Quite a few services on the market offer some variation on the theme of making inexpensive international calls. Fring and EQO dress it up with IM and a social networking aspect that grants free international calls between registered friends and cheap calls to everyone else. Likewise, there's Skype to Go and Talkster, which both require you to punch in local access numbers to get cheap rates. However, Packet8's MobileTalk has risen above them all as a mass market solution that sheds the extra messaging frills, money-making ads, and prep time to make the call. (Note: Give yourself a … Read more
You know you're in an expensive shopping mall when even at the cell phone store you can't afford anything. While walking through the posh Wynn Hotel at CTIA, I stopped by the Vertu store to gawk with the other tourists. Of course, Vertu is Nokia's ultraluxury handset line with design accents such as gold plating, leather skins, and real diamonds. They can run in the five-digit range, but in all seriousness, if you have to ask how much they cost, you probably can't afford them. The store's formidable staff discouraged extended browsing, but I recommend … Read more
While waiting at Las Vegas' McCarran airport for my flight home to San Francisco, I spotted one of the most interesting things I've seen during my CTIA trip. Sitting between a water fountain and the restrooms was a nifty cell phone charging stand. For $3, it delivers 30 minutes of charging time, which can be just enough juice if your phone is dying but you left your charger in your checked luggage. The machine included connectors for 12 types cell phones, including Kyocera, Samsung, Nokia, Palm Treo, RIM BlackBerry, LG, and Nokia. It also had connectors for iPods and … Read more
Motorola took another hit Thursday in announcing, through a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, that it will lay off 2,600 employees. As a result, it will take a $104 million pretax charge in the first quarter of the year for severance costs.
The $104 million is partially offset by "$9 million of reversals for accruals from prior periods that are no longer needed," according to the filing (thanks Silicon Alley Insider). "All three of the company's business segments, as well as various corporate functions, are impacted by these plans."
Thursday's … Read more
There was more going on at Kyocera's CTIA booth then its new cell phones. The company also showed an interesting demo of NFC technology. In case you're not familiar, NFC allow users to store and access business cards in their cell phones, which they can then use to make purchases. In essence, your cell phone becomes your wallet, as it can be all you need to buy everything from a pack of gum to movie tickets.
In the demo I had a choice between a bottled water, a candle, or a pack of gum. I chose the gum … Read more
Last week a video made the rounds showcasing a new way to bypass Apple's many layers of security on the iPhone. The software called PwnageTool, which has been released today for both Mac and Windows users, opens up the iPhone to running apps that have unsigned code, effectively letting users run homebrewed developer apps with no special seals of approval or verification whatsoever. The tool also lets you load up your phone with customized firmware, letting advanced users develop their own concoctions that could be shared with other users, complete with automatic unlocking, jailbreaking, and activation upon first boot.… Read more
Something tells us that Steve Jobs' delicate sensibilities might be offended by Griffin's new "ClearBoost" case for the iPhone, mainly because its built-in antenna ruins the clean lines of the fashion-conscious uber-handset. And while the case deserves credit for addressing functionality rather than just aesthetics (unlike many other unfortunate versions), its reception claims are yet to be seen in any significant way.
The protruding stub, according to Griffin, results in "a better signal, especially in border areas--which translates to fewer dropped calls, wider coverage areas, and faster downloads when browsing through your cellular connection." But … Read more
Yahoo's still pushing hard on mobile technology, despite the potential distraction of a Microsoft takeover bid.
Yahoo this week led a $20 million investment in Vlingo, a speech-recognition technology company. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company also said that Vlingo will power the voice capabilities of the mobile oneSearch service, a search engine optimized for the phone.
To use the voice-search service, which will be available immediately, people must first download the Vlingo client. (It currently works only on select BlackBerries, but Yahoo said it will be available soon on other mobile phones.) With the application, users can voice queries, … Read more
Bluefire's bid joins them to the ranks of other security vendors who have created mobile versions of their desktop apps. I got a chance to preview Mobile Defender at CTIA 2008 in Las Vegas. The app, currently available in private beta for Windows Mobile phones, has a simple four-button interface, with each button corresponding to an element of protection--firewall, SMS and MMS spam-blocking, an application protection shield that guards against auto-installing malware, and a … Read more
Dashwire, a small Seattle start-up eleven employees strong, continues to impress with its growing service for managing and interacting with the contents of your cell phone online. To recap an earlier review, Dashwire synchronizes your cell phone to an online account, displaying on a flexible dashboard your call history, images, profile, texting history, photos, ring tones, videos, and contacts. You can roll up your sleeves and muck around with your phone from Dashwire, a much happier experience than crouching over your two-inch cell phone screen and tapping or clicking away through on-device management programs, particularly if you're not on … Read more