Friday, April 28, 2006

Carnival #25 is over at Golden Swamp this week

Judy Breck's done a great job of rounding up this week's writing in mobile so check out the Carnival of the Mobilists this week and read it for yourself. And check out Judy's blog whilst you're at it - it's a good read!

Interesting discussion on Java vs Wap development

Check it out over at Mobhappy where Russell discusses usability and development issues around J2ME (that's java on mobile - the technology that is behind most mobile games). Feel free to add your 2p on 'The Frustrations of Java'.

In my own experience of Java, I've just been playing with Mobizines - and it's a smashing experience on my Nokia N70 and I'm really enjoying reading the new content every day, getting the BBC headlines, and a free sudoku each morning. And it updates automatically over the air without any intervention from me which is very cool.

However, it's been a disappointing experience on my Sony Ericsson K700i. I can download the application but no content - I'm guessing it's my wap settings or my operator settings, but even so, playing the role of Joe Public, I would have given it up as a bad job by now. Similarly, my colleague who has a K750i, had the same problems. She's on Orange contract and mine was t-mobile PAYG. Teething troubles I guess as this is a beta version. And this kind of trouble is common when developing Java applications on mobile - compatibility between handsets, by operator etc is a bit of a minefield.

Watch this space though around applications of this kind. There are more coming our way...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Hurrah, I'm only 50% evil.

That makes me feel almost virtuous - especially as Tom is 76% evil (and I thought he was such a nice man too). Tom, what have you been doing to deserve that rating?!

You Are 50% Evil

You are evil, but you haven't yet mastered the dark side.
Fear not though - you are on your way to world domination.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Tuesday 25th April is free ice-cream day

In selected scoop shops across the UK -- and around the world -- ice cream lovers can enjoy a free cup or cone of their favourite chunky funky flavour courtesy of Ben & Jerry's.

Free Cone Day started when the original Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop in Burlington, Vermont decided to say ‘thank you’ to customers for their support during Ben & Jerry’s first year in business. And they’re still doing it.

Unfortunately, I'll be nowhere near one of the London outlets on Tuesday 25/4/06. But maybe you will be. The London outlets are Leicester Square, Oxford Street, The Tower and The Strand. Have a cone for me!

Mobile Super Shorts Competition - Call for Entries

If you're a budding super short film-maker then this competition could be for you. The guys over at Talent Circle are running a Super Shorts film festival this July around the UK. What they're looking for are great films suitable for mobile phones and other handheld devices. Films must be between 20 and 60 seconds long. The best entries will be screened at the festival and there's a chance to win a fancy mobile phone and an even fancier DVD player thingummy and of course there's the obligatory awards ceremony. Looking forward to seeing the kinds of films that make it.

Carnival of the Mobilists #24

is live and kicking over at Feet up! Catch up on this week's thinking and writing on mobile in the blogosphere. Next week, you'll find it over at Golden Swamp.

Nokia Series 60 tips

Eagle-eyed Darla [via All about Symbian] spotted this new website, which does exactly what it says on the tin. It gives you tips and cool stuff to do with your Nokia S60 phone (and I have one of these, a N70 to be specific, so I'm looking forward to trying some of this stuff out). Check it out.

Oh, and whilst you're at it, check out Darla's blog too as it has lots of interesting stuff there about mobile handsets 'n stuff.

Monday, April 17, 2006

What I didn't know about Shozu until now

was that it can back up your whole contacts list on your phone as well as uploading your photos to flickr. So I've downloaded the Shozu application and it works a dream. Just trying out mobileglu now to see how it compares.

And I'm afraid the first picture I shozu-d is the Crazy Frog game. I'd posted all the others up already. Sorry folks ;-)

The times they are a-changing

I've just seen this article on The Register about the Nokia 6103 low-end mobile phone. The editor describes it as 'a drop-dead simple phone'. I remember drop-dead simple phones. You could talk and text and that was about it. In fact I still have my Motorola Timeport which I would consider a drop-dead simple phone.

But this is 2006 and "drop-dead simple" or 'low-end' now includes:
  • Clamshell style
  • Small protruding antenna
  • Colour screen - 128 x 160 pixels (ok for pictures, not suitable for video)
  • Camera (yes, you read that right, a camera) albeit VGA
  • Email client
  • Tri-band
  • Wap access
  • Edge support for faster downloads
  • Change your ringtone
  • FM radio (but no MP3 player)
  • Excellent reception (umm, shouldn't *every* phone have this?)
  • 4.4 mb memory (ok, so that's a bit small these days)
  • and, err bluetooth for wireless data access.
Wow, and that's a 'low-end' phone. If my mother was given this phone as a gift, I'd be very surprised if she found any of the above simple or 'low-end'. What about your Mum Ewan?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Carnival of the Mobilists #23

This week's carnival is over at the Wireless Data News Blog. There you'll find the week's round-up of writing on mobile and there are some good links to what was happening over at CTIA as well as some interesting debate on new mobile advertising models. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Three O'Clock Mag resurfaces as tocmag

Way back in the mists of time when I was still using a Sony Ericsson T610, I trialled a service called 'Three O'Clock Magazine'. It was one of the first Java magazines on the market and they had a fashion edition. If I remember rightly, it worked some of the time, not all of the time and stopped publishing after just a few issues. I didn't really think any more of it.

Then out of the blue, well after a long absence, an email just pinged into my inbox (well spam box actually but I retrieved it!) announcing the public beta-test of tocmag - a service where anyone can design and publish their own Java magazine and distribute it via the tocmag community. And it's all free.

Well, I thought I'd give it a go except I can't seem to be able to register. So I've emailed them for some help so let's see what they come back with. Once I do get the chance to log in and try it out, I'll review it here. And if anyone else gets a chance to play with the tool, I'm interested to know what you think of it.

Star Wars Lego Symphony

Check this little video clip out*. I love it! And if you like the video, you may also be amazed at this. Some people really do have too much time on their hands.

* via Diary of a London Cokehead

Monday, April 10, 2006

Mobile TV in the UK is pushing forward

Well, would you ever! It seems that the folks at Channel 4 are pushing the boundaries and planning to show full length episodes of teen soap favourite, Hollyoaks to mobile users on Vodafone and Orange 3G tarriffs. Clearly the target market is spot on - the core audience is probably 14 to 25. And there are lots of beautiful people in the soap which makes it easy on the eye. I'm delighted that Channel 4 is taking the leap although, I think it is really early days yet. And I wonder how the 3G networks would cope anyway if lots of people were trying to access the service simultaneously in the same cell.

This is in addition to its existing Hollyoaks mobile video service where, since the end of March, it has been free to download the clips. These include Hollyoaks Bitesize (best bits of the week) and Hollyoaks Weekender (mini episodes on Saturdays and Sundays). Sadly, I couldn't find anything on the site that would suggest what kind of charges would be levied by the network operators. I guess the tarriffs are just *too* complicated. Seems a bit odd that they're still promoting their Hollyoaks text service at 25p a text message when the videos are free to access.

And over at the BBC, they're offering Tardisodes - 1 minute prequels of the new Dr Who series - on video capable handsets. And it's free (well apart from your data charges that is). For your fix this week, text TARDIS to 81010. Oh, and you can see the first one online now as well.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Chrysalis to launch music download service for mobiles

It seems that the Heart stations, party of the Chrysalis radio group are to offer music downloads using the DAB spectrum as an alternative to using 3G. They've signed a deal with Carphone Warehouse, BT and Virgin Mobile to run a trial before launching commercially next year. Read more about it here over at Brand Republic.

I think this is a really interesting development - especially in terms of pricing as using DAB should bring the price per track down to approx 79p (same as itunes) rather than the high charges the network operators are currently charging for OTA (over the air) downloads. It should also speed up the process.

Thoughts? Will this really happen or is this, realistically, 10 years away?

t-shirts with "mobile tags"

Just spotted this over at Creativematch. It seems that Abaxia has teamed up with French mobile news site W3SH to use 'mobile tags' (aka QR codes, semacodes, Shotcodes, 2d barcodes...) on t-shirts. On the back of the t-shirt is the tag. You take a picture of it from your camera phone and it links you automatically to the W3SH wap site.

And it all sounds kinda neat, except that my direct experience with these mobile barcodes in the UK at least is that they need an application on your phone to work and that is not currently pre-installed on the handset unlike Japan. And that these are *usually* Symbian applications. I have seen a Java application, but it was incredibly clunky and I would suggest that only geeks would be bothered with it. Also, there's a design flaw in these t-shirts - the code is on the back of the neck and the chances are this may well be covered by your hair or your backpack with your laptop lurking in it so I'm not quite sure what the point is except that it's a gimmick.

I have no doubt that these mobiletags, QR codes, Shotcodes or whatever you want to call them, will come. It's a question of time I guess for it to reach mass market usage. When they do come, it will certainly be much easier to connect to the mobile internet by taking a picture of a barcode from the tv screen or from a poster than trying to type in a long URL. It's also cheaper than sending in a message to get a wap push message back. Of course, all this assumes that mobile internet access will become faster and more reliable sooner rather than later...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Carnival of the Mobilists no 22

Technokitten presents Carnival number 22, a round-up of some of the best blog writing in mobile this week including some newcomers.

Let's start with coverage on mobile marketing, my particular interest. Rude de Waele at m-trends talks about current initiatives in 'mobcasting' including advertising models. Troy Norcross (who I met finally this week at Swedish Beers) asks what will make mobile marketing go and how to address media planners obsession about customer acquisition versus customer relationships. And Ajit Jaokar believes that there's no such thing as a viral marketing expert. Discuss!

Moving on to communities, next we have a great piece from Debi Jones about MyNuMo, a new service which enables you to become the next mobile media mogul. Newcomer, Mike Butcher also leads us to some interesting commentary on mobile communities and how he finally believes they might actually work following on from discussions he had in Sweden a couple of months back.

There's a lot of discussion this week about Mobile Web 2.0 both on and offline. It was MoMoLondon's event topic this week and one of their panellits, Sarah Blow, another newcomer to the Carnival, gives us a good roundup of the evening and the discussions afterwards. Feel free to comment. Continuing this theme, C Enrique Ortiz discusses Ajax on mobile devices and it's importance to the future of Mobile Web 2.0. Well worth a read.

We have some service and product reviews this week. Dennis at Wap Review tells us about Unified Mobility and the customisation service it provides. Martin tells us about ProfiMail and whether or not it's the answer to mobile working without schlepping a laptop around with you. Xen at Xellular Identity explores mobparenting in relation to Walt Disney's latest foray into the mobile market. And over at goobile, the discussion is on Minimo, a new windows mobile browser.

And if that's not enough for you, then check out newcomer Keren from the Mobile Media Show. She give us a round up of Mobile Content in Australia. Everyone's favourite, Carlo Longino over at Mobhappy asks questions around using premium SMS for fundraising. Judy Breck over at Golden Swamp has a great piece on her mobile education vision and last but not least, the Mobile Enterprise Weblog talks about the challenge of addressing the 'channel gap' for enterprise mobility.

Phew. That was the week that was in mobile. Over and out.

Next week's carnival will be over at Wireless Data Newsblog. And if you'd like more information about the carnival and what it's all about, then check out the blurb here.

[photo is from Bexhill Carnival 2004 and is by Dean Thorpe. It's mobile, it's a phone, at a carnival!]