With regard to my previous post, "The content published on Flexta's blog originates from textually.org" - with my permission by the way - was not entirely accurate as flexta has other content as well as their own.
Fluent News aggregates exclusively made-for-mobile content from the most trusted news sources across the Web. Xconomy Boton gives it a good review (it's not available or even visible from the Swiss app stores where I live).
Stories on Fluent News comes from top news sources, including the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN.
In their own words: Stay current wherever you are with fast, continual news updates. . All content from your latest sync is also available for offline reading. Our interface organizes content intelligently, grouping similar stories together, which provides breadth of news as well as one-click access to broader coverage of any single story. Easily post articles to Facebook or Twitter or email links to friends.
The Barnes & Noble Bookstore app let's you shop and read reviews. And you can use your iPhone’s camera to search and shop for millions of books, DVDs, or music CDs.
In their own words:
Search millions of books, DVDs, and CDs using your iPhone’s camera. Just snap a photo of the front cover and we’ll find it for you instantly! Get product details, editorial reviews, and customer ratings – even find and reserve a copy in the store closest to you.
A store locator will help you find the Barnes & Noble superstore nearest you, see upcoming events, and get directions.
The European Commission (EC) announced today that 10 mobile phone manufacturers and chip producers, including Apple, have signed up to an initiative to produce standard mobile phone chargers. V2.co.uk reports.
Companies signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will harmonise chargers in Europe on the basis of the micro-USB connector, in order to cut down on electronics manufacturing and waste.
... Apart from Apple, the companies that have signed the MoU are LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Texas Instruments.
Real time information about farming, health and trading will be available to mobile phone users in Uganda with new technology services developed by the Grameen Foundation, Google and telecom operator MTN, writes The Seattle Times.
Peter Bladin, Grameen Foundation executive vice president, said AppLab builds on the success of an earlier project, Village Phone, in which local entrepreneurs rent cell phone use to villagers for pennies a call. Uganda now has 50,000 Village Phone and pay phone operators and nine million cell phone subscribers.
Bladin said he sought out Google and MTN Uganda to help scale up the applications and roll them out to other parts of Africa, where Google has seven offices.
The new services can be accessed by existing Village phone operators, as well as by people with their own phones.
Not only does Google want to organize all the world's information, it also wants to make all that information available to everyone in the world. TechCrunch reports.
In Africa, it is launching a suite of SMS services today, including SMS search, Q&A-style tips, and an SMS-based marketplace. The first country to get these services is Uganda.
The search service works like Google SMS in North America. You text a search term, and it responds via SMS with the result. Searches can be narrowed by using specific keywords such as “local time,” “weather,” “news,” “maps,” “translation,” or “currency conversion.” For more complicated searches, the related SMS tips service offers answers in an automated Q&A format.
But the most interesting application is Google Trader, which allows people to post items for sale and jobs via SMS. Other people can search for them by texting the service with the word “BUY” preceding the search term. Google Trader connects the buyer and seller together (each listing contains the seller’s cell phone number).
Related: Real time information about farming, health and trading will be available to mobile phone users in Uganda with new technology services developed by the Grameen Foundation, Google and telecom operator MTN. [Seattle Times]
People who bank with Lloyds TSB will be able to find out their balance by sending a text message, the company has announced, reports The Telegraph.
The bank's "balance on demand" service, which the bank says is Britain's first, goes live today. To use it, customers text BAL and the last four digits of their current account to a special short phone number.
They then receive a text with their latest balance, as well as details of their last six transactions. The texts can be requested "whenever and wherever they are needed", Lloyds said, and are sent "instantly".
The mobile banking pack also allows customers to transfer money between accounts and set up text alerts to tell them, for example, if their balance has fallen below a certain level. However, these services need to be set up through online banking or a special application that is downloaded to the phone.
Sony Ericsson is reportedly working on a phone that combines PlayStation games with a cell phone. It’s not the first time that such rumors have floated, but Nikkei, a major Japanese business publication, reported that Sony has a team working on the product now.
New U.S. Air Force guidelines regarding cell phone use in uniform are causing quite a stir between techies and traditionalists. [via Gopensacola.com]
Every branch of the military has its own set of uniform rules that govern everything from proper name tag alignment to acceptable sideburn length.
Until recently, Air Force regulations forbade members from talking on cell phones while walking in uniform. Instead, they had to stay in one place while they completed their call.
But earlier this month, an Air Force board removed that restriction. Air Force members now can walk while talking on cell phones, as long as they put down the phone to render proper salutes to passing officers.
An Air Force Web site that announced the change has become a sounding board for service members who love — or loathe — the new rule.
"I believe that it is a disgrace and dishonor to walk around on any (Department of Defense) installation while being on any kind of appliance used to communicate. It takes away from professional image and core values, especially service before self," wrote an airman from Eglin Air Force Base.
Research in Britain has shown that up to 53% of mobile phone users suffer from “no mobile phobia,” or nomophobia, the fear of being without cell phone service for any reason. Synthesis blog reports.
Experts say nomophobia could affect up to 53 per cent of mobile phone users, with 48 per cent of women and 58 per cent of men questioned admitting to experiencing feelings of anxiety when they run out of battery or credit, lose their phone or have no network coverage.
News of Jackson's death generated the most tweets per second since Barack Obama was elected president, and more than twice the normal tweets per second from the moment the story broke. Philly.com reports.
Plain old texting had its largest spike on AT&T's network in history. Nearly 65,000 texts per second were sent, the company said , more than 60 percent over normal volume.
Facebook said there were no internal reports of the site slowing from too much traffic. But there were slowdowns or outages on other sites. Google said the spike in searches related to Jackson was so big that Google News initially mistook it for an automated attack.
On MySpace, Jackson's own profile was seeing an average of 100 new friends added per minute, the company said, and his friend total was on its way to being the site's highest increase in one day.
... Jeff Jarvis himself tweeted the moment he heard of the death: He noted that Iran's spiritual leader should be grateful to Jackson because the story wiped Iran off the day's news agenda. "That was re-tweeted a lot," Jarvis said.
Russia is facing a possible shortage of mobile phones following a clamp-down instigated by the Federal Customs Service. The Moscow Times reports via Cellular News.
Under new rules, a policy of randomly checking handset boxes to ensure they were as advertised has been changed to require that every single box is opened and the contents verified. The rules are temporary and due to expire in September.
Over the first two days that the rules have been in effect, customs points at Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo have not processed a single Nokia handset, spokeswoman Viktoria Yeremina said. By Tuesday, more than 440,000 Nokia telephones worth around US$42 million have piled up at the two posts, and the figure is rising, she added.
Motorola managed to get a large shipment into the country before the new rules came into effect, but subsequent deliveries are also being delayed.
In the wake of the sudden death of pop icon Michael Jackson one thing is clear: Fans can’t get enough of him, writes New York Times Bits blog.
Celebrations, vigils and synchronized moonwalks are being coordinated online. Sales of his music on Amazon and iTunes are soaring, according to The Times’ Media Decoder blog. Twitter is still populated with emotional outpourings of grief and messages commemorating Mr. Jackson’s music and legacy.
Mr. Jackson’s death is also prompting some people to ask questions about the life and history of the late singer. Mobile search service kgb, which employs human beings to answer text queries, has been flooded with questions about Mr. Jackson.
A spokesman for kgb said that since the first reports of Mr. Jackson’s hospitalization and death, the paid service — available by texting kgbkgb (or 542542) — has fielded more than 10,000 questions.
In Somalia's capital, the radical Islamist al-Shabab militia amputated a hand and a foot each from four young men accused of stealing guns and mobile phones. [via Cellular News].
In front of a crowd of hundreds at an al-Shabab camp in the north of Mogadishu, militiamen cut off the right hand and left foot of the four suspected thieves.
An al-Shabab leader, Ali Mohamed Hussein, spoke at the scene of the punishment.
"The four men had already been sentenced," he said. "Each had his right hand and left foot cut off. We are implementing sharia law. We sentenced these men after confirming that they robbed people in Mogadishu."
As part of an agreement with Florida's Attorney General, Verizon and Alltel (now part of Verizon) will have to deliver roughly $30 million in refunds to consumers for ringtones and other services that customers either didn't want or didn't understand they signed up for. According to a statement by Attorney General Bill McCollum, Verizon is also required to adopt new guidelines preventing customers from getting snookered by such promotions in the future.
The drama in iPhone porn world continues. Yesterday, Hottest Girls, the first app with nudity was accepted into the App Store. But early this morning it was made unavailable, and everyone presumed Apple was behind it. But apparently, the app has not been pulled from the App Store by Apple, but rather by the developers because of high demand. TechCrunch reports.
The guy team behind the app, Allen the Geek, writes on its site:
The Hottest Girls app is temporarily sold out. The server usage is extremely high because of the popularity of this app. Thus, by not distributing the app, we can prevent our servers from crashing. Those who already have the app will still be able to use our app. To answer the question on everyone’s mind: Yes, the topless images will still be there when it is sold again. -ATG dev team.
... Allen the Geek’s wording is odd because apps can’t actually “sell out,” but it makes sense that if high demand for the pictures is crashing their servers, they might pull it.
Update: Okay, this gets weirder and weirder. Now a spokesperson for Apple tells CNN that it did remove the app. It is now gone from the store. Here’s the statement:
Apple will not distribute applications that contain inappropriate content, such as pornography. The developer of this application added inappropriate content directly from their server after the application had been approved and distributed, and after the developer had subsequently been asked to remove some offensive content. This was a direct violation of the terms of the iPhone Developer Program. The application is no longer available on the App Store.
The Shazam app for iPhone - that listens to songs playing out loud, telling you its name and artist - has gotten an update and allows you to send electronic postcards to friends, as well as sending tagged songs to Twitter.
You can also view your tags on a map and see your musical journey unfold by location
Only 19 percent of iPhone/iPod Touch applications in the AdMob network had more than 10,000 users in May, and a mere 5 percent had more than 100,000 users, according to the mobile ad network’s latest Mobile Metrics report. GigaOM reports.
With more than 50,000 apps available on the iPhone, the long tail is in full effect — but even so, the steepness of the curve is impressive. More than half of the apps in the AdMob network had fewer than 1,000 users in May.
Marketers of everything from beer to couture are dialing up mobile-device applications for their brands, reports USA Today.
Apps are fast becoming part of today's marketing mix because they can connect brands and products directly to consumers. That's also made them one of the hottest topics here this week at the ad industry's biggest annual awards competition, the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.
Read full article for examples of brands using apps to connect with consumers.
How does an iPhone application developer make money when giving away a free app? Well, before today, they mostly relied on users upgrading to a version of the app with more features–and a price tag. Now they have a new beta program from Google to test. Marketing Pilgrim reports.
In their own words: AdSense for Mobile Applications allows developers to earn revenue by displaying text and image ads in their iPhone and Android applications. For our beta launch, we've created a site where developers can learn more about the AdSense for Mobile Applications program, see answers to frequently asked questions and sign up to participate in our beta. Advertisers can also learn about the benefits of advertising in mobile applications.