Archive for January, 2011


Friday, January 21st, 2011

Asahi Glass unveils


smartphone cover

January 21, 2011 – 9:33AM
A reporter tries to scratch the surface of a Dragontrail glass developed by Asahi Glass with a key.A reporter tries to scratch the surface of a Dragontrail glass developed by Asahi Glass with a key. Photo: AP

Gorilla glass, meet Dragontrail.

Asahi Glass, Japan’s largest glass maker, this week released a super-tough, scratch resistant cover for gadgets that it says is several times stronger than conventional glass.

Called “Dragontrail”, the product represents Asahi’s intensified ambitions to grab a chunk of the surging global market for smartphones and tablets. All those devices need a durable sheath to protect what’s inside from the bumps, nicks and falls that inevitably come with usage

The biggest player in the market now is Corning, which makes the much-heralded “Gorilla” glass.

Gorilla, a similarly ultra-strong glass, is used by more than 20 major brands in 200 million-plus mobile phones and mobile devices, according to the New York-based company. It’s in Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones and tablets, as well as Motorola’s Droid phone and LG’s X300 notebook.

It’s been rumored to be used by Apple, but neither company has confirmed the much-discussed mystery. Corning says not all customers want to be identified.

Gorilla has been a huge success for Corning since it picked up its first customer in 2008. It generated $US80 million in revenue in 2009, and soaring demand could boost sales to $US1 billion this year as the glass begins to migrate to high-end TVs.

So how does Dragontrail stack up against the Gorilla? Asahi Glass executives weren’t saying, declining to make any direct comparisons with competitors.

Instead, the company says Dragontrail matches the best products currently available and describes Dragontrail as a “superior substitute to conventional cover material”. It is multiple times stronger than soda-lime glass commonly used in windows, resists scratches and has a “beautiful, pristine” finish.

A brief test by The Associated Press resulted in the glass showing virtually no damage after being scratched hard for several seconds with a key.

Asahi Glass hopes Dragontrail will generate global revenue of at least 30 billion yen ($366 million) and about 30 per cent market share next year.

The product is already in some devices, but the company said it could not reveal details about customers or when it signed its first deal.

President and chief executive Kazuhiko Ishimura called the new glass a “very important global strategic product”.

“We aim for Dragontrail to serve as one of the foundations for growth for the Asahi Glass Group,” he said at a news conference.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Friday, January 21st, 2011

See the frog that cut off

160 telco customers


January 20, 2011 – 2:36PM
The frog that took down 160 customers.
The frog that took down 160 customers. Photo: Supplied

Due to the wet weather, the frogs in Childers, Queensland have been “breeding like crazy”, with one cutting off hundreds of telecommunications customers.

The one pictured managed to squeeze into a Telstra roadside cabinet through a failed air filter and shorted out the power tracks of the main board of a Remote Integrated Multiplexer (RIM) unit, according to Telstra spokeswoman Karina Keisler.

It resulted in over 160 customers not able to receive incoming calls and also took ISDN services (such as EFTPOS) “completely offline”, she said. 

Communication technician Alan Williams inspecting the cabinet where the frog was found.Communication technician Alan Williams inspecting the cabinet where the frog was found. Photo: Supplied

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, January 20th, 2011

The $1 mobile:

Incredible deal means

new phone costs less

than a cup of coffee

November 6, 2010
The cheap and disposable Alcatel OT-209The cheap and disposable Alcatel OT-209

It’s the mobile phone that is cheaper than a Big Mac.

Carphone Warehouse is introducing the ultimate throwaway accessory – the 99p mobile phone.

Available in a range of colours as long as it’s silver, the handset is the perfect Christmas gift for the hard-up shopper.

The retail chain claims the OT-209, which is made by French firm Alcatel, is the cheapest pay-as-you-go phone ever to be sold in the UK.

Customers, who are not tied to an expensive contract, will be connected to the Virgin network.

The only catch is they will have to buy £10 of credit to make calls, otherwise there are no other fees other than the cost of making calls and text messages.

The phone is aimed at first time users and people fazed by technology.

It has just a few features and is uncomplicated to use.

Executive chairman Charles Dunstone told the Mail it is also useful for consumers to have as a back-up phone: ‘You have to remember at Christmas the one question we get asked the most in our stores is ‘what’s your cheapest phone?’ and at 99p this is the lowest its ever been.

‘I guess it reflects just how competitive the UK mobile market has become between carriers and manufacturers. Mobile phones are such an important part of people’s lives and so many are manufactured that they have become very cheap to make.’

Consumers are facing a wave of gloom as the Government hikes VAT to 20pc at the turn of the year and the Chancellor’s austerity cuts kick in.

But Dunstone says the 99p phone is not a reaction to Britain’s battered economy.

A screengrab from Carphone Warehouse's website whcih shows the Alcatel on sale for an unbelievable 99p on a pay as you go contractA screengrab from Carphone Warehouse’s website whcih shows the Alcatel on sale for an unbelievable 99p on a pay as you go contract

‘I think if we could have produced a 99p phone in 2007 [when the economy was booming] we would have.

‘It’s not about the current economic climate but more about retailers trying to find best possible deals to attract customers and make Christmas better than the last. The 99p phone is a regular mobile phone that four or five years ago would have cost you £100.’

The budget mobile

The Alcatel 209 weighs only 65g and has large, separated buttons

You can place hands-free calls, start conference calls with up to four other people.

Charges up in two hours and gives five hours of non-stop talk time.

The fake call function allows you to place a call to your phone with just the touch of a button, and quickly excuse yourself to take it.

Built-in FM radio and mobile games

One charge gives you up to 400 hours of standby power.

The 99p phone is the latest example of Britain’s throwaway culture. Tesco started selling jeans costing £4 jeans two years ago and Ikea has pioneered the market for cheap furniture.

Trend guru Lloyd Burdett, director of The Futures Company, said the trend towards value has been around for some time but it has been accelerated by the downturn.

‘There is a general trend towards shoppers not making large investments unless it’s very special,’ he said.

‘While the iPhone is as popular as ever – people are only willing to make an investment if something really stands out. Otherwise they think ‘why spend more than 99p for something so long as it works?’.’

Carphone say its Alcatel OT-209 is a simple, lightweight phone that weighs only 65g.

In its marketing brochure it says: ‘It is ideal for sending text messages, as it has large, separated buttons and a clear, bright display.

‘The group messaging facility allows you to send the same message to up to ten people – handy when organising a meet up or rescheduling a meeting.

‘You can place hands free calls, start conference calls with up to four other people, and stay in touch throughout the day, with up to five hours of talk time.’

Unusually it also has a feature that allows users to fake receiving calls whilst already on the phone. This, the brochure says, is to help users extricate themselves from telephone conversations they are finding difficult to end.

It takes two hours to fully charge the handset, and one charge gives up to 400 hours of standby power.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, January 20th, 2011


To buy pink diamonds at the right price email us here

With every new iPhone there is another option for bling. Now that the iPhone 4 is stocked on Apple’s shelves, it’s time for the designers to make their mark.

Enter: Stuart Hughes, the London-based luxury designers who turns everyday items into works of (pricey) art. His latest masterpiece: the world’s most expensive phone.

The iPhone 4 32GB Diamond Rose Edition cost a total of £5 million (almost $8 million) to construct. The bezel is handmade from rose with approximately 500 individual flawless diamonds for a total weight of over 100 ct. The rear section was created using rose gold and, as an added touch, kept the Apple logo in rose gold with the slight embellishment of 53 diamonds. The phone’s main navigation is made from platinum and holds a single cut 7.4 ct pink diamond. If pink isn’t your color, you can ask to have a rare 8 ct single cut flawless diamond put in its place.

Not just any iPhone case will do. This work of art sits in a chest made from a single block of Granite in Imperial Pink. The inside is with Nubuck top grain leather and weighs massive 7kg (approximately 15 pounds).

Intrigued? You should be. There are only two of these in the world.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Starbucks starts

novel pay plan:

Forget the cash

Use your phone to pay

January 20, 2011 – 1:33PM

US coffee chain Starbucks has started allowing customers in its US stores to keep their cash and credit cards in their wallets and pay for their drinks with mobile phones.

Starbucks said the mobile payment system, which has been tested in selected cities since last year, was being expanded to the nearly 6800 Starbucks outlets around the country and the more than 1000 Starbucks located in Target stores.

While Japanese shoppers have been able to pay by mobile phone for years for certain purchases, the practice is still in its infancy in the United States.

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Starbucks, based in Seattle, Washington, said its mobile payment program would be the largest in the country.

Starbucks said the owners of a BlackBerry smartphone, an iPhone or an iPod Touch who have downloaded the free Starbucks Card mobile application could buy drinks by waving their mobile phone at a scanner at the cash register.

The scanner reads an on-screen barcode and debits the purchase from the Starbucks Card, which can be reloaded with funds using a credit card or with PayPal.

“Starbucks anticipates mobile payment will be a draw for customers looking to experience the speed, ease and convenience of paying with their mobile phone,” the company said in a statement.

Google last month unveiled a new mobile phone, the Nexus S, powered by its Android software, that allows for another form of mobile payment.

The Nexus S is equipped with a near field communication (NFC) chip that turns the device into a virtual wallet, allowing users to “tap and pay” for financial transactions.

NFC chips store personal data that can be transmitted to readers, say at a shop checkout stand, by tapping a handset on a pad.


Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Director shoots

first major movie

solely with iPhone

January 12, 2011 – 8:18AM
South Korean director Park Chan-wook.
South Korean director Park Chan-wook. Photo: Reuters

A movie is supposedly the first ever cinema-standard film to be shot solely on the iPhone has been premiered by celebrated South Korean director Park Chan-Wook.

“Night Fishing” is said to have the same picture resolution as conventional movies but took just 80 people, 150 million won ($135,767) and 10 days to put together.

Park Chan-Wook said he at first approached the project, a 30-minute film about a surreal encounter between a fisherman and a female shaman (medium), for fun.

“New technology always offers wonders and useful features. Testing them is part of the amusement,” he told Yonhap news agency in an interview after Monday’s premiere.

But the director, best known internationally for “Oldboy” and “Thirst” which each won Cannes festival prizes, discovered some unexpected benefits.

“It was a new experience compared with making a meticulously planned movie. Even a casual and spontaneous shot delivered a surprise,” he said.

“It felt like there were more choices.”

The scenes were shot simultaneously with two iPhones from different angles, but staffers also contributed with recordings on their own personal iPhones.

“Some of them had an unexpectedly interesting angle,” said Park Chan-Wook, describing the process as more democratic since everyone with a smartphone took part.

PROne, the agency representing Park Chan-Wook, claimed the iPhone movie would be the first ever to be shown in cinemas.

Park Chan-Wook, however, said the medium would not outweigh the message.

“Making a film with smartphones might generate more interest at the moment. But as time goes by, stories and actors on screen will be seen as more important,” he told Yonhap.

KT Corp, sole local agent for the iPhone which has sold 1.8 million units in South Korea since November 2009, partially funded the film.

The movie, co-directed by Park and his brother Park Chan-Kyong, will be shown in 10 cinemas nationwide from January 27 for four days.


Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Vodafone class action grows to 15,000

Vodafone chief executive Nigel Dews is working at damage control on gathering consumer anger at poor customer service and patchy coverage

Vodafone coverage


in Queensland floods

PUBLISHED : 12 Jan 2011 12:03:19 | UPDATED: 7 hours 25 minutes agoVodafone is the worst-affected mobile carrier so far after its exchange in Coorparoo, south-east Brisbane, was flooded, disrupting services in the city’s central business district and surrounding suburbs yesterday.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, January 12th, 2011


At a press conference in New York City this Tuesday, Apple and Verizon Wireless announced that the iPhone 4 will be available on the Verizon Wireless network beginning on Thursday, February 10. Qualified Verizon customers will have the chance to pre-order that company’s version of the device online on February 3, however, before general availability. Depending on what users want, it will be either better or worse than the existing AT&T version.

  • The Apple/Verizon press conference in New York City
  • The Apple/Verizon press conference in New York City
  • The Apple/Verizon press conference in New York City

Besides the iPhone’s existing bells and whistles, Verizon iPhone 4 users will be able to take advantage of Personal Hotspot capabilities, which will allow them to connect with up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices. Unlike the current AT&T iPhone 4, Verizon’s will use the CDMA network, not UMTS. It should be noted that if users plan to take their phones outside the U.S., this will severely limit their choice of networks, or could even keep them from using their phone altogether. Users will also not be able to surf the Net or check email while on phone calls, as CDMA doesn’t allow for simultaneous voice and data operations.

Verizon’s iPhone 4 will be available at a price of US$199.99 for the 16GB model, or US$299.999 for the 32GB model, with a two-year customer agreement. Besides all the usual Apple retailers, the phones will also be available at Verizon Wireless Communications stores across the U.S., and via the Verizon website. The CDMA version of the phone is not exclusive to Verizon, so it’s entirely possible that other networks might start offering it as well.

Verizon is currently America’s largest wireless provider. To date, the iPhone has only been available via AT&T, although the deal with Verizon has been in the works for some time now.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Apple iPhone

alarm woes

continue worldwide

January 4, 2011 – 6:23AM
Photo of Samantha Hanna holding her iPhone after it was discovered that the alarm section of it stopped working in the new year.Photo of Samantha Hanna holding her iPhone after it was discovered that the alarm section of it stopped working in the new year. Photo: LUIS ENRIQUE

Some iPhone users across the globe complained of malfunctioning alarms on the first working day of 2011, even after Apple reassured users that its phones’ built-in clocks would work from January 3.

Bloggers, as well as Facebook and Twitter users, complained they missed flights or were late to arrive at work as the alarm built into Apple’s iPhone failed to go off for a third straight day for some users.

“Come on Apple, I thought the iPhone alarm bug was supposed to ‘correct itself’ by this morning?” tweeted Julie Morgan, a public relations executive in Portland, Oregon, on the social networking site. In an interview, she added, “Luckily, my internal alarm clock went off”.

Same type of messages were sent by iPhone users in Britain, the Netherlands and other European countries.

The snafu occurred even as Apple shares touched another all-time high of $US330.20, giving the company a market capitalisation of more than $US300 billion.

Kyle Wiens, who runs the popular Apple repair site iFixit, said the alarm glitch is likely due to a bug in the date code of the iOS software, which powers the iPhone. “It turns out the date code is not very stable,” he said.

“With iOS Apple is completely reinventing the wheel, and a bug in something so basic shows that Apple is having to do a lot of foundational work over again, that they’re really going back and rewriting a lot of stuff from scratch,” Wiens said.

The problem was not limited to the iPhone, with some owners of other Apple products, such as iPod music players, also complaining of a similar problem with their alarms.

“Apple certainly needs to fix it as soon as possible, but I doubt this will impact sales or reflect negatively on Apple itself,” said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment, but earlier said that it was aware of the problem with nonrecurring alarms and that the iPhone’s alarm would begin functioning normally again on January 3.

Some users said their alarms worked properly on January 3.

“This is not a major issue for Apple, but it is sad that they have the same error on vital dates,” said John Strand, founder and chief of Danish telecoms consultant Strand Consult.

The iPhone alarm system failed to recognise changes in daylight savings time in 2010, causing some users to sleep in an hour longer, according to media reports.

The last time Apple was embroiled in publicity problems was in July last year after the launch of the iPhone 4, when reports about bad reception snowballed and forced the company to call a news conference to address the issue, dubbed “antennagate”.

This had no visible impact on Apple’s sales as the company sold more than 14 million iPhones in the quarter ending last September, more than ever before. It is now the world’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer behind Nokia.


Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Skype could be

designated illegal

in China

A man uses a Skype internet phone next to a laptop in Taipei November 11, 2005. REUTERS/Richard Chung

A man uses a Skype internet phone next to a laptop in Taipei November 11, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Richard Chung

By Terril Yue Jones and Jennifer Saba

BEIJING/NEW YORK | Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:16pm EST

BEIJING/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The ever popular Internet telephone service Skype could be dealt a major setback in one of the world’s largest markets as the Chinese government cracks down on what it is calling illegal Internet telephone providers.

A Chinese government circular from the powerful Ministry of Information and Industry Technology called for a crackdown “on illegal VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) telephone services” and said it was collecting evidence for legal cases against them. It did not name any phone companies.

Skype was still available in China on Friday evening through its joint venture partner TOM Online.

Skype had not yet been contacted by Chinese government officials, a Skype spokesman said on Friday in the United States.

The timing of a ban in one of the world’s fastest growing markets could dampen investor enthusiasm for Skype as it prepares a 2011 initial public offering. The Luxembourg-based company, which has around124 million users worldwide, is expected to be valued at about $1 billion in the IPO.

The Chinese state move appeared to be aimed at protecting three government-controlled phone carriers — China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile — that provide the bulk of China’s phone services.

The South China Morning Post quoted an unidentified ministry official on Thursday as saying VoIP services could only be provided by the big three Chinese operators.

China has been known to play hardball with foreign businesses. After a months-long stand-off over censorship, China finally gave Google approval in July to keep operating its Chinese search page.

Skype has 20 million users in Asia Pacific, or 16 percent of the company’s total users as of the end of June, according to a U.S. regulatory filing. The filing did not break out China’s user numbers and a Skype spokesman in the United States said he did not know how many Chinese users it had.

No single one country other than the United States represented more than 7 percent of Skype’s average monthly user, according to the posting.

The latest news is another setback after Skype’s global service outage last week, which cast doubts on the reliability of the service.

In 2005, Skype was blocked in parts of China as the government sought to ban phone calls made using the Internet.

Skype, partly owned by Web retailer eBay Inc, has been growing in popularity among Chinese users and businesses to make cheap or free international phone calls over the Internet.

“Almost 1 in 6 people in the world live in China, and a great many of them rely on Skype to connect with families and friends, run businesses, and call people around the world,” wrote Skype’s Josh Silverman in an October blog post about Chinese privacy regs.

The Chinese notice, dated December 10, did not state what amounted to illegal services and did not name any VoIP providers it considered to be breaking the law.

Representatives of the ministry and the ministry’s office gathering information for the campaign did not answer telephone calls on Friday.

Representatives of China Telecom and China Unicom did not answer phone calls on Friday when approached for comment. A spokeswoman for China Mobile, reached in Beijing, referred calls to the firm’s Hong Kong office. All attempts to reach the Hong Kong office were not successful.

VoIP calls allow users to make international calls for much less than commercial providers, or even for free if both parties are using VoIP. Many businesses that use VoIP services in cutting down on their international telephone costs could lose out on access to the cheaper alternative.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha