Fujitsu launches its new “Services Built for Android”, brings Android to nearly everything

By on January 31, 2009 at 10:30 AM.

Fujitsu launches its new “Services Built for Android”, brings Android to nearly everything

Fujitsu Android

Fujitsu announced on Thursday that it is now offering a new program called “Service Built for Android”. Fujitsu is leveraging its experience in the development of embedded devices and offering to help companies deploy the Android OS on all kinds of hardware, from  mobile phones, automotive systems and consumer electronics to embedded systems. Fujitsu will provide consulting, training, engineering and embedded middleware services intended to assist companies in fast tracking their products. For consumers, this means that Fujitsu wants to help bring Android to the world by incorporating the Linux-based OS into almost any device imaginable. Watch out world as Android isn’t just for mobile phones anymore.

[Via Akihabara News]

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Rentobile gives junkies their fix, offers handset rental service

By on December 31, 2008 at 12:56 PM.

Rentobile gives junkies their fix, offers handset rental service

Every once in a while a startup comes along and offers a service that makes you sit back and think, “why didn’t I think of that?” Such is the case with Rentobile, a mobile phone rental company based in New Jersey. The premise is simple – people like new toys. Rather than sit around and wait for your 2-year contract to expire so you can purchase a new handset at an affordable price, Rentobile provides a wide variety of handsets on a per-month basis. Simply order up a new rental, pop in your SIM or activate it on your account and your done. Once you grow tired of the device, whether that be one month later or one year later, simply return it to Rentobile and rent a new one. Shipping totals $10 for each round trip and a fair insurance fee is applied to each handset in case your dog mistakes it for a chew toy. Rentobile membership costs between $5 and $10 per month and affords users a discount of up to $18 per month on handset rentals. Members are also notified as soon as new handsets hit Rentobile’s warehouse so they can be among the first to rent them. If you just want a taste however, there is also a member-ship free rental option.

Rentobile supplies handsets for each of the four major carriers – Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint – and even has a selection of a few unlocked handsets for you to choose from. Oh and don’t worry, you’re not limited to one device at a time. If there are five handsets you want to play with and you want them all right away, Rentobile is happy to accommodate you. The only thing we see missing for the time being is a rent-to-own option; there should be a purchase price set for each handset and if you keep it long enough to reach that point, the handset should be yours to keep. Of course, we doubt the type of person who would use this service will ever keep a phone for that long but it would be nice to know the option is there.

[Via Phone Scoop]

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Nokia announces six new low cost phones for emerging markets

By on November 4, 2008 at 2:02 PM.

Nokia announces six new low cost phones for emerging markets

Nokia on Tuesday introduced six new mobile phones and two new services that target emerging markets. The phones will include the 7100 Supernova and the XpressMusic 5130 and will retail for €25 to €90 ($32 to $115 USD). The first handset to hit the market in late 2008 will be the Nokia 7100 Supernova, a slider with a touchscreen and 1.2MP camera. Following the Supernova will be the XpressMusic 5130, Nokia’s low-cost music phone which is slated for a Q1 2009 release. The remaining four phones are standard candy bars and include the Nokia 2323, Nokia 2330, Nokia 1202 and the Nokia 1661. The Nokia 1202 claims the title as Nokia’s lowest priced mobile phone to date coming in at a mere €25 ($32 USD). A phone is useless without supported services and Nokia is set to launch new services that aim to bring low cost email and educational services to the masses. Nokia’s Mail by Ovi will deliver mobile email and Nokia’s new Life Tools will deliver agricultural information and multilingual education services designed especially for rural and small town communities via SMS. The Mail by Ovi service will be available globally on all S40 handsets by the end of 2008 and the new Life Tools is expected to go live in 2009.

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T-Mobile Drops More “App Store” Details

By on September 11, 2008 at 1:48 PM.

T-Mobile Drops More “App Store” Details

T-Mobile recently made it known that it will be the first carrier to offer its own mobile-accessible application store in line with Apple’s App Store. What better venue than CTIA to shed some new light on T-Mobile’s plans to enter the evolving space that is mobile app distribution? Here is the condensed version of an interview with T-Mobile’s Venetia Espinoza, Director of Product Development for mobile apps and partner programs, and Sue Schmitz, Product Marketing Manager of the devPartner program:

  • The initial offering will allow free and pay apps, but nothing containing advertising. There will also be no Android apps allowed (Android Marketplace should get interesting) and no Sidekick apps either.
  • The developer agreement will be live on T-Mobile’s site next week and developers may begin signing on as soon as it goes live.
  • As far as a revenue split, the terms start at 50 / 50 but there are various factors that can bump it up to as much as 70% for the developer. Developers get an increase as they meet various criteria such as providing multiple points of contact for customer service and supporting 10 or more T-Mobile handsets.
  • T-Mobile will be providing demo handsets and a virtual lab to assist developers.
  • Free apps will be allowed in the store at no cost to the developer but there will limitations as far as how much bandwidth they can use.
  • There will not be an API available from day one but T-Mobile is considering opening up a bit more in the future. In other words, for the time being there will be no access to handset functionality such as GPS for location-based services, Contacts, Camera, MyFaves, etc. Hmm.

So there you have it people. Initially you’re going to be looking at a proof of concept of sorts; very basic stuff that will help T-Mobile determine how it wants to move forward and expand. As far as whether or not it will allow Google’s competitive offering on Android handsets it sells, only time will tell.

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Verizon Visual Voicemail is a Go

By on August 12, 2008 at 9:41 AM.

Verizon Visual Voicemail is a Go

Kicking things off with the LG Voyager, Verizon Wireless has just gone live with its visual voicemail service. No doubt inspired by the iPhone though Apple was hardly the first to introduce such a service (just ask its legal team), Verizon’s new service allows users to listen to voicemail messages by navigating through a visual representation of their voicemail inbox. In a nutshell, it marries voicemail and a call log. So what sets Verizon’s offering apart from third-party alternatives? For one thing, it’s cheap! At $3 per month, Verizon’s service is a fraction of the price of services like PhoneTag which charge $9.99 per month or more. Of course PhoneTag also transcribes voicemails and that is the core value of its offering, whereas Verizon’s service doesn’t quite go there. For your $3 you can store up to 40 messages for a maximum of 40 days and create up to 10 caller ID-based greetings. As for the implementation, the UI won’t be winning any American Design Awards any time soon but at that price you pretty much can’t go wrong. So if you’ve got a Voyager and you’re game to check out Verizon’s offering, the first thing you have to do is check your firmware version. VX10KV09 or later are ready to roll but if you’ve got something older you’ll need to drop by your local Verizon store for an upgrade.

[Via AppleInsider]

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Schmap Enters Public Beta

By on August 8, 2008 at 9:00 AM.

Schmap Enters Public Beta

This, people, is a smart service. Schmap, provider of interactive online maps with guide and tourism info, has just pushed an innovative iPhone-friendly solution into public beta. The service allows users to quickly and easily publish iPhone-friendly contact details with a map on their websites. When we say “Quickly and easily” we mean it. First of all, no registration is required and the service is completely free. Secondly, the setup from beginning to end takes about two minutes. The user need only enter the contact details in a few form fields on the Schmap site, copy the resulting code and paste it onto their homepage. Done. The results will be completely invisible to most browsers but visit the site on an iPhone and bar will appear across the top of the screen. Tap it and you will be brought to a page with contact details; rotate the iPhone and a map will be displayed pointing you to the exact location of the business. Schmap also has plans to make the service S60, Android and BlackBerry-friendly in the near future, meaning that the same piece of code will yield properly-formatted results for each of the aforementioned platforms. No changes to the code currently in place will be required when the update comes around. The key challenge for Schmap of course will be getting exposure with less-web savvy retail business owners, restaurants, bars, etc so that they know the service exists. We wonder what other cool services could be added to websites in a similar no-registration, two minute-implementation way? For a sample of Schmap’s service in action, hit http://www.purefoodandwine.com from an iPhone.

[Via The Outsidr]

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Jobs’ Full FailMe Email Surfaces

By on August 6, 2008 at 9:42 AM.

Jobs’ Full FailMe Email Surfaces

Yesterday we gave you a taste of Stevo’s apologetic internal email to his troops regarding the mess that is MobileMe. As you recall, Jobs essentially states that Apple screwed the pooch in rushing the service out when it was most certainly not ready for prime time. The email has since been leaked in its entirety and provides an interesting insight into Jobs’ internal apology. Yes, leaked and internal are both in italics. Why? As has been suggested, this is a really great way to indirectly apologize to customers without having to make public statements and go through traditional media outlets. We’re not saying this email was leaked intentionally but… Ok, maybe we are.

Team,

The launch of MobileMe was not our finest hour.  There are several things we could have done better:

– MobileMe was simply not up to Apple’s standards – it clearly needed more time and testing.

– Rather than launch MobileMe as a monolithic service, we could have launched over-the-air syncing with iPhone to begin with, followed by the web applications one by one – Mail first, followed 30 days later (if things went well with Mail) by Calendar, then 30 days later by Contacts.

– It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store.  We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence.

We are taking many steps to learn from this experience so that we can grow MobileMe into a service that our customers will love.  One step that I can share with you today is that the MobileMe team will now report to Eddy Cue, who will lead all of our internet services – iTunes, the App Store and, starting today, MobileMe.  Eddy’s new title will be Vice President, Internet Services and he will now report directly to me.

The MobileMe launch clearly demonstrates that we have more to learn about Internet services.  And learn we will.  The vision of MobileMe is both exciting and ambitious, and we will press on to make it a service we are all proud of by the end of this year.

Steve

We have to wonder: Do you think Steve currently uses MobileMe himself? How about the rest of the Apple higher ups?

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Jobs Jumps on the MobileMe FAIL Bus

By on August 5, 2008 at 12:48 PM.

Jobs Jumps on the MobileMe FAIL Bus

It looks like an internal email from El Jobso to Apple employees it quite telling with regards to the current MobileMe situation. What is the MobileMe situation? It’s not good. We’re sure you’ve ready about the many, many problems that many, many people are having with the service. You’ve also likely read that people are dropping their MobileMe accounts left and right. Apparently Apple has noticed a bit of an issue as well and Jobs took it upon himself to circulate a “my bad” to his troops. In the note, Jobs acknowledges that Apple went about it all wrong. As opposed to dropping the unproven service in its entirety to coincide with the launch of the iPhone 3G, Apple might have considered a gradual piecemeal release starting with iPhone sync and then slowly adding additional services. From El Capitán:

It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store. We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence.

Well, you know what they say about hindsight. Apple has hardly given up on the service of course and it is reportedly working very hard to remedy the situation by year’s end. The MobileMe team has gone through a bit of a reorganization and all internet services including iTunes, the App Store and MobileMe will now be headed up by Eddy Cue, formerly the VP of iTunes. It would be hard to argue that Cue hasn’t done a bang up job with iTunes and we expect he will fair just fine in his new role. Jobs closes the email by saying:

The MobileMe launch clearly demonstrates that we have more to learn about Internet services and learn we will. The vision of MobileMe is both exciting and ambitious, and we will press on to make it a service we are all proud of by the end of this year.

Fair enough.

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Nokia May be Working on a Movie Download Service

By on August 1, 2008 at 11:34 AM.

Nokia May be Working on a Movie Download Service

Typically when a rumor starts off with “I’ve been informed by a strange but totally plausible source”, it’s a safe bet that you shouldn’t get too excited. There are always exceptions to the rule though and since we may have heard a bit of rumbling around the bush ourselves, we’ll run with this one. Apparently in the next few months, despite the fact that the Nokia Music Store has only been launched in a few regions (and has not been greeted with much fanfare), Nokia will reportedly be launching its own movie store. Details are a bit scarce but the concept is actually quite interesting. Basically the service will allow you to pay a monthly fee and stream unlimited 320 x 240 H.264 videos (with AAC stereo 96 kbps audio) directly to your handset. Movies can be watched on the handset of course, or even on a television via the TV-Out on some Nseries handsets. Perhaps the most interesting and unique part of the service is that you will supposedly be able to easily initiate a movie purchase at any time during playback with a single button click. The movie will then be dispatched over night to your address on file from a Nokia-partnered DVD retailer. No, it’s not as tech-forward as a set top box solution but it is a pretty cool way to integrate mobiles into Nokia’s offering.

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Only2Clicks: Web-based Visual Bookmarking Rocks

By on June 10, 2008 at 10:03 AM.

Only2Clicks: Web-based Visual Bookmarking Rocks

As simple as the concept is, this has to be one of the more useful web 2.0 services we’ve come across in recent history. What if you could have access to your bookmarks from any PC or mobile phone? What if you could organize your bookmarks logically and visually for fast access in an attractive interface? You knew this was coming… You can. Only2Clicks is a relatively new web service that makes bookmarking as intuitive as it should have been from the start. Bookmarks are separated into tabs and laid out in tiles across each page. Snapshots of bookmarked pages are created by Only2Clicks and they sit on top of text descriptions for the fastest and easiest recognition possible. To cut down a bit on load time, you can also upload your own images that will replace the automatically generated snapshots (which are kind of annoyingly recreated with each page load). The Only2Clicks UI is fully skinnable using CSS and there are a few example skins to choose from. Another solid feature is sharing. Only2Clicks provides each user with a customizable URL that can be accessed without the need to log in. Simply check the “share” box for any tab and it will be accessible at your URL. Very slick. To round off the offering for the time being, Only2Clicks provides an iPhone-optimized version of the site. While the layout is ideal for iPhone users, it will also work just fine on any mobile with a decent web browser. That’s right people, all of your bookmarks on any device from anywhere. Sign us up.

[via The Outsidr]

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