Mae : Wireless Mobility Blog
| News and views on everything wireless and mobile, from WiFi and WiMAX to 3G and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC).


Mobile Manners in the Cell Phone Age

September 21, 2006

I was at the pharmacy recently picking up a prescription, and noticed a sign taped to the counter asking customers to please refrain from using their cell phones while paying for their medicines. The sign got me thinking about cell phone etiquette—or, too often it seems, the lack thereof.


One of my personal pet peeves is when a person either starts or continues a cell phone conversation while going through the check-out at a store. Not only does this potentially slow things down for other people in line (since research has shown that multitasking when talking on the phone is not very efficient), but it also must be awfully frustrating for the cashier who may have to verbally convey information to a distracted or inattentive customer.


So, I was pleased to see that my pharmacy was confronting people with the fact that it expects customers to pay full attention to the task of making their purchases. But, the more I thought about it, I found myself growing sad that it had come to this—a store having to say, in effect, “We insist that you be polite.” Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned manners?


If you Google the term “cell phone etiquette,” you’ll get thousands upon thousands of results (I performed the search just this morning and got 4,510,000 hits.) Clearly, I’m not the only person who thinks that people tend to behave in very impolite ways too often when using their cell phones.

Waiting for an Apple iPhone

September 22, 2006

There’s been speculation for a long time now that Apple may at some point produce its own cell phone (e.g. eWeek in 2003, Edgadget in 2004). That chatter resumed recently leading up to Apple’s latest big announcements, some of it apparently coming directly from company headquarters.

Earlier this month, predicted that the odds of Apple introducing an iPod phone or iPhone are 2:1.

“A pure iPod phone would probably do well, though some of the phone companies don't like the fact that it will circumvent their own mobile music services,” mp3newswire said.

Apple’s latest news turned out to be updates to iTunes, and enhancements to all three of its iPod lines (regular, shuffle, nano). But that hasn’t stopped the speculation about a possible phone from continuing.

What’s New and Cool in Wireless

September 26, 2006

This week in San Diego (the same city where, incidentally, TMC’s Internet Telephony EXPO will be held a fortnight from now), technology companies are gathered to show off their latest innovations at the DEMOfall 2006 show. Perusing through the list of products on display, a few caught my eye that relate to the wireless/mobility arena.

First up is Dash Navigation, Inc.’s simply named Dash product/service, which delivers real-time information to people while they’re driving in their cars. To me, the coolest thing about Dash is that it “creates a network of drivers who help each other avoid traffic and share information about their destinations.” I’ve read about SMS services in Europe that alert drivers about traffic jams, and this appears to be along the same lines.

Next Up for Fixed-Mobile Convergence: Femtocells

September 27, 2006

A few days ago I covered a new report out from ABI Research relating to predictions for the dual-mode handset market. (In case you’re not familiar, dual-mode handsets are phones capable of picking up signal from either a cellular network or a WiFi/VoIP network depending on which is available.) In the report, ABI mentioned an up-and-coming technology called femtocell, which I have to admit I hadn’t encountered before.

ABI describes femtocells as “small cellular base stations designed for use in residential or corporate environments.” The research firm said that femtocells have great potential for carriers interested in rolling out fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) services because the technology involved can result in more efficient networks, reduced customer churn, and improved in-building wireless coverage.

I was intrigued to find out more, but before I had to chance to do so TMCnet editor Bob Liu beat me to the punch in his September 26 article about T-Mobile’s plans to soon roll out dual-mode services.

A Few New Cell Phone Services

October 2, 2006

This morning, a quick scan of the news wires uncovered a few of the newer ways that twenty-first century cell phone manufacturers and service providers are making small, portable communications devices even more impossible to live without.

Personal trainerTrimble, a California-based company that specializes in “advanced positioning solutions” (think GPS), offers a service called AllSport GPS, described in a Mercury News article today as “an application that enables users to measure distance, time, speed and calories on their cell phones.” Those measurements can be uploaded to a Web site for later analysis or just to keep track of fitness progress. The service was released in August as part of the company’s Trimble Outdoors line and, is available on 10 Sprint phone models and on 17 Nextel phones.

Voter registration – If you live in Pennsylvania, you now can get started registering to vote by sending a text message on your cell phone. According to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today, voters can type in either “Pgh” or “Pa” and send it to the number 75444 to register. This brings up prompts to enter name and address, along with the option to have a completed registration form sent to the person’s residence.

D-Link Intros V-Click Dual-Mode Handset

October 4, 2006

There’s been talk for quite some time about fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) and dual-mode handsets. Recently the potential of this new technology has finally begun to see the light of day in actual handsets and services available to consumers.

A case in point is D-Link’s introduction this week of a new, dual-mode (3G cellular/WiFi) handset: the V-Click. On the phone’s product page, D-Link explains users will be able to insert a SIM Smartcard or chip from their cellular provider into the handset to gain GSM access; a button allows users to switch back and forth from cellular to WiFi modes.

Cell Phones Worth Killing for in Africa

October 5, 2006

Here’s somewhat of an “off the beaten path” story that caught my eye this morning: four teenagers in Africa stabbed and killed a 52-year-old man (Quinin Boutel) while robbing him of his cellphone and taking the shoes from his girlfriend (Debra Fleishman).

According to a report on, the attack occurred in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. The teenagers (three girls and one boy) ranged in age from 13 to 14.

“The boy allegedly stabbed Boutel who died on the scene,” the report says. “The children then allegedly took Boutel's cellphone, and Fleisman's shoes.” Fleishman wasn’t hurt, and later identified the teens who were taken into custody and face court on Friday.

Samsung Survey Shows Cell Phone Etiquette Varies by Age, Region

October 6, 2006

One of the stories making the rounds on newswires today is a recent survey on cell phone etiquette, conducted by Kelton Research for Samsung Telecommunications America. The most notable aspect of the survey—which asked 1,000 U.S. teenagers and adults their opinion about various phone etiquette situations—is that what’s considered polite depends on what age group you’re in and where you live.

When asked, “Is it appropriate to answer or make a call on your cell phone in any of the following situations,” respondents gave answers summarized in the table below.

T-Mobile to Launch Dual-Mode Handsets and Service

October 9, 2006

Last week, I blogged about D-Link’s launch of its new, dual-mode handset—the V-Click—and noted that the only other comparable product slated for availability soon is Paragon Wireless’ hip-2200. It appears I may have spoken too soon.

According to an Associated Press report that hit the wires Friday, by year’s end T-Mobile plans to launch its own dual-mode handset and companion service.

ABI Predictions for GPS in Cell Phones

October 10, 2006

One of the items waiting in my Inbox this morning was a new report from ABI Research, predicting that by the end of 2008, 25 percent of WCDMA handsets will include GPS capabilities.

The research firm gives four main reasons why it thinks its prediction is accurate:

  • Regulatory requirements are inducing vendors to include GPS in their products

  • Staying competitive may require adding GPS

  • GPS may be attractive to carriers looking for a way to increase ARPU and recoup costs associated with licensing 3G spectrum

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