Friday, August 31, 2007 

Microsoft buying RIM?

Juicy rumours about Microsoft Corp. buying Research In Motion Ltd. swished around the market Thursday, and while most were quick to dismiss the chatter as background noise, some observers said the idea has merit.

Even though Microsoft has its own wireless product on the market, Windows Mobile, the giant tech company may want to snap up RIM in order to ward off other competitors. Apple Inc., with its iPhone, and Google Corp., with rumours of a new device, are both threats to dominate the wireless space Microsoft covets.

While RIM is one of the largest companies in Canada, analysts think it would be a breeze for Microsoft to purchase. Microsoft has a market capitalization of $266.7 billion US and had $34 billion in cash and short-term investments on hand at the end of fiscal 2006. RIM's market cap totaled $48.95 billion Cdn at Thursday's close, making it the fifth most valuable company in Canada but a reasonable meal for the software goliath.

"The amount (Microsoft) would pay for RIM is a little pimple on a hippo's ass," one analyst said.

Waterloo, Ont.-based RIM declined to comment on the rumours, as did Microsoft.

RIM stock closed at $87.71, up 91 cents for the day, after reaching as high as $89.68. At its peak, the stock was worth more than $50 billion for the first time.

Peter Misek, an analyst at Canaccord Adams, thinks an outright sale is unlikely but argues a partnership agreement would make sense.

Such a deal would be an about-face for Microsoft, but it would put it well ahead of Apple and Google in the mobile-device race and give RIM access to content such as television shows, games and movies.

RIM's popularity has made it the subject of takeover rumours before, with Nokia often appearing as the predator. Motorola has also surfaced as a potential buyer, but RIM's size likely puts it out of reach.

Misek said this is the first time Microsoft has been kicked around as the rumoured suitor.

He said any potential buyer would have to pay a 50-per-cent premium and have co-founders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis on board.

"I don't see them as sellers," he said. "Would you sell if you are just absolutely crushing it, and you still think you're not even half done?"

source: Financial Post

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Opera Mini 4 beta 2

Beta 2 is out. Enjoy!

Here's the changelog since the first beta:

  • Added encryption
  • Added multi search, with shortcut: '#'+'9'
  • Added Create search from form field
  • Added Landscape mode, shortcut: '*'+'#'
  • Added support for small anti-aliased bitmap fonts
  • Added content folding
  • Simplified setup process
  • Improved image quality
  • Improved fit to width mode rendering
  • Simplified settings page
  • Added native blackberry menu
  • Allow Blackberries to accept the EULA via the menu.
  • Fixed decoding of images that were skipped when partially above the window
  • Added clock adjustment setting
  • Changing the font size via settings now clears the document cache
  • Now saves full screen mode between sessions
  • Dialogs are now displayed with round corners and alpha channel overlay windows
  • Delayed randomess gathering for secure connections until first real page request


Wednesday, August 29, 2007 

Nokia announcing a major new brand Ovi

In front of a packed audience of industry execs and press, the handset company unveiled Ovi (it’s the Finnish word for door) as an umbrella service for its music, games, mapping and internet offerings. The launch ends the speculation about Nokia’s intentions in the content sector. “We are now in the business of delivering experiences and services,” said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Nokia’s CEO.

Ovi will integrate the forthcoming N-gage gaming platform, which has been confirmed to go live in November, and which will support the discovery, purchase, sharing, trialling and playing of games. It will also offer music downloads and streaming (OTA and sideloaded) across mobile, PC and other devices.

The launch was supported by the announcement of many new content-led devices. The Ovi flagship is the N81, an 8Gb Nseries device that’s like a supercharged N95. The latter will also be re-launched with 8Gb of memory. Nokia also revealed two new Xpress Music handsets, the ultra-slim 5310 and the slightly higher spec 5610 slider. They have 2 megapixel and 3.2 megapixel cameras respectively.



Tuesday, August 28, 2007 

Using the Sensor API with the accelerometer for W910 in Java ME

New Java™ Platform 8 (JP-8) phones introduce, among other things, programmatic support for sensors (JSR 256). This example shows how to utilize the sensor API to monitor the built in accelerometer found in the W910 Walkman® phone. This API can, in the same manner, be used for other sensors if available.

Download example MIDlet>>

Sensors like an accelerometer can easily be incorporated into games, enriching the gaming experience on mobile phones. Information regarding available sensors can be retrieved through the use of the following API calls:

String sensorVersion = System.getProperty("microedition.sensor.version");
SensorInfo[] si = SensorManager.findSensors(null, null);

Information contained in the sensor information array specifies exactly what type of information can be retrieved divided into different channels (in this case acceleration in three dimensions: x, y and z). The following is an example of the type of information provided by the accelerometer:

getDescription: ThreeChannelAccelerometer
getUrl: sensor:acceleration;contextType=user;model=ST_LIS302DL;location=inside
getName: X
Data type: TYPE_INT
getUnit: G
getAccuracy: 0.0
Measurement range:
getLargestValue: 2300.0
getResolution: 0.015625
getName: Y

getName: Z

In order to utilize the sensor, a connection using the URL specified in the sensor information has to be opened. Once the connection is established, you can either register a data listener (a class overriding DataListener) for automatic callbacks or manually poll the sensor.

SensorConnection sensor = (SensorConnection);
sensor.setDataListener(this, 10);

Sensors like the accelerometer above sample continuously at a fixed rate specified in the sensor information above. The accelerometer has specified a rate of 100Hz as we can see from the sensor information. Specifying the buffer size of a data listener or a "getData()" function call have the effect that the sensor will fill up as many "Data" objects as specified before calling the callback function or returning from the "getData()" function call. In our case this will result in 10 data samples for each call to our data listener, thus it is called 10 times per second (100Hz * 10 samples = 1/10 seconds).

source: Sony Ericsson Developer World

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Monday, August 27, 2007 

5 Ways to SMS for free

A lot of us are still avid text messagers, not because we enjoy paying our carrier those tiring toll (or package) fees, but because it’s still one of the most reliable ways to get a text-based message to a cell phone user — not everyone has mobile IM clients or uses mobile email services.

Even web-based services are starting to recognize that, and recently there have been more and more companies launching “free” SMS options — most often free for those users who want to send a text to a cell phone via the web and email.

Sending free SMS from the Internet isn’t a new idea at all and companies have been developing the bridge between email and SMS for years. By now it’s a simple and easy service to set up and companies have started adding these services as a feature to bring in eyeballs.

Startups are also starting to get more creative with the business model (which was previously severely lacking) as well as the technology solution. At the same time they are learning to add privacy and best practices functions. Remember much of the time receiving the SMS message costs, and some of the services like free bulk messaging could have some not-so-nice spam potential. Be careful about signing up for any ol’ service and check out this list of good characteristics of SMS web services.

1). TeleFlip: TeleFlip has always been a favorite way to send “free” texts via email: ‘phone number’ They still offer that service which they now call FlipOut, but they are also trying to turn their technology into a working business. They say it forwards your emails to your SMS inbox for free — 5,000 messages for per month.

2). Peekamo: Founded just November 2006 and based in Toronto according to their web site, Peekamo says they are different than other web-based SMS free sites, as both the receiver and sender don’t pay for the message. How do they manage that? — they say ad-sponsored messages, and using a protocol called short message peer to peer, (unlike the more common email-SMS method).

3). Gizmo SMS: SIPphone has more than its fair share of sweet mobile services like the Gizmo Project, and earlier this month they also added a free web-based SMS service. The service works for dozens of countries and has a model ‘terms of service’ and privacy assurance sections.

4). TxtDrop: TxtDrop founder 22-year-old Nate Kapitanski got some flack over his SMS MySpace widget and web service last year — the site didn’t launch with privacy terms and didn’t have an About section describing the company or its goals. He says the whole thing was a learning experience which helped make the site much better.

5). Your carrier!? Yes, its true, some carriers have some limited web-to SMS and email to SMS services. On Verizon Wireless’ site you can send a text to a Verizon wireless cell phone user, and send an SMS via email to “verizon wireless phone number” Sprint has a similar web based service to text Sprint customers. They still get some money the more times people text using most solutions, so why not get more people to text their customers.

source: GigaOM

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Thursday, August 23, 2007 

Sony Ericsson Virtual Lab

"Sony Ericsson Developer World's Virtual Lab service is managed by Mobile Complete using its DeviceAnywhere™ technology and hosted in a dedicated section for Sony Ericsson Developer World members on Mobile Complete's website. The service launches with six of Sony Ericsson's most popular mass-market feature phones announced in 2007 with more phones becoming available as soon as possible after Sony Ericsson's official press announcements. All phones run the latest available, generic firmware."

Virtual Lab overview:

  • Global service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Convenient: no shipping of phones or firmware updating required
  • Selected 2007 phones, representative of both JP-8 and JP-7
  • Tests key presses and network behavior
  • On-line session reservation, virtual view of phone and real-time results
  • One-hour testing slot per phone, at $18-20 (USD) per hour depending on which monthly pricing package is selected

Sony Ericsson Press Release.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007 

Suggestions to make Twitter better

On the blog of Internet consultancy CenterNetworks, their CEO Allen Stern offers what he terms “Five Quick Suggestions To Improve Twitter.”


Tuesday, August 21, 2007 

MotoID launched in Brazil

The app will allow users in Latin America to identify the title and the artist of songs being played while on the go!

MotoID was first announced in 2006 following a strategic partnership with the music discovery specialist Shazam. It works by providing song information and the option to purchase relevant content when the user captures a few seconds of the song he or she is interested in.

Motorola is not the only handset company investigating this technology. Sony Ericsson embeds MusicID, powered by Gracenote, in its Walkman devices.


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EA Mobile appoints new marketing manager

The former Vodafone Global games boss had a brief tenure with industry standards thinktank OMTP, before re-emerging with this major role. EA Mobile hasn’t been around that long, but already dominates decks the world over with its huge brand portfolio.

Harrison will lead European marketing activities for EA Mobile, working closely with the company’s worldwide operations to define and execute digital distribution strategies. He begins his new role in September.

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Monday, August 20, 2007 

IPhone unlock with TurboSIM

Note: TurboSIM will work with any SIM (v1/v2/v3/2G/3G/whatever)
If during the process you get an "AT+CPMS" error, there's a very high chance it's due to loose contact between the TurboSIM and whichever SIM it's piggybacking. Remove the SIM combination and nudge it a little to make sure they fit.
Disclaimer: I am not responsible for anything that happens to your phone.

Lets begin. First, you need to make sure of a few things:
  • Jailbreak (link applicable for Windows users)
  • SSH enabled (link applicable for Windows users)
  • iPhone activated using your own AT&T SIM's token (DVD Jon's PhoneActSrv will not
    (eg. iASign method using AT&T's ICCID. Link applicable for Windows users)
  • You have the Turbo SIM - Blank Version available from Bladox or Votech
Once you have done all that, you can begin with the TurboSIM installation process:

  • Connect to your iPhone via SSH
  • (I'm using SFTP in my example)
  • Download turbo-cable-utils-iPhone-0.7.0-rev1.tar.gz
    (much thanks to Zf_)
  • Unzip it, and place the entire content of the folder bin-iPhone into the iPhone's /bin
    (You can remove the bins after you're done if you want. Ignore the folder patch.)
  • Give executable permission to these files. Chmod +x , or chmod permission to 0755 if you're using a client like WinSCP
  • Download applesaft-0.92.tar.gz (this is the AppleSaft app for TurboSIM)
  • Unzip it, go to the bin folder in the file you've just unzipped, and you will find the file applesaft.trb
  • Copy applesaft.trb into your iPhone's home directory (/private/var/root)
  • Disable CommCenter :
    • Download and/or open the file /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ on your iPhone
    • Add Disabled just above the text on the second last line
      (last line being )
    • Save file and/or upload it back
  • Restart iPhone

Now we've got all the software part settled, lets move on to some hardware fixing:
  • Cut up the your own SIM card (the one you wish to use with the iPhone) until it fits the TurboSIM nicely. It is ok to cut a tiny bit more so that they'll fit nicely.
  • Repeat the above process with AT&T's SIM card
  • Insert the AT&T-TurboSIM combination very gently into the iPhone.
    Be extra careful! The TurboSIM is notoriously brittle, and will crack if you use too much force!
  • Open up an SSH command terminal and enter the following command: turbo-info
  • You should see a summary and OK
  • Next, enter the following command: turbo-app /private/var/root/applesaft.trb
  • You should see a reply with OK
  • Enable CommCenter :
    • Download and/or open the file /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ on your iPhone
    • Remove the text Disabled you have added previously
    • Save file and/or upload it back
  • Restart iPhone
Now we've finally gotten the difficult parts away! The rest should be easy:
  • Go to your iPhone Settings menu > Phone. You will now see a new option SIM Applications
  • Select it, then select Apple Saft, and then Set
  • Remove the AT&T-TurboSIM combination (gently), and insert your own SIM-TurboSIM combination (again, gently)
  • Restart iPhone
  • Congratulations! If you've done everything correctly, it works now!
  • To enable EDGE on your iPhone now:
    • Go to your iPhone Settings menu > General. You will now see a new setting for EDGE
    • Enter your carriers APN and/or username and password (consult your carrier if unsure)
  • Important: It is possible for Apple to upgrade the iPhone's radio firmware and fix this TurboSIM "method". Do not update your iPhone's firmware until you're sure the update does not include the fix.

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Jaiku Mobile v.80 is OUT

Jaiku_s603rded Jaiku's new mobile client for S60 devices is out. If you want the rundown on features, you can look here, here, here, or here.

New features include:

  • The choice between longer battery life or more up-to-date presence (a much requested feature).
  • Reading and writing comments from and to your contacts.
  • Go back in time! Using the ’stream view’ for your contacts, you can see what they were doing and saying in the past, not just their most recent post.
  • More than just Jaikus! You can also see when your contacts have posted to flickr.
  • Improved presence view, to make the most of your screen real-estate.
  • A whole raft of usability improvements, based on what our users have been telling us they need, including an even easier to use interface, and a progress meter, so you can see what’s happening.
  • More optimal data transfer and connection maintenance, giving you more bang for your wireless data dollar.
  • …and all the essential (but not that interesting) stuff like bug fixes, speed improvements, that sort of thing.
  • Oh, and let’s not forget - a spiffy new manual for this client


Wednesday, August 15, 2007 

Samsung files game phone patents

Although it's entirely possible that the filings - as reported by Engadget - will never see the light of day as commercial products, they make for interesting reading in light of Nokia's upcoming N-Gage redux and ongoing speculation about a Sony Ericsson PSP phone.

The first design conjures up images of Nintendo's old Game & Watch handheld units and, quite frankly, already looks a bit dated.

The second has already been publicly unveiled (in Korea at least), unless its similarity to the SCH-B550 is purely coincidental. Perhaps Samsung is merely paving the way for a future US launch.



Monday, August 13, 2007 

Digital Chocolate Buys Gaming Studios In India and Spain

Mobile gaming company Digital Chocolate has bought operations and studios in Bangalore, India, and Barcelona, Spain, from Small Device Mobile Technologies and Microjocs Mobile, respectively. These buys will give the company expertise to develop localized content for consumers in southern Europe and Asia, it said. The terms were not disclosed.

Small Devices is a mobile apps porting expert, and will be merged with DigiChoc’s Catapult porting technology. Microjocs is a mobile games production studio. DigiChoc is based in San Mateo, CA and was founded in 2003 by EA founder Trip Hawkins. More here.

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Symbian Slingplayer In Private Beta

SlingPlayer has a private beta version of its service onto Symbian devices going in the US. So far it runs on the Nokia E65, N75 and N95 handsets, which have S60 and high-speed access (via WiFi or 3G) reports Engadget. SlingPlayer already has mobile versions for Windows and Palm devices, and on the N73 through 3UK. The suggested beta time is four weeks, so a public release is likely (or at least, possible) for the fourth quarter of this year. Of course, Nokia has a relatively small share of the US mobile market, and data plans in the US generally make place-shifting uneconomical unless WiFi is used. Of course the software could also be used overseas, and it's only a matter of time before US mobile data prices come down.


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Tuesday, August 07, 2007 

Apple iPhone SIM unlocked for UK carriers

iPhone SIM unlock hackDon’t get your hopes up yet, folks. We still don’t have a software-only complete unlock solution to free our iPhone from the evil grip of AT&T, but we do have workaround. Hackers in Europe have devised a method to forge a blank SIM card with a SIM reader/writer to fool the iPhone into working on a non-AT&T network. The hack enables incoming and outgoing call and SMS text features.

Getting your iPhone to work on any network is as simple (or as complicated, depending on how you look at it) as grabbing your Infinity USB Unlimited SIM reader/writer ($88 + shipping) and a blank SIM card ($8.27+shipping).

A Hackintosh forum member has already tested the hack and reports success:

"Just tested it - works fine with Orange UK - Call In/Out, SMS In/Out. Great job to everyone who made this possible (specially to the guy that edited the Hex file).

I used the subscriber ICCID, so maybe is best to edit the tutorial - activation should
be the last step.

My thoughts on safety of using this: If so called ‘Total Unlock’ is released, it will be
probably patching of the baseband firmware to do a similar thing. So no worry about
alerting the network, the trick seems to fool only the good/bad guy check in the
baseband firmware."

Find the SIM hack tutorial here. And, as always, proceed at your own risk. Your subscriber may shut down your account in violation of your TOS. But, hey, having an iPhone on your non-AT&T network might be worth it.


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Carnival of Mobilists #84

CotmbuttonThis weeks Carnival is hosted by Paul Ruppert of Mobile Point of View.


Monday, August 06, 2007 

DChoc Café

Digital Chocolate has launched its DChoc Café series of socially networked mobile games across a raft of channels.

Titles are already available on 3, AT&T and T-Mobile, with Alltel, Nokia (including the new N-Gage platform), O2, Orange, Telefonica, SFR, Sony Ericsson, Sprint, Telecom New Zealand, Telstra, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone all set to come online in the coming weeks.

DChoc Café games allow players to create personalised characters, form exclusive cafés for friends and earn points to unlock bonus items for their characters - players are rewarded for playing well, and cafés can compete against each other.

The series build on themes touched on by DChoc CEO Trip Hawkins at GDC earlier this year - specifically the need to use social networking to entice and keep more people playing mobile games.

In light of this, DChoc Café also has a cross-selling function that enables players to purchase new titles in the series from within an existing game.

The first five games available in the DChoc Café Series include DChoc Café Sudoku, DChoc Café Kakuro, DChoc Café Hold’em Poker, DChoc Café Mahjong and DChoc Café Solitaire.


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Royal Vegas unveils mobile casino

Online gambling outfit uses Spin3's Microgaming-powered platform for new mobile service.
The Royal Vegas mobile app is downloadable from a dedicated WAP site and has been built using the GameWire technology developed by Spin3 and Microgaming.

Players are able to download the Java app for free and deposit money by debit or credit card to start betting once age verification has been carried out.

Newbies are also able to test out a few spins or hands of the game before they start playing for real money.

Spin3 recently launched OnCash, a card that downloads games and cash credits to handsets.

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The World of Warcraft Comes to Mobile

goware.jpgBeginning today gamers will have the chance to keep track of their World of Warcraft characters wherever they go. GoWare has released a plug-in for the its DoMo HomePage personalized mobile portal, and it will give players of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game the ability to access and share their WoW character data from a mobile handset.

With the DoMo HomePage Snapshot feature players can even send character content text messaging. The World (of Warcraft) may never be the same.

Source: MobileCrunch


Friday, August 03, 2007 

Vivo Purchase of Telemig

Vivo Participacoes SA, Brazil's largest mobile-phone company, will fill a strategic gap in its coverage of South America's biggest country with the purchase of Telemig Celular SA and Tele Norte Celular Participacoes SA.

Vivo said yesterday it agreed to buy controlling stakes in wireless operators Telemig and Tele Norte for 1.2 billion reais ($640 million). Vivo agreed to buy 22.7 percent of Telemig's stock and 19.3 percent of Tele Norte.

The purchase gives Vivo a stronger presence in Minas Gerais, the country's second-richest state, and the northern states of Amapa, Roraima, Amazonas, Para and Maranhao. Telemig has 3.54 million clients in Minas Gerais, and Tele Norte has 1.29 million clients in the Amazon region.

Vivo's lead over rivals Telecom Italia SpA and America Movil SA has shrunk in the past year. Sao Paulo-based Vivo is jointly controlled by Portugal Telecom SGPS SA and Madrid-based Telefonica SA, which have discussed a possible end to their joint venture since Telefonica backed a failed hostile bid for Portugal Telecom this year.

33 Percent Share

Buying Telemig and Tele Norte will add 4.8 million subscribers, bringing the company's total to 35 million, or 33 percent of the national mobile-phone market, Vivo said. Telemig has a market share of 30.4 percent in Minas Gerais, while Tele Norte has a 22 percent market share in the Amazon region.

Vivo, which is controlled by Portugal Telecom SGPS SA and Madrid-based Telefonica SA, will make follow-up offers to buy the rest of Telemig and Tele Norte, and will pay 2.9 billion reais if those offers are fully accepted.

Telefonica shares rose 11 cents, or 0.6 percent, to 17.62 euros at 10:49 a.m. in Madrid. Portugal Telecom shares fell 3 cents, or 0.3 percent, to 10.15 euros.

Tele Norte common shares surged 37 percent to 1.95 reais yesterday before the announcement. Telemig rose 3.2 percent to 11.4 reais.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007 

EA Mobile: Revenues Flat

eamobile.jpgElectronic Arts released their second quarter 2007 revenues this week, and things were essentially flat from its mobile division. The Q2 numbers were flat at $33, which was the same as the same quarter last year, and down from Q1 of 2007, which had revenue of $36 million. Mobile gaming makes up about eight percent of EA’s total platform revenue.

It wasn’t much better at rival THQ, which reported $4.2 million, compared to $5.5 million a year ago in the same quarter. Still, with new console systems released late last year that may have drawn attention away, and a more crowded arena, it is still a long way from game over for mobile.



Pedro "K2" Macêdo

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