Sabtu, 29 Maret 2008

San Francisco - Researchers in Japan have demonstrated one part of an envisaged molecular level system that might one day enable cell phones to keep a regular watch on their owners health.

NTT DoCoMo hopes some future cell phones will contain "DNA chips," devices capable of analyzing molecules from the users body, to provide a warning about a possible virus, high-levels of stress or other factors that might affect health.

But for the DNA chips to get the samples required, the molecules to be analysed must be transported into the phone from the users body. This is where the latest research in so-called "molecular communications" comes in.

The work carried out by NTT DoCoMo and researchers at The University of Tokyo proved the feasibility of transporting a specific molecule between two set points using chemically-engineered motor proteins, said Shuichiro Ichikoshi, a spokesman for NTT DoCoMo in Tokyo.

Motor proteins are typically found in muscles and nerve cells and in the research they were depositied on a glass substrate in the chip to create paths to the DNA-chip. When a molecule arrives via the users sweat the motor proteins transport it to the sensors for analysis.

The entire process requires no electrical or mechanical input or control so can work on its own.

The development is just one piece of the research required before such a system can be commercialized. NTT DoCoMos Ichikoshi expects the entire system to be feasible in a laboratory about five years from now and not ready for commercial use for perhaps another five years after that.

NTT DoCoMo, which is more usually concerned with transporting of digital data across its cellular network, has been working on molecular communications for some time and previous research involved a program with the University of California.
HAVANA (AFP) - Cubans new president has authorized Cubans to officially get mobile phones, until now mainly reserved for foreigners and government staff, the state telecommunications company announced Friday.

Mobile phones are already prevelant in Cuba but until now Cubans had to acquire them through a third party and could not obtain a service contract in their own name.

In a statement in the official daily Granma the state telecom ETECSA said it was offering mobile phone service to the public through personal prepaid contracts paid in foreign currency.

The latter stipulation will restrict the new measure to wealthy Cubans, many of whom already have cell phones obtained through friends or relatives abroad.

"In the next days the public will be informed of the procedures for changes of title for Cuban citizens who to date have acquired cell phones indirectly, and the initiation of new contracts for interested Cubans," the statement said.

Mobile phone access was among the measures Cubans hoped to see after Raul Castro took over as Cuban president from his brother, Fidel Castro, in February, ending almost 50 years under his rule.
After several months of delays, AT&T is planning to begin offering its AT&T Mobile TV in May in a move that stands in sharp contrast to its success with Apples iPhone, which has been widely hailed for its video offerings.

The new AT&T service, which initially will launch on two handsets and with two exclusive channels, utilizes Qualcomms MediaFlo technology, which has been used by Verizon Wireless V Cast Mobile TV and other service providers internationally.

"AT&T Mobile TV is a powerful new mobile entertainment offering, which will give our customers a formidable lineup of sports, news, and prime-time shows," said Mark Collins, VP of consumer data for AT&Ts wireless unit, in a statement. The MediaFlo network has been setting up sporadically across the United States while it waits for more spectrum space to be cleared by the FCC in early 2009.

AT&T said its offering will include programming from CBS Mobile, Comedy Central, ESPN Mobile TV, Fox Mobile, MTV, NBC 2GO, NBC News2GO, and Nickelodeon.

The handsets that initially will headline the AT&T service are LGs Vu and Samsungs Access. The VU has a large interactive touch screen with music player, digital camera, and Bluetooth technology included. The Samsung handset has similar features in addition to external stereo speakers for multimedia applications.

Verizon, which released its V Cast Mobile TV service last March, worked to capitalize on AT&Ts delay and this week noted that its service, also based on MediaFlo, includes more than 150 broadcast-quality programs. V Cast is offered on four handsets supplied through Verizon.

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San Francisco - The security of the most widely used standard in the world for transmitting mobile phone calls is dangerously flawed, putting privacy and data at risk, two researchers warned at the Black Hat conference in Europe on Friday.

Researchers David Hulton and Steve Muller showed at Black Hat in the U.S. last month how it was possible to break the encryption on a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) call in about 30 minutes using relatively inexpensive off-the-shelf equipment and software tools. The hack means they could listen in on phone calls from distances of up to 20 miles (32 kilometers) or farther away.

Theyre still refining their technique , which involves cracking the A5/1 stream cipher, an algorithm used to encrypt conversations. In about another month, theyll be able to crack about 95 percent of the traffic on GSM networks in 30 minutes or faster with more advanced hardware.

Their research has been motivated in part by the absence of a more secure encryption method despite years of warnings about GSM.

"Ultimately, we are hoping that the mobile operators actually initiate a move to secure their networks," Muller said. "Theyve had about 10 years, and they havent done it. In my opinion, there is only one language that they speak: thats called revenue. As soon as they lose the revenue, they will actually change."

Since 1991 when GSM networks debuted, the integrity of their security has declined as researchers probed. In 1998, the A5/1 and the A5/2, a weaker stream cipher, were broken.

Commercial interception equipment is available now to eavesdrop on calls, which can cost up to $1 million. Hulton and Muller were game for a challenge and wanted to do it more cheaply.

For around $700, they bought a Universal Software Radio Peripheral, which can pick up any kind of frequency up to 3GHz. They modified the software to pick up GSM signals broadcast from base stations. They compared those with signals picked up by a Nokia 3310 phone, which had a software feature that allowed for a revealing peek inside how GSM works.

Hulton and Muller studied how a GSM phone authenticates with a base station and sets up an encrypted call. They then built a machine with lots of memory that uses Field-Programmable Gate Arrays, high-powered hardware used for intensive calculations, in order to crack the calls encryption.

And now theyre planning to commercialize the technique, although Hulton said they will vet buyers. He said they havent had any feedback from operators on their research.

Muller warned that faster attacks on GSM will likely emerge, making it more imperative that the mobile industry finds a solution.

"We started [this project] because everyone said we couldnt do it," Muller said. "Attacks will always get better, theyll never get worse."
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O) is expected to launch a high-speed wireless version of iPhone in the second quarter and produce as many as 8 million of the devices in the third quarter, according to Bank of America.

Apple shares closed up 2.76, or 2 percent, at 143.01 after the prediction in a research report about the third-generation phone from Bank of America analyst Scott Craig. Shares in AT&T Inc (T.N), the exclusive U.S. carrier for iPhone, closed up flat at 37.66 after rising to 38.39 earlier in the day.

"Our latest channel checks point to a significant production build of a 3G iPhone beginning in the month of June after an initial small build in May," he said.

AT&T said last year it expects to be able to sell a 3G version of iPhone in 2008, but it declined comment on specific launch dates on Friday.

Apple representative Jennifer Bowcock declined comment.

Craig said that now he expects production volume to be much higher than his previous estimates. He said Apple planned to build more than 3 million high-speed iPhones in May followed by more than 8 million in the third quarter of the year.

Craig, who had previously estimated 8 million iPhone units for the whole of 2008, said that was starting to look conservative unless some of the plans were pushed back.

Many other analysts have said they expect Apple, which is holding a developer conference in June, to launch an advanced iPhone around that time.

Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart said it would make sense for Apple to bring out its high-speed iPhone in June around the time it launches an upgrade to iPhone software.

Apple has said it expects to have sold 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008. It said in January that it had sold more than 4 million iPhones since the phone was launched in June.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew in New York and Scott Hillis in San Francisco editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Gunna Dickson)
The Hemisphere: Raul Castro is making hay from "reforms" allowing his subjects access to toasters and cell phones. Big deal. What Cubans need is cash to buy them. That can only come with real economic freedom.

As befits a new dictator seeking to win some popularity, Castro is lifting ownership restrictions for ordinary Cubans on mobile phones, computers, DVD players, even toasters.

But unlike the toasters that U.S. banks used to give away, these dont come free. Each of Rauls offerings to buy goods comes with a state-set price most Cubans have no realistic prospect of affording.

Average Cuban salaries, minus ration cards for food and state health care, come to only $20 a month, so computers and cell phones will still remain out of reach. As Raul takes plaudits for the banquet of "reform" hes offering, the little detail of where the money comes from generally goes unasked.

But its in fact the most essential detail. Economic freedom -- including the right to earn what one is worth, charge what the market will bear and innovate and invest as ones individuality allows -- is the real issue that needs to be reformed in Cuba. Raul has made no moves in this direction because he may get too close to giving Cubans real power against his rule.

The recently released 2008 Index of Economic Freedom from the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal ranks Cuba 29th of 29 countries for its region and second from the bottom only to North Korea for its lack of economic freedoms.

The Cuban economy is virtually all state-owned, and even citizens with tiny private businesses are dependent on state supply chains. If any Cuban is perceived as an enemy of the state, thats the end of his access to resources, capital and earnings.

Worse yet, even the meager money ordinary Cubans make isnt good enough for Raul Castros consumer offerings. The goods are available only to Cubans with "convertible" pesos -- hard currency converted at a fixed rate -- which excludes most Cubans from buying just as surely as meager money does.

Rather than reform, the two-tier system is an additional recipe for corruption. Ordinary Cubans who lack economic freedom but still see new computers on store shelves will feel more enticed to enter the dog-eat-dog black market and informal economy to get hard-currency cash. This will foster organized crime and corruption, as happened in the Soviet Union during its twilight years.

Ordinary Cubans will also seek more cash from Miami relatives to obtain these consumer goods, meaning the "reforms" in the end will amount to a shakedown from the Castro brothers to encourage Cuban exiles to wire more money to Cuba for its state-run stores.

Finally, Raul Castro is only offering these goodies by executive fiat -- a dictatorial act in itself -- and Cubans themselves know he can reverse it.

The absence of economic freedom in Cuba is a sad reminder of how far its people have fallen in their 50 years under communism. Even the poorest in places such as Indonesia and India have more access to consumer technology -- because poor as they are, they still have more economic liberty.

No one should be fooled by Raul Castros pretentions of reform in material goods. The only real reform is freedom.
Pressing his campaign to break up Motorola, billionaire financier Carl Icahn said he is going to court today to force Motorola management to turn over documents about its struggling Mobile Devices unit.

Icahn, who has said he has a 6.5% stake in Motorola, has argued that Motorolas pieces are worth more than its whole and favors spinning off the mobile handset operation as a separate company with a new CEO.

"Mobile Devices needs a new CEO and new management team free from the inept current leadership of Motorola," Icahn said in a statement Monday. "I believe that no new top-notch Mobile Devices management team will be willing to report to or be involved in any way with the current Motorola management or board."

Icahn is fielding his own slate of candidates for the Motorola board including Frank Biondi Jr., former Viacom executive; William Hambrecht of the eponymous investment banking firm; MIT professor Lionel Kimerling, and Keith Meister, an executive at one of Icahns funds.

Motorolas new CEO Greg Brown has been aggressively moving to shore up the mobile devices unit, which has rapidly been losing market share in recent months. Brown, too, appears to be working to break up Motorola, although on terms set by the current management.

Brown has suggested the mobile devices unit could be spun off, but leading acquirers -- competitors Nokia, Samsung and LG Electronics -- have all said they arent particularly interested. In addition, Motorola has reportedly been in talks with Nortel Networks about forming a partnership to operate a separate unit built largely around Motorola networking infrastructure operations.

As it is, Motorola has been down sizing and spinning off operations for years. It laid off several thousand employees earlier in the decade and in 2004 spun off its Freescale semiconductor operation.

Brown has been replacing executives at a furious pace since he took over the helm at Motorola last fall. Earlier this month, Motorola said that Stu Reed, who had been running the Mobile Devices unit, left the company "effective immediately." Mike Fenger left as head of Motorolas European, Middle East and Africa operation and was replaced by Stephen Nolan, who had been vice president of sales for Continental Europe.

In its filing with the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, Icahn said he is seeking board and management documents concerning Mobile Devices "including the potential spinoff of the Mobile Devices business." Icahn said he is also seeking records of personal use of company aircraft by senior management, directors, and their families if there are such records.

Icahn lost a proxy battle over Motorola directors last year. Since then, the company has slumped under the leadership of former CEO Ed Zander, who has given up leadership of the company to Brown.

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SAN FRANCISCO - Less than a week after losing in the latest U.S. spectrum auction, Google Inc. has started pitching its plan to use TV "white space" -- unlicensed and unused airwaves -- to provide wireless Internet.

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission released by Google on Monday, the Internet search giant pressed the government to open up the white space for unlicensed use in hopes of enabling more widespread, affordable Internet access over the airwaves.

"As Google has pointed out previously, the vast majority of viable spectrum in this country simply goes unused, or else is grossly underutilized," Richard Whitt, Google's Washington telecom and media lawyer, wrote in the letter. "Unlike other natural resources, there is no benefit to allowing this spectrum to lie fallow."

Google said the white space, located between channels 2 and 51 on TV sets that aren't hooked up to satellite or cable services, offer a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide ubiquitous wireless broadband access to all Americans."

In addition, opening up the spectrum would "enable much-needed competition to the incumbent broadband service providers," Whitt wrote.

It was not the first time that Google has urged the FCC to open up television white space, but the Internet company's public letter, sent Friday, was notable given Google's involvement in the just-ended 700MHz wireless spectrum auction.

Google was outbid by Verizon Wireless, but the Internet company had already convinced the FCC to require the winner of a specific portion of the spectrum to allow subscribers to use any compatible wireless device they want.

Google is also developing mobile phone software, known as Android, that several device makers are using to power their upcoming handsets.

Google is betting that it can boost its online advertising business by making it easier for mobile consumers to get access to the Internet on their mobile phones.

TV broadcasters oppose use of white space, fearing such usage would cause interference with television programming and could cause problems with a federally mandated transition from analog to digital broadcasting signals next year. But Google in its letter urged the FCC to adopt a series of overlapping technologies, including "spectrum sensing," designed to prevent signals from interfering with each other.

Whitt said Google was not advocating any specific business model to develop the white space. He said there was enough unused spectrum for businesses to create a wide range of options, such as building small peer-to-peer networks or even establishing an alternative national wireless carrier.

Whitt said he did not expect any changes to the status quo until after the United States shifts from analogue broadcasting to digital TV in February 2009. He said consumer devices compatible with white space spectrum could be on the market as early as late 2009.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sirius Satellite Radios (SIRI.O) 4.59 billion purchase of rival XM Satellite Radio (XMSR.O) was given antitrust clearance on Monday as the Justice Department concluded consumers have many alternatives, including mobile phones and personal audio players.

Investors sent shares of both companies sharply higher even though the Federal Communications Commission must still approve the combination of the only two U.S. providers of satellite radio, a deal first announced in February 2007.

In a victory for Sirius Chief Executive Mel Karmazin, who lobbied hard for the deal, the Justice Department agreed the satellite radio companies face stiff competition from traditional AM/FM radio, high-definition radio, MP3 players and programming delivered by mobile phones.

"Competition in the marketplace generally protects consumers and I have no reason to believe that this wont happen here," Justice Department antitrust chief, Thomas Barnett, told a conference call with reporters.

The traditional radio industry, consumer groups and some U.S. lawmakers had criticized the deal, which would bring entertainers such as talk show host Oprah Winfrey and shock-jock Howard Stern under one roof.

The National Association of Broadcasters, which fought against the deal, said the Justice Department had granted XM and Sirius a "monopoly" and called the decision "breathtaking."

Sirius and XM, which are losing money, each currently charge subscribers about 13 a month for more than 100 channels of news, music, talk and sports.

New York-based Sirius programming includes lifestyle guru Martha Stewart and NFL Football while Washington, D.C.-based XM is home to Bob Dylans radio show and Major League Baseball.

The Justice Department said the combination would lead to "substantial" cost saving steps such as consolidating the line of radios they offer. It said those savings would "most likely to be passed on to consumers in the form of lower prices."

XM stock ended Monday up 15.5 percent to 13.79, while Sirius closed up 8.6 percent to 3.15, both on Nasdaq. At that price for Sirius stock, the deal, in which 4.6 shares of Sirius are to be exchanged for each XM share outstanding, is worth 4.59 billion.


The antitrust decision shifts the spotlight to the FCC, which must determine whether the XM-Sirius is in the public interest, and whether to enforce its 1997 order barring either satellite radio company from acquiring the other.

A source at the FCC said Chairman Kevin Martin has yet to make a proposal either approving or opposing the XM-Sirius combination, but has asked the agencys staff to draft documents for different possible outcomes.

This source said the FCC could be strongly influenced by the Justice Department decision. "I think it would be hard to go in the complete opposite direction," said the source.

Analysts at Stifel Nicolaus said the FCC could impose conditions, such as requiring the companies to adhere to promises Karmazin made to Congress last year.

Karmazin promised lawmakers that a combined company would offer packages of channels that customers could pick on an "a la carte" basis, and that customers would be able to block adult channels and get a refund for those channels.

In addition, Stifel Nicolaus said, the FCC also may require Sirius and XM to promise that all existing satellite radios will continue to work after the companies are combined.

David Bank, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, was optimistic about FCC approval. "Now its past DOJ, and we feel pretty optimistic it will get through the FCC," he said.

The Justice Departments decision provoked immediate criticism from a key lawmaker in Congress, Senate antitrust subcommittee chairman Sen. Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat.

Kohl took the department to task for "failing to oppose numerous mergers which reduced competition in key industries, resulting in the Justice Department not bringing a single contested merger case in nearly four years."

"We urge that the FCC find the merger contrary to the public interest and exercise its authority to block it," Kohl said in a statement.

Sirius and XM said in a brief statement that they had received antitrust clearance and that their deal was still subject to FCC approval.

(Additional reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Tim Dobbyn)
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Google wants US regulators to sign off on a plan to pack wireless Internet services into "TV white space" left empty as buffer zones between television broadcasting frequencies.

Google on Monday sent the Federal Communications Commission its pitch to use TV white space for mobile Internet or telephone services instead of leaving it empty to assuage what it says are baseless worries by broadcasters.

"Unlike other natural resources, there is no benefit to allowing this spectrum to lie fallow," Google counsel Richard Whitt wrote in a letter to US regulators.

"The unique qualities of the TV white space offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide ubiquitous wireless broadband access to all Americans."

Googles pitch to the FCC comes a week after the California Internet powerhouse was declared a loser in high-stakes bidding for prime 700MHz portions of the US broadcasting airwaves.

US telecom giants Verizon Wireless and AT and T were the big winners in bidding that raised a record-setting 19.6 billion dollars.

The 700 MHz band currently carries standard television broadcasts, and will be freed up when stations switch to all-digital broadcasting after February 17, 2009.

The spectrum is poised to become a conduit for high-speed telecommunications and Internet services delivered to mobile devices across the United States.

Carriers like the spectrum because signals travel long distances and penetrate buildings better than parts of the radio frequency spectrum they are now allowed to use.

Google evidently joined the bidding to make certain that conditions of sale included keeping the 700MHz spectrum accessible to competing telecom and Internet companies.

"In the 700 MHz auction proceeding, Google advocated for openness at various network layers," Whitt wrote.

"In the context of TV white space, consumers will be able to enjoy robust access to the Internet, including the ability to download and utilize any lawful applications or content that is desired."

As is the case with the 700 MHz spectrum, Google said, TV white space could be used for wireless communications and Internet services.

"It should not be the governments role to protect the status quo, especially by blocking access to the new," Whitt wrote.

"The value of the TV white space to all Americans simply is too great to allow this unique opportunity to be blocked by unfounded fear, uncertainty, and doubt."

Google is ready to share "spectrum sensing" technology that would protect television broadcasts, or wireless microphones that rely on white space, from interference, Whitt said.

The white space, located in channels not used for satellite or cable television broadcasting, could couple with computer developments to provide "gigabytes-per-second" mobile data transfers in the near future, according to Google.

Putting white space to work will enhance the prospects of economical, or advertising driven, "G-phone" mobile telephones based on an open-source Android platform backed by Google, according to Whitt.

More than 30 companies are developing mobile telephones based on the Android platform, according to Google.

"TV white spaces can provide uniquely low-cost mobile broadband coverage for all Americans," Whitt wrote.

"Android-powered handsets should begin appearing commercially later this year, and would be an excellent match for the TV white space."
Apple is keeping up with the wireless times. On Monday, the company updated its AirPort Express mobile base station with 802.11n, the latest standard approved by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

The new model delivers up to five times the performance and twice the range of the previous model, according to the company. Priced at $99, the AirPort Express can be plugged directly into the wall for wireless Internet connectivity and USB printing at home, or it can be taken on the road and used wherever there is an Internet connection. The AirPort Express features AirTunes, which works with iTunes to let users wirelessly stream iTunes music from a PC or Mac to any room in the house.

No big surprises with this Apple product release, according to Michael Gartenberg, a wireless analyst at JupiterResearch. "Apple has migrated almost all of its wireless efforts over to 802.11n. It makes sense that the AirPort Express would to go there [too], as the ultra-mobile wireless device with the ability to stream music and content using AirTunes," he said. "It made sense for Apple to get that device over to the n specification to match up with the rest of the product line."


The AirPort Express features a single-piece design with portability in mind. The unit weighs 6.7 ounces. PC and Mac users alike can use AirPort Express to share a single DSL or cable broadband connection with up to 10 simultaneous users.

Users can also wirelessly share a printer that is connected to the USB port. The products advanced security features are designed to safeguard data on networked computers with support for Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2), 128-bit WEP encryption and a built-in firewall.

Apple now includes 802.11n as standard in its entire line of AirPort base stations and Mac notebooks, as well as its iMac, Apple TV and Time Capsule products.


The AirPort Express includes a built-in combination digital and analog audio connector that lets users connect to a home stereo or powered speakers. iTunes automatically detects remote speakers and displays them in a simple pop-up list for the user to select.

Heres how it works: Once the remote speakers are selected, AirTunes wirelessly streams iTunes music from the computer to the AirPort Express base station. Multiple AirPort Express base stations can be set up around a home, each connected to a set of powered speakers for a whole-home music experience. The AirPort Express can also extend the range of an existing AirPort Extreme wireless network.

"The big difference with the n standard is more speed, less interference and, of course, the fact that it maps with the rest of Apples line," Gartenberg said. "Apple is really the only company that has taken responsibility for the whole wireless ecosystem, everything from the stuff thats built into the computers to the routers to ancillary devices like Apple TV. Apple wants to make the experience as smooth and compatible as possible."
San Francisco - While lauding Apples iPhone as being innovative in the mobile space, a Google official Thursday later cited disadvantages of the device, which is expected to compete with upcoming Google-backed Android phones.


Speaking at the eComm conference in Mountain View, Calif., Googles Rich Miner, group manager for mobile platforms, discussed the long-standing obstacles to mobile application deployment and how they are being overcome. Apples iPhone was cited for its innovations.

"[Apple] came out with the iPhone and did a number of things right first time, first device," Miner said. Apple is offering a great user experience and a seamless experience between applications; Google is providing maps for the iPhone, he said.

But after Miner hailed Googles own Android platform as another innovative step in the mobile arena, an audience member raised the question of whether to develop for planned Android phones or for the existing iPhone. The audience member asked how many Android systems would be on the market in a year.

"Thats a hard question to answer," Miner said. Four original equipment manufacturers in November announced plans to build Android devices, Miner said. He added he has seen Android prototypes and that the number of OEMs probably has grown. The first Android handset is due in the second half of this year, he said. Android is under the jurisdiction of the Open Handset Alliance, which features Google.

Miner also said he believes there will be a lot of Android phones out in 2009. Then he criticized iPhone.

"There are just certain apps you cant build on an iPhone," he said. For example, an application cannot run in the background when switching to another application, and interpreted languages cannot be supported in applications, he said. Multiprocessing applications also are not supported, he said.

"Theres a lot of restrictions," Miner said.??

Also during his presentation, Miner stressed the goal of opening up mobile devices to applications. These devices, though, have been inhibited by factors such as small screens and keyboards. There also has been a lack of openness in platforms, networks, and devices, said Miner. For example, a third-party application could be written in Java, but the target phone runs Symbian. "[It] turns out those two worlds don???t talk to one another," he said.

The mobile arena also has had to deal with broken business models, such as a confused relationship between OEMs and carriers and having no one who understands the software. Developers also have had little freedom or power.

??But problems are being solved, such as good technology and design overcoming UI constraints, said Miner. Touch-based screens represent innovation, for example.

Openness also is starting to emerge, he said. Android, for its part, started on the premise of openness, Miner said. Also, mobile platform control is shifting to software companies, according to Miner.

"Android is a complete platform, not just an OS," and features a software development kit, he said.

In another eComm presentation Thursday, Evan Henshaw-Plath, architect of the Fire Eagle project at Yahoo Brickhouse, discussed the location-based services offered by Fire Eagle.

Location-based services offer the promise of enabling people to put themselves on the map, so to speak, but they have been beset by issues such as people not wanting every application to know their location, Henshaw-Plath said.

Currently available in an invitation-only mode, Fire Eagle is intended to make location-sharing easy, he said. Users control access.

"We take location information in, we geo-code it, and we authorize other applications to get that information," Henshaw-Plath said.

"We hope to launch once we get enough applications built on the platform," he said.
Saying we are reaching the acceleration point in the hockey-stick-shaped growth curve for wireless broadband network usage, Alcatel-Lucent on Monday introduced a new product that will give wireless network operators far greater visibility into -- and, more importantly, control over -- the traffic on their systems.

The question for many users is whether this marks the coming of "traffic shaping," i.e., the limiting of bandwidth to certain users of high-traffic applications, such as file-sharing, to the mobile and wireless world.

Battered by huge changes in the telecom carrier market it serves, Alcatel-Lucent in recent years has tried to harness the resources of the legendary Bell Labs, which it owns, and commercialize its products through an entrepreneurial arm known as Alcatel-Lucent Ventures. The Wireless Network Guardian 9900, as the new wireless data-management product is known, is the third product in the last year to emerge from this partnership.

"Theres a very important tipping point approaching" in the shift of data traffic from wireline to wireless networks, said Mike Schabel, general manager for the Network Guardian at Alcatel-Lucent Ventures, during a press conference on the new product. "We are seeing explosive growth of wireless broadband subscribers and of open-access trends -- every day theres a new behavior and new application coming onto the wireless network."

The expansion of new applications for mobile devices and networks is being driven in part by the open-access trends Schabel mentioned. Hoping to greatly expand the number of new applications available for its popular iPhone, last week Apple released the software development kit for the device to third-party developers. Devices based on the new Android mobile operating system, developed by Google and based on Mobile Linux, will hit the market in the next few months. And Verizon, the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier, plans next week to introduce the first version of the specifications for new wireless devices designed to run on its "Any Device, Any App" plan, which is a data-only service.

In the wired world, Schabel points out, "a bit is a bit," but on wireless networks different kinds of data have far different impacts on the management and the performance of the overall system.

For example, a high-bandwidth peer-to-peer file-sharing application transferring 1 megabyte of data would take up 30 seconds of radio-frequency airtime, Schabel said. But 1 MB of data from a mobile e-mail device, which must continually check in with the server for new e-mails, could consume two hours of airtime.

Wireless operators "not only have to worry about the bandwidth but much more," remarked Schabel. "Every single application has a fundamental and very different impact as it runs over the network."

The Network Guardian comprises two devices: a detector installed in each network node, which collects and transmits information about data traffic and the impact it has on network performance, plus a central "aggregation box," residing in the network operations center, that stores and analyzes the information and allows administrators to act on it.

Its the "acting on it" bit that has some observers worried. In its press release on the new product, Alcatel-Lucent said the Network Guardian will "provide ... operators with the granularity and real-time alarms they need to effectively address network congestion and optimize the delivery of IP-based services." The system also includes a "behavioral algorithm" that analyzes "how each user affects the network in various ways," said Wim Sweldens, vice president of Alcatel-Lucent Ventures, and "in real-time points out anomalous behavior."

The barring of "anomalous behavior," like file-sharing, has landed some network operators, particularly cable giant Comcast, in hot water lately with the FCC for their traffic shaping practices. Time will tell if the new Network Guardian marks the beginning of the traffic-shaping era for wireless carriers.

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DALLAS - The chief executive of cell-phone chip-maker Texas Instruments Inc. got compensation the company valued at $10.3 million in 2007, 17 percent less than the year before as the semiconductor company's profits fell 39 percent.

Richard K. Templeton's compensation was detailed in a regulatory filing Friday by Texas Instruments, the world's largest maker of chips for mobile phones.

Templeton, 49, received $932,120 in salary, a $2.4 million performance-related bonus, stock awards valued at nearly $6.9 million and $111,417 in other compensation, according to the proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The decline in Templeton's compensation was due to less-lucrative stock and option grants. In 2006, he got grants valued at nearly $9 million when they were issued. The CEO's incentive payment was slightly largely than the one he got in 2006.

The "other compensation" category included a pension contribution of $70,063, as well as $23,425 for personal use of company aircraft.

The Associated Press calculations of total pay include executives' salary, bonuses, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year. The calculations don't include changes in the value of pension benefits, and they can differ from the totals companies list in the summary compensation table of proxy statements.

Texas Instruments earned $2.66 billion last year, down from $4.34 billion the year before, and revenue also slipped to $13.84 billion from $14.26 billion.

The company also suffered setbacks when Nokia Corp., its largest customer, and Sony Ericsson decided to seek other suppliers for their handsets.

Templeton said Friday that, even so, Texas Instruments increased its wireless business in the fourth quarter compared to a year earlier. And he said his company would continue to be the largest supplier to Nokia.

Shares in the Dallas-based company rose 16 percent last year. They rose sharply early in the first half of 2007, then teetered downward the rest of the year. The shares of fellow chip-maker Intel Corp. fared better last year, but Qualcomm Inc. and Broadcom Corp. did worse.

Texas Instruments is scheduled to give an update on first-quarter results on Monday.

The company scheduled its annual stockholder's meeting for April 17 at the company cafeteria in Dallas.

Chairman Tom Engibous plans to retire after the meeting, and Templeton, who also succeeded Engibous as CEO, is taking on the chairman's role too.


On the Net:
HANOVER, Germany (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc, still fending off a 41 billion takeover bid by Microsoft Corp, unveiled a cell phone tool on Tuesday that lets users keep up with their favorite topics using dynamic bookmarks.

OnePlace, to be launched in the second quarter, allows users to mark links, news feeds or search results that lead them to, for example, the latest information on flight arrivals, sports results or friends Facebook postings.

Bookmarking tools are not new -- Yahoos is one -- but Yahoo says it has reinvented bookmarking for phones, given their small screens and different user requirements, with placeholders linked to updated info instead of a fixed page.

"You have something thats always changing. You could always just bookmark a site as a placeholder but now its alive," Marco Boerries, who is leading Yahoos mobile drive, said in an interview at the CeBIT IT fair in Hanover, Germany.

Yahoo is racing to leapfrog Google Incs clear lead in computer search and advertising by custom-building services for cell phones and forming alliances with carriers that already give it access to 600 million mobile phone users.

Yahoo aims to reach 750 million users this year by adding to a partner list that includes Telefonica, AT&T Inc and Deutsche Telekoms T-Mobile.

OnePlace also leans on two other Yahoo mobile services -- oneSearch and oneConnect -- by tailoring the content behind the bookmarks to match the location of users and the preferences and activities of friends and contacts who use the service.

"Were not reinventing forms of mobile content or getting into the content business but there are places where you have stuff that you care about, that youre passionate about, that you follow," Boerries said.

Users will be able to gather their favorite Web places either by choosing them on their PC and then synchronizing with their cell phone, or directly on the mobile phone itself.

As with oneSearch, actual information will be shown rather than Web links, often awkward to navigate on a cell phone. Users would be able to get the service either through carriers who have Yahoo deals or download it from Yahoo, Boerries said.


Boerries said onePlace was the last major piece of Yahoos consumer offering for mobile, which it has been working on for three years, leaving it free to focus on making money from it.

"The consumer experience is not done but its at a stage where it can now evolve," he said. "My foreseeable focus for the future is to build the right advertising model."

Yahoo already has advertising deals with carriers including T-Mobile, Vodafone Group Plc and AT&T, but the question the industry faces now is how to develop the form to better fit the cell phones small screen and target consumers better.

"We did the simple stuff really early and thats how were making money right now, but thats not the way forward," Boerries said. "Were nowhere near where we could be."

Boerries declined to say how long it could take to come up with a new model but argued Yahoo could help pull it together.

"Whats inhibiting advertisers right now is (that) its too complicated with all the different platforms," he said, referring to the variety of cell phone operating systems that exists, ranging from Nokia to Microsoft.

Boerries said ads should enhance and not obstruct normal cell phone use, such as returning useful, sponsored information in Web search results. "The challenge is to create a system that the user is super, super happy to access," he said.

(Additional reporting by Eric Auchard in San Francisco; editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Braden Reddall)
Power Support today unveiled its White Silicone jacket for Apple's iPod touch, protecting the device from dust as well as scratches and impacts. The clip is designed for a jacket, purse, or shirt and secures headphones for easy storage. The case is made from high-grade silicone, contains no toxic polymers, and includes film covers for the front as well as the back of the iPod touch. The While Silicone jacket also ships with a dock connector cap alongside a dock connector cover, and is priced at $25.

"Power Support's Silicone Jacket for iPod 3rd generation is precision-engineered silicone, which allows for protection from scratches, dust, and impacts," the company said. "Hot on the heels of the launch of the White Silicone Jacket for iPod 3rd generation Nano Power Support came through and did it once again with the White Silicone Jacket for the iPod Touch. The While Silicone Jacket is just what you need to set your iPod Touch aside from the rest! This stylish and protective White Silicone Jacket is a must have for your iPod Touch."

Digg and Pownce co-creator Kevin Rose claims to have obtained extra information about the launch of a 3G-capable iPhone, according to an update on Twitter. Following earlier claims about an updated iPhone on this weekend's Diggnation podcast, the social software developer claims to have received additional confirmation from a 'high-level VP' at a company working with Apple who says an updated device will ship in June with both support for faster networks as well as with truer GPS support.

The additions would allow previously impossible features for the handset, which has been unchanged outside of additional storage since its launch last June. In his previous claim, Rose suggested the faster iPhone would include a front video camera for two-way video chat, similar to some phones sold in Canada, Europe, and Japan. The previously unmentioned GPS would itself permit real-time positioning in Google Maps, which for now is limited to in-place triangulation using cellular and Wi-Fi signals.

Rose has had a mixed record in providing information on upcoming products but is known to have accurately reported on the iPod nano just ahead of its 2005 launch.

The claim echoes recent analyst claims and other reports of a 3G iPhone due in mid-2008 that would either replace the existing model or else supercede it as a premium version. The lack of faster Internet access has often been cited as a key limit to the iPhone's sales success outside of North America, as Europeans frequently opt for 3G phones while countries such as Japan often depend exclusively on 3G for phone service.
More than 300 iPhones were stolen from an Apple store in the Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem, New Hamshire. The culprits? Two employees: Joshua Garrand, 28, of Methuen, Mass., and Christopher Nashed, 22, of Sandown who have now been brought before the court on felony theft charges of stealing $132,468 worth of iPhones and selling them on the black market. The Eagle-Tribune reports that police wouldn't say whether the men were selling the phones online or how sophisticated their operation wasm but would say that investigators were first contacted by the store in early January. One Salem police sergeant spent three months on the case. One of the suspects, Nashed, is being held on $250,000 bail at the Rockingham County Jail. He is expected to appear today in Salem District Court for arraignment. Garrand, meanwhile is being held at Essex County Jail in Middlesex, Mass.

In August, another Apple Store was burglarized, at University Village in Seattle, Washington. The thieves apparently entered the store through the ceiling in an area sectioned off for technicians, making off with all the laptops that had workers had completed servicing. A store employee reportedly showed police a cut cable lock that was attached to the technician's laptop, and police reported that the entire office appeared in disarray. Seattle police were called to the University Village store at 4:44 a.m. Monday morning after an alarm signaled rear entry or motion, but the police report stated that all the doors were secure and nothing appeared to be out of place on the inside.
Outdoor enthusiasts now have instant access to trail maps right from their iPhones. Podpro is offering a free service for skiers and snowboarders that delivers instant access to more than thirty-three of North America's most popular ski resorts. With Podpro's service users can retrieve live weather reports, ski conditions, as well as lodging options from anywhere.

The service can be utilized by visiting Podpro's website directly on the iPhone. Simply tap on the displayed iPhone image, then select the country, state, and trail of your choice. The system then offers the user links to various sites pertaining to information about the chosen location.

For more information, visit
Apple has posted the availability of a Handwriting Recognition Engineer position, citing the need for a dedicated employee for its Mac OS X handwriting recognition technology. According to, the individual would be responsible for enhancing the existing product, as well as extending the technology's influence to "other Applications and the iPhone," suggesting Apple is trying to recapture the feel of its Newton handheld platform.

Originally called "Rosetta", the technology made its way into Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar under the guise of "Inkwell".
Apple has released the second beta of its iPhone SDK for registered developers. The new release includes an Interface Builder, which allows the drag-and-drop integration of graphical components which can be linked to underlying Objective-C code created in Xcode. The new SDK build is a 1.3GB download, available from Apple's Developer Connection site. You must be a registered developer to download the SDK, but no fee or program acceptance is required. Apple's development kit uses the same programming language and interface used by Apple itself and now includes Cocoa Touch, an API designed to add touchscreen input.

Programmers now use a modified version of Xcode that is not only used to write programs for the iPhone but to manage them as well, by handling interface design, source control and debugging. Developers can also test the final results in an environment known as the iPhone Simulator.

Hundreds if not more of the developers who applied to Apple's iPhone Developer Program -- which allows access to the iPhone 2.0 beta release software -- have been at least temporarily rejected for membership. The $100 program promised developer support, entry to the iPhone AppStore and other benefits. Part of a published portion of the rejection letter reads: "We have received your enrollment request. At this time, the iPhone Developer Program is available to a limited number of developers and we plan to expand the program during the course of the beta period. We will contact you again regarding your enrollment status at the appropriate time."

Apple previously announced that in the first four days following the release of the beta iPhone SDK, over 100,000 downloads have been processed through the Apple Developer Connection, to which people must officially belong before they can use the software. "Developer reaction to the iPhone SDK has been incredible with more than 100,000 downloads in the first four days," reads a statement by Apple's senior VP of Worldwide Product Marketing, Philip Schiller. "Also, over one million people have watched the launch video on, further demonstrating the incredible interest developers have in creating applications for the iPhone."
swan-desk.jpgLoose cables hanging around all bunched up and twisted around a workspace is absolutely infuriating. Organizing them neatly is definitely the way to go, and there are a number of products out there that can help you get the job done--but the Swan Desk can accomplish that feat with a little artistic flair. As you can see,the cable slots are organized in such a way that it becomes possible to weave your cords into a pattern.

At this point, the table is just a concept piece from designer Louis Beliveau--but it definitely has a minimalist style that many would find appealing. And any design that can help reduce all the cable clutter is worth investigating. [Les Chics Types via MoCo Loco]
Sony_BDP-S350_299_price.jpgEverybody clamoring for a cheap Blu-ray player now that the format war is over might wanna bide their time with a sweet DVD upconverter--the $200-player Blu-ray cavalry is at least a year away, according to Sony Electronics CEO Stan Glasgow, who we talked to today in New York. "I don't think $200 is going to happen this year. Next year $200 could happen. We'll be at a $300 rate this year. $299 will happen this year."

No cheap Chinese-made players will be flooding the market to push it down either, not until the BDA decides to license the tech to them, and Glasgow implied it's gonna be a while before that happens. Anyone else wants a license? Sure. But not them, in part it was indicated, because of piracy concerns. Not that the price matters too much right now, since Sony is "struggling to keep up with the demand."

The mighty morphin' PS3 SKU--from 60GB to 40GB, backward-compatible or not--isn't going to stop shape-shifting. When asked "Will there also be another PlayStation with Blu-ray built-in? Glasgow answered that "there's going to be continual evolvement in the PlayStation line" before talking about feature upgrades with software.

Other points that came up at the roundtable:

* Sony dropped Memory Stick slots from its TVs, even ones that do photos and music playback. Not sure what that means for the underdog format.

* When people are asked what brand they think of when it comes to HD, Sony "is far and away the leader"--close to 36 percent, compared with 10 percent for the runner up.

* Around 50 percent of their LCD HDTVs sold last year were 1080p--the shift to 1080p is happening now and Blu-ray will help that.

* Sony is not sweating the recession.

* The company is "working very hard" on an answer to Apple TV, though it all seems to center around a Blu-ray player one way or another, and doesn't necessarily rely on the ill-fated Bravia Internet Video Link. Sony is "working on many other avenues to deliver downloaded content," like the PlayStation Network which will be "spread that over the next year or so to many other products of Sony."
logitech_clearchat_wireless_1.jpg Logitech's ClearChat Wireless PC headset might seem unremarkable, but a quick scan of Amazon shows there aren't really any wireless headsets on the market with dual earphones. Logitech claims the 2.4 GHz Wireless device is designed with VoIP users in mind, but we all really know why this is great: MMO fanboys can now head over to the bathroom and drain a shotgunned gallon of Mountain Dew without abandoning their clan of orcs, elves and mages. The ClearChat PC Wireless Headset will go on sale in May for $100.

Move Freely: Logitech Unveils First Wireless Stereo Headset Designed for Internet Calling with a PC

Logitech ClearChat PC Wireless Headset Offers 2.4 GHz Wireless Technology, Simple Setup, High-Performance Stereo Audio

HANNOVER, Germany - CEBIT - Mar. 4, 2008 -- Today at CeBIT, Logitech (SWX:
LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI) unveiled the company's first wireless stereo headset
designed for Internet calling with a PC: the Logitech(R) ClearChat PC
Wireless™ headset. The ClearChat PC Wireless headset combines
high-performance stereo audio with 2.4 GHz wireless technology, allowing
people the freedom to move around when they make VoIP calls - no wires

"More and more people are making voice calls over the Internet, but until
now, they have had to choose between wired headsets that keep them tethered
to their PCs or wireless headsets that offer poor audio and voice quality,"
said Gina Clark, general manager and vice president of Logitech's Internet
Communications business unit. "With the Logitech ClearChat PC Wireless
headset, people can make a PC call while grabbing a snack, sitting on the
couch or leaning back in their chair - PC calling has never been so
convenient and never sounded so good."

The Logitech ClearChat PC Wireless enables people to move freely up to 33
feet (10 meters) from their computer. With the included USB transmitter,
the headset effortlessly connects to a PC or Mac computer right out of the
box - no software or pairing required. And to help ensure no call gets
interrupted, the ClearChat PC Wireless headset's 2.4 GHz wireless
technology features both crisp, uncompressed stereo audio and an advanced
algorithm that minimizes interference -even in the busiest wireless
environments, such as an airport, office or hotel.

The ClearChat PC Wireless delivers rich, high-quality stereo audio through
proprietary laser-tuned audio drivers. For optimal voice clarity, the
headset features a noise-canceling microphone on a flexible boom that
adjusts to the desired distance from the mouth. Additionally, volume and
microphone mute controls are located on the right earpiece and the
microphone automatically mutes when rotated to an upright position. As an
added convenience, the microphone emits a soft, red glow when muted.

Designed with comfort in mind, the ClearChat PC Wireless headset features a
padded headband and plush ear pads. The headset works with popular Internet
calling applications, including Skype(R), Windows Live™, Yahoo!(R), Google
Talk(R) and AIM(R).

In addition to Internet calling, the ClearChat PC Wireless headset provides
high-performance audio and a comfortable design that make it ideal for
listening to music, watching movies or playing games on the PC.

Pricing and Availability

The Logitech ClearChat PC Wireless headset is expected to be available in
the U.S. and Europe in May for a suggested retail price of $99.99 (U.S.).

darpa-sats.jpgStart buying Cold War nuclear shelters and piling up the canned food, because Boeing Advanced Systems has started System F6, "DARPA's Future, Fast, Flexible, Fractionated, Free-Flying Spacecraft United by Information Exchange space technology program." In other words: multiple, networked specialized spacecraft swarms that are intelligent enough to perform a single coordinated task together, like analyzing the crops or deciding to destroy humanity, Skynet-style. Actually, it could completely change satellites for the better, according to some experts:

French space scientist P. Molette said, in his 1984 article on fractionated spacecrafts, that they may lead us to more flexible and robust satellites systems.

In his paper, Molette concluded that even while fractionated spacecraft will have overall higher mass and cost than traditional satellites, these penalties will be outweighed by the advantages of having modules mass-produced and launched into space, which would introduce the same economies of scale and efficiency that PC clusters have over supercomputers.

Boeing Advance Systems will put the concept into practice, under DARPA System F6 program: Boeing Among Industry Teams Selected to Design New DARPA Space System ST. LOUIS, March 04, 2008 -- A team led by Boeing [NYSE: BA] has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to demonstrate initial technologies for a new spacecraft system architecture concept.

A $12,891,049 cost-plus-fixed-fee, 12-month Phase 1 contract was awarded to Boeing Advanced Systems to research, design, develop and test DARPA's Future, Fast, Flexible, Fractionated, Free-Flying Spacecraft United by Information Exchange (System F6) space technology and demonstration program.
The DARPA System F6 is based on a concept whereby a group of spacecraft operate together wirelessly as a single unit to enable flexible data sharing and distributed processing that will allow cooperative communications among the spacecraft. This concept of multiple spacecraft operating together to perform a mission similar to that of a single larger spacecraft is known as "fractionation."
"We believe the fractionation spacecraft concept proposed by our team can be a game-changer that could provide the high degree of flexibility needed for responsive space missions," said Bob Friend, director for Boeing Operationally Responsive Space.

The objective of the DARPA System F6 is to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of a satellite architecture wherein the functionality of a single spacecraft is replaced by a cluster of wirelessly interconnected spacecraft that could perform a wider variety of tasks than single systems. Along with potential increases in flexibility, this technology also may reduce overall program costs.
The team led by Boeing Advanced Network and Space Systems, Huntington Beach, Calif., includes L-3 Communications Interstate Electronics, Anaheim, Calif.; Millennium Space Systems, Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Octant Technologies, San Jose, Calif.; and Science Applications International Corp., Torrance, Calif.

Expected for completion by Feb. 20, 2009, Phase 1 will culminate in an F6 Preliminary Design Review that evaluates each industry team's concept.


There you have it: phase 1 completed on February 20 2009, less than one year for actual nuclear holocaust or cheaper, more efficient sats. [Boeing and Wikipedia]
T303_Front_E65Angle_Shadow_Black.jpgThe new Sony Ericsson T303 may not be the Xperia X1, but it looks like a tiny, simple slider phone that will fit in any pocket. Sony Ericsson says that it combines "premium finish and materials with a good feature-set to deliver style with substance," which is probably their own stylish but insubstantial way of saying "hey, it's made of black or chrome metal, it has a camera, Bluetooth and FM radio, a mirror glass display, and it works!"
Sony Ericsson targets a style-conscious audience with a small and neat slider phone

04 March 2008

The stylish new T303 slider phone furthers Sony Ericsson's commitment to broaden its appeal to a wider audience. Petite and good looking, it offers designer good-looks without the price tag to match.

Hanover, Germany - 4th March 2008 - Sony Ericsson today unveiled the T303, an attractive phone that is small and neat enough to carry with you on every occasion. This compact slider phone has been given the high-end treatment, with a mirrored screen, metal housing and chrome finish.

"The T303 is a great addition to the Sony Ericsson T-line of products, combining premium finish and materials with a good feature-set to deliver 'style with substance'." said Lykke Tærsbøl, Senior Designer at the Sony Ericsson Creative Design Centre. "The balance between shape and size in combination with the design makes it a truly eye-catching product. Our aim was to create a phone that would function equally as a daily companion as well as something to show off on a night out.

Sony Ericsson T303
Style at its best

• Provides pocket-sized convenience
• Promises premium good looks thanks to a metal and chrome finish
• Does the basics well, whether that's camera, Bluetooth™ or FM radio

Big in looks, mini in size
The T303's diminutive size is distinctive for all the right reasons. Because it doesn't take up much room, it's perfect for those nights out when space is limited and not everything can come out with you. The T303's compact size means that this phone will always be one of the chosen few.

Chic and smooth, reflecting your every move
The T303's metal and chrome finish makes it hard for those around you not to be impressed by its premium appearance. Its soft shape and smooth sliding mechanism make it a feel-good experience that you can enjoy every day. And the mirror glass display on the front of the phone goes yet further in making the T303 even more stand-out in its appearance.

Picture perfect
The T303's megapixel camera is ready to take pictures in an instant. So if you come across the perfect shoes whilst out and about, but want a second opinion, just one quick snap and you can send a picture message to one of your friends. You can use Bluetooth™ technology to transfer photos wire-free from your phone to a compatible computer, and then email them to any number of helpful style-advisers. Or just to send the photos of a day's adventure directly to a friend's phone.

With life being ever more hectic, it's essential to be able to slow down the pace and take time out, whenever you get the chance. The T303 comes with a built-in FM radio, meaning you can tune in, chill out, and let time just pass you by. It also has its own media player and comes preloaded with Sony Ericsson's TrackID™ feature. Record a clip of a song in a bar or café and find out instantly what track it is and who sings it.

With such a good-looking phone, you'll want to keep it that way. The Protective Case IDC-22, part of Sony Ericsson's Design Collection, gives you the opportunity to develop your stylish look still further. Not only will it help keep your phone looking good, but it also has room for all of those essentials...your credit cards, keys and your T303.

The Sony Ericsson T303 will offer designer good-looks without the price tag to match. The T303/T303c is a GSM/GPRS 900/1800/1900 phone that will be available in selected markets from mid 2008.

The T303a is a GSM/GPRS 850/1800/1900 phone that will also be available in selected markets from mid 2008.
siafu_low.jpgAs our monitors eat away more at our retinas every day, we're increasingly interested in computers for the blind. "Siafu" is a concept by Jonathan Lucas that combines a dynamic braille surface with tactile control. Aside from clicking on the words that your hands read, photos could also be displayed on the same surface, protruding like 3D sculptures.

The catch? The material that the concept uses is Magneclay...which, like the computer, is conceptual only.
zerog500.jpgThe Zero-G Defy Xtreme Stealth by elite watchmaker Zenith is one of the most lust-worthy timepieces we've seen in recent history. Modeled after the famous Stealth Bomber, this blackened titanium watch (utilizing a PVD coating process) is specially crafted to keep time without extreme gravity throwing off your appointments. Featuring a titanium strap with Kevlar inserts, hop out of your matching stealth jet, go for a dive down to 1,000 feet and stop a bullet with your wrist--all for what looks to be an increasingly reasonable $500,000. [zenith via coolhunting]
silent-keyboard-thanko.jpgIt appears that Thanko has upgraded their Silent Keyboard making it possible to use it with two PCs at once. A toggle switch over the arrow keys allows users to switch between computers, and its relatively low noise output (45dB compared to 60dB for a regular keyboard) make it an interesting choice for power users--especially ones that just blew their wad on a second PC. The Silent Keyboard 2.0 will only set you back $51. [GeekStuff4U via Crave]
012018-gesture2.pngThese Apple patents show standard trackpad, basic multitouch and gonzo "Advanced Multitouch" never seen before on shipping products. The advanced UI includes thumb/forefinger/middlefinger combos for saving, closing and opening files, as well as cut, copy and paste. (The patents assume the system can detect the differences between different fingers. [Macrumors]
waterproofmp3.JPGI wouldn't--well, I would just once, to see what it's like to dive with The Hives singing along while I fin down to a reef --because I like to live out my Darth Vader fantasies, but this MP3 player could just persuade me otherwise. What is remarkable about this iRiver iFP-380T, with its waterproof case and headset, is that you can go down to 200 feet with it clipped onto your mask. The device runs on one 9-volt battery and one AA and it costs $199. [Frontgate via UberReview]


Selasa, 25 Maret 2008

Here's a video of Andy Rubin, the Android head honcho at Google, showing off a build of the new mobile OS on a touchscreen phone to the BBCs Darren waters. It's interesting, with things like DoomQuake and Google Maps Street View looking pretty great, especially on a phone running at 300 Mhz (half of the iPhone's processing power). It's not perfect, but it's also not ready for prime time, so we'll give them the benefit of the doubt on some of the janky-looking elements of the OS. Thoughts? [BBC via BB Gadgets]
Who needs paintings when you have a Zuse? Attach the chrome toaster to the wall, feed a slice of bread through the slot and then, rather like an old-fashioned matrix printer, your toast comes out with a pixellated design burnt on the front, thanks to a library of images saved on its memory chip. The idea comes from Austrian design house Inseq, and it's concept-only, I'm afraid. [ALBOTAS]
In addition to its own Silverlight multimedia technology, Microsoft will support Adobes competing Flash technology on Windows Mobile phones, the companies planned to announce on Monday.

Microsoft has licensed Adobe Flash Lite, the Flash Player runtime for mobile devices, so that Windows Mobile phone users can view Flash content in the Internet Explorer Mobile browser. Microsoft has also licensed the Adobe Reader LE software, so that Windows Mobile users will be able to view PDF documents.

The announcement means Windows Mobile phones will support both Flash and Silverlight, Microsofts own fledgling technology that lets developers build multimedia Internet applications that run in browsers.

Microsoft hasnt yet said when it will add the support for Silverlight to Windows Mobile, and nor is it saying when it plans to support the Adobe programs, said Scott Rockfeld, group product manager at Microsofts Windows Mobile group.

The companies have some integration work ahead of them. "The engineers have to work together to integrate the technology, and then the platforms have to be distributed to OEMs," said Anup Murarka, director of technical marketing for mobile and devices at Adobe. Adobe hopes that the capabilities will be found in phones by the end of the year, "but thats something Microsoft would have to comment on," he said.

Having both Silverlight and Adobe Flash on Windows Mobile is a natural, Rockfeld said. "From a Windows Mobile perspective it comes down to choice," he said. "Flash and Silverlight can provide similar experiences, just like we see in other areas." For example, Microsofts Live Search and Google Maps, which offer similar services, are both accessible from Windows Mobile phones, he said.

Regardless of which technology users are most drawn to-- Silverlight or Flash-- the technologies both enable the types of multimedia content that phone users are interested in, said Julie Ask, an analyst with Jupiter Research. Her research shows that consumers who have phones that support rich browsing experiences, like the iPhone and some Nokia phones, generate more page views and are more likely to sign up for a data plan with their operator, she said.

"Adding Flash into the user experience on the phone will make it a better one, a richer media experience," Ask said.

Microsoft said last year that it would develop Silverlight for Windows Mobile. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that Nokia will use Silverlight. Nokia said it planned to ship phones running its Series 60 software that support Silverlight by the end of the year, with Series 40 and its Internet Tablet to follow.

Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and LG are all shipping Flash-enabled devices today, Murarka said. In addition to supporting Flash-based content on Web sites, mobile-phone makers and operators can also use Flash in content like screen savers, wallpapers and animated ring tones. Flash is also used in mobile-phone user interfaces.

Notably absent from the list of handsets using either technology is the iPhone. "Wed love to see Flash come to the iPhone," said Murarka. But just like any other phone maker, Apple would have to work with Adobe to license Flash for the iPhone. "Hopefully when we have the opportunity to review the SDK, and if its a vehicle to deliver a solution, we would look forward to working with Apple," he said. Apple recently released an SDK that will allow third parties to build applications for the iPhone.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission moved to simplify the nascent mobile phone TV sector by adopting a standard backed by Finlands Nokia, but mobile operators said Brussels was acting too quickly.

The Commission said setting the Digital Video Broadcasting Handheld (DVB-H) as the preferred European Union standard would give the industry a boost.

"For mobile TV to take off in Europe, there must first be certainty about the technology," European Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding said in a statement on Monday.

DVB-H is the only standard with a global presence although South Korea, Japan, the United States and China are embracing local rivals, such as one set by U.S. company Qualcomm.

The European Union executive said its decision sent "an important signal" to other countries preparing to decide whether to opt for DVB-H or other standards.

EU countries will now be required to encourage the use of DVB-H, the Commission said.

Some EU member states, such as Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, had been opposed to setting DVB-H as the single standard in the bloc.

But the EU executive said on Monday it was the one most widely used in Europe and is between trials and commercial launch in 16 countries.

The GSM Association representing mobile operators in Europe said it was staying neutral on mobile TV technology as it should be the market that decides on the standard.

"An official endorsement does carry weight but its not clear if DVB-H is necessarily the best standard," a GSM Association spokesman said.

Broadcasters said the question of which standard is being endorsed was almost irrelevant as the fundamental issue was whether mobile television packages would pay their way.

"How do you design a compelling service that people will want? Even if its free and financed by advertising, how many ads do people want to see on a small screen?" said Ross Biggam, director general of the Association of Commercial Television in Europe.

Most countries have seen trials of mobile TV, such as sports, news and music videos although Italy is one of the rare EU states with a commercial-type service running, Biggam said.

The Commission hopes this years soccer European Championship and the Olympic Games will boost consumer take-up of television services over mobile phones, a potential new money-spinner for telecoms operators and broadcasters.

(Reporting by William Schomberg and Huw Jones; Editing by Jason Neely)
HELSINKI (Reuters) - A popular video on Youtube shows a concept phone that could -- literally -- bend to fit your wrist. Called Nokia Morph, its also an image of how the worlds largest mobile phone maker wants to change.

As the Internet goes mobile and companies like Apple and Google find cool ways to embrace the trend, the mobile market leader is rewriting its product development rulebook. Instead of working in secrecy and isolation, it wants to start sharing.

"For Nokia this is probably the biggest throw of the dice since they entered the cellphone business," said Ben Wood, research director at CCS Insight, who has followed the Finnish firm since 1994.

Besides putting up futuristic ideas on video-sharing sites -- like the Morph concept, which imagines a stretchable, flexible, solar-powered, self-cleaning device which also has a sense of smell -- Nokia has invited bloggers and tech-savvy media specialists to brainstorm on future mobile products.

"We realized in early 2005 that if we only focused on innovation from within, we were limiting our scope for real breakthroughs," Chief Technology Officer Bob Iannucci told Reuters in an interview. "We want more wild ideas."

At stake is a share of the next phase of Internet growth, to offset the commoditization of Nokias signature product. Forrester Research expects the number of mobile Internet users to triple over next five years to 125 million in Western Europe alone, while Nokia knows its double-digit margins on handsets will shrink.

To make its move in Internet services, Nokia plans to use its base of one billion customers -- one-sixth of humanity -- to consult on what works, what wows, and what doesnt. Compared with Apples much-hyped iPhone, which has sales of just 5 million so far, its customers put Nokia in a strong position.

The market for Internet services is approaching 100 billion euros, and Nokia is the first big cellphone manufacturer to embrace the Internet media business. Close rivals Samsung and Sony Ericsson could follow, but are a couple of years behind.

Already the worlds largest non-U.S. technology firm by market capitalization, controlling 40 percent of the world market for mobile devices, Nokia is still chasing growth.

Technology shares are valued on sales growth expectations and Nokia trades at around 1.4 times 2008 sales, a deep discount to Googles 6.1 times and Apples 4.4 times, Reuters Estimates data show. Shares in Research in Motion, which makes the Blackberry that rules the mobile email niche, trade at 10 times 2008 revenues.


Change may be in Nokias genes. Founded in 1865 as a timber company, its brand -- now ranked fifth globally by Interbrand and valued at 33.7 billion -- was stamped on paper goods, wellington boots and television sets before the company focused on the mobile market 16 years ago.

But the process of developing and testing new phone models was once like a state secret, and the results haphazard.

Wood of CCS Insight said that in the past Nokia would develop products "behind closed doors in a room with no windows. With some products I asked them: had they shown them to anyone?"

In 2003 reviewers and customers laughed at Nokias gaming phone, which had to be held awkwardly, sideways, to make calls. The same year Nokia introduced its first media phone, the bulky 7700, but withdrew production plans after heavy criticism.

Although its conservative designs had mass appeal, Nokia has also missed many big design trends in recent years -- clamshells, thin phones, touch screens, for instance.

The Morph concept, which Nokia is exploring with researchers in nanoscience at Cambridge University, is one example of a more consultative approach: combining know-how about tiny particles and electronics to see, for example, if a stretchy circuit could be made. Another was the way Nokia in February floated the notion of a phone made almost entirely from recycled materials.

"The ability to include large numbers of users into the development cycle means you can have a much more collaborative approach to development and you can try ideas out, refine them and move forward -- or fail fast and get out," said Nokias Iannucci.

Blogger Oliver Thylmann (, who took part in a Nokia product development workshop this month, believes many European companies are set to follow the more open model, leveraging customer input to grow.

"Working with your customer is something where the world is going to," said Thylmann, who has been writing about technology since 2001.

"As a company you cannot close yourself off from the world anymore. If youre locked in your ivory tower and there is discussion about you going on, it makes sense to get out there and take part in that conversation."


In its bid to direct users to its Internet services instead of Googles, or to its music stores instead of Apples iTunes, Nokia is not the first tech firm to turn from hardware to software and services. As the personal computer has been commoditized, IBM and HP have similarly sought new business.

But while Nokia experiments, its profit margin on phones, which rose to 23.6 percent in the quarter to December, is a cushion. Margins at Nokias best-performing rivals -- Samsung and Sony Ericsson -- are at half that level.

The shift to services means Nokia must get nimble.

"In services it is hugely important to be on the market as early as possible," said Niklas Savander, head of Nokias Internet services unit. "You will see a lot of beta launches, or limited-function launches, or limited-geography launches from us." Betas are public product tests.

The company is looking to copy Googles approach to new business: try as many as you can, quickly.

Its Beta Labs Web site, where it puts up software for testing to public, has more than a million visitors a month. The internal mantra is "Fail fast, learn fast, scale fast."

The companys online music stores are in test mode and it is about to launch a global gaming service. Millions of people have downloaded programs or media from Nokias new mobile activities site Mosh, also still in beta.

However, there are limits to all this openness. Writing before he attended the Nokia development workshop, Thylman said: "Sadly I will not be able to blog about the contents."

(For a video report on Nokia Morph, go to:

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; editing by Sara Ledwith)
Although the 802.1x access protocol is a must for wireless network security, companies rarely use it and thus leave the door open for hackers, according to Robert Lamprecht, IT advisory supervisor at KPMG.

The protocol lets users on either wireless or wired local networks set up a connection and prevent others from accessing the port they are trying to use if authentication fails.

"With 802.1x unauthorized users cant get access to your network; without it you are vulnerable to people who can come in and steal information," said Lamprecht, who spoke at the European Computer Audit Control and Security Conference in Stockholm.

But so far that argument hasnt convinced many companies.

When Lamprecht asked an audience during a session on wireless security if they used 802.1x, only a few out of about a hundred participants raised their hands.

Part of the problem is awareness, according to Lamprecht. Many people still see internal networks as secure.

Complexity An Issue

But a bigger problem is complexity.

"Implementing 802.1x requires a lot of work, companies often have to change their whole architecture," said Lamprecht.

It also requires a lot of management resources, he said. Management software is getting better and easier to use, but companies still have to use different tools for hardware, software and identity, which creates a lot of overhead. On top of Lamprechts wish list is a tool that can do all three, and lower management costs.

"It is and will continue to be a hot topic, so we will probably see [such a tool] in three years," Lamprecht said.
LAGOS (AFP) - The main telecom operator in the United Arab Emirates, Etisalat, has launched mobile services in Nigeria, becoming the fifth operator in the oil-rich west African country, officials said Saturday.

Managing director Saoud Al Shamsi said Etisalat got the operating licence in Africas most populous country of 140 million people after paying 400 million dollars through its partners Mubadala Development Company in January 2007.

Four other telecom firms, including South Africas MTN, with a combined subscriber base of around 30 million, are operating in the country.
TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese stores took delivery of no second-generation mobile telephones in January for the first time since their launch as shipments of advanced handsets soared, an industry group said Tuesday.

Japan and South Korea are at the forefront of third-generation (3G) phones, which offer high-speed Internet access and other interactive features and have not even entered the market in many developing nations.

Manufacturers sent 4.08 million cellphones to Japanese stores in January, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association said.

"For the first time, the number of second-generation models was zero," it said.

Japan becomes the second country to be virtually finished with second-generation following South Korea, according to Nomura Research.

Japanese stores continue to offer a small number of second-generation phones, but it is almost impossible for new users to start fresh subscriptions.

At the end of February, nearly 85 percent of Japanese mobile users were carrying third-generation or equivalent phones. Japans top-ranked NTT DoCoMo Inc. in 2001 became the worlds first company to offer 3G.

Despite the success in Japan and South Korea, 3G has caught on more slowly in other countries amid questions over whether customers will pay much steeper prices for features they could find on their home computer.

Third-generation or advanced second-generation accounts for about 50 percent of North American cellphones and 10 percent of Western European mobiles, according to industry surveys.

In Japan, mobile operators have increasingly written off second-generation phones as a source of profit and have been developing more advanced features to woo customers.

More than 60 percent of the phones delivered by manufacturers in January are equipped for digital television broadcasts.

Japan began digital broadcasts in 2006 that allow mobile phone users to watch several hours of interrupted television on their phones without recharging the battery.

"Its the third straight month that such phones make up more than half of the mobile phones," the industry association said.

Some 20 million Japanese now have phones to watch digital broadcasts, which major networks offer for free.
O2 UK has added another smartphone to its stable of handsets, the Xda Atmos, with support for just about every wireless network type available.

The carrier said the new phone is equipped for GPRS, EDGE, 3G, Wi-Fi, HSDPA, and quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900) networks, blanketing the sea of acronyms that constitute public wireless across the globe.

O2 UK also emphasized the phones standard mobile keypad with its full, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, marrying the look and feel of a traditional handset with the functional capabilities of a PDA. The carrier has equipped Xda Atmos with Windows Mobile 6.0 for seamless integration with Microsoft Exchange.

The phone also supports Microsoft Direct Push Email for real-time access to inbox, calendar, contacts, and tasks. In addition, the Xda Atmos includes Office tools like the mobile versions of Excel, Word Mobile, and PowerPoint.

The phone is available now and free of charge when signing up for a minimum one-year contract; monthly service fees start at $240 for unlimited minutes, 200 MB of data, and unlimited texting, according to the carriers online store.

The Xda Atmos also features talk time of up to seven hours on GSM and up to 4 hours on UMTS. Standby time is up to 400 hours on GSM, and 450 hours on UMTS. Media playback time lasts up to 12 hours, depending on the format. The screen is 2.4 inches, with 240 x 320 resolution, and uses the QVGA standard.

Memory options include Micro-SD, 128 MB, 256 MB; it also accommodates high capacity Micro SD, up to 32 GB, according to the operator. Bluetooth 2.0 is built in, along with an enhanced data rate.

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