Archives for August 2009

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August 31, 2009

Highway safety group gets behind texting and driving ban

tewhdriv.jpg Using a cell phone while driving has never been a good idea, but recent research says that texting and driving increases drivers' chances of getting into an accident exponentially. Now, a highway safety group is using that research to justify its support for a ban on the activity across all US states. [ars technica via TXTResponsibly.org]

quotemarksright.jpgThe Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) originally opposed enacting anti-texting-and-driving laws on the grounds that enforcement would be difficult. The GHSA still believes this, but says that recent evidence has pushed it to reconsider supporting the ban.

"The action by the GHSA membership is based on the fact that texting while driving is indisputably a distraction and a serious highway safety problem," GHSA Chairman Vernon F. Betkey Jr. said in a statement. "If every state passes a texting ban, it will send a message to the public that this dangerous practice is unacceptable. We can begin to change the culture that has permitted distracted driving."quotesmarksleft.jpg

More in GHSA press release.

emily | 9:48 PM | permalink

Are Cell Phone Towers Honey Bees' Next Big Threat? New Study Says Yes.

As if honey bees don't have enough to worry about right now, it seems that cell phone towers may be problematic for the insects. According to a new study, a rapid drop in the bee population in Kerala, India is the result of recently installed cell phone towers, and could cause a complete collapse of bee populations within 10 years. Treehuger reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAccording to PhysOrg, an experiment conducted in Kerala showed that as mobile phone companies installed towers to expand their network, the bee population shrank. Dr. Sainuddin Pattazhy conducted the study and concluded that the electromagnetic waves from the towers shorted out the navigational abilities of worker bees so that they couldn't find their way home after going out to collect pollen.

The report states, "If towers and mobile phones further increase, honey bees might be wiped out in 10 years, Pattazhy said."quotesmarksleft.jpg

It seems like a highly dramatic conclusion - and one to be skeptical about since the same issues came up a couple years ago.

Previously:

-- Disappearing bees may not be linked to cell phones - but a virus

-- Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?

emily | 9:30 PM | permalink

Bob Dylan to become the voice of your satnav?

bobDylan_1467759c.jpg According to The Telegraph, Bob Dylan, the singer-songwriter is in negotiations to voice a satellite navigation system.

quotemarksright.jpgThe music star claimed that he has been approached by more than one manufacturer keen to harness his unmistakeable, rasping tones - a voice which one critic memorably likened to sandpaper. He shared the news with listeners to his late-night radio show, Theme Time Radio Hour, which is broadcast on the BBC.

“You know I don’t usually like to tell people what I’m doing, but I’m talking to a couple of car companies about the possibility of being the voice of their GPS system,” he disclosed. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:49 PM | permalink

Grameenphone Launches Own-Brand Mobile Phone

Bangladeshi mobile network, Grameenphone has launched the first GP-branded mobile phone. This is first time ever that a mobile phone operator in Bangladesh is bringing its own handset to the market, reports Cellular News.

quotemarksright.jpgThe handset, priced at BDT 3199 (US$48), comes with a camera, FM radio and internet browsing facilities. The phone also has an inbuilt 'GP menu' which lists all the VAS services of GP in a single menu. The handset has a color display and has the language option for both Bengali and English.

The phone is manufactured by Huawei.quotesmarksleft.jpg

More in press release.

emily | 7:38 PM | permalink

Celebs endorse products via Twitter

Former Playmate Holly Madison is also making a name for herself as an endorser of Giorgio Armani on Twitter, according to USA Today.

quotemarksright.jpgShe and a growing number of well-known names from TV, movies, music, books and the Web are touting products to their legions of followers online. Home-improvement expert Bob Vila has tweeted/vouched for K-Mart, and reality star Kim Kardashian is representing Armani too.

Armani is paying Izea, an online marketing firm that pairs brands with celebrities, to market its brand in the land of Twitter. ... The biggest check Izea CEO Ted Murphy has written to an unnamed celebrity is $20,000 -- for one post.quotesmarksleft.jpg


emily | 8:08 AM | permalink

August 30, 2009

Dilbert on cell phones apps

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Dilbert's take on cell phones apps.

[via IntoMobile]

emily | 12:26 PM | permalink

Drivers Support Ban On Text Messaging Behind The Wheel

Drivers seem to be responding favorably to new legislation signed by NY Governor David Paterson Thursday that bans text messaging, checking e-mail or surfing the web while behind the wheel. NY1 reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe law also covers the use of laptops or other handheld devices while operating a moving vehicle.

Drivers can be fined up to $150, but only if they're pulled over for another driving violation.

The new law takes effect November 1.

It is already illegal for drivers to talk on a cell phone while driving unless they are using a hands-free device.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Seems lightweigh compared to Utah, where if a driver who is texting causes a crash that injures or kills someone now faces up to 15 years in prison, according to a new law which took effect in May.

emily | 12:06 PM | permalink

Developers Call BS On $2.4B iPhone App Store Number

Estimates that the iPhone App Store is worth $2.4 billion a year are utterly ridiculous, iPhone developers say.

The Yankee Group also says the numbers are way high, and AdMob defends its estimates, kinda, sorta.

Read full article in CultofMac.

emily | 10:00 AM | permalink

Coupons You Don’t Clip, Sent to Your Cellphone

802.jpg Mobile coupons — usually text messages with discount codes sent to a cellphone — are becoming the blue-light specials for the digital age, reports The New York Times, promoting last-minute clothing sales, two-for-one entrees and cheap tickets to the theater.

quotemarksright.jpgWhile some mobile coupons are sent directly from a retailer to a customer who has signed up for mobile updates, the other way for bargain-seekers to get up-to-the-minute deals is to subscribe to a mobile-coupon aggregator.

At Web sites like 8coupons, Cellfire, Yowza and Zavers, users can sign up for different retailers’ promotions in one place. The opt-in model means subscribers get only offers they want to receive, making each one worth reading.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related: - Links to other articles on mobile coupons

emily | 9:32 AM | permalink

Utah Gets Tough With Texting Drivers

In most states, if somebody is texting behind the wheel and causes a crash that injures or kills someone, the penalty can be as light as a fine. Utah is much tougher. The New York Times reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAfter a crash here that killed two scientists — and prompted a dogged investigation by a police officer and local victim’s advocate — Utah passed the nation’s toughest law to crack down on texting behind the wheel. Offenders now face up to 15 years in prison.

The new law, which took effect in May, penalizes a texting driver who causes a fatality as harshly as a drunken driver who kills someone.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 9:29 AM | permalink

More Than Half of All 12-Year-Olds Have Cell Phones

For the first time, more than half of the 12-year-olds in the United States have a cell phone of their very own. Xchangemag reports.

quotemarksright.jpgBack in 2004, just 18 percent of the 12-year-olds had their own cell phone, now 51 percent have a cell phone according to new research by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, titled: "Teens and Mobile Phones Over the Past Five Years: Pew Internet Looks Back".

By the age of 14, a full 72 percent have a cell phone, and by age 16, the percentage reaches 85 percent -- nearly on par with the all-grown-up population.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 8:40 AM | permalink

Clickatell Shortcode SMS Messaging

Clickatelllogo.jpg

If you are considering a marketing campaign using text messaging, think no further than Clickatell's short code messaging solution.

It's one of the options offered by the world's leading SMS messaging provider Clickatell, to enable marketers not only to reach their customers on a one-to-one basis, but to earn revenue from text messaging campaigns as well.

Shortcode messaging is where a mobile recipient is charged at a standard or premium rate (depending on the country) for either receiving or sending a message; usually in return for specific content or a service, such as competitions, news, weather reports, mobile marketing, fund raising...

Forrester Research has shown that SMS is one of the most responsive marketing communications mediums, with 5 times better response rates than direct marketing.

Find out more about how Clickatell can be used in your business by reading their industry success stories.

Throughout September, Textually will be promoting Clickatell through a series of ads that will highlight some of their specific services tailored to governments, industry, retailers, social networks and individuals, helping them do business smarter and faster - not only controlling costs but driving more revenue too.

emily | 8:28 AM | permalink

FCC launches far-reaching investigation of cellular industry

The FCC has launched a "truth in billing" investigation of the wireless industry to ensure that consumers understand what they are signing up for.

Expect the FCC to tackle a wide variety of topics over the next few months, among them early termination fees, roaming rules, whether wireless carriers should be allowed to restrict short codes and exclusive handset deals.

[via ars technica]

emily | 8:18 AM | permalink

Apple denies 'exploding' iPhones

A number of iPhones that reportedly "exploded" in France were not due to the battery overheating as had been suggested, Apple has said, reports the BBC.

quotemarksright.jpgThe firm said that all of the handsets they had seen with broken screens were caused by an "external force". "To date, there are no confirmed battery overheating incidents for iPhone 3GS and the number of reports we are investigating is in the single digits," Apple said in a statement.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 8:15 AM | permalink

August 28, 2009

$200 million worth of apps sold every month

According to mobile advertising startup AdMob via GigaOM, there are some $200 million worth of applications sold in Apple’s iPhone store every month, or about $2.4 billion a year.

quotemarksright.jpgJust to put that in context, Apple says about 1.5 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store. In comparison, the Android marketplace brings in about $5 million a month or on a run rate to do $60 million in a year, AdMob says.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 9:24 AM | permalink

Kennedy News on Twitter

kennedy1.png

On Wednesday the Kennedy family launched a Twitter account: @KennedyNews. The family is using it to keep the public informed about memorial and funeral activities for the late Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, who passed away two days ago after a year-long struggle with brain cancer. 4,970 followers at the time of posting on this blog.

[via Mashable ]

emily | 8:29 AM | permalink

Mobile phone for Welsh speakers to go on sale

A mobile phone exclusively for Welsh speakers that enables users to send messages in the language is to be sold for the first time from next week. In Wales, reports The Telegraph.

quotemarksright.jpgThe Samsung S5600, provided through the Orange network, will include more than 44,000 Welsh words, complete with accents.

The menu on the slimline handset, available in white, black or purple, will also be in Welsh, the phone company said.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 7:37 AM | permalink

August 27, 2009

The main reason why Twitter isn't used by teenagers

The main raison why teenagers use Twitter far less than adults:

quotemarksright.jpgWhen Twitter became popular, teenagers already had their favorite Web sites for communicating, so they were not interested in a new one. The people who discovered Twitter were adults who were new to social networking.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[Bits via The Broad Reach Of Social Technologies, a report by Forrester Research]

emily | 9:18 AM | permalink

August 26, 2009

Can a New Mobile Phone Service in Rural India Help Promote Economic Empowerment?

070312091443.jpg An interesting article in The Wall Street Journal on how fisherman and farmers in India are being empowered by mobile phones.

quotemarksright.jpgObserving how cell phones can be used to promote economic growth, Robert Jensen wrote in a 2007 paper titled, "The Visible Hand(set): Mobile Phones and Market Performance in South Indian Fisheries -- The Micro and Mackerel Economics of Information," that "before mobile phones, deciding which [market] would offer the best price was sheer guesswork."

With mobile phones, however, suddenly it became an information-based decision. What's more, noted Jensen (who is currently at Brown University in Rhode Island), "it's not a zero-sum trade-off." The fishermen's customers benefitted from lower prices and greater choice, and there was less waste since the fishermen could easily identify the villages that would have the greatest demand for their fish each day.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related:

-- Kerala farmers adopt SMS service to know rubber prices

-- Nokia To Launch 'Live Tools' For Farmers, Students In India

-- Selling Potatoes By Phone In Remote Bangladesh

-- The Impact of Cell Phones on Grain Markets in Africa's Niger

-- Text message helpline for Indian farmers

emily | 6:17 PM | permalink

Nokia Money

Nokia today announced it will offer mobile banking to serve the basic financial needs of consumers. The service could be launched as early as the beginning of 2010. IBTimes reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAccording to a statement released by Nokia, the Nokia Money is designed to be “as simple and convenient as making a voice call or sending an SMS.”

The service will allow consumers to use their mobile phones to send money to other people and to pay for goods, pay utility bills and top up their sim cards with credit.

To support this services the statement said Nokia is building a wide network of Nokia Money agents that will provide facilities for consumers to deposit or withdraw cash.

Nokia Money would be useful in developing countries where access to banking is restricted but mobile phones have penetrated to even the remotest of corners.

... The first glimpse of the Nokia Money financial service will be demonstrated at the Nokia World on 2nd and 3rd of September 2009 in Germany.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 6:05 PM | permalink

Stalking your ex-girlfriend? There's an app for that

Spotted on Mashable, a wonderful iPhone app parody video by Adam Thinks.

emily | 8:36 AM | permalink

Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern, Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone

A new report called “Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern, Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone” was released Tuesday by EM Radiation Research Trust. It claims that previous studies on the topic were flawed.

This report, sent to government leaders and media, details eleven design flaws of the 13-country, Telecom-funded Interphone study.

It concludes:

-- There is a risk of brain tumors from cellphone use
-- Telecom funded studies underestimate the risk of brain tumors
-- Children have larger risks than adults for brain tumors.

Full report (PDF)

[via Slashgear]

emily | 7:51 AM | permalink

August 25, 2009

An iPhone App for Free Texting

text%2B.jpgA recently released app that offers free text messages on the iPhone is welcome news to parents of teenagers upset over the cellphone bills of their hypertexting children. But can it be a sustainable business? Bits takes a closer look.

quotemarksright.jpgTextPlus is a free iPhone application that offers unlimited free text messaging from iPhones or iPod Touches and includes group text messaging.

TextPlus pays the text messaging bill to AT&T in exchange for showing ads to its users.

Since textPlus came out in June, its 800,000 monthly users have traded 80 million text messages, with the flow currently about 1.6 million a day. All those texts get expensive for Gogii, which pays AT&T for them to be sent. Scott Lahman, Gogii’s chief executive, concedes that the revenue from ads so far does not come close to the amount of money Gogii pays AT&T.

“Free texting does not work and would not work,” Mr. Lahman said. “We think of it more as sponsored texting. And I don’t think our texting would be monetizable if not for the rich app” provided by the iPhone, he said.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article

emily | 3:40 PM | permalink

Cell phones replace alarm clocks

778alarm_clock.jpg The Telegraph reports that people now prefer to use their mobile phones to wake up in the mornings.This is certainly true for my family. We set our phone to wake up and no longer have a clock radio by our bed.

quotemarksright.jpgAccording to The Telegraph, research has shown that the timepieces are on their way to disappearing from our bedside cabinets for good, because we rely on our phones to do the job instead.

A poll of nearly 1,500 people showed 82 per cent of them owned a mobile phone, with over half of them using it as an alarm clock.

Robert Egan, a fellow of the British Horological Institute, has witnessed the slide in their popularity. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Much has been written about how young people are no longer wearing watches, and check the time on their cell phones.

Related to cell phones and watches:

-- Watches lose ground to cell phones

-- Two-Thirds of People Read Time From Cell Phones Over Watches

-- Will cell phones replace watches? Time will tell

-- Who needs a wristwatch?

-- Wristwatches Get the Back of the Hand

-- Watchmakers cast nervous eye on mobile phone challenge

emily | 3:06 PM | permalink

TXT Responsibly.org

TXT_Banner.jpg

After yesterday's Don't Tweet and Drive post, yet another site which aims to raise awareness on the dangers of texting and driving: TXT Responsibly.org.

emily | 8:59 AM | permalink

Mobile phones are enough for Japan's Net users

2454831655_28af089eaf_m.jpg It's no secret that Japan has better mobile phones than the rest of the world. The country has also had access to better phone-based Internet services since the launch of NTT DoCoMo's i-mode service all the way back in 1998.

Recent data from japan.internet.com (translated by whatjapanthinks.com) suggests that Japan's mobile phones offer users enough functionality that 49 percent of the respondents to a recent survey say a "mobile phone is enough" when asked what kind of mobile device they would most like to carry.

[via News.com]

emily | 8:16 AM | permalink

French Courts to Admit Text Messages in Divorce Cases

gavel.jpg Experts say the recent ruling by the top French court — to accept phone exchanges as legitimate proof of adultery — will make it easier for the French to get divorced. The New York Times reports.

quotemarksright.jpgPreviously, husbands and wives often had to wait for years to escape a marriage if they could not prove that their spouse was misbehaving or mistreating them.

The ruling, made in June, was reported by the French media last week.

Text messages have long been accepted as official proof in murder and other criminal trials in France, and the new decision extends the practice to family law. E-mail messages are also accepted as evidence in trials.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related articles on Text Messaging used as evidence in Court

emily | 8:09 AM | permalink

ConsumerSearch.com Launches Cell Phone Review Site

consumersearch.jpg

ConsumerSearch.com, a free Web site from About.com, which analyzes both expert and user-generated consumer product reviews and recommends what to buy in over 300 categories, has just launched a new cell phone reviews site in an effort to simplify the cell phone purchasing process.

-- The new cell phone site pairs comprehensive product reviews with convenient e-commerce functionality from Simplexity, the leading online seller of wireless services and devices, to enable users to research and purchase phones all in one place.
A few highlights from the cell phone site include:

-- Cell phone reviews for over 200 phones from 18 different wireless carriers and 23 different manufacturers. 

-- A “Find a Phone” wizard which enables users to search for phones that have specific characteristics that meet their needs, including carrier and phone features. As they’re browsing they can read pros & cons, view product pictures, look at the manufacturer’s technical specifications and compare products side-by-side.

-- Rather than sourcing our reviews from a single editorial staff or users alone, reviews are compiled from over 60 of the most credible editorial and user review sources.

-- Editorial recommendations on the best phones for seniors and children respectively.

[via e-mail press release]

emily | 7:54 AM | permalink

August 24, 2009

Apple May Be Highest Grossing Fifth Avenue Retailer

From Bloomberg: Apple may be the highest grossing Fifth Avenue retailer. Better than Saks', Tiffany's and Bergdorf's? That's wild.

Also interesting in this article:

quotemarksright.jpgAccording to a survey conducted by Interbrand Corp. in December 2008, mobile phones are one of the household budget items consumers are least willing to cut back on. Respondents said they’d sooner skimp on housing, clothing, groceries and tobacco products. The only items they’re more reluctant to cut spending on than mobile service are prescription and over-the- counter medicines.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 6:17 PM | permalink

Digits: Auctioning an App on eBay

iphonetoptens_DV_20090821170020.jpg WSJ's Digits reports on an app auctioned off on eBay. According to it's developer, Rod Cambridge, a 41-year-old securities specialist in London, it was too much work.

quotemarksright.jpgTop-Tens is an app that tracks the top 10 rankings for everything from books and movies to computer viruses and online deals.

But a few weeks ago, Cambridge decided to call it quits and put up the app for auction on eBay. The problem: it was too much work.

The $1.99 app has been moderately successful with a “few thousand” downloads. It even reached No. 8 in the store’s reference category in late May and early June.

“Getting your app noticed gets harder every day,” says Cambridge, who says that he hadn’t expected the store to get so crowded when he first conceived of his idea.

On eBay, where the auction ended August 12, the last of the 7 bids reached £5,100 ($7,300) but the price didn’t meet the reserve.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 5:55 PM | permalink

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