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Is 2008 the Year of the Cellphone?

from Mobile Technology Weblog:

As I was searching for the right words to sum up this crazy and very exciting year in the wireless industry, I luckily found the answer in the New York Times.

In the article of David Pogue, he said this year marks the marriage of mobile technology with Internet as epitomized by Apple’s iPhone, GrandCentral, SpinVox, Simulscribe, and of course Google’s entry.

mobile internet

The fun has just started since 2008 is supposed to be the real Year of the Cellphone. The “openness” of major wireless carriers, Google’s pilot run of Android, and the increasing power of the mob to combat the unfair business practices are said to create a tidal shift in the industry.

Although I agree with David’s summation for the year, I don’t think 2008 will be the year of the cellphone. Just like any cultural movement or awakening, I prefer to call next year as the start of renaissance or revival in the mobile industry.

And since we’re talking about future trends, you might it interesting to read ChannelWeb’s 5 wireless trends to watch in 2008.

Photo – Nokia’s Timeline via Gadgetell

See article
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Shaolin Budha Cell Phone

post from textually.org:

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Spotted on intomobile via Just another mobile phone blog, a Shaolin Budha 24K gold plated cell phone made in China that comes with certificates of (Buddha) authenticity.

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Durable and water resistant phone from China

post from textually.org

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Spotted on Just Another Mobile Phone Blog, a water and shock resistant Chinese cell phone.

More waterproof phones

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Cellibacy: Not about giving up sex, but your cell phone

post from textually.org

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Comedian Amy Borkowsky will ring in the new year with silence, vowing to do what seems almost unimaginable to every other New Yorker – ditch her cell phone for two months. The Daily News reports.

She is so sick of her phone becoming an almost permanent fixture at her ear, she has vowed to cancel her service and shelve her cell for the next eight weeks.

Borkowsky is determined to get back to face-to-face communication with friends, family and the rest of the human race.

She plans to document it all in a Web project, Cellibacy, at myscellphone.com.

From the Website.

The project is called “Cellibacy”, but as comedian and advocate Amy Borkowsky explains, “It’s not about giving up sex. I’m giving up something much harder than that.” On January 1st, Borkowsky will attempt to ring in 2008 with a lot less ringing, as she officially turns off her cell phone service for sixty days, becoming America’s first advocate for moderation in cell phone use.

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NTT DoCoMo creates kid-friendly handset and bracelet combo

post from Engadget Mobile

NTT DoCoMo is launching a new mobile phone / bracelet combo aimed at helping youngsters stay safe on the mean streets of Japan. The two-part system combines the FOMA F801i phone, which adds safety features like a 100-decibel alarm, high intensity flashing LEDs, and the ability to automatically notify family in the event of an emergency, and a bracelet remote control which communicates with the device. The phone can be set to provide its location to registered parties, and will turn itself on if it has been switched off. Coupled with the phone is the “amulet style” bracelet, which can be used to locate a misplaced phone, lock the handset, or send a message to another phone (if the device and bracelet are out of range for over five minutes). We suspect that for worried and / or nosey parents, this is a dream come true.

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Video pictures of unborn baby onto Moms’ cell phones

babyscan_415x275.jpg Expectant mothers can now download video pictures of their unborn baby onto their cell phones or iPods. This is London reports.

“Launched today by the Portland Hospital, the new high-tech scanning service could signal the end of grainy black-and-white prints. The 4D realtime ultrasounds provide a new level of detail for in-the-womb images – and are better for detecting problems.

The private maternity clinic in central London, whose celebrity patients have included Victoria Beckham and Sarah Ferguson, has tailored the £ 120 babyscan service to suit career mothers.

Women can visit the clinic in their lunch hour, have a 40-minute scan and then download the high-definition images to their MP3 player or mobile phone via a secure internet site.”

[via Spluch]

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2008 predictions from Mobhappy

http://mobhappy.com/blog1/2007/12/19/predictions-for-2008/

1. Apple won’t grow organic market share by much.

Sure, Apple will sell more phones as it expands the number of countries in which the iPhone is available. But it won’t make big inroads into existing markets, since pretty much everybody that wants an iPhone in those places has one already (or they’re getting one for Christmas). Any new models won’t appeal to a much wider crowd without adding something significantly new and cool — and just chunking in 3G isn’t enough.

2. Android won’t match the hype.

This feels like a bit of a cop-out, as nothing in the mobile industry ever matches the hype, but I’ll say it anyway. 2008 should see the first Android devices, and perhaps they’ll be pretty cool — but the market reaction will be mostly ho-hum. The big challenge for Google (and for Apple, as well), is to make people care about this stuff. It’s easy for enthusiasts and MH readers to get excited about new mobile data services and applications, but we need to remember that, generally, most members of the public don’t really care. I’d venture that the iPhone’s image as a really cool iPod with a big screen and a phone squeezed in, helped to sell way more devices than its nice web browser did. And sure, people think, “Google Maps on my phone, that sounds pretty cool,” — but when it comes time to pay for it, their enthusiasm may wane.

The iPhone and Android have made a lot of noise because they appeal to a very vocal, but very small, part of the market. But they’ll remain confined to that niche until Google, Apple, operators, other handset vendors, and the rest of the industry can get the mass market to care. Sure, the iPhone has created a lot of awareness, but that’s just a first step. Getting the public to really be interested in mobile services will do a lot more, in the long run, for Google (and everybody else) than coming up with the ultimate mobile software platform.

3. Ad-supported content will continue to grow, but there will be some friction as operators figure out how to insert themselves in the experience.

Individual publishers big and small will figure out they can make money from mobile ads in 2008, and for big publishers, this means a shift away from operator deals, and towards beefing up their standalone sites, both in content and visibility. But the problems will emerge as operators look to get in on the action. Things like content transcoders will become more popular, as operators look for a way to build up their advertising inventory.

4. The 700 MHz auction in the US will toss up an interesting license holder.

The auction for 700 MHz spectrum licenses gets underway in the US in January, and nearly 300 companies have been approved to bid. The usual suspects are there, along with the high-profile ones like Google. But somebody new/interesting/different is going to snag a license here, even if it costs them billions. There’s a tremendous opportunity for disruption here — both in the mobile market, but also in the fixed broadband one — and somebody is going to seize on it, even though it will carry a high cost.

5. Smartphone sales won’t accelerate much, as existing users get fed up with poor usability, and featurephones get smarter.

Smartphone sales continue to grow year after year, but 2008 could be something of a turning point. First, there are a lot of existing users that are fed up with the user experience their smartphones provide. Sure, they carry awesome functionality, but at the cost of terrible usability. Second, featurephones are getting better and “smarter”. The feature gap between the two is closing quickly, particularly for “normobs”, or normal mobile users. Combine these two trends and you’ll see normobs eschewing smartphones for lower-cost, more attractive and easier to use featurephones, alongside smartphone users abandoning the devices and giving up that extra functionality (plenty of which goes unused anyway) for the relatively better user experience many featurephones offer.

6. Euro 2008 and the Summer Olympics in Beijing will generate a decent amount of interest in mobile TV, but that interest won’t be sustained.

These two sporting events will put mobile TV in the shop window. There was a lot of talk about the 2006 World Cup in the same way, but it was too early. Mobile TV is common enough now that people will have some interest in following these events on their handsets, particularly if operators do some aggressive marketing (though operators in the UK are probably cursing second-choice Steve McClaren…). But it’s unlikely that after these events and the promotions end, all that many users will stick with the services.

7. Handset vendors will pay more attention, both lip service and real, to environmental issues.

Nokia’s already started down this path, with its new auto-shutoff charger and the green-targeted 3110 Evolve handset, but the “green” handset market will boom in 2008. There’s a lot of stuff that can be done that has real benefits, such as the new-style chargers, which don’t draw power then they’re not charging a device, and improved handset recycling programs. But there’s going to be a lot of fluff disguised as environmental action, too. In any case, there are great strides that can be made by handset vendors to make their products a bit more green, beyond simple lip service.

8. Embedded radios in consumer electronics will become much more commonplace.

The Kindle was the tip of the iceberg, as 2008 will see more and more devices featuring built-in mobile/cellular radios. The launch of Sprint’s WiMAX network in the US, as well as others worldwide, will help to drive this; so too will the “open” pledges by various operators, as well as the realization that there’s a significant market for them here if they’re willing to offer manufacturers some new business models.

9. Operators will wake up to the threat of IM and push e-mail to their messaging revenues.

Without question, SMS has been the most successful mobile data service of all time. Traffic continues to grow — but revenues aren’t keeping pace, and they’re under further threat from mobile IM and push e-mail. Forward-thinking operators will take a look at this space, and realize that mobile messaging needs an overhaul, and that a holistic approach combining disparate channels (SMS, e-mail, IM, social networks and so on) is the way forward.

10. “Open” will dominate the discussion in 2008.

This is another gimme: operators will fall all over themselves trying to persuade people that they’re open. Most of this will be BS, but there will be a few operators that actually, truly embrace openness, and they’ll shake up their markets.

So there you have it, ten things that will happen in mobile in 2008. As I said, be sure to leave your own predictions in the comments, or link to them on your own site. Enjoy a happy and safe holidays, and best wishes to everybody in the New Year!

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Convert URLs for easy mobile phone access

DigitlURL is a web service that allows mobile phone users to access internet sites using numeric addresses, rather than traditional URLs. It was launched last month by Melbourner Andrew Gray. LifeHacker reports.

“Numeric addresses can be much easier to enter on phone keypads, particularly if the URL is long and complicated (as they so often are these days).”

You can find some more information at DigitlURL’s blog.

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Spektacle the World’s First QR Magazine

mobile internet

Combining the power of QR (quick response) Codes, mobile Internet, and camera phone, Spektacle is the world’s first magazine to provide readers with fresh contents daily for the next 2 months upon purchase. In their own words, Spektacle bridges the gap between the world of offline and online content.

Published in the UK, this special magazine explores the world of fashion, design, and music. All you have to do is use your camera phone to take shots of QR codes in the magazine and every day the content changes in each QR code for the next 2 months.

mobile internet

Unique Selling Proposition (USP): While a printed magazine goes out of date after one read, Spektacle readers have two months worth of articles to look forward to giving them extra value.

Requirements: To enjoy this wonderful technology, each reader must have a QR reader (it’s free), a camera phone, and mobile Internet to browse the fresh contents. Check this list to see if this will work on your mobile phone.

Price: Each printed magazine costs £15 and the Adobe pdf version is worth £7. While this is more expansive than the famous magazines out there, the pricing is logical considering that readers will get 7 times more content.

See article
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Korea to Combat Mobile Phone Addiction

What would a country ought to do if 90% of the students age 14 to 19 have mobile phones, 38% of that send more than 1,000 text messages per month and 44% are texting even during lectures?

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Well, South Korea is the first country ever to create a program to fight mobile addiction among teenagers. The team up with civic group School Beautiful Movement, Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion (KADO), and SK Telecom aims to teach the youth generation how to properly use mobile phones. According to The Korea Times:

Twelve elementary, middle and high schools were selected for the pilot program Tuesday. “For the next two months, students of these schools will speak about their phone use, discuss the symptoms they experience when they are without a mobile phone, and consider proper use of the phones as consumers,” the member said.

The schools will have cell phone lockers, where students voluntarily put their phones preventing their use during class time.

In a way, mobile phones are the new video games for many people across the world. A deeper study might be needed to assess the negative impact of mobile phones to these teenagers. Perhaps a stricter initiative like cellphone ban during classes will be more appropriate.

Via Engadget Mobile

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About

Cityscape LocativeLab.org is Ronald Lenz's research website on locative & mobile media. This is mostly an archive of blogposts I find inspiring and interesting and an overview of my work. I'm a strategist, technologist and researcher in the field of Location-Based Mobile Services and work at Waag Society, a medialab in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where I head the Locative Media research program and at 7scenes, a platform for GPS games and tours as creative director. Picture 4 Find me at Twitter, LinkedIn or via ronald [at] waag [dot] org.

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