Archives for May 2012

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May 31, 2012

Power from cellphone towers keeps vaccines cool

Surplus electricity from cellphone towers can run fridges to chill vital drugs in parts of the world where the main power supply is unreliable, reports New Scientist.

quotemarksright.jpgCellphones have overtaken landlines in developing countries. To keep their towers working reliably in areas where the power often fails, or the masts are off the grid, cellphone firms have installed generators, and sometimes solar panels. Surplus power can then be used to chill vaccines, maintaining the cold chain, the weakest link in efforts to immunise children against diseases like polio, measles and diphtheria.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 12:31 PM | permalink

Intel-based smartphone unveiled by Orange for UK and France

_60608802_phone1.jpeg Europe's first "Intel Inside" smartphone has been unveiled by the telecoms firm Everything Everywhere. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe San Diego handset is powered by Intel's single-core Atom Z2460 processor and runs Google's Android system.

It was manufactured by the Chinese firm Gigabyte, but will be marketed under EE's Orange brand.

The launch marks Intel's entry into a market dominated by chips based on designs by British firm Arm Holdings.

It will go on sale in the UK and France next week. There has been no announcement as yet for other markets.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 12:22 PM | permalink

Invention that will Stop People from Dropping their Cell Phones

snapaloop.jpgA 20-second video highlights an invention that will stop people from dropping their cell phones.

quotemarksright.jpgThe product is called SnapALoop and it attaches to the back of mobile devices and features a loop for users to slide their finger through so the object doesn’t fall out of their hand.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Full press release via Virtual Strategy.

emily | 11:50 AM | permalink

SMS traffic falling in Singapore

According to The Straits Times, SMS traffic is falling in Singapore, signalling the start of a decline in a key revenue stream for telcos.

quotemarksright.jpgFigures on the Infocomm Development Authority's website show the decline started in December last year, when the monthly total number of SMSes exchanged dropped to 2.3 billion from a record high of 2.46 billion in September.

The latest reported figure for March shows a further dip - to 2.2 billion.

The fading allure of SMS is most likely tied to the rise of alternative messaging services such as Facebook and Twitter.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Another perspective:

-- Consequences of Apple taking on the humble text message

-- Text messaging: The 20th century technology that just won't die

SMS Demise Related:

-- Apple to launch iMessage. Another Free Text that will Threaten Carriers' SMS

-- How text messaging as we know it will die in 3-5 years

-- SMS is dead, well almost

-- Has text messaging peaked?

-- Apple isn’t going to kill SMS, but maybe Google can

-- SMS Sends SOS. Is texting in trouble?

-- Carriers Sweat as Texting Cools Off

-- Apple Has Finally Stuck A Dagger Into SMS

-- Wireless carriers reportedly surprised by Apple's iMessage feature

-- First Facebook App for Texting and Tweeting Via SMS

-- Are Text Messages an Antitrust Issue?

More related links.

emily | 11:33 AM | permalink

Finnish Parliament Debate On Capping SMS Loans Set For September

061201-mobily-muzix.jpeg The Finnish Justice Ministry’s proposal to cap interest rates on loans requested via text message will be sent to parliament in September. Bloomberg reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe ministry on April 11 proposed to limit interest rates on loans of less than 1,000 euros ($1,243) at 50 percent to curb debt growth and an increase in unserviced loans.

The average SMS loan is for 243 euros and its current annual percentage rate is almost 900 percent, the ministry said.

The number of court verdicts related to small loans rose to 82,000 last year from about 3,000 in 2005, the ministry said last month.quotesmarksleft.jpg

-- Unpaid SMS loans in Sweden shrink

-- Instant text loans - available with a single SMS

-- Small text loans - a simple SMS for your cash needs

-- SMS loans are becoming a national problem for Estonia

-- Mentally ill person can take a SMS-loan in Estonia

-- Young Estonian became a drug mule for a large SMS loan

-- Finns struggling with SMS loans

-- Loans by text message send young Swedes spiralling into debt

-- $300 Loans by Simply sending a Text Message

-- SMS loans could be ruining your Christmas season

-- Finland Should Ban Late-Night SMS Loans, Justice Ministry Says

emily | 11:20 AM | permalink

May 30, 2012

Mobile visits now account for fully 20 percent of Web traffic

Facebook is hardly the only site with a mobile problem. Every site on the Web has a mobile problem, writes C/net.

quotemarksright.jpgTraffic from mobile devices is growing at an astounding rate -- by some estimates, mobile visits now account for fully 20 percent of Web traffic.

Every measure of mobile growth borders on exponential: Cisco estimates that global mobile data traffic will increase 18 times over between 2011 and 2016, the amount of mobile data consumed will go up 17-fold in the same time frame; mobile video will account for 70 percent of mobile traffic by 2016, 25 times more than in 2011.

Global mobile data traffic more than doubled in 2011, for the fourth year in a row.

Simply put: the world is going mobile, it's hard to make money on mobile, and no one is feeling that more painfully than Facebook.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:22 AM | permalink

Cell Phones Monitoring Radiation to Sell in Japan

Worries over radiation are so rampant in Japan after last year's nuclear meltdowns that the world's first cell phones with built-in radiation monitors are going on sale, reports the AP.

quotemarksright.jpgSoftbank Corp., the carrier for the hit iPhone and iPad in Japan, says the Pantone 5 mobile device, which shows the microsieverts-per-hour number on a display at a push of a button, will go on sale in July.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:47 AM | permalink

May 27, 2012

Facebook reportedly building phone with ex-Apple engineers

epicfacebookphone.jpeg Among other murmurings of a Facebook smartphone, The New York Times reports the company is hoping to release the handset by next year. [via Cnet]

quotemarksright.jpgBilton's sources include Facebook employees and several engineers who have been sought out by recruiters there, as well as people briefed on Facebook's plans, he says. Those briefed on the plans told Bilton that the company has already hired more than six "former Apple software and hardware engineers who worked on the iPhone, and one who worked on the iPad.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 10:17 PM | permalink

May 26, 2012

Army Wants Flame-Retardant Texting Gloves

GEAR_US_Army_Combat_Uniform_w_Descriptions_lg.gif According to Wired, a recent request for information from the US Army says that there’s a need for a “capacitive touch screen compatible Army combat glove.” It’s a simple request: a “combat survivable” glove with enough stuff on the fingertips to ensure the “tactile accuracy” of troops mashing the screens on their handsets.

quotemarksright.jpg... The Army’s query about what texting gloves are on the market contains one new clue about how soldiers will one day use smartphones. The devices “will reside inside a protective case making the corners of the capacitive touch display difficult to reach,” the Army’s request reads. Prepare for some amazing auto-corrections.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 7:35 AM | permalink

Judge: Text Sender Not Liable In Car Crash

A New Jersey woman who sent a text message to her boyfriend cannot be held liable for a car crash he caused while responding to the message, reports 11KKTV.

quotemarksright.jpgA judge made that decision Friday in state Superior Court in Morris County.

A lawyer for David and Linda Kubert had argued that text messages from Shannon Colonna to Kyle Best played a role in a 2009 wreck that cost his clients their legs.

On September 21, 2009, the Kuberts were riding their motorcycle in Mine Hill, N.J. A Chevy truck swerved across the center line and hit them head-on.

David Kubert said as the truck approach he could see the driver "steering with his elbows, with his head down. And I could tell he was text messaging."

Both Kuberts were seriously injured when Best crashed into their motorcycle. David Kubert had his left leg torn off above the knee, while Linda Kubert eventually had her left leg amputated.

"This is a senseless crash that didn't have to happen," David Kubert told CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.

But Colonna's lawyer said she had no control over when Best would read and respond to the message.

The case is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:20 AM | permalink

May 24, 2012

May 23, 2012

How to water a farm with a phone

PowerBackText.jpg Many farmers in India have to walk miles to turn on the pumps which irrigates their crops. Spencer Kelly reports on how farmers are using mobile phone technology to help ease their workload.

Watch BBC documentary video.

emily | 8:58 AM | permalink

Wireless carriers seek to "offload" customers

Major carriers are looking to steer customers' wireless traffic to cheaper and more localized networks, such as Wi-Fi hotspots.

quotemarksright.jpgWireless companies say the new approach ("offloading" in industry parlance) will help meet customers' surging demand for more data bandwidth. Even as they build the next generation of faster wireless networks, called 4G LTE, carriers are discouraging heavy data users by eliminating unlimited data plans and enforcing monthly caps.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via USA Today]

emily | 8:53 AM | permalink

40% of those connecting to the web in China now do so solely via a mobile phone

images.jpeg The BBC's John Sudworth meets the Chinese entrepreneurs targeting the world's biggest mobile phone market.

quotemarksright.jpgThe mobile network growth in China has been remarkable, with some 80 million new subscribers coming online every year for the past decade.

But in some ways the real communications revolution has only just begun.

This year, China will overtake America as the world's biggest smartphone market.

And for many Chinese, the smartphone offers them their first personal route to access the internet - by some estimates 40% of those connecting to the web in China now do so solely via a mobile phone.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more on how mobile phone app makers in particular, have an extraordinary opportunity. Image credit.

emily | 8:50 AM | permalink

May 22, 2012

Mobile Phones Offer Indian Women a Better Life

woman_mobilePhone__1379483c.jpeg In India, researchers are just beginning to study the effects that the explosive growth in the mobile phone market has had on women’s lives. The New York Times reports.

quotemarksright.jpgFor women like Ms. Gupta, recently married, access to a mobile phone can break the pattern of marital isolation. At the Barefoot College, a school in the northwestern state of Rajasthan that provides professional training for rural women, the mobile phone allows even illiterate entrepreneurs to compete in the marketplace.

In the state of Gujarat, the mobile phone is central to an innovative scheme that allows rural health care workers to compile information about pregnant women and then text message reminders for checkups and vaccinations.

... Access to a mobile phone can enhance women’s welfare in other ways. In a recent report, Dayoung Lee, a student researcher at Stanford University in California, noted that “mobile phones significantly decrease tolerance for wife beating and husbands’ control issues, and increase women’s autonomy in mobility and economic independence.” Access to outside support and the knowledge that others may intervene serve as a check on domestic violence.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image credit.

emily | 6:58 PM | permalink

Future of mobile phones? Robot can climb out of your pocket and whisper in your ear


This is wild. From mother nature network.

quotemarksright.jpgChinese researchers have invented the world's first cloth-climbing robot, which can grasp onto creases and climb up your clothing, perch on your shoulder, and potentially whisper messages into your ear, according to IEEE Spectrum.

One possible application for the so-called Clothbot involves inspiring a new generation of mobile phones that are capable of autonomously crawling up to your ear whenever the phone rings.

It gives new meaning to the idea of owning a "mobile" phone. And as if having a phone crawl out of your pants isn't creepy enough, researchers also envision the device doubling as a Tamagotchi-like pet, which could roost on your shoulder or follow you around.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 6:52 PM | permalink

'Smart calling' app lets you share pictures, video and location during phone call

sidecarAppIphone.jpg Bits reports on a company called Sidecar, based in San Francisco, that wants to re-imagine phone calls by turning them into something the company calls “smart calling.” The idea behind the Sidecar app, which is available on Tuesday for Android and iPhone, is that there is demand among users to share pictures, video and location data, all during the context of a phone call.

quotemarksright.jpgThere a number of scenarios where this would be useful, the company says. If you call you wife from a department store to tell her about a nice-looking pair of shoes on sale, Sidecar lets you shoot video and pictures of the shoes and transmit it to her cellphone using a feature called “see what I see,” all without ending the phone call or having to start up another app.

If you call a plumber to beg him to help you to fix a pipe that’s squirting water, Sidecar lets you use your phone so he can see the problem with his own eyes. In the middle of a phone call with a friend you’re trying to meet for drinks, you can transmit your location so the other party can see where you are on a map.

Of course, a lot of this sharing can be done with other apps, but without Sidecar it “takes about nine clicks” on the phone to accomplish those tasks.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 6:08 PM | permalink

Business world gets a new way to monitor employee SMS - by storing them in the cloud

A startup called Uppidy has unveiled a service that backs up SMS services to the cloud, making it easier for individuals, parents, or even your employer to read your text messages.

quotemarksright.jpgSo far, a few unnamed businesses are testing Uppidy on corporate phones, founder Joshua Konowe told Arstechnica. One customer is backing up and monitoring text messages from 500 phones, and another is doing so on 200.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article in arstechnica.

emily | 8:35 AM | permalink

SIM card to help parents protect children from bullying

Parents will be able to control their child's mobile phone thanks to a SIM card remotely managed from a computer. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe Bemilo system, to be run on the Vodafone network, offers a service for parents to prevent their children from going online, texting or calling during certain hours.

Unlike an app, a child will not be able to switch the service off.

The UK's Family and Parenting Institute said the SIM would help protect children from mobile phone bullying.

To have the service, parents would need to buy a "safety pack" with a SIM card inside, install it into the child's phone and use it on a pay-as-you-go basis, from £2.95 per month.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 8:25 AM | permalink

Judge to Decide if Text Sender Liable for Crash

A New Jersey judge is expected to rule this month on an interesting claim that a person can be held liable for sending a text to someone you know is driving, according to ABC News via Bernard Law Group.

quotemarksright.jpgIn 2009, a 19-year-old man got into an accident while texting in his pickup truck. He replied to a text when his vehicle drifted across the center lane and struck a motorcycle.

Two people on the motorcycle suffered such serious injuries that they needed leg amputations. The couple sued the 19-year-old driver as well as the person who sent the text message.

According to ABCNews, Morris County Superior Court Judge David Rand is expected to make his ruling on May 25 about Colonna’s potential liability in the accident.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 8:10 AM | permalink

Electronic nose technology turns tomorrow's smart phones into devices that sniff out disease and terrorist bombs

This video onByteSize Science mentions use of electronic nose technology to turn tomorrow's smart phones into devices that sniff out disease and terrorist bombs.


-- Saving the World With Cell Phones (2005)

-- Cell phone could warn of gas leaks (2003)

-- Phones that detect dirty bombs (2003)

emily | 7:57 AM | permalink

May 21, 2012

Texting kills 5,000 people every year in the US

Texting and talking on cell phones behind the wheel kills more than 5,000 people every year on US highways. Teen drivers seem to be especially susceptible to distraction, a study says.

Texting raised the risk of a crash by 23 times compared with non-distracted driving, says an environmental report.

[via IBN Live]

emily | 7:50 AM | permalink

Pakistan: Fatwa on Women using cell phone. Punished by acid in face

images14.jpeg According to Right Side News, Islamic clerics' have issued a fatwa against Pakistani women, threatening to throw acid on those using a cell phone.

quotemarksright.jpgFormer Pakistani lawmaker and cleric Maulana Abdul Haleem recently issued a fatwa (Islamic degree) against secular education and justifying honor killings of women.

The fatwa was issued in a sermon during a weekly Friday prayer in Kohistan district in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Haleem also threatened that women from secular NGOs who visit Kohistan district may be married off forcibly to local men. In a similar incident, a cleric announced a fatwa in a mosque in Noshki town of Pakistan's Baluchistan province, justifying acid attacks on women who use cell phones.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Image and related article from Sinai Post.

emily | 7:42 AM | permalink

May 20, 2012

Why Cyber Cafes Can Thrive in a Mobile Internet World

internet-cafe-tacos.jpeg With the advent of cheap mobile phones and mobile data plans, there is the belief that mobile phones are pushing cyber cafes out of business. Well according to a Global Impact Study with surveys of public access ICT users in five countries, found that Internet café users do indeed have access to computers and the Internet at their homes, and yet they still visit public cyber cafes. Innovation Africa reports.

quotemarksright.jpgFor many it is because public access venues offer better equipment than at home, which could also mean a faster Internet connection. Another significant reason is to see friends or be with other people in the venue. In Brazil, where users enjoy the highest percentage of Internet access at home, these are the two main reasons users visit public access venues.

As the chart shows below, there are significant percentages in the “other” response, particularly for Chile and Brazil. Some of these “other” reasons include free access, not having to compete with their family members for computer and Internet use at home, software and services provided at the venue, and the convenient location of the venue.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article via @jranck. Image from TNW.

emily | 4:08 PM | permalink

Why some children are always on the phone: It's genetic

gene-278x225.jpeg Are your children spending too much time talking and texting on their mobile phones? According to new research, it's your fault. Or more specifically, the fault of the genes you passed on to them. The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

quotemarksright.jpgIn a groundbreaking new study, researchers have used data gathered from Australian twins to look at how our hard-wired genetic make-up influences our mobile phone use.

The results, published recently in the journal Twin Research and Human Genetics, showed that the amount of time spent talking or texting is highly inheritable.

The study also suggested smart people use their phones less.

Dr Geoffrey Miller, from the psychology department at the University of New Mexico, the lead author of the paper, says the study is one of the first to look at the link between genes and consumer behaviour.

"One of the big misconceptions that almost everybody has is that you can only have genes for things that evolved in the past,'' Dr Miller said. ''That was one of the things we wanted to demonstrate in an in-your-face way: that even with a technology that's only been around for a couple of decades, you can still have these latent genetic influences that will shape people's personality traits, their interests, their styles of social interaction. ''Then those traits will play out in how they use a new technology.''quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Study: The Heritability and Genetic Correlates of Mobile Phone Use: A Twin Study of Consumer Behavior

emily | 3:47 PM | permalink

May 19, 2012

MIT researchers create do-it-yourself mobile phone

set-72157629294902700.jpeg MIT Researchers create a do-it-yourself mobile phone.

In their own words:

quotemarksright.jpgThe initial prototype combines a custom electronic circuit board with a laser-cut plywood and veneer enclosure. The phone accepts a standard SIM card and works with any GSM provider. Cellular connectivity is provided by the SM5100B GSM Module, available from SparkFun Electronics. The display is a color 1.8″, 160×128 pixel, TFT screen on a breakout board from Adafruit Industries. Flexures in the veneer allow pressing of the buttons beneath. Currently, the software supports voice calls, although SMS and other functionality could be added with the same hardware. The prototype contains about $150 in parts.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via GMA News]

emily | 3:54 PM | permalink

May 18, 2012

Smart Rickshaw Network: winner of world bank competition


India’s Aadhar Bhalinge is the winner of m2Work, a World Bank-sponsored online challenge seeking the best ideas for spurring the job-creation potential of mobile phones.

The competition organized by Nokia and infoDev, a World Bank innovation and technology entrepreneurship program, drew a total of 939 ideas, 96% of which came from developing and emerging economies.

Bhalinge convinced the high-level jury of World Bank, Nokia, UKaid, and other private sector representatives of the development impact, novelty, and feasibility of his “Smart Rickshaw Network” to take home the US$ 20,000 grand prize. His tool would crowdsource maps at a very low cost in developing nations by employing fleets of rickshaw drivers to feed live traffic updates into a subscription service.

[via WorldBank press release. More here.]

emily | 8:41 AM | permalink

Chinese 3G users top 150 million but most still on 2G

China now boasts over one billion mobile phone users, and just 370m mobile internet users, highlighting the vast number that are still on 2G or basic, non-internet connected devices.

[via The Register]

emily | 8:07 AM | permalink

May 17, 2012

Met Police set up 16 kiosks in London to extract suspects' mobile phone data


UK's Metropolitan Police has implemented a system to extract mobile phone data from suspects held in custody, reports the BBC.

quotemarksright.jpgThe data includes call history, texts and contacts, and the BBC has learned that it will be retained regardless of whether any charges are brought.

The technology is being used in 16 London boroughs, and could potentially be used by police across the UK.

Campaign group Privacy International described the move as a "possible breach of human rights law".

Until now, officers had to send mobiles off for forensic examination in order to gather and store data, a process which took several weeks.

Under the new system, content will be extracted using purpose built terminals in police stations.

It will allow officers to connect a suspect's mobile and produce a print out of data from the device, as well as saving digital records of the content.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related articles on cell phones and forensics blogged by textually over the years.

emily | 9:56 PM | permalink

Mayo Clinic launches first free app specifically directed at patients

MayoClinicPatientAppiPhone.jpg Mayo Clinic has 14 apps for the iPad and 15 on the iPhone. Until Monday, none of the free mobile medical apps were specifically meant for patients. The three free ones were mainly for doctors, alumni and people interested in medical research). MedCity News reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe new Mayo Clinic Patient app for iPhone aims to connect with patients from the time they are simply seeking for information about Mayo, to their first visit to any of the three campuses and finally when they become an established patient at Mayo.

Dr. Sidna Tulledge-Scheitel of Mayo said that the app is meant to empower patients and “aligns with Mayo’s mission of trying to make our services accessible and affordable.”

She noted that patients can view lab results in real time as they become available and can check blood work results, for instance, before they meet with the doctor.

“That can help patients to fully engage in the conversation,” she said.

Even after patients go home, they can use their iPad or iPhone to log in and view clinic notes if they want to review what the doctor said during an appointment. They can also send secure messages to their care team, although Currently that service only available for certain areas within Mayo – transplant, obstetrics and primary care.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related: - Apple, the iPhone, and the future of healthcare

emily | 7:25 PM | permalink

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