Verizon Wireless' innovative Chaperone service has been launched for new handsets. The child-tracking program was previously only available on the LG Migo. Chaperone is now available on the following handsets: LG 3450L, LG VX8300, LG Chocolate and the Motorola KRZR K1m.
Chaperone uses GPS to keep tabs on kids. Parents can log in and see current location and do more advanced functions like set home zones and automated monitoring.
Chaperone costs either $9.99 or $19.99 monthly depending on the tier of service. That price is per handset (tracking multiple children means paying separate charges).
Apple rumor site ThinkSecret is reporting that the iPhone may begin shipping prior to June. At its MacWorld introduction earlier this month, Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted that the unusually (for Apple) distant launch date was because Apple wanted to announce the product before the FCC had a chance to spill the beans. The iPhone has not yet been approved by the FCC.
While initial word that the iPhone's ship date may have been overly conservative came from a number of unproven sources, most citing information inside Cingular, more reliable sources with proven track records have come forward to confirm that there remains a very real possibility that the iPhone will ship earlier in the second quarter.
The Wall Street Journal has an article about Research In Motion's fastest growing customer, consumers. The company previously courted business users almost exclusively, but the BlackBerry Pearl has helped open up a new market for the company.
According to the article, everyone from college students to stay at home mothers have taken up the Pearl with a similar zeal that stock traders and lawyers were famous for (e.g. CrackBerry).
"The Pearl has attracted a lot of people to BlackBerry who we would not have otherwise attracted in the retail setting in the past," says Mark Guibert, vice president of corporate marketing for Research in Motion, of Waterloo, Ontario. Unlike other BlackBerry devices, the Pearl has a built-in camera and multimedia player -- features that help increase its broad appeal. "We are seeing people who are buying the Pearl with personal use in mind as the primary use," he says.
Wirefly has released a list of their top selling phones for the year of 2006. Unsurprisingly the Motorola RAZR topped the list. However there are some surprises:
CES 2007 -- SanDisk has announced a 2GB Memory Stick Micro M2 card, the largest in the industry. The new format is being used by several Sony Ericsson music phones but not much else. The company will also sell 1GB and 512MB M2 cards.
M2 cards are exceedingly small, but not the smallest (that's microSD or what used to be called TransFlash).
M2 measures 0.59" (L) x 0.49" (W) x 0.05" (H), making it the second smallest flash memory media in the world, behind the microSD, which SanDisk pioneered.
Suggested U.S. retail pricing: 2GB - $119.99, 1GB - $54.99, 512MB - $44.99.
CES 2007 -- Sprint Nextel has announced officially supported Mac OS X compatibility with one of its EV-DO Rev A cards. Previously the easiest way to get EV-DO on a Mac was to go with Verizon (Mac OS X offers built-in support for a couple of the Verizon cards). Compatibility is for the AirCard 595 hardware only. Users can simply download a free application (Watcher Lite) from Sierra Wireless to get the device working.
Because the supported card is a PCMCIA type it will not work in the latest generation of Mac laptops. Those computers feature an ExpressCard slot which is an up and coming form factor that's incompatible with the wider PCMCIA connector.
Palm paid Access $44 million for the license, which is a steal considering Access paid $324 million for PalmSource.
Under terms of the agreement, ACCESS has granted Palm specific rights to modify the code base of Palm OS Garnet for use in its devices such as the Palm Treo smartphone family and the company's other handheld computers. The agreement also grants Palm the right to use Palm OS Garnet in whole or in part in any product from Palm and together with any other system technologies.
Cameron Marlow, a researcher at Yahoo!, has put up a simple tool to calculate the number of key presses it takes to enter in data via multi-tap. His goal was to see how long different URLs would take to key into his mobile browser. Since predictive text doesn't work for non-words like most URLs, multi-tap is the most common option.
Marlow noted that ironically .mobi takes more key presses than .com, .net and .org. Of the most popular top level domains, .net is the shortest at 6 taps (.mobi is 11 taps!).
Free 411 (1-800-FREE411) has surpassed the 100 million use milestone. The relatively new service has still only captured a small percentage of the US directory assistance market, but is rapidly gaining ground. According to the company this means US callers have saved approximately $150 million (citing $1.50 for the average lookup).
The company provides its information services for free in exchange for a small advertisement that each caller hears before completing the call. While it's not a mobile play per se, a high percentage of information calls are made on the go when it's harder to lookup things.
A young New Jersey based mother was the 100 millionth caller and won an all expense paid vacation to Puerto Rico.
Opera Software has announced the availability of Opera Mini 3.0, the second major update to the package this year. The free application is a web browser designed to work on the vast majority of mobile phones sold. This differs from Opera Mobile which is designed expressly for smartphones. Opera Mini has been well received and the third version adds some major new features.
New in Opera Mini 3.0:
You can download Opera Mini for free
The Nokia 2626 is a colorful new feature phone designed for emerging markets. The handset comes in several color schemes in addition to the pink shown at right.
The feature list is shorter than the other handsets Nokia introduced today, but that's to be expected for an emerging markets phone. The notable feature that's not common in the segment is an integrated FM radio.
Nokia will begin shipping the 2626 in the first quarter of 2007 for an estimated 75 euros.
A new report from Strategy Analytics says that the global market for mobile broadband will reach 500 million users by 2010. Next generation technologies like WiMAX and UMTS TDD will help fuel the growth but not dominate it. The report notes that most of the market will be taken up by technology such as EV-DO Rev A and HSDPA.
"We're not likely to see technologies like mobile WiMAX or indeed, anything else, really take off until the next decade," comments Sara Harris, Senior Industry Analyst at Strategy Analytics and author of this report. "However, HSPA and EV-DO will be more than acceptable for most users, giving them the speed and flexibility they want to use their fixed internet applications on the move"
Symbian Limited announced yesterday that the company has shipped over 100m Symbian powered smartphones. The phones are in use on over 250 carriers and have been on sale since the Ericsson R380 launched in 2000. Sales have picked up recently with 13m in the third quarter of 2006 alone (up 52% from a year ago).
The vast majority of Symbian devices are from Nokia, but many manufactures have shipped Symbian equipped phones. The list includes Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, BenQ and Siemens.
[via Engadget Mobile]
New York City's ban of cell phones in schools is not going over well with parents. The ban has actually been in effect for years, but has only been loosely enforced (more of a don't act don't tell policy). When random weapons checks started being performed this year, school officials started yanking cell phones too.
"These kids are students, not prisoners," wrote another parent, whose daughter travels from their home in Brooklyn to school in Manhattan.
Many concerned parents want their children to carry cell phones for safety. In letters, some noted 9/11 and that cell phones provided key communication channels in a time of chaos.
Verizon Wireless has launched the Motorola V325i, a slightly updated version of the V325. The V325i is identical to the V325 with the addition of Bluetooth. The handset remains at the low-end of the Verizon lineup.
Features of the V325i include:
Verizon is selling the V325i now for $29.99 after contract and $50 in instant savings.
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