Archive for June, 2009

Erotic iPhone apps: yes or no?

Last week, the discussion about whether or not erotic/porn mobile apps should be allowed in the Apple App Store lit up again.  The App Hottest Girls seemed to had made it through Apple’s strict censorship controls, even though it showed erotic images of – you guessed it – the hottest girls.
As the developers got a bit too euphoric and exclaimed having ‘the  first officially sanctioned iTunes app to contain topless photos’, it soon created a buzz and ended up being censored by Apple after all.

While some claim that the App Store should remain ‘clean’ of such applications, others are argumenting that it’s useless to censor out erotic/porn from the apps, while the iPhone allows Internet access to plenty of that.  The latest iPhone model also allows to set parental controls and age restrictions.

Besides, how long will Apple resist to include the most profitable content there is in the online world?

So erotic apps on your iPhone, yes or no?  Leave a comment and give us your say.

hottest-girls-iphone-app

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Facebook status updates via SMS

It’s becoming extremely popular these days: letting all your Facebook buddies know what exactly you’re doing at any moment of the day or night.  Status updates of your friends are displayed immediately when you log into the social networking site.

But what if you don’t connect for a while and you miss out on certain status updates?
A highly important need, according to Facebook (“Don’t be the last to know about what’s happening with your friends, family or co-workers just because you’re away from your computer.”)
So now you can subscribe to receive the status updates of certain friends, or from certain fan pages of groups, by SMS.  On every profile there’s now a link “Subscribe via SMS” so you can receive the updates of that person on your mobile.  You can also reply, which will appear as a comment.

If you log into your Belgian Facebook account, you won’t see that link just yet – the feature is only available in 18 countries so far, including the US, UK, South Africa, Indonesia and New Zealand.
Facebook also notes: “While Facebook does not charge for this service, your mobile-service provider’s standard text messaging rates will apply so be sure to check with your provider.”

facebook-status-sms

Search engine Bing for mobile

After introducing their new search engine to the world, Microsoft has now also launched a mobile version of Bing, which is available on your smartphone by surfing to m.bing.com.

Bing mobile features:
– Search options to find local resto’s and shops, local weather forecast, local movie times,…
– Interactive maps with turn-by-turn driving directions, current traffic conditions, …
– Mobile dashboard with stocks, traffic, weather, and movies
– Separate version for iPhone

bing-mobile-search

And indeed, it’s looking good on my colleague’s BlackBerry. Got the forecast for Brussels, which seemed pretty accurate, found a map with driving instructions, and when I do a search it neatly displays the first 2 web results and the first 2 image results.

Strangely, when I test with my Nokia Navigator, I only get the search option, without the other features, and the interface is in French without the option to change the language…  Is the Nokia Navigator not ‘smartphone enough’ for Bing?

The Phone House and HotGSM.be start with combined sales

In April, I reported about the decision of Europe that the Belgian ban on combined sales was not conform the European legislation.  Even though the Belgian law has not yet been adapted to officially allow combined sales, the first offerings can now be found on the market.

In a press release, the online store HotGSM.be claims to be the first to offer a free mobile phone for everyone who signs for a new mobile subscription.  The Phone House promotes a mini-PC, for which the reduction depends on the amount of additional services that are bought with it, such as insurance, internet subscription or Belgacom TV.

hotgsm-koppelverkoop

Less waiting lines for new iPhone 3G S

This past Saturday, Apple and AT&T stores throughout the US opened their doors to sell the new Apple 3G S smartphone, but waiting lines were a lot shorter, compared to last years sales of the iPhone 3G.  Not that it wasn’t a success, the lines were just shorter because many consumers were allowed to pre-order their new iPhone and to have it shipped to them or to come to pick it up at a certain hour.
UPDATE: Apple reports that 1 million iPhones 3G S were sold by Sunday.

While the new iPhone went on sale in 8 international markets this weekend, China – one of the largest mobile subscriber markets in the world – was not among them.   After months of negociating between Apple and China Mobile over the distribution of the iPhone in China, the deal didn’t go through because the Chinese operator refused Apple’s demand of between 20% and 30% of the mobile revenues.  Now, Apple has closed a deal with China Unicom and hopes to introduce the iPhone in China by the end of 2009 or early next year.

Mobistar has announced that the iPhone 3G S will be available in Belgium next Friday, June 26th.

iphone-mobistar

In other iPhone news: a survey by AdMob reveals that half of all iPhone and iPod Touch users use the mobile web more frequently than they read newspapers.   More than 40% also reports accessing the mobile web more often than browsing the Internet from their computers or listening to the radio.

Some interesting demographic differences between the two Apple devices:
iPhone users are generally older: 31 % of iPhone users are between the ages of 35 and 49, while the same age segment represents just 12% of iPod touch users. By contrast, 69% of iPod touch users are between the ages of 13 and 24, while the same segment makes up only 26% of iPhone users. In total, 74% of iPhone users are over the age of 25, compared to 31% of iPod touch users.
More than 70% of both iPhone and iPod touch users are male, while 46% of iPhone users have children, compared to 28% of iPod touch users.
78% of iPhone users claim an annual household income of at least $25,000, compared to 66% of iPod touch users.

Apple introduces new, faster iPhone 3G S

Apple has presented the new iPhone 3G S, with the ‘S’ of Speed.  Yes, the speed is supposed to be twice as high as for the previous iPhone 3G, enabling faster web page rendering and quicker application launches.

Apart from improved speed and performance, it promises longer battery life, a 3 megapixel camera, video recording and hands-free voice control.  It works with Apple’s new iPhone OS 3.0 and contains more than 100 new features including Cut, Copy and Paste, MMS, data tethering, Spotlight Search and landscape keyboard.

The Apple iPhone 3G S will arrive in US stores (Apple and AT&T) tomorrow.  A 16Gb version will be available at $199, while a 32Gb can be bought at $299.  The price of the  ‘old’ 8Gb iPhone 3G will be cut to $99.

Meanwhile, Mobistar has sent out a mailing to say that “details on the release of the new iPhone [in Belgium] will be available soon”.

iphone-3g-s

Belgacom and Alcatel-Lucent collaborate on mobile payments

Belgacom and Alcatel-Lucent are going to collaborate on a new business model for mobile payments via PingPing and the contactless services of Touchatag.   PingPing has recently been launched by Belgacom for mobile payment services, while Alcatel-Lucent developped Touchatag to offer Near Field Technology (NFC) technology.   The goal is to develop new applications for mobile payments.  Before the fall of this year, they hope to finish a system allowing a contactless card or a NFC-enabled mobile phone to give access to a large range of services.