Locative Lab

researching locative media

China Mobile Stats

xin_16050322113661720531.jpg Some mobile stats from China Mobile via FierceMobile Content:

— China Mobile subscribers sent 607.1 billion text messages in 2008, up more than 100 billion over the operator’s 2007 SMS totals.

— According to China Mobile, its subscriber count is now closing in on the 464 million mark–in all, China boasts about 650 million mobile subscribers nationwide.

— China Mobile customers purchased 76 million full-track music downloads in 2008.

— Another 41.5 million paid for mobile newspaper content, up a third over 2007 totals–the carrier now offers 110 different news periodicals.

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70% of mobile users don’t download apps

Over 70 per cent of mobile phone users have never downloaded an application to their mobile device, according to a recent survey, reports TechRadar.

quotemarksright.jpgVoIP specialist Skype published the data this week from the recent Zogby survey of over 3000 mobile phone users in the US, Japan, Spain and the UK which it claims shows a major discrepancy.

Highlights of the findings include:

– 62% do not yet view their mobile device as an extension of their computer.

– Only 23% feel that they have more or the same level of control over their mobile device as they have over their computer.

– 67% want to be able to choose their mobile applications for themselves, rather than have their carriers choose for them.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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Apple iPhone OS Update Includes Copy/Paste and MMS

iphoneos.gif Apple on Tuesday revealed a number of details about its upcoming iPhone 3.0 OS during a meeting at its Cupertino headquarters, including the long-awaited addition of cut, copy, and paste. PCMag reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAlso in the list of long-awaited features is the addition of MMS support, which lets users send and receive multimedia files like pictures and audio over the cell network. Audio messages can be captured using the new Voice Memo feature.

Another big addition came in the form of Spotlight, a universal search of sorts for the phone, which lets users search across multiple apps, including calendar, mail, and iTunes. Users can search for contacts, appointments, and songs across the proprietary iPhone applications.

Apple also introduced a feature that no doubt pleased the developers in the room: In-App Purchase. The feature appears to users as a pop-up in the middle of an app, prompting them to purchase an expansion for the application, such as more levels in a video game or further chapters of an e-book

Also new on the gaming front was the addition of peer-to-peer connectivity. The feature scans for iPhones in the area and lets users play against one another on different handsets. The feature works via Bluetooth, negating the need for WiFi and pairing.

Read full report.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Watch Apple’s preview of iPhone 0S 3.0 sofftware.

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Barcodes to store videos

cc.20070101qr450.jpg Scientists have developed what they claim are new barcodes big enough to hold images or video which can then be downloaded by camera phones. The India Times reports.

quotemarksright.jpg A team at Edith Cowan University in Australia is looking for a way out for multimedia data to be stored in barcodes and retrieved with a mobile phone camera snapshot, allowing software such as ringtones to be “downloaded” from mediums like magazines.

They have named it the Mobile Multi-Colour Composite (MMCC) 2D-Barcode, the media reported.

Lead scientist Dr Alfred Tan said, “The MMCC is a colour 2D barcode designed for storing high capacity data on printed media and displays, tailor made for camera mobile phone applications.

“Using the MMCC, the user can retrieve digital content to their camera mobile phone directly from the barcode by capturing an image of the barcode and decoding it on their mobile.”

According to the scientists, by taking a photo of the barcode, users can download complex information, such as videos, voice recordings or text, directly to their mobile — this information will be transferred to the mobile regardless of whether it is connected to the Internet or a mobile.

“The system is particularly suited for use in areas with limited Internet access. The MMCC can encode and store multimedia content such as ring tones, video clips and games, so that these can be delivered to any camera mobile phones anywhere without the need for mobile connectivity.

“It could also encode and store multimedia tourism contents in foreign languages so that tourists with a camera mobile phone can listen to the commentary at remote tourist sites, without the need to read English,” Dr Tan said.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Image from Eurotechnology.

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Pattie Maes & Pranav Mistry: Unveiling the “Sixth Sense,” game-changing wearable tech

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Personal Telemetry: Streetlighting by Cellphone

Wow – this is the kinda whacky project that my old colleagues at France Telecom R&D used to be ridiculed for – using a cellphone as your ‘remote control for life’.

The town of Germany’s Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz has recently reduced its streetlighting energy costs by a quarter, simply by switching all lighting off by default and allowing citizens of the town to light individual units with a phone call.

The innovative civic infrastructure requires users to register their cellphone, then simply enter a shortcode identifying the area this wish to light up…these identifiers are ironically posted on nearby street lights!

Well, my old FT buddies were waaay ahead of their time and this project ‘lights the way’ for countless other great applications of cellphone telemetry. Interestingly, in the labs we focussed on providing telemetry for a person’s home, rather than their civic environment. I guess, as a society, we’re more sensitised to the inclusion of the ‘crowd‘ and social applications with shared trust than we were in 2002.

The project sets a great precedent for the cellphone as a passive trigger for various civic services that personalise themselves to citizens as they move through an area, providing a digital bubble that connects them silently with their community.

I can’t wait to see what the residents of Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz do with their Christmas lights later this year…some innovative public light shows perhaps?

Read more at Treehugger or a short video at BBC News

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Google Maps sightings

Giant Baby Found on Google Maps

The Sun newspaper may have claimed to have found Atlantis on Google Maps but Google Sightseeing have found what is clearly the baby of a giant in Google Street View (OK it’s more fuzzy than clear).

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Ex-Taliban diplomat hooked on his iPhone

mullah2_wideweb__470x382%2C2.jpg Mullah Abdul Salaam Zaeef is a former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan. He spent almost four years in Guantanamo. He wears a black turban, has a thick beard – and is never without his Apple iPhone. The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe ultra-conservative Taliban banned modern technology like the Internet and TV during its harsh 1996-2001 rule, but those items have boomed in Afghanistan since the regime’s 2001 ouster, helping to bring the country into the 21st century.

Zaeef, who reconciled with the Afghan government after being released from U.S. custody, says he uses his iPhone to surf the internet and find difficult locations, employing the built-in GPS. He even checks his bank account balance online.

It’s easy and modern and I love it,” Zaeef said as he pinched and pulled his fingers across the iPhone’s touch screen last week. “This is necessary in the world today. People want to progress.”quotesmarksleft.jpg

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iPhone Pushes Mobile Gaming To $5.4 Billion

Thanks to smartphones like Apple’s iPhone 3G, mobile gaming rose 20% and hit $5.4 billion in 2008, according to a new report from Jupiter Research. Information Week reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe report said overall game downloads were flat in the U.S. and Western European markets, but volumes rose in developing markets like India and China. While Java-based games saw a steep decline, those volumes were offset by a sharp increase of iPhone game downloads.

… The report also said that more than half of games downloaded by 2012 will be funded by advertising.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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Venezuela to launch “El Vergatario”, world’s cheapest cell phone

According to IOL, Venezuela is to start selling a cellphone in May that’s billed as one of the world’s cheapest: a $14 handset that includes an MP3 player, radio and camera.

quotemarksright.jpgPresident Hugo Chavez unveiled the phone – named “El Vergatario” – on Thursday.

… Other cheap handsets are being developed around the world aimed at the huge market of poorer consumers unable to afford the iPhones and Nokias favored in wealthier countries.

India already has a device it calls the “people’s phone” sold at around the same price as El Vergatario.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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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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