Posted tagged ‘Mobile Technology’

Nortel Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

January 14, 2009

Nortel Networks filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada and the U.S. on Wednesday, the first major technology company to file for protection during the global downturn.

From the Associated Press:

North America’s biggest maker of telecommunications equipment has been dealing with a sharp drop in orders from phone company clients. It filed for court protection in Delaware on Wednesday, a day before the firm is due to repay a $107 million interest debt on bonds.

Creditor protection would give the company more opportunities to explore restructuring options or sell off some of its assets.

The Toronto-based company said in a release that it had been in the process of a turnaround since late 2005 but added that “the global financial crisis and recession have compounded Nortel’s financial challenges and directly impacted its ability to complete this transformation.”

The company said it is taking this action now with a $2.4 billion Canadian ($2 billion) cash position.

“Nortel must be put on a sound financial footing once and for all,” Nortel President and Chief Executive Mike Zafirovski said in the statement.

The company has been attempting to recover for years from an accounting crisis that affected results and caused shareholder lawsuits, regulatory investigations and the firing of key executives, including CEO Frank Dunn.

Texting While Driving Ban Becomes California Law

January 2, 2009

A prohibition on engaging in any text-based communication while driving went into effect yesterday here in California. The law carries a first-offense fine of $20, and a $50 fine each time thereafter. Drivers in the state must already use hands-free devices while talking on cell phones.

I guess I’ll have to stop this. It’s my #1 bad habit!

From the Associated Press:

While driving on the highways of the golden state, it is now against the law for motorists use text messaging.

The new rule, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2008, bans writing, sending, or reading a text-based communication while driving in California, according to the department of motor vehicle’s Web site.

The law applies to wireless phones, or other communication devices, used for text-based communication. The ban includes, and is not limited to: text messages, instant messages, or e-mail, according to the vehicle department.

“Texters” who need a fix should pull off the road to a safe location before engaging in the popular form of communication, because the violating the law carries a $20 fine for a first offense and $50 for each time after that. Repeat offenders could face triple the fine amount, because of penalty assessments, the DMV said.

The state already requires adult drivers to use handsfree devices for cell phones, and bares 16- and 17-year-olds from using any device to talk or text while driving.

The no-text measure’s author, Sen. Joe Simitian of Palo Alto, told the Associated Press California should do more to prevent driving distractions.

Text Message Guides Surgeon to Amputate Arm

December 5, 2008

A British doctor has saved the life of a boy in the Congo by performing an amputation using mobile text message instructions from a colleague located in the UK.

From CNN:

David Nott texted his surgical colleague Meirion Thomas, who is one of only a handful of UK surgeons familiar with the difficult procedure of removing the collar bone and shoulder blade.

David Nott realized that teenager J, whose arms had been ripped off and who was now gangrenous, had only a few days to live.

“I knew that the only way to save this boy’s life was to do a forequarter amputation, and I knew that Professor Meirion Thomas was really the expert,” Nott said.

Nott, a vascular surgeon at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, who volunteers one month a year with humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders, had never performed such an operation.

Thomas replied almost immediately with 10 steps Nott should follow to carry out the procedure and then signed off with “Easy! Good luck.”

David Nott followed his colleague’s instructions step by step: “I felt I had like my guardian angel on my left shoulder showing me what to do. I just got on with it, and everything he told me, I just did”.

Nott and his team embarked on the three-hour operation with just one pint of donated blood.

From InformationWeek:

Text messages are being credited in helping save the life of a 16-year-old in the Democratic Republic of Congo when a surgeon performed an amputation using surgical instructions sent to him.A British surgeon amputated a teenage patient’s left arm using instructions that a colleague sent via text messages, according to the U.K. Daily Mail. The teen initially received an amputation just below his shoulder after a hippopotamus bit him. The boy, identified only as J, had suffered from a severe infection after the partial amputation and had just a few days to live, the doctor told the newspaper.

Dr. David Nott said he did not know how to amputate the infected part, and he asked his colleague Meirion Thomas for instructions via phone messages. Nott was unable to reach Thomas by phone or e-mail, but Thomas did respond to a text while away on vacation. Thomas sent two replies containing instructions and encouragement.

Thomas called the procedure “easy” and wished Nott luck, but Nott told the Daily Mail that he believed the teen stood an 80% chance of dying.

Nott said that the potential for complications was “enormous.” With a pint of blood, a scalpel, forceps, and minimal anesthetic, Nott removed the entire shoulder, including the scapula. Nott performed the surgery in October while working for the French group Doctors Without Borders. He relayed the story during an interview with the Daily Mail this week. The experience was one of many horrors Nott recalled during his time in Congo, which is at war.

Android’s Five Most Annoying Flaws

September 25, 2008

If you are interested in Google’s Android, and an opinion on the platform, you’ll have to check out Gizmodo for this article on the worst aspects of T-Mobile’s G1.

Gizmodo

Credit: Gizmodo

From the article:

While I was more impressed by the T-Mobile G1 than I thought I’d be, the list of catches for Android and the phone are quickly piling up—some that might very well be dealbreakers. Topping the list, it’s tightly integrated with your Google account—so tightly tha t you can only use one Google account with the phone. If you want to switch to another account, you have to do a whole factory reset. Update: Added a new, deeply aggravating bonus flaw, plus in light of new info, one isn’t as bad as it seemed.

A Googler told us the workaround they’ve been employing is using a separate IMAP mail app for their secondary Gmail accounts, but that still screws you if you’ve got calendars on multiple Google accounts—like if you’ve got a hosted Google Apps account for your site and a personal one, you’ve gotta pick one or the other. This is a technical limitation of Android 1.0, so it should be fixed in the future, but for now, as someone with a work account and a personal one, it definitely stings.

Contacts and Syncing: As mentioned, there is no desktop syncing app. It’s all about the cloud—your Google contacts and cal are considered the masters. So if it’s all on your desktop or god forbird, MobileMe, you’ve gotta move it over to your Google account. At launch, however it’ll be able to do remote syncing, so if you make a change or download an app on your desktop, your device will automatically sync up. Still, it’ll be open for developers to fill this market, as well as the lack of Exchange support. Whether this is a plus or minus might depend on how you feel about Google being the masterkeeper of your contacts and info.

Video: There’s no video playback at all right now, except for YouTube. The expectation is that developers will create video playback apps and the requisite support. That’s one of those big holes we worried Google would leave to developers to fill. Same story for video recording. Devs can add it in, though we’ve heard the video quality will look much better after Qualcomm’s video accelerator is released.

Hardware Inadequacies: No multitouch on the G1 and there never will be, since the panel itself doesn’t support it. However, Googlers said they expected a full touchscreen device with multitouch in the future. The lack of a headphone jack, though kinda common for HTC devices, is pretty galling, especially for a consumer device. Mini-USB adapters are annoying as hell.

Miscellaneous: You’ve gotta have an SD card for any kind of music or video playback, once the latter arrives—there’s no internal storage for media playback. It’s one of two problems we ran into with Amazon’s MP3 store, the other being that you can only down tracks over-the-air with Wi-Fi. We’d like some over-3G action.

For all of the choices when it comes to navigation, the fact that you have to use the QWERTY keyboard for all text entry can be annoying, since it involves a lot of flipping the phone around to type if you’re navigating vertically. Some onscreen action would be nice, but once again, they’re leaving that to developers.

Finally, it’s locked to T-Mobile. A Googler lamented that as well since it goes against the openness of Android, but said that in the long run, that won’t matter, since there will be a ton of devices. But like everything else, in the meantime, developers can step in and release an unlock app. On the Android market, even. So Android’s strengths—and weaknesses—really are as much in developers’ hands as they are Google, hardware makers and carriers’.

Update: T-Mobile has confirmed they will unlock it for you after your account has been active for 90 days, so this isn’t as much of an issue—not that it was huge initially, since devs can and probably will put unlocking apps in the Android Market.

Bonus T-Mobile obnoxious flaw: If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the markets sprinkled with 3G, after you’ve used 1GB of data, T-Mobile will slow you down to 50Kbps for the rest of the month. That’s slower than EDGE, which is theoretically capable of 384Kbps, though in real world it’s closer to 100Kbps.

I realize that’s no doubt due in part to the relative immaturity of T-Mobile’s 3G network, but as many times as I had to hear the words “mobile internet” and “future” today in reference to this phone, that’s absolutely ludicrous. Especially when you consider that you’re paying $25 for 3G data—the iPhone’s $30 plan is totally unlimited, and the speed only drops when AT&T’s network is sucking a fat one. The implications of this will make themselves more apparent over time as we see more apps populate the Android market and get a better idea of what they’re capable of, but it’s definitely looking like a large-to-critical pain point, besides just being annoying as balls.

FCC Approves First Google Android Phone

August 19, 2008

It looks like it’s time to finally put the rumors to bed and accept that Google Android is almost here. The HTC Dream, billed as the first device to come out of Google Android and the Open Handset Alliance, has been approved by the FCC.

Android

Android

From Yahoo! Tech:

Also known as the G1 and widely expected to be first Android-powered phone, the HTC Dream just won the FCC’s nod of approval, and it appears primed and ready to work on T-Mobile’s 3G network. Engadget Mobile got its hands on the FCC documentation for the touchscreen Dream (or the G1, depending on who you talk to), which reveals a few schematics and additional details, including word that the phone will boast Wi-Fi connectivity, a “jogball” (which looks similar to the trackball on the latest BlackBerry and Sidekick handsets), and support for T-Mobile’s 1700-band WCDMA/3G network.

The FCC documents don’t mention anything about Android, Google’s much-anticipated mobile platform, but the prevailing wisdom is that the Dream will, indeed, be the first Android-powered phone in the U.S., and could be available for pre-orders as early as next month.

Engadget

Credit: Engadget

From Wired:

The Federal Communications Commission has approved the first Android-based phone — but that may not be enough to get the phone on the market by the holidays, observers say.

Last week, bloggers were speculating that T-Mobile could introduce the phone, which is being built by Taiwanese manufacturer HTC, as early as Sept. 17, while the FCC documents suggest a release date closer to Nov. 10. Either way, the introduction would be a significant milestone for the Google-backed Android project, which aims to create an open-source operating system for phones but has not yet produced a commercial product.

But can Google, HTC and T-Mobile really deliver a blockbuster product by then?

Several industry watchers contacted by Wired.com think it is going to be a challenge.

The worst thing Google can do is to rush a “half-baked product,” says Jack Gold, an analyst with J. Gold Associates.

And even Google has recently admitted that the operating system is not ready for prime time.

At the LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco earlier this month, Eric Chu, Google’s mobile platform program manager, said the core operating system was only about 80 percent complete.

That means Google has just days to complete the OS, release a new software developer kit, and get it into the hands of phone manufacturers, especially if it wants to have the phone out in the market in the next two months, says Gold.

From AHN:

T-Mobile Monday confirmed it will introduce a cell phone based on Google’s Android software. The carrier, however, did not comment on reports the handset could appear as soon as October.

T-Mobile would become the first U.S. carrier with announced plans to offer a cell phone using the free software from Google.

This is obviously a very exciting time to be in the mobile industry and a mobile consumer. The question now is if Google can actually live up to the hype, and deliver Android to the consumer. Thoughts?

Google Android Coming to T-Mobile

August 15, 2008

Rumors are heating up once again today and it appears that Android is finally upon us. According to various sources, T-Mobile will be the first carrier of the Android Smartphone. The platform is expected to challenge Apple’s iPhone as well as other smartphones.

From the New York Times:

T-Mobile will be the first carrier to offer a mobile phone powered by Google’s Android software, according to people briefed on the company’s plans. The phone will be made by HTC, one of the largest makers of mobile phones in the world, and is expected to go on sale in the United States before Christmas, perhaps as early as October.

The high-end phone is expected to match many of the capabilities of Apple’s iPhone and other so-called smartphones that run software from Palm, Research in Motion, Microsoft and Nokia to access the Internet and perform computerlike functions.

The HTC phone, which many gadget sites are calling the “dream,” will have a touch screen, like the iPhone. But the screen also slides out to expose a full five-row keyboard. A video of the phone has been posted recently on YouTube. A person who has seen the HTC device said it matched the one in the video.

The phone’s release date depends on how soon the Federal Communications Commission certifies that the Google software and the HTC phone meet network standards. Executives at all three companies are hoping to announce the phone in September because they would benefit from holiday season sales. The people briefed on the discussions declined to be named because they were not authorized to discuss the project.

Earlier this week, HTC denied a report claiming it will be forced to delay its Android handset. Late last year, Google introduced its highly anticipated Android software for mobile devices, in a move it promised could help the mobile phone industry make the Internet work as easily on phones as it already does on computers.

I still believe that seeing is believing and we will have to wait until we actually see Android in people’s hands before we can call it “real”. Is anyone out there excited about Android? Will it be a success? Will it have flaws? Thoughts?