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

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.

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.

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.

Nokia’s Wibree: The Next Bluetooth?

October 3, 2006

The wireless story of today so far seems to be Nokia’s introduction of a new short-range wireless technology, dubbed Wibree, a possible competitor to Bluetooth.

Nokia is promoting Wibree as an “open industry initiative” designed to enable wireless connectivity between small devices (including watches, wireless keyboards, and toys) while consuming less power than other radio technologies. The company also says the new technology will be interoperable with Bluetooth.

In a press release, Nokia explains about the new technology: “Wibree is implemented either as stand-alone chip or as Bluetooth-Wibree dual-mode chip.

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.

Zune Battles iPod This Holiday Season

September 29, 2006

It’s official: Microsoft’s Zune and Apple’s iPod will be doing battle this holiday season for the hearts and minds of shoppers. Microsoft announced today that its new Zune music player will ship November 14, and be priced at $249.99, comparable to the 30GB iPod.

Here’s a quick ‘n dirty comparison of the two products:



Storage Size

Screen Size

Laser Application for Inputting Data into Mobile Devices

September 28, 2006

On a quest to discover the latest new and cool wireless technologies coming down the pike, yesterday I made a quick scan of exhibitors at the upcoming Wired NEXTFEST. Most didn’t seem related to wireless/mobility per se, but one product that did catch my eye is a new laser-based user interface application developed by three Japanese engineers.

Titled “Smart Laser Scanner for Human-Computer Interface,” the new technology is designed to address the challenge of inputting information into electronic devices as those devices become smaller and smaller. The approach taken by the Japanese developers is to use a “a simple active tracking system using a laser diode (visible or invisible light), steering mirrors, and a single non-imaging photodetector, which is capable of acquiring three dimensional coordinates in real time without the need of any image processing at all.”

Wow, pretty technical stuff!

The engineers who developed this technology further describe it as “a smart rangefinder scanner that instead of continuously scanning over the full field of view, restricts its scanning area, on the basis of a real-time analysis of the backscattered signal, to a very narrow window precisely the size of the target.”

The demo pages for this new technology are pretty technical, but the images are cool.

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.

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.

What’s in a Name? Geek vs. Consumer

September 25, 2006

I was chatting recently with Art Rosenberg, author of the Unified View column, and he mentioned—as he often has before—that the adoption of new technology could be aided if only those developing said technology could come up with a single term to describe it. Art’s point was that end-users (whether they be enterprises or individuals) tend to get confused when people use several different terms to describe the same technology.

For example: Is it "unified communications" or "unified messaging"? Is it "Voice Over IP," VoIP (abbreviation that takes on its own life), or "Internet telephony"?