Posts Tagged ‘ GPS ’

Mobile app to facilitate SMS Parking

Mobile-for, the Belgacom affiliate responsible for the SMS parking services in several Belgian cities, has launched a mobile application to facilitate this service.  The app, which can be tested in Leuven as from October 2009, can be downloaded on all Google Android enabled smartphones (which kinda limits the testing audience…)  In the coming months however, the app should be available for other smartphones, such as iPhone and Blackberry.

With the app, the user doesn’t have to sms his licence plate any longer.  He also knows the remaining parking time at all time.  The next release will also give GPS coordinates for the nearest parking automat and the occupancy status of parkings in the neighbourhood.

Early 2010, they will start a pilot project to pay your parking ticket through Ping.Ping’s NFC (Nearest Field Communication) technology.


Google Maps for mobile expands traffic coverage

Google announced it will extend its Maps for mobile traffic coverage to include all U.S. highways and arterials as part of an ambitious crowdsourcing effort to help drivers more efficiently reach their destination and influence legislative road planning decisions. According to Google, mobile users who choose to enable Google Maps with My Location send anonymous bits of data relaying updates on how fast they’re moving – Google combines that information with the speed of other phones on the road, collecting information from thousands of devices in the vicinity to create a portrait of live traffic conditions. That information is continuously combined and transmitted back to users in the Google Maps traffic layers. (more at Fierce Mobile)

I’ve been testing Google Maps while travelling in France, and it was pretty accurate in giving traffic conditions for the main axes.


Augmented Reality, the next big thing in mobile?

I was watching the presentation of Bruce Sterling on augmented reality. He describes it as the next big thing in mobile. That reminds me of the presentation of Marc Vanlerberghe (Google) on last year’s Web Goes Mobile seminar, who showed us a video of Wikitude:

The options indeed are endless. The video above shows us the opportunities for tourism; finding touristic and historical information from points of interest in your neighborhood. But it can go much further than that. Imagine you’re in a city that you’re unfamiliar with. Just use the GPS of your smartphone and find the nearest cash machine, hospital, Chinese restaurant, gas station, train station,… you name it! If the augmented reality browser connects to your social networks (facebook, linkedin, netlog,…), it can also find your friends in the neighborhood.

A good example of such a AR browser is Layar, which has announced its second generation browser a few days ago. Some of the new functionality: “For every Point of Interest (POI), several actions can be taken such as: linking to a mobile site for more information, playing a live location based trivia game, linking to a video or sound clip, clicking to call for reservations, and looking at a route description to the POI.”
Another interesting application offered by Layar: you hold up your smartphone in a city and the AR browser indicates all the houses for sale in the neighborhood.

Stop your stolen car by SMS

A month ago, we were driving our car with an iPhone, so why not stop a car by SMS?

Students engineering at the University of Saskatchewan , Canada have worked out a system that can be very useful if your car got stolen.  Basically, you send a SMS to the board computer of your car and tells the system that the car is over-heated, after which the vehicle will be immobilized.
To avoid accidents, the car won’t stop immediately, but it will be limited to 30 km/h.  When the thief stops the car, he won’t be able to start it again.  To complete the magic, the system will send a SMS message back with the GPS coordinates of the car’s current location.


Palm presents new Pre smartphone

10 years ago, Palm dominated the PDA world.  Unable to hold on to their top position, they have since been pushed aside by the iPhones and Blackberries of this world.  Now they’re back in the competition with their new smartphone, the Palm Pre.

The Pre, expected on the market this semester, sports a 3,1″ touch screen in combination with a full keyboard.  Its Web OS allows multitasking, a benefit over the iPhone.  Other features include a build-in GPS, a 3.1 megapixels camera and 8Gb of storage.  With its 140g, it sure is one of the light weights on the market.  More details on its features are expected later.


Netlog launches mobile application for iPhone

Social networking platform Netlog has launched an application for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch. Members can download the Netlog application onto their iPhone or iPod Touch to keep in touch with their network of friends wherever they go. The application allows them to connect with new people, send and receive messages, check and sign guestbooks and update their shouts.

By using the built-in GPS location capability of the iPhone, users can give their precise geographical details whenever they update their status. Users are also able to upload pictures from their devices onto Netlog. “Since Apple launched the iPhone, consumers have become very interested in possibilities of the mobile web. Providing them with a Netlog application – our first ever native mobile application – was the next step, so we are very happy that the application met with Apple’s rigorous standards,” said Lorenz Bogaert, CEO of Netlog.

He continued: “Our aim was to combine the strength and popularity of the Netlog platform with the flexibility of the iPhone and iPod Touch. This takes us fully into the mobile age, and opens up the network to a wider range of on-the-go opportunities.”

The application can be downloaded for

free from the iTunes store or from the Netlog website. 
It is currently already at no. 5 in the iTunes download chart!


RIM introduces touch screen on Blackberry Storm

Research In Motion (RIM) has presented their new Blackberry Storm. Most striking feature of this new mobile device is its touch screen, making the obvious comparison with rival Apple’s iPhone.

The touch screen of the Storm however is remarkably different because it’s ‘clickable’: when touched, the screen depresses slightly as if it’s a typewriter key. RIM president Mike Lazaridis described the touch-screen as a “truly tactile touch interface” which “solves the longstanding problem associated with typing on traditional touch-screens.”

To fence of the stiff competition of other recent smartphones (think Apple iPhone, Google’s T-Mobile G1, Samsung Omnia,…), the Blackberry Storm offers a large range of high level features, including 3G, HTML web browser, 3.2 megapixel camera, video camera, media player and GPS.

RIM hasn’t announced a release date yet but the Storm should become available before the Christmas holiday season. In the US, it will be linked with Verizon, while in Europe, India, Australia and New Zealand it will be available with a Vodafone subscription.

Yahoo! brings social networks together on mobile

Another big announcement at 3GSM Barcelona comes from Yahoo!. They are launching OneConnect, which should become the ultimate mobile link between social networks.

In today’s cyberworld, there are dozens of websites and tools for social networking, IM, and buddylisting: MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Mail, AOL,… to name a few. OneConnect checks the online status of your contacts on all these platforms at once and sends the incoming chat requests through to your mobile phone, keeping all the different information within the same window.
The application also uses geolocalisation (by GPS or by GSM signals) to locate the contacts. Their real-life position is then indicated on a map. This way you can be informed if one of your contacts is in your neighborhood.

The application could mean a huge increase in data traffic and therefore big business for Yahoo! and telecoms.

(Source: Datanews)
Yahoo OneConnect

Is the iPhone a phone ?

Steve Jobs has done it again: the introduction of the iPhone is without doubt THE event of 2007 in the telecom and internet world. How does a computer producer succeed in shaking up this market? What is so special about the iPhone?
The iPhone didn’t miss its entrance: on September 1st, only 74 days before the introduction, the 1 millionth iPhone was sold. It seems that Apple will easily obtain its target of 10 million sold devices by the end of 2008. Despite these phenomenal figures this introduction should be interpreted on a larger scale: in a market that sells about a billion mobile phones each year, the sales volume of the iPhone are thus far just a fraction.

Certain important innovations can largely explain the success of the iPhone: the simple usability through an innovative and very ingenious touch screen allows new possibilities without the need of keyboard or pencil. The splendid web browser and the simplicity to install widgets creates a bunch of possibilities for customization. The iPhone is also an immediate eye catcher because of its sober and very attractive design. Finally, the media hype – neatly orchestrated by Steve Jobs before the introduction – clearly didn’t miss its effect.

Apple iPhone

Yet we are convinced that the impact of the iPhone will be more than just a brief hype. For us, the iPhone isn’t primarily a phone, but rather a mobile internet device, targeted at a large mass market. The built-in automatic and powerful Wifi detector is an important element for this. It is expected that other mobile phone producers won’t wait long to introduce similar internet products on the market.

So will we all soon be walking around with an iPhone? Despite the fact that version 1.0 already offers an incredible amount of features, it won’t come to that so fast. For example, it is a pity that the current version of the iPhone only provides 2G (gprs, edge) access. In the European countries, where 3G is more and more the norm, this is an important handicap. To enthusiasm a larger mass market for the device – which is clearly the strategy of Apple – the high price tag will also have to be lowered a lot.

With the iPhone, Apple has caused yet another shock in the industry: the mobile operators, with whom exclusive distribution deals were set, pay Apple a fixed amount for each new subscription that is done by the iPhone. Initially, the iPhone was only offered in the States on the AT&T network. The devices were specifically secured for this. Soon however the first crack algorithms appeared online and currently there are more than 250.000 “unlocked” devices in use. Too bad for Apple and AT&T, because this means an important loss of revenue for both companies.

The impact of the iPhone on the development of the mobile internet on the consumer market will possibly even be bigger than the effect that the Blackberry caused on the business segment by making e-mail accessible on the mobile. The Nokia’s and SonyEricssons of this world won’t be erased by the iPhone, but Apple has once again put the standard at a very high level and will without a doubt give a strong impulse to the mobile internet.