Archives for the category: Textually 2003 - The Year in Review
December 24, 2003
I'll be offline for a few days, until Monday December 29.
Best wishes to all of you and your families.
In the meantime, here's a round-up in 10 chapters of mobile news for 2003 and a look at what's ahead in 2004:
December 23, 2003
Rounding up Textually's Year in Review, this last and 10th entry focuses on six technologies or trends that emerged this year, and that should take hold in 2004.
What to look out for in 2004
Printers for picture phones are starting to appear and should proliferate in 2004, coming in many shapes and forms, developped by companies such as HewlettePackard, Eastmann Kodak, Matsushita Electric Industrial, Bandai and Fuji. Portable printers such PrintBrush from Print Dreams, weighing only 350 grams will fit in a shirt pocket, or small devices such as Fuji's Camera Phone Mobile Printer connecting via Infra-Red or Bandai's small printer, will allow users to print out photos within a few seconds. And due-it-yourself printing kiosks will continue to appear in public places and retail chains in Korea, Japan, Australia and America.
And here too we will see business applications developped for these camera phone printers, such as the Hyundai Marine and Fire Insurance company which deployed a service for its insurance agents, enabling them to print insurance contract applications on the spot.
I think we will see more of a consumer backlash at European mobile operators for their unfairly high level tarifs. With operators having held SMS rates up to maximize revenues and with so many people using it, political pressure on regulators to intervene should be coming soon.
Handset manufacturers are rushing to produce cell phones with push-to-talk technology and the phones will continue to roll out next year. PTT technology enables a mobile phone to function as a walkie-talkie, opening up a new dimension in communication. The use can just press down a key and say something, and within seconds the other user or users in the session hears the message.
Mentioned previously in a post on How people are using camera phones, professional use of photoblogs is sure to go mainstram, documenting events and conferences. We can expect on a wider scale, that the online press routinely set up photoblogs to document the news contributed either by professional journalists or citizens turned into camera phone reporters.
Businesses too will be looking for tools to set up their own photoblogs in-house to be used in ways we have yet to even imagine (for instance a retailer's displays in different department stores could be photographed by the reps and forwarded onto a webpage for viewing by the sales manager - ensuring a record in chronological order).
Ring back tones, the extremely popular service launched in to South Korea in April 2002 will be rolling out in North America and Europe in 2004.
A ring back tone allows the mobile user to personalize the ringing sound that your caller hears when dialling your cell phone number. Sure to appeal to the youth market, ring tones should interest business as well, for corporate branding, promotional and sale activities. Politicians could be taking a closer look too, for playing out a campaign slogan, or for fund raisers, to make an appeal before someone even picks up the phone and pays for the call.
This year I reported on both a retailer and a non profit organization which came up with clever campaigns involving SMS and camera phone pictures and what was most remarkable about these campaigns, was that they paid for themselves, as the customer downloading the pictures from a website, or opting in for an SMS, was actually the one footing the bill. So I would expect to see more of such clever ideas in 2004. As a reminder, here are the two campaigns I'm referring too.
The Toni&Guy chain of upmarket hair salons offered their customers the option to download pictures of hairstyles from a large gallery of photos online, onto their mobile phone. In order to discuss their potential new look with family and friends before visiting a hairsalon. At a charge of 50p per message (at the customer's expense), 10p was be donated to the King's Variety Club Children's Hospital (a nice touch).
In the Netherlands, Amnesty International used SMS as an action tool - Participants in their campaigns, opt-in by signing up online and giving their mobile number. They then receive an "action" SMS every two weeks, which is then invoiced directly to their phone bill at a premium rate of $ 0,28 (25 eurocents). The campaign not only pays for itself but is also a clever and personalized way of keeping its members informed of their efforts and allows them to be active participants in a cause they believe in.
December 21, 2003
This is the ninth post for Textually 2003 - The Year in Review, a series of entries rounding up the most interesting mobile news (best and worst) reported this year.
This is Textually's selection of 15 top wireless technology companies or content providers that have come up with innovative ideas and concepts this year.
See My SMS, a Paris based company run by Alexandra de Waresquiel, is single handedly raising the level of quality for content on mobile phones. This year they have offered various French mobile operators new SMS services enabling users to chose from passionate litterary text messages written by the best contemporary French writers, download images and texts messages from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's «The Little Prince», original artwork by famous contemporary artists, and recently, in a fund raising event to benefit an AIDS association, See My SMS launched a collection of images by celebrity fashion designers to be downloaded onto cell phones at a premium rate.
Shazam offers a music recognition service enabling users to have music being played in a club or on the radio, identified by simply calling a given number and approaching the cell phone to the speaker. The track name and artist are then texted back. This year, Shazam launched SongMail is a service which allows users to send a 30-second song clip to a friend's mobile, and Tag a Track, a service which enables users to buy the ringtones of the track they have 'tagged'.
Oki Electric Industry has developed a new PCM (Pulse Code Modulation)-based sound generator. The new chip, ML2864, doubles the number of polyphonies in a cell phone, from 32 to 64.
Sharp Corp and Canadian software developer BitFlash developed a type of electronic display system for viewing business documents on mobile phones. The software allows users to adjust the width and length of characters on the display of mobile phones without distorting their shape.
Surelabs Alertwizard offers a security service that sends text messages, photo and video alerts from a monitored area, if someone should break in or just ring the doorbell.
M Ken Co has developed a Cue Cat type technology that allows users of cell phones with a camera function to photograph an advertisement containing an electronic watermark and then immediately connect to a related website.
Empics' New Media Stills Production initiative can provide photos to websites or mobile phones in only 20 seconds from the moment the picture is taken to when it appears. The sports photo agency is currently working with some of the biggest names in sport on how to appeal to sports fans with mobile phones, who want a picture, rather than a text alert when receiving the latest sports news on their mobile phone. Empics is this year's winner of The Growing Business Awards for 'Technology in Business'.
NeoMedia technology introduced an application of its patented PaperClick technology which links book shoppers to price and availability information at amazon.com through wireless phones or personal computers. "The shopper works by using your cameraphone to take a picture of a book's ISBN number (by using the bar code). Then using a proprietary application, the picture is sent to NeoMedia, who will use the bar code to determine the ISBN number and send you Amazon's price for that book."
Apeera, Inc., a French company which has developed a solution for mobile network operators, enables mobile phone users to share applications such as mobile games, pictures, cartoons or personal files with their friends and colleagues via their mobile phones.
X-Cube Corp., a company which sells and administers public lockers, has developed a new type of locker that uses mobile phones to lock the door, thus avoiding the anonymity of conventional coin lockers. By recording the phone number of every user, the new locker could help prevent illegal behaviour.
Hypertag technology enables mobile users to point and click their cell phones at a movie poster and access digital content, thanks to smart tags that can beam website links to mobile phones. For example, embedded on a historic monument, it could send information about the monument, or placed on billboard advertising a product, give information on that product.
Long Range Systems developped a paging device for restaurants that calls a customer's cellphone and plays a recorded message telling them their table is ready, "allowing them go browse at Barnes & Noble across the street without worrying about losing their place".
North America's premier mobile community has taken its messaging features to the next level by launching support for MMS. As a result of the offering, members of Upoc's "Crazy Stuff I Saw" or "NYC Celeb Sightings" groups are able to send photos taken with camera-enabled phones to the rest of the group.
Rediff, an Indian online provider of news, entertainment and shopping services, launched «Rediff Mobile Search», the first cross-carrier keyword-based search for ringtones on the SMS-based mobile platform.
Xingtone developed software which converts MP3 files to ringtones and enables users to make thier cell phone ring with any piece of real music or any voice or recorded sound. For instance, a favorite tune can play as a ringtone or someone's voice message can play for instance, "answer the phone!".
December 19, 2003
This is the eighth post for Textually 2003 - The Year in Review, a series of entries rounding up the most interesting mobile news (best and worst) reported this year.
Ringtone Medley is a selection of this year's ringtone highlights, innovative ideas and new technologies that emerged, what's coming next and some original tones that made headline news.
December 17, 2003
This is the seventh post for Textually 2003 - The Year in Review, a series of entries rounding up the most interesting mobile news (best and worst) reported this year.
Best SMS and Camera phone news coverage
This is textually's selection of the best online news reporting this year - and those that let us down - covering text messaging and camera phones:
First prize goes to the BBC, where nearly every day they publish an original story related to cell phones and because they continue to innovate with interactive features, and are the first to have asked for picture phone contributions from their readers, which they publish online. And in another first, brought to our attention only yesterday by E-Media Tidbits, the BBC has been the first to broadcast a news story where a correspondent reported live via a photo phone, for a story on ships.
The following "best selection" of blogs and websites are no particular order, as each and everyone of them shed a different and original light on the news.
From Poynteronline, Steve Outing's thoughtful insight and perception draws our attention to how cameraphones are likely to influence news organizations in major ways. With citizens becoming camera phone reporters and reporters armed with cameraphones becoming photojournalists.
Mike Masnick has an eye for the good cell phone stories and sees right through any hype. He goes for the quick and his postings are always opinionated. Which is excactly how a blog should be.
Raft Ali blog focuses on mobile content deals. If you need to know who's doing what where with who, this is the best place.
TheFeature.com has so many knowledgeable contributors, Eric Lin, Justin Hall, Carlo Longino and Howard Rheingold, just to name a few, that the quality of what is published here, with a perspective on cell phone technology from all over the world, is the finest and a cut (way)above most newspaper's coverage of wireless technology.
Mike Grenville for 160characters.org publishes some of the best stories first hand on text messaging, mostly in the UK.
Alan Reiter's Cameraphone Report is recognized and rightly so, as the best reporting online on Camera phones.
This blog opened very recently and merits a daily visit. A sort of Gizmodo of mobile aps. Just great.
Smart Mobs has many wonderful contributors (I publish on Smart Mobs too but I don't mean me - you will find some of the same entries as on my blogs) but related to text messaging and camera phones, these are the Smart Mobbers to watch out for: Gerrit, Thomas, Alberto, and of course Howard Rheingold.
They let us down:
Wired Unwired is disapointing not because of the quality of the wireless reporting, but because the articles are too few and far between.
Every post in the Japan Media Review is fascinating to anyone not living in Japan, giving insight on how cell phones are used and what's ahead. But the entries like Unwired, are too few and far between.
In it's description, it's quite clear that Keitai Log is "an occasional Web diary by a group of Tokyo college students who are researching the changing role of cell phones -- keitai -- in Japanese society". We know you have to study, but we would really like to see more entries!
SMS: Business Gets the Message published by, Xiam, a company which develops mobile application software, used to be the best place to go for original SMS stories. But in the last few months, they have really lost their cutting edge.
December 16, 2003
This is the sixth post for Textually 2003 - The Year in Review, a series of entries rounding up the most interesting mobile news (best and worst) reported this year.
2003: How people are using camera phones
This is a round up of the novel ways cameraphones have been used this year by individuals and businesses. And as these phones, widely popular, go mainstream, with image quality and picture snapping features improving with the launch of each new model, it is clear we have yet to scratch the surface on how private individuals and businesses will find ways to use them. Read on in Picturephoning.com.
December 14, 2003
This is the fifth post for Textually 2003 - The Year in Review, a series of entries rounding up the most interesting mobile news (best and worst) reported this year.
2003: Some outstanding SMS services
Of the many SMS services available, allowing mobile users to sign up to receive headline news, weather reports and sports results on the go, some services this year stuck out for being life-saving (SARS outbreak, terror alerts) or by being so unusual, they had to make you smile, such as the Philippines "report-a-mistress" SMS campaing conducted by governement officials, in an effort to fight corruption.
This is textually's short list of this years most outstanding or useful SMS services:
-- This year, atronomers were notified by SMS of changes in the universe. For instance when a supernova goes off, one of the most energetic explosive events known which occur at the end of a star's lifetime.
-- Countries around the world set up SMS Terrror alerts to provide instant notification of terrorist attacks, or are considering like in Israel, the launch of an I'm OK alert for families, to ease the 15 minutes of panic Israelis feel after each bomb.
-- A Hong Kong mobile operator offered it's subscribers SMS text alerts enabling them to locate infected SARS areas; buildings or neighbourhoods where people were known to be infected with SARS.
-- In schools around the world, SMS services have been set up to fight truancy, informing parents of their child's absence, and for students, lecture alerts and exam scores by SMS.
-- Government and private agencies around the world woke up to text messaging as a useful and effective way for collecting outstanding debts, by sending reminders by SMS for overdue rent, fines, payments and tuition.
-- And increasingly, the airline and travel business have been getting into text messaging, to provide their customers with services to track their luggage, check out flight information in real time or informing hotel guests of incoming calls and messages.
-- A favorite service, Lingophone allows mobile users to translate English text into numerous European languages while on the go. To use the service, you simply create a text message such as "I would like a glass of wine" then send it off to a given number. The translation comes in by SMS: "J'aimerai un verre de vin s'il vous plait"
-- And unusual, an anti-corruption watchdog in the Philippines set up a "Report-a-Mistress" SMS alert service, for report of any "extramarital affairs" conducted by governement officials, soldiers and policemen, that may result in corruption.
December 13, 2003
This is the fourth post for Textually 2003 - The Year in Review, a series of entries rounding up the most interesting mobile news (best and worst) reported this year.
2003: SMS, Good for the Soul
This year, religions from around the world awakened to text messaging as a way of reaching out to young people and as a means of communication to spread the good word. They offered both guidance - and guidelines; the Catholic church said NO to confessions by SMS and Malaysian authorities overturned the Islamic Syariah Court's ruling, allowing Muslims to divorce by SMS. Elsewhere:
-- In Italy, Ireland and the UK, a Papal Thought of the Day text messaging service was launched, emanating from His Holiness John Paul II.
-- In Indonesia, Islamic preachers with poster boy looks and pop star styles won legions of fans. "They shared the stage with rock bands and used TV, radio and sent text messages to spread their message".
-- To inspire users into contemplation, the Roman Catholic church in Holland offered religious ringtones.
-- txt@verse, a campaign backed by Christian charities raised money to mobilize against poverty, by offering verses of the Bible by text message at a premium rate.
-- In Sydney, a text message service allowed mobile phone users to receive Bible passages directly to their handsets.
-- Jews were able to send text messages with a prayer or request to a rabbi, who then placed the note in Jerusalem's Western Wall, thus observing a centuries-old tradition.
December 12, 2003
This is the third post for Textually 2003 - The Year in Review, a series of entries rounding up the most interesting mobile news (best and worst) reported this year.
2003 - Cell Phones' Bad Rap
I will not list here the many ways camera phones have been misused and abused in 2003, a seemingly favorite subject of the main stream press, thankfully always defended ardently by camera phone experts (see blogroll). But anyone who has not yet heard enough about peeping toms and camera phone bans in city parks and locker rooms, or needing background information, can check out all relevant 2003 stories logged under privacy issues in Picturephoning.com.
This entry points out that non-camera phones have had a tough year too, as medical scientists and psychologists have blamed cell phones for everything - from making children fat, to triggering the onset of Alzheimer to being responsible for a new form of addiction disorder as well as leading to sexually transmitted diseases.
Texting makes children fat. A study from Australia, claims text messaging is one of the reasons children are overweight.
Compulsive text messaging disorder is the latest addiction sending sufferers rushing to The Priory clinic in south-west London.
SMS causes poor sleep according to a Belgian study which claims text messaging is affecting the quality of sleep of almost half of 16 year olds. Because they text all night.
Mobile phones 'make you senile'. Mobile phones and new wireless technology could cause a "whole generation" of teenagers to go senile prematurely, according to research conducted by Sweden's Lund University.
Texting can lead to sex disease, reported the BBC. Apparently, both the internet and text messaging have fuelled "dogging", a practice which involves unprotected sex with strangers in public parks.
Cell Phones may bring on Alzheimer's, damaging key brain cells which could trigger the early onset of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study conducted by researchers at Lund University in Sweden.
RSD from Texting. The Manila Times reports on doctor's fear of repetitive stress disorder (RSD) caused by too much texting.
Radio signals for the next generation of mobile phone services can cause headaches and nausea, according to a study conducted by the Dutch government and technological research institute TNO.
More on related articles on cell phone health issues as well as links to some official ressources.
This is the second post for Textually 2003 - The Year in Review, a series of entries rounding up the most interesting mobile news (best and worst) reported this year.
2003: The Figures that Counted
This year, the cell phone turned 30, as on the 3rd of April 1973, Dr Martin Cooper made the first cell phone call in a demonstration outside a Hilton Hotel in New York, that became the first step towards a massive change in the way we communicate. 2003 has been an amazing year of growth for cell phones, spurred by the success and demand for camera phones. Handset sales are expected to reach half a billion units this year and in some parts of the world mobile phones surpass fixed lines. Stunning everyone, studies report that camera phones are expected to outsell digital still cameras this year and that ringtones sales will soon outstrip sales of CD singles. But beyond business, per a report published today by the ITU, the rapid spread of mobile communications in developing countries has had a major impact in bridging the digital divide.
-- 492 million cell phones are expected to be sold worldwide in 2003.
-- Global sales of cameraphones surpassed sales of conventional digital cameras in the first half of 2003, a milestone in the mobile-phone industry. By year end 2003, camera phones are expected to outsell digital still cameras, 57 million to 44 million.
-- Europeans will send over 113 billion text messages, this year.
-- There are now more mobile phone users than there are landline phones in China. The country now has 259.638 million cell phones compared to 255.139 million landlines.
-- One out of three SMS sent in the world is is in Chinese.
-- There are 53 million cell phones in Italian for 58 million inhabitants, a penetration rate of 93 percent, which makes it the third-highest in the world, and compares with 49 percent in the United States and 62 percent in Japan.
-- Worldwide, camera phones account for just an estimated 8 percent of cellular phone sales.
-- Ring tones, a service that didn't exist five years ago, now account for $50 million in annual revenue according to the Yankee Group or $2 billion in revenue, according to Consulting firm Strategy Analytics.
-- Sales of ringtones are set to rise dramatically this year, and will soon outstrip those of CD singles, according to the Mobile Data Association (MDA).
-- The Mobile Data Association predict $ 120.7 million worth of ringtones will be sold in 2003, up from $ 69 million in 2002. Zelos Group claims sales of ring tones will top $1.5 billion worldwide in 2003, and nearly $100 million in the United States..
December 11, 2003
For the next couple of weeks, I will be posting a series of entries rounding up the most interesting mobile news (best and worst) reported this year. They will be filed away under a new category, Textually 2003 - The Year in Review.
Cell Phones - for so much more than just talking
Other than using a cell phone to communicate by voice and text messaging - features now commonly used by families and friends, industries, corporations, government, police forces, the media and the entertainment industry, marketing, sports, the arts, religion, fund raisers, retailers, colleges, scientists, terrorists, pornographers...- or to organize a busy life thanks to contact and calender features, in 2003, cell phones have been used to take pictures, view videos, follow a picture soap opera, watch TV, listen to real music, hear the radio, buy a coke from a vending machine, pay for transport fare, concert tickets or update a parking meter, translate a text message, play games with other people in real time, locate a child or a stolen car, search for a prostitute, remotely control a computer, a household appliance or the security system in a private home, detonate a bomb, open a locker door, display contemporary art on a cell screen or join a symphony orchestra.
Cell phones have reportedly been used to repel mosquitos, log sunshine reports to avoid sunburn thanks to tiny ultraviolet light sensors, act as a smoke detector or be used as a lie detector. And a system used with earphones and camera phones could help blind people to see, thanks to soundscapes.
And down the road, research is working on cell phones which can warn of gas leaks (thanks to sensors that verify changes in the atmosphere) and cell phones that will be able to warn about the presence of bacteria and viruses (thanks to bio-sensors) or detect dirty bombs (thanks to detectors that can upload information to a central database). Wild.