SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

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No charity in mobile as club turns to SMS for survival

Posted by Jon Russell on March 9, 2009

The weekend saw Darlington FC, of England’s League Two, adopt an innovative form of fund raising in a bid to avoid administration and a potentially crippling points deduction next season.

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Fans of the club, which needs to raise an estimated £300,000 to survive the rest of the season, have created an SMS donation service to increase awareness of the club’s situation and help it pull through. 

Sky Sports News reports that “players, management and all other staff at the football club were not paid during February and a wage deferral scheme is now being discussed with the administrators.”

To help support The Quakers, as the club is known, would be donors should text ‘GL SAVEDFC’ to 87070. The SMS will cost around £1.50 with around 95p going to the club’s survival fund.

The real news here is that the middleman fee is as significant as a one-third (55p of £1.50). The campaign is an excellent idea in theory but in practice donations are best received from more traditional channels that avoid service costs.

Surely, in the name of saving an 125 year old, historic club on the brink of extinction, the companies handling the service could be a little more charitable?

The publicity of the campaign could help promote the mobile donation service to a wider audience and potential customers, instead the club loses one-third of all donations made by the SMS service.

Sadly the companies involved are unknown to us at this stage so no naming and shaming.

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Swedish Beers rocks Barcelona

Posted by Admin on February 19, 2009

I went out last night to the excellent Swedish Beers event organise by the wonderful Helen Keegan and basically it rocked!

It was at Dostrece, which is a funky little bar just off la Rambla in the centre of Barcelona – but I’m not sure the bar knew what had hit it. We filled it up by 7.30pm and it just stayed full all night. I watched people come and go throughout the night – but there always seemed to be a full room of mobile industry people willing to mingle, chat and of course, drink beer.

I’m sure in due course you’ll be able to read more about the event from people that can remember more than I can (although on second thoughts …). But I just wanted to say ‘Thanks Helen’.

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Mobile World Congress breakfast briefing: day 2

Posted by Jon Russell on February 18, 2009

 

breakfast-briefing-day-twoWe expect that, by now, your breakfast is probably a hastily consumed coffee with perhaps  croissant such is your need to get back to work at breakneck speed.

No fear, check out our breakfast briefing for a quick yet concise overview of news to get you up to speed with day two at Mobile World Congress in an instant.

As always, get in touch with any news, tips or feedback.

Hasta luego.

 

MAJOR TALKING POINT

– As predicted yesterday Vodafone and Google announced the G2 device, produced by HTC, yesterday. Initial reviews of the device, also know as the Magic, has been positive. Reviews are available at TechRadar and CNET whilst Pocket-Lint has an excellent selection of photos.


HANDSETS

LG confirmed that its KS360, announced in July, model will run with an Android OS (operating system) and be available in the UK this summer. Click here for more specs from T3.

Pocket-Lint is doing a great job of covering the show, another of its scoops is the MB400 from Hyundai, a so-called ‘iPod phone’. The device is one of the company’s initial offerings and set to be available in the UK this year.


APPLICATIONS AND CONTENT

Orange and Sony Ericsson further strengthened their joint content initiative with a 2 year deal that will see a fresh batch of Sony Ericsson multimedia phones with “more fun and easy mobile multimedia services”.

Yahoo announced that the launch of its Yahoo Mobile service is ‘upcoming’. The service will provide a personalised homepage for a range of devices. The beta is to be available soon although, from initial details, the service looks like nothing more than a portal.

Adobe announced its plans for Flash to be supported on both the Palm Pre and Nokia Series 60 phones.

Nokia Nseries handsets will be able to make free Skype-to-Skype voice call and chat starting with the N97.

– Annoying when you have the wrong charger isn’t it? Well the GSMA announced its commitment to an industry-wide standard for chargers for new mobile phones. Backed by a raft of global operators, the group is aiming for change by 2010 with micro-USB mooted as the would-be standard.

T-Mobile has announced the ten most popular Android apps, see them here at androidcommunity.com

MySpace has revamped and optimised its mobile site and announced plans to develop bespoke applications for selected Nokia and Palm handsets


NOTEWORTHY REVIEWS

– TechRadar has reviewed the Nokia N86, concluding that it is an improvement on the N85 with the camera and OLED screen alone push it leagues ahead.

– As above, Reviews of the Google G2, aka Vodafone Magic, are available at TechRadar and CNET.

Engadget has put the Samsung Omnia HD to the test.

 

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Mobile World Congress breakfast briefing: day 1

Posted by Jon Russell on February 17, 2009

3b5a9_healthy-breakfast3We present our inaugural Breakfast Briefing to give you an overview of all the major talking points from day one of Mobile World Congress

Enjoy!

 

DEVICES

 LG unveiled the Touch Watch, G910, which we can expect on UK shores with Orange branding late 2009.

 LG announced it will support Windows Mobile Windows Phone (see below) devices.

 Nokia unveiled its E55 (immediately dubbed BlackBerry-killer) smartphone with a very RIM-like keyboard.

 Samsung announced an HD version of its Omnia device.

 HTC showcased its next releases within its Touch family, the (not so imaginatively named) Touch Pro 2 and Touch Diamond 2.

 Samsung showed an environmental touch when it removed the wrapping from Blue Earth, solar-powered touchscreen smartphone made from recycled plastic.

 Sony Ericsson raised the bar for camera phones with the Idou, a 12.1 megapixel camera phone.

Acer is a new arrival to mobile devices as it launched 8 Windows Mobile supported devices. Details of the collective are scarce but it does include slider devices, candybars, smartphones, touch-screen phones and one model with a dual-SIM option.

– On a busy day for LG, the Korean firm also released details of an as-yet-unnamed eco-friendly phone which promises to “conveniently harness the sun’s limitless and pollution-free energy”. Initial details are scant but it follows the announcements of eco-phones from Samsung, Blue Earth, and Motorola, Renew.

Qualcomm went public on details around its ground-breaking Mirasol screen for the Inventec V112 Windows smartphone. The technology using reflected light to cut down on the power consumption of LCD screens on mobile devices.  LG has gone public in support for Mirasol.

 

APPLICATIONS AND SERVICES

 Sky announced a subscription-based streaming service to allow customers access to music (via their TV, computer or phone). Omnifone will provide support on the mobile side.

 RIM is finalising access to its application store for all of BlackBerry devices.

– Microsoft renamed ‘Windows Mobile’ to Windows Phone whilst revamping the software and user interface on its platform to rival the likes of Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone.

– Of interest to the low-cost handset market, Vodafone and Opera have released details of their partnership to develop Opera Mini for low-end handsets.

 

RUMOUR OF THE DAY

– The Google G2 is set to launch today (Tuesday 17 February) at the show.

 

Got any other stories or tips? Get in touch!

 

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Networking in Nottingham

Posted by Admin on February 9, 2009

If you live in or around Nottingham and are involved in technology, then you should come along to the Nott Tuesday networking event that is being held tomorrow night.

It’s the brainchild of Adam Bird of Esendex and promises to be a good evening. Apart from being the first event of its kind and something that the Nottingham tech community will benefit from, one of the reasons that will help to make it a great night is that Ewan MacLeod of the Mobile Industry Review blog will be giving a talk about getting your message heard. Or as Ewan says:

“So I’m speaking on the subject of GETTING YOUR MESSAGE HEARD. I’m thinking blogging, I’m thinking Twitter, I’m thinking personal brand vs company brand. I’m thinking connecting to and finding others in your niche industry. I’m thinking reactive vs proactive communications. And I’m going to structure that into a veritable mind-dump. Without slides, I might add.”

Excellent. I’ve Ewan heard speak about this kind of thing before and he’s very good.

The event is at The Cape Bar, 23 Victoria Street, NG1, 2EW. So sign up on the Nott Tuesday blog and come along.

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Fring adds support for Last.fm

Posted by Jon Russell on January 28, 2009

One for the Last.fm addicts out there, Israeli firm fring has announced its mobile VoIP application now includes support for the service.

Isn’t there already a service for mobile?

Yes, Last.fm does, of course, have its own mobile client but it is hardly all singing (boom boom) as it limited to Windows Mobile devices and is heavily disclaimed on the Last.fm forum as “still being worked on”.

Not exactly the ingredients for a killer-app. Vodafone is a confirmed fan of Last.fm with its application that “scrobbles” (non-techy speak: makes a record of) the music you listen to on Vodafone. The application is limited to scrobbling music from Voda (not Last.fm), tracks can only be bought by customers in Gemany and there is no social networking elements, a key part of what makes Last.fm’s successful.

fring’s offer certainly looks good according to these details from the company’s blog

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“You can search & tune-in to your favorite artists, view album artwork, skip tracks you don’t like, even show your love or ban them, and all of this activity via fring will automatically update your Last.fm online account.”

As well as the music experience itself, we’ve grabbed all of your Last.fm friends and put them into a dynamic friends list so you can view what they’re listening to on Last.fm, in real-time, right now.

We’ve also combined many of fring’s communication features you use everyday into this mobile musical mash-up, so if you catch your mate listening to the Cheeky Girls, simply Tweet* the news to everyone else, launch a chat via MSN or GoogleTalk or call him via Skype to tell him to get a life! (no offence Cheekies! x)”

– – –

Nice! We will be checking this out (look out for a review in the future) and hiding our beloved collection of cheese music!

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UCell Uzbekistan offers ‘Who Called’ and ‘Notify Me’ services

Posted by Admin on January 22, 2009

About 30% of all calls go unanswered apparently. Well now, thanks to Comverse subscribers of UCell in Uzbekistan can find out who tried to call them. And if they were the person making the call they can be notified as soon as the unreachable party becomes available in the network.

The services, not surprisingly, are called ‘Who Called’ and ‘Notify Me’ and in both cases a free text message is sent to notify subscribers.

As well as these two services, UCell subscribers can also see balance notifications at the end of calls and have the ability to replenish their balances via various services. They can also select music and other content for their callers to hear while waiting for calls to be answered. They have all been provided to UCell as part of a package called the Comverse Total Call Completion Solution, whose goal is to bring each call to a satisfactory and billable conclusion.

The new prepaid billing features offer more account management capabilities to UCell subscribers, such as providing

Helge Raitanen, Chief Technical Officer at UCell is pleased with the new services: “Comverse’s solutions provide us with the features we need to handle new growth and enrich the user experience with choice, convenience, control and fun.”

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Carnival of the Mobilists

Posted by Admin on January 19, 2009

Carnival of the Mobilists is a weekly round up of some of the best writing on the mobile industry. I’m pleased to say that this week’s carnival, hosted by mjelly, includes the recent piece from SMS is the new Black about going without your mobile for 3 days – or not as it turned out.

There are a range of other really good posts, so check it out here.

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Israel briefs reporters by text message

Posted by Admin on January 13, 2009

There’s a good summary of the difficulties of reporting on the current troubles in Gaza and Israel in yesterday’s Guardian. But the line that caught my eye was this one:

“This latter claim was made in a series of text messages to reporters from a spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces.”

Really? Does Israel brief the press by text message? Interesting …

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Could you go mobile free?

Posted by Admin on January 7, 2009

There’s an interesting article in today’s Guardian written by Benjamin Dangl who, after a month’s hiking holiday without his mobile phone, decided to ditch it completely when he got home.

His argument is that mobile phones cause us more stress than they save and actually separate us from the world around, or as he puts it:

“Billions of people across the world use cell phones. Though cell phones can be wonderful, liberating tools of communication, freeing us from the confines of an office and providing more leisure time, they often do the exact opposite. Cell phone use has blurred the boundaries between work and non-work time, increasing stress and tension within families and between friends.”

You can read the full article here. And thanks to Helen Keegan for pointing me to it.

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