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News & Views - Archive!
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21 Feb 07 - Teen mobile study reports disturbing facts
The Daily Telegraph, 19/02/07
According to a recent US survey of 13-to 18-year-olds conducted for apparel company Liz Claiborne Inc, one in three said they get as many as 30 hourly mobile phone text messages from a boyfriend or girlfriend wanting to know where they are, what they're doing or who they're with.
Nearly one in four reported hourly contact with a partner via mobile phone or text messages between midnight and 5am. Just over 70 per cent said rumour spreading by boyfriends or girlfriends on mobile phones or online social networking sites - such as The News Corporation's popular MySpace.com - is a serious problem. Nearly the same percentage of teens said sharing private or embarrassing pictures/ or videos via mobile phone or computers represented serious trouble.
Where Sledge's parents couldn't help but notice their home phone ringing off the hook - nearly 70 per cent of today's teens surveyed said their parents have no clue that the high-tech gadgets they provided in an effort to keep their offspring safe were being used by peers for psychological or physical warfare.
That's something Sledge and others are working to change.
Sledge is a member of a teen task force set up by Liz Claiborne, which partnered with the US National Domestic Violence Hotline to create www.loveisrespect.org, a national teen dating abuse helpline launched earlier this month. top
20 Feb 07 - World's most expensive phone?
The Vertu company together with the Boucheron jewellery house has released a limited edition of elite mobile phones Vertu Signature Python. There are only 26 such phones in the world. The Euroset company has recently sold another “phone for oligarchs”, Vertu Signature Cobra.
Seven Vertu Signature Python mobile phones are to be sold on the Russian market. Three “pythons” have already appeared on the Russian market, under more in the Vertu boutique on the Tverskaya Street.
The 18 carat pink gold case features ornate jeweled snake set with a pear-cut 1 carat diamond, two blue sapphire eyes and 17 carat multicolored sapphires. The phone cost is $A300,000.
For nearly 150 years, Boucheron has been designing precious gems, jewellery, watches, and perfumes. A legend has it that once a snake crawled into Boucheron’s workshop on the Vandome square in Paris. It was attracted by the beautiful precious stones. Since then the snake has been the symbol of the jewellery house. The limited edition of the Vertu Signature Python is dedicated to the first Boucheron shop.
One Vertu Signature Cobra on demand has already been sold in Russia. The model was presented in late 2006. The $310,000 Cobra features one pear-cut diamond, one round white diamond, two emerald eyes and 439 rubies. It is expected to sell only 8 Cobra phones in the world. There will be no more Cobra phones in Russia.
20 Feb 07 - 14 Billion SMSs for Chinese New Year
Australian IT, 19/02/07
CHINA'S mobile operators estimate Chinese customers will send around 14 billion Lunar New Year text messages on their mobile phones during the week-long holiday, the Xinhua news agency said.
During last year's new year holiday, Chinese sent 12.6 billion short messages in 8 days, more than 30 messages for each of the 400 million mobile phone subscribers, the agency said.
The mainland now has more than 460 million mobile subscribers.
Chinese sent 430 billion short messages with their mobile phones last year. top
16 Feb 07 - Horrible kidnapping scam kills mother
The Daily Telegraph, 16/02/07
A CON artist phoned a Brazilian mother to demand a ransom to free her kidnapped son and the panicked 67-year-old retiree died of a heart attack before she realised she was a victim of a scam.
Mercia Mendes de Barros sent her husband to fetch 60,000 reais ($36,685) and asked neighbours for help negotiating with the faux kidnapper.
But her husband said Mercia died before he returned from the bank and a neighbour successfully contacted her son - who never was taken hostage - on his mobile phone.
“I had heard of this scam, put panic takes over when you get the call,” Mercia's husband, Jose Pereira de Barros, said. “We were attacked and assassinated in our own house - by phone.”
Criminal gangs in Brazil spend hours every day calling people at home.
Preying on widespread fears of real kidnappings, the con artists tell unsuspecting victims they have kidnapped their loved ones and will kill them unless ransoms are paid.
Frustrated police run advertisements on local radio stations warning people of the scam.
15 Feb 07 - Battle for Mobile TV licence
The Sydney Morning Herald, 15/02/07
ACCESS to mobile TV is shaping up as the next battleground for the media industry, ahead of the introduction of a new digital TV licence later this year.
Telstra, which is considered one of the most likely companies to win the bid for a mobile television licence with up to 32 channels, has said it would be prepared to provide other players access to one-quarter of those channels.
But Fairfax Media claims that is not enough. It believes the holder of the licence should provide access to at least two-thirds of the channels it controls.
Telstra, which has a combative relationship with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, argued for regulation of any access regime to be "light handed," in its submission made public yesterday.
Telstra expects the licence could support between 12 and 32 channels, depending on whether the content was a talk show or high action sports event, which would require more bandwidth. Services would likely be subscription based, although advertising could be used to reduce the cost.
It has not yet decided whether to bid for the licence but it said the regulator should apply a "light touch regulatory framework, in recognition of the nascent market for converging services, the potentially investment-chilling effect of onerous, or uncertain regulation, and the significant investment required."
The Seven Network argued in its submission that the access regime should ensure "parity in the quality of service" for all access seekers and a "use it or lose it" approach.top
14 Feb 07 - The Finns win hands down
Australian IT, 14/02/07
NINETY-six per cent of Finns have access to broadband internet and 50 per cent to third-generation (3G) mobile telephony, a study published by the communications ministry showed.
Four out of five municipalities now offer high-speed internet connections, compared to two out of three two years ago. The difference between the number of municipalities with broadband and the number of people using it is explained by the heavy concentration of people living in urban areas.
Finland, which is home to the world's biggest mobile phone maker Nokia, has one of the world's highest levels of new technology penetration.
According to official statistics and professional organisations, more than 75 per cent of Finns regularly or occasionally use internet. For those under the age of 40, the figure is 100 per cent.
Meanwhile, the rate of mobile telephony use exceeds 100 per cent, which means that there is more than one mobile phone per person in the country of 5.2 million inhabitants. top
13 Feb 07 - Vodafone launches new interactive TV
Australian IT, 13/02/07
VODAFONE is polishing its mobile television plans for Australia, quietly launching an interactive service and pushing ahead with a local taste test for British teen soap Hollyoaks.
Vodafone switched on its mobile television service in November, and its services include MTV, Sky News, live feeds from ABC and SBS and a football-focused UEFA channel. Hollyoaks producers Lime Pictures wanted to build up the show in Australia on mobile before trying it on television.
Should the Hollyoaks experiment prove successful, similar programs may follow.
The new interactive channel, launched without fanfare two weeks ago, allows customers to vote for the material they want shown.
Rival Hutchison recently claimed its broadcast of the summer's Ashes cricket series notched up more than two million "viewing events". top
12 Feb 07 - 2007: the year for VoIP?
Australian IT, 12/02/07
AUSTRALIA'S voice over IP companies need to start making some money, with free services heavily outnumbering paid-for ones in a national market that now has more than a million subscribers, researcher Market Clarity says.
The number of VoIP subscribers in Australia would reach 1.4 million in 2006-7, Market Clarity chief executive Shara Evans said.
This group generated an estimated $85 million in revenue during the period.
Market Clarity reported that of the 1.1 million internet-based VoIP services in Australia in December, only 230,000 were paid-for services.
By 2011, the number of internet-based VoIP services in Australia, including business and residential customers, will reach 4.8 million, with business users generating more than half the revenue.
"Smaller VoIP services needed to start making money to service in a market that would inevitably see the arrival of the big telecommunications companies," Ms Evans said.
12 Feb 07 - Samsung leapfrogs iPhone
The Sydney Morning Herald, 12/02/07
Samsung has unveiled a new mobile phone that features some of the sleek design and functions of Apple's much-hyped iPhone.
Samsung's Ultra Smart F700 will be exhibited at next week's 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona on Friday.
Mobile phone makers have been scrambling to match the iPhones. The device, which will be available starting in June, marks the iPod and Mac computer maker's entry into the mobile phone business.
The ultra-thin iPhone is controlled by touching the screen a large touch screen, plays music, surfs the Internet, and runs a version of the Mac OS X operating system, among other functions.
Samsung said its Ultra Smart F700 also has a full touch screen as well as a traditional QWERTY key pad that slides out for users who are not yet familiar with a touch-screen-only user interface.
The phone can also access the internet, play music, take pictures, show videos, handle e-mail and share photos, said Samsung, the world's third-largest manufacturer of mobile phone handsets.
Its third-generation (3G) technology is considerably faster than the iPhone's EDGE system, and its 5-megapixel camera outclasses the iPhone's 2-megapixel camera.top
09 Feb 07 - Australian first - prepaid wireless broadband
Wireless broadband is now available to Ausralian consumers and businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.
gotalk communications has teamed with PBA (Personal Broadband Australia) to launch Australia’s first prepaid wireless broadband service, carried on the iBurst network.
In announcing the service, gotalk CEO Steve Picton believes that more Australian consumers will find wireless broadband attractive because of the quality and simplicity of the new networks that are now coming online.
PhoneChoice has found that many consumers are looking for a simpler way to connect to broadband, so networks with the easiest access will be the ones to beat.
07 Feb 07 - Orlando Bloom has mobile blues
Orlando Bloom was warned twice to turn off his phone during a flight to Buenos Aires.
The actor received the wrath of British Airways' air stewardesses after he refused to stop chatting on his mobile phone.
A source revealed: "He had to be told on two occasions by cabin crew to turn off his mobile phone as the aircraft prepared for take-off."
Orlando's travel nightmare didn't end there; cabin crew cautioned him again while the plane landed to pick up more passengers.
The source added to Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper: "He got another ticking off when the plane landed at Sao Paulo to take on passengers. He walked up and down the cabin on his phone and told one of the many people he called that he wanted an ex-directory number at his home."
"Why he should be concerned about privacy when we were all compelled to listen to every single detail about his life I have no idea."
When he arrived at Buenos Aires, Orlando then travelled by boat to Antarctica for a holiday.
07 Feb 07 - Optus seeks help for bush network
The Sydney Morning Herald, 07/02/07
OPTUS has offered to spend $170 million on building third-generation mobile phone services in some of the remotest parts of Australia in an attempt to win additional funding from the Federal Government.
The telecom wants to snare $200 million in funding under the Government's Broadband Connect program, which together with its proposed spending package would pay for mobile phone towers covering 500,000 square kilometres.
In making the bid, Optus is playing up its commitment last week to spend $800 million to extend its third-generation mobile network to 96 per cent of the population.
Optus's plan to extend its coverage would capture only another 2 per cent of Australia's population, making it uncommercial without government funding.
If the project went ahead, it would give Optus similar coverage levels to those of Telstra's third-generation telephone network, NextG, at 98 per cent.
06 Feb 07 - ACCC acts on misleading ADSL speeds
The Australian IT, 06/02/07
AUSTRALIAN Competition and Consumer Commission chief Graeme Samuel has run out of patience with carriers and internet providers that use misleading and deceptive advertising to sell broadband services.
The ACCC published a detailed set of guidelines for internet providers last week on how they should advertise broadband speeds without falling foul of the Trade Practices Act.
Mr Samuel said they were a third and final warning to ISPs to comply with consumer protection laws or face sanctions.
We "have our eye on certain ISPs that we think are perhaps slow to learn what misleading and deceptive conduct is about", he said.
"They have no excuses any more because they've had three levels of warning. It shouldn't take people too long to understand what being honest is about and what misleading and deceiving consumers is about, and they know it. Time's up."
Penalties for breaching the act range from court orders to correct advertising to fines of $1.1 million.
Mr Samuel said parts of the act dealing with misleading and deceptive conduct were the ISPs' first warning.
He delivered the second in a speech he made in October, when he criticised ISPs for advertising that their services could reach certain speed thresholds when most consumers were unlikely to obtain them.
The ACCC was particularly critical of ISPs using the terms "up to" and "maximum" to advertise high-speed ADSL2+ broadband services.
According to the ACCC, advertised maximum speeds should be based on those likely to be achieved by a majority of customers.
Two major ISPs have agreed to review their broadband advertising practices.
06 Feb 07 - Mobiles could replace GPS
The Sydney Morning Herald, 06/02/07
THE humble mobile phone has emerged as a threat to the expensive GPS systems transport companies use to track their fleets.
There is a growing band of Australian companies using mobile phones to track the position of cars and trucks.
Such services, which allow businesses to locate assets and streamline jobs, have long been a staple of the transport industry, using in-vehicle global positioning system (GPS) units, which pinpoint cars or trucks to a matter of metres.
This allows them to ensure drivers comply with road safety laws while also enhancing a transport company's services by making them more predictable.
At Roadmaster, that cost becomes difficult to justify at peak times for the transport industry when the company hires subcontractors to ensure it can meet demand. When it does so, it is still obliged to prove that drivers are observing the law and its customers still want the same level of service. Yet the prospect of spending $1000 to equip someone else's vehicle with GPS equipment is not pleasant.
Enter Tenzeng, GoFinder and LocateMy Communications Group, three companies that use Telstra's mobile networks to deliver the same kind of location-tracking offered by GPS, but instead require drivers to possess only a mobile phone. This data makes it possible to pinpoint a mobile phone to within 200 metres, even if a driver goes indoors. top
02 Feb 07 - Ceasefire in iPhone lawsuit
The Sydney Morning Herald, 02/02/07
Apple and Cisco Systems are apparently suspending their court battle over the iPhone to return to the negotiations table.
Although Cisco's lawsuit against Apple remains pending, the two companies have agreed to extend the time Apple has to respond so that the parties can discuss trademark rights and interoperability.
The aim, they said, is to reach an agreement over the matter.
Cisco, which makes routers and switches to link networks and power the internet, has owned the trademark on the name "iPhone" since 2000 and began shipping its own line of iPhone-branded internet-enabled phones in late 2006.
Then when Apple announced its mobile phone-iPod-internet communications device last month and called it "iPhone," negotiations between the tech companies ended with a loud thud. Cisco sued Apple the following day claiming trademark infringement.
Under federal law, two companies may share a trademark as long as their uses aren't confusingly similar. Apple has battled another Apple over trademark before: Apple Corps, the Beatles' recording company, had sued the computer company over its entry into the music business. Despite the more recent legal skirmish, Cisco is pushing ahead with its own Linksys iPhone. It took out a full page ad in Thursday's edition of The New York Times to promote the product and included the small "R" for registered trademark next to the name.
The ad, touting "iPhone: More than talk!" featured two women sitting back to back on a grassy field, one using a phone and the other a laptop - an Apple laptop. top