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21 Sep 07 - China's cellphone users exceeds 600 million
China will have more than 600 million mobile phones users by June this year, which means every one in five mobile phone users is Chinese, an senior official said on Sunday.
The number included 80 million personal handy phone (PHS) users, said Xie Feibo, vice director of the Radio Administration Bureau of the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) at a forum on Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises held in Guangzhou of south China's Guangdong province.
Official figures showed that the nation's cell phone users increased by 40.56 million from the end of last year, 6.76 million a month on average.
Meanwhile, fixed-phone users had only grown by 4.86 million to 372 million.
In 1987, when China introduced its first mobile telecommunications equipment, there were little more than 700 users. In 2001, its cell phone users passed the 100-million mark, the largest in the world, and the figure turned to 300 million in May 2004, 400 million in January 2006.
The trend shows no sign of stopping as China still has a vast rural market to tap and city dwellers' appetite for more vogue, media-rich and web-accessible handsets continues to boom.
20 Sep 07 - Court rejects US chip ban
ANALYSTS and mobile handset makers have welcomed a court decision lifting a threat to holiday season phone sales in the US, caused by a ban on the import of certain 3G handsets.
A federal appeals court on Wednesday issued a stay, pending an appeal, on a ban by the International Trade Commission on smartphones containing Qualcomm chips. The ITC had judged the chips infringed a patent of rival chip maker Broadcom.
Qualcomm shares rose 3.3 per cent to $US39.12 ($46.57) on the news in midday trading on Thursday. Broadcom rose 2 per cent to $US36.09.
The court did not stay a ban on Qualcomm importing its chips, but did find in favour of third-parties -- the handset makers Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Samsung and Sanyo, and wireless operators AT&T and T-Mobile.
The judge in Washington said they could sell their handset in the US as they had demonstrated "a substantial case on the merits and the harm factors weigh in their favour".
Analysts at Lehman Brothers said the decision was positive for Qualcomm as its customers' imports could now "continue unhindered through the upcoming critical holiday season".
Broadcom said the ITC order, barring Qualcomm from bringing its chips into the US, would still affect Qualcomm's ability to provide support to its customers for essential services such as designing next-generation handsets.
South Korean handset makers also welcomed the appeals court ruling. Samsung and LG are customers.
The International Trade Commission announced the ban in June.
The two sides have been unable to reach agreement on compensation. top
19 Sep 07 - Phone screensaver leads to pot bust
SIRACUSA, , 12 (UPI) -- An Italian university student's cellphone screensaver photo got him busted on marijuana charges.
The student allegedly made the mistake of taking a picture of himself standing among a patch of marijuana plants and using it as his screensaver photo, ANSA reported Tuesday. Then, as luck would have it, he dropped the waist pouch he used to carry the phone and it was picked up by a retiree who turned it over to police.
When the police called him in, the student allegedly broke down and confessed he owned the pot crop, the news agency said. He took the police to the spot where he was growing his illegal crop and was promptly booked. top
18 Sep 07 - Nokia Revamps Mobile Map Service
IDG News Service
Nokia Corp has added new features to its mobile mapping application, with a revamped user interface and a status indicator to alert users when they're connected to a GPS (Global Positioning System) satellite.
The new version of Nokia Maps is free and became available for download on Tuesday. Other improvements include a more refined "nearby" search feature, which scouts out preprogrammed points of interest on the maps based on where the user is located.
Basic route planning is free, although users may incur data transfer fees from their carriers. Other navigation upgrades are available for a fee. Nokia charges for a voice-guided navigation feature as well as other city and travel guides. Guides contain information on local cafes, music and clothing stores, museums and Wi-Fi hotspots, Nokia said. Nokia is offering a three-day trial for some of the advanced navigation features.
Nokia said map data will be available for 150 countries by the end of 2007, with 50 of those able to use the application's navigation feature. Nokia has published a list of countries for which a navigation license is sold. Also improved is the PC Map Loader application, which lets users load maps onto their devices from their home computers before needing a map on the road. That function is now 10 times faster. PC Map Loader is also a free download.
The mapping application, launched in February, is compatible with devices running on Symbian Series 60 second and third edition operating systems. top
17 Sep 07 - Apple flogs one millionth iPhone
Apple has sold its millionth iPhone, just 74 days after the combination cell phone-iPod went on sale and less than a week after its price was cut by a third. Apple previously said it expected to hit the million-sold mark by the end of September. The announcement sent Apple shares up $US2.94, or 2.2 per cent to $US134.71. On Wednesday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs cut the price of the eight-gigabyte iPhone from $US599 ($A726.63) to $US399 ($A484.02) and discontinued the $US499 ($A605.33) four-gigabyte version. The next day he apologised to those who had paid full price and offered $US100 ($A121.31) credits to early buyers. In a letter on the company's website, Jobs acknowledged Apple disappointed some of its customers and said he had received hundreds of emails complaining about the price cut. Jobs added "the technology road is bumpy" and there will always be people who pay top dollar for the latest electronics but get angry later when the price drops. "This is life in the technology lane," Jobs said in the letter last week. top
14 Sep 07 - LG Debuts Prada Phone
LG Electronics and Prada has unveiled the Prada Phone (KE850) - a touch screen mobile phone that the company touts to be unique, sophisticated and elegant.
The two companies have worked closely together on every aspect of the product - from handset development, attention to detail, to design and technological innovation." President and CEO of LG Electronics, Dr. Scott Ahn said, "We at LG are exceptionally proud of the Prada Phone by LG. The two companies have worked together seamlessly towards a truly shared vision, to develop one of the most beautifully stylish handsets the market has ever seen."
President and CEO of Prada, Mr. Patrizio Bertelli said, "As we do with ready-to-wear and accessories, we were looking at a break-through. Consistent with our approach, we are not branding an existing product; rather, Miuccia and I have been working with LG to give this new phone a very strong character and unique style, both in its contents and in its design. We, just like our partners at LG, are known for the attention to detail and uncompromising quality of our products. And we find these characteristics in the new mobile phone." top
13 Sep 07 - Mobile touches a milestone
Nearly a sixth of the global population will possess a mobile phone handset soon as the total number of mobile handsets is poised to cross 1.1 billion by the year-end.
"Worldwide mobile handset production is expected to touch 1.1 billion and for a global population of 6.5 billion, this means nearly one in every six people will be a mobile phone user globally," Said David Steel, vice-president for marketing
at Samsung Electronic's Mobile Communication Division.
Mobile phones' ever widening reach comes as the technology behind the phone celebrates its 20th anniversary. On September 7, 1987, 15 phone companies signed an agreement to build mobile networks based on the Global System for Mobile (GSM) Communications. The GSM Association says there are more than 2.5 billion accounts that currently use this technology worldwide.
"There's no doubt that at the time of the agreement in 1987 no one had an idea of the explosive capabilities in terms of growth that would happen after the GSM standard was agreed," Robert Conway, head of the GSM Association, was quoted as saying by BBC Online. The future promises to be an era of limitless
excitement for GSM technology.
High speed mobile networks could transcend your phone set and occupy the fabric of your clothing, your shoes, home appliances and even your car!top
12 Sep 07 - Laws Target Teen Drivers' Cell Phone Use
California and at least 11 other states are considering bills banning teens from using electronic equipment while driving, according to the American Automobile Association.
At least 15 states and the District of Columbia have passed bans. Supporters say teen-specific regulations _ which generally amend existing laws that apply to everyone, or add provisions to graduated licensing laws for young motorists _ reduce driver distraction and save lives. Opponents say they're another example of government meddling into citizens' private behaviour and teaching students proper driving skills is a parent's duty, not the state's.
California's bill could land on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk this week. Schwarzenegger, whose daughter turned 16 and began driving last year, hasn't indicated whether he'd sign it.
The legislation, introduced by California Sen. Joe Simitian, would take effect next July. It would ban 16- and 17-year-olds from using any electronic device while driving _ mobile phones, text messaging devices, laptop computers, pagers, walkie-talkies and handheld computers, even those with "hands-free" features. (Last year, Schwarzenegger signed a bill that prohibits all drivers from holding a mobile phone while driving. The measure, which takes effect in July 2008, allows hands-free devices.) top
11 Sep 07 - 4 billion phone lines
Largely because of the mobile phone boom in developing countries, telephone service has quadrupled in the past decade to 4 billion lines worldwide, according to a report from the United Nations telecommunications agency. The International Telecommunications Union counts 1.27 billion fixed lines and 2.68 billion mobile accounts. The total number of people represented by those figures is unclear because many people, particularly in industrial countries, have both kinds of service. The increase has been especially strong in developing countries that have been able to provide cellular phone service to tens of millions of people much more cheaply than having to wire homes and offices for fixed-line telephones. top
10 Sep 07 - Playstation phone to launch in February
With Sony Ericsson’s recent hints towards a Playstation branded gaming mobile phone in development, rumours from Mobile Entertainment hint towards a launch date of the coming February.
Though the site states that they understand that the, “forthcoming device will not be PSP branded,” we’re fairly sure that it’s going to carry at least some semblance of the widely recognised Playstation branding. Why on earth wouldn’t they when it’s such a huge name?
What is extra exciting is that hint that the gaming phone will, “comprise technical innovations such as motion-sensitivity,” which certainly sounds like an intriguing prospect. And certainly one that could work considering the obvious mobility of the modern mobile phone. top
06 Sep 07 - Optus eyes off Unwired as engin strikes
Australian IT, 05/07/07
OPTUS could emerge as a counter-bidder for a share of wireless broadband company Unwired, which confirmed that 10.38 per cent of its shares had been snapped up by interests associated with Kerry Stokes' Seven Network.
Seven investment Engin, which provides voice and broadband services, confirmed it was the buyer of a 10.38 per cent shareholding in the Sydney-based internet service provider. "It's a strategic stake and there is no other agenda. We see a strong rationale for Engin and Unwired working co-operatively," engin Chairman Neil Gamble said.
It would provide a combination of Unwired's wireless access services with Engin's broadband telephony and (digital video recorder) TiVo offering would deliver a compelling consumer proposition.
"We see broadband access as an enabler of consumer services such as voice and TiVo. As we develop new capabilities in voice technology, we see our services operating on multiple devices, across multiple access technologies." said Gamble.
Seven holds 35 per cent of Engin and is financing its investment in Unwired, an arrangement that could lead to Seven increasing its stake in Engin or moving to a direct stake in Unwired. "We always welcome sophisticated investors taking a stake in the company, especially an investor like Seven understanding what Wi-MAX is about," Unwired CEO David Spence said. "Around the world the big media companies are getting interested in Wi-MAX as a delivery platform."
Wi-MAX enabled companies such as Optus to have independence from Telstra's network. Optus has long been interested in Wi-MAX technology and has kept a close eye on Unwired since its formation, according to people familiar with the company. Together with Elders, the telco recently committed to the widespread deployment of Wi-MAX in regional Australia after it won a $958 million handout from the federal Government under the Broadband Connect project. top
06 Sep 07 - Apple slashes prices
Australian IT, 06/09/07
San Francisco: Apple has slashed the price of its iPhone and updated its iPod line media player line.
The 8-gigabyte iPhone will be $US399 - $US200 cheaper than the same model when it went on sale in June. The 4GB iPhone, which sold for $US399, will be phased out. By comparison, the new touch-screen iPods will start at $US299.
Apple chief Steve Jobs unveiled updated iPods, including a version with a touch-sensitive screen, wireless internet access and a web browser. Unlike an iPhone, it can't make or receive phone calls. The iPod Touch allows users to download songs wirelessly, and, eventually, will let people sample and buy digital tunes from any Starbucks in the United States that offers Wi-Fi internet access.
The iPod Touch is less than a third of an inch thick and can be used for storing photos, music, videos and other digital data. It features the same 3.5-inch, touch-screen display as the iPhone, on which light finger touches allow the user to scroll through menus, and two fingers are used to resize pictures.
The iPod Touch also has built-in wireless internet access and the Safari web browser. The iPhone, which runs on AT&T Inc.'s cellular network, also supports Wi-Fi. An 8-gigabyte iPod Touch will cost $US299. A 16-gigabyte version will cost $US399. It will be shipped worldwide starting later this month. top
05 Sep 07 - John Travolta's mobile annoys movie goers
New York: John Travolta, the star of hits like "Pulp Fiction" and "Face-Off", disturbed audiences by not turning off his mobile phone at a premiere. Travolta was with his wife Kelly Preston at the New York premiere of her new movie "Death Sentence". The movie also stars Kevin Bacon. Travolta didn't turn off his mobile phone, reports pagesix.com
An audience member said: "Travolta's mobile phone rang right as the film started. Twice. It was really loud, and a few people were harshly hushing." top
05 Sep 07 - Aussie's sidestep Apple to get local iPhones now
Sydney Morning Herald, 04/09/07
Australians are thumbing their noses at Apple's 2008 launch date for the iPhone, importing the device from the US and hacking it to work on local networks.
The hacks, unveiled just over a month ago and extensively documented online, break the locks that were intended to restrict iPhone use to the AT&T network in the United States.
According to one member of a group of Australians who have been collaborating on a hack, there are at least 30 or 40 people in Australia who are running the Apple phones using local SIM cards issued by carriers such as Telstra and Optus.
Alex Voevodin, general manager of Votech, the exclusive Australian reseller of TurboSIM, a $149 tool that is essential in conducting one of the iPhone unlocking methods, said he had to shut down his online store late last month after being inundated with orders. He said over 1500 orders were received in four days, many of which remained unfulfilled as Voevodin waited on a new TurboSIM shipment from the manufacturer, Bladox, which is expected to arrive early next week.
And not all of the iPhone hackers are motivated by the desire to be among the first in Australia to own the device. Australian eBay users began listing unlocked iPhones on eBay last week, one of which sold yesterday for $1700. In the US, the iPhone comes in two models which retail for $US499 and $US599. top
04 Sep 07 - Seven launches into broadband
Australian IT, 04/09/07
KERRY STOKES' Seven Network is moving into Australia's booming $1.5 billion broadband market using wireless technology. By taking a stake of at least 10 per cent in listed wireless internet player Unwired through Seven's telco investment vehicle Engin, the cashed-up media group, flush from the sale of 50 per cent of its television and magazine assets to private equity group KKR last year, is also in talks with Austar about purchasing its licensed wireless spectrum or creating a joint venture with the regional pay-TV outfit.
Austar and Unwired own spectrum in the 2.3Ghz and 3.5Ghz bands that is being developed for Wi-MAX wireless broadband. Seven began buying shares in Unwired last week through a Sydney stockbroker and the company paid 40c per share, a 23 per cent premium to Monday's 32c opening price.
The moves are the lates by Seven in a decade-long bid to move into the telecommunications sector. It once had a small stake in the failed Optus Vision pay-TV company, and also controlled mobile phone reseller B Digital for several years until it was eventually sold. But the emergence of broadband means the long-awaited convergence between communications and media is becoming a reality. top