People spend more time using their smartphones for surfing the web, checking social networks or playing games than making phone calls, new research has found, reports The Telegraph.
While smartphones are replacing more of our gadgets, such as alarm clocks and digital cameras, actually using one to make a phone call is not that common, according to mobile network O2.
The average smartphone owner spends more than two hours each day using the device. During that time, smartphone owners spend an average of 25 minutes using their phone to browse the web, 17 minutes on social networking, 13 minutes playing games and 16 minutes listening to music.
Making phone calls with the smartphone was only the fifth most popular use for the gadget, only slightly more time than they spend writing and checking email (11 minutes) and text messaging (10 minutes).
While the survey found that people spend just three minutes a day taking photographs, photography was the most popular thing to use a smartphone for, with 74 per cent saying that they had taken photos with their handset.
Despite how much attention it's given, the mobile app economy isn't as big as you might think. Based on an aggregation of data points from iSuppli, Forrester Research, company releases, and our own estimates, mobile app revenues were a little under $3.5 billion last year.
Apple announced at WWDC earlier this month that the App Store had paid out $5 billion to developers since its inception. Apple takes a 30 percent cut of App Store transactions, which means it has generated cumulative revenues of $7.15 billion since its introduction in 2008.
Millions of smartphone users will soon begin receiving text messages about severe weather from a sophisticated government system that can send a blanket warning to mobile devices in the path of a dangerous storm. Users won't have to pay for the messages and can opt out, according to USA Today.
The new Wireless Emergency Alerts system gives the National Weather Service a new way to warn Americans about menacing weather, even if they are nowhere near a television, radio or storm sirens.
Beginning Thursday, the system will notify people about approaching tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards and other threats. When a warning is issued for a specific county, a message of no more than 90 characters will cause late-model smartphones in that area to sound a special tone and vibrate.
... The system does not yet work with all smartphones or in all areas. It is part of a broader alert network the Federal Emergency Management Agency launched in April that can also send public-safety warnings from the president and participating state and local governments. But the weather service estimates that more than 90% of the messages will be about storms.
According to The Telegraph, prisons in the UK are to be given gadgets that block mobile phone signals in order to stop inmates committing more crimes while behind bars.
The Ministry of Justice says that handsets smuggled into jails are being used by offenders to harass victims, organise gangs and deal drugs on the outside.
It has already carried out trials of jamming equipment, which is illegal if used in public, and is about to give portable devices to some prison governors.
And next week the Government will back a Bill proposed by a Conservative MP that would allow the authorities to track mobile calls attempted by criminals as well as stop them getting through to their associates.
... Trials have demonstrated that equipment can be capable of denying signals to illicit mobile phones within the prison perimeter as required by law and Ofcom regulations, but that this is not a quick, simple or cheap solution,” said Crispin Blunt, the prisons minister. One expert claimed it would cost £250,000 ($392,000) to block signals at a single jail.
On Sunday, Europeans, or anyone travelling within the EU for that matter, will see reductions in the price of roaming voice calls and text messages, a price cap on data roaming and transparency for roaming outside the EU. Silicon Republic reports.
European ministers in May agreed to the new EU roaming regulation that will reduce the cost of data roaming in Europe.
New roaming charges from 1 July
The maximum charges that apply to consumers when roaming in the EU from 1 July are:
-- Voice calls made – maximum charge of 35.67 cents per minute (reduced from 43.05 cents).
-- Voice calls received – maximum charge of 9.84 cents per minute (reduced from 13.53 cents).
-- SMS – maximum charge of 11.07 cents per SMS sent (reduced from 13.53 cents). To receive an SMS is free.
-- A new data price cap – a maximum charge 86.10 cents per megabyte (MB) of data.
Under the transparency measures, when a consumer travels in the EU they must receive an SMS from their mobile operator advising them of the costs of roaming.
In many parts of the U.S., you can’t turn a corner without bumping into someone talking on their smartphone. In developing nations, this isn’t the case; cell phones are pervasive (57% of adults have cell phones in Sub-Saharan Africa), but few people have the iPhones and Android phones that are popular elsewhere. FastCompany reports.
Here’s the problem: Cell phones provide unprecedented opportunities for communication, but the basic phones used by people in, say, Kenya, don’t have the apps that many of us are so fond of. That might seem trivial, but the Internet penetration rate in Africa is only 10% to 15%--and that means there are a lot of people missing out on things that smartphone users routinely access, like email, mobile money transfer, and the Internet’s wealth of information. But while smartphones may have slick interfaces and app stores, there are plenty of ways to bring the functionality of apps to basic phones.
Africa’s Talking, a startup that’s currently incubating at Hub Ventures, wants to make it easy for developers to bring apps to cell phone users in Africa--something that isn’t so simple right now. "We have 700 million mobile phone users in Africa, spread out in 50 countries. Each country has mobile companies, and when you build an app that relies on mobile, you need to somehow connect to the mobile company," explains Eston Kimani, CEO and co-founder of Africa’s Talking. "Right now you have to deal with intermediaries and jump through hoops." A developer can put an app in Apple’s app store and forget about it, developing a product for Africa’s mobile market requires dealing with individual telecommunications companies.
The solution: An automated process that makes it possible for developers to easily disseminate their SMS-based apps via Africa’s Talking’s API.
Korean messaging Kakao Talk has launched its own virtual currency called ‘Chocos’, taking a lead from the country’s top social network Cyworld, and its ‘acorns’ profit model. The new service is live today, following an announcement earlier this week. TheNextWeb reports.
Chocos’ are Kakao Talk’s cyber money which users can buy to pay for premium services on the mobile messaging app. These services can already be bought using other payment options, but the idea of the virtual currency is to reduce the inconvenience of having to pay separately each time – effectively allowing users to bulk up on credit.
As of now, ‘chocos’ can only be used to pay for the company’s own emoticons in Kakao Talk, as external gifts and icons are not yet supported by the new cyber money. However, that is likely to change and we expect that more items will become available going forward, particularly when the service introduces its game center in July.
Cellphone companies hold onto your location information for years and routinely provide it to police and, in anonymized form, to outside companies. Propublica.org reports.
As they note in their privacy policies, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile all analyze your information to send you targeted ads for their own services or from outside companies. At least tens of thousands of times a year, they also hand cellphone location information to the FBI or police officers who have a court order.
But ProPublica discovered that there’s one person cell phone companies will not share your location information with: You.
ProPublica staffers and one friend requested their own geo-location data from the four largest cellphone providers. All four companies refused to provide it.
The retail industry is experiencing a revolution on a par with the introduction of plastic payments in the 1950s or the launch of the internet and e-commerce in the early 1990s. The mobile device, a gadget we check more than 200 times every day, is changing the way we discover and buy products and services. The Guardian reports.
PayPal predicts that we won't have physical wallets by 2016. Visa Europe predicts that 50% of all its transactions will be made via mobile by 2020, and retailers are already reporting that up to 12% of their traffic comes from mobile channels (eDigitalResearch, May 2011). There is no doubt the market is buzzing with expectation and retailers are starting to catch-on.
... The mobile is a highly personal device. It is smart, always connected and capable of two-way interaction. Mobile retail isn't just about moving your wallet to your device or delivering internet sites to your mobile; it has the potential to revolutionise the entire retail experience. For example, the way we search the internet, the way we receive marketed, make buying decisions and pay for things.
In cities where the water coming from pipes is anything but reliable, a new service alerts people so they don’t have to sit at home all day waiting for the tap to turn on. FastCompany reports.
In many cities in developing countries, residents have piped water supplies. But there's a catch: the water is only available through the pipes for a few hours at a time, and people have no way of knowing when that will be. As a result, residents (mostly women and the poor) spend their days just waiting for the water to arrive. NextDrop, one of the winners of the Knight News Challenge, has a solution.
Here's how the system works: Utility employees call NextDrop's
interactive voice response system when they manually open neighborhood
water valves. The system generates text message updates for local
residents (most of whom have cell phones) 30 to 60 minutes before water
delivery. Residents are also contacted by the system randomly to verify
the accuracy of the information given by the valvemen. Updates from the
utility employees are also turned into Google Maps-based streaming
visual data so that engineers can track valve status throughout the city
in real time.
Using SMS and mobile mapping technology, the SMS for Life initiative simplifies the process of monitoring the availability of drugs in remote health centres. The Guardian reports.
Malaria continues to be a significant health problem, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 216 million people are infected every year and approximately 655,000 die from malaria, mostly children under five and pregnant women.
A key challenge in the fight against malaria is to ensure medicines reach those who most need them: patients living in remote rural areas with poor access to health services. Yet, stock-outs of medicines at the health facility level are a big and persistent problem in many sub-Saharan countries. Once drugs reach the country and enter the supply chain, there is little or no visibility on what happens. This makes it extremely difficult to manage the supply chain and to anticipate stock-outs of life-saving drugs.
SMS for Life pilot in rural Tanzania yields positive results.
Using short messaging service (SMS) and mobile mapping technology, a public private partnership called SMS for Life between Novartis, IBM, Vodafone, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Tanzania developed and piloted a solution to this problem. The program has now been rolled out countrywide in Tanzania to all 5,097 health facilities with support from Medicines for Malaria Venture and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
21-week pilot study was undertaken during 2009-2010 in three districts of rural Tanzania, involving 129 health facilities and covering a population of 1.2 million people. It confirmed the effectiveness of the approach in reducing stock-outs for ACTs. Stock data was provided in 95% of cases, and data was very accurate, with an error rate of 7.5%, most of which were corrected.
At the start of the pilot, 25% of all health facilities had no ACT in stock, but by the end, 95% had at least one ACT dosage form in stock. Furthermore, at the end of the pilot, 300,000 more people than at the beginning had access to ACTs.
Most mobile analysts in Africa have come to the consensus that the future of Internet access on the continent lies in mobile. Over the next decade, mobile devices will serve as the vehicle for delivering Internet access to millions of Africans. For this to happen, the devices will have to be highly affordable.
TheNextWeb Africa reviews the options available today by the companies that have been anticipating the African smart phone revolution
New York city’s controversial ban on cellphones in schools has persuaded some kids to leave their devices at home — a stranger’s home! The New York Post reports.
Dozens of students at the former Bushwick HS campus have been paying $1 per day to store their phones at an alumnus’ apartment — just down the street from the Brooklyn campus.
Academy of Urban Planning graduate Giovanni Monserrate — known affectionately as either “Gio” or “The Mayor” — has padded his income as a Broadway usher by serving as a cellphone-storage site for between 30 and 100 teens daily over the last seven years.
He said that he used to provide the service for free when he was a student but that he had to start charging after the operation got too unwieldy.
... The fly-by-night phone-storage industry — which includes trucks, bodegas and a number of private homes and apartments — leaves students on the hook for more than $4 million per year.
Coolest Gadgets reviews PrivacyStar, an app and paid solution that lets you block calls and texts, receive call and text ID information, lookup dreaded unknown calls or texts, file an FTC complaint, and more.
According to the BBC, users in Ethiopia face up to 15 years in jail if they use Skype or similar internet call services.
Netizens are especially furious over the country’s state owned Ethio-Telecom, which proposed the new bill in May and went mostly unnoticed around the world until now. Meles Zenawi's government claims that the new bill is meant to prevent external security threats.
According to Al Jazeera via 2OceansVibe, there seems to have been a perceived threat to national security, and a concern that Skype was hurting the state-owned, and sole, telecommunications carrier, Ethio Teleco.
Basically, the new legislation empowers the state-owned telecom to prohibit the use of VoIP services, video chatting, social media, e-mail, and any other data transfer service capable of communicating information.
The law will also give the government the right to examine any imported voice communication equipment.
According to Nikkei.com, Hitachi Ltd. has come up with a high-speed method for handling large volumes of text data sent from mobile phones and other devices.
Text messages tend to be delayed when demand balloons, such as when natural disasters strike or at the beginning of a year, when many people send greetings at once. The new technology will offer stable text communications service even in such congested situations, according to the firm.
About a decade ago, the Internet revolutionized political fundraising. Could text messages be poised to repeat the feat? The Atlantic reports.
The FEC's decision last week to allow fundraising solicitations via text message is a critical money-raising permutation for candidate scrambling for cash.
... Text-message solicitations have the potential to not only tap into a deep pool of small donors, political consultant from both parties say, but also cultivate a community of supporters who otherwise wouldn't be involved in the race.
"It's a sea change in campaign finance; at least it could be," said Mark Armour, a Democratic strategist whose political-consulting firm proposed the change to the FEC. "The challenge is to operationalize it."
Raising money with text messages isn't a new phenomenon outside of politics: After the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, donors contributed tens of millions of dollars using the phone service. Everyday consumers use the technology to buy services on their smartphones: It amounts to about $2 billion in transactions annually, according to Alan Sege, vice president of m-Qube, a company that serves as a messaging and billing gateway for phone carriers.
In a related article, Bloomberg specifies that the final FEC ruling would limit the total amount of any text-message contributions to $50 per phone number in a monthly billing cycle.
There's a form of extra-sensory perception called psychometry, whose practitioners claim to learn things about objects by touching them. Smartphones set to be released this month by Samsung and Sony will have some of that ability: they'll learn things when you touch them to pre-programmed "tags." USA Today reports.
For example, you can program a tag with your phone number, and stick it on your business card. When someone taps their phone to the card, the phone would call you. Or you can put a tag on your night stand. Place the phone there, and it goes into "alarm clock" mode, holding your calls until the morning.
Samsung Electronics announced this week that it will be selling these tags in the form of stickers it calls "TecTiles" — $15 for 5 of them.
New York city’s ban on cellphones in schools is taking an amazing $4.2 million a year out of kids’ pockets, a Post analysis has found.
The students — who attend the nearly 90 high schools and middle schools with permanent metal detectors — pay $1 a day to store their phones either in stores or in trucks that park around the buildings.
The cottage industry has become so profitable, it rakes in $22,800 a day from some of the city’s poorest youngsters, whose families would rather shell out the money than risk their children’s safety.
An interesting and insightful article by Jordan Weissman for the Atlantic, on Nokia's rise and fall. [via @jranck]
Not so long ago, the 13-note ringtone of a Nokia handset was the de facto soundtrack of the mobile revolution. The world's largest cell phone maker for more than a decade, the company was a leading innovator in both design and technology that helped bring wireless life to American high schoolers and rural Africans alike.
These days, though, it seems as if that iconic jingle is in danger of being switched to silent. ... And Business Insider's Henry Blodget had begun speculating that Nokia might face bankruptcy in the near future.
... Before it became a dominant player in mobile, Nokia was a shapeless conglomerate that had manufactured everything from paper pulp to rubber boots to cables. In the 1980s, its CEO decided to try and latch onto the boom in consumer electronics, including handsets, which led it to team up with a pair of Finnish telecoms on an undertaking that would change its fortunes, as well as the future of the cellular industry.
That project was the first digital telecommunications network, known as the GSM.
All of this might just sound like neat history for tech nerds. But the change to digital had profound impact on phone technology. Perhaps most importantly: It enabled text messaging. Because Nokia had invested so much money and research into digital networks, it was ready to dominate markets where it was adopted. The old mobile champion, Motorola, had grown up in the analog era and was caught flat-footed by the switch. By 1998, Nokia was the leading handset maker in the world, with more than 22 percent of the global marketplace. It would peak at around 40 percent in 2008.
Philippine government officials joined their counterparts in 10-member countries of the Association of Southeast Asia (ASEAN) in a campaign to fight the spread of mosquitoes that cause dengue or hemmorhagic fever, to stop the disease from spreading to the entire region, sources said, reports Gulf News.
Health and social workers began a campaign urging residents to send text messages through their mobile phones to alert health centres nationwide about people suspected of having dengue. This will help government agencies extend early assistance to suspected dengue victims.
Division I men’s basketball coaches are now able to send unlimited texts and make unlimited calls to recruits who have wrapped up their sophomore year of high school, reports AtlantaBlackStar.
The NCAA also will also allow coaches to send private messages to prospective players through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The NCAA is allowing coaches to text, tweet and talk to their hearts’ content because, as Missouri athletic director Mike Alden put it, the organization “recognized the evolving nature of communication with students".
According to The Washington Post, the U.S. FCC plans to ask whether its standards protect people from mobile-phone radiation, a question it hasn’t posed in 15 years, as people use smartphones for longer, more frequent calls.
The FCC last updated its guidelines setting maximum radiation-exposure levels, which are based on the amount of heat emitted by mobile phones, in 1996.
“Any changes in the rules will have an impact on handset vendors,” said CW Cheung, the Asia-Pacific head of consulting for telecoms at Ovum, which advises companies in the telecom industry. “As most vendors are based outside the U.S., it could also become a trade issue.”
Rock the Vote, the nonprofit group focused on engaging young voters, is kicking off a joint effort with PromoJam, a Los Angeles-based social media promotions startup, with the goal of registering 1.5 million new voters for this fall’s presidential race - and challenging restrictions on voter registration. ReadWriteWeb.
The mobile-focused campaign, which starts today, will enable anyone with a smartphone to fill out an entire voter registration form directly from their device. At the same time, that new voter can email themselves a copy of their registration, then print it out, sign it and send it to their local elections office.
British mobile phone giant Vodafone has just unveiled a special umbrella aimed primarily at festival-goers. Called the Booster Brolly, the eco-friendly concept device charges your handset battery, boosts the device’s signal and, of course, keeps you dry in the event of a downpour. Digital Trends reports.
Designed by Dr Kenneth Tong of University College London, the unique umbrella also features an LED torch for night-time navigation and a hands-free cellphone cradle. A USB port for connecting your phone or mobile device is located in the umbrella’s handle.
The Booster Brolly’s power is generated through its special canopy which incorporates a number of flexible solar panels, enabling it to fully charge a phone in less than three hours.
“The custom canopy has been fitted with 12 lightweight….solar cells that have the ability to convert light into electricity,” Tong explained. “The current generated is then transferred….to the handle of the umbrella where it is stored safely in high capacity rechargeable batteries, or used to directly charge a mobile device through a USB port.”