July 05, 2011

Canadian Tire Tests Personalized Mobile Shopping, Interactive Kiosks

Canadian Tire, the 1,200-store general merchandise retailer, is testing both a personalized location-based mobile shopping application and an interactive product locator kiosk capable of reading QR codes and sending instant promotions to shoppers' smartphones.

Canadian Tire Tests Personalized Mobile Shopping, Interactive Kiosks | Retail News | RIS News: Business/Technology Insights for Retail, Supermarket Executives

The personal mobile shopping app delivers location-specific, relevant offers and information to members that opt in to the service from Bee Media. It is being tested at a Canadian Tire store located at Bay and Dundas Streets in Toronto.

"Bee Media is like having an extra staff member helping consumers while they are shopping," said Mark Barsanti, dealer for Canadian Tire at Bay and Dundas. "We are excited to offer our customers such an innovative service."

The digital product locator kiosk provides mapping tools that direct customers to products sold in the large-footprint Meadowvale Canadian Tire store, located in the Toronto metropolitan area. In addition, shoppers can digitally search the retailer's advertising flyer, search and locate products, scan QR codes and receive instant promotions sent to their smartphones.

The kiosk, from Jibestream Interactive Media, features a 42-inch touchscreen that can display video ads displayed in real time that are based on product search parameters. Accompanying software also provides full tracking and reporting for activity and trends.

"Canadian Tires are very large stores, with a lot of great stuff, and we're showing here how this technology lets shoppers easily, quickly find what they need, while also layering in technologies like mobile apps," said Chris Wiegand, COO of Jibestream in a statement. "Smartphone integration is a big part of future shopping, and we've already been applying that with several retail clients," he added.

Canadian Tire Tests Personalized Mobile Shopping, Interactive Kiosks | Retail News | RIS News: Business/Technology Insights for Retail, Supermarket Executives

Posted by keefner at 07:39 AM

June 14, 2011

Bling Nation's Business Model Doesn't Quite Stick

Bling Nation, the mobile payments and loyalty company, has shut down its service in a move it insists is only temporary.

Bling Nation s Business Model Doesn t Quite Stick - American Banker Article


Based in Palo Alto, Calif., and known for its colorful cellphone payment stickers, Bling says its service interruption is part of a bid to stay competitive by rolling out a revamped product later this year.

"We found it was easier to kind of pause and fix [our business model] than to try to tweak and market," said Matthew Murphy, a Bling Nation general manager who declined to discuss details of the company's plans.

Bling Nation launched its payments service with community banks in 2009 as a competitor to the dominant networks run by Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc.

Bling Nation appeared to have chalked up early successes by focusing on community banks and merchants in their local regions, which experts say are largely underserved by the major card brands. The e-payment upstart's big misstep involved launching the loyalty program FanConnect last fall and requiring that banks and merchants on its network become part of it, Bling partners say.

"It was either you're on or you're off, and a lot of our merchants said, 'Okay, we're off,' " said Brad Rose, the vice president of information technology security at State Bank in La Junta, Colo. The bank, which had been Bling Nation's earliest bank partner, stopped issuing its stickers in March.

Bling Nation later made FanConnect optional, but Rose said by that time many of its merchants had dropped the service.

The Fortunate Cup Coffee Cafe in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., is a merchant that was turned off by FanConnect.

"They wanted to start charging for a loyalty type program [and] at that point it wasn't feasible to use them," said Doreen Kamen, Fortunate Cup's owner. "I didn't need to pay them … for that because I already had my own loyalty program."

Aaron McPherson, a practice director at IDC Financial Insights in Framingham, Mass., said he gives Bling Nation credit for focusing its sales efforts on community banks but that he was also skeptical of its long-term prospects from the outset. Bling Nation's strategy "seemed like exactly the sort of thing that would never work," McPherson said.

The crux of Bling Nation's strategy was to win merchant acceptance by charging lower fees than traditional debit and credit networks. It partnered with banks, which issued contactless stickers to customers. Bank customers then attached the stickers to their phones or other mobile devices and tapped them against a dedicated retail terminal to make a payment.

Consumers were encouraged to adopt the technology by the prospect of earning discounts as they drew funds directly from their checking accounts.

Bling Nation's FanConnect service was added to allow consumers to automatically post Facebook messages about their Bling Nation purchases that included merchant coupons others could obtain by clicking on their posts.

At its peak, Bling Nation had between 15 and 20 banks issuing stickers and about 1,000 merchants nationwide using its service, Murphy said. It closed down the system about one month ago, and much of Bling Nation's sales team has left the company, its bank partners say.

Executives at several banks said that they liked Bling Nation's business strategy but its service ultimately suffered from a lack of merchant adoption and consumers' unwillingness to switch from bank-issued debit cards. Bankers were also turned off by what some perceived as Bling Nation's turn away from a hyperlocal strategy by partnering with eBay Inc.'s PayPal subsidiary and rolling out FanConnect.

"It could have been … a real competitor to the major card networks," said Rule Loving, the assistant vice president of retail services at the $400 million-asset StonehamBank in Massachusetts.

About 20 merchants in StonehamBank's market accepted Bling payments, and the bank issued about 500 Bling tags to customers.

Read rest of article

Posted by staff at 09:53 AM

March 23, 2011

50 NYC Bars Showcase New Digital Marketing Platform

Each of the 50 Bacardi Limon branded kiosks features a 19-inch digital touch screen monitor that entertains customers with brand specific content including cocktail recipes, trivia games, Mad Libs, and bar promotions, as they recharge their mobile phones.

50 NYC Bars Showcase New Digital Marketing Platform | Business Wire

Bacardi Limon goCharge Branded Kiosks Charge Mobile Devices For On the Go New Yorkers

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new branded kiosk that re-charges all mobile devices was unveiled today in more than 50 NYC bars as part of a marketing program between Hercules Networks and Bacardi Limon.

“Tailored to address today’s mobile lifestyle, our new kiosks offer companies a new and innovative platform to market to consumers.”
Each of the 50 Bacardi Limon branded kiosks features a 19-inch digital touch screen monitor that entertains customers with brand specific content including cocktail recipes, trivia games, Mad Libs, and bar promotions, as they recharge their mobile phones. The kiosks offer 16 separate charging tips, and are designed to simultaneously charge multiple devices, which includes nearly all models of cell phones, smartphones, mp3s and tablets.

“We are very excited to launch our new branded kiosks and are thrilled to be doing so in partnership with Bacardi Limon,” commented Paul King, founder and President of Hercules Networks, the parent company of goCharge. “Tailored to address today’s mobile lifestyle, our new kiosks offer companies a new and innovative platform to market to consumers.”

goCharge plans to roll-out additional branded mobile device charging kiosks in collaboration with appropriate brands in bars, casinos, sports stadiums, and other venues in cities around the world. In addition to the 50 bars in New York City, goCharge kiosks are currently available in Chicago, Atlantic City, and Canada.

About Hercules Networks

Hercules Networks is the leading provider of Mobile Device Charging Kiosks, branded goCharge. The Company offers kiosks in floor and tabletop models, complete with up to 16 custom configured charging tips, a patent-pending charging technology which provides the fastest charging speeds available, and a 19” LCD Touchscreen, illuminated billboard, and wrapping capability for sponsorship and branding. The kiosks can be fitted with a credit card reader or bill collector, or can be set for free charging.

goCharge kiosks have been located in bars, malls, sports arenas, university student unions, hospital waiting rooms, and other venues with a natural 10 minute+ dwell time. goCharge Kiosks are also leased for Conferences and Conventions, and are used as a sponsorship/branding vehicle at Events across the country.

The Company also is completing development of an attractive and compact charging-only unit for venues where a screen is not appropriate.

Established in 2008, Hercules Networks is headquartered in New York City, with offices and warehouses in Miami, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Contacts

Berns Communications Group
Stacy Berns / Melissa Jaffin, 212-994-4660
mjaffin@bcg-pr.com


50 NYC Bars Showcase New Digital Marketing Platform | Business Wire

Posted by keefner at 03:34 PM

January 05, 2011

Wireless Mobile - Aruba Announces Wi-Fi Solution For In-Store Mobile Marketing

Aruba Networks (NASDAQ:ARUN) today announced a new Wi-Fi Solution for in-store mobile marketing, developed in partnership with Digby and Nearbuy Systems, that enables retailers to provide highly-personalized and differentiated customer interactions.

TradersHuddle.com - Aruba Announces Wi-Fi Solution for In-Store Mobile Marketing | Press Releases

The rapid spread of smartphone applications, combined with increasingly powerful and intelligent access networks, enables retailers to connect customers with promotions to increase revenue and enhance customers' in-store experience.

Nielsen Research(1) projects that fifty percent of the US population will own a smartphone by the end of 2011, with two thirds(2) of them researching products and prices online while in stores. Innovative retailers are racing to create compelling in-store shopping experiences to establish and maintain customer loyalty. 3G networks and legacy 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi networks, designed and deployed for simple inventory management applications, lack the performance and intelligence needed to enable these personalized customer experiences. The combination of 802.11n (300Mbps) Wi-Fi performance with advanced wireless network security and management enables retailers to connect with their customers in new and compelling ways.

In a December 2010 survey of retail IT departments conducted by Aruba, 78 percent of respondents said they had in-store Wi-Fi, but 53 percent noted that its primary use is currently "Inventory Control". "Wireless point-of-sale (PoS) Enablement" and "Associate Productivity (voice)" were listed as the second and third most common current uses for in-store Wi-Fi. This will likely shift toward more customer-experience focused applications, as demonstrated by the 38 percent who list "Customer Wi-Fi Access" and the 29 percent who name "Self-Shopping" as targets for deployment in the next two years. Thirty-six percent of survey respondents represented organizations with more than 1,000 stores, while 19 percent have 50 or fewer stores.

The Aruba Wi-Fi solution for in-store mobile marketing consists of:

Secure and Scalable In-Store Wi-Fi
Aruba’s 802.11n Wi-Fi solutions include an ICSA-certified stateful firewall to protect retail networks from public access, and adaptive coverage management to ensure uninterrupted operation even when hundreds of customers connect at the same time in the same store. Per user firewall policy enforcement allows quality of service (QoS), bandwidth limits, and time-of-day and location restrictions based on the relationship between the customer and the retailer.

In-store Customer Wi-Fi Engagement
Aruba's Amigopod software enables retailers to securely register customers and reliably deliver personalized access and targeted messages including special merchandise offers and advertisements to them.

Wi-Fi Optimized Smartphone Applications
Collaboration between Aruba and its partner and mobile commerce leader Digby enables retailers to offer a rich and personalized shopping experience to its customers with smartphone applications. Performance and location intelligence available through Aruba’s Wi-Fi improve application responsiveness and increase the relevance of offers made to customers inside the store.

Presence and Location Intelligence
Aruba’s 802.11n Wi-Fi provides real-time presence information to enable store-level message targeting. Aruba's partnership with Nearbuy Systems allows retailers to get granular, product and area level message targeting as well as in-store navigation capabilities.

“Retailers' success depends on their ability to provide the best possible in-store shopping experience to their best customers, who are increasingly using smartphones in-store for product and price comparison," said Andrew Borg, senior research analyst for Wireless & Mobility at the Aberdeen Group. "With their partners Digby and Nearbuy, Aruba is the first WLAN vendor to put together a compelling Wi-Fi solution that enables retailers to deliver a highly personalized and differentiated mobile shopping experience.”

“Legacy retail Wi-Fi networks are designed for simple mobile worker applications,” said Manish Rai, director of retail marketing at Aruba Networks. "The explosion of smartphones and tablets has made customer Wi-Fi access table stakes for retail businesses. Aruba’s in-store Wi-Fi solution enables retail customers to connect more directly and more intimately with their customers."

For additional information, please read On-Premises Mobile Retail: Empowering Deeper Customer Engagement, a new report by Aberdeen, available as a free download from the Aruba web site: http://www.arubanetworks.com/pdf/solutions/AB_AberdeenGroup-On-Premises-Mobile-Retail.pdf. Detailed information on Aruba retail solutions is available on the Aruba web site: http://www.arubanetworks.com/instoremobile.

Please visit us at NRF Retail's BIG Show booth #2437 to see personalized, location-aware instant in-store mobile marketing demo over Aruba Wi-Fi network.

Please also register for "Mobile Retail 2011: The Impact of Smartphones, Tablets, and Wi-Fi ®" with Aberdeen's senior analyst Andrew Borg and principal analyst Sahir Anand. You may register here: http://tinyurl.com/2f2ep4y.

(1) The Nielsen Company, “US Smartphone Penetration to Be over 50 percent in 2011,” March 2010

(2) Gartner, “Mobile Consumer Shopping Preferences, 2010: U.S.,” December 2010

About Aruba Networks, Inc.

Aruba is a global leader in distributed enterprise networks. Its award-winning portfolio of campus, branch/teleworker, and mobile solutions simplify operations and secure access to all corporate applications and services - regardless of the user's device, location, or network. This dramatically improves productivity and lowers capital and operational costs.

Listed on the NASDAQ and Russell 2000® Index, Aruba is based in Sunnyvale, California, and has operations throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific regions. To learn more, visit Aruba at http://www.arubanetworks.com. For real-time news updates follow Aruba on Twitter and Facebook.

© 2010 Aruba Networks, Inc. AirWave®, Aruba Networks®, Aruba Mobility Management System®, Bluescanner, For Wireless That Works®, Mobile Edge Architecture®, People Move. Networks Must Follow®, The All-Wireless Workplace Is Now Open for Business, RFprotect®, Green Island, and The Mobile Edge Company® are trademarks of Aruba Networks, Inc. Wi-Fi® is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Aruba NetworksWilson Craig, +1-408-516-6182Director, Corporate Communicationswcraig@arubanetworks.comorBreakaway CommunicationsPatty Oien, + 1-415-358-2482poien@breakawaycom.com


TradersHuddle.com - Aruba Announces Wi-Fi Solution for In-Store Mobile Marketing | Press Releases

Posted by staff at 08:02 AM

October 18, 2010

Mobile Payment Technology - What is Visa plan?

The card giant did $4.8 trillion in transactions last year. So why are they scared of your cellphone? And why do upstarts like Bling Nation and Paypal get under their skin?

Visa's Mobile Payments Plan - Forbes.com

William Gajda earns his living helping Visa adapt to new technologies. Last month when he left his wallet in a New York taxicab he learned just how powerful those new technologies can be. He'd paid for the cab with his Visa card, so he had Visa's technicians track down the cabbie.

By then, though, the card was gone. Just as Gajda gave up hope, he found out that his billfold was safe. But it wasn't Visa's global network of data centers that helped him track it down. It was a stranger via Facebook.

That kind of change is unnerving to Visa, despite its formidable successes. Since going public two years ago the San Francisco company has been nearly everywhere investors want it to be. Its 1.8 billion cards made 66 billion retail transactions worth $4.8 trillion worldwide last year. In June Visa owned 57% of the combined U.S. credit and debit card markets, compared with 53% in 2007 says The Nilson Report; MasterCard ( MA - news - people ) had 25%. Operating revenues grew 10% to $6.9 billion in Visa's 2009 fiscal year. Net income was $2.4 billion.

A host of upstarts with Dr. Seuss names like Boku, Obopay and Zoompass don't care and think they might have Visa's number. Their idea: If we can use the world's 5.8 billion mobile phones for mail, movies and messages, why not for money, too? "I hear all the time that we're dinosaurs," says Gajda, "and that we should just make room for the new guys."


Read rest of Article -- Visa's Mobile Payments Plan - Forbes.com

Posted by staff at 09:41 AM

October 12, 2010

Mobile - MultiTouch on Android

Just last week Adobe released Air for the Android Platform, allowing Flash applications to run on Android devices (version 2.2 is required).

We’ve been checking out the pre-release, but now that it is official, we thought we’d share some demos of the GestureWorks frameworks for Flash running on Android.

Here’s a video showing two of our tutorial applications running on an HTC EVO. We start by showing them running on a desktop system with a PQ Labs overlay, then the same applications running on the phone.

GestureWorks Multitouch Flash on Android (video)Ideum

To author using Flash for Android, we installed the Android SDK (windows) and the AIR for Android extension for Flash CS5. There’s a video showing how set up your environment on gotoAndLearn.com.

Once the Android “.apk” files we’re authored, we simply had to email them or connect a phone via USB to install them. Unlike authoring for the iPhone, there is no iTunes software to deal with, you don’t need to apply for an iPhone Development Certificate, or spend $99 to join their developer community. You simply author and deploy. What a concept.

Here’s a zip file with the two Android apps, if you’d like to try them out:
GestureWorks – Android Examples (Zip file with two .apk files)

Posted by staff at 02:14 PM

September 30, 2010

Retail: Digital-savvy shoppers drive change

Feature article on self-service terminals/kiosks and smartphone/mobiles. Also points up the inroads that webservices are making against the established legacy in-house POS systems. How to deal with the new multichannel shopper.

read full article

Excerpt:

Kohl’s, the mid-price US department store, is deploying touch-screen kiosks across its more than 1,000 stores, one of a number of efforts by US retailers to bridge the gap between their physical stores and their websites.

“We think the kiosk implementation has an opportunity to lift our trend in e-commerce,” Kevin Mansell, chief executive, told investors this year, discussing what the company is calling a “significant” investment in technology.

Kohl’s machines will not only allow customers to browse its e-commerce website, but also complete transactions – so they can order items that might not be immediately available in the store, or in the size or colour they want. Holders of Kohl’s private label credit card will be automatically recognised when they swipe their card, making the transaction easier.

JCPenney, Kohl’s main rival, also has a “Find More” self-service kiosk linked to its website, which is expected to be in about 150 stores by the end of September. But it is taking a different tack, illustrating the kind of decisions retailers are now making, trying to assess the likely return on new technology investment.

Rather than deploy the kiosks to all stores, it is focusing on its 300 or so smaller shops that do not stock a full range. Tom Nealon, chief information officer, argues that customers equipped with smartphones to place orders are less likely to need to use in-store kiosks.

“We are not looking to deploy a lot of hardware at great expense, when we have such conviction that the mobile devices our consumers are carrying in are going to be wired to that capability,” he says.

The kiosk issue reflects the central problem facing CIOs in retail, as they try to determine which of the emerging technologies will eventually become as much a part of shopping as swiping a credit card.

“As part of our customer experience strategy, we are constantly having to decide where we want to invest our money and resources,” says Mr Nealon. “Because you can’t go after everything at once.”


read full article

Posted by staff at 10:18 AM

June 10, 2010

Mobile - Cloud printing solutions for Androids

Cloud printing is now available on Android-based smart phones with an application provided by GlobalPrint Systems Inc.

GlobalPrint Systems, a 5-year old venture founded to enable cloud printing in public spaces, has released an Android application which enables true cloud printing uploads to its PrintPOD network. GlobalPrint has units installed in such public space locations as convention centers, hotels, resorts and airport lounges. The company’s install base of enabled printers, nodes and kiosks can be used by consumers to walk up, login, print and go.

According to a release, users can "print to the cloud" using a number of methods, including the Android SmartPhone.

A consumer can download the free uploader from the company’s website, then use it from within any Windows based application by simply choosing File… Print… and choosing the PrintPOD. Consumers can also print from thumb drives or by sending an email to the user’s unique email address. Now, users can also use their Android smart phone to select any document on the phone’s storage, email folders, SMS text messages or photo gallery. The application is available now on the Android Market by searching for "PrintPOD."

"What is truly different about our patent-pending offering is that it is non-destination specific," Mislinski said. "Users print to the cloud, not to a specific print device. Users can find enabled locations using Google Maps (either on a web browser or with the Android application), approach a device, login, and choose their document, print and go." Unlike other products which require the advance selection of a specific printer, entering "release codes" or finding an open Wi-Fi or Bluetooth printer, the PrintPOD approach is the ultimate in ease of use.

read rest of story

Posted by staff at 10:09 AM

March 23, 2010

March 10, 2010

Mobile couponing at Target and J.C. Penney

Articles on new trials of mobile couponing by Target Stores and also J.C. Penney. Basically scanning barcode coupons (Aztec) at POS. Variant on Cellfire and what it is doing with grocers like Krogers and Safeway.

source link

By Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY
Using your cellphone during checkout at Target could soon earn you discounts.
Starting Wednesday, the giant retailer will allow customers to take advantage of special mobile-coupon offers on their handsets.

The coupon is redeemed when the bar code on the phone is scanned at checkout. Offers are good only once and expire on the dates listed. "We believe it's a competitive advantage for us," says Target.com President Steve Eastman.

Target (TGT) says it will be the first major nationwide retailer to exploit the bar-code technology in all its stores. It almost certainly won't be the last.

For example, J.C. Penney is testing similar scanner-based technology at 16 point-of-sale registers in Houston. But at the rest of its stores, checkout clerks still must manually enter alphanumeric codes tied to discount coupons, rather than using scanners.

Scanning bar codes makes the process faster and easier, says Dan Kihanya, vice president of consumer marketing at Cellfire, the mobile-coupon company working with J.C. Penney on its Houston tests. "Any time you have data entry, you have to worry about errors."

Mobile coupons, while not new, are still in their relative infancy. "It's an area ripe for growth," says ABI Research analyst Neil Strother. Not everyone clips coupons, virtually or otherwise. But most people crave a bargain when the economy is tough. And coupon technology works with more and more cellphones.

Read rest of article

Posted by staff at 11:29 AM

January 04, 2010

Mobile Couponing by Wendys and 7-Eleven

Fast food chain Wendy's International is rolling out a mobile coupon campaign, in partnership with Options Media Group Holdings, a services provider for on-demand e-mail marketing.

Source Article Wendy's Serves Up Mobile Coupons

Wendy's Serves Up Mobile Coupons
Dec 21, 2009
- Elena Malykhina

Fast food chain Wendy's International is rolling out a mobile coupon campaign, in partnership with Options Media Group Holdings, a services provider for on-demand e-mail marketing.

Restaurant patrons in the Northeast are now able to opt in for mobile coupons and ads, and in return, they get discounts at select Wendy's locations. According to Options Media's CEO Scott Frohman, the coupons are received via text messaging and can be redeemed on mobile devices when presented to cashiers.

"We found from past campaigns that text messaging-based incentives work very well. Consumers tend to look at text messages quicker than e-mail, so it's an instant result for [the brand]," said Frohman. "And it's something that's very beneficial to the consumer."

Frohman said Options Media has a similar partnership with Domino's, and the company is working with other fast food chains and hoteliers on mobile coupon efforts.

Earlier this month, 7-Eleven launched a mobile marketing campaign in San Diego.
Rest of article

Posted by staff at 10:27 AM

October 09, 2009

IKEA Execs Discuss Launch Of US Loyalty, Use Of Mobile Medium

Interview with IKEA execs on how they see mobile apps getting integrated with their business & customers.

Well known for its innovative approach customer relationship management, home furnishings retailer IKEA has been giving customers all over the world something to talk about. Focused on providing consumers with the ultimate in function, design and price, Founder Ingvar Kamprad believed in saving in every way possible--except on ideas and quality. Store traffic has steadily increased, with nearly 650 million visitors in 2008 alone.

Largely attributed to the company's commitment to customer service, IKEA continues on inspiration and innovation. Retail TouchPoints recently caught up with IKEA US execs Tracey Kelly (Communications Manager) and Marty McGuire (Direct Marketing Manager) to discuss the company's approach to loyalty and the upcoming holiday shopping season, as well as new plans to tap into the new media goldmine that is, the mobile phone.

Retail TouchPoints: IKEA has established itself as a prominent player in the furniture industry with strong brand power and a commitment to customer service. What are some the fundamentals of IKEA's business model?

Tracey Kelly: IKEA's business idea is to offer a wide range of well designed, functional home furnishings products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them. For more than 60 years IKEA has been learning about everyday life at home for people all over the world. We use that knowledge and experience to offer solutions that meet our customer's needs. We believe that although people may live on a limited budget, they still want to create a beautiful and functional home. IKEA stores sell everything to furnish the home under one roof. The room settings in our stores show the range in an inspiring way that offers customers ideas and smart solutions for their homes. Most IKEA furniture is available to take home today so that customers can begin to enjoy their purchase immediately.

Rest of Article

Posted by staff at 11:13 AM

September 25, 2009

Starbucks goes iPhone mobile in Seattle and California

Starbucks announces trial of loyalty card holder pay with iPhone.

Starbucks serves up caffeine on the iPhone

Source link

Coffee chain Starbucks is to begin pilot trials of a new application which enables loyalty card holders to pay for their purchases using an Apple iPhone or iPod touch.

The new Starbucks Card Mobile App enables users to view their account balance on screen, reload the card using a credit card, and register for loyalty rewards.

The coffee chain is also piloting a groundbreaking commercial trial that will enable cardholders to pay for their purchases in 16 stores in Seattle and Northern California using their Apple mobile. The device will display a barcode that can be used just like a plastic Starbucks Card to make a purchase.

Starbucks has also launched a seperate MyStarbucks App, which can be used to search for the nearest outlet and display the location on a map. The app also offers the ability to filter stores and conduct location searches based on a store's amenities, including opening hours, menu options and wi-fi.

Posted by staff at 08:09 AM

June 30, 2009

So When Are Phones Going to All Have NFC?

All new mobiles will be packing a RFID chip by summer 2010 - ultimately opening up the possibility of your phone also becoming the keys to your car or your house. That's the prediction of Ericsson's VP of systems architecture, Håkan Djuphammar, speaking at the mobile infrastructure company's Business Innovation Forum in Stockholm on Tuesday.

He told delegates: "A year from now basically every new phone that's sold will have [Near Field Communication]. It's a two-way, bio-directional RFID communication link that makes this device work as a tag or as a reader."

Djuphammar said devices with RFID chips will have a secure environment on the SIM card where "trusted identities" or "secure elements" can be downloaded - enabling the phone to take on other roles, such as the keys for your car or house, or a credit card or concert ticket. He said Ericsson is currently working with a utilities company that has 700 separate unmanned facilities and around 15,000 keys - a logistical nightmare it wants to eliminate via the use of RFID-enabled mobile phones.

"They don't know really where those keys are," he said. "So they want to replace all the locks with RFID locks, put RFID-capable phones in the hands of all their personnel and then they can control the access to these sites."

Using RFID in this way would enable a mobile to be assigned to open a door for a certain period of time only - meaning the company could better manage access to its facilities, while also replacing the hassle of dealing with thousands of physical keys.

"All sorts of things will be enabled by [RFID] - a small piece of technology but with an ecosystem around it that opens up tremendous opportunities for innovation," he added.

Mobile phones could also soon become instruments of fraud detection. Djuphammar said credit card companies could make use of mobile user location data and IP mapping to ascertain whether a credit card transaction is taking place in the vicinity of the official card holder and thus judge whether that transaction is likely to be genuine or not.

"In some countries there's a lot of fraud with credit cards so therefore it's in the interest of the credit card issuer to be able to match the position of the phone that belongs to the person who has a credit card. If the phone's close to where the credit card is used the fraud risk is low but suddenly if the phone moves away from where the credit card is used they can be alerted to check that particular transaction - it's most likely fraud because now the phone and the credit card are separated," he explained.

Another example of leveraging location data is to create real-time road traffic maps generated by analysing the speed of mobile phone base station hand-off to ascertain how fast cars are travelling on roads. This data could then be sold to GPS device companies enabling them to provide dynamic travel information to motorists.

Djuphammar said selling access to mobile user information in this way would open up new revenue streams in a "win win" scenario for all parties involved - the end user, the operator and the broker who manages the sharing of that user data.

"That is a typical 'win win' where the operator share their assets/knowledge through a broker, and the GPS company can sell a service to the end user. The end user wins, the GPS service provider wins, the broker provider wins and the operator wins," he added.

source link

Posted by staff at 09:46 AM

December 11, 2007

Another music download machine concept bites the dust?

Article in Manchester Evening News in U.K. lays out scenarios for Andy Egan and Felix now that they are re-evaluating business model and Egan has stepped down.


Has Andy's luck finally run out? - Business - News - Manchester Evening News

Has Andy's luck finally run out?

10/12/2007

HE has always lived life to the max, but his dream of creating an international phenomenon with his digital retail kiosk, has come crashing down.

Andy Egan, a former stuntman and promotions king, quit as chief executive of the Felix Group, after differences over strategy emerged between him and chairman, Richard Rose.

Now, the future of the company he founded back in the late 1990s hangs in the balance after a statement to the stock market by Mr Rose he had begun a `detailed review of the viability of the group's business model' sparked a major sell-off of the its shares.

The stock tumbled 80 per cent and shares in the Rostherne-based group were suspended last week. At the same time it was announced Mr Egan was stepping down.

Sources said there had been a `difference in view' between Mr Rose, who had recently taken on an executive role, and Mr Egan over the group's future and viability of its leading product, Max Box.

It is a retail kiosk with cashpoint, digital photo processing, gaming and shopping functions, such as ordering flowers.

Mr Egan believed Max Box was going to be an international hit because, until its launch, consumers had access to digital services such a photo processing and mobile-phone top-ups `but nobody had put it all in one box' and it offered retailers a `100,000 sq ft megastore from one square metre'. He even had his sights on cracking the North American market through licensing deals.

It was a concept the City and investors bought into - Mr Egan managed to secure private equity investment before Felix reversed into Chestn ut, a shell set up by serial AIM entrepreneur Michael Edelson. It floated in 2004 at 20p per share with a market value of £24.7m. Shares rocketed to more than 70p, but later nose-dived to around 4p. Mr Egan has said the major fall, which wiped £50m of the company in one day, came when it announced that a working partnership with Alliance & Leicester had lapsed, which he claims was misinterpreted by the institutional investors as collapsed.

Bouyed

The stock recovered slightly - buoyed by announcements that retailers were trialling the Max Box.

In June of this year, it announced Odeon Cinemas was trialling it in 19 venues, with a view to rolling out nationally.

In October, it issued an upbeat statement announcing a deal with T-Mobile to trial Max Box in 18 stores, while Mr Egan's dream of breaking into the US market seemed closer when it secured a licensing agreement with US group Kiosk Information Systems. The granted it the right to install Felix software on its own kiosks worldwide. The group also signed a licensing deal with ABK Group, which provides leased laptops to university students and staff. A PC version of the Max Box was to be incorporated into 1,600 laptops.

At the time, the group acknowledged the deployment of kiosks into shops had been slower that anticipated, 120 had been installed by October 2007, but after raising £4.15m in funding, it had started to generate more income. In the year to May 31, turnover was only £81,000 with pre-tax losses of £5.4m.

However Mr Rose seemingly does not share Mr Egan's faith in the long term viability of Max Box and said: "We have been placing trial kiosks with various high street multiples in order that both parties may evaluate the commercial returns.

"We have also been enhancing and adding applications to the portfolio of Max Boxes already established with the objective of achieving a near-term break-even position.

"The results of these initiatives have been disappointing, particularly when the cost and time of providing central support and marketing is taken into account."

Mr Rose has asked KPMG to carry out a review of the business model, and it is hoped it will be completed this week.

Mr Egan began his career as a stuntman after being persuaded by a BBC camera crew to ditch his canoe and go down a white water river on a lilo

During the 1980s, he worked on the Noel Edmonds Late Late Breakfast Show. When he lost part of his hand in a firework accident, he decided to move into promotions and set up Sky High Promotions. The business was behind a number of high-profile initiatives including the BT and BP share launches.However, in 1999 he came up with a plan to cash in on the new premium phoneline phenomenon and developed a game called Everyone's a Winner.

It was a simple concept where callers paid £4.50 for a 90-second phone call but were guaranteed to win a prize worth double the cost of the call. Andy then went to games maker Sega and asked them to design a kiosk version of Everyone's a Winner. The kiosk was launched in partnership with the Laurel Pub Company, operator of the Hogshead brand, in June 2004, and a year later the group expanded its products to include digital photo printing and mobile top-ups, and the Max Box was launched. But Max Box has so far failed to set the world alight, users says it is too slow, while others believe the concept was flawed, asking why would people want to take a trip to a cinema or into town to order flowers or download ringtones when they can do it over the web from their homes

Some now believe the Max Box itself will be scrapped and the company will focus on its selling its software through licensing deals.

However others were more scathing. Nigel Mills, director at WH Ireland, says the best outcome the group can hope for it is that someone uses it as a shell to reverse into.

He says: "However, there are plenty of shell companies knocking around that are clean as opposed to inheriting people's rubbish. Felix is the Latin word for lucky - but it looks like its luck has run finally run out."

Posted by staff at 07:51 AM

June 22, 2007

T-Mobile Rolls out interactive kiosks

T-Mobile has rolled out interactive kiosks to 250 stores in what it has called a multimillion-pound technology investment.

The kiosks allow customers to find out about the mobile network's range of handsets and services. The kiosk screens are linked to live handsets so customers can sample T-Mobile's internet and music download services.

Previously kiosk technology has seen little success in the retail environment, despite the trend toward providing better in-store customer experience or 'retail theatre'.

However mobile phone retailers have struggled in the past to find ways of introducing handsets to customers as they become more feature-rich, without exposing live units to shoplifters.

The move underlines T-Mobile's commitment to its own-store strategy which involved the doubling of its estate throughout 2006.

T-Mobile head of retail Russell Taylor said in a statement: "The development of our interactive offering ensures that we are enabling the greatest possible mobile experience by providing customers with the information they need, in a simple, straightforward and exciting format."

The T-Mobile kiosks were built in-house by subsidiary T-Systems and supported by content management system specialist MDT.

source

Posted by staff at 10:21 AM

May 25, 2005

Napster Sells 100,000 Ringtones in One Month

ringtone.jpegSince opening its ringtone store, Napstertones, last month, Napster has sold over 100,000 of the song clips. Most tones are priced at $1.99. The service interface is clean, easily navigable, and helps users determine whats available for their phones. Cingular and T-Mobile are the only two supported carriers as of now.

Posted by keefner at 02:22 PM

May 23, 2005

Trends with Camera Phones by PMA

camera-phone.jpeg PMA today released some data about camera phone users and how they behave as far as printing pictures. All of which has ramifications for the photo kiosk and kiosks in general.

According to Fotolia it would appear that image quality needs and ease of use still needs to improve before the mass market uses a camera phone instead of their regular digital camera.

Here is the story link on PMAI. It's interesting to watch the camera phone market as it does have direct impact to the self-service photo kiosk market and how self-service kiosks are used in picture processing for the mass consumer.


According to the soon to be released 2005 PMA U.S. Consumer Photo Buying Report, 10.2 percent of households owned cameraphones by the end of 2004. As more images are captured using cameraphones, these images are of growing interest to wireless service providers, retailers, and others in related markets. The PMA consumer study provides insight into the profile of a cameraphone owner and their cameraphone usage.

Who's using cameraphones?
The demographics of these households are similar to that of digital camera households. Above average rates of ownership are exhibited by households headed by persons with higher education degrees and households with children, and ownership increases with income. So not surprisingly, 65 percent of cameraphone owners also owned a digital camera.

The average age of cameraphone users, which was 36 years, fell below that of camera owners in 2004. Also, unlike digital cameras, cameraphones appear to be evenly adopted by males and females early in their life cycle.

What are they doing with their cameraphone? In 2004, 27 percent of cameraphone households did not take any pictures with their phone. Of the 73 percent that did take pictures; they averaged about 21 shots during the year. Less people chose to e-mail these pictures or transmit them wirelessly in 2004 than in 2003 -- 36 compared to 46 percent. The percent of households that viewed their pictures on their cameraphone screen increased from 83 to 93 percent and the percent that printed grew from 6 to 11 percent. Out of the 11 percent of households that made prints, 83 percent chose to e-mail their images and print at home, and 10 percent e-mailed and printed at retail. Only 2 percent of households that printed cameraphone images used a kiosk.

Why aren't more users printing? Not having a need to print or just wanting to view images on the screen topped the list of reasons why cameraphone users did not print. Perhaps not all people would lack interest though if the process was easier and the prints were better. Many households also cited quality issues as a deterrent to printing or they thought the process was too complicated.

Read rest of story on PMAI

Posted by keefner at 07:25 PM

April 06, 2005

Spend on Mobile Music ringtones

UK youngsters increasing spend on mobile music

06/04/2005 by Leigh Phillips

Young people in the UK will spend 220m (150m) on ring-tones, ring-back tunes and downloading full songs directly onto their mobile phones, according to new research conducted by UK marketing consultancy Mobile Youth.

With CD single sales still in decline, the consultancy argues that the ring-tone is set to become the number one marketing tool for record companies and artists to launch the CD album. As a result, the analysts believe that in future the playback of music on mobile phones will have a significant influence on how music is developed and marketed.

The UK teenager spends on average 38 (26) a year on music for their mobile phone, the group has also found.

The analysts believe that the eventual disappearance of CD singles will make it easier for emerging artists to raise their profile by releasing a ring-tone or full track download than releasing a single CD.

With the global market for ring-tones and mobile phone downloads to be worth in excess of 3bn (2bn), the incentive is there for record labels and artists to develop music that will complement its release as a ring-tone or real tone. The amount of money spent on mobile phone music downloads will this year account for 16 per cent of the entire amount spent on music. By 2007 this will increase to almost a quarter of the entire music spend.

The evident popularity of mobile music downloads could yet lead to further implications for the industry, as whole genres of music, such as rock and other guitar-based formats, do not convert well into ring-tones.

Posted by keefner at 07:55 PM

January 19, 2005

Mobile DRM Mpeg Royalty

The MPEG Licensing Authority had reached a royalty policy for the patents in the Open Mobile Alliance DRM 1.0 specification.

story link

Mobile DRM levy hits operators where it hurts
By Faultline
Published Wednesday 19th January 2005 10:54 GMT

News that the MPEG Licensing Authority had reached a royalty policy for the patents in the Open Mobile Alliance DRM 1.0 specification, will have come as a shock to many operators and handset makers that have been led to believe that OMA DRM was to be royalty free. At the level they have set them, the royalties are likely to run into billions of dollars over the next few years.

The innocuous looking statement, issued last week finally put a tally on the cost of adopting the technology with operators having to pay a royalty of $1 for every device that is issued which used the OMA spec, and a further one per cent of any transaction in which an end user pays for delivery of a digital asset using OMA DRM.

According to ContentGuard CEO Mike Miron, speaking to Faultline last week: The OMA didnt choose to use our technology for implementing its Digital Rights Langauge for OMA 1.0, and instead chose to use a system developed by IPR systems in Australia. We told them that this wouldnt mean that they could escape our patent portfolio and weve been telling them that all along.

It shouldnt be a surprise that suddenly the MPEG LA has issued a joint patent covering OMA DRM 1.0, but OMA has been strongly suggesting to its members that its standard would be royalty free. Miron added: Weve heard two opinions with some people welcoming it and others saying that the royalty is too high, but thats just because they thought it was free, and any charge is too high once you think something is free.

MPEG LA announced that an initial group of essential patent holders including ContentGuard, Intertrust, Matsushita, Philips and Sony will license the portfolio of patents collectively, with MPEG LA collecting the royalties.

The five companies reckon they have all the patents necessary for implementing OMA DRM 1.0 and most of those needed for DRM 2.0, although that hasnt been finalized yet and could potentially mean involving technology from one or two more companies.

But MPEG LA is offering the royalty payments for both DRM 1.0 and 2.0 for now, and is prepared to backdate coverage of the technology to January 2004 with payments only needing to be made from January 2005 onwards.

Intertrust is known to be a world leader and patent holder in trust models, architectures for moving encryption keys around within a digital rights management environment, while ContentGuard produced the work that the ISO and MPEG21 has standardized on for expressing rights in an XML-like meta language.

The MPEG LA initially called together patent holders in October 2003 and a first meeting was held in secret. Later in October 2004 MPEG LA said that its DRM Reference Model version 3.0 was released to specifically cover OMA 2.0, but no terms had yet been decided upon at that time.

Although the patent royalties could hit both handset makers and operators, the payment of the $1 device charge is to be made by the company selling its handsets directly to the public, in many cases the operator rather than the handset supplier.

With major Cellcos like Vodafone using OMA to provide protection for content on its Live! system, this means that one per cent of Live! content revenues could be up for grabs just as every competitor that Vodafone has is trying to launch a similar service. Over the next few years some 2 billion phones are likely to end up with DRM on them, making a basic handset revenue of $2bn among these patent holders with out the charges for service revenues, which we would expect to be higher.

Vodafone itself uses CoreMedia's software which is OMA DRM compliant based on JAVA, ODRL and XML and is used to allow Vodafone to securely distribute multiple content formats such as music tracks and videos.

OMA DRM 1.0 has also been implemented by virtually all phone makers and operators and even by conditional access suppliers such as News Corps NDS. Now all of their customers will find themselves hit with a royalty bill where they thought there would be none. And theres probably no getting round it. Even if they stick to older proprietary technology instead of adopting OMA, theres no certainty that these wont also require royalty payments.

ContentGuard is now owned by a triumvirate of Microsoft, Time Warner and Thomson, while Intertrust is owned by two of the other patent holders, Sony and Philips.

MPEG LA also licenses patents for MPEG-2, Firewire, Digital Video Broadcasting Terrestrial, MPEG-4 Visual (Part 2), MPEG-4 Systems and AVC/H.264 (also known as MPEG-4 Part 10) standards and is working on a similar patent pool for Microsofts VC9 (also called SMPTE VC-1) video codec, the ATSC standard, and the DVB Handheld standard.

Copyright 2004, Faultline

Posted by Craig at 03:54 PM

December 09, 2004

Napster Goes Ringtone

Napster entering the ringtone market.

Napster tunes into mobile ringtones
By Tony Smith
Published Thursday 9th December 2004 15:33 GMT

Napster is to enter the mobile phone ringtone market next year, launching an own-brand service on the back of mobile content delivery company Dwango Mobile.

The announcement comes after US market watcher PJ McNealy of American Technology Research (ATR) downgraded parent company Roxio's stock from Hold to Sell.

The Dwango deal will see the formation next year of Napster Mobile, a service pitched at North American consumers, initially selling ringtones, but presumably with music downloads in mind when the bandwidth's there to make it practical.

The more ringtones punters buy through the Napster-branded service, the more points they earn which can be used to offset the cost of PC- or music player-based track downloads. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, so it's not yet clear to what extent the deal will earn Napster revenue directly or whether it's more about getting mobile phone owners to buy song downloads or subscriptions from the company.

more

Posted by Craig at 05:26 PM

November 15, 2004

Mobile Phones and MP3 Predictions

MP3 players in mobile phones to lead trend by 2008

Taiwan The Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center (IEK) forecasts the market for mobile phones with built-in MP3 players to hit 350 million units worldwide by 2008, up from the estimated 40 million units this year.

Also according to IEK, in an effort to diversify their products, Taiwan makers will be developing mobile phones that will include both MP3 player and videophone functions.

The research organization added that multimedia services for wireless devices can reach up to about $29 billion worldwide by 2008 €”accounting for almost 33 percent of the total wireless telecom service market revenues. Last year, a total of $463.1 billion in profit was earned from the same segment that included SMS text messages, mobile commerce and mobile entertainment.

Posted by Craig at 02:06 PM

September 23, 2004

Mobile Phones

Nokia expands its range of imaging smartphones

23/09/2004 by John Tilak
of Digital Media Europe - digital media news from across Europe

Nokia today introduced its latest addition to the company's range of megapixel imaging smart-phones.

The Nokia 6670 comes with a range of productivity features and a megapixel (1152 X 864 pixels) camera. Expected to be available in early October 2004, the model will come in two versions: GSM 900/1800/1900 for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asian markets, and GSM 850/1800/1900 for the Americas markets.

Based on the Series 60 range, the Nokia 6670 offers document viewers for reading e-mail attachments, personal information management (PIM) features, a web browser with support for PDF files, and faster data input with the Nokia Wireless Keyboard. Users can also print their e-mails or images directly from the handset via Bluetooth wireless technology.

In addition to the high-resolution colour display of 65,536 colours and the 4x digital zoom for both pictures and video recording. The new photo editor application also enables cropping, framing, autofixing and text-adding on the phone itself.

Other features include enhanced security and compatibility with the foldable Nokia Wireless Keyboard and newly released Nokia Wireless GPS Module.

Weighing 118 grams and measuring 109 x 53 x 21 mm, the Nokia 6670 imaging smart-phone is based on Symbian OS, and is expected to retail for approximately 500.

http://www.dmeurope.com/default.asp?ArticleID=3355

Posted by Craig at 04:34 PM

August 12, 2004

Mobile Music Announcements

a look at the avalanche of recent announcements

11/08/2004 by Leigh Phillips


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In the two weeks since Apple announced it was working with Motorola to develop some so-far-extremely-light-on-the-details digital music player/mobile handset hybrid, it seems like virtually every other major European stakeholder in the mobile sector -both operators and handset manufacturers - has said: "Me too! Me too!", announcing their own vision of the mobile music future.

And no wonder, market research group IDC recently predicted that revenues from mobile music will rapidly grow to 7bn in 2005, making music the second largest mobile data revenue category after information services. On the other hand, another market research group, the UK's Ovum, reckons mobile music downloads (excluding ring-tones, streaming and other mobile music formats) will only grow to 800m by 2008.

As there were two such announcements today alone, we thought we'd do you all a small service and give you a brief recap of the announcements in recent days.

Ericsson, TeliaSonera, and Sony

TeliaSonera Sweden announced on Tuesday its M-USE service, developed by Ericsson in cooperation with Sony Music, available via TeliaSonera's Swedish mobile service Telia Go.

The service allows users to download original music recordings as real-tones, polyphonic ring-tones, and music clips from the Sony Music and Warner Music catalogues. The service also offers an Amazon-style personalisation feature that suggests other music the user might like, and in the press release announcing the service, the companies noted that local as well as international content was expected to be a selling point.

Ericsson takes the overall responsibility for the music service, including content aggregation, digital rights management (DRM) and platform development. The service is integrated, hosted and managed by Ericsson.

Meanwhile, in June, TeliaSonera in Finland launched Sony's StreamMan music service (server technology provided by Alcatel). As with audio streaming to PCs, the service sends music to handsets over the mobile network. The Nokia 6600, the Ericsson P800 and Ericsson P900 are the first handsets that are compatible with this service.

Important to note here is the fact that this, so far, is a fairly minimal offering, and yet, as Sony has in recent weeks announced it's 'iPod killer', the Networked Walkman Hard Disc 1 (NW-HD1 - with a 20GB capacity, which, when using Atrac3 Plus at 48 Kbps encoding, can store 13,000 songs - 3000 more than the 40GB top-of-the-range iPod), the company has clearly set its sights on Apple and portable digital music. The NW-HD1, the Walkman brand, the Sony Music catalogue and Sony's partnership in Sony Ericsson are a natural combination. Expect some Sony Ericsson one-upmanship over the Apple-Motorola announcement sooner rather than later.

O2, MTV

O2 Ireland announced today its own vision for the mobile music future: music downloadable over the O2 network, but storable on a separate digital music player device - the first mobile music service in the country.

The new service enables customers to select, retrieve and store music via their GPRS-enabled mobile handset onto a specially designed digital music player, or DMP. O2 has signed up the Warner, Universal and BMG record labels, as well as the Association of Independent Music (AIM) the alliance of independent UK record labels. This is notable in that independent music makes up a much larger proportion of European record sales than it does of American sales, and Apple, which has so far largely hit every digital music target it has aimed at, made the mistake of launching its European iTunes operation before ensuring it had indie musicians on board. O2 hasn't repeated that error. Further record companies are expected to come online in the coming months.

Customers connect the digital music player to their handset via infrared, and select the 'get new music' option to view a menu of track listings. Customers then select a track and choose to either hear a free 30-second clip or purchase the entire track. The track can be listened to as it is downloading and once it has been downloaded the digital music player can be unclipped from the mobile handset and used as a regular personal music device. Up to 70 tracks can be stored on the 64MB memory card for as long as they are required, and customers may choose to download the music files to their data card, which can then be transferred to a PC for additional storage. Customers can also purchase additional memory cards.

Although pricey at 299 for the DMP, especially for a DMP that can only store 70 songs, the choice to make the tracks transferable to any other device, via a PC, is exactly what consumers want. They'll pay for digital music, but they want to be able to play it wherever they want when they own it. Furthermore, the tracks cost approximately 1.50 to download - perhaps a perfect price point for mobile music. Only slightly more expensive than a track from any of the PC-oriented music download sites, the price reflects the premium people are willing to pay to be able to download any song they want on the spur of the moment while on the move. You're in a store and you hear a song you like? You don't have to wait to get home to download it. You're at the beach and you think a Manu Chao song would go just perfectly right now? Go ahead and download it.

Smarter still, is the partnership with MTV - the brand, ne plus ultra, of youth and music. Exactly what this means in practice, and what synergies result remains to be seen.

The service will be available in Ireland, the UK and Germany sometime this year.

Nokia, Loudeye

B2B digital media solutions provider Loudeye announced this week a multi-year agreement with Nokia to develop an advanced wireless digital music platform for mobile operators worldwide.

This agreement includes a multi-million dollar commitment to Loudeye for development fees and defines a global collaboration framework between the companies. Additional details regarding the collaboration, as well as the platform and its availability, will be announced at a later date.

Of course, what we have here is the fact that while Nokia and Loudeye have absolutely nothing anywhere near being ready to announce, in a week of announcements they had to say something. Loudeye recently bought OD2, the financially troubled white-label music download store that services the online music shops of a number European brands, including Coca-Cola, HMV and Tiscali. Nokia, of course, is the global handset leader, so expect some fairly major handset announcement in the coming months. The main concern of mobile operators with the Apple-Motorola deal is that the Motorola handsets will allow the uploading of iTunes tracks directly from the PC to the handset, bypassing the operators completely. Will Nokia go down the same road, allowing the upload of tracks from OD2 sites to the handset via the PC, or will Nokia be more friendly to the operators, along the lines of O2's DMP?

Hutch 3G UK

Going one step beyond, but not necessarily with a service that matches the iPod-esque zeitgeist, UK 3G mobile operator Hutchison 3G UK, branded as "Three", announced last week that it had teamed up with record company BMG to launch a mobile video jukebox enabling Three customers' to stream music videos direct to their video mobiles.

Customers will be able to both watch and hear music video releases four to six weeks in advance of the single launch. With Three's music video chart, customers will be able to choose from around forty, full-length music videos, with up to five new releases going live on the service every week.

Music videos will be priced at 2.30 (1.50) and will be available to either QuickPlay (stream direct) or to download to the handset and can be played for as long as the customer chooses. Alternatively, customers can buy an Unlimited Entertainment Add-On for 15.18 (10) per month, which will allow them to access unlimited music and entertainment over the course of a month.

This is an extremely expensive option, and given that the market for buying music videos (on DVD, and before that VHS) is minute compared to audio sales, it is unlikely the kids will be willing to fork over a whopping 2.30 for a video on a handset, especially considering that videos themselves are essentially promotional devices for the music itself. At the same time, Three recently announced a mobile video service whose business model is closer to that of traditional broadcast television, with subscribers being able to access advertising-supported videos for free. Interesting...

Others

T-Mobile in Germany meanwhile launched its Mobile Jukebox in May, which offers 90-second specially edited versions of songs. Currently a maximum of three such songs are storable on the handsets.

In July, Norway's Telenor announced the launch of full-track mobile music download services from mobile media solutions provider Chaoticom. Part of the Telenor djuice suite, the direct-to-mobile music download service enables users to access original full tracks on a wide range of mobile phones running on the Telenor network. Subscribers can listen to their music without interfering with incoming call reception or other calling services.

Orange UK and the Czech Republic's Eurotel have also picked the Chaoticom mobile music service.

And that's it so far, so, despite the summer normally being a cool period for major corporate announcement, summer 2004 has really marked the kick-off for the mobile music sector. It's still very early in the game yet, with a great number of the announcements having only been made in the last few days in reaction to the Apple-Motorola bombshell. None of the business models are set in stone, and are all very different from each other.

The field is wide open.


Digital Media Europe: Features & Editorials - Mobile music - a look at the avalanche of recent announcements

Posted by Craig at 02:28 PM

June 10, 2004

No more Digital Cameras...

Megapixel Phones Encroach on Digital Camera Turf

Wed Jun 9, 9:44 PM ET Add Technology - Reuters to My Yahoo!

By Kim Miyoung and Nathan Layne

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) - Asia's top mobile phone makers are rolling out handsets equipped with cameras so advanced many consumers may come to the conclusion they don't need a separate digital camera any more.


That prospect should worry digital camera makers like Canon Inc, which could lose potential customers to a slew of snazzy new phones that take pictures with up to three megapixels of resolution, analysts say.


Megapixels are the measure of how many million picture elements are captured in a digital snapshot and one of the key ways digital camera makers differentiate their products.


"Camera phones are advancing to the point where they can attract consumers away from digital cameras," said Koo Hee-jin, an analyst at LG Investment & Securities.


Analysts have been warning about the threat camera phones pose to the digital camera industry since the first one was launched in Japan in late 2000. But so far there has been little impact -- even Sharp Corp's introduction of the world's first megapixel phone in May 2003 didn't appear to affect demand.


The first handsets had cameras capable of taking 110,000 pixel pictures, good enough for photos posted on a Web site but far short of the two megapixels needed to produce a sharp postcard-sized print.


Now many of Asia's leading phone makers -- from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to LG Electronics Ltd to NEC Corp -- have camera phones with one, two or even three megapixels, bringing them closer to digital camera turf.


South Korea (news - web sites)'s LG, the world's fifth-largest cell phone maker, rolled out a two-megapixel camera phone last month and local rival Samsung, the world's third-largest handset manufacturer, plans to follow suit this month.


CASIO'S TRUMP CARD


But Japan's Casio Computer Co will trump them all when it comes out with the first 3.2-megapixel handset through telecoms carrier KDDI Corp later in June. In terms of pixel count, it will be on par with some of Casio's own cameras.


"The emergence of the 3.2-megapixel phone will have a direct negative impact on the digital camera market from three megapixels on down," said J.P. Morgan analyst Hisashi Moriyama.


"Demand for the three-megapixel category should naturally begin to shift from digital cameras to camera-equipped phones."


Sales of camera-equipped mobile phones outnumbered those of digital cameras last year for the first time, rising almost five-fold from 2002 to 84 million.


U.S.-based market research group Strategy Analytics estimates the market will double this year to 174 million phones. Digital camera shipments are expected to grow a slower 40 percent to 68.5 million units this year, according to UBS analyst Ryohei Takahashi, who sees the market peaking at 77.5 million units in 2005 before falling slightly in 2006.


Still, even the most advanced camera phones match up with a segment of the camera market that is waning in importance. Only about five percent of all camera shipments are in the two-megapixel category, meaning Samsung and LG's new phones would be addressing a very small portion of potential demand.


Some of the best-selling digital cameras are of the four- and five-megapixel variety. Six- and even eight-megapixel cameras are gaining in popularity, as are digital single-lens reflex cameras.


SIZE ISN'T EVERYTHING

Megapixels are anyway waning as the main factor influencing purchases as people become better informed about specifications like lens quality, zoom performance and data storage capacity and special features such as anti-shake protection.

"I would rather buy a digital camera than a megapixel phone since camera phones are still in an early stage. They mainly focus on increasing pixels but are far behind in other functions such as auto focus and memory size," said Yoo Jae-whan, a 23-year-old student in Seoul.

Digital cameras are also equipped with more advanced image-capturing chips, known as charge coupled devices (CCD).

"We don't believe there is a direct impact on our digital camera business from the sale of a mobile phones with high resolution cameras," said Ken Sugiyama, operations manager at Fuji Photo Film's public relations division.

"The quality of a picture is determined by the function of the lens, the CCD and the processing of the picture as a total package," he said.

Nor is Casio worried about cannibalising its own market with its three-megapixel phone.

"Generally speaking, a mobile phone is meant to be carried with you all the time and its main purpose is not for taking pictures. It's more for if you want to take a picture as a quick memo of something or if you just happen to come across a 'shutter chance'," said spokesman Toshihiro Watanabe.

"The camera phone has really started to develop and take off since last year, but it isn't as if the digital camera market has not grown rapidly as well."


Yahoo! News - Megapixel Phones Encroach on Digital Camera Turf

Posted by Craig at 07:56 PM

June 02, 2004

Mobile Pictures

Moblog: Nokia gives us a new word

June 02 2004

by Dinesh C Sharma

And new way of blogging using camera phones

Nokia has begun shipping a camera phone with video-editing and mobile-blogging features in Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.


The phone maker said its 7610 phone can capture, edit, store, print and send pictures and videos. The handset comes with a Kodak application designed to let users upload pictures to a virtual photo album on the web. Images can be printed using a Bluetooth connection to a compatible printer or at kiosks at Nokia stores and other photo shops.

Nokia recently announced a site called Lifeblog that lets subscribers archive mobile phone photos in chronological order, along with other data, including text, video and audio, using a personal mobile web log, or 'moblog'.

With camera phones becoming more popular, service providers are setting up moblogs that let users transfer pictures from their phones onto the net.

Using the 7610 phone, videos up to 10 minutes in duration can be shot and edited, and music and text can be added on the camera. Digital content created on the camera may be organised and transferred to a PC, allowing consumers to browse and search their multimedia 'diary' and share those items with friends or family through email.

Dinesh C Sharma writes for CNET News.com.


Moblog: Nokia gives us a new word - silicon.com

Posted by Craig at 05:33 PM

March 26, 2004

Mobile Vending Machines

..self-service content machines that download content into mobile phones..

Mobile Vending Machines
nSpace wants you to buy your games like you buy your Coke, from a vend.

March 25, 2004 - SmartServ Online, Inc. announced today that its subsidiary, nSpace, has reached an agreement with Merit Industries (a touch-screen device manufacturer) to develop and introduce self-service content machines that download content into mobile phones. That's right -- a vending machine for games and ringtones. The future is now, after all.


nSpace, a large mobile content provider, will place the vending machines in wireless retailers, airports and train stations, restaurants and mall, and electronics outlets. Expected content on the machines? Straight from nSpace: "American Idol," "The Matrix," Eminem, Britney Spears, 50 Cent, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg and Frank Sinatra; images from MAXIM and Corbis; and games, such as Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, NHL Power Shot Hockey, Spiderman, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Charlie's Angels, Q*Bert, and Rayman.

"Personalizing mobile phones was previously only available through a
phone handset or the Web, which limited opportunities for consumers and
content owners," said Mike Stemple, nReach's President and Founder.
"nReach vending machines will create new revenue opportunities for
content owners -- movie distributors, record companies, and game
developers -- by reaching customers with ringtones, graphics and games
who would not otherwise be exposed to such content."


Wireless: Mobile Vending Machines

Posted by Craig at 02:37 PM

March 18, 2004

VoIP cordless phones

From CeBIT: Siemens launches mobile and fixed MMS phones

Siemens launches mobile and fixed MMS phones
Company's new cordless fixed-line phones will have easy access to VoIP


By Gillian Law, IDG News Service March 17, 2004

HANOVER, Germany -- Multimedia services aren't the exclusive domain of mobile phones, Siemens AG said here at the Cebit trade show on Wednesday. As well as a range of new mobile phones, the company also launched a fixed-line phone with a built-in camera, MMS (multimedia services) capabilities, and an adaptor to give its cordless fixed-line phones easy access to VoIP (Voice over IP).

The mobile phone market is in a new growth phase and is likely to grow 10 percent in the next year, said Rudi Lamprecht, a member of Siemens' managing board. This year will also see the shift from a voice-driven market to one focused on services, he said.

The number of MMS-enabled phones on the market will rise from 25 percent to 50 percent, and all of the 30 phones that Siemens plans to launch will include MMS capabilities, Lamprecht said.

Siemens announced three new mobile phones, including a rugged phone that can survive any weather, it said, and showed an upgraded version of an older model incorporating push-to-talk, walkie-talkie style technology.

The M65 is the "outdoor" phone, which can handle extremes of temperature, water and dust, and can stand up to rough treatment, as Thorsten Heins, president of the Munich company's mobile phone division, demonstrated by throwing it around the room. The handset also includes a built-in bicycle computer that gives speeds and distances covered when attacked to a bike's handlebars.

The C65 is Siemens attempt to bring MMS to the lower end of the market, with an integrated camera and color screen, Heins said. Siemens is particularly strong in the low end of the market and in emerging markets, Lamprecht said.

The third new phone, the S65, is a stylish multimedia phone with a 1.3-megapixel integrated video and still camera, and four-step digital zoom. The video records at 15 frames per second, Heins said. The phone also includes Bluetooth connectivity and a 32M bit exchangeable memory card, Siemens said.

Siemens is also demonstrating a new version of its CX65 handset at Cebit, with push-to-talk technology incorporated. The company is currently running eight trial push-to-talk networks worldwide, it said.

On the fixed side, the company showed the SL740 phone which includes a camera and features the ability to record and send sound files. The phone marks the start of a new range of fixed-line devices, it said.

The convergence of services between mobile and fixed is also the inspiration behind the Gigaset M34 USB PC adapter, which lets Siemens' Gigaset cordless phones easily access VoIP telephony, Clemens Joos, president of the cordless products division said. Siemens will work in partnership with peer-to-peer telephony company Skype Technologies S.A. (a company that was set up by the developers of the Kazaa peer-to-peer download service) to provide VoIP calls in Europe from September.

Adding a note of the futuristic, Jose Costa e Silva, president of Siemens' wireless modules division, said it is important to remember that humans aren't the only users of mobile services. There are currently 5 million machines connected via wireless modules, and that number could grow as high at 50 billion, he said.

The machines markets include freight and route planning, security, vending machines and medical applications, he said. In order to service that sector, the company is launching a new embedded module from Siemens, the XT55, that allows GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), GPRS (General Packet Radio Service)and GPS (Global Positioning System) connectivity in one product, Costa e Silva said.


InfoWorld: Siemens launches mobile and fixed MMS phones: March 17, 2004: By : Wireless

Posted by Craig at 07:06 PM

Mobile Phone Kiosks

Sharpen and Smarten Your Image with the New Nokia Megapixel Phone

March 17, 2004 CeBIT news

Stylish and slim Nokia 7610 combines robust imaging capabilities with multiple smartphone features

HANOVER, Germany, Mar 17, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- On a makeshift catwalk, Nokia grabbed the spotlight at CeBIT 2004 with the introduction of the sleek Nokia 7610 imaging device, the company's first megapixel camera phone. Encased in fashionable dual-tone ruby and onyx-colored covers, the slim and stylish Nokia 7610 phone offers quick and convenient capturing, printing, storing and sending of photo-quality images and videos in addition to the benefits of the Series 60 Platform. The tri-band model is planned to be available during the second quarter of 2004 in two variants, GSM 900/1800/1900 and GSM 850/1800/1900. It is expected to retail for approximately EUR 500.

Printing is a breeze for users of the Nokia 7610 imaging device - pictures can be turned into prints in just a few seconds via a Bluetooth connection to a compatible printer or by using a printer kiosk available in Nokia branded retail locations or other photo shops. Using the Kodak Pictures application on the phone, pictures can be uploaded to a virtual photo album on the web and shared online with others or ordered as prints via an online service. The Nokia 7610 phone offers a 65,000 color screen for viewing still images and video captured by the integrated camera and watching real-time video streaming using the built-in RealOne mobile player. The megapixel (1152 X 864) camera features a high-quality lens, 4x digital zoom, and a self-timer. The Nokia 7610 imaging device also allows users to capture images in low-light conditions.

"Digital imaging has developed in ways that were unimaginable when digital cameras first entered the mainstream only five years ago. In 2003, the number of camera phones sold outnumbered digital cameras. We are now entering an era where camera phones will become mainstream imaging devices," says Juha Putkiranta, Nokia's Senior Vice President, Imaging Business Unit. "With the introduction of the Nokia 7610, Nokia's first megapixel imaging device, capturing spontaneous print-quality images no longer requires a separate camera. Your megapixel camera is now always in your pocket, built into your phone."

The Nokia 7610 is designed specifically for consumers who create trends, not follow them. More than simply sharing pictures with friends and family, Nokia 7610 users can create short films or even music videos of up to 10 minutes by shooting and editing the footage captured with their imaging device. By using the Movie Director application, users can, for the first time, turn video clips captured with their Nokia 7610 into personal movies by adding special effects such as music, text, new colors or moving objects. The application automatically combines multiple video clips into a single video vignette or optimizes the edited videos for MMS sending.

Another innovative concept available for the Nokia 7610 is the Nokia Lifeblog application, which adds an automatic digital diary to the pockets of trendsetters. The phone application records and organizes digital content - such as images, videos or messages - creating a personal logbook or multimedia memo directly on the phone. When transferred to Nokia Lifeblog on the PC, people can browse and search their multimedia diary in an easy to use timeline or share diary items with friends or family via email. Additionally, the Adobe(R) Photoshop(R) Album software included in the sales package allows Nokia 7610 phone users to organize and edit digital pictures on their PC's.

The other key features of the Nokia 7610 include rich Multimedia Messaging, email, and MP3/AAC music player, Internet browser, 72MB of expandable memory, USB, Bluetooth connectivity and support for Java technology. The small and sleek 118 gram and 93cc phone offers up to 3 hours talk-time and 250 hours of standby time. With a wide selection of applications designed for Series 60 based devices, people can customize their Nokia 7610 imaging phones with the applications they require to be most creative.

About Nokia

Nokia is the world leader in mobile communications, driving the growth and sustainability of the broader mobility industry. Nokia is dedicated to enhancing people's lives and productivity by providing easy-to-use and secure products like mobile phones, and solutions for imaging, games, media, mobile network operators and businesses. Nokia is a broadly held company with listings on five major exchanges.

Pictures of the Nokia 7610 imaging device and pictures taken with the Nokia 7610 are available at www.nokia.com/press

SOURCE: Nokia

Nokia Group
Nokia, Multimedia
Communications
Tel. +358 7180 45751
or
Nokia
Communications
Tel: +358 7180 34900
Email: press.office@nokia.com
www.nokia.com

Posted by Craig at 02:32 PM

February 26, 2004

Wi-Fi and Airports

Wireless computer users rush to take advantage of free access at Pittsburgh International's food courts

Thursday, February 26, 2004
By Corilyn Shropshire, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Balancing his silver Macintosh laptop like a waiter with a tray of dishes, businessman Vito Palmieri paced the floor searching for an Internet signal.

Pam Panchak, Post-Gazette
Anand Rao takes advantage of extra time and the free wireless internet access at the Pittsburgh International Airport food court while waiting on his flight.
Click photo for larger image.

He finally found one, just a few steps away from his table at Pittsburgh International Airport, which offers travelers wireless fidelity or "Wi-Fi" Internet access in its food courts.

That Palmieri and other air travelers can get online while cooling their heels is not unusual. Wireless networking is as common as last-minute air fare deals, with some 150 airports around the world offering such service.

What is remarkable is that at Pittsburgh International, Wi-Fi users can surf the Web free of charge. Most airports charge user fees, which typically run from $7 to $10.

Salt-and-pepper-haired Indiana University of Pennsylvania professor Don McPherson, who moonlights as a labor arbitrator, recently sat tapping away on his laptop near the airport McDonald's before jetting off to his final destination -- a meeting in Cincinnati.

McPherson, who lives in Indiana, Pa., was able to check the weather at his destination city and quickly browse his work and home e-mail accounts. Without the airport's free Wi-Fi access, he said, he wouldn't have bothered.

"It probably wouldn't be worth it. I wouldn't pay just to check e-mail."

Scenarios such as McPherson's are what airport general manager Tony Gialloreto hoped would happen with no-fee Wi-Fi. "If you only have a delay from a half-hour to an hour, it's not worth it for the traveling public to pay a fee."

The goodwill that free Wi-Fi creates can only add to the airport's reputation for service and innovation, Gialloreto said. If it also helps passengers linger a little longer and spend a little more at the Airmall and other attractions, all the better.

The airport introduced free Wi-Fi with little fanfare in October and plans to expand the service to include all of the A, B and part of the C concourses sometime this year. Whether the service remains free has yet to be determined and will depend largely on whether the airport's cost for providing it rise much.

Deploying the network, which involved installing box-like radio transmitters, cost the airport less than $20,000. But maintaining, servicing and expanding the network could prove to be more costly. Pittsburgh International will begin charging for Wi-Fi only if it becomes saddled with operation costs, Gialloreto said.

Brian Grimm, spokesman for the Wi-Fi Alliance, a Wi-Fi network industry group, said travelers have come to expect connectivity in airports -- as well as in coffeehouses, restaurants and just about anywhere else where people gather. He said Pittsburgh International's decision to make it free was "cool" and affirms the airport's reputation as being "on the leading edge."

For Anand Rao, who recently received a doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University, the free Wi-Fi provided something to do as he waited for a flight that eventually would take him to his home in Pune, India. "I'm not working on anything. It's just a good thing to pass time," he said with a laugh as he crouched over his laptop while sitting in the food court.

Airport food courts typically are filled with harried travelers slurping down drinks and gobbling food, but at Pittsburgh International recently, many were like Rao, tapping away at a computer with one hand and holding a sandwich in the other. "The first thing I did was e-mail my friends that I'm using the Internet in the airport," said Rao.

(Corilyn Shropshire can be reached at cshrosphire@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1413.)


'I'll have a sandwich with my Wi-Fi, please'

Posted by Craig at 07:58 PM

December 04, 2003

Bluetooth/IR Digital Prints

Kiosks will allow mobile camera phone users to beam their images to the kiosk using Bluetooth or Infrared (IrDA) technologies

Camera phone photo printing goes nationwide

The USA based pharmacy, CVS has announced plans to introduce mobile image printing capabilities at KODAK Picture Maker kiosks at more than 3,000 stores throughout the USA. The service, to be available in early 2004, will make CVS the first national retailer to offer customers the ability to print pictures from their image-enabled mobile phones.

Earlier this year, CVS successfully introduced "Pictures from your Digital Camera" from KODAK Picture Maker kiosks, enabling customers to produce photo-quality prints from digital media including camera cards, CDs and disks. Starting in early 2004, enhancements to the KODAK Picture Maker kiosks will allow mobile camera phone users to beam their images to the kiosk using Bluetooth or Infrared (IrDA) technologies. Customers can then edit, enhance, and print their photos in minutes.

"Our research shows that consumers have a strong desire to print their digital pictures at retail. Next year, there will be tens of millions of camera phones in use capturing billions of images. The Kodak Picture Maker kiosk is an ideal way for people to print pictures at retail from digital cameras or camera phones," said Chris Sliva, Output Business Manager, US&C, Consumer & Professional Imaging, Eastman Kodak Company. "As the overall number of digital images captured - whether through digital cameras or mobile phones -- continues to grow, we want to make it as easy as possible to have access to and print these pictures where and when they want," Sliva said.

At the kiosk, customers will use a simple touch screen to preview and select only the photos they want to print, choose sizes and quantities, and make image enhancements such as red-eye reduction. Prints will be ready for pick-up upon checkout. New 3" x 4" and 1.5" and 2" photo prints will be available from the enhanced kiosks.

CVS has approximately 4,100 stores in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Camera phone photo printing goes nationwide

Posted by Craig at 03:02 PM

December 03, 2003

Wi-Fi Planet Aggregated Show Press Releases


News Releases from Show

Posted by Craig at 08:30 PM

NTT DoCoMo announcing its intention to roll out service for Linux-based 3G handsets

Wireless News: DoCoMo Hands Linux Symbolic Victory

Posted by Craig at 08:28 PM

November 21, 2003

New Wireless Service from AT&T

AT&T Wireless launches EDGE service. Targets higher data transfer speeds

LAS VEGAS - U.S. mobile phone operator AT&T Wireless Services Inc. began offering services on its EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution) network Tuesday, promising higher data transfer speeds than any of its competitors with a national network.

The EDGE upgrade on its network allows users to transfer data with average speeds of between 100K bps (bits per second) and 130K bps, up to twice as fast as rival Sprint PCS on its "so-called 3G" service and three times faster than wired dial-up, AT&T Wireless executives said in a news conference at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas.

The ability to provide connections faster than 100K bps is key to business users, John Zeglis chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T Wireless said. "We have broken the speed barrier and we believe we have a distinct advantage in attracting and retaining customers," he said.

The AT&T Wireless EDGE service is available across the U.S. where AT&T Wireless offers GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) coverage, Zeglis said. Further expansion is planned, including in Canada where Rogers AT&T Wireless is upgrading its network, he said.

Limited use subscription plans for the EDGE service start at $19.99 and go up to $59.99 where the user gets 40M-byte data transfer allowance, said Andre Dahan president of mobile multimedia services at AT&T Wireless. An unlimited data transfer plan costs $79.99 monthly, he said.

Together with the service launch, AT&T announced the availability of a PC card for notebook computer users from Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB. The card costs $149.99 when bought with a two-year contract and after an unspecified rebate, AT&T Wireless said in a statement.

"The business for us is really laptop based, I think we will see mostly laptop adoption in the early phase," Zeglis said. AT&T Wireless would not give specific targets for the take up of its new service.

Still, in addition to the PC card, AT&T also sells the Nokia Corp. 6200 phone with EDGE support. In 2004 more hardware supporting the upgraded network will become available and AT&T Wireless is readying a new mMode plan that will allow users to download more information on the handset, including pictures and video clips, the company said.

article link


Posted by Craig at 02:33 PM

November 18, 2003

New Public Phones More Than Just Talk

New Yorkers and people just passing through can now go to a street corner kiosk to surf the Internet, check e-mails or have their photo taken by a Web cam, city officials announced yesterday.

New Public Phones More Than Just Talk
At 25 kiosks, folks can e-mail, surf Web, take photos

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By Shaya Mohajer
STAFF WRITER

November 17, 2003

New Yorkers and people just passing through can now go to a street corner kiosk to surf the Internet, check e-mails or have their photo taken by a Web cam, city officials announced yesterday.

The cost to the consumer: 25 cents a minute for Internet and e-mail use; 50 cents to have a digital photo captured by the high-tech telephone booth's Web cam and sent via e-mail; and $1 to create and send a video e-mail.

Twenty-five high-tech phone booths have been set up in Manhattan, each equipped with a keyboard, tracking ball, touch-screen and a Web cam in addition to a regular old telephone (at 25 cents for three minutes for local calls).

Coins or credit cards are both accepted.

"I think it's a great thing and very easy to use," said Mar Figuera, 37, who sent her parents in Barcelona an e-mail message with a video showing her blowing a kiss from a street corner booth at 43rd Street and Fifth Avenue - one of the 25 TCC Teleplex kiosks announced yesterday by the telephone company's president Dennis Novick as well as the city's commissioner of information technology and telecommunications, Gino Mencini.

The ATM-like booths, approved under a city franchise agreement, allow users to go on line to government or tourist web sites (www.nyc.gov or www.nycvisit.com) free of charge, officials said.

The British company Marconi Interactive Systems developed the Web phone booth technology and has sold such kiosks to telephone companies worldwide, from Bangkok to Rome. New York is the first major city to try them, with local officials promising more if they prove popular.

"If you can't remember where a particular restaurant is, or if you're looking for a festival or something to do in the city, you can look up guides, restaurant reviews, movie trailers or retrieve an e-mail," said Novick.

Mencini said the new phone booths "are going to be great for tourism and great for New Yorkers." According to Novick, ordinary pay phones in New York City are used 250,000 times a day, a sharp decline from the days before cell phones. These days, half of New Yorkers now own cell phones, he said.

"During the blackout this past year, for two days, two things were working in New York City: flashlights and pay phones," Novick said.

Posted by Craig at 12:05 AM

November 17, 2003

New U.S. Mobile Imaging Service

Eastman Kodak Company today announced agreements that will provide mobile imaging services to help people store, share, organize and print their digital images.

US : Eastman Kodak Company today announced agreements that will provide mobile imaging services to help people store, share, organize and print their digital images, moves that will make the familiar Kodak brand a leader in this new category.

This market is rapidly growing, according to projections by market research firms such as IDC, which forecasts more than a billion camera-enabled mobile phones in use over the next three years.

Kodak will provide imaging services for Cingular Wireless and has also entered into agreements with wireless leader Nokia to help customers get more out of their camera phones. KODAK Mobile Service offers camera phone users anytime, anywhere access to all of their digital photos and phone-captured video.

In addition, Kodak extends its leadership in the kiosk market by enabling KODAK Picture Maker kiosks at participating retail locations with mobile printing capabilities and five-second printing with superior KODAK PERFECT TOUCH premium processing.

Cingular subscribers with camera phones and multimedia messaging service (MMS) are able to store and access their mobile images at KODAK Mobile Service directly through their handsets for a monthly subscription fee of $2.99, charged through their monthly service bill. Cingular MMS customers can sign up for KODAK Mobile Service by visiting www.cingular.com/mms and can enjoy a 90-day free trial of the service prior to the subscription billing.

Kodak is also expanding its relationship with Nokia, the leading handset maker, to create seamless links from select versions of the NOKIA 3600 Series camera phones to the KODAK Mobile Service. Nokia users can sign up for the service at www.nokia.kmobile.com.

"Kodak has led innovation in the imaging industry for more than a century and currently holds the No.1 market share position for photo kiosks at retail and online photofinishing through Ofoto," said Bernard Masson, president, Digital and Film Imaging Systems, and senior vice president, Eastman Kodak Company. "As an example of Kodak's aggressive pursuit of the digital imaging market, these new services and agreements place Kodak at the forefront of the mobile imaging industry, with products and services that help people take, view, print and share pictures wherever they are, whenever they want. Whether online or through kiosks at retail locations, Kodak's mobile imaging services now give consumers places to print all their mobile images."

KODAK Mobile Service
KODAK Mobile Service is an easy-to-use, comprehensive service for the growing number of camera phone users to make, manage and move all of their digital pictures and mobile-captured video on the go. With KODAK Mobile Service, consumers can:

Intuitively store and organize all their pictures and phone-captured video in one location;
Share all their digital and mobile pictures with friends and family right from their camera phone;
View all their digital pictures and phone-captured video on the go.
Anyone with a camera or image-enabled phone that supports WAP 2.0 can begin using KODAK Mobile Service, which can be accessed by computer or handset browser at www.kmobile.com.

KODAK Mobile Service is currently available free for trial initially to customers in the U.S. After the trial, customers can subscribe to the service on a monthly or annual basis through a participating carrier or directly through KODAK Mobile Service. Customers should check with their carriers for specific pricing and availability or visit www.kmobile.com for further information.

Kiosks Offer Mobile Image Printing at Retail
Capitalizing on Kodak's installed base of 24,000 kiosks across the country, Kodak will offer convenient solutions for consumers at retail to print digital images through the enablement of KODAK Picture Maker kiosks using Bluetooth or infrared technologies. Camera phone users will be able to beam their images to a KODAK Picture Maker and quickly edit, enhance and print their images. Users simply take a picture with their mobile imaging-enabled phone, insert their memory card or select the wireless option and send the photo to a KODAK Picture Maker kiosk. Consumers then follow the on-screen kiosk directions to easily print their pictures. CVS/Pharmacy will be the first national retailer to provide this offering beginning in early 2004 as part of its continued effort to provide easy-to-use digital printing solutions to their customers.

Kodak is expanding its global partnership with Nokia to the U.S. and together they will engage in a number of co-marketing activities in 2004, beginning with the 2004 Nokia Sugar Bowl. Nokia and Kodak also will jointly develop kiosk printing services and other retail printing solutions to empower mobile users to turn their favorite pictures into prints.

Continuing to innovate its kiosk offering, Kodak will offer five-second printing of 4x6-inch prints from KODAK Picture Maker kiosks. This offers consumers increased ease of use and convenience with prints five times faster than current print options. In addition, all thermal printer-enabled digital KODAK Picture Maker kiosks will be equipped with KODAK PERFECT TOUCH premium processing so each photo reveals more vibrant colors, richer detail and fewer dark shadows. These new services and wireless enablement will be available to consumers by January 2004 at participating retailers.

Posted by Craig at 03:05 PM