cell phone

Best Handset For Freedom?

Father Thomas Dowd writes “The pictures we are seeing of Iran are being captured on cell phones and the text is being twittered over SMS. Still, the government has some control over the networks, and we are all familiar with fears of wiretap technologies to spy on users. If the cell phone is the new tool of freedom, what would the best ‘freedom handset’ contain? I’m thinking of a device with an open OS, where each phone could be a router for encrypted messages passed through Bluetooth/WiFi/whatever, thereby totally bypassing physical infrastructures when necessary. Of course, some sort of plausible deniability encryption a la Truecrypt would also be good, in case the secret police catch you with your phone. What else might we need?”

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Sunday, June 21st, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Best Handset For Freedom?

Wireless power: Nokia phone recharges without wires

It harvests ambient radio waves from the air, and turns that energy into usable power. Enough, at least, to keep a cell phone from running out of juice.

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Saturday, June 20th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Wireless power: Nokia phone recharges without wires

FCC To Probe Exclusive Mobile Deals

On Tuesday, we discussed news that four US Senators would be looking into the exclusivity deals between carriers and cell phone makers. Apparently, they didn’t like what they heard. Reader Ian Lamont writes with an update: “The Federal Communications Commission is planning on launching an investigation into exclusive handset deals between mobile carriers and handset makers. In a speech on Thursday, acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps said the agency ‘should determine whether some of these arrangements adversely restrict consumer choice or harm the development of innovative devices, and it should take appropriate action if it finds harm.’ It’s not hard to imagine who might be targeted — at a separate Senate Committee on Commerce hearing on Thursday, much of the discussion centered on AT&T’s exclusive deal to carry the iPhone. AT&T claimed ‘consumers benefit from exclusive deals in three ways: innovation, lower cost and more choice,’ but carriers and senators from states with large rural populations disagreed, saying that their customers had no choice when it came to the iPhone — it’s not available because AT&Ts network doesn’t reach these areas. One panelist also brought up the Carterfone precedent (PDF), which concerned an ‘electrical acoustic coupling device’ that a man named Tom Carter developed in the 1950s to let field workers make phone calls using a radio transceiver connected to AT&T’s phone network. AT&T, which was then a monopoly, claimed no foreign devices could be connected to its network, but lost when it challenged the Carterfone in court. The result spurred innovation such as the fax machine.”

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Friday, June 19th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on FCC To Probe Exclusive Mobile Deals

FCC To Probe Exclusive Mobile Deals

On Tuesday, we discussed news that four US Senators would be looking into the exclusivity deals between carriers and cell phone makers. Apparently, they didn’t like what they heard. Reader Ian Lamont writes with an update: “The Federal Communications Commission is planning on launching an investigation into exclusive handset deals between mobile carriers and handset makers. In a speech on Thursday, acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps said the agency ‘should determine whether some of these arrangements adversely restrict consumer choice or harm the development of innovative devices, and it should take appropriate action if it finds harm.’ It’s not hard to imagine who might be targeted — at a separate Senate Committee on Commerce hearing on Thursday, much of the discussion centered on AT&T’s exclusive deal to carry the iPhone. AT&T claimed ‘consumers benefit from exclusive deals in three ways: innovation, lower cost and more choice,’ but carriers and senators from states with large rural populations disagreed, saying that their customers had no choice when it came to the iPhone — it’s not available because AT&Ts network doesn’t reach these areas. One panelist also brought up the Carterfone precedent (PDF), which concerned an ‘electrical acoustic coupling device’ that a man named Tom Carter developed in the 1950s to let field workers make phone calls using a radio transceiver connected to AT&T’s phone network. AT&T, which was then a monopoly, claimed no foreign devices could be connected to its network, but lost when it challenged the Carterfone in court. The result spurred innovation such as the fax machine.”

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Friday, June 19th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on FCC To Probe Exclusive Mobile Deals

Nokia Powering Up Self-Charging Cell Phone

While Palm has created a wireless charger for the Pre, Nokia Research Labs is working on the technology for a self-charging cell phone that uses ambient radio waves.

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Friday, June 19th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Nokia Powering Up Self-Charging Cell Phone

IRS Now Wants To Repeal Cell Phone Tax

narramissic writes “Last week the IRS caused an uproar when it requested public comments on ways to clarify a decades-old law, seldom enforced, that would tax personal usage of business cell phones. But IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said that the request for comments did not mean that the largely ignored rule would now be enforced. ‘Some have incorrectly implied that the IRS is “cracking down” on employee use of employer-provided cell phones,’ Shulman wrote. ‘To the contrary, the IRS is attempting to simplify the rules and eliminate uncertainty for businesses and individuals.’ And in fact, the IRS is now recommending that the law be repealed, saying that ‘the passage of time, advances in technology, and the nature of communication in the modern workplace have rendered this law obsolete.'”

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Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on IRS Now Wants To Repeal Cell Phone Tax

IRS Now Wants To Repeal Cell Phone Tax

narramissic writes “Last week the IRS caused an uproar when it requested public comments on ways to clarify a decades-old law, seldom enforced, that would tax personal usage of business cell phones. But IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said that the request for comments did not mean that the largely ignored rule would now be enforced. ‘Some have incorrectly implied that the IRS is “cracking down” on employee use of employer-provided cell phones,’ Shulman wrote. ‘To the contrary, the IRS is attempting to simplify the rules and eliminate uncertainty for businesses and individuals.’ And in fact, the IRS is now recommending that the law be repealed, saying that ‘the passage of time, advances in technology, and the nature of communication in the modern workplace have rendered this law obsolete.'”

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Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on IRS Now Wants To Repeal Cell Phone Tax

Here Come the Mobile Payment Wars

Some would say our cell phone bills are high enough already. But two emerging start-ups are hoping to make mobile devices a hub for one of the hottest trends on the Web: micropayments.

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Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Here Come the Mobile Payment Wars

Microsoft: No iPhone reimbursements for workers

As part of its wave of cost cuts, the software maker will only reimburse workers for Windows Mobile cell phones.

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Monday, June 15th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Microsoft: No iPhone reimbursements for workers

Apple Patent To Safeguard 911 Cellphone Calls

MojoKid writes “Engineers from Apple have applied for a patent on an ’emergency’ mode for cell phones that would squeeze every last drop of energy out of the batteries. The phone would recognize emergency calls when the user dialed an emergency number, such as 911 in the United States. But another number could also be stored as an ’emergency number’ on the phone (a spouse, child, or parent, for example) or the user could manually put the phone in emergency mode. The process would do a variety of things. It would disable ‘non-essential hardware components’ and applications on the phone, reduce power to the screen and potentially reduce the phone’s processor speed. It also would make it harder to disconnect the call and enable ’emergency phrase buttons’ on the phone.”

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Saturday, June 13th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Apple Patent To Safeguard 911 Cellphone Calls