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Ofcom says mobile contracts should ditch inflation-related price rises

Ofcom says mobile contracts should ditch inflation-related price rises

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom wants to ban inflation-related rises in phone and broadband contracts. Instead, it says any potential mid-contract price rises should be set out in pounds and pence.
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Global smartphone market is set for recovery, says new forecast

A new forecast from research specialists Canalys shows the smartphone market is set to recover next year. Worldwide shipments declined by 12% last year but that decline is expected to slow to 5% this year.
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Vodafone and Three plan to merge their UK businesses

Vodafone and Three plan to merge their UK businesses

New Hutchison/Vodafone network would be biggest UK operator

Vodafone Group plc and CK Hutchison Group Telecom Holdings Limited have agreed to combine their UK telecommunication businesses, respectively Vodafone UK and Three UK. The merger will create a large new network operator to compete with Virgin Media O2 and EE.
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UK mobile payment service Paym to close in March 2023

UK mobile payment service Paym will close on 7th March 2023. The service, which allowed users to make and receive payments using their mobile phone numbers, was launched in 2014.
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Qualcomm legal action moves forward in the UK

Qualcomm legal action moves forward in the UK

Which? seeks payout for Samsung and Apple smartphone owners

Consumer protection organisation Which? has been given permission by the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal to represent Apple and Samsung smartphone buyers in a legal case against chip manufacturer Qualcomm.
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Opinion Articles

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Printed interactive Bluetooth-enabled books and posters are just around the corner

Mark Bridge writes:

Imagine books that could automatically link with your tablet as you touched the pages. Or posters that reacted to your fingertips and displayed the results on your smartphone. It seems this kind of Bluetooth-enabled interactivity is just around the corner, thanks to tiny low-power processors and a patented printing process that doesn’t require specialised equipment.

In fact, next January’s International CES show will see a demonstration of QWERTY keyboards that cost just $10 (£6) and are printed on A4 paper.

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It’s achieved by combining the Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 ‘system on a chip’ with printing from Cambridge-based Novalia and low-power Bluetooth v4.0 technology. A small battery-powered electronics module is attached to the printed material.

For the keyboard demonstration, a 120mm x 25mm control module with 2 watch batteries is attached to a sheet of A4-size paper that’s been printed with conductive ink and has a printed touch matrix underneath. The electronics are just 2mm deep, while the keyboard can be just 0.005mm thick. Thanks to the low power required by Bluetooth 4.0, the batteries will last for up to 18 months.

Novalia has already demonstrated an eight-button ‘switchboard’ and a drum poster that can either offer standalone sound effects or will work via an iPhone app.

Dr Kate Stone, founder and CEO of Novalia, said “All of the above demos can be achieved with an electronics control module as thin as 2mm in thickness and support an X-Y printed touch-pad as thin as 50-microns. The really clever bit, however, is being able to literally print touch sensors, with no metallic wiring, using local existing print processes anywhere in the world, and so at very low cost. And the functionality of all of these devices is defined in software and so could be shipped digitally. In particular I would love to see this technology being used to make everyday physical objects we all know and love, such as books and traditional music packaging, that have recently been in terminal commercial decline, perhaps being updated and possibly even made relevant again. And low cost keyboards made of paper could also form part of charitable and NGO initiatives to enable even the poorest people in the developing world to access modern technology for the first time. The possibilities are endless.”

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