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Friday, March 4, 2011

This week at The Fonecast: 5th March 2011

Mark Bridge writes:

It’s hardly worth mentioning the new iPad, is it? Not because I’m unimpressed – although I’d describe it as more of an upgrade than a brand-new product – but because everyone else has been talking about it so much. And we’ll be doing some more talking in Wednesday’s podcast, so let’s move on!

Until the launch of iPad 2, the hot topic in the UK involved the disappearance of Vodafone’s network in the south of England. A very literal disappearance; equipment was stolen from the company’s Basingstoke exchange after it was ram-raided. Voice and text services were back online around 12 hours later, which – depending on your perspective – was either pretty impressive or disappointingly slow.

Other bad news this week came from the Android Market, where more than 50 applications were waiting to steal your personal data. They’ve all gone now, thanks to prompt action from Google – although, as many have pointed out, it’s unlikely this would have ever happened in the Apple App Store.

In cheerier news, mobile ticket technology company Masabi says the mobile rail ticket application it developed for thetrainline.com now works on most smartphones and feature phones. The next step is the creation of on-screen tickets… just as soon as rail operators start supporting this feature. It seems the ‘mobile wallet’ really is getting closer.

That’s certainly the impression James and I gained at Mobile World Congress last month. In this week’s podcast we talked about the mobile payment and m-commerce products that were on show – and there’s an interview with Mary Carol Harris of Visa Europe.

From mobile-connected credit cards to mobile-connected air conditioning. A partnership between Vodafone and Bosch plans to make it easier for companies to deploy M2M (or ‘machine-to-machine’ connections, for those who prefer real words). Apparently lifts, escalators and air-con units could soon come with their own SIM card.

Other partnerships in the news included Motorola Mobility investing in mobile game developer Moblyng, Facebook acquiring mobile messaging service Beluga, Nokia and the Vietnamese government, Opera and INQ – and Qualcomm and Gameloft.

But perhaps I’m wasting my time telling you all this. After all, it’s the National Day of Unplugging on Saturday. Haven’t you switched off yet?


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