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Watching the evolution of MMS camera phones and the Symbian OS for the purpose of Moblogging.



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wSaturday, July 05, 2003

Siemens unveils MC60 camera phone [infoSync World]

And with a name like 'MC60' you'd be forgiven for thinking it was based on Series 60 but of course it's not. The keypad is probably it's most remarkable feature with what looks like a cross between the rotary style of the Nokia 3650 and a regular layout. Weird.

"As Siemens' first camera phone, the MC60 places a heavy emphasis on picture messaging as it aims to let users capture and send images with only two clicks. "

posted by James at 8:28 AM

wFriday, July 04, 2003

Brilliant games download site for Mobile phone users

I don't often mention games on this blog but when I come across something as brilliant as MyPhoneGames.co.uk I can hardly keep my mouth shut now can I?

This new model of instant gratification via over the air downloads is going to be addictive for far too many people. Especially with prices so low -

"Mobile phone games delivered instantly. Simply choose a java game, pay for it using our 24 hour order line. We'll send you a WAP bookmark from where you download the game and play over and over again! Games cost between £4.50 and £6.75p!"

Excellent stuff.

posted by James at 1:42 PM


i-mode outperforms Vodafone live! in the Netherlands?

Telecom.paper: "After five months the number of live!-customers is estimated to be approximately 50,000 in the Netherlands, much better than i-mode after five months in terms of percentage as well as in subscriber base numbers. KPN however was able to boost i-mode sales between the fifth and eighth month. At the end of June 2003, Vodafone live! is present in the Netherlands also for eight months, but is estimated to sell far less."

Um, ok. So it looks like my sweeping generalisation that i-mode will ultimately be overtaken by MMS across the whole of Europe may have been a little too sweeping!

posted by James at 1:28 PM

wThursday, July 03, 2003

The New York Times covers camera phones...

... and the only reasonable nugget of insight from the articleis this -

"People may not always carry a camera, but if they have a cellphone, they tend to take it with them every time they leave home. "

Yes, it's obvious as hell but a point that bears repeating nevertheless. Just think of all the times in your life you've opined - "Gosh, if I only had a camera on me now" - and you can imagine how things change when you allways have one on you. Not only that, but it's a camera that allows you to instantly share that special moment you've captured with anyone who cares.

posted by James at 6:48 PM


New camera phones with novel features

picturephoning.com points to stories about interesting variations on the theme of camera phones. It seems that just as the line between PDA and Smartphone has blurred so too, now, is the line between Smart/Camera phone and Digital Camera. Blurred....... get it........... ;-)

posted by James at 3:58 PM

wWednesday, July 02, 2003

MyOrigo smartphone - is it real?

The Register: "Switch MyDevice on, and all similarities to the 7650 - and other cameraphones or smartphones, for that matter - end. What distinguishes MyOrigo's product from the rest is its unique user interface. It's not quite as clever as the company suggests, but it's no less impressive for all that, and we think it's going to win friends and influence people when it comes to market toward the end of the year. "

Go read the rest of the article. This looks like an amazing product!

posted by James at 6:44 PM


Koreans to mandate audible camera phone snapping?

It really is amusing to observe how a radical new fusion of technologies, such as is manifest in camera phones, has governements all over the world scrambling to keep up. Take this story from Korea for instance -

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition):: "Huh Un-na, a ruling Millennium Democratic Party member on the Assembly's Science, Technology, Information and Telecommunications committee said that the party plans to submit a bill mandating that cameraphones be designed to emit a loud noise when photos are taken. The noise would alert people in public that their picture might have been taken. "

One has to wonder where it will all end? Will camera phones just be banned alltogether?? [via 3gportal.com]

posted by James at 11:28 AM

wTuesday, July 01, 2003

Siemens SX1 side keys offer new control options?

Wireless Developer Network: "The side keys also open up some new possibilities for developers. The majority of the keys are adjacent to the screen creating the possibility of using the number keys in a direct way to control applications something which would have been impossible with a standard keyboard. "

Bloody terrific isn't it,.... not! When, at last, we have an excellent and common smartphone platform for developers, in Series 60, the manufacturers insist in screwing it all up by encouraging the development of applications 'taking advantage of' their unique, eccentric and ultimately pointless, keypad designs.

posted by James at 10:06 PM


Heavy GPRS data users get flat rate from Vodafone - but not roaming!:

Guy Kewney's got the lowdown on the new pseudo flat-rate GRPS tariff from Vodafone UK -

"The new one is "Mobile Connect Complete" for a flat rate of £45.00 a month. If you use GPRS all the time, this is the one for you; there are no surplus charges, and you can't be charged more than the flat rate."

"Or... can you? Well, yes. First, there's a "fair usage policy" - if you go over 150 MB in a month, they'll ask you to pay a whole £1 per MB charge for every megabyte thereafter.

Don't you just love this definition of flat-rate? 'All you can eat' as long as you've got a controllable appetite!

posted by James at 9:41 PM


Vodafone: Services, not technology, will fuel growth

"The focus on service, though, will require some changes -- a major one being the relationship between operator and handset manufacturer, he said. 'In this new era of services, handsets are gateways to network services,' he [Geitner] said. 'Increasingly, operators will require devices that have specific functions and user interfaces for customers to access and use network services more easily. Such is the case with the handsets we launched with Live! And this is only the beginning.'"

Oh God, no.... please..... you mean they plan more?

"In the future, Vodafone plans to become active much sooner in the development of new handsets to help coordinate their functionality with network services and content, according to the board member. Although Vodafone intends to continue working with Nokia, one of the widely branded handset manufacturers in the industry, the U.K.-based operator will do so in line with its new gateway strategy, according to Geitner. 'We're going to see more handsets coming from the same manufacturers that look different because of operators' individual requirements,' he said. 'The relationship between operators and handset manufacturers is going to change dramatically.' "

Be afraid.... be very afraid......

posted by James at 9:31 PM


Nokia 7650 has faster J2ME than 3650?!?

Tom Hume points to a J2ME benchmarking site and observes how strange it is to see that the 7650 is faster than the newer 3650!!

posted by James at 1:32 PM


O2 MMS customer base doubles in just two months [via netImperative]

"O2 Active has more than 60,000 users and 580,000 customers with compatible handsets to allow them to access Active's services - which include ringtones, MMS, games, music, video, information and pictures - via a colour icon driven menu."

"O2's MMS user base has almost doubled since the beginning of May, to 180,000, while the amount of Java games purchased to date has surpassed the 500,000 mark, compared with 278,000 as reported at the end of March."

Yip, there's lots of momentum behind MMS now and we're no doubt seeing the network effect kicking in whereby people are buying MMS handsets just to be able to receive MMS messages from friends and associates.

posted by James at 1:26 PM


MMS pricing and real profit models (Loud Thinking)

Loud Thinking weighs in with their own theories on MMS pricing -

"The telcos are doing a perfectly natural thing in the face of unknown market demand: Testing the waters. Starting MMS pricing at a premium allows them to lower it over time without consumer backlash (everyone hates prices that goes up) and gauge the changes in demand as they incrementally adjust the rates (demand/usage went up by 10% when the price went down 5%). "

"It's research time. The telcos are well aware that they haven't cornered the demand curve yet, but they're narrowing it down. They're experimenting while the market is going through it's infancy. This should ensure that they know all there is to know about milking this calf once it turns into a cash cow."

posted by James at 1:22 PM

wMonday, June 30, 2003

MMS doing well in India
MMS: Saying it with pictures - The Economic Times: "For a service, which is not more than six months old (apart from BPL, which had launched the service late last year), 4,000-5,000 messages are being sent per day per operator."

posted by James at 9:21 PM


Fastap Keypad Review [MobileBurn]

Michael Oryl get's fairly excited about this innovative new keyboard for mobile phones but I have to wonder what all the fuss is about when it's still an alphabetic layout. I can't imagine it being any quicker than T9. That's why I'll wait for the portable Targus keyboard I mentioned a few days ago.

posted by James at 6:11 PM


Flexis keyboard for Smartphones [via Gizmodo]

"A new flexible, waterproof keyboard for Orange's SPV and SPV E100 Smartphones that can roll up and fit in your pocket."

posted by James at 3:21 PM


File sharing goes analog (and mobile)

According to the BBC News more and more Japanese are using their camera phones for 'digital shoplifting'. The phenomenon is particularly acute in magazine stores where young Japanese women are taking quick snaps of new fashions and sending them off to friends for consultation.

It's like an extension of regular digital P2P file sharing where they're doing the digital sampling themselves. And the publishers reaction is as sadly predictable as ever -

"The Japanese Magazine Publishers Association says the practice is "information theft" and it wants it stopped."

Call me naieve but isn't this kind of file sharing much more likely to lead to EXTRA sales of the real thing, than the all out file sharing we see on Kazaa. Afterall the photos are but tiny samples of the full product and act like a viral advertisement when passed on from one interested party to another.

Seth Godin is one of the most clued-in marketers I've ever read and his "Unleashing the Ideavirus" manifesto would label such kneejerk reaction as clueless. Indeed, he'd probably advise the publishers to take the completely opposite approach and print something like the following in large font on the front cover - "Please feel free to send photo samples to your friends!".

(This was another great link spotted on the Mobitopia IRC channel)

posted by James at 3:15 PM


Camera phones contribute to Little Brother society?

The Nokia 3650 plays a starring role in this article about the growing phenomenon of personal surveillance empowered by cheap and ubiquitous video cameras.

"It used to be that you thought only the state had the power and technology to do surveillance. But now that’s democratized. It could be your neighbor, your relative", he [Howard Rheingold] said.

"We’re being spied on all the time", [Paul] Saffo said. Not only are we spying on each other, we’re spying on ourselves. And we’re all going to discover that we’ve all become unwitting stars of our own really boring reality TV program."

I've pointed out before that this will happen where we (half) consciously direct it ourselves. But what happens when we're just innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire a thousand everday personal videoblogs. If we were to take it to a ridiculous extreme for a moment and imagine that everyone using a mobile phone was automatically capturing video during their daily urban trek and blogging that video for sharing with friends and family (and remember I'm imagining a day far off where image quality, storage and bandwitdh are non-issues). Will Google supplant their 'images' tab with a 'video' one and allow us collate all videoblogs that caught Joe Soap's face today? Hmmmm.....

posted by James at 1:08 PM


Microsoft's Second Assault on Smartphones [BusinessWeek online]

"A slew of service providers have just signed up to introduce Windows-based smartphones, which offer the traditional Windows look as well as access to Microsoft applications."

And that's exactly where the problem lies - approaching smartphones with an 'applications' mindset. Sure, applications are fine but mobiles will allways be about 'communication' and those manufacturers who come from a communications tradition (eg. Nokia) understand this.

Carriers see some advantages in going with Microsoft. Some Windows-based smartphones don't carry the brands of cell-phone manufacturers, so the service providers can put their own names on the devices. That's a major selling point at a time when competition between wireless-service providers seems to ratchet up daily, so every bit of differentiation counts. Plus, such branding can improve a carrier's name recognition with customers and boost retention."

Damned fools! Since when was it a wise business move to offer your customers second best just so that you could stamp your silly brand in their face? I'm not going to buy second rate light bulbs just because they've got my power company's ugly logo on them, am I? Grrrrrrr....

posted by James at 12:57 PM


Vodafone seals UK audio-content deal with RealNetworks [from ZDNet UK]

"The deal allows Vodafone to use RealNetworks' media-playback technology for its Vodafone Live service. The cellular company plans to deliver media content encoded in technology from RealNetworks, among others, to subscribers in Europe by the beginning of next year. Vodafone will initially offer these features on Nokia's Series 60-based phones, according to a RealNetworks representative."

"Mobile phones play a much more important role with consumers outside of the US and Canada than do PCs," Dan Sheeran, vice president of marketing at RealNetworks, said.

How true, how true. I've been managing a web community of more than 5,000 members for the last 3 years, where the membership is fairly evenly broken down between US, Australasia and Europe. Each year it's becoming more and more apparent that growth will stagnate if we don't move 'beyond the desktop'. Therefore we're currenlty adding two-way SMS features and will, as soon as possible, start adding MMS funtionality.

posted by James at 8:45 AM

wSunday, June 29, 2003

Orange say no to 3650 (?)

Can anyone confirm these rumours posted on All About Symbian? Apparently Orange have found too many faults with the phone. Strange.....

posted by James at 5:07 PM


Tennis update streams [via NetImperative]
"Sportinglife.com, the ukbetting-owned sports portal, has teamed up with mobile services firm Bango.net to provide users with live updates and images from Wimbledon streamed to their mobile phones, so long as they own a Nokia 7650 or 3650"

posted by James at 3:08 PM