If you find yourself in Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz, Germany late at night be sure that you’ve got your cell phone with you. In an attempt to save energy, the citizens of the town have set up their streetlights to turn off unless you use your cell phone to turn them on!
The program has been a moderate success so far. So far the town of only 900 has managed to save $5,300. Not too shabby! Other towns, such as Döblitz, resident Heinrich Frühauf tripped and fell in the darkness, and not long after the town was turning on their lights with cell phones as well.
Though, main issues with the program still remain. Many worry that this is just a gateway for corner cutting. Perhaps it might cause people to not use as much light as safety would require, causing for manhole accidents or night crime.
Sick and tired of trying to find the right charger for your cell phone? Whether you're shopping for a new charger or trying to figure out which of the chargers in your desk drawer matches your phone, the industry's current lack of standards could make you just a little bit crazy - especially when you're staring at a blinking battery level display and you're expecting a very important call.
Thankfully, there's good news - if you can wait a few years. Today, GSMA (the mobile phone trade association) announced an agreement between virtually all of the world's major cell phone makers to stop the insanity and adopt a common charging connector standard: Micro-USB. The announcement, appropriately enough, was made at the 2009 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, CNet's 3GSM World blog reports.
To find out who's teaming up, who's snubbing the new standard, and how soon you can expect to see the standard adopted, join us after the jump.
According to a report recently published by the FBI, the most stolen gadgets here in the US are laptops, followed closely by cell phones and their smartphone counterparts. And the report is quick to note that the theft numbers of these items is continuing to rise.
Back in 2008 there were 109,000 stolen laptops, and only 18 percent of those made it back to their owners. During the same year nearly 80,000 cell phones were given the five-finger discount, which is an increase of 33 percent from 2006.
TVs are a hot item on the list as well, with 53,000 of them stolen in 2008. Many of these were LCD TVs, which are apparently much easier to steal thanks to their smaller profile. This number is a 130 percent increase from 2006.
Let this be extra incentive to you, folks! Keep your gadgets safe at all times, don’t let them talk to strangers and hope that if they are taken, that you’re in the lucky fraction that get theirs back. We’d certainly want you to be.
Rumors that Dell would release a smartphone have been swirling for some time, and the OEM system builder did little to dispel that notion last summer when it said "we're not ready to publicly disclose our plans there...we're kind of working on that."
According to AlleyInsider.com, who claims to be receiving tips from someone "close to Dell," the OEM will offiically enter the smartphone market on September 9, 2009. The tipster says the new gadget is being called the MePhone, at least internally, and that the focus is being put on "customization." If the rumor turns out to be true, then it would appear Dell feels confident it can compete with Apple's iPhone.
Other details remain a mystery, including what software platform Dell would use, though Wired.com argues that when Dell enters the smartphone market, it will likely use the Windows Mobile platform due to the company's strong relationship with Microsft.
Google's open-source Android platform may not have revolutionized the mobile industry just yet, but it has spurred some interesting comments among top level execs. Two weeks ago, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that the current iteration of Android isn't "good enough to put the Sprint brand name on it," and taking it a step further, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer says he sees the move as being finanically unsound for Google.
"They can hire smart guys, hire a lot of people, blah dee blah dee blah, but you know they start out way behind, in a certain sense," Ballmer said while speaking at Telstra's annual investment day.
Ballmer went on to say that he doesn't understand Google's strategy, criticizing a product launch launch "that has no revenue model." But the potshots didn't end there. Ballmer further indicated that "Google doesn't exactly bubble to the top of the list of competitors we've got going in mobile." Oh snap!
Is Ballmer underestimating the potential of Google's Android platform? Hit the jump and give us your thoughts.
Good news for anyone who doesn’t want to talk on their cellphone in the car, but lacks the actual resolve to not pick up the phone while driving: Canadian software company Aegis Mobile has announced new software that will hold your calls for you while you drive.
The software, called DriveAssistT, will be able to detect when a cell phone is moving at automobile speeds and block incoming calls. Callers are redirected to a message saying that the person being called is driving, and can opt to leave a voice mail if it’s an emergency. Whether car passengers using the software will be able to recieve calls isn't known. Some states have laws requiring drivers to use a hands-free set in the car, but studies have shown that the greatest risk comes from the very act of talking, not from holding the phone, lending credence to the idea behind DriveAssistT.
The software is launching in partnership with auto insurance provider Nationwide. The insurance company plans to offer a discount of 3 to 10 percent for drivers who use DriveAssistT.
Would you use DriveAssistT if it were offered on your phone? Tell us after the jump.
Phew, that was a close one! T-Mobile could have found itself on the receiving end of another angry online mob. We've seen a rash of them as of late, such as the public outcry in defense of Daniel_K and his modded Creative Drivers, and, more recently, the Amazonian backlash towards EA for saddling Spore with draconian SecuROM DRM. T-Mobile could have been next, had it decided to stick with its guns and impose a one gigabyte cap on its upcoming G1 phone. Now T-Mobile is saying that the bandwidth limit has been removed, at least until it reviews its plans and comes up with a new one.
"We removed the 1GB soft limit from our policy statement, and we are confident that T-Mobile G1 customers will enjoy the high speed of data access over our 3G network," T-Mobile wrote in a statement. "The specific terms for our new data plans are still being reviewed and once they are final we will be certain to share this broadly with current customers and potential new customers."
Good thing too, because the limit would have affected customers who plan to use Android features, and the last thing T-Mobile and the new Android platform needs is bad press if it is to wage war with Apple and the iPhone regime.
We're still a month away from seeing the first mobile phone running Google's Android mobile platform hit the retail sector, but while ordinary folk have to wait patiently, there exists a handful of Google and maybe T-Mobile employees plugging away on the new phone. And it's from spotting one of these pre-release units in the wild that VentureBeat reports that Amazon will have a mobile store in place by the time Android ships.
Speculation suggests that the Amazon music store on Android will most likely be a mobile version of its existing AmzonMP3 online digital music store. Such a move would certainly heat up the competitive juices between T-Mobile's HTC Android phone and Apple's iPhone, and perhaps help Amazon grab some of the marketshare controlled by iTunes.
The Cleveland Clinic has bad news for amorous males who tote their cell phones in their pants pocket. According to the Clinic's research, mobile phones left on talk mode can reduce the quality of sperm.
"We believe that these devices are used because we consider them very safe, but it could cause harmful effects due to the proximity of the phones and the exposure that they are causing ot the gonads," says lead researcher Ashok Agarwal.
Agarwal and his team studied semen samples from 32 men with each person's sperm placed in small conical tubes, and then separated them into two groups. One group was kept clear of any cell phone emissions, while the other group sat 2.5 centimeters away from an 850MHz cell phone in talk mode, The researchers did this to simulate active cell phones kept in pants pockets while talking on headsets.
"On average, there was an 85 percent increase in the amount of free radicals for all the subjects in the study," noted Agarwal. "Free radicals have been linked to a variety of diseases in humans including cancer."
But don't panic just yet. By Agarwal's own admission, the small sample size can't be viewed as conclusive, nor does it take into account layers of skin, bone, and tissue that might protect precious sperm.
Even still, how long do you give cell phone manufacturers until they start marketing new models as being semen safe?
It is well known that T-Mobile will be launching the maiden Android-based phone, which in all likelihood would be the HTC Dream. Now, Reuters is reporting that the launch of the first Android device could be just a few weeks away. September 23rd might witness an official announcement from T-Mobile and Google – members of the Open Handset Alliance, according to the report, which is based on intel gained from two anonymous persons. After the launch of Android, Cell phone users will be spoilt for choice as far as mobile platforms are concerned.