Monday, August 08, 2005

TicTalk cell phone for kids by Leapfrog

Here is a cellphone for parents who want to keep an eye on their kids. LeapFrog has announced they're teaming up with Enfora to produce the TicTalk Parental-Controlled Cellphone for kids 6 and up. Like the FireFly kiddie phone, the TicTalk will have a bare minimum of functionality. All phone numbers are entered via a web interface and the device doesn't have a keypad, which means the kids can only make calls to approved numbers. Parents can set what times certain phone numbers can be called or received from. They can also send text messages to their kids, possibly to remind them to do their homework or something. LeapFrog wants the service to be pre-paid in chunks of 100 minutes for $25- parents can then choose to monitor minutes used, as well as award additional minutes for good behavior. And it wouldn't be a LeapFrog if there weren't also educational games included with the phone.

The phone will be GSM, though it's unknown which carrier will carry it. It'll be available online this month, and will be in retail stores some time in Fall. Approximate retail value is $99.99.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Big Screen viewer for mobile phone video

Many companies are offering various mobile video services that enable mobile phone users to watch various video content but what's the number one gripe about them? A mobile phone's display is so small that there really is no 'viewing pleasure'. Well, fret no more because Orange SA (France Telecom's wireless business) is going to offer subscribers numerous mobile video content that can be viewed using a 'big screen', i.e., video eyewear from MicroOptical.

The eyewear has two Kopin full-color, QVGA (320 x 240) CyberDisplay 230K (0.24-inch diagonal) microdisplays, and is ultra-light at just 2.5 oz. It enables mobile phone users to privately view movies, watch TV or even surf the Web equivalent to a 12-inch screen as it is viewed three feet away. Worried that you'll bump against a pole or tree while viewing content? Don't be; you can see your surroundings perfectly due to the small size of the frame and MicroOptical's patented optics that enable mobile users to see around the screen. Some users may find this effect nauseating or cause dizziness.

This new gadget will be part of Orange SA's Orange World wireless multimedia service and will be offered with Samsung's SGH-D600 mobile phone in October 2005. The binocular video eyewear is connected to the Samsung phone via a thin cable and will enable users to view video up to five hours with three AAA batteries, no price has been announced yet.

Satellite Radio for Sprint phones

SIRIUS Satellite Radio has signed a deal with Sprint to offer select SIRIUS content over the Sprint network. It is said to be available soon. Right now details are still sketchy, but we'll find out more when both Sprint and Sirius give us more specifics later this year.

Sprint's current Internet radio service, MSpot, contains 13 channels available for $5.95/month (or for free if you're a Vision Multimedia Services subscriber). I expect that this new deal will be a combination of MSpot and SIRIUS, but what the new service is branded under is probably still under debate.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Free web browser for phones

Gravity Monkey is releasing Shrunq, a nice web browser for cell phones for free.
According to his website:


  • Loads regular HTML pages, including images.
  • Features include automatic page scrolling, full support for cookies, page caching, and basic form support.
  • Will display content while it continues downloading, and a "skip to content" button to skip over spaces or navigation links to meaningful blocks of text.
  • Self-reliant -- loads and parses content on the phone, so you can connect to sites even if my server is down.
  • Can also use a proxy-server to pre-parse out needless code, and compress files for quicker network performance.
  • Hey look, no annoying pop-ups, viruses or spyware! Heck, that alone makes the Shrunq'd Web a nice place to be.
  • Shrunq can do all the parsing and processing, so you can connect directly to websites for text content -- no content proxy server needed.
  • Images that are not in a compatible size or format are pre-processed on Gravity Monkey servers.


  • Will scale text and images to fit your phone's screen.
  • Under 80k install.
  • Requires approx. 400k memory and 15k data space.
  • Built with J2ME 1.0 to work with any Java™ enabled phone or PDA.


  • No silly upfront costs, no silly ongoing "subscription" costs. Dude, it's a browser, it should be free. Besides, if I give it to you, you won't get too pissed when it breaks.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Mo-blog from underwater!

The WaveCase is perfect for all manner of watersports, from the surfing/diving/swimming kind to the kind that costs $200 a throw Las Vegas. Rated at 20 meters, the WaveCase envelops your valuable cellie in a plastic bubble, allowing you to make calls (?) and take pictures in the briny deep. Why use your cellphone to take pictures under water? I dunno. But now you can.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Cell phone advertising standards adopted

While Commercial Alert's Gary Ruskin says, "Good luck," cell phone providers have adopted a set of guidelines, Consumer Best Practices Guidelines for Cross-Carrier Mobile Content Services, which is intended to place limits on marketer's use of the cell phone as an advertising medium. The guidelines call for double opt-in to promotions, how people are charged for air time and wording people can use to opt in or out of promotions. Even as the guidelines are adopted by all major U.S cell phone companies, Ruskin believes cell advertising will, none the less, proliferate and cause a backlash similar to those that have occurred in Europe where the medium is more established. Ruskin is particularly concerned over the guideline's allowance of opt-in list sale to third parties.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

This "television pocket" allows you to insert a camera phone and use it for monitoring. It is able to stream the video over the network. It is password protected, and allows you to change to point of view, as it swivels. The makers of this nifty device claim that you can use it to monitor sick people, as a security cam (so when you travel you can leave your cell phone at home) or to talk to your pets - for those who must remind your pet to flush and pick up after themselves.

Identify any song you hear over cellphone for 99cents

Ever get a song stuck in your head, but you missed the DJ announcement of the song name? That's the idea powering a new cell phone-based service called 411-SONG. Just call 866-411-SONG, and hold your phone up to the speaker. 15 seconds later the call ends and the information on your song is displayed on your phone's screen. This comes at a price, though. 99 cents for your first 5 songs, and then 99 cents a song after that. However, reports that a subscription model may be coming soon.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Television on mobile is all geared up to be the next big thing as UK provider Orange, rolls out a mobile handset service, which will offer customers top TV shows and channels.

Channels such as Cartoon Network and CNN will be made available for a monthly subscription of £10. This will be UK's first TV-on-the-mobile service, which will allow customers to watch news, sport and entertainment programmes on their phone.

Running over Orange's high-speed 3G network, the service – which will be available from next week – has an initial line-up of nine channels including ITN News, CNN, Big Brother, Celebrity Love Island, Comedy Time, Cartoon Network, Toon World, Fashion TV and extreme sports. Further channels will be available in the coming weeks.

All of the channels will be streamed over the Orange 3G network and are available through the new Orange TV section on Orange World. Customers need to be in 3G coverage to use the service.

Orange TV will initially be available on the Nokia 6680 from Orange, with further handsets to follow throughout the year. Customers can download the TV application for free from Orange World, then pay a subscription to watch the channels.