Saturday, May 21, 2005

BrundlePhone! MP3 Player Meets VoIP Phone

GB25 EZMP4200P MP3/VoIP Phone : Gizmodo: "GB25 EZMP4200P MP3/VoIP Phone
Portable Media filed under Portable Media : Flash

20050502095431_MZ4200P.jpgSheer madness! GB25, an SK ODM, has created a tiny flash MP3 player that acts as a VoIP phone."

Stitch Says: another weird convergence; mp3 player meets VoIP...haven't heard a review yet from either the music or telephony side...file under wait and see...

Friday, May 20, 2005

Alternate Payment Methods at the Grocery.

Cub Foods introduces biometric scanning - Engadget - "scanning

Posted May 19, 2005, 1:30 PM ET by Thomas Ricker

pay by touch (biometric scanner)

Not to be outdone by Albertsons Shop ‘n’ Scan system, Cub Foods introduced yet another hi-tech shopping solution when they began testing biometric payments on Monday. The Pay By Touch system reads the shopper’s finger (its unique heat signature, not the fingerprint) and then accesses their “electronic wallet.” While this will help reduce latency in the twinkie-to-couch mean round-trip time, supermarkets are most stoked at giving those darn credit card companies (and their transaction fees) a real drubbing. Please, do not steal your rich friends’ fingers."

Stitch Says: They need these where I shop. Nothing like holding 3 things in your hand while the guy in front of you in the "fast lane" writes a check for a pack of cigarettes... But seriously, there's a rapid trend towards novel methods of payment and while I'd still make the argument that at this point most of them have been deployed to attempt to attract customers via the novelty factor, sooner rather than later, the new security, convenience, speed and cost savings will encourage greater and more standardized adoption.

Could Sony Have a Plan for the Future of mCommerce and Communication?

Sony introduces the PlayStation 3 - May. 18, 2005: "Sony unveils PlayStation 3
New system set for Spring 2006 launch, boasts 35 times the power of the PS2.
May 18, 2005: 9:55 AM EDT
By Chris Morris, CNN/Money
Sony's PlayStation 3

LOS ANGELES (CNN/Money) - Sony won't have a new console on the market this holiday season, but it's doing all it can to convince consumers to wait a bit longer before buying their next video game machine.

The company unveiled details of its PlayStation 3 Monday, showing off a machine with enormous horsepower, stunning graphics and a slew of multimedia elements.

Due in spring 2006, the PlayStation 3 is powered by the 'Cell' processor, which Sony boasts makes the machine 35 times more powerful than the PlayStation 2. It will support Blu-Ray storage devices, which hold significantly more data than today's DVDs, as well as seven wireless controllers, and has outputs for two high-definition televisions (HDTVs)."

Wireless controllers using Bluetooth technology will be standard. Sony (Research) said the system will support up to seven simultaneous players, a significant boost from the four standard today.

Additionally, PSP owners will be able to use their handheld gaming device as either a controller or an additional screen, perhaps viewing tactical or statistical information that ties in with the game on your television.

The PS3's ability to display data on two screens can be used for a multitude of purposes, said Sony. Players might be able to create a panoramic view by attaching two TVs, high definition or standard definition. Players might also be able to leave a visual chat window open with their online competitors as they play.

Sony said it will offer a high definition camera as a peripheral to the PS3, allowing players to use the game machine as a makeshift video phone or let them broadcast their own programming, whether live or from the machine's detachable 2.5-inch hard drive.

Graphically, Sony showed a number of clips running on PlayStation 3 hardware, including "Devil May Cry," "Metal Gear Solid," "Gran Tursimo" and "Tekken" and had live interactive demos of several games, including Electronic Arts' (Research) "Fight Night: Round 3".

The PS3 will include slots for a number of consumer electronic digital storage devices, including Sony memory sticks, SD memory cards and compact flash cards.

In addition to playing games, it will allow users to access digital video and audio files, view digital pictures, offer video chat and allow users to access the Internet.

As with Microsoft's (Research) Xbox 360, online functionality will play an important role with the PS3. The system will ship with a built-in gigabit Ethernet port and can handle both types of wireless Internet access, 802.11b and 802.11g.

Sony hinted it, like Microsoft, would offer an online marketplace, where users can buy games online.

Stitch Says: Is this a move to dominate more totally online gaming or should MSFT be looking at this as a bigger potential threat; control of the new desktop, the Media Center/TV? With Wi-Fi, the possibility to produce reasonable quality video teleconferences and computing power to spare, Sony just needs to ice one relationship and they could move from dominance in one category to possible dominance in three.

Want to know what the missing link is? Email me with comments.

A Phone's future's so bright (I gotta wear headphones)

Nokia nseries, N91
This phone is so new, so hot, so ahead of the curve, registration with the FCC hasn't even been completed yet. The drool-isious specs: 4 GIG internal drive, enough for over 2500 songs, slick slider design, smart phone functionality, and best of all, full Wi-Fi connectivity. It's phones like these that should make the traditional carriers very nervous.... (the only question is when can I have one of my own?)

"Stop Touching Me!"

New credit cards: The 'wave' of the future - May. 19, 2005: "The 'wave' of the future
J.P. Morgan Chase set to issue new 'contactless' credit card that you wave instead of swipe.
May 19, 2005: 11:39 AM EDT
Credit cards

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Tired of swiping your credit card over and over because the magnetic strip is worn? Help is on the way: cards that you wave, rather than swipe."

Stitch says: I can see arguments on both sides; ease of use, convenience, novelty (especially for a youthful market), but the other side of the coin are questions about privacy and security. Can a "digital snoop" capture my information in passing? Can people with packet capture devices "listen in" on the negotiation and authentication process during a transaction and record the event to replay later effectively stealing the card? Can a consumer turn the service on or off at will? How difficult will it be to prevent the card's use by an unauthorized person who has physical possession of the card?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Nokia, Symbian, Series 60, UIQ, rush towards converged wireless

"Peer-to-Peer Comes to Mobile: Now You Can Make VoIP Calls on Your Nokia Phone"
Written by SCN Ltd
Tuesday, 17 May 2005
SCN LTD, a leading creator of VoIP Wireless LAN technology, today launched Truphone, the world’s first fully converged solution - allowing people to make VoIP calls on the Series 60 Platform. Developed by Nokia, Series 60 is the world’s leading smartphone platform, with millions of devices already in the market."

Stitch Says: Hardly a day goes by without another major player in telephony or mobile devices making a convergence related announcement. It's time to start asking new questions now; which companies will be the biggest beneficiaries of these new technologies and how can savvy technologists take advantage of this changing landscape?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Next Home Theatre; coming to a cell phone near you "Consumers Ready for Multimedia Mobile Phones

:. Consumer News

A new report from consumer technology think-tank, The Diffusion Group, finds that consumers are increasingly comfortable with the idea of listening to music of viewing video on their mobile phones. This should come as welcome news to the hundreds of IC, software, and hardware vendors looking to exploit this space.

Media Phones: The Next Portable Media Player?, the latest report from TDG Research, finds that among Internet households who also use a cell phone, 42% would be comfortable listening to music and 30% would be comfortable watching TV or movies on their cell phone.

'More than 70% of US households in general, and 93% of Internet households in particular, now own at least one cell phone,' says Dale Gilliam III, analyst with The Diffusion Group. 'Among Internet households in particular, enjoying digital mobile multimedia is becoming increasingly attractive. Consumers are looking for convenient ways to access their digital media and the mobile phone offers an intuitive, familiar, and comfortable form factor through which to enjoy this content.' More..."

Stitch Says: the trickle of news about multimedia applications as well as the radical increase in public acceptance of the cell phone as music player, newsreader and now TV and movie player has become a flood. Once the epitome of geekdom for my ability to actually play a DVD movie on my Sony Ericsson smart phone, I've become practically passé. Next stop, satellite content, Wi-VoIP and full motion video streaming...

An Idea that saves lives

AMBER Alerts come to SMS: "AMBER Alerts come to SMS

By Donald Melanson

Amber Alerts

Starting today, AMBER Alerts, the service for bringing attention to missing children, will be available on cellphones via SMS. Cellphone users simply have to sign up on the Wireless AMBER Alerts website and enter the areas they would like to receive alerts for. Apparently, 90% of US cellphone subscribers are currently covered by the service, with most of the rest receiving coverage in the next two months. There’s no charge for the service other than the usual carrier imposed SMS fees."

Stitch Says: Amber alerts work. One of the smartest and most humanistic uses of technology I've seen in a while.

DoCoMo puts dingaling in your bling

DoCoMo puts out FOMA 901iS "mobile wallet" series phones: "DoCoMo puts out FOMA 901iS 'mobile wallet' series phones

By Barb Dybwad

Docomo F901iS mobile wallet phones

Japan’s NTT DoCoMo is putting out a slew of these new mobile wallet-enabled phones in hopes of driving nationwide adoption of the technology, which allows you to make purchases as shops, buy event tickets, check in at public transportation, etc. The FOMA 901iS “Mobile Wallet” series is the first series by DoCoMo in which all the units come equipped with mobile wallet functionality. They’ve also got some security features in place to prevent misuse, like being able to call the phone from elsewhere and lock it if it’s stolen or misplaced."

Stitch Says: laugh all you want. You're looking at the currency of the future. No more lost wallets, no more missing funds. Instant location of the device when it goes missing and total control of your kids spending habits. In the not too distant future, your kid's phone might even call you for permission before charging that tattoo...

When RSS Goes Truly Mobile...

Google Ads for RSS Feeds: "Google Ads for RSS Feeds

By Erick Schonfeld on Weblogs

Google announced today at Syndicate, an RSS conference in NY, that it is launching a beta of AdSense for RSS feeds. So your news feeds will now start to come with text ads. Shuman Ghosemajumder, business product manager for AdSense, notes that 'the lack of a business model has been a hindrance for RSS feeds.' He's got that one right. Google hopes to rectify that by opening up RSS feeds to its network of advertisers. Others on the same panel cautioned, however, that the industry needs to be careful not to kill this nascent marketing channel like it has previous ones like e-mail and even search. 'This market will be utterly thrilling for the next three years until people figure out a way to utterly destroy it,' predicts Stephen Messer, CEO of LinkShare, an affiliate marketing Web company. Heed those words. When people start to find spyware in their RSS readers, they'll move onto the next thing."

Stitch Says: well, here's a love hate convergence. One the one hand, we now have a way to monetize the model, on the other a way to destroy the model's value in the long run. At what price progress?

The Mobile Technology Weblog - "Location Based Services and all about Mobile Marketing" - BlueBlitz Proves Power to the Bloggers

Interview with a VC
Filed in archive Analysis

Jason Purcell is CEO and Founder of London based of First Stage Capital. If you're looking for funding, check out their website as there's plenty of great advice and resources for entrepreneurs.

I interviewed Jason about his views on the VC market and mobile, especially.The Mobile Technology Weblog - "Location Based Services and all about Mobile Marketing" - BlueBlitz Proves Power to the Bloggers: "Russell adds: I agree with Jason on that. One of my constant themes is that Microsoft just don't understand the potential of mobile and that it's poised to wipe out desk top culture as surely as the desk top wiped out the mainframe."

Stitch says: This is what a few of my favorite bloggers and some of the smartest folks I know have been talking about; once the applications make sense for the typical user, the rate of uptake and the staggering economic shift that will occur (to the benefit of those companies smart enough to have adapted) is going to make Internet Phase 1 seem like the model T when compared to the Ferrari Enzo..

I have to disagree with Russell, however, on his comment about Microsoft failing to understand the potential of mobile. Gates gets it. And along with the statement he made concerning their mobile platform and its support for multiple connecitivity platforms, his comments about the cell phone vs. the iPod, and their recent interest in other seemingly unrelated industries and technologies lead me to believe that they understand very well the significance of mobile and have focused some serious energy on capturing as much of the market in as many ways as they possibly can. If you're curious what leads me to believe this, drop me a line.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Holy Handsets, Batman! I want my Wi-VoIP Cell Phone!

Make VoIP Calls on Your Symbian Nokia Phone - Symbian mobile phone news software guides reviews and cellular community.: "Make VoIP Calls on Your Symbian Nokia Phone Print E-mail

SCN LTD, a leading creator of VoIP Wireless LAN technology, today launched Truphone, the world’s first fully converged solution - allowing people to make VoIP calls on the Series 60 Platform. Developed by Nokia, Series 60 is the world’s leading smartphone platform, with millions of devices already in the market. Truphone allows you to carry only one phone for both fixed and mobile use - seamlessly roaming between Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G - connecting via SIP to the public phone system."

When an idea's time has come you suddenly go from zero to zero gravity in no time flat. After talking about the convergence of VoIP, Wi-Fi and Cellular for three years, I'm finally starting to feel vindicated. If only my associates had been listening...

Sunday, May 15, 2005

More RFID...

QR codes are reducing the fear factor for foodstuffs in Japan as agricultural associations embrace the new wireless technology tagging fresh produce for quick access to mobile information web sites. Gail Nakada reports for Wireless Watch Japan.

"A new English language report [.PDF] released this month by NTT DoCoMo on QR code use in agriculture reveals the growing popularity of this medium.

In the supermarket, consumers use camera equipped cell phones to scan the QR code on the label. The code links to a mobile website detailing origin, soil composition, organic fertilizer content percentage (as opposed to chemical), use of pesticides and herbicides and even the name of the farm it was grown on".

Stitch Says: culled this from Howard's "Smart Mobs Blog"... a few people, and The Pondering Primate Blog in particular have really piqued my interest in this area. Right now though, I seem to have more questions than answers. There are some big pieces of the Internet 2 puzzle falling into place right now, and this is clearly a biggie...

RFID: Deployment and IP

The RFID Weblog - "Implementation and Application of RFID technology " - RFID Tags for CD and DVD Jewel Cases: "* May 20, 2004

RFID Loyalty Cards
Filed in archive Software Applications

Sprint has developed 2 RFID customer-loyalty card applications:

'The applications use an RFID-enabled loyalty card that can identify a customer as he or she walks through a store. The chip in the loyalty card transmits to a nearby reader when the customer is within 8 feet of the reader, triggering an avatar to appear on a nearby computer screen. The RFID reader identifies the information in the loyalty card and feeds the data to the avatar, which welcomes the customer to the store in an animated fashion.'

And here you thought the movie 'Minority Report,' in which the store walls greet Tom Cruise's character by name, was science fiction."

Stitch says: I've got to wonder, does this violate the IP of another company with serious interests in this space? Assuming that Sprint can offer this, where? In phone stores? Do we really want to be greeted by "Max CellPhone" when we come into an automated venue? Well, I'm not a Sprint guy, but Maybe that is better than the clipboard sign up sheet and 45 minute wait I've endured where I used to shop cellular. Which makes me wonder; how is it that the place you go to buy some of the most advanced technology that gets into the hands of the average consumer, would have about the most low tech means of servicing customers that I've ever witnessed. I mean even the service deli has a digital display for your "next customer" number...
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