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Technology

Crippled Mobile Phones

April 12, 2007

I have written in the past that the iPhone could be responsible for opening up the cell phone world by forcing carriers to give use better devices. Moreover it was my hope that cell phone carriers would see the light as Apple’s newest mobile phone would prove that by not unduly crippling a device you could sell even more of them and even more service as a result.   It seems sadly that my vision if it happens will be in the long term as Andy Abramson points out today that European carriers seem to be following the lead of the Americans by beginning to not quite cripple phones but at least make them less useful and less VoIP friendly.   I for one am not surprised by this but it is always a sad day when consumers loses out on the benefits of being able to communicate in the way they find most suitable. Instead, wireless carriers seem to be convinced they know what’s best for all.   Of course these carriers do make money from selling minutes. In addition, carriers in the US are pretty smart in subsidizing phones with less functionality and thus ensuring they boost minutes used.   When Verizon sold devices with crippled bluetooth they received a class action suit as a result.

Webinar Update

April 12, 2007

TMC’s marketing team is apparently very generous as I found out today they are giving away a TiVo Series2 Dual Tuner 80-hour DVR in a drawing to one lucky webinar attendee.   I would be remiss in my responsibility if I did not bring to your attention that you could be the lucky winner of this device. Personally I don’t have TiVo in my house (yet) as I am under the impression TiVo users watch more TV and I watch quite a bit already.   Enjoy the webinars and good luck in the drawing.     IP Media Servers and IMS: Key Enablers for Voicemail and Unified Messaging   April 19, 2007 2:00pm ET 11:00am PT   ---------   Securely Enabling VoIP Remote Users   May 1, 2007 2:00pm ET 11:00am PT   ---------   Also be sure to check out the webinar page for archived events and an upcoming schedule.

Vonage to Focus on Profit

April 12, 2007

Jeffrey Citron will replace Michael Schneider as CEO of Vonage. It seems Wall Street is happy with this move as the stock price has increased somewhat on this news.   In addition the company has instituted a hiring freeze and layoffs of 180 workers or about 10% of the workforce according to CNBC.   Vonage also says they are just shy of the 3 million customer milestone which is a fantastic achievement.   Having Citron back is CEO is great news for the company as he is responsible for building Vonage into the strong brand it is today. Unfortunately blame can be placed on him for building a market-share at all cost company.   Hopefully the layoffs could be a sign that Citron is serious about achieving profitability. Jeffrey has got to focus on profit now more than ever if he wants to gain Wall Street’s blessing and get the stock price to start moving in the positive direction.

Entertainment Wars

April 11, 2007

Movie review site Fandango was snapped up today by cable company Comcast with the ultimate goal for Comcast being increased web traffic and support for a new site Fancast.com devoted to allowing consumers to watch on demand content on a variety of devices.   Comcast is the nation’s largest cable company and Fandango is one of the largest movie sites around. There is a natural synergy between Fandango’s base of movie enthusiasts and Comcast’s goals to allow users to watch on demand content across a variety of devices.   The question worth asking is what other acquisition ideas have been created as a result of this one. Will other cable companies, AT&T and Verizon be looking for movie content sites as well? Does everyone who distributes content now need a TV Guide like audience to market to?   Fandango has a community of interest and Comcast will now be able to tap into this community to sell things – beyond its geographic boundary if it so chooses.   It seems companies are waking up to the concept of online communities and their inherent value.

Scala-700

April 11, 2007

Testing the Scala-700 Skype Bluetooth Headset



Behind my desk sits a mountain of boxes containing videophones, wireless headsets and unimaginable gadgets for me to look at, evaluate and consider writing about. My day job is running the largest communications & technology media company in the world with four print magazines with over 600,000 readers a month, three trade shows with over 15,000 attendees in total a year and a website – TMCnet, attracting about two million people a month. My night job is to share my thoughts on the industry… Where things stand today and where they are headed.   As TMC has grown I miss the days when I had more time to devote to sharing my thoughts. So yesterday I decided to delve into the pile and start a review of the Cardo Scala-700 headset which the company bills as the world’s only voice-controlled wireless headset for Skype and high quality cell phone communication.   About a year ago I mentioned seeing an earlier Cardo System’s bluetooth, Skype-enabled headset for the first time.

Skype for Mac Improved

April 11, 2007

Skype for Mac has a new beta version 2.6 available here and it’s brimming with new features. In addition you can expect improved sound quality and software stability according to the company. There is a nifty new call transfer feature allowing you to send a call to someone else. This is something you had to use an office PBX for and this is an unexpected bonus for Mac users.   The concept of having software come out for the Mac first used to be something we saw in the desktop publishing world all the time in the late eighties and early nineties.

Vanu

April 11, 2007

Software defined radio (SDR) systems are somewhat of a holy grail in technology as they use software to shift frequencies and modulation schemes while utilizing multipurpose underlying hardware. In a perfect world you could use software defined radio technology to receive cellular calls, WiFi, bluetooth, GPS, AM/FM, Sirius, XM, HDTV, etc.   Imagine if your smartphone used all the communications modes above with need for just a single processor – wouldn’t that just be amazing? Of course this will likely be possible some day but for now there are hardware components which handle each of the above functions.

MobileCierge

April 10, 2007

At some point the secretary became the executive assistant and then a strange thing happened – there seemed to be less of these assistants. It seems executives started doing more and more of their own “secretarial work” such as scheduling meetings, making travel reservations, etc.   But let’s face it… Work is not getting easier for many of us as we all struggle to catch up with e-mail and assignments on nights and weekends. The internet has created an environment where those who choose to work 24x7 finally can. Even those who don’t want to sometimes work around the clock.

Nice Systems

April 10, 2007

Stop IMing Me

April 10, 2007

Finding the Holy Grail of Unified Communications   We all have our peculiar ways of working and mine is e-mail centric. It is precisely this love of e-mail that enables me to really find a product like SpinmyVmail useful as it converts my voicemail to e-mail.   I am signed up for an IM client or two but I don’t use them that often. I do find them useful when I need to get a quick answer or as a means to schedule a quick conference call.   But IM is a pain for me and I wonder if I am alone.   The reason I don’t like it is the fact that what other people want is not always my highest priority at the moment. Sometimes I would like to respond to a request at night, on a weekend or on a plane.   IM does not allow me to easily accomplish the above.
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