Did I get your attention? Good, because RIM isn’t dead, just the name. RIM, creators of the Blackberry line of smartphones, has now dropped their business name for simply “Blackberry”. The change makes sense, since most people, when talking about RIM devices, reference them as Blackberry anyway. This announcement was the first of many in a big press event yesterday to celebrate Blackberry 10 release. What is Blackberry 10 and what else did they show off? Learn more after the break!
I am not sure about you, but now that it is getting colder outside here in the Philadelphia area – the first thing I do in the morning is check the weather. I was recently searching the net and found an interesting trend emerging on the other side of the world in Japan. According to research by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), about 20 percent of Japanese check forecasts on their new or refurbished smartphones. The thing is the people of Japan are not only looking up the weather, but they are now voting on it. Several weather services are competing via the official portals of cell- phone companies: DoCoMo’s i-mode iMenu, KDDI au’s EZweb and SoftBank Mobile’s Yahoo! Keitai. All of those services, provide basic information, such as today and tomorrow’s weather predictions, but the majority of the sites mentioned have a pay-for-service as well. Continue reading »
Now that we’ve come stumbling blindly into the 21st Century, flailing our arms, and screaming at the top of our lungs to be satisfied and pampered until we can melt into a state of irreversible serenity, mobile devices and cell phones have surpassed luxury items and become a necessity to properly function within a harsh and judgmental society. But as this metamorphosis occurs, another movement pushes through: the Green movement. And while it’s no secret that cell phones, mobile devices, and computers are not “green,” many seem to turn a blind eye to the increased level of plastics and metals and choose in favor of productivity.
Well that’s fine. A society needs to be productive to advance, and nothing screams productivity like having access to global communication and networking at the touch of a handy button.
First of all, there are the materials. From plastics to the rare, powdery precious metal tantalum (mined primarily in Central Africa, where it’s become implicated in local exploitation and violence and is now known as a conflict material), cell phone materials present a variety of environmental and even human rights issues. Kinda like “blood diamonds,” but in higher demand.
Then there’s energy use. Smartphones are especially notorious energy hogs, with most models rarely getting more than a day of usage without some pretty drastic energy-saving strategies. It’s not just the obvious charging that takes up electricity and energy that increases a carbon footprint, but the cell usage and data transfer when multiplied millions and millions of times can drastically increase energy output.
All of this electricity consumption adds up to greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, this all depends on how often you use your device, but with great apps comes great responsibility–and telling an iPhone user how often and to what extent he can use his Applications is like trying to take guns and Bibles away from rednecks.
Aware that cell phones have an eco image problem, nearly all cell phone manufacturers, U.S. wireless carriers and office supply or electronics vendors now offer recycling programs (both in-store and mail-in) where they’ll take back your used phone for free and recycle the materials as much as possible.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides links to many vendor-sponsored programs.
Keeping your used cell phones out of landfills is one important way to green your cell phone use. But green is the color of money, too. You can make money by selling your used cell phone for reuse, either directly to a friend or charity, or through a verified Trade-In program.
An even greener (and generally cheaper) option is to buy a used cell phone rather than a new one. If you don’t absolutely need all the latest features, you can probably get a good price on a model in good condition that’s a year or less old.
This summer, the UK wireless carrier O2 presented its first eco ratings of popular mobile phones. This effort proved controversial because Apple (maker of the iPhone) and Research in Motion (maker of the world’s most popular smartphone, the BlackBerry) declined to participate.
However, RIM says it will participate next year. And some are questioning why several smartphones made it onto O2′s eco-friendly phone list.
Back in the U.S., it may soon get easier to tell which cell phones are really green. UL Environment Inc. (part of Underwriters Laboratories) is designing its initial sustainability standards for cell phones. The draft standards are due out in late 2010.
While we wait to discover new ways to increase the quality of our mobile devices while decreasing our carbon footprint, keep a few things in mind: When using your cell phone, keep in mind that texting is your most energy-efficient (and thus eco-friendly) communication option. Or if possible, call from an old-fashioned land line instead — that uses far less power to transmit calls.
When we discuss cell phones and mobile devices, our main concerns involve new applications, quick internet access, and (often way in third place) voice service. One of the most overlooked aspects about having our entire lives wrapped up in one pocket-sized device is that after a prolonged period of use (or non-use), the battery will eventually drain–leaving us in a post-apocalyptic frenzy, out of communication with the rest of the world.
Is there any conceivable way to keep our devices alive without the chore of plugging them into our walls or cars?
Fortunately, we’ve got our best men on the job.
Communication Technology company Qualcomm has developed a pad that would emit a small amount of energy which would charge mobile devices without the need to plug them in. Each cell phone, smartphones or related device would be equipped with a special sustainable battery which would act as a beacon for this direct energy. This cuts out the “plugging in” step, but one would still need to have an easily accessible docking station to charge their device.
But what if this energy field were all around us? What if every time we entered a building (or enclosed area), every electronic device we were carrying instantly began to charge. Scary thought?
Not according to Intel. Our energy innovators have come a long way since Nikola Tesla–who incidentally dreamed up this who concept in the late 1800′s. The concept of energy fields is working its way back onto the table, but it’s been “on the table” since 1940, so let’s not count our chickens.
Why Tesla? Why now? Well, we are an energy-hungry society. Our newest and coolest devices, the iPhone, iPad, and Sprint EVO are severe power hogs–and at the rate we are advancing, we need a stronger energy source…and fast!
Kids these days get a lot of tough talk from the previous generations. Smart phones, video games, and computerized entertainment have a stronghold on the youth of today–and to quote the great Willard Christopher Smith, “Parents just don’t understand.”
Where the leisure and necessary daily activities of your parents and grandparents had trained them for their lives ahead, technology rules and guides this generation.
According to statistics gathered by www.PewInternet.org, kids are utilizing the available technologies especially smartphones for everything from education to play; and they are accessing these internet tools at younger and younger ages. Kids are connecting to others through Smart Phones predominantly–but they also use home entertainment consoles (Playstation, Xbox, Wii) and portable consoles (Nintendo DS, PSP).
While these outlets for entertainment also provide kids with access to more information and interactivity than ever before, they also create several emerging concerns for parents; amongst which are Cyberbullying, ‘Sexting,’ Cheating, and texting while driving (among the 16+ crowd).
While it is true that technology has perhaps become an overpowering and dominant force in the lives of young children, the progress must be accepted with the newly created issues.
Children are getting smarter faster, learning problem solving skills earlier, and improving certain aspects of their communication skills. We’ve hit an enormous plateau of consumer technology–and your children had better embrace it, or be left behind.