Not every social networking concept strikes gold, even when the coalescing factor is the common interest of finding a good Internet cafe. In the case of WeFi, a hot-spot-finding application with a social community tacked on, various CNET editors have raised a collective eyebrow at some of the more intense methods of attaining human connection, but largely agree that being able to chat with verified friends or nearby Internet surfers adds a useful dimension to the search for reliable Wi-Fi access in comfortable coffee shops.
Article updated 5/2/08 at 8:00am with additional information.
The youngest mobile browser to hit the scene can do quite a few more tricks after this week's feature-enhancement and bug-fixing release.
At the request of testers enrolled in Skyfire's closed beta program, version 0.6 has included several housekeeping functions. There are the basics of pasting a URL or search term, deleting bookmarks, and beefing up the soft-key menu with a shortcut to search the current Web page. There's also the highly demanded security nod that disguises passwords as you type. Though this hasn't … Read more
At the beginning of April, I met with VoiceCloud CEO Gerald Marolda to take a tour of the company's voice mail-to-SMS service. VoiceCloud, which relies on human translators instead of software to transcribe calls, competes with Spinvox, SimulScribe, and CallWave.
A month ago at CTIA Wireless, the hatchling service was just being introduced. Now everyone is invited to try. From the Web site, enter the invite code, "cloud," and your phone details to get started. Users will be able to test the application free of charge for about a month, Marolda says, before a pricing structure is … Read more
There's no shortage of local search applications for cell phone users to rely on. In addition to Google Maps Mobile, Yahoo OneSearch (which is also bundled into Yahoo Go), and TellMe's BlackBerry app, is newcomer FreeMobile411, a simple, clean-looking WAP app that searches local business and residential listings for people, business names, and business types. While the publisher, V-Enable, works on distributing a more robust client through cell phone carriers starting with Sprint, FreeMobile411.com remains as reliable a lookup for people on low-end Internet phones as it is on high-end phones.
The drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window is indispensable for information hounds who regularly narrow their searches to specific databases. Some queries will yield more precise results if bounced around Amazon or Wikipedia instead of Yahoo or Google. CNET producer Randall Bennett demonstrates how you can achieve the same in Opera Mini 4 by adding custom search engines.
OK, Mike McCue, CEO of recently-acquired-by-Microsoft Tellme: Tell me again why your brand new mobile phone app--the cool one that lets you speak a business name or category into the phone and then gives you nearest matches on your screen--is out first for the BlackBerry, and not Windows Mobile?
As McCue explained it to me, Tellme had the BlackBerry app well into development when Microsoft acquired his company. But why BlackBerry at all? Because it's a better platform for Java, which the app is built on, than is Windows Mobile.
Of course, Tellme will build a Windows Mobile version … Read more
If I had to describe LightPole in 10 words or fewer, I'd call it an interface for accessing location-aware services from mobile phones. More than anything else, LightPole's downloadable application offers a listings and mapping format that many location-based services, such as Yelp and Yahoo Local, can squeeze into to gain more visibility or avoid creating their own rich cell phone applications.
It works like this. Users looking for stuff--a good restaurant, happy hour specials, or Internet cafe--can click open LightPole, select a service (MappyHour and Hotspotr are two more,) and can read about the establishment, call the … Read more
At CTIA 2008 in Las Vegas, Yahoo's executive vice president of Connected Life, Marco Boerries, demonstrated with great enthusiasm the newest feature to grace its mobile search tool: voice input. The technique, which asks users to press and hold a key while speaking their lookup request, is already active in Windows Live Search Mobile. Yahoo, however, hasn't released it beyond a preview. On Tuesday, one ankle-biting competitor jumped into the ring with its version of voice search.
When my colleague, Webware.com Editor Josh Lowensohn, first looked at Kannuu, an alternative platform for inputting search queries into a specific database or device, he astutely noted that, in order for any keyboard alternative to succeed, "it's not end users you have to convince...It's the device manufacturers. And they're chicken."
Kannuu is having some luck in that respect, CEO Sean-Michael Daley said in a demo at CNET headquarters. Now the company's setting out to win the hearts of independent developers, whom Daley would like to see integrating Kannuu's unconventional five-button face … Read more
Got a few minutes to kill? Sure, you could flip through your tunes, but when the same songs get old, and when you tire of your headphones winding from your ears like some extraterrestrial umbilical cord, check out the worlds of communication, learning, and game-playing applications to discover beyond the beats. Or, dare we say, while listening to them. Check out your burgeoning options for cell phone entertainment in the slide show.