Camera phone popularity causing decline in sale of wallpaper
People are instead using their own camera phones to personalise their displays with pictures they've taken themselves.
Instead, people are more willing to pay for data services and photo messaging.
In this climate (which is hardly a revelation: people use the photos they've taken themselves - gasp!) it will be interesting to see how services such as that formed by iStockphoto and AMUSE will fare. After all, there's a world of difference between the quality of photos taken on a camera phone, and that by a semi-professional photographer.
Having said that, we're only talking about phone wallpaper here, and even the largest smartphone screens don't need super quality photos.
Having your own snap of your best mate doing something silly after a night on the town? Priceless.
3GSM 2007: Polymer Vision’s rollable display wins best in showOur new friends at Polymer Vision should be in fine spirits this morning since they just picked up a Best in Show award at 3GSM 2007. The futuristic rollable Readius display saw off stiff competition to win ‘The most innovative in Technology Development’ category. Check out our interview with Polymer Vision’s Edzer Huitema here and our hands-on preview with the Readius here.
3GSM 2007: Polymer Vision screensBendy screens – they are the future according to Polymer Vision. And they could potentially spell an end all that papery nonsense. Imagine a world where you can pull full sized screens out of your mobile phone like you’re unravelling an ancient scroll. Shiny Susi explains:
Revealed: the ringtones that ruin romance
We've already seen that the British are worried by their own ringtones, and now, two days before Valentine's Day, research from the ringtone retailer MAX BOX reveals which mobile ringtones are the most unappealing to the opposite sex.
Women said that they were most turned off by men who had arrogant songs referring to sexual prowess or good looks, closely followed by songs associated with football.
The worst song was "Mr Lover Man" from Shabba Ranks, followed by Color Me Badd's "I Wanna Sex You Up", and Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy". In fourth place was the theme to "The Great Escape" (surely not), with "Match of the Day" in fifth place.
By contrast, men said that overly romantic or sentimental tunes would put them off a girl. Celine Dionne's "My Heart Will Go On" was top of the list, followed by Robbie Williams' "Angels" and Leona Lewis's recent number one hit "A Moment Like This" in third.
Here's the full list:
Women's turn offs:
1) Mr Lover Man
2) I Wanna Sex You Up
3) I'm Too Sexy
4) The Great Escape
5) Match Of The Day
6) The A Team
7) Banana Splits theme
8) Benny Hill theme
9) Crazy Frog
10) Mr Boombastic
Men's turn offs:
1) My Heart Will Go On
3) A Moment Like This
4) Eastenders theme
5) Everything I Do
6) You're Beautiful
7) Crazy Frog
8) Barbie Girl
9) I Will Always Love You
10) Uptown Girl
3GSM 2007: dotMobi builds mobile content directory
dotMobi, the company who oversees the .mobi top-level domain suffix designed specifically for mobile phones, is embarking upon the launch of a range of directories that will be publicly available from the second half of 2007.
The dotMobi database is a catalogue of all mobile content available
on the Internet today and is quality-rated by location, category,
relevance and suitability to download content easily on a mobile phone.
The directory won't just contain .mobi sites, though these are designed and optimised specifically for mobile handsets, but also country specific, .com, WAP, and other mobile-friendly content. It claims it will be the most accurate and in-depth mobile content database in the world.
The directory will be made available to mobile operators and search companies to provide branded services to their customers based upon it. dotMobi will also be offering a research service for information professionals and researchers to monitor mobile Internet trends.
"We have already started delivering on access to the database at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona with our dotMobi Research Note on GSM Association members, which shows one of the first-ever reports on how 'mobile-ready' the operator community may or may not be. Data-services related to mobile content is naturally the next step for dotMobi after launching the mobile content standards and developer tools," said Neil Edwards, CEO of dotMobi.
3GSM 2007: Mobile phone and software manufacturers urge a cheaper mobile Web
Mobile phone operating system maker Symbian, whose software is found on about 70% of the world's smartphones, together will leading mobile phone makers, have appealed for mobile operators to make their wireless Internet services cheaper to appeal to more customers.
"With data, the unclarity of how much it costs is the biggest problem at the moment. And of course prices are high as well. That really needs to be solved," said Kai Oistamo, head of Nokia's mobile phone division.
Sales of smartphones in Europe rose 16% in the third quarter of 2006. Nigel Clifford, CEO of Symbian, believes that making tariffs easier to understand, and cheaper, is the way to stimulate growth in the market for both handsets and their use.
Sony Ericsson's Miles Flint said that even flat rate data tariff packages had complicated restrictions, making it hard for the consumer to know how much they were going to pay, and thus stifling use of the services.
"If we want to go to the next phase of mobile communications four factors need to be in place: great devices, 3G networks, the pull of service and brands, and tariffing that is predictable and affordable," said Clifford.
According to the Washington Post, mobile Internet revenue only accounts for around 5-6% at present, a situation that will have to change if it's to make up for falling revenue from voice services.
HSDPA will dominate mobile broadband, WiMax to go niche
Broadband on mobile phones will continue to grow in popularity as coverage and speed improve. A new study by Arthur D Little suggests that HSDPA will become the dominant method of delivering high-speed Net access to mobile devices, receiving the most investment over the next 5 years. WiMax, on the other hand, will be a niche player.
HSDPA is seen as a natural progression from GSM and UMTS for those operators already running 3G networks. It is a less risky and better understood method of achieving mobile broadband speeds close to that of first-generation fixed broadband services.
Michael Natusch, head of Arthur D. Little's UK TIME (Telecoms, IT, Media and Electronics) practice, said: "The momentum in HSDPA deployments has been stimulated by competition from other broadband wireless technologies and by the prospect of competition from mobile WiMax. However, there is as yet no convincing real-world evidence of the actual relative performances of these technologies in large scale deployments. Nevertheless, it is likely that these two technologies will achieve comparable levels of performance in typical real-world situations, contrary to the notion that mobile WiMax should be regarded as a "Killer" technology."
The survey shows that WiMax could achieve a greater theoretical peak in data transfer rates than current HSDPA technology can - maybe 4 to 5 times as much. However, WiMax coverage from a single base station is lower than that of HSDPA.
The study claims to assess all the factors, strategic, competitive, commercial, regulatory and political as well as technological that influence operators' choices of wireless network technology. Whilst other articles have concluded that WiMax will wipe the floor with HSDPA, this study suggests that HSDPA is more likely to gain widespread adoption.
(Via Cellular News)
3GSM 2007: Five reasons to be cheerful about Barcelona's mobile expo
Next week is when the mobile industry decamps to Barcelona en masse, to launch their new products, talk shop, and send shamefaced flowers to their other halves (it clashes with Valentine's Day, see).
3GSM 2007 looks like being the biggest yet, with all the big mobile firms getting set to show off their wares. Tech Digest will be there, roaming the exhibition nosing out the latest mobile phones, technology and content amid the hubbub. So what can we expect from this year's show? Here's our predictions for 3GSM 2007:
1. Shiny new handsets a-plenty
The likes of Nokia and Sony Ericsson release so many new phones a year now that they have launches throughout the year, but 3GSM is still a major event for every mobile manufacturer, so we're guaranteed a bunch of new phones. Expect some slinky music handsets for starters, along with the next generation of camera phones. Plus someone's bound to demonstrate their zeitgeisty credentials with a
silly stylish fashion phone.
2. Web 2.0 goes mobile
This is an ongoing trend, but expect the mobile internet to be big news at 3GSM 2007, hopefully with announcements from some big web firms as well as the mobile industry itself. Social networking should make a splash, while Google, Yahoo and Microsoft may have something to say about how they're mobilising their web services and communities. 3GSM is also a good place to find the small technology companies who'll be driving the next wave of Mobile 2.0 services, before they're bought up by bigger players.
3. Content is King
Admittedly, you could have used the above cliche about any 3GSM from the last few years, but in 2007 it could actually be true. We've got to do something on those powerful new "multimedia computers" after all. Every year, the number of content companies exhibiting at 3GSM grows, and 2007 will be no exception. Games, music, video/movies and gambling will all figure highly, while experienced 3GSMers will be keen to see if the mobile porn companies are still touting eye-poppingly gynecological photos on their stands.
4. VoIP on your phone
A dark horse, this one, considering the 78-odd companies claiming to be the future of mobile VoIP. But 3GSM 2007 will at least offer some clues as to who's offering free calls from your mobile now, what the restrictions are – and perhaps more pertinently what the mobile operators are going to do about it.
5. Secret squirrel stuff
3GSM is about far more than the exhibition floor itself. It's about suited execs getting together in Barcelona hotel rooms and cafes to sign deals and plot the future for the industry. For example, it's been reported that at 3GSM 2007, mobile operators including Vodafone and O2's owner Telefonica are getting together to discuss creating a joint mobile search engine to rival Google and Yahoo. We can't promise to be the fly on the wall at that meeting (unless our bluebottle disguise comes through in time), but we will have our nose to the ground sniffing out stories at the show. Check back next week for live posts from Barcelona.
British mobile phone users fear their ringtones
A staggering four out of five Brits fear criticism of their mobile phone ring tone, according to new research from Dial-a-Phone. Staggering because it's something every mobile phone user has complete control over.
97% of Brits judge someone's personality based upon their mobile ring tone, and on average, we change our ring tone 3.4 times each year, taking an average 37.5 minutes to make the choice.
The survey of 18-34 year olds asked them to match ring tones with personality traits, and came up with the following:
Top 10 hit: Moves with times but could be a fashion victim who tries too hard to be cool
Classic Hit: A laid back thirty something attempting to make a statement with a personal favourite
Hollywood Blockbuster: A real movie buff, but perhaps watches one too many films!
Current TV show: Fun personality - but has too much time on their hands
Retro TV show: Creative individual with a love for pop culture - however can appear a little nerdy
Children's theme tune: Game for a laugh, up for having a good time - though has a tendency to annoy people
Sport theme tune: Armchair sportsperson who enjoys a laugh with the lads/girls also a tad unimaginative
Classical: Tasteful and educated, yet probably on the old side
Made for ringtone (crazy frog etc): Totally unacceptable - most likely a Chav
Mobile setting (original ringtone): Not trying to impress, probably got better things to do than constantly changing their ringtone
Ring Ring: Uber cool, no need to impress though some view as boring - shows a lack of confidence and creativity
Vibrate setting: An Introvert not wanting to be noticed or a businessman not wanting to be rude
Apparently 90% of Brits have been criticised for their choice of tone, though 42% said they had been told off for not personalising their phone.
34% of people said that someone without a cool ring tone has no style. 10% change their ring tone once a week.
"Ringtones are a cheap and fun way to personalise your mobile phone, I am shocked that so many people get stressed about it - choose something you like and don't be ashamed to let it ring!" said Flic Everett from Dial-a-Phone.
Bling up your mobile at the Carphone Warehouse
If you don't fancy shelling out for something like Motorola's D&G-branded RAZR or one of the millionaire-friendly Vertu handsets, how about adding some bling on a budget - by leaving your handset at the Carphone Warehouse.
Carphone Warehouse in the UK are now offering the Bling My Thing service, which seems to be a high street version of the German web service. If you want to add that showbiz glitz to your handset, just drop it off, borrow a loan phone for a few days, then go back and pick up your new blingtastic phone, coated in Swarovski crystals.
You can choose from a range of standard designs or of you're feeling creative, do one of your own. Prices start at £100.
Apple gets tough over web sites offering 'iPhone skins' for other Microsoft/Palm-based smartphones
Notwithstanding the fact that no-one has access to a retail iPhone yet (and won't for months), owners of lesser smartphones running inferior mobile operating systems (Windows Mobile and Palm OS) can apparently get their hands on iPhone skins to jazz up their displays with Apple icons.
None of these 'skins' offer any extra functionality - but they might just spread a bit of Apple magic amongst users of other devices.
Not if Apple have anything to do with it, though. Not only were the offending web sites targeted by lawyers, but so were - allegedly - journalists who reported the existence of these skins. That's why the attached photograph has been pixelated (I'm not implying it's criminal to own a Windows Mobile device, honest)
It's an interesting situation in which both the developer of these illicit skins, and Apple, get extra publicity. Unfortunately, it does tend to dull Apple's shine a little more.
(Via All Headline News)
O2 does Lord of the Rings on your mobile
The company claims it’s the first time a theatre production has featured mobile content specifically for its customers. And I don't doubt it for a second. Specifically, that content, accessed via O2 Active, includes advanced ticket booking via a dedicated number, exclusive preview nights for O2 customers (as long as they turn their phones off), behind the scenes footage via mobile blogs and exclusive ringtones and screensavers.
The British and European premiere of The Lord of the Rings will take place at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London on 19th June 2007, following the previews from 9th May. According to Manjit Waters, Head of Mobile Portals at O2 UK: "We’re delighted deWynters have chosen O2 to bring this material from The Lord of the Rings to the public. Theatre has been much neglected by the mobile industry to date and we’re pleased to be able to help them reach new audiences. We’re enabling theatre to go mobile, extending all their assets to the mobile arena. This is a very exciting production and there’s plenty of material on O2 Active for our customers to choose from."
Nokia World: Flash wallpapers and games on your phone
Just polishing off some more interviews from last week's Nokia World conference today – there was so much happening at the show, I'm still working through transcripts. Let's kick off with Mobile Entertainment Factory, a German firm that's using Adobe's Flash Lite technology to create animated wallpapers and games/applications for phones.
Dr Hubert Weid, the company's CEO, ran me through a demo of the Flash wallpapers (pictured), which are cleverer than just having neat visual animations. One example was a wallpaper that actively links to your phone's time setting, and displays it as an analogue on-screen clock – good for those of us who've stopped wearing watches in favour of using our phones.
"You could even have time-based wallpapers," he says. "We could combine four different wallpapers in one Flash wallpaper, so your phone would display a different one in the morning, evening and night-time, without you having to change it."
Mobile Entertainment Factory started life making Java games for mobile phones, but has recently diversified into Flash Lite games. Hubert says the two areas don't really compete with each other, although he warns against the common assumption that Flash games are just simple one-button games with no depth.
"I wouldn't say simple," he says. "It's more rich media. Of course, we're just starting out, so it's simple at the moment, but in the mid or long term that will change. We might not do sophisticated 3D shooters in Flash, but if you think about advertising games, this is the perfect tool. It's much nicer and better to watch, and avoids the complications of Java."
He showed me a few games, including a Spin The Bottle application – one for The Kids, I'm guessing – and a Simple Simon style memory game.
The games feature more flashy (sorry) visual effects than many mobile games, especially things like popping up speech bubbles or zooming in and out, which are easier to do thanks to Flash's vector graphics.
Adobe's Flash Lite player is making its way into more phones, particularly thanks to Nokia's efforts. But it's still very early days for Flash Lite games on mobile, not least because there's nowhere to buy them.
"It's very hard, because there are hardly any out there!" says Hubert. "As Flash players are pre-installed in more phones, the industry will wake up and start to see that there is new functionality here. But today, even the operator portals don't know how they should handle Flash games."
PREVIOUS NOKIA WORLD COVERAGE
Hands on with the Nokia 770 internet tablet
WidSets bring the best Web 2.0 sites to your phone
Video of Nokia's future mobile concepts (part two)
Video of Nokia's future mobile concepts (part one)
Are you a life juggler or a technology stylist?
Geek TV crosses Miami Vice and Dom Joly with YouTube and, er, breasts
Hands On talks football, mobile advertising, and its Mobizines rival
Refresh Mobile talk about their award-winning Mobizines
Fancy a 100GB mobile phone with a built-in projector?
Next-gen N-Gage to work on 5-7 phones from Day One
Nokia declares war on the iPod!
Ruud Gullit on gadgets and marriage: "It's like warfare..."
Two mobile phones and one DJ Slow...
Nokia promises WiMAX handsets in 2008
Tech Digest goes to Nokia World
Hitachi unveils transflective IPS LCD screen for mobile phones
The IPS LCD screen is a thin panel with improved outdoor visibility and - so they claim - with a much higher picture quality and wide viewing angle, using the world’s first Transflective IPS-Pro system. All this improves visibility in bright outdoor conditions for mobile phones, particularly when it comes to TV reception.
The Transflective IPS LCD module now in commercial production provides improved visibility in bright outdoor conditions using a reflection unit fitted to the picture element structure, so that reflections from bright outdoor lights lighting up the LCD can also be used for displaying images. As a result, images are generated in the usual manner by transmissive lights from the backlight in indoor environments where the brightness is comparatively low, and illuminated by reflective lights in bright outdoor conditions.
Commercial production started in September, so expect it in your mobile sometime next year.
Pinpoint your pooch
Ever wondered where your dog has got to? Well you won't have to for much longer. According to Mobile Marketing, Finnish GPS company Tracker has just what you need in the form of My Way, a 3-in-1 GPS navigation system for your mobile.
The system consists of a Bluetooth GSP receiver which displays road, topgraphical (hills etc.) and nautical maps on your handset, providing you have a Symbian Series 60 (mainly Nokia) phone, though it will also work on some Sony Ericssons and Motorolas. Road maps for the country you buy it in are supplied on a memory card. The topographical and nautical maps are downloaded from a dedicated web or Wap site as and when you need them.
But where things get really cool is when you buy a second GPS receiver that attaches to a dog collar to enable you to keep tabs on the whereabouts of your pooch, or even the local Vicar come to that. There's also another version that attaches to a belt for child monitoring, and a magnetic one that fixes on to the underside of your car. And if a mate has the same system, you can use it to play find-a-friend. Handy if it's their round and they have misteriously disappeared.
My Way is expeted to go on sale in the UK in the next four weeks, priced at around £240. Get the full story here.
3GSM 2006: Seagate launches 12GB 1-inch hard drive
Seagate's drives just keep getting smaller - and capacity keeps getting larger. At the 3GSM, they have announced their latest hard drive, the ST1.3 Series 12GB 1-inch hard drive, which enables more audio and video within mobile devices.
The new ST1.3 Series drive is 23% smaller than Seagate's current 1-inch drive, but using perpendicular technology, packs in 50% more storage capacity with 30% less power consumption. It also offers a new optional drop sensor for increased robustness - Seagate claims the drive can survive a 1.5m drop onto hard concrete when used in a handheld device. The drive’s new size, 40x30x5 mm, allows for more streamlined media players product designs and fits nicely into current clamshell and candy-bar style mobile handsets.
What does this all mean? Well, mobile firms can easily fit in a 12GB drive into new mobile models when the drive is launched in the third quarter of 2006. Somehow I think we'll be saying goodbye to those storage cards sooner rather than later.
Magazines on your mobile
Unlike website content, Mobizines, which carry around 20 stories per edition, appear in a colourful magazine-like format on your phone and once downloaded, can be read without the need to be connected to your mobile service. Magazines already signed up for the service include Condé Nast titles GQ and Glamour, OK!, TimeOut, ITV, Daily Snack, TV Genius and sports news from TeamTalk.
The cost per edition varies by network but on average costs between 3 and 10p. Combined with offline reading, Mobizines have certainly got the potential to be a winner financially, but whether the content and the magazine format will work for the average mobile user remains to be seen.
Is VibeTonz the next big thing?
Well, VibeTonz is an embedded technology that enables a mobile handset to produce a huge range of 'vibro-tactile' sensations. Or in other words, you'll feel as well as hear. So, mobile gamers can experience the recoil of gunshots or the jolt of a punch, messaging could be personalised with vibration-based heartbeats and ringtones can give users the physical sensation of drum breaks and basslines.
All sounds interesting and possibly a little scary - more news about the technology and when you can get it very soon.
The law catches up with the Crazy Frog
The legal system has finally caught up with the Crazy Frog. No, it isn't for crimes against music or decency, but for misleading advertising and a lack of clarity when it came to the cost of downloading the little fella.
Telecoms regulator ICSTIS hit service provider mBlox with an official reprimand and a £40,000 fine. And that's bad news for content provider Jamba. Due to a contractual arrangement between the two companies, the fine will be passed onto Jamba.
Predictive texting for ubersexuals
You'd think that working your way through the school system, your head would be full of enough words to see you through the rest of your life. Think again - new words keep appearing - and if you're not aware of a vlog (video blog) or a Puggle (a Pug/Beagle cross breed), you need the latest T9 predictive text dictionary.
Just imagine how much wear and tear you'll save on your fingers if your mobile recognised words such as ASBO, Europop, smlirt (flirting in the smoking room if you didn't know), ubersexual or podcast.
T9 is available for the majority of phones offering speedy predictive texting, and with more than 34,000 words now in the English language T9 dictionary, you'll never be lost for words.
Coldplay's Bluetooth promotion
Coldplay are going bluetooth for the advertising of their latest album x & y. If you happen to be in one of the London mainline stations over the next little while, you may see some of the giant transvision screens promoting the album and single ‘Speed of Sound’. The screens will also allow the download of screensavers, photos and a few tracks from the album via bluetooth to your mobile phone.
A cool idea. Could this be the start of bluetooth spamming on a serious scale?
via Digital Bulletin
First scanner for cameraphones
Realeyes3D not only has a great company name, it's also the first to come up with a commercial scanner service for cameraphones. Digitizer3 (pronounced Digitizer Cubed) can scan, fax, email or store printed documents, enabling high resolution camera phones to receive data from a page. The service has been demoed at 3GSM World Congress in Cannes and the first version of Digitizer3 is available for Series 60 Symbian smartphones. Versions for other platforms, such as Windows Mobile, and clientless versions will be available in the coming months.
Sanyo's messaging device
This WiPOQ messaging gadget is on display at 3GSM at the moment. The Sanyo device is based on IXI Mobile's operating system, IXI-Connect, and has been designed to connect to a Bluetooth phone to send emails and messages - and nothing else. A range of handhelds are expected, with the first device scheduled for launch in Q2 2005 (which we're guessing means in the Far East, not here). The first unit will have a Java browser, large screen and a QWERTY keypad. The idea seems to be that if you don't want to carry a messenger device such as Blackberry or Sidekick, you can simply connect this to your phone as and when you need it. The IXI-Connect OS comes with PMG (Personal Mobile Gateway) technology. This means that you can use your mobile to connect all sorts of different companion devices to the internet, such as watches, cameras or MP3 players. Sanyo seems to be keeping the WiPOQs as glorified keyboards, however.
TV on mobiles by end of the year
Well, 3GSM is well under way, so we'll be beavering away, getting those stories up as fast as our fingers can type. First up, Philips has announced System in Package, a service that connects consumers to live television on the move. The service, shortened to SiP, will allow customers to get television on mobiles by the fourth quarter of 2005. The service is based on the DVB-H standard which allows the creators to cram complete digital TV capabilities into a thumbnail-sized receiver. This not only means that you'll be able to access live digital television, you'll also be able to access pictures, movies and music while out and about. The service is being previewed at Cannes over the next few days and the system board the supports the service will be rolled out to handset vendors in the second quarter of 2005, kicking off the next phase of trials. Following that, all being well, the SiP for DVB-H service will be offered on a chip with a reduced footprint and lower power consumption later this year.
More details from the press release follow:
To further enhance the offering, Philips has partnered with Silicon & Software Systems (S3) to integrate its onHandTV software into the solution, an advanced DVB-H-compliant product that complements the Philips SiP. As part of the agreement, S3 will join the Philips' Nexperia Partner Program, an initiative to enable Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Integrators to deliver middleware, applications and reference designs based on the company's Nexperia family of semiconductors.
To enhance the user experience of TV on mobile, Philips Software offers a complete application that supports H.264 video and AAC audio for high-quality viewing and listening. It also incorporates Philips' world-class picture and audio enhancement IP from its proven consumer electronics products, including Natural Motion for smooth, easy-to-watch images and 'smart color mapping' for attractive colors on LCD displays. High-performance features such as these will play a critical role in creating sustained consumer demand for mobile TV services.
"This is a revolutionary development, integrating all the components of a digital TV receiver into a space small enough to fit into a mobile phone," said Mario Rivas, executive vice president Communications Businesses, Philips Semiconductors. "As a broadcast technology, watching TV on the mobile phone is the natural progression from listening to radio and downloading video clips. Our work in the Broadcast Mobile Convergence (BMCO) trial, in Berlin, showed the impact for the consumer will be much more spectacular."
As part of the Berlin-based BMCO project, Philips was the first semiconductor supplier to be involved in mobile TV trial transmissions, working with industry leaders from the content and mobile industries. The project studied the use of DVB-H to broadcast conventional TV, as well as innovative interactive content designed specifically for the platform, to mobile phones and portable digital TVs. In addition to implementing the technology, the trial also looked at user acceptance of the services, finding that participants extensively used and enjoyed the services offered - at home, on the road and at work. Of the 512 users that took part in the survey, 78% stated that they thought TV on mobile was a good idea, with 82% willing to pay for content.
DVB-H builds on DVB-T and is a system where data (typically digital multimedia data) is transmitted in IP datagrams. In order to reduce power consumption in small handheld devices, DVB-H employs a technique called 'time-slicing', where the IP datagrams are transmitted as data bursts in small time slots. The front end of the receiver switches on only for the time interval when the data burst of a selected service is on air. Within this short period of time a high data rate is received which can be stored in a device buffer. This buffer can either store the downloaded applications or play out live streams.
Send your pics to your mobile
Not that we're normally given to covering ring tone downloads stories, but this one seemed interesting enough to get a mention. A new website from BVRP (Avanquest's parent company) called Mobileffects has just gone online, offering free ringtones, realtones, wallpapers, games and other content to the first 10,000 registered users to the site. But that's not the interesting bit. The company is also offering the opportunity to send your own digital images directly to your mobile. Since none of the TD team are much given to downloading content for our phones (what with us sadly not being teenagers anymore), we'll have to take the company's word for it that this is pretty unusual. Users can customise and send personal photos or images from their PCs to their mobiles. The site's been designed for a worldwide audience and can deliver content to most the major networks and most the major handsets in Europe, Asia and North America.
Disposable phone charger
Not entirely sure if they appeal to our environmentally-friendly side but a company called Cellboost is offering the first ever disposable battery recharger for mobile phones. As soon as your handset battery goes blink you plus the cigarette lighter style charger into the socket and you have power. Might be worth keeping a few handy in your bag for emergencies.
It has been on sale in the US for a while, but completely slipped under our radar. More here.
Grow your mobile's screen
As we know all too well the trouble with mobile phone screens is that they are too darned small to do anything useful like deliver readable internet pages or videos of footie goals. So we are dying to get our hands on a new solution from the brilliantly named US company Bart 1. It has developed a mini magnification screens for mobiles which it claims significantly increases the size of the on screen images. It apparently works with all phones, though we suspect that it is best with clamshells. It is also incredibly cheap to at just $8.99. You can check it for yourself here.
Flashing Mobile Christmas Stickers
Here's a nice bit of gaudy, tat for your mobile phone this Christmas. Just what we like. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without annoying flashing lights everywhere, and we'd certainly be chuckling with idiotic delight every time our little phone stickers lit up if we had some. Stick a Flashstick on the back of your phone (so long as you've got an internal aerial) and when a call comes through the LEDs light up. Once you've answered the call, the flashing stops to be replaced by a more migraine-friendly glow.
Bluetooth headset for phones without Bluetooth
If your mobile is a bit old, or if you've eschewed those little technological extras in favour of a pretty little fashion phone, all is not lost. Jabra is now selling a Bluetooth Adapter that lets you add Bluetooth capabilities to your phone. The Jabra A210 can be plugged into any phone that supports the standard 2.5mm headset socket, supplying the necessary technology for you to connect a Bluetooth headset. The unit provides 8 hours of talk time and 240 hours of standby time. There's voice dialling support and the usual distracting flashing LEDs. It's not a pretty solution, but it would do the job if you're using a headset in a car. Not sure we'd want to clip it to our belt and skip out onto the street with it though. It's not entirely clear whether you can use this for data transfer or to connect your phone to a laptop, so it's most likely for headset pairing only. £39l.99.
Jabra's latest Bluetooth headset
Jabra's BT800 will be out at the end of this month with a street price of £99.99. The company's latest headset comes with all sorts of fancy features, including a choice of ringtones, vibrate mode and noise reduction courtesy of the DSP (Digital Signal Processing) feature that helps to improve audio quality in windy or noisy environments. The design is a bit of a change for Jabra, which usually goes for the over ear loop design (that's not its official name, that's just what we call it) and the headset weighs just 25g, making it nice and lightweight. The built in LED display is a bit of an odd addition, providing you with caller ID info. Why you'd need that when the headset is in your ear is anyone's guess, but it does mean you can pick who you pick up to when the headset's sat on a car seat or something.
See through clothes using your mobile
Not content with a bit of friendly groping on the underground during rush hour, Japanese phone owners can now see through people's clothing using an add-on for Vodafone handsets. Yamada Denshi, third party developer, has come up with a night filter with the added side effect of x-ray vision. The night vision plug in is apparently highly effective on dark bikinis, so beach party goers had better beware. Bad news for would-be pervs over here, though, the £100 filter doesn't work on any UK handsets.
Motorola's Bluetooth bonanza
Lots of new Bluetooth toys at the Motorola press conference the other day. These include a Motorola pendant headset (pictured) which lets you make/take calls on your Bluetooth mobile without looking like a tosser with a huge growth on your earlobe. Also shown was a headset for bikers which can be mounted inside your helmet with strong 3M adhesive (oooh sounds painful). Both devices provide around 100 hours of standby time or 5 hours talktime.
Concept devices were also shown including a wearable keyboard for texting (mmm, how fashionable) and a Bluetooth adaptor for taking sound from iPods and distributing it around the house. Further details to follow very soon.
Comedy clips on your mobile
Zoo42 Productions is a offering new service called Funnybone that allows you to download comedy content straight to your mobile phone. The idea is that writers and comedians, such as Tim Vine (The Sketch Show), Norman Lovett (Holly from Red Dwarf) and the writers from Have I Got News For You and the Graham Norton Show, write up-to-the-minute topical comedy that’s then available to download from the Funnybone WAP site. The video clips will feature real comedians as well as the first animated WAP comedian. Each clip should take around 30 seconds to download. To subscribe to the service you’ll need to text ‘Go Comedy’ to 87121 at a cost of £1.50. For this price, those with video phones will get 24 hours’ access to all content; colour picture-capable phones will get access to all non-video content for seven days; while those with text-only phones can access all text-based content for 14 days.
Nokia remote camera
Along with the replacement for the 6600 smartphone - the 6670 - Nokia has also upgraded its Remote Camera, the strange digital camera for the more security-conscious among us. The Remote Camera, which now offers 1-megapixel shots and a flash, allows you to keep an eye on your home when you're out by monitoring for any movements and snapping a picture as soon as it senses anything. The images are then sent over to your phone via MMS or email using the in-built GSM transceiver. The updated camera also includes video and audio capturing, a zoom function and Bluetooth for controlling the unit.
The camera can also be set to just send you regular pics at set intervals, or you can text it telling to send you one. One of its weirder features is that it can send you a notification when a minimum or maximum temperature has been reached and view a graph of the past 24 hours' temperature history. Not sure why you'd need that, unless maybe you're keeping your greenhouse at a specific temperature in order to cultivate very rare flowers, but that seems like a pretty niche audience for Nokia to cater to. Maybe we're missing something.
Bluetooth headset helmet for bikers
Nice to see that while bikers may be born to be wild, they’re not so wild that they can’t ring their mum’s while they’re off feeling the wind in their hair. Momo’s Fighter Prestige Helmet is currently in production. It’s the first helmet with a built in Bluetooth headset allowing bikers to make calls while they’re weaving dangerously in between cars on streets. Motorola is supplying the necessary gadgetry, which will also be available to buy separately so you can stick it on any helmet. The HS810 headset works both on and off the helmet so you don’t have to continue wearing the hard hat after you’ve parked up just to finish off your conversation.
Battery life is quoted at five hours’ talktime and 100 hours of standby time. The helmet will be available at the start of next year from the Italian company. No pricing details as yet.
3 makes a deal with Emap
Here's one for the kids. 3's just made a deal with Emap that means customers can download ringtones and pictures from Emap's most popular titles. Brands such as FHM, Kiss, Kerrang!, Smash Hits!, Q, Empire, Heat, New Woman, Mojo and Mixmag.
For £2.50, you can download a selection of tunes and pictures, with 75 new selections added every week. Music from Smash Hits! and Kiss should appeal to the youth market - the ones who are responsible for keeping the ringtones and wallpapers market alive - but we're not entirely sure how popular the Mojo offerings are going to be. What are they going to come up with? Jimi Hendrix ringtones and a Fab Four picture for wallpaper? Not exactly target audience is it?
Bonusprint to kill off MMS?
The introduction of photo messaging onto UK networks two years ago was touted as the next big thing by the service providers. And while the networks themselves haven’t been forthcoming with the figures, analysts reckon that the revenue from these has been more than a little disappointing.
It turns out that people in the UK like to use their phones to take photos, but they have no interest in sending those photos to all and sundry via MMS. Instead, they’re just storing them on their phones to look at later, or show to friends when they see them in flesh.
Now that we’re starting to see one-megapixel camera phones, companies are eager to find new ways to cash in on consumer habits. The Guardian has an piece on Bonusprint’s new Mobile service, designed especially for mobile snappers.
The idea is that each image that you take is automatically uploaded to a personalised website (once you’ve downloaded the necessary software to your phone), allowing your to store and order prints online from there. Unlike MMS, which compresses the images sacrificing a little resolution, the Bonusprint image are the same resolution as when they were taken.
We have nothing but praise for the service which has been developed by UK company Cognima. The only downside is that the service is currently only available with Symbian phones like the Nokia 7610 and Sony Ericsson P900.
Cognima hopes to roll out a version for Java version later in the year.
Read the full article here.
Pay using your mobile
This story will come as welcome news for the pickpockets on Oxford Street. Over in Japan, 3G mobile phone owners can now pay for things using their mobile phones, saving thieves the trouble of stealing both your phone and your wallet.
NTT DoCoMo is offering the Felica service that allows those with compatible handsets to get cash and make payments using the 3G network. The system is based on Smart card technology, with a credit card-sized smart card (developed by Sony) holds all the necessary personal information.
Some sort of subscription to the service is required before users can start binning their wallets and special readers need to be built into cash machines and tills in order to make a transaction. Data is sent securely via the 3G network and, in a bid to deter theft, handsets can be password and even fingerprint protected.
Obviously it’s years before a similar service could ever reach these shores. The fact that the 3G network isn’t even up and running yet is partly to blame. There’s also the question of how much demand there would be for the service over here. The Japanese may see new technology as second nature, but we still know some Brits who haven’t even used an ATM machine before.
Here’s one for all the Nathan Barleys of the world. Nicholas Roope from London has hacked a load of mobile phones and added a retro handset. He then sells the handsets – which have already got him on the cover of an Italian style magazine and in the New York Times – on eBay.
Apparently, one Pokia (as he is calling them) has been sold to a Hollywood producer for his limo. It’s a BT signal checker’s handset in a grey metal box. There’s a wide variety of handsets available with names like “The Peckham Cottage” and “The Holborn Exchange.” The Peckham exchange just sold for £110.
Ever woken up in the night wondering what the meaning of life is? Whether all religions lead to God or how they get jam into the middle of doughnuts? Well thanks to a new text message service your beauty sleep can now be undisturbed.
Any Questions Answered, which can be contacted by texting queries to 63336, reckons its can deliver an answer to any question within ten minutes of you asking it.
In what must be painfully slow news week at the Mirror, journalist Damien Fletcher spent several hours asking the service everything from why the weather is rubbish at the moment to whether Nancy should dump Sven.
You can read the service’s replies here.
Personally we want to know if Patrick Vieira is really going to leave Arsenal, oh and Keira Knightley’s mobile phone number might be useful too.
Nokia's latest accessories
In addition to its funky 1 mega-pixel camera phone, the 7610, Nokia has also unveiled a load of phone accessories at CeBit. Chief among them is the PD-1 image album.
A 20Gb storage device it can be used for viewing images on the big screen. Pictures can be transferred either via a compatible phone using the Pop-Port interface or from a Multi-Media memory card. Click here for more info.
Very similar to the image album is the Image Viewer SU-5. However the main difference is that it doesn't have a built in hard drive for storing your embarrassing photos. Click here for more info.
Nokia has also unveiled two new car accessories. Its latest Advanced Car Kit features all the standard hands-free stuff plus a fancy sounding Ignition Sense Detector for automatic hands-free activation. And the Headrest Handsfree mounts on the back of car seats for a less embarrassing and more comfortable set-up.