In a world where everyone is reaching for better, faster and more feature packed mobile phones, a little known Australian company has designed and manufactured a mobile phone focusing on the bare minimum, with the elderly in mind, particularly those with mental and physical limitations. The KISA phone (KISA stands for Keeping It Simple Always), designed in consultation with community organizations such as Vision Australia and Guide Dogs Victoria, first marketed the product in August last year and is aimed at those who struggle with technology. It has been received as an excellent mobile communications solution for people with impaired vision, hearing or dexterity. This is a compact phone, light enough to be worn around the neck with a lanyard strap and can be pre-programmed with up to 10 numbers. It can receive calls from any number, just like a regular phone although it can dial out only the numbers that were preset.
Everyone has got an opinion on Google’s takeover of Motorola Mobility. But according to a report, it has the blessings of Martin Cooper, the man who invented the mobile phone. We had one post on him, but given all the effort we devote to mobile phones, that surely is not enough. One link led to another and then to a very nice piece that not only tells about Martin Cooper, but also locates the equipment that made the first mobile call possible.
LIRNEasia CEO, Rohan Samarajiva, recently published an article appearing in the Daily Mirror on the potential health threats of mobile phone use. He argues that while it is true that electromagnetic radiation from handsets does pose a potential threat, studies by the Indian government and the WHO argue that: to date, no adverse health effects have been established for mobile phone use; that studies are ongoing to assess long-term effects of mobile use; and that there is increased risk of traffic injuries when drivers use mobile phones while driving. However, we, as responsible consumers, need to take the necessary precautionary measures such as buying safe handsets, among other things. Click here to read the full article.
We continue to receive media coverage for the Islamabad Mobile 2.0 Applications and Conditions Expert Forum Meeting. M. Somasekhar’s piece on Hindu Business Line on mobile payments says: Experts from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Kenya, Thailand, the Philippines, Bhutan and Bangladesh among other nations met in Islamabad recently to discuss their experiences in providing mobile phone services for the BoP segment in their respective countries. They agreed that a beginning has been made and the road ahead appeared daunting, but technological progress promised quick results.
‘Mobile phone calls death’. The ominous title, in Lankadeepa online, is not too uncommon in Sri Lankan media. The story is about the latest victim, who apparently met his death by lighting when talking to his mobile on the bund of a tank. According to Daily Mirror, deaths by lightning in Sri Lanka has increased with 18 people been killed since March 1, 2010, against ten such deaths for entire 2009. Daily Mirror also advices against, inter alia, the use of mobile phones even indoors.
The colloquium was conducted by Harsha de Silva, PhD. Harsha began by explaining that the paper focus both on trains and buses, but in this colloquium will focus on the Bus transport. 75% of passenger transport is via public transport and of that 93% by bus and 7% by train. Roughly 5500 SLCTB and 18000 private buses. The fare is regulated by National Transport Commission (NTC).
Early warning does not happen every day. So when hazards occur, it is important that the experience is analyzed so that future responses can be enhanced. Here is a report on how warnings worked (or did not) on the Pacific Coast of Australia in relation to the tsunami generated by the Chilean earthquake of Saturday. It is a pity that the potential of cell broadcasting that can be targeted to low-lying areas that are in danger, without knowing any of the numbers of the mobile phones belonging to the people physically present and without congestion. The Gold Coast authorities used SMS for 10,000 people.
Despite the fact that not all the frequencies have been cleared, India has announced the 3G auctions will be held in April. The original date was January 2009. Perhaps the driving force was the government’s need for money, rather than the conditions being right. India’s long-delayed auction of third-generation (3G) mobile phone bandwidth will be held on April 9, the government announced Wednesday. Applications from bidders for the multi-billion-dollar auction, whose proceeds are earmarked to help plug a gaping fiscal deficit, will be accepted until March 19, a government notice said.
In an interesting post, that we recommend you read in full, Micheal Gurstein makes the case for telecenters despite the Nenasala debacle of the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka. Here is his key question: Or to put the question another way—what do we lose if we (or rural Sri Lankans) only have mobile communications with optional access to the Internet and we by-pass the personal computer completely? What happens if that becomes the communications paradigm for a range of countries such as Sri Lanka who, having not managed to effectively respond to the digital divide to this point, decide basically to give up the fight and leave it all to the ambitions and creativity of the mobile operators. We can say more, much more (and have, with more evidence than casual observation), but here is the comment I left on his blog: “Give up the fight and leave it all to the ambition and creativity of the mobile operators?” Well, isn’t that a smooth rhetorical move?
This is definitely not the appropriate set of new features that we need at the Bottom of the Pyramid in emerging Asia and elsewhere. Voice commands, greater convenience in reading/viewing, more location-sensitivity, etc. would be among mine. Of course we could also consider what the surveys say about flashlights and radios. But the most important thing is the discussion.
A story on the Barcelona GSM World conference had this interesting summary on the state of the handset market. With our focus on infrastructure we have not written much about handsets over the years, but it’s becoming difficult, especially in the context of the Mobile 2.0 narrative. As I said in a recent interview with the Expanding Horizons magazine: “Mobile networks will provide the key connectivity, especially as we see handsets becoming more advanced.” Global shipments of handsets had been falling every quarter since the third quarter of 2008, when the global financial crisis erupted, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.
As part of LIRNEasia’s 5th year anniversary conference, “research -> policy -> knowledge based economies“, a photo exhibition was commissioned at the event to capture different aspects of the use of mobile phones by those at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP). The images which were sourced from Flickr from both budding as well as professional photographers (and used with their permission), showcased the varied nature of mobile connectivity and use facing the people of Asia from the BOP. An online gallery has been created to as a companion to the actual exhibition and can be viewed HERE.
The world’s fastest txters are South Koreans, followed by US and Argentina. What does this mean for the Philippines status as SMS Capital of the World? The inaugural Mobile World Cup, hosted by the South Korean cellphone maker LG Electronics, brought together two-person teams from 13 countries who had clinched their national titles by beating a total of six million contestants. Marching behind their national flags, they gathered in New York on Jan. 14 for what was billed as an international clash of dexterous digits.
Competition in the handset market cannot but accelerate the process of mobiles becoming the primary interfaces to the Internet. Google plans to begin selling its own smartphone early next year, company employees say, a move that could challenge Apple’s leadership in one of the fastest-growing and most important technologies in decades. Google’s new touch-screen Android phone, which it began giving to many employees to test last week, could also shake up the fundamentals of the cellphone market in the United States, where most phones work only on the networks of the wireless carriers that sold them. Full story
You can find directions on mobile phones, but I guess this makes it smoother. For it to work in countries like ours we need more better mapping. . . .
There seems to be something about open operating systems, as shown by this NYT story. The question now is whether Apple will open its operating system too. More cellphone makers are turning to the free Android operating system made by Microsoft’s latest nemesis, Google. Cellphone makers that have used Windows Mobile to run their top-of-the-line smartphones — including Samsung, LG, Kyocera, Sony Ericsson — are now also making Android devices. Twelve Android handsets have been announced this year, with dozens more expected next year.