The public health issue of mobile phones

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A award winning neurosurgeon who has published dozens of scientific papers, reviewed 100 studies on the effects of mobile phones and concluded “it is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking.” He advises “people should avoid using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone industry must take immediate steps to reduce exposure to their radiation.”

The study by Dr Vini Khurana, is a devastating blow to the mobile industry as he is very well respected and not prone to wild predictions for the purpose of self promotion. He goes beyond warnings and demands that action needs to be taken to avoid a serious health crisis “there is a significant and increasing body of evidence for a link between mobile phone usage and certain brain tumors.” He also notes that “malignant brain tumors are a life-ending diagnosis.”

Mobile Operators Association spokesman Nick Naylor, formerly of Big Tobacco, dismissed the study as “a selective discussion of scientific literature by one individual.”

In all seriousness though, this could end up being a very frightening scenario that could effect the lives of many people all across the globe. Two things are certain and first is the mobile industry will fight this just like the tobacco companies did and secondly studies will keep coming out contradicting each other. So where does that leave us? It gives us enough of a warning that using our handsfree devices should become mandatory for all of us. With the advent of Bluetooth we don’t really have any excuses any longer as the call quality is as good as its ever been. Wireless, stereo sound, and noice cancelling microphones, what else do we want (except a 10 hour battery life)?

Link to story


Slap me some skin

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Good news, apparently Buffalo Bill has rebounded well from the setback of being shot 6 times by Clarice Starling. He is currently working as a mobile phone designer with LG and his therapy has been going well even though some of his old habits tend to die hard. This has never been as apparent than with the announcement of the LG-SH240 aka The Human Skin Keyboard. Yes you too can have the sick thrill of caressing skin every time you call for a pizza. Word hasn’t come out yet if you get calls reminding you to keep the lotion on its skin or you’ll get the hose again. Yes, it will, Precious, won’t it? It will get the hose!

The promo picture provided by LG seems to want us to think that this was all done to recreate the silky soft thighs of Asian women. Of course what also comes to mind is some psycho dude tucking back his junk while whispering sweet nothings to himself in a mirror, which is kind of a mood killer.


Motorola breaks up with self

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Motorola’s handset struggles have been public for quite awhile and today a press release confirmed that the Mobile Phone Division will be separated from the rest of its operations. This will create two separate public companies and is an attempt at turning around its 45% decrease in stock price over the past year.

The downward spiral for Motorola is shocking to sources within the industry considering how fast it has happened. It wasn’t too long ago that the RAZR had just sold its 50th million unit and Nokia was looking over its back at the fast approaching Motorola in the rear view. Some 18+months and billions of dollars later, Motorola lost its vision and relied too much on ‘ultra thin devices’ that were classic form over function.

Greg Brown, Motorola’s president and CEO, was named to head the broadband and mobility division while a search was underway for the device division. The split will happen sometime early in 2009 and is a big win for Carl C. Icahn, an outspoken and respected stockholder that owns over 6% of Motorola and has been very critical of how the company has been operating. The split is his idea and now we will see if his influence on the Board will right this ship.

Motorola stock price is currently $9.85 per share.


Blackberry 8820 available thru T-Mobile

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The Blackberry 8820 launched over the weekend on T-Mobiles GSM network. The compact Blackberry has an improved raised keyboard but still uses the touch sensitive navigation and it is far more cumbersome to use than the trackwheel that seemingly has been retired. This is a UMA device and setting up the router is a snap for even the tech novice. Specs below:

• Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE network support for international roaming
• Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g) connectivity for expanded coverage and faster Web browsing
• Supports T-Mobile HotSpot @Home, offering unlimited nationwide calling over any accessible Wi-Fi network
• Built-in GPS, BlackBerry Maps and support for TeleNav GPS Navigator
• T-Mobile myFaves® capability, making it easy for customers to stay in touch with those who matter most, with quick, one-click access for instant messaging, e-mailing, calling or texting their Fave 5SM from the Home Screen
• BlackBerry® Internet Service support allowing access to up to 10 supported e-mail accounts, including most popular ISP e-mail accounts such as Yahoo!® Mail and Gmail®
• BlackBerry® Enterprise Server support, which tightly integrates with IBM Lotus® Domino®, Microsoft Exchange®, and Novell® GroupWise® to provide secure push-based wireless access to e-mail and other data, and features IT policy controls for managing usage and deployments
• Easy access to popular instant messaging clients: AOL® Instant Messenger, Yahoo!® Messenger, Windows® Live Messenger, Google® Talk and ICQ®
• Highly tactile full QWERTY keyboard for easy typing
• Intuitive user-interface with an easy-to-use trackball
• High-performance HTML browser for visiting Web sites while on the go
• A large, ultra-bright 320×240 color display provides vibrant imagery and innovative light-sensing technology automatically optimizes brightness for indoor, outdoor and dark environments
• Advanced media player with search capabilities, stereo Bluetooth® support (A2DP/AVRCP), dedicated volume controls and support for numerous audio and video formats including MP3, WMA, AAC, AAC+ and eAAC+, as well as support for polyphonic, MP3 and MIDI ring tones
• Roxio® Media Manager for BlackBerry® (included with BlackBerry® Desktop Manager software), which allows customers to manage media files, transfer them from their computer to the handset, create MP3 music files from CDs, add audio tags and album art, create playlists and easily convert files for optimal playback
• Numerous premium phone features with Speaker Independent Voice Recognition (SIVR) for Voice Activated Dialing (VAD), noise-cancellation technology to offset background noise, a low-distortion speakerphone for hands-free conversations, Bluetooth® support for use with headsets, car kits and other Bluetooth peripherals, and intuitive call management features such as smart dialing, conference calling, speed dialing and call forwarding
• Expandable memory storage via microSD/SDHC expansion slot
• Dimensions: 4.49” x 2.60” x 0.55”
• Weight: 4.7 oz


Wireless Auction and Google

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Even though Google got outbid in the 700 Mhz Wireless Auction and didn’t win any licenses they are now trying to convince the FCC to allow the use of ‘white spaces’, which is essentially the spaces between other bands that some people call a great untapped resource. Some feel that white spaces should be used to provide wireless broadband to rural areas and the idea has been endorsed by Microsoft and Intel.

Rick Whitt, Google’s telecom/media counsel, advised “Android-powered handsets should begin appearing commercially later this year, and would be an excellent match for the TV white space.” In January, the FCC started lab tests of equipment that will allow ISPs to access white spaces.

Between them, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. spent more than $16 billion of the $19.6 billion raised in the entire auction.


The race for the 1st Android Mobile

The HTC Dream has been confirmed as the likely flagship of Google’s Mobile OS Android. Details are much the same as before, a hidden qwerty keyboard along with a touch screen interface. The Dream will likely hit the market near the end of this year advised ‘the source’ which spoke to InfoWorld most likely after a few single malts.

As is standard in these type of breakthrough products, the companies involved wont even confirm if any mobile phones actually exist.”We cannot comment on this product,” said HTC’s Maggie Cheng. This product? Sounds like she just confirmed it. But my guess is that she and the rest of HTC’s spokesman are restricted due to Googles lawyers jaws being securely clamped down on their proverbial balls.

This is the render that has been passed around for months but is probably just a placebo.

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Nokia sued for 4 Billion…

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The German government is demanding that Nokia pay back $4 billion euros worth of subsidies after the company announced plans to close its factory in Bochum, Germany. This was the amount of money the German Research Ministry gave to Nokia to fund four separate research projects. Nokia has announced the closure of its Bochum plant citing costs and is moving production to Romania.

In other Nokia news:

Nokia said it has paid about $1 billion for full access to Qualcomm’s extensive patents and the two companies are still scheduled to meet in a Delaware Court in July.

Nokia will sell $2 billion of mobile phones to China Postel this year, down from the $2.5 billion deal signed in 2007.

Analysts conclude that the weaker demand for high-end 3G phones will likely hurt the Finnish firm’s selling price.


Microsoft mobile licenses Adobe Flash and Reader

Microsoft has licensed Adobe Flash Lite and Adobe Reader LE PDF software for their mobile software, this of course is in addition to their own Silverlight technology. No word on an actual time table for when these will become reality as “the engineers have to work together to integrate the technology, and then the platforms have to be distributed to OEMs,” advised Anup Murarka, director of technical marketing at Adobe. Adobe hopes to see this implemented by the end of the year but as of yet refer those questions to Microsoft.

LG, Samsung, Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola all have Flash-enabled phones but the one notable exception is the iPhone and Adobe would love to make that happen but it doesn’t seem likely after Mr Jobs harsh critique of the mobile Flash product. Perhaps Silverlight on the Jesus Phone? Yet another partnership after the Active Sync and Exchange shocker could bring Apple fans what they love most, more of the evil, crush everything in its path, ruthless Microsoft who steal babies at night and then train them to be software engineers before the age of 10.

Maybe Jobs and Gates actually get along, I mean its kinda hard to dislike Gates considering how much of his own money he is spending to help cure and stop the spread of disease as well as all the educational donations his foundation has made. Maybe they are just getting older and don’t care about the rivalry all that much anymore.

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DRM free music store for Blackberry’s

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Research in Motion has announced a partnership with Puretracks Inc to provide Blackberry users the ability to download MP3’s via wireless handsets using compressed DRM-free AAC/AAC+ file formats. Good news for all you people with opposable thumbs.

From the Press Release:

Toronto-based Puretracks, a leading North American digital music provider that partners with Universal, Sony BMG, Warner, EMI, and independent labels worldwide, has developed a new DRM-free mobile music store and service for BlackBerry® smartphones from Research In Motion (RIM)

The Puretracks Mobile Edition music store for BlackBerry, built in conjunction with handset development partner Magnet Mobile Media, will work with all BlackBerry® Pearlâ„¢, BlackBerry® Curveâ„¢ and BlackBerry® 8800 series smartphones. It is a next-evolution digital music service developed exclusively for wireless handsets using compressed DRM-free AAC/AAC+ file formats. This high-quality digital format is only half the size of MP3 files, significantly reducing the download time and storage capacity required while maintaining CD quality sound. The DRM-free service will make it easy for users to download and play songs on their BlackBerry smartphones.

When it comes to the wireless world, BlackBerry is at the forefront and we are excited to offer our service on a cutting-edge solution that seamlessly integrates digital music into the wireless space,” notes Andrea Ziegler, Chief Operating Officer of Puretracks. The Puretracks Mobile music service we have developed for the BlackBerry platform is an innovative mobile music store for North America that employs DRM-free, 64 kb AAC/AAC+ files. For wireless users, this equates to inexpensive airtime costs, smaller storage requirements, and higher music quality.”

Future additions to the Puretracks Mobile Edition music service will include support for Wi-Fi capable handsets, enabling BlackBerry smartphone users to download MP3 files over Wi-Fi connections. A full version of the mobile music service will launch at CTIA Wireless April 1.

 


iPhone SDK disapointments pile up

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While there are a lot great things about the Apple SDK many are starting to question its brutal terms of service, its blocking of VOIP and GSM connections as well as its blocking of Opera and Firefox. Some experts are wondering how this is legal considering how much trouble Microsoft got for having IE as its default browser in Win98?

Add to this that ‘only one iPhone application can run at a time, and third-party applications never run in the background. This means that when users switch to another application, answer the phone, or check their email, the application they were using quits.’ Advised developer Robert Balousek.

So consider the fact that you will lose the game your playing and must re-log into all the websites and IM programs because you wanted to answer your phone. This could become incredibly irritating in record time.

Apple’s SDK site


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