#TBT: Virtual palm readings; Verizon, Qwest duel on MCI; Cell phone growth issues…this week in 2005

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News is pulling out all the stops for Throwback Thursdays, drawing from our archives to resurrect top headlines from the past. Turn on the time machine, put on those sepia hues, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Virtual palm readings! Just send a picture message

London-UK wireless subscribers with camera phones can submit a picture of their hands for a palm reading, a UK psychic TV channel said on Thursday. Your Destiny TV is behind the service, which reads photos of users’ palms and sends text messages along with the reading. The palm reader app is available to subscribers of carriers O2, Vodafone, Orange, 3 and T-Mobile for $5.84 per reader. The broadcaster said a recent trial of the offer saw “an encouraging number” of users submitting photos for a perusal. … Read more

Wireless internet usage is skyrocketing

NEW YORK — The number of wireless internet users grew 29% last year, according to research by market research firm Ipsos. “The Face of the Web” study is based on interviews in 12 global markets with over 6,500 adult respondents. According to the report, around 171 million people, or around 44% of internet users, accessed the internet through a wireless device. Japan has been a leader in growth among adults using the Internet over a wireless connection, according to the report. Wireless Internet has also gained popularity in Western Europe, South Korea and urban China, according to the report. The report found that in general, more adults are going online with a mobile device rather than a laptop to connect to the Internet wirelessly. Other results include a 21% growth in the use of email on mobile phones and a growth of more than 40% in the exchange of videos and images and Internet browsing on mobile devices. Mobile commerce apps also saw growth, with wireless online shoppers doubling and wireless online bankers increasing by 60%. … Read more

Aircell demonstrates an in-flight ATG link for personal cell phones

LOUISVILLE, Colo.-AirCell said it will begin conducting flight demonstrations in July with a prototype of its system that allows commercial airline passengers to use their own mobile devices while in flight on an air-to-ground link at broadband. AirCell plans to deploy its AirCell broadband system commercially next year and said the summer demonstrations will mark an important milestone in the company’s development program. The system provides a dedicated broadband terrestrial air-to-ground link, which the company says is a lower-cost alternative to currently available satellite options. The demonstration will use a small number of ground cell sites that will be temporarily equipped with antennas and electronics for the demonstration. The system will also use an Iridium satellite link to extend coverage, a cabin picocell that will allow passengers to make calls from their own wireless phones, and a cabin telecommunications router that provides wireless connectivity for laptops and computers. personal digital assistants equipped with Wi-Fi. … Read more

When $20 a Year Could Get You “Every Video Available”

Microsoft Corp. will provide daily downloadable video content, including news, sports and entertainment programming for Windows Mobile devices, the company announced Wednesday. MSN Video Downloads will provide a mobile subscription TV service featuring content from channels including FOX Sports, MTV Networks, Napster Inc., Food Network and IFILM Corp. MSNBC.com will provide updated news segments throughout the day, and other channels will provide children’s programming, comedy clips and music videos. A limited amount of free content will be available; $20 annual fee buys access to all available videos. Paid subscribers can select the content they would like to receive from the service’s website. … Read more

Verizon, Qwest duel for MCI acquisition

MCI Inc.’s board of directors elected to accept Verizon Communications Inc.’s increased offer for the company, again rejecting Qwest Communications International Inc.’s larger takeover bid. Verizon increased its bid for MCI of nearly $1 billion and included a clause in the contract to protect MCI investors against a drop in Verizon’s stock price. In February, MCI accepted an $6.75 billion offer from Verizon, but Qwest sought to snatch MCI from Verizon with an $8.45 billion offer for the carrier. Qwest said it would consider its options following Verizon’s increased supply. “We respect Verizon’s right to change the composition and value of its offer, but we still believe our proposal creates superior shareholder value,” Qwest said in a statement. The carrier’s takeover bid ends April 5. “We will assess the situation and determine what is in the best interests of shareholders, customers and employees.” Verizon’s new $7.6 billion takeover bid is still lower than Qwest’s. However, MCI again pointed to Verizon’s financial stability and wireless assets as reasons for accepting the carrier’s offer. … Read more

Cingular sells ‘American Idol’ chat service

ATLANTA-Cingular Wireless and Telescope Inc. announced a new premium short message service chat feature for fans of the American Idol TV show. The companies are offering two chat services during this season of “American Idol.” The first, Idol Chat, allows fans of the series to chat with other fans. Idol Interview allows fans to interview famous guests who feature on the show. To use the chat services, Cingular customers submit their usernames and agree to pay the charges that will appear on their mobile phone bills. Then they can enter chat rooms where they send and receive messages on their cordless handsets via text messaging. All messages are read and approved by moderators to eliminate any inappropriate messages. … Read more

Crown Castle eyes mobile TV

As a tower operator, Crown Castle International Inc. ventures into less familiar surroundings as an enabler of what could become a major application in the wireless industry: mobile TV. By a stroke of luck, the company acquired a spectrum license in 2003, making it the only tower company with authority over the 1670 to 1675 MHz spectrum bands. Crown Castle has over 10,000 towers and holds an unencumbered national spectrum. “It was an opportunistic purchase at an attractive price,” noted Jay Brown, spokesperson for the tower operator. But the company doesn’t see mobile TV as a big driver of its revenue, even as major carriers, device makers, content providers and equipment vendors are angling for a piece of the burgeoning mobile TV business. “It won’t be big enough to be a big feature,” he said. Indeed, the company has announced its intention to bring in strategic partners and already has a few: Nokia Corp. and Samsung Electronics. Nokia will supply the GSM phones while Samsung will supply the CDMA phones. In the area of ​​chips, CCI is working with Texas Instruments Inc. CCI and Nokia are already testing the technology in Pittsburgh and plan to begin service deployments in some major US markets in 2005. Testing is also underway in New York. “We don’t want to compete with our customers,” Brown said. CCI “is not going to end up being an operator”, agreed Michael Thelander of Signals Research, adding that “someone else is going to come in, an operator or someone new”. He added: “It comes down to better utilization.” … Read more

More capabilities, more problems in smartphones

T-Mobile USA Inc. has suspended sales of the Hewlett-Packard Co. iPAQ h6315 smartphone due to unexplained software bugs, a move that illustrates the extremely advanced levels of technology built into high-end devices as well as the risks carriers face. face when selling them. Wireless far exceeds the rest of the consumer electronics industry in technical complexity. Unlike plasma TVs, laptops, satellite radios, or MP3 players, high-end wireless devices combine multiple radios, software platforms, and hardware innovations into portable gadgets that are smaller than most cordless phones. . But wireless both benefits and suffers from its position at the forefront of science and high-tech engineering. The sales cycle in the wireless industry has shrunk to a window of just a few months, and industry players must constantly balance customer demands with competitive concerns. Nevertheless, the lure of a booming market and the promise of boasting a successful product has attracted many competitors. PalmOne Inc., Research In Motion Ltd., Motorola Inc., Nokia Corp., Sierra Wireless Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Danger Inc., Siemens AG, and more recently HP have all dabbled in smartphones. market in hopes of achieving gadget greatness. Some have achieved modest success, while others have struggled. T-Mobile and HP said they are working on a software upgrade for the iPAQ h6315 “that will provide an improved customer experience,” T-Mobile said in a statement. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archive for more stories from the past.

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