"'The FCC has done it again: Motorola has now received approval for its new A920 tri-band GSM/GPRS/UMTS phone which runs on Symbian OS, sports GPS, and has a digital camera.
Although Motorola has previously experimented extensively with various solutions to enable advanced functionality in it's mobile devices, a recent decision to use Linux in its new A760 smartphone caused a bit of a stir. The decision rapidly lead to speculations as to whether Motorola would remain dedicated to Symbian consortium for which it was a founding member - but the latest turn of events are sure put an end to those speculations."
Superb! Finally a Symbian phone with integrated GPS. This could be the perfect moblogging device.
Plasticbag.org points to The Web's favourite colour project for which you, "take a photo of your favourite colour with your camera phone and send it via MMS to firstname.lastname@example.org. Then behind the scenes, the colours in the photo are completely averaged out, creating a representation of your colour that can be given a hex value. All the colours sent in are averaged out and the background of the page comes gradually to represent the web's favourite colour..."
Absolutely the most brilliantly inventive use I've yet seen for MMS ;-)
"The SX1, the first Siemens smartphone with the “Series 60” software platform based on the open operating system Symbian OS is suitable for global use thanks to its triband functionality (GSM 900/1800/1900). The SX1 also has an integrated camera for taking photos and making short video clips. A high-resolution color display with more than 64,000 colors, an MP3 music player, FM radio, Bluetooth and GPRS round out the feature list of the SX1."
Well the SX1 certainly seems like an incrementally better phone than my Nokia 3650. It annoys me every now and again that I have to listen to MP3 in mono, and therefore don't bother with it much. I think it definitely makes sense to converge all the audio in my life into one device and the SX1 seems to have most of it covered - voice calls, audio messages (MMS), voice memos, MP3s and radio. Very nice indeed.
Motorola Inc., the world's second largest cellular phone maker, reportedly plans to launch by the end of the year a handset running Microsoft Corp. software, giving the latter company a much-needed helping hand in a nascent market.
Microsoft is far behind rival Symbian Ltd. in penetrating the market for so-called smartphones, handsets capable of downloading sophisticated games and other software, while also providing Internet access, email, instant messaging and other features.
Motorola is expected to be the first of the top five handset makers to launch a mobile phone based on Microsoft software, Reuters newswire reported Thursday. Taiwan-based contract manufacturer Chi Mei Communications Systems will make the handset.
A Motorola spokeswoman declined comment, saying, "We don't comment on rumors or speculation."
"Electric Pocket says that it is working with Handspring to develop a standards compliant MMS solution for the Treo 600 smartphone. Handspring's new MMS application, which will be based upon Electric Pocket's popular Pixer MMS foundation, will enable carriers that sell the Treo 600 to offer powerful MMS capabilities to their customers."
This report by Richard Tee at the University of Amsterdam "focuses on the mobile internet in Japan and Europe. It investigates why mobile internet has developed along different paths, whereby different industrial configurations are regarded as crucial. The Japanese mobile internet can be characterized by operator initiated and controlled mobile internet services, whereas the mobile internet in Europe is more diffused. Here we see competition between protocol based (e.g. SMS, MMS, WAP), service based (Vodafone Live, i-mode Europe) and platform based (Microsoft Smartphone, Symbian/Series 60) approaches. The research is based on an extensive literature study, as well as over 25 interviews with people working in the mobile internet industry in both Europe and Japan."
Looks promising so I'm downloading it now and will comment later.
"Smartphone sales are being driven sky high as people upgrade to handsets featuring digital cameras.
Sales of smartphones have increased by almost 250 per cent since last year. People have upgraded their handsets because manufacturers have found a "killer application" - the digital camera, according to research firm Canalys."
"They agreed on the basic concept of mutual cooperation about software development and new, future market generation," said Samsung spokeswoman Seung Youn Kim. The informal discussions did not include any specific agreements but did lay the ground for more formal arrangements to be reached in the future in areas including operating system and application design.
Also included in the talks was the possibility of joint development of the market for smart phones, said Kim. In countries with high penetration of cellular telephones, companies like Nokia and Samsung are turning to advanced devices such as smart phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants) to help increase sales, and growing this market will help both companies, Kim said."
"TELSTRA is launching the first part of its Rugby World Cup marketing campaign this weekend with a television campaign to coincide with the Bledisloe Cup.
Telstra chief of marketing Holly Kramer said access to mobile content would change the way consumers accessed sporting information.
'"A customer using Telstra’s networks will not only be able to receive scores, match summaries, news and statistics via SMS, WAP and MMS, but also will be able to see moving pictures with sound. Depending on where our customers are, they could do this from their office, sitting on a bus or riding in the train," Kramer said."
"O2 Ireland said that it had finally inked an MMS interoperability deal with Vodafone Ireland, which should allow customers of rival telecoms to send picture messages to each another by September. O2 admitted that some technical snags meant the deal 'was not a perfect arrangement,' but these should be worked out by year's end. One such glitch will prevent O2 customers from sending MMS messages over 30KB in size to Vodafone Ireland customers. "
Unbelievable! This is so stupid it's absolutely hilarious. The average user doesn't even know what the word 'interoperability' means. As if it wasn't bad enough trying to explain to him previously that MMS doesn't yet work like SMS where you can just send it to anyone and they'll get it, now you have to explain to him that, yes, he can now send MMS to anyone, but, ..... well.... he has to make sure it's 30kb or less in size. "Excuse me? 30 kwhats? How big is that? How do I know how big my MMS is?"
Here's an example of the kind of video content I think matches the usage pattern of mobile phones better than any episodes of Friends or The Simpsons.
"A collection of the best "caught on camera" action is now available to mobile phone users with a new service launched today by Logogo.com. Users of Nokia 7650, Nokia 3650 and Sony Ericsson P800 mobiles can go to wap.logogo.com to download the videos. UK users simply text go funnyvids to 89080 and are automatically directed by Bango.net to our wap where you download the video funnies."
Many of them are home videos capturing an amusing incident in "You've been Framed" or "Jackass" style. You can see the stunt trick that goes wrong, over-enthusiastic work mates doing their workout and the cat that thinks it's tail is an alien. The videos, complete with full sound, are approximately 15 seconds long and cost £1.50 each.
The first thing that occured to me is what kind of vetting procedure, if any, is in place for these videos? If one of my friends captures me falling off a bar stool after having one too many and uploads it without my knowledge to one of these services, is the whole world going to be able to laugh at my misfortune ;-)
Regardless, I think these amusing shorts are ideal for mobile consumption. In fact I find myself more inclined to review the 'home movie' clips in my 16Mb MMC 'library' than any commercial videos on my phone. I regularly flick through a dozen or so such clips during commuting or queuing or other such 'downtime'. While I find it difficult to concentrate on longer videos in a busy, dynamic and public environment (such as a doctor's waiting room) 10 second clips are ideal as quick time fillers.
But there's another factor at play here. Home video clips have an emotional connect that's completely missing from commercial fare. With a home video what I see on screen is only a very small part of the story. Because I captured the clips myself I can remember the context in which they were shot. I can recall the atmosphere around the event, what took place off-screen, what happened before and after 'the shoot'. All these memories are evoked by playing back that one short clip. So, while someone else might see no value in them at all, no amusement or entertainment value, I, myself, am momentarily transported to a place in my memory where emotions are fired that never would be touched by an episode of Friends.
Joi Ito expresses similar ideas in a very cogent post from his blog relating to micro-content trends. He immediately nails it in the paragraph entitled "Content instead of Context" -
"Attention is moving from commercially produced content to dynamic or contextual content. An example of this is the shift of Japanese youth spending from CD purchasing to karaoke to cell phone messaging. CDs let you passively consume content produced by companies. Karaoke is more interactive - you are part of the content. With Cell phone messaging, the customer creates the content. From a copyright viewpoint, CDs are strongly protected. Karaoke is less protected and usually licensed in bulk, and messaging has very few copyright issues. With 20 million camera phones in Japan alone, text messaging is adding photo sharing, making conversations look more and more like content publishing. Small morsels of content, created by users and shared is called micro-content, as opposed to expensive commercially produced and protected content"
"This battle will intensify over time as Microsoft vigilantly tries to have OEM deals and Nokia tries to convince other OEMs to use its Series 60 platform, along with Symbian OS," said Vora [Kenil Vora, an analyst with Allied Business Intelligence]"
"The Nokia-supported Symbian operating system will continue to be used by equipment makers providing handsets to individuals, whereas Microsoft's mobile platform for Smartphones will be preferred by enterprise users, said Vora."
Hmmm, they must never have heard of the Nokia Communicator then ;-)
"Entitled Urban Freestyle and available on Vodafone live! from the end of July, it will be the first ever mobile game to be available prior to the retail release of the console game. In addition Vodafone live! customers will be able to reveal cheat codes on their handset game that will unlock exclusive areas in the console game.
Under the agreement, Urban Freestyle will be available in 12 countries from the end of July 2003, prior to the game launch at the end of September 2003. The game is being developed to support a range of Vodafone live! handsets, including the Sharp GX10, Sharp GX10i, Sharp GX20, Nokia 7650 and Nokia 3650."
Mitch Kapor's is finding the email functionality of the Nokia 3650 a bit of a frustration. "Pretty obviously, the problem isn't with me, other than being impatient; the problem is with bad design and poor communication. Before I can critique it, I have to understand it."
With Repligo, "virtually any document you have on your PC can be transferred to your mobile device while maintaining the document’s original look and feel. This includes Microsoft® Office documents, Adobe® PDF files, Web pages and hundreds of other formats. Once on your device, documents can easily be viewed, printed, and shared with others using the supplied RepliGo Viewer."
RepliGo Viewer has several views to help you navigate and read your document easily. The views are listed below.
1. Whole Page: Shows the document’s entire page and retains the document’s original look and formatting
2. Full Screen: Shows the document in the current view while maximizing screen area by eliminating the status panel and navigation bar
3. Zoom: Shows the document zoomed in to a specific area of the page
4. Flowed: Shows the document by “reflowing” or re-wrapping the document to fit the screen size and optimizing the text to a comfortable reading size
5. Rotation: Shows the document rotated 90 degrees left or right which is useful with PowerPoint slides, wide Excel spreadsheets, etc.
How well does it work? Very well indeed. In particular 'flowed' view does an excellent job of making webpage text readable on a small screen by intelligently wrapping it according to the level of zoom you choose.
I used to save webpages to text format so that I could zap them onto the phone using bluetooth and view them on the go with ReadM, but now I just replicate them and go with Repligo :-)