February 9, 2008 6:00 AM PST

The next big things in wireless

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Location and navigation
Location won't only be discussed in the context of advertising or search, but there will likely be more talk about using location technologies to improve navigation services. Nokia last year announced the 6110 Navigator phone and mapping service. In October, the company said it was buying digital map supplier Navteq for $8.1 billion. To show off its navigation prowess, Nokia has scheduled tours of Barcelona next week for journalists to test its navigation tools and service. So stay tuned for a first-hand account of how this service works in the real world.

Social networking
The social-networking craze has come to the mobile phone, and the topic promises to be a hot one at Mobile World Congress. There's a whole session dedicated to social networking at the show. And there will likely be a lot of announcements concerning cell phone makers partnering with popular social-networking sites, such as Facebook and Myspace.com, to make it easier for users to access those sites on their mobile phones. There will also likely be some announcements around making it easier to upload user-generated content, like photos and video, to mobile phones.

The developing world
With half the world's population expected to own at least one mobile phone by the middle of this year, operators and cell phone manufacturers are looking toward the developing world for growth. The market is already saturated in developed markets like North America, Europe, and parts of Asia, so it makes sense that companies would turn to developing countries where cell phone penetration is much less.

There will likely be a lot of talk around making phones affordable for consumers in the poorest countries in the world. But entertainment companies and other mobile content providers are also expected to look more closely at developing markets as they realize the potential of these untapped regions.

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4 comments

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A non-appearing thief...
It is interesting to see how the "non-appearing" iPhone is
profiling the show. As had happen the last year.

Maybe Apple's coming "February's event" could be hold during the
show (showing the SDK and applications and presenting new
models...) and steal the show, as Macworld 2007 stole CES 2007.
Posted by lmasanti (293 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Concerned
Anybody who has ever been concerned about the personal implications of technology like RFID should be REALLY concerned about the prospect of cell phone advertizing.

I'm not one of these privacy nuts who thinks that the government is tracking their every move using phony-baloney spy tech, but I am more than a little worried at the prospect of my cell phone company being able to legally tracking my movements for the purposes of advertizing.

Firstly, this has serious privacy implications. It's like tracking you via your credit card *1000. Secondly, it would be seriously annoying to be bombarded by adverts on your phone.

Imaging if you gave a phone to your kid and they walked past an adult bookstore. Your 12 year old daughter could be sent text messages advertizing porn. Even something as innocent as walking past a grocery store could mean that they could be sent ads for cheap beer, or special offers on junk food.
Posted by perfectblue97 (326 comments )
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The Value of Control
This is why the consumer must be in absolute control of their device. Like my PC. I don't see ads unless they're the kind I approve of: relevant text ads.

...I just want wireless internet everywhere with no restrictions on protocols. /I'll/ decide what VoIP service I'll use.
Posted by ethana2 (348 comments )
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You should be concerned...
Ever wonder why every phone service out there now days offers free voice mail? In fact many charge you to not use it, or do not provide the option of not having it. Voice mail takes lots of storage space, thus lots of infrastructure, support to keep that space online, 24/7. This costs a lot of money, but they give you it for 'free'.

Compare this to text messaging...Its not real-time so they can use spare bandwidth, and background transfers, requiring very little storage (mostly in the phones themselves), costing significantly less (almost nothing), yet they charge you to use it, in some cases for every message.

(hint: its even worse than echelon)

Now imagine getting advertisements in text messages that you have to pay for, and can not block (happens now, just like email spam). This is the same thing that was tried several years ago with fax machine advertising, and laws were past to prevent it, it needs to happen again.

RFID does not scare me, since you have to be within a few feet to read or write it, and they can easily be sheilded from reading and writing.

But active devices like cell phones, you are definately not paranoid enough, what you are afraid they might be able to do in the future, is what they have been doing for many years already.

And yes, they want to be able to push you advertising by walking by a store, they are spending millions to be able to do just that. Its called location based services (sounds really benign, huh?).
Posted by chash360 (394 comments )
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