Archive for Mobile from United Kingdom

Cambridge’s Nokia Labs Key Research Areas

by on July 10, 2009 at 3:58 pm

I’m at Nokia Labs in Cambridge England looking at their latest innovations under the hood. Four Key research areas for them include: rich context modeling, new user interfaces, high performance mobile platforms and cognitive radio.

We looked at smart surface materials that externally control color change as well as nano sensing in future mobile devices.

Jani Kivioja Director of Tech at Nokia Research Center in Cambridge

Consider the mobile opportunities with over 3 billion mobile subscribers today. The Labs folks tout an outstanding statistic: up to 90% of the 6 billion people on earth will have mobile coverage by 2010. Note the adjective coverage, not mobile phones.

We also covered physical and digital worlds from personal to global sensor information.

Below Nokia’s head of social media worldwide: Mark Squires in Cambridge.

Mike-Squires head of social media for Nokia globally at Cambridge Nokia Labs (2)

Europe no longer leads in mobile

by on July 10, 2009 at 1:52 am

When I first started visiting Europe about 15 years ago Europeans used to love taunting me with their wonderful new phones that were, back then, years ahead of the devices we’d get in the United States.

It was a point of regional pride that even though Silicon Valley and Microsoft had thoroughly run away with the technology industry that Europe still had one industry that they could point to and say “you can’t take it all.”

Today that no longer is true and, worse, Europe is stuck in a texting rut.

What happened? Europe started buying its own hype and today its citizens are stuck using phones that are way behind those from Google, Apple, and Palm. (more…)

Backstage Pass- Login, login, login

by on July 9, 2009 at 7:23 am

BT Mobile Broadband - USB modemI estimated last night that I spend 1/3 of my time trying to debug and solve connectivity issues[1] both at home and on the road. Though perhaps when I’m at home, more of that 1/3 goes toward updating software[2].

Please note – This video isn’t intended to put anybody on the spot, but when Susan was having so much trouble on Monday getting connected to wi-fi at the Reboot Britain meeting, it just seemed like old times to me! At big meetings like this (several hundred people) the wi-fi is frequently the crunch. Just getting an IP address, and then being able to stay connected 30 minutes or more, can be a challenge. To their credit, the venue did have really good wi-fi signals in all of the rooms at the conference center! However, I stayed on my BT Mobile Broadband connection the entire time (the little illustration is their USB modem device), and though the bandwidth was challenged (inside a brick, steel, concrete building) it was reliable.


[1] Connectivity includes finding wi-fi, dealing with “blocking” problems (more on that later), spam overload, and helping others get connected (which is major).
[2] I probably update a program every 2 days. This isn’t just Microsoft Office, but dozens of other programs I use. I use MacUpdate as a paid service to notify me of updates, although I’d say that 1/2 of the programs I use will automatically alert me when updates are available.

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I help people have fun by peeping on their webcam from mobile. #WDYDWYD? #TG2009

by on July 6, 2009 at 2:51 pm
I help people have fun by peeping on their webcam from mobile.

I help people have fun by peeping on their webcam from mobile.

Reaching Theoretical Broadband Link Speeds (in the US)

by on July 3, 2009 at 8:11 am

Comcast speed visualizationI’ve just spent 48 hours “beating myself up” over the Comcast (cable) high-speed Internet system here in San Francisco. I say beating myself up because I was so convinced the problem was Comcast that I spent hours on the phone with them, but ultimately most of the problems were in my own network. [Not all, but most.]

In US cities, the license to install and operate cable television networks is a city-granted monopoly. When cable TV was first being installed, each city opened a bidding process, and cable operators bid to be granted the franchise to install and operate the cable system in that particular city. If they won it, they then had exclusive rights. So in San Francisco, we have telephones provided by AT&T (which originally was Pacific Bell Telephone Company) and we have cable TV provided by ComCast (only – no other provider). Satellite TV lies outside this structure and is available everywhere on a competitive basis, but that’s a different issue.

Comcast also delivers Internet connectivity (and telephone service) via their cables. And that’s the rub.

Comcast suggests they can deliver broadband speeds of up to 12mbs (megabits per second). This kind of speed is pretty good, actually, and is lots higher than I can get on shared office connections at my client sites. It’s also faster than wi-fi can provide, so if you’re using wi-fi on your computer, the Comcast speed is kind of a moot point…it only affects me if I’m plugged into an Ethernet connection in the wall.

The thing I wanted to point out is the graph above showing (left to right) that Comcast give you huge speed when you first connect and start downloading a file (for example) and then it slacks off to a slower speed. It gives you the impression of quick download by starting the transfer really quickly – and if the file is small, you‘ll get it quickly, but the rest of the file comes in at a more leisurely rate, although it is in fact pretty close to the advertised rate. In my case the rate was just under 8mbits/second.

Nokia’s Ovi Maps for Mobile and Web

by on June 19, 2009 at 8:58 pm

As part of our prep for London, we met with the Nokia Ovi Maps team late last month to learn a bit more about their mobile and web apps. Ovi maps allow you to see the world in new ways with 3D, satellite and terrain views, weather, information and more.

ovi-maps-2Features include collections, which allow you to collect and store your favorite routes or destinations for quick and easy access. You can also search for new places from restaurants to remote towns and the service helps you with routing prior to your trip as well as navigation on-the-ground.

You can do all your pre-planning on the desktop if you’d like, save your favorites into collections, and then sync up with your mobile device so you can later navigate using the same information when you arrive at your final destination.

They currently have 216 cities worldwide and 30 landmarks per city. “If you do a really deep dive into the maps, you may not really want to see labels, but its something you can turn on and off easily depending on your preference,” said Berlin-based Jörg Malang, head of Ovi Maps for Nokia.

There’s also a very cool terrain view which gives you views of mountains and landscape.

Maps 3.0, the latest version, which came out in the first quarter of this year, includes hi-resolution satellite and terrain maps in 2D and 3D views and you can walk with enhanced pedestrian routing and features.

You can download updated maps for free anytime from over the 200 countries and of those 200, roughly 74 are navigable today (meaning you can do real-time pedestrian and car navigation in those countries).

You can also share locations with your friends but you can’t yet export or have multiple profiles, that is if you don’t want those two profiles to be synced with each other. Sharing features are coming in the not too distant future however.

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