Archive for July, 2007

Cell phones under attack

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Recently in the news there has been a decidedly negative slant to the media’s coverage of cell phones. The following stories have appeared but somehow my take is decidedly different.

Jail time for those that are in an accident where someone was using a cell phone.[Link]
But what about rewards if you can use a cell phone and not get in an accident, perhaps a free iPhone if you can text, talk and drive with your knees.

Cell Phones, kids and schools are a volatile mix. [Link]
Yes because nothing is scarier than a kid with a SideKick walking to school. That swinging screen will put your eye out kid!!

Using your cell phone to bank will invite hackers and identity thieves [Link]
Because we all know that your password is Tinkerbell tough guy

Cell Phones are killing bees…again umm… maybe [Link]
This definitive report confirms nothing except that Killer Bees are out to get us and are the ones creating all this internet buzz

But my favorite is how cell phones in jail are better currency than drugs [Link]
If you are willing to shove a phone up your hoo-haw than you deserve unlimited nights and weekends

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Verizon continues rural expansion

Today Verizon Wireless announced plans to buy Rural Cellular for $757 million to expand their rural market in 15 states. The deal should be approved in the first half of 2008, both companies said, subject to government and stockholder approval. Verizon Communications also announced wireless and wireline earnings of $1.7 billion in the second quarter, up slightly from a year ago, with $23.3 billion in revenues, up 6.3% from the second quarter of 2006.

Last month AT&T announced that it would buy Dobson Communications for $2. 8 billion, in its expansion of its rural network. This seems to continue the trend of the little guys being gobbled up by the big players and all the struggles that come with it are felt by the customers. Having been through two of these with Powertel and Omnipoint mergers where billing errors and grandfathered rate plans created issues that take quite awhile to clean up.

Google and Sprint marriage

Google is set to provide fee web search, interactive communications and social networking tools to Sprint’s next generation WiMax wireless data network. This is yet in another agreement from Google trying to firmly implant their presence into the mobile industry. This along with their interest to take part in the FCC wireless spectrum auction with a minimum required bid of $4.6bn they are determined to be part developer and provider, something that has made them what they are today.

With Sprint spending $3bn to build a nationwide 4G network that will dwarf anything its competition has planned they seem set on dominating the high speed wireless data business before T-Mobile or AT&T even have 3G. No matter the network or company Google has set its sight on on having the best of both worlds but one wonders after they become direct competitors if companies with be so eager to make deals for content.

MSNBC Story

Engadget Link

Launch news: The Sony Ericsson P1i

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Sony Ericsson has launched their 5th generation P-Series that has become synonymous with high end business users. This particular model has virtually everything you could want in a cell phone, with a 3.2 megapixel camera, WiFi, Integrated WLAN and VoIP, a business card scanner, Microsoft Exchange, BlackBerry Connect, Video Calling, and even a VPN client.

Full Feature Set:
Dual function keyboard – full alpha-numeric (e.g. QWERTY)
Exchange ActiveSyncâ„¢ and BlackBerry® Connectâ„¢
Integrated WLAN and VoIP enabled
Business card scanner
2.6” touchscreen with 262,144 colors and a 240×320 display
3.2 megapixel camera with Auto focus
Video recording/streaming/viewing
Mobile TV — H.264 playback
Bluetooth stereo (A2DP)
Media player
512 MB Memory Stick Micro
160 MB User Memory (internal)
FM radio
RSS Feeds
Picture Blogging
Microsoft – Exchange ActiveSyncâ„¢
Research In Motion- BlackBerry Connect
POP3, IMAP4, including IMAP IDLE
Operaâ„¢ Web Browser 8.0
VPN client from Certicom
Bluetooth 2.0
USB 2.0 mass storage
Speakerphone
Sound recorder
Java
Networks: P1c/i: UMTS 2100-GSM/GPRS 900/1800/1900
Talk time GSM/UMTS: Up to 10 hrs/3 hrs 30 min
Standby time GSM/UMTS: Up to 440 hrs/350 hrs
Video call time: Up to 2 hrs
Predictive text input
Handwriting recognition
Transflective Display for bright light conditions
Document editors and readers
VoIP support
WLAN (Wi-Fi 802.11b)
Video Calling

At this time no US wireless carriers are selling this phone, what a shock , but it is available in a couple of different places that will leave you with options as it will be unlocked and have a direct manufacturer warranty. These high end do everything cell phones are still absent in the US and will continue to be that way until we start demanding their availability.

With every launch of a UMTS or 3G handset it will continue to highlight the shortcomings of the GSM providers and their lack of foresight into building out their high speed networks. For once it would be nice to see the US catch up and perhaps even surpass the Europeans in this technologically driven business. Perhaps when speeds reach that of DSL the carriers will learn that many customers could use this service and drop their Internet providers allowing huge revenues to be generated. With everything going wireless these days it sure would make it easier for not only individuals but also businesses that depend on their services to be integrated in a seamless manner.

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Sony Ericsson P1i

Buy it now at CtiNyc

Sony Ericsson Press Release


Apple into the spin zone

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It what seems to contradict some of the news recently that the iPhone hasn’t been as much as a success as anticipated, Apple announced quarterly earnings today that beat street estimates and as a result the stock made up all of yesterdays losses. Even though the Leopard operating system has fallen flat of late the sales of Macs shot up 33% and with posted revenue of $5.41 billion and net quarterly profit of $818 million the company looks as strong as ever.

However when Jobs was asked of the iPhone he responded with ‘We’ve gotten off to a great start. Focus is not on initial sales, but instead a long term business’. This was an odd statement as many believe that reality is just the opposite in the wireless business where a new cell phone is seemingly launched every day. When you hear a CEO using buzzwords like long term then it just might be time to start worrying.

I had previously discussed how Apple has been so successful in terms of marketing, they now seem to be magicians in the category of spin. Recently anytime they are criticized or scrutinized in a negative fashion they bounce back quickly to refute the claim or announce a product or recent success. Case in point today when things were turning negatively in relation to the Jesus phones success and slower than expected sales they announce their higher than expected profits and drown out all criticism. Few wonder why the profits are so high and just think its because of all their recent success, but all that profit just might be from AT&T backing up the Brinks truck for those exclusive rights and next quarter might be a different story. It will be hard to see Apples sales not effected when they are effectively competing with themselves with iPods and iPhones. Why anyone would want both other than for vanity sake would be a mystery.

Mac Rumors Story

Gizmodo’s look at self competition

Direct cell phone sales from Nokia

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In our continuing look at purchasing cell phones from alternative avenues other than your wireless company, we look at Nokia and their new approach to direct sales.

In what is a new business model for Cell Phone manufacturers, Nokia has decided to sell their phones directly to customers via NokiaUSA.com. This change has many hopeful that the industry will follow suit and unlocked phones will be sold on every manufacturer website.

e62.jpgFor example right now you would hard pressed to find Nokia’s answer to the BlackBerry anywhere but they are selling the Nokia E62 directly and even unlocked for $349.99 with free two day shipping.

Feature set Nokia E62:
Remote and local (peer-to-peer) synchronization over Bluetooth technology, IR or data cable
Bluetooth wireless technology 2.022
HTML browsing with Nokia Browser1,2,12
EGPRS (Class B, MSC 10)1,15
GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) Multislot Class 101,15
GSM Circuit-Switched Data up to 14.4 and 43.2 (HSCSD) kbps
320 x 240 pixel active matrix display with up to 16 million colors
Support for personal and business email accounts such as POP, IMAP (with idle) and SMTP1
Supports third party email clients: Good Mobile Messaging, BlackBerry Connect, Nokia Intellisync Wireless Email, Mail for Exchange (Microsoft ActiveSync) and Xpress Mail 1
Attachments viewers and editors support the most common features of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel (Microsoft Office 97, 2000, XP and 2003). Compatible with Zip Manager and Adobe Reader
Instant Messaging client (Yahoo, AOL, OMA)1
SMS distribution list
Email LED indicator, vibrate and tones to alert you of new email
Full messaging keyboard for easy text and data input

n95sm.jpgNext is the best camera phone ever produced, the Nokia N95 and it sells for a cool $749.00.

Nokia N95 Feature Set:
5 megapixel (2592 x 1944 pixels) with DVD like quality camera, Carl Zeiss optics, Tessar lens, MPEG-4 VGA video capture of up to 30 fps
GPS mapping
Large 2.6″ QVGA (240 x 320 pixels) TFT display with ambient light detector and up to 16 million colors
Data WCDMA 2100 (HSDPA) with simultaneous voice and packet data (PS max speed UL/DL= 384/3.6MB, CS max speed 64kbps)
Up to 5 megapixel
S60 software on Symbian OS
Speaker independent name dialing (SIND)
Integrated hands-free speaker
Voice recorder
Talking ringtones

Why are they doing this? Because they are the dominant Cell Phone manufacturer in the world but have had a hard time dominating the US market and maybe this is a way to shake up the way things are done. It seems that their products are too advanced for our market and only the basic models are sold through US Wireless Companies. Hopefully when all these companies get their collective acts together and we start seeing the HDSPA that we should have existed last year this trend will change and we just might start to catch up to the rest of the world…..but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Apple iPhone sales lower than expected

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When the iPhone launched many analysts predicted up to 500,000 units being sold the first weekend, however reality set in today when the real numbers were announced by AT&T and that number was about 146,000 customers. This caused Apple’s stock to tumble more than 3% and some people are now saying that with the numbers announced and how available the iPhone seems to be all across the country that it might not be the sales powerhouse that at one point it was destined to be.

Speculations is that a lot of customers were hesitant because of the fact that AT&T doesn’t have a high speed network so download speeds wouldnt be capable of handling what the actual device was intended for. Not to mention in recent days there has been a lot of negative stories about the iPhone, for instance a bug report that detailed over 68 problems with the software emerged from AppleHound , even though some don’t think its a problem due to it being an all new device I beg to differ as I never heard these kind of issues with RIM’s BlackBerry or even Motorola’s BlackJack.

Some of the bugs seem to be troubling as fuctions as simple as the clock and the calendar can cause the device to crash or freeze. Add this to the battery problems and the newly announced security issue where a hacker could take complete control of the device remotely using its internet connection by installing a piece of malicious code via its Safari internet browser. Add all of this with the fact that more than a few sources are questioning the security of the device and this could spell trouble for not only Apple but for AT&T which reportedly shelled out big bucks for the exclusive rights to sell the Jesus Phone.

Sales Figures

Hack Story

The LG Prada Phone, HTC Advantage, and Sony Ericsson K800i

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We continue our look today at alternative ways to buy the cell phone of your dreams without having to sign a contract.

Expansys has been around for a few years and generally caters to the gotta have it now customers for whom price isn’t that big of a concern. However with the cell phones evolution into a status symbol more and more people are looking not just for the newest and greatest wireless product but for that elusive European phone that will never come across the pond. The sole purpose of which is to make all your friends green with envy.

Imagine the next time your at the mall and suddenly see a group from a nearby senior center all sporting the Jesus Phone with a holster that mounts right on their scooter. Suddenly that $600 investment doesn’t seem so cool anymore and it reminds you of the time your little kid sister asked to borrow your Metallica CD and it immediately made you question your belief system.

And that is why there is a huge demand for exclusivity and companies like Expansys are filling that void with the U.S. version of their popular U.K. site called Mobile Planet. It has virtually any phone you’ve heard of and a whole plethora of those that you haven’t.

sony-k800i-sm.jpgLooking for a camera phone? Well how about the Sony Ericsson K800i Cyber-shot that sports a 3.1 mega-pixel camera with Autofocus and PictBridge technology.

htc-advantage-sm.jpgA Smart Phone? Try the HTC Advantage on for size with it’s Tri-band HSDPA/UMTS, Quad band GSM/GPRS, a 624 MHz Processor, 128MB of RAM, and a 8GB HDD. Not to mention a massive 5” Touch Sensitive TFT LCD with LED backlight. As well as inbuilt GPS plus TomTom NAVIGATOR 6 and full detachable keyboard.

prada-sm.jpgName recognition? Try the LG Prada phone that looks every bit as stylish as the iPhone but adds a 3″ electro-conductivity LCD touch screen display with a stunning 320 x 480 pixel resolution, in addition to a 2 mega-pixel camera with Schneider-Kreuznach optics.

However you do have to pay for all the goodies and some of the markups are surprisingly high but thats the price you pay for unlocked, unlaunched, and un-frickin-believable wireless phone technology.

GSM Arena Sony Ericsson K800i Review

CNET HTC Advatage Review

Mobile Burn LG Prada Review

Info and images courtesy of eXpansys

HP iPAQ 510 Voice Messenger

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This week at Content Quake we will be looking at alternatives to the standard of getting new cell phones directly through your cellphone provider.

Ultimately it costs about $1000 for a wireless company to get you to sign the initial contract on the dated line, so these companies have a lot of leeway in how much they will give you to stay as their customer. If you are not on a contract you are in the perfect position to get yourself a free or highly discounted phone, of course you will have to sign yet another contract to get anything like this. Sometimes its in your best interest to keep your options open and purchase a phone outside the system of contracts (see iPhone).

First up is a virtual do all phone from Hewlett Packard, the HP Ipaq 510 Voice Messenger Quad band GSM, WiFi (allowing Skype) and Windows Mobile 6.0 which allows for a huge amount of programs and flexibility. But most important this phone can be had for $319.99 right now, no contracts and hassle with warranties and who actually owns your phone.

  • • TI OMAP 850 processor (200MHz)
  • • Windows Mobile 6.0
  • • 64MB SDRAM, 128MB Flash ROM
  • • Integrated WiFi (802.11b/g) with WPA2 security, Bluetooth wireless technology
  • • Integrated Quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE wireless radio with automatic band transition
  • • 2″ micro-reflective TFT screen with LED backlight
  • • Micro SD slot
  • • 1100 mAh battery
  • • One-year limited warranty

  • CNET Review

    HP Shopping


Motorola’s First WiFi Phone

It looks as though Motorola is finally getting on the WiFi bandwagon with an update to the Motorola MOTORIZR Z3. The code name is Marco and and would be a perfect companion with T-Mobile’s @Home service but those who know how little importance T-Mobile seems to put on getting phone exclusives it is highly doubtful that this will be on the Get More Network anytime soon. One thing is for sure, they need to get a device that will attract new and high end users and so far that just isn’t the case.

Boy Genius Gallery

Engadget