Monday, May 07, 2007

New blog for a new year

I relaunched my blog at: http://mobilitynow.org

Thursday, February 16, 2006

News: Site redesign

Well after a couple of months of doing this, I've decided to stop posting this blog. Instead, over the next couple of weeks, this site will be redesigned to be a resources and information site about cell phones, which will feature the articles I've written in the past, and sections about everything from the various smart phone types, the providers, and application reviews.

There are a few reasons for this change. First, to be a source of useful information, it's going to be a lot easier to use a normal web site format than a blog to store information. Secondly, I don't have that much time to post news items all the time so I'll leave that to other sites, such as the excellent Engadget Mobile, which is a spin off from the Engadget crew that began earlier this week and posts dozens of items per day. Also the amount of readers for this blog was never very high.

So keep an eye on http://www.cellwatch.ca in the next few weeks for the new redesigned site.

Friday, February 10, 2006

News: Cell phone screen projector

A new type of projector for mobile devices has been developed recently, which could allow manufacturers to integrate a tiny projector in a cell phone or any mobile device, and display an image outside of the device, on a screen, desk or other surface. Add a projected keyboard and you really have a virtual computer in front of you.

The problem of small screen and keyboard are the main two factors that all the advances in mobile technologies have yet to solve. Now with projected screens, it still is not a perfect solution, since you need to have a flat surface nearby to project onto, but it's an interesting experiment. Now all we need is an integrated hologram to get full 3D images and we're talking!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Trends: Skype and phone integration

One center part of the ultimate convergence device would be the ability to switch from cell phone calls to VoIP (Voice over IP) calls on the same wireless device. For now, we've seen Skype phones that allow you to call people over the Skype network, and wireless cell phones which can connect to a wi-fi network and may eventually allow VoIP calls.

For now a new company introduced an interesting alternative. Eqo Communications has a service that allow cell phones to select a buddy on your Skype list and do a regular cell phone call to them. It works by using a Java applet on any cell phone that supports Java, and then the service translates the buddy name to its phone number and alerts the other user of an incoming call. This also allows people not to give out their phone number to all their Skype buddies.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Trends: Smart phones OS adoption

A recent study from TDG found that smart phones use Symbian (51%), Linux (23%) and Windows Mobile (17%). This is pretty interesting, since Symbian has always had a big majority but it's surprising that Linux is that high, since it's only recently that Linux based cell phones have been in the news. The study goes on to predict that Symbian will drop market share and Linux and Windows Mobile will take most of the market in a few years. I'm not sure I agree with that, but I think it's too early to predict this, since it depends in big part on which OS is selected by the various phone manufacturers.

Most people who buy a phone, even a smart phone, have no idea what operating system it's running. The sad fact is many people don't even know the difference between a smart phone and a high end cell phone. The fact remains however that the OS is what determines the capabilities the phone has, and the software that can be installed. All 3 popular smart phone OSes have their good and bad points, but in the end the winner won't win because it's better, it will win because it will be used on the most popular, cool looking and fairly priced phones. That's the way it works in the industry.

Monday, February 06, 2006

On the ground: Rumors, overreaction and hypocrisy

The Muslim world has been up in arms in the past few weeks. It seems they are now very easy to push toward violence. There are now reports that one recent burning was initiated after false rumors were sent by SMS messages. Talk about overreaction there. It goes to show that taking any single source information, regardless the source or the information, is a bad idea. Overreacting to it is plain dangerous.

This whole deal is out of control. These people, and more precisely their religious leaders, are using a minor incident to push people toward mass protests and violence. One cartoon in Europe showing some religion figure in a satire is hardly more than a minor incident. Yet the muslim leaders act all outraged, completely forgetting the fact that while it may be illegal to do that in muslim countries, it is perfectly legal in Europe. Furthermore, these same muslim countries display anti christian and anti Israel pictures in their own newspapers and media ON A WEEKLY BASIS, then act all outraged about this one cartoon? Complete utter hypocrisy. It was never about the cartoon, it's about special interest, some fanatic leaders wanting more violence and less coverage about what goes on in their own communities.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Trends: Cell tracking getting more coverage

The Guardian has an article about how they set up a phone to be tracked using an online service, and were able to track someone for a week, knowing at all time where she was. This is not even a GPS phone, a simple GSM phone can be tracked using sometimes free services.

The article doesn't say which service was used, but chances are it's world-tracker.com. These services usually request a confirmation from the phone itself so abuse is limited, unless you have access to that cell phone in that person's back. But it goes to show how easy tracking is with cell networks. In the US, it's a big controversy right now as to if law enforcement should be able to track people with their cell phones without a warrant, but soon anyone will be able to do so on the Internet, sorta like how search engines like Google allow people to find anything that is public about anyone.