales reached 31 million handsets, falling 22 percent compared to the year-ago period.
Last fall, Hiyam Hijazi-Omari and Rivka Ribak presented a paper called "Playing With Fire: On the domestication of the mobile phone among Palestinian teenage girls in Israel" at AOIR.
They studied teen girls who received their mobile phones from their boyfriends and hid them from everyone else. Through this lens, they examine how the mobile phone alters social dynamics, relationships, and the construction of gender in Palestine. In short, they document how culturally specific gendered practices (not technological features) frame the meaning and value of technology.
Palestinian boys give their girlfriends phones for the express purpose of being able to communicate with them in a semi-private manner without the physical proximity that would be frowned on. At the same time, girls know that parents do not approve of them having access to such private encounters with boys - they go to great lengths to hide their mobiles and suffer consequences when they are found out. While the boys offered these phones as a tool of freedom, they often came with a price.
Girls were expected to only communicate with the boy and never use the phone for any other purpose. In the article, Hijazi-Omari and Ribak quote one girl as expressing frustration over this and saying "I did not escape prison only to find myself another prison." These girls develop fascinating practices around using the phone, hiding from people, and acquiring calling cards.
Almost nonstop, the uncensored opinions of Chinese citizens are popping up online, sent by text and instant message across a country shaken by its worst earthquake in three decades. The Associated Press reports.
"China is now home to the world's largest number of Internet and mobile phone users, and their hunger for quake news is forcing the government to let information flow in ways it hasn't before.
A fast-moving network of text messages, instant messages and blogs has been a powerful source of firsthand accounts of the disaster, as well as pleas for help and even passionate criticism of rescue efforts.
... But the government is still monitoring the online conversation. Seventeen people have been detained since the earthquake, warned or forced to write apologies for online messages that "spread false information, made sensational statements and sapped public confidence," the state-run news agency, Xinhua, reported Thursday.
Police also warned of the spread of scam text messages asking for quake donations."
Picture left, a man waits for his mobile phone to charge after a generator was brought to a temporary outdoor shelter in Dujiangyan, in China's southwest Sichuan province.
UK's Daily Mail reports that some firms are using a new generation of voice analysis systems to detect whether someone is lying when they call in sick.
"The technology means someone phoning will speak to a computer set up to check whether their voice is steady and reliable.
It is estimated that nearly one in eight sick days are not genuine, costing the UK economy £13 billion ($2.5 billion) a year.