Archives for August 2008

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August 31, 2008

UN Calls for SMS Campaign on the International Day of Peace

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has issued a call for a worldwide SMS campaign to mark the International Day of Peace, to be observed on 21 September. This year, the International Day of Peace takes on special meaning, as it is also the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To mobilize people around the world, the United Nations is launching a text messaging campaign

[via Cellular News]

emily | 7:00 PM | permalink

Stuffed Teddy Bear Concept Phone


Spotted on Trends in Japan, a concept phone in the shape of a stuffed teddy bear -that holds a SIM card and enables you to make and receive calls.

It was shown off at the Good Design Expo by mobile provider Willcom.

emily | 6:40 PM | permalink

Ofcom seeks help on mobile rules

The BBC reports that UK Telecom regulator Ofcom "wants help from consumers and industry on areas that need more regulation or where the rules can be loosened.

It is also looking for ideas on how best to extend mobile networks across the entire nation.

The consultation has been prompted by the rising number of complaints lodged with Ofcom about mobile services. "

emily | 6:26 PM | permalink

Zambians use SMS to mourn president's death

Mwanawasa460.jpg A number of SMS codes were set up at radio and television stations in Zambia to allow thousands of people to send text messages mourning the death of President Levy Mwanawasa last August 19. NetworkWorld reports.

"... Mourners were able to send their text messages of condolence to radio and television stations. As stations suspended regular programming to feature reflections on Mwanawasa's life, the messages from mourners ran across television screens and were read aloud on radio."

emily | 6:08 PM | permalink

The Twiller. Using Twitter to write a thriller

Matt Richtel for Bits Blog explains wonderfully how he's using Twitter to write a novel.

"... Recently, a handful of creators (present company included) have scrapped pen and paper for mobile phone and keypad, and started texting their novels — in real time, just a few characters at a time. Our medium is Twitter, a service that lets you broadcast bursts of 140 characters at a time to be read by people who subscribe to get your updates.

... The appearance of my story on this new medium has apparently confused some people. But many of my newspaper colleagues write novels. I’ve already published one. This is just an experiment in a new medium.

Plus, it’s a short story with a proverbial long tail — albeit a short, long tail. Only about 400 people are reading the story — a few get added every few days. It’s whatever is the opposite of mass market."

I don’t know if the story will catch much attention, but, then again, it doesn’t require much attention at all."

emily | 6:00 PM | permalink

August 28, 2008

UK telephone booths could be saved by adoption scheme


Thousands of red telephone booths could be "adopted" by local councils after BT reviewed its policy of removing them from the streets, reports The Telegraph.

"They will be able to keep the boxes to maintain the character of the area even if the telephone itself is removed.

BT is offering two schemes to the local authorities. One is the adopt-a-kiosk, where councils can pay £1 for the red boxes to be maintained, although they will no longer have phone equipment inside them.

Another is sponsor-a-kiosk, where the councils will be charged a fee of £500 annually towards the running and maintenance of the phone boxes. This applies to all phone boxes, not just the classic red design."

emily | 6:17 PM | permalink

Daily Mail tries to lure users with free international texts

Following the launch of their MailTXT texting service earlier this year, UK's Daily Mailhas now announced that new users will get 50 free international SMS messages to any phone when they sign up.

The intention of the scheme is to ‘build a more interactive relationship with its readers’, a press release said.


emily | 6:04 PM | permalink

Italians to get SMS guide to cheaper food

focaccia-ck-1108231-l.jpg Italian consumers struggling to make ends meet will get help from their mobile phones next month when he government starts sending text messages to tell them where to buy cheap food. [via Reuters]

"The Agriculture Ministry has joined forces with a number of Italian consumer groups to set up a free-of-charge SMS service to provide information about prices of 84 food products and nearby farmers markets.

With the new service, shoppers could send a text message with a single word, for example "bread", to a free number to get information about prices, the ministry said."

emily | 5:42 PM | permalink

Vimpelcom reportedly to sell Apple iPhone in Russia

Vimpelcom Russia's second-largest mobile phone operator, said on Thursday it had signed a distribution deal with Apple Inc. to sell iPhone 3G in Russia.

This would leave China as the largest country still left negociating an iPhone distribution deal.

[via Reuters]

emily | 2:02 PM | permalink

UNICEF Unveils "Bee" for emergency connectivity


The first two prototypes of a system - called Bee - designed to provide connectivity in emergency situations has successfully tested by UNICEF that includes an FM radio station, WiFi and mobile messaging.

Developed internally by UNICEF Division of Communication and combining off the shelf products, it is being developed to augment relief work done in the first two weeks of an emergency when such technologies are often difficult or impossible to use.

Watch video on mefeedia


emily | 8:32 AM | permalink

Orange Admits To Capping iPhone 3G Speeds

Maybe it’s not all Apple’s fault after all. French wireless carrier Orange has admitted to capping 3G network speeds at 384Kbps for iPhone customers, Apple Insider reports via

emily | 8:28 AM | permalink

It's game over for popular 'Tetris' clone


The No. 1 free download from Apple's App Store, a clever Tetris clone for the iPhone called Tris is no longer available. USA Today reports.

As of Wednesday, the puzzle game has been removed from the App Store, following a threatening letter received by Apple by The Tetris Company over alleged copyright infringement, says Tris developer Noah Witherspoon.

The disappointed college student writes this on his blog, entitled Two Finger Play.

"I'm afraid it's essentially game over. Do they have a case? No. Not really. I am convinced that if it went to court, the 'copyright' claim would get thrown out completely. The trademark, perhaps not -- but if I changed the name, to e.g. Trys, that would be much harder for them to argue."

emily | 8:06 AM | permalink

August 27, 2008

'Beautiful mistake' makes China factory worker a celebrity

iphone_factory_girl-1.jpgThe AFP has the lowdown on the Chinese factory worker who become a celebrity after her smiling face was accidentally loaded onto an Apple iPhone and shipped to the other side of the world.

"The unidentified worker flashed a smile and made a peace sign to a co-worker whose job was to test the device's camera in the southern city of Shenzhen, said a spokesman for Foxconn, which assembles the phones for Apple.

The woman's colleague apparently forgot to delete the photo from the phone, which was sold to a consumer in Britain, who posted it on the Internet, Foxconn spokesman Liu Kun told AFP on Wednesday.

He said so far only one phone was known to be affected.

The photo created a stir on Internet forums after the British consumer, who identified himself only as Mark M., shared his discovery on the website.

Liu said the factory worker was unsettled by the sudden fame after her photo appeared on websites and newspapers, and that her bosses had assured her that her job is safe. He said the company would not release her name or any details.

... One person wrote in an Internet post: "It would be great for every Chinese worker who makes your iPhones to take a snap of herself or her factory friends ... a hello from a person you would never otherwise meet."

emily | 7:50 PM | permalink

Longer life


Sanwa Supply Inc. has introduced a compact rechargeable battery for the iPhone 3G.

According to Nikkei Net Interactive, "the battery adds three and a half hours of talking time to the iPhone's continuous talking time of up to five hours, seven more hours of video playback to the original seven hours, and 36 hours of audio play to the base 24 hours."

emily | 7:37 PM | permalink

VOIP with Style


The award winning Tatung VOIP, is one classy phone with aims to making internet phones user friendly, writes Yanko Design.

By Nova Design, it’s currently on exhibition but hopefully it will go into mass production.

emily | 7:04 PM | permalink

Obama Transforms Convention Into Recruiting Machine for Voters

obamaconv.jpeg When 76,000 people pack Denver's Invesco Field tomorrow to hear Senator Barack Obama's acceptance speech, they'll be called on to get to work. Bloomberg reports.

"The campaign is asking them to text-message friends and urge them to sign on as supporters of the Democratic presidential candidate. It's part of a drive by Obama's team to leave the national convention with hundreds of thousands of new names to add to a database that already includes millions.

... Once an e-mail or text address is added to the list, the campaign follows up with requests for money, links to campaign videos and requests that people volunteer."

emily | 6:48 PM | permalink

World mobile phone sales growth slowing: survey

Growth in worldwide sales of mobile telephones will slow sharply in 2008 as consumers face increased economic difficulties, a report by Gartner Research showed on Wednesday.

"The US-based industry research unit predicted 11 percent growth in global sales to 1.28 billion units this year, down from a rise of 16 percent in 2007."

[via AFP]

emily | 6:35 PM | permalink

Manifesta 7: Tantalum Memorial - Residue

Régine Debatty is just back from Just back from Manifesta, the seventh edition of a touring art biennale held in Trentino, Italy. She writes up an exhibit related to cell phones on her blog

Tantalum Memorial - Residue, by England-based Graham Harwood, Richard Wright, and Matsuko Yokokoji, is a telephony-based memorial to the people who have died as a result of the tantalum wars in the Congo.


The installation below is constructed out of an old electro-mechanical 1938 Strowger telephone exchange, discovered amongst the remains of the Alumix factory.

The switches are reanimated by tracking the phone calls from Telephone Trottoire - a social telephony network designed by the artists in collaboration with the Congolese radio program Nostalgie Ya Mboka in London. The TT network calls Congolese listeners, plays them a phone message and invites them to record a comment and pass it on to a friend by entering their phone number.

This builds on the traditional Congolese practice of "radio trottoire" or "pavement radio", the passing around of news and gossip on street corners in order to avoid state censorship."


emily | 8:53 AM | permalink

Cigarette Pack Shaped Earphone Headset


Spotted on engadget:mobile, a cigarette pack-shaped handsfree set for Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson cell phones, available at dealextreme.

emily | 8:16 AM | permalink

Telecoms: One man's vision proves a lifeline in conflict zones and disasters


Satellite phone missions keep thousands in touch with the outside world. An interesting article by The Guardian on Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF.

"Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF), the brainchild of Jean-François Cazenave, has provided a vital link for aid agencies and a lifeline to friends and relatives from Iraq, Niger, Sri Lanka and Nicaragua and more recently, Tbilisi, the Georgian capital.

"In every disaster relief situation we saw the same thing, the need for victims to be able to communicate. And all the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also need telecommunications", Cazenave explains.

So he went back to his local council with a proposal and the mayor bought Cazenave his first satellite phone.

ince it's first mission in Albania in 1998, TSF has been out on more than 70 missions to 50-odd countries."

Picture above, a communication services set up in one of the 37 locations in Niger ravaged by famine.

emily | 7:54 AM | permalink

iPhone ad rapped as 'misleading'

_44959594_-15.jpg A television advert for the iPhone misled consumers, UK's Advertising Standards Authority has ruled, reports the BBC.

"Two complaints to the watchdog noted that the advert said "all the parts of the internet are on the iPhone".

But the ASA said because the iPhone did not support Flash or Java - two programs that form part of many webpages - the claim was misleading.

Apple had argued its claim referred to availability of webpages, rather than their specific appearance."

emily | 7:49 AM | permalink

August 26, 2008

The High Price of Text Messaging in Zimbabwe


Cell phone operators in Zimbabwe have increased their prices by 1,000% as the country's inflation spins out of control.

Sending an SMS within the country costs between $5 and $7, sending the same SMS outside of the country costs between $12 and $20.

[via Les Afriques. Image from the The Huffington Post]

emily | 9:50 PM | permalink

China Mobile Records 490,000 Phone Calls During Olympic Ceremonies

A China Mobile spokesman has said that nearly half a million phone calls were made on its GSM network around the Olympic stadium during the opening and closing ceremonies. Cellular News reports.

"During the August 8th opening ceremony, China Mobile registered more than 250,000 international roaming service users, said the spokesman.

The company says that it achieved a 100 percent connection rate and only 0.27 percent of calls were dropped by the network."

emily | 4:14 PM | permalink

Where Cellphones Go After They Die: A Photo Essay


Technology Review has a fascinating photo tour of a ReCellular facility, where many of the phones "traded in" for new ones end up.

[via Gizmodo]

emily | 9:41 AM | permalink

'Obama text' reached 2.9 million, cost $290,000

bidenobama3.jpg According to Nielsen Mobile, Barack Obama sent a total of 2.9 million text messages announcing his choice of ice President, reports

If a carrier charged him 10 cents for each one, according to Nielsen's numbers, his bill would've been $290,000.

The VP message was sent in the late hours of Friday night and is, by many accounts, the single largest mobile marketing event in the U.S. to date," a release from Nielsen read.

"While much has been said of the timing and the scoop by news outlets, Obama's V.P. text-message still ranks as one of the most important text messages even sent and one of the most successful brand engagements using mobile media," Nielsen's report read, adding that an estimated 116 million American use text messaging actively."

UPDATE Comment from Andrew Dumont, VP of Business Development at text messaging company Tatango, on the estimated price the Obama campaign paid for sending out it's VP annoucement by SMS.

"If Obama really did pay five to ten cents per message to send out his VP SMS, the price is outrageous. a text messaging company called Tatango, that offers unlimited shortcode messaging to an unlimited number of contacts for only $29.95/month. With that being said, Obama's "$290,000Text Message" could have been reduced to "Obama's Thirty-Dollar Text Message."

Related articles

emily | 8:45 AM | permalink

Mexicans to use cell phones to pay stores and taxis

Mexicans will soon be able to pay for small purchases such as restaurant meals and taxi rides using their mobile telephones, the country's banks said on Monday, writes The Washington Post.

"Telephone operators such as Telefonica and Iusacell are teaming up with big banks such as Citigroup and BBVA to launch the new service.

Cell phone users will be able to have their bank link their savings account to their telephone so they can make payments to participating stores, restaurants and taxis by sending a text message."

emily | 8:30 AM | permalink

Blackberry earrings


Spotted on Popgadget, Blackberry earrings - available at Etsy.

emily | 8:20 AM | permalink

August 25, 2008

Pet Dog Takes Top Prize in the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships

cell-phone-throwing.jpg A Finn, two Estonians - and a dog took prizes in the ninth annual Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships held this year in the Estonian town of Narva. Cellular News reports.

"... In the freestyle category - a dog named Cara took the top prize after spitting out a phone a distance of 30 centimeters, in a category where only style matters. Cara got full points from the judges.

The competition drew in over 50 participants from a range of countries. The contest combines recycling philosophy and fun spirit in active sport. A part of the philosophy is also a spiritual freedom from being available all the time."

Links to stories on previous Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships.

emily | 9:40 PM | permalink

Cell phones promise fairer elections in Africa

2570276.jpg The humble mobile phone is driving a new revolution which some experts hope could bring fairer elections and democracy to some African states. CNN reports.

"Many African countries have struggled against rigged elections and authoritarian rule since gaining independence last century.

However, African observers say the growth of simple communication technologies like cell phones are assisting many states to progress towards open and fair elections in increasingly democratic systems.

Senegal is one of a number of African countries to hold successful elections by keeping voting and counting in check through independent communication."

According to Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan: "With communication and cell phones, this is where it is difficult to cheat in elections now. You are announced at the district level and cell phones go wild so by the time you go to the capital, if you have changed the figures, they will know and you will be caught out.".

Read full article.

emily | 9:26 PM | permalink

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