Archives for June 2009

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June 30, 2009

Flexta SMS Blog Content Addendum

With regard to my previous post, "The content published on Flexta's blog originates from" - with my permission by the way - was not entirely accurate as flexta has other content as well as their own.

emily | 8:39 PM | permalink

President Interrupted By 'Duck Ringtone' During Speech

Obama to the press corps: "Where do you guys get these ringtones by the way?

[via Wonkette]

emily | 2:51 PM | permalink

Fluent News app aggregates made-for-mobile content

fluentnews.png 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.

emily | 2:37 PM | permalink

NY City Launches "Big Apps" Competition

New York City is hopping on the iPhone "app" bandwagon. Mayor Bloomberg is hoping software developers will take new data the city's posting online and turn it into applications for fun and profit.

The City is launching what Bloomberg says will be an annual competition called "Big Apps." The Grand Prize winner gets to go out to dinner with the mayor.

[via Wnyc]

emily | 7:52 AM | permalink

June 29, 2009

Barnes and Noble gets an (amazing) iPhone app

B%26Napp.jpg 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.

emily | 10:45 PM | permalink

Apple agrees to industry standard mobile phone charger

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. reports.

quotemarksright.jpgCompanies 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.quotesmarksleft.jpg


-- Mobile phone makers agree to create standard charger

-- European Commission demands a single, standard phone charger

emily | 6:45 PM | permalink

Grameen Foundation and Google create mobile apps for Africa


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.

quotemarksright.jpg About 18 months ago The Grameen Foundation started a project called the Application Laboratory (AppLab), with much of the work being done in Seattle through the Grameen Foundation's Technology Center.

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.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related Grameen Foundation news release

emily | 6:26 PM | permalink

Google's Africa Strategy: Search And Trade Via SMS

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.

quotemarksright.jpgIn 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).quotesmarksleft.jpg

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]

emily | 6:19 PM | permalink

Take a cell phone Swig!


The “Cheers” cell phone concept is powered by an efficient, maybe even energy-saving Alcohol-cell. By Designer: Tryi Yeh.

[via Yanko Design]


emily | 1:39 PM | permalink

Lloyds customers can get their bank balance by text message

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.

quotemarksright.jpgThe 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.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 12:08 PM | permalink

Fin Phone Cell Holster for the beach


Spotted on Trendhunter, the perfect accessory for your cell phone at the beach, the Fin Phone Cell Holster - shaped, you guessed it - like a flipper.

emily | 10:53 AM | permalink

Rumors surface of a PlayStation cell 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.

[via The Industry Standard]

emily | 9:43 AM | permalink

Cell phone uniform policy causes stir


New U.S. Air Force guidelines regarding cell phone use in uniform are causing quite a stir between techies and traditionalists. [via]

quotemarksright.jpgEvery 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.

But many commenters approved of the new rule.quotesmarksleft.jpg


-- Air Force enforces new (cell phone dress) code

-- Female Air Force Personnel Not to carry cell phones in their right hand

emily | 8:12 AM | permalink

Nomophobia - The Fear of Being Out of Cell Phone Range

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.

quotemarksright.jpgExperts 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.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 8:08 AM | permalink

June 27, 2009

Jackson death was twittered, texted and Facebooked

michaeljacksonnytimescover.jpg 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. reports.

quotemarksright.jpgPlain 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.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 11:50 AM | permalink

Russia Faces Mobile Phone Shortage Due to Customs Clamp-Down

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.

quotemarksright.jpgUnder 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.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 11:45 AM | permalink

Text-Message Service Fields Flood of Jackson Queries


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.

quotemarksright.jpgCelebrations, 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.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 10:51 AM | permalink

June 26, 2009

Mobile Phone Thieves Have Hand and Foot Amputated by Court Order

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].

quotemarksright.jpgIn 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."quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 9:56 AM | permalink

Verizon To Refund Millions For Unwanted Ring Tones

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.

[via Broadband]

emily | 9:13 AM | permalink

First iPhone porn app drama

hottestgirlsscreencap.jpgThe 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.

quotemarksright.jpgThe 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.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Yesterday: Yep, iPorn Is Here For The iPhone

emily | 8:44 AM | permalink

June 25, 2009

Shazam Now Tweets, Maps Your Music Journeys


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

[via Gizmodo]

emily | 3:53 PM | permalink

Long Tail of iPhone Apps Is Extra Long — and Not In a Good Way

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.

quotemarksright.jpgWith 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.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 3:20 PM | permalink

Iran: The White House is Tweeting in Farsi


The translation for this tweet is "President Obama's Remarks on Iran at his Press Conference, with Persian Translation [Link]" (boingboing via Steve S. / Wayne's list)

emily | 10:29 AM | permalink

Yep, iPorn Is Here For The iPhone

hottestgirls.jpg Apple has apparently decided that with the new parental controls now built into the iPhone 3.0 SDK, nudity is now okay in iPhone apps. TechCrunch reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe first such app, Hottest Girls, has actually been around for a little while. But an update today “upgraded” the pictures from girls in bikinis and lingerie, to topless and completely naked girls.

"We uploaded nude topless pics today. This is the first app to have nudity,” Hottest Girls’ developer Allen Leung tells Macenstein.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 9:02 AM | permalink

More marketers connect with consumers through mobile apps

Marketers of everything from beer to couture are dialing up mobile-device applications for their brands, reports USA Today.

quotemarksright.jpgApps 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.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article for examples of brands using apps to connect with consumers.

emily | 8:46 AM | permalink

Orange unveils solar concept tent at Glastonbury Music Festival


Spotted on, Telecom giant Orange's concept solar tent for the opening of this year's Glastonbury music festival in the U.K.

Related: - «Text Me Home Tents» and «Text Towers». At Glastonbury 2004 festival-goers had a helping hand finding their way "home" thanks to Orange tents that light up by text message.

emily | 8:37 AM | permalink

Finally! Developers Can Make Money from Free iPhone Apps


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.

Google AdSense for Mobile Applications just launched and application developers–for either iPhone or Android–can apply to join. Already onboard are Backgrounds, Sega, Shazam, and Urbanspoon.

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.

emily | 8:24 AM | permalink

Call a Cab appf or iPhone

callacabapppng.png Need to get somewhere but don't have a number for a cab or taxi? Use Call a Cab to find a ride anywhere in the United States.

Via iPhone GPS, the Call a Cab app will track your location, and give you the numbers of the closest cab companies.

[The Frisky - Seven iPhone apps you need]

emily | 8:17 AM | permalink

Palm Pre Reaches 1 Million Apps Mark

The Palm Pre App Catalo has reached 1 million downloads, nearly three weeks after launch of the device, according to data from mobile analytics and advertising firm Medialets.

By comparison, Apple's App Store hit 1 million downloads 17 days earlier than the Pre, had 16 times the number of apps, and 26 times the number of users.

[via PC Mag]

Related: - Palm Pre Nears 700,000 App Downloads in Less Than Two Weeks

emily | 8:01 AM | permalink

June 24, 2009

Wireless charging comes to Apple's iPhone 3GS, thanks to WildCharge


quotemarksright.jpgStarting today, iPhone (3G and 3GS included) and iPod touch users can order up a WildCharge Skin along with a WildCharger Pad in order to bring wire-free charging to their smartphone.

Just slap the skin on, plug the pad in and toss the handset down on said pad. Just like that.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via Engadget]

Related, very remotely: - Skins on cell phones to make mobile payments

emily | 9:31 AM | permalink

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