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February 25-26-27, 2009

Where did the

Lift is a series of events built around a community of doers and thinkers who get together in Europe and Asia to explore the social consequences of new technologies. Each conference is a chance to turn changes into opportunities by anticipating the major shifts ahead, and meeting the people who drive them. The theme of the 2009 edition is “where did the future go ?�. Where are the flying cars and laser guns we were promised ? What can we learn from the failed future to better prepare for the real changes ahead ? -> Register before Jan. 15, 2009 to get the early bird price! Laurent Haug

CEO Lift Conference

After three successful editions in Geneva, two events in South Korea, we are preparing for the 4th edition of Lift in Switzerland. Where did the future go ? We were told the future would be about mechanization and computerization leading to 3D flying virtual assistants, 1984-like nightmare or Asimov-inspired robots. We now realize the long-praised “21st century� may not materialize. The long-awaited videophones did not really take off, flying cars are still sci-fi, and we do not yet jack direct interfaces into a nervous system. That said, change happened but not necessarily where we thought it would. Although innovation is not always shiny and visible, things as fundamental as solidarity, love, or the way we inhabit our physical environment have evolved dramatically, calling for new approach to design meaningful new interactions. As some anthropologists recently claimed, it is as if we were stuck in a perpetual present, looking for the short-term. Lift09 will look at some of the changes in recent memory, and explore the potential directions as well as opportunities for the near future. -> Join us for three days of inspiration and networking in 2009 ! -> Archives of the different editions (including free videos of presentations) are available at the following address:

Nicolas Nova Editorial Manager

February 25-26-27, 2009


future go ?

Ground Crew Jay Oatway Editor Sharon Shaw Copy Chief

Gabriel Kicks Creative Director Winnie Ng Designer May Choy Designer Arnold Chan Designer

Lawrence Lee Business Manager Stefan Rust CEO Cat Rust Founder & Director

Rainbow Lai Print & Production (TM Productions)

Flight Crew Doug Crets New York Bureau Chief Natalie Apostolou Sydney Correspondent Lorien Holland Kuala Lumpur Correspondent Zeev Tankus Correspondent-at-Large

People Who Accelerated This Issue Peter Draminsky, Gregoire Michaud, Tanya Cheng, Blums Pineda, Julie Hussey, Alexandra McMullen


he future rides out from the crowd like a blazing stallion of hope. With it we rise – an army on the war path, pounding the drums, wielding the pitch forks and torches.

The energy inspires us to create, to participate, to join forces, to mobilize, to get out there and to do something – anything! It is a raw, bitter and sharp energy. It’s both heady and disconcerting. It’s not for the faintof-heart. No one is ready for the future. No one is ready for massive change, for constant upheaval, for a world that resembles nothing we’ve ever experienced before. And while our first instinct is to scream for help from a higher power, we soon realize that we are on our own. Top down is finished. We must solve the riddle ourselves. We must help each other. We must collaborate and innovate. Together, we must feed off the blazing energy of the future, grow strong and grope our way out of the darkness. We do not need to be told what to do. We do not need to beg permission to do the right thing. We are not sheep. We are not lemmings. We are free thinkers, untethered from convention, mobile in our nature. We are switched-on and on-the-move. The future is for people who are good at always trying on something new. No longer does anyone value getting things right the first time. True value comes from experimentation. It comes from failure. Spectacular failure. It comes from the freedom to crash hard. From the freedom to brick your phone. To brick your life. Hard reset. Reboot. Rebuild. Try again. Fail again. Go completely fail whale. Now is the time to go hard or go home. The new reality is not a passing phase. These are the times in which we write the standard operating procedure for all that will follow. It’s all bottom up. Small is the new big. Big is irrelevant. It’s about working well together. Banding like brothers. Joining the pounding of the drums. The more we connect, the more we find our kindred spirits. We find people with the same desires, the same goals. And together we fail less. We crash softer. Together we rise again and again, making progress and discovering a great new blazing stallion of hope for the future. Jay Oatway Editor


Charged Media

302 Wilson House, 19-27 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong

CHARGED magazine is published quarterly by Charged Media, 302 Wilson House, 19-27 Wyndham Street, Central,Hong Kong. CHARGED has an issue circulation of 22,000, sent to qualified readers and distributed at all major mobility events across Asia. CHARGED has a newsletter service. Register for your free digital copy or newsletter now at Subscription rates: 1 year HK$300 (Hong Kong only) US$39 (within Asia) and US$49 (outside Asia); single/back issue (if available) HK$50 per copy (Hong Kong only) US$9 (within Asia) and US$10 (outside Asia) plus US$5 handling charge per order. Printed in Hong Kong. Postage paid in Hong Kong. ©2008 Charged Media. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

ISSN 1992-6715

40 Enabling Power


By Doug Crets Mobile technology does not make a President – but it does enable passionate consumers to make a viral brand out of a candidate

The Obama Virus 44 The Revolution Will Be Mobilized 45 Painting the Fairey Tale 46 Twitter Influenza


70 The Charged Personality Test

Which phone type are you?

Trends 28 Culcha: Hunting The Great White Whale

Twitter fanatics create a new cultural icon

30 Search: Hum a Few Bars


New music search services offer the promise of naming any tune

32 Interface: Shaking Things Up

Forget about pushing buttons – just give your phone a good shake

34 Mobile Web: Friends On a Silver Platter

Who needs to visit a mobile social site when you can have it delivered


36 Marketing: Don’t Believe Your Eyes

Games, social media and marketing sent directly to your eyeballs

38 Location: Digital Duffer

Why you need a caddy more than ever

21 In The Wild

Postcards from Zeev; Sex & the Mobile; Mobile Mommy; No Mo Ho; New York Diaries


50 The Charged Travel Guide

Mobiles are the new travel guides, unlocking exotic locations and allowing us to discover more than ever

60 Roam Free of Die Trying

Small upstart companies are using internet wizardry, and some insider know-how, to provide an affordable alternative to international roaming fees. But making it work isn’t easy

66 Stay Charged

Run low on juice out there? Whether we’re travelling around the world or around town, we are all prone to the same calamity: a dead battery


58 Mobiles, Key & Money

Jan Chipchase’s basic for survival

51 Way New Maps

Welcome to wherever you are on your mobile

52 The Travel Agent in Your Pocket


Got smartphone, will travel

54 What’s The frequency Kenneth?

Will your phone work where you are going?

55 Real Men Don’t Ask For Directions

A picture may someday be worth a 1,000 words of directions

56 Final Call


Airports of the future may track your every move

57 The True Price of Freedom

Satellite phones are the ultimate in remote communications, until they land you in prison

10 Switch On

A Million Japanese Princesses; CrackBerry Widows; Don’t Text and Drive; Bloodcord vs. Cord Blood; Let Them Eat Cake; Splash Proof Coating; Twitter Grader; Poison Apple; iPhone Vibe; Swiss Ban Pr0n


Our Man in The Big Apple: Doug Crets is a financial conferences director in New York, New York and the New York City Bureau Chief for Charged Magazine. Doug spent nearly six years working in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia as a journalist and a media analyst. He now splits time between New York, Europe and Asia. He is the director of the InBuilding Wireless Solutions conference in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Education Industry Investment Forum in Phoenix, Arizona.

Sex & The Mobile: After spending a decade chasing telecoms carriers and vendors around the world from Cannes to Stockholm, Schenzen to Barcelona our technically adept and sensually astute columnist, Natalie Apostolou is now taking visceral delight in musing of the fusion of technology and content in a humanist guise. While still managing to globe trot to the world’s digital hotspots, she tends to leave her worn out heels in Sydney, Australia where she edits the magazine Digital Media.

Mobile Mommy: Lorien Holland has been living and writing in Asia since 1992. She has written three books and done stack loads of political and technology reporting in the region. She now lives in Malaysia, after a long stint in Beijing and shorter stays in Seoul, Hong Kong and Melbourne, and owns several mobile phones of varying capacities. She writes about real life experiences of mobile phones and their various permutations for Charged and will definitely not let her 8‑year‑old son have a phone of his own.

Lost In The Wild: Last we heard, Zeev Tankus was somewhere in the Himalayas, and having to share one dial-up modem with a temple full of monks. All we really know about Zeev is that his round-the-world treks are legendary, and his photos from his adventures are numerous ( TravelinZ/). Zeev if you are reading this, please, give us a call – when you can get a signal.

A Million Japanese Princesses When you wish upon a star… you too can live the fairytale. For girls in Japan, all you need is a phonecam


apanese schoolgirls are masters of snapping pictures and sharing them with friends. But no ordinary pix will do. They must be decorated or in some way enhanced – making each a one-of-akind collector’s item. Catering to this picture-taking passion, the Walt Disney Internet Group in Tokyo launched a mobile photo enhancement service called “Princess Change Time”. To use the service, girls snap each other’s pictures with their mobiles then upload the images to the Disney site. The 3G site takes the submitted photo and runs it through a face-detection technology called “Photo Navi Face” developed by Sony, and sends back an automatically generated cartoon equivalent based on the user’s facial features, from the size of the eyes to the shape of the lips. An amazing 150,000 mobile subscribers used it to create their own princesses in just the first two days of launch, and a million more joined on throughout the summer. There is no shortage of girls with phonecams in Japan. More than 85% of Japanese mobile users have 3G phones, and 95% of them have phones with built-in cameras. To keep the princesses coming back for more, Disney has released tens of thousands of new cartoon combinations by vastly increasing the number of options in clothing, background and accessories in the images. While the service was free of charge at the launch, it has now become a premium content site charging 315 yen per month. Of course, the image is not confined to the mobile. The girls have been busy uploading them to the web as avatars for instant messaging, as well as on to social networking sites such as Facebook as profile pictures.


Don’t Text and Drive

35% of professionals, said they would pick their BlackBerry over their spouse

The fast and the furious collide with the 140 character message

I Mobile devices don’t end marriages, but a partner’s bad mobile habits do


ou may pride yourself on being a mobile-savvy individual, but at what cost? Are you favoring your device over your spouse? A recent study shows that nearly a third of you are. Many spouses are experiencing more than a few occasions when a mobile device, particularly the corporate-issued CrackBerry, feels like it’s intruding on the marriage. But would you actually choose your mobile device over your loved one? Surprisingly, a worklife survey conducted by Sheraton Hotels & Resorts group found that about 35% of professionals, if forced to chose, said they would pick their BlackBerry over their spouse. While the Sheraton group’s goal was to find ways to better accommodate the mobile needs of their guests, its survey has revealed some worryingly compulsive habits. For example, 87% take their personal digital assistants into their bedrooms. Of those, 84% have a compulsion to check

their BlackBerry just before going to bed and as soon as they wake up. Another 85%, and this group needs help, say they look at their BlackBerry in the middle of the night. Dr. Sam R. Hamburg, a psychologist and marital therapist who commented on the report, said he has a client who can’t get his wife’s attention because she’s always looking at her BlackBerry. Hamburg said this is just a new spin on the old problem of spouses not paying enough attention to each other. “When Ralph Kramden or Archie Bunker was sitting in the chair behind his newspaper, it was the same thing, just lower tech,” said Hamburg. “People have to actually make a point of turning off the TV, turning off the radio, and sitting opposite each other at the kitchen table and taking the time to talk. There’s no substitute for doing that.” So put down the CrackBerry, dim the lights and slip into something more comfortable. It’s time to start rekindling the flames of romance. You’ve been warned.


CrackBerry Widows

f you know someone who has been heavily texting, take away their keys. In many places it’s already illegal to talk on your phone while driving (unless you do it “hands-free”), but the real danger comes from those who prefer to respond via SMS (which is also now, in many places, illegal). According to a recent study by The Transport Research Laboratory in the UK, motorists who use their mobile phone to send text messages while on the road were dramatically more likely to cause an accident. While glancing at his phone, a driver’s reaction time deteriorated by 35% – making him much worse than a driver who’s had a couple drinks. Drinking to the legal limit only impairs reaction time by 12%, the study says. And those who smoke cannabis were just 21% slower. And it’s not just poor reaction times that lead to accidents. Texters tend to swerve a lot more. The study showed that reading or writing texts reduced steering control by 91% compared to those who keep their eyes on the road. Despite it being illegal for a motorist in the UK to use a handheld phone behind the wheel (even for texting), the RAC Foundation said that nearly half of British drivers aged between 18 and 24 admitted to texting on the roads. So be safe. Put down the phone. And keep both hands firmly on the wheel.


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High W Beam

Forget watching movies on your tiny iPhone screen – blast them onto the wall

hen it comes to movies, you need to go big or go home. However, there is a growing demographic who are now using their mobile devices as their video viewing device of choice. Honlai Technologies out of Taiwan offers a solution which provides the best of both worlds. Keep your iPhone and project it BIG. This projector will offer 640x480 resolution up to a screen size of 37 inches. The ANSI brightness rating is a less-than-stellar 10-15 lumens, and you’re looking at a contrast ratio of just 200:1. So you’ll need to darken the room. You might want to make some popcorn while you’re up. The dock also features a mini AV jack allowing you to connect other devices. It also features a pair of 2W speakers for rocking stereo sound. More info at

Blood Cord vs. Cord Blood


n Japan, the strap attached to your mobile says more about you than the phone model does. And nothing carries more information about you than your blood – or at least that’s the widely held superstition. If you live in Japan, where some believe that your blood type is indicative of your personality, the Blood Drip Cellphone Strap can signal a not-so-subtle hint regarding your character to someone you’re trying to impress. Each strap comes with a small clear bag of “blood” labelled with your blood group.

But it’s important to note that this isn’t real blood. It’s just red liquid. Storing blood for future use is a delicate process. And the conditions endured by your phone are just too extreme. To store blood the right way, in particular Cord Blood from a newborn baby (which is the stuff that is really packed with genetic information about you), it will cost you as much a HK$28,000, according to Hong Kong-based Cordlife Ltd. Besides, for US$5.82 from http://www.strapya-world. com, you don’t really expect someone to come and draw blood from you?


What does your blood say about you?


Let Them I Eat Cake iPhone cup cakes are the ultimate for expressing you geek love


t’s hard to explain why technology geeks also like to bake. Perhaps, it’s all about love. Nothing shows your affection quite like baking a cake in someone’s (or something’s) honor. Over the past few months there have been all sorts of bakery. People have been baking up Twitter cakes (including a Fail Whale tribute cake) for their local tweetups. Martha Stewart baked a Nintendo Wii. And then at New York’s famous Cupcake Decorating Championships this summer, the iPhone Cupcakes by Nick Bilton and Danielle Bilton took first place. So if you want to get in on the action and make you and your friends some really hot cakes, try this chocolate cherry cupcake recipe (see below right).

The Charged recipe for the cupcakes: 125g soft unsalted butter 100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces 300g morello cherry jam 150g caster sugar pinch of salt 2 large eggs, beaten 150g self-raising flour 12-bun muffin tin and papers Baking Instructions: Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Put the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan on the heat to melt. When nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Leave for a moment to begin softening, then take the pan off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Now add the cherry jam, sugar, salt and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon and when all is pretty well amalgamated stir in the flour. Scrape and pour into the muffin cases in their tin and bake for 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out.

Splash Proof Coating Don’t let a bit of moisture turn your beloved mobile into waterlogged brick


ater and electronics just don’t mix. It takes surprisingly little liquid to transform your mobile into a useless brick. But a revolutionary new coating technology is promising to make your phone as waterfriendly as a turtle. Golden Shellback coating promises to protect against exposure to weather and moisture – but, judging from the buzz floating around the video sharing sites, it can do a lot more than that. Reviewers of the product have operated phones completely underwater, bathed them in coffee, even put them through the wash. But how does it work? According to the company: “Golden Shellback coating produces a vacuum deposited film that is nonflammable, has low toxicity and has the ability to weatherproof electronic devices and other surfaces. It contains no volatile organic combustibles (VOCs). The clear, nearly non-detectable, uniform film is insoluble in solvents. When applied to clean, moisture-free surfaces, such as plastic, copper, aluminum, metal, ceramic, steel, tin or glass, the coating is transparent with excellent weather-proofing and anticorrosion properties.” However the alchemy works, it’s sure to make a big splash when it becomes commercially available in 2009.


Remember that getting them in and out of the oven is only half the battle – decorating is what makes you a true kitchen god / ubergeek. We asked Gregoire Michaud, the pastry chef at the Four Season’s Hotel in Hong Kong, for a tip for making the icing look real, he says: “If you’re making a cake and want it to resemble as much as possible to the real device, print a picture of the actual device, place it in a plastic folder and roll out a ultra-thin layer of icing that you can deposit on the file, and with a light placed below the drawing, for example through a glass plate, you will be able to follow exactly the lines of the picture showing up through the fine icing.”

Image courtesy of Nick Bilton


How cool are you? Find out if you are making the grade on Twitter


00t, I’m so much cooler than you! I’m Elite in my own tiny corner of the world. Thanks to a new service provided by, now you too can see how you measure up to the rest of the Twittersphere ( The Twitter Grade measures the relative power of a Twitter user. It is calculated as a percentile score. A grade of 90 (which just happens to be the Twitter Grade for Charged) means that the user scores higher than 90% of the other user profiles that have been graded. That’s the tricky part: not everyone on Twitter has subjected themselves to the grading process. This means that new Twitterers will sometimes debut quite high on the charts. This can be quite unsettling if one day you thought you were the top Twitterer in your city, but the next, someone with more followers suddenly claims your crown. How is it calculated you ask? Twitter Grader looks at the number of followers you have, plus the power of this network of followers (i.e. the number of followers each of your followers has). It also assesses the pace of your updates, the completeness of your profile, and a few other “secret sauce” variables. The best way to improve your grade – attract more followers. How to do that? Just be cool!


E-ink Tattoos for Your Phone The markings change to help identify the caller


angland tattoos are all about declaring your allegiance to your posse. Now your phone can do the same for your mobile peeps thanks to some digital ink. The big breakthrough this year has been the emergence of the first applied uses of electronicink. One of the leading companies behind this technology is E Ink. E Ink’s new Vizplex Imaging Film-based displays will debut in the Hitachi W61H, which boasts a 2.7-inch E Ink display that can scroll through 96 different images whenever a call is received or the clamshell is cracked open. Get ready to start sporting a whole range of “tatz” to signify which of your homies is calling. Shizzle.

Out on a Limb M Sometimes we crave something a bit more natural than the standard plastic phone case

aple phones has produced a concept phone which has kindled the imagination. Form-injection molded plastic cases may be cheap and durable, but they are so, well, unnatural. The cure to the modern plastic overload: get a wooden phone. Sure, the insides are still going to be crammed full of that man-made electronic stuffng, but at least the outside feels wholesome and natural. Created by award-winning designers Hyun Jin Yoon and Eun Hak Lee, the front panel slides to conceal the screen. It uses a touch sensitive keypad with a backlight which illuminates through the wood. Currently this is just a prototype, but it could be the beginning of a whole new breed of cases.


t’s a company that has long billed itself as the antidote to Microsoft’s “Evil Empire”. And if you had only seen the iPhone advertising blitz and all the excited media coverage of the past summer, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the 3G iPhone was the second coming. But scratch the surface and you’ll find a litany of complaints about Apple’s less than fair practices. The Free Software Foundation was one of the first to draw attention to the dark practices (the sort of things we used to expect from Microsoft). The iPhone completely blocks free software (we don’t mean free in the sense of

scratch the surface and you’ll find a litany of complaints about Apple’s less than fair practices

cost, but rather free in the sense that they were distributed outside of the app store). Developers must pay a tax to Apple, who becomes the sole authority over what can and can’t be on everyone’s phones. An authority which they increasingly abuse. Known apps that have been killed by the app store authorities: • I Am Rich. Reason: too expensive • MailWrangler. Reason: competes with iPhone’s built-in email app • Pull My Finger. Reason: objectionable humor • Freedom Time. Reason: demeaning attacks on political figures Apple, through its marketing and visual design techniques, is manufacturing an illusion that merely buying an Apple makes you part of an alternative community. But the technology they use is explicitly chosen to divide people into separate digital cells, and to position Apple as sole warden. When your business depends on people paying for the privilege of being locked up, the prison better look and feel luxurious, and the bars better not be too visible. The term jailbreaking is most appropriate, since it’s what you need to do to escape from iPhone-prison. But not everyone in the tech community takes such a righteous line. “Get off your high horse,” says Dan Kimerling, of TechCrunch. “Apple, like Facebook, Microsoft, and virtually every other major software producer is in the business of platforms. When you create the platform, you set the rules. If Apple wants to restrict iPhone applications to those that do not compete with features built into the iPhone, well, they can go right ahead and do so. It says so right in the SDK’s user agreement. So, to all of the developers who are annoyed with Apple, just go out and develop for Android, Blackberry OS, Windows Mobile, Palm OS or S60.” WWW.CHARGED.MOBI

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Not you Mr. Jobs


Apparently this has something to do with radio waves – but as long as you’re getting off, who cares about the technical stuff?

iPhone Vibrator


ou’ll never be lonely after you get this little attachment for your favorite mobile. OhMiBod, which first grabbed attention with its line of iPodcompatible vibrators, has a new vibe that works with any mobile, including the iPhone. The Boditalk Escort is a small pink bullet vibe. But, unlike other bullet vibes, this one has the ability to vibe in sync with your mobile. Like any good Apple-compatible product, the Boditalk Escort is pretty much plug and play. There’s no need to sync it to your

phone or use any Bluetooth voodoo to get this vibe working – just put in some batteries, slide it into call mode, and wait for someone to call (or just dial up your voicemail!). As long as there’s an in-use mobile within three meters of the toy, it happily buzzes away. Apparently this has something to do with radio waves – but as long as you’re getting off, who cares about the technical stuff ? However, if the calls are just too short to get you the distance, you’ll be glad to know that the Boditalk Escort isn’t just a mobile phone vibrator – it’s a regular vibrator too. So if you’re tired of waiting for the call, shift the vibe into continuous mode and get where you need to go.

Swiss Ban Mobile Pr0n

Porn in other places is fine – just keep it off the phones


wiss Army knives: check. Chocolate: check. Cuckoo clocks: check. Porn: no way! The Swiss government has voted, in an effort to protect children from the evils of pornography, to ban the dissemination of porn on mobile devices. Just how that’s going to be achieved has yet to be


worked out. Accessing porn on a computer is still allowed, so with the new mobile browsers, teens theoretically will still be able to access the web, which means they could seek out porn if they want to. And unless you are going to open every MMS, it will be impossible to stop someone from sending a naked picture of themselves to a lover.

Even the Swiss Justice Minister, Eveline WidmerSchlumpf, said it was not possible to tackle the problem with the introduction of new measures. She said telecommunications providers were already obliged to block access to pornography for under-aged youth. Anything else will just be, well, cuckoo.

ev Tankus

make the mobile . They show Television commercials effortless so and lifestyle look caring, connecting . and directors all sharing are us . On TV, we and collaborating . We find purpose We slay dragons so easy. seems all meaning. It


Photos by Ze


But real life, out here in the wild, is world away from a fanciful imaginingsthe of handset makers Things don’t alwa . y go according to s plan. Life happens. Stuff happens. Batteries die. WiFi disconnects Devices fail. Calls . drop. Call it Sod’s Law : whatever can go wrong usually does. In reality, a mobile lifestyle is unplanned unhinged and untamed, . Yet despite all the uncertainty in the wild, our experiences 22


are largely similar. We laugh. W e fall in love cry. We .W our hearts e have broken find that, although . We it’s completely unscripted and unpredictable the mobile lifest , yle stretches across all that divides humanity. And every once in a while, it does make us feel a bit like we a TV commercial are in . What follows reports from are the wild...


The Techno-Voyeur By Natalie Apostolou

Wild, gyrating bodies writhing to the rhythm of technology. No strings attached.


he heavens had opened for the longest of days on the city of Sydney and the vista across the street in every window told a surreal story. Australia’s metropolis dwellers are hardest hit by unseasonal weather glitches, unaccustomed to shielding their buff polysexual love machine bodies, perturbed by the inability to strut the streets looking for the next hook-up. Unnatural states of affairs create unnatural turns of behavior. I witnessed this first hand, Rear Window style peering out of my inner city window on the world. Across three different floors, a disconcerting and puzzling vignette played out. In each window, a solitary, athletic man engaged in a


curious state of frenzied repetitive activity. One gentleman appeared to be engaged in a psychotic soliloquy but it emerged that he was on a hands-free phone stomping around the room like a thespian; the other two were engaged in things far more disturbing. While their actions were clear, it was hard to detect if they were in fact alone or if another body was just out of frame, receiving the brunt of their physicality. In one scene a rather scrumptious, svelte dude was pounding an invisible object, approximating the moves of a young Mohamad Ali crossed with an advanced Bruce Lee. While downstairs his more rotund neighbor was lobbing volleys with an imaginary racket. I watched mesmerized as three disparate pockets

of socially estranged men engaged in solo, imaginary, yet entirely engaging pursuits. The object of their affection … a Nintendo Wii. This curious creation can apparently cause perfectly schtoopable men to spend hours in various states of gyration – alone! All this while perfectly desperate women purr from the windows pining for a taste of recreation. Honestly, it’s criminal! Particularly when Mr Mobile Phone Guy from upstairs magically re-appears in Mr Tennis Star’s living room to indulge in some multiplayer floor bound activity. How many women are losing out at the hands of this evil Wii? Not only does it rob the fairer sex of potential paramours’ time, unlike the traditional libido killer of, say, a Sony PlayStation, the

demonic Wii actually saps them of their energy too. A round or two with Wii leaves us women with perfectly fine specimens – just depleted, satiated, vanquished by the machine. Yet, as I turned away from the nocturnal theatrics, a far more pleasing vignette emerged. Mr Shadow Boxing was now raising his hand, not in a fist but with an open hand, angled in a curious fashion over the lounge making syncopated strikes. His back was turned to the Wii and out of the corner of the window frame … two silken, heeled, female legs were seen writhing in response, a naked bottom recoiling at the pressure of his slap. Perhaps his mistress deigned to criticize the power of the Wii. What delicious punishment, even if the machine was the architect.


obile phones have totally button. Your trusty old phone would send it off transformed communication at to each recipient, one after the other, without the primary school that my kids any further human input. And you could easily attend in Malaysia. And I am check that they had all been sent. talking among parents, not students. When my Now that we have new and improved oldest kid started back in 2005, quite a few of the phones, group texts can be a bit of a feat to 20 or so moms in the class did not have a mobile accomplish. Well, let me put that a bit more phone to their name. And with sporadic access carefully – I am not 100% certain that you can’t to the internet too, broadcasting anything send group texts, but I’ll be darned if I can of vital importance, like cancelled sports or work out how to do it. whether anyone had seen little Jasmine’s lunch Instead, I have to manually pull up each box, proved to be a challenge. contact detail and send out 21 text messages, Fast forward to 2008: All the one after the other. That group moms in my youngest kid’s texting functionality, the bedrock class (and the older one’s too) of creating communities, has have mobile phones. Sending I am not 100% seemingly gone AWOL. and receiving texts is a breeze. certain that With texting becoming such you can’t send an important means of day-toAdmittedly, some of the information that goes around group texts, day group communications, is even more marginal than someone in the group of moms but I’ll be the whereabouts of Jasmine’s darned if I can in my school network would lunch box. But the network is work out how surely have figured it out – that there, and it is more instant and to do it. is, if the feature was there to reliable than email circulars begin with. (some moms still don’t get a Of course, there is a solution. chance to get online for days on It involves the rather daunting end). So today, we all know that Maisarah’s task of paying for, downloading, and somehow mom had a baby last night, and Noah wants installing new “group SMS” software [Charged to join a swimming class. That unctuous recommends “Skb Group SMS and Scheduler industry talk about creating communities and 4.02” by Skb Software Systems or “1Touch building friendship bonds – yes, it does have a Contacts v4.0” by 1TouchMobile – ed.]. Or at ring of truth to it. the very least we are all required to master the Of course, there is room for improvement task of separating recipient names in the “to” when it comes to community building on the field of an SMS with semicolons. In the mean time, while we wait for our mobile platform. Or, to put it bluntly, some so-called smartphones to get smart enough room for backtracking. Back in 2005, in those pre-3G days when no one had Windows to be useful for the mom-with-kids-inschool community, Noah is still looking for a Mobile running on their phone, it was easy to swimming teacher, Jasmine’s lunch box is still send out group texts. You just made a group missing, and I am sure countless other vital in your telephone address book and when it came to sending out a message, you could send issues are just waiting to be broadcast to us all at the touch of one button. it to everyone in that group at the touch of a


Have You Seen Jasmine’s Lunch Box? By Lorien Holland


s I embarked upon my month-long, roundthe-world summer holiday, I committed myself to a sensory deprivation experiment. I would only be checking emails and messages once a week, and even then only being allowed to reply to the most life-threatening of communiqués. Plus, I was going to keep my mobile switched off (something normally considered blasphemous around the Charged office). Of course, one should always set up out-of-office replies and voice mail messages that make it clear what you are doing – most people expect an immediate response and it’s just rude to leave them hanging. This is something that I neglected to do; something – that for the first week – I was blissfully unaware of. At first, there was a strange feeling of having a lot more time. I went on adventures with my son, took leisurely strolls with parents and friends, found myself soaking up sunsets. I felt suddenly aware of how much more I was living in the here and now. Sure, I was often tempted to log-on and have a quick peek, but I would then steel myself and resolve to try and go just one more day. And then… one more. Ten disciplined days passed without connecting to my digital world. Instead of being nervous, I had slipped into a happy place. My own little bubble – removed from reality. Of course, the first check-in was fraught with all sorts of emails from people who couldn’t understand how I could just drop off the face of the earth. It took a bit of work to remedy the situation. And since I manage multiple different emails accounts, in the limited amount of time I gave myself for emails, I only succeeded in setting up holiday declarations at a couple. I would just have to accept that a lot of stuff was just going to fall through the cracks. Yet, surprisingly, the world didn’t come to an end. The lack of mobile coms didn’t seem to bring the world to a screeching halt either. Not having a mobile didn’t really bother me at first either, but soon I was facing situations that I knew my mobile would have resolved with a couple of taps on the touchscreen. For the first time in many years, I experienced the odd sensation of getting separated from friends or family and having to actually go look for them, rather than just calling and asking where they were. This would happen again and again (we seem to get lost a lot on holiday). It was certainly frustrating – and even a little scary – for everyone. My wife and I soon resolved to carry our mobiles with us, but keep them switched off until such time as someone got lost. This seemed to do the trick. Of course, ultimately there is the challenge of getting back to work. This is probably why going to zero-contact is not such a good idea – you’re not prepared for the deluge. There’s a distinct advantage of doing a little bit of work on vacation. It helps you stay on top of things while you’re gone. That way, when you do get back to your desk and resume normal communications, you aren’t buried by a tsunami of email, voice mail and text messages.


As in the no mobile holiday – a vacation without your phone and without the Internet. Sounds terrifying, but soon you’ll love it. By Jay Oatway

New York Diaries By Doug Crets

Texting Illiteracy is Killing America


An excerpt from a series written on an iPhone during the daily commute of our New York Bureau Chief, Doug Crets, for the blog

preferring to call people on the phone en route, if at all. Texts cost too much money in America, and they are set to get more expensive. Right now, charges and rates are not geared towards massive daily uses of a cell phone to communicate or search for things in a non-voice mode. As long as things stay that expensive, companies have no incentive to use them to develop ways of doing business, whether in the way we communicate in the office, or on-site at an event, or while doing a job remotely. America presents a challenge – the carriers, which are constantly looking for ways to make money, will box in people who don’t experiment with the possibilities. If we were more active in experimenting with how to use mobile, we would have more options. And the carriers would have less control.


I experienced the odd sensation of getting separated from friends and having to actually go look for them

aking the R Train, I worry that the US is not as obsessed with mobile phones as it should be. Louis Menand reviewed a book in The New Yorker about texting; that ubiquitous technology and practice that Asia uses with gusto, but is still treated with suspicion in America. And the suspicion will probably continue if people like Menand keep writing about it. What does Menand have to say? Simply this: It’s kind of hard to text on a numeric keypad – certainly it ain’t efficient; texting is a bit like a game; you can abbreviate words on cell phones – and still be understood! He also points out how you can make crafty little designs with cell phones, for example: (___*___). He doesn’t actually use that one, which signifies assh*le. Texting, as far as I can tell, has never been treated with any kind of serious discussion in American magazine literature. Everyone, and I mean everyone, seems to always belittle and bemoan the fact that texting is not coherent English and that teenagers use it. There are two reasons for this, I proffer: Most of us – 197 million of us in 2003 – drive everywhere,


By Jay Oatway

Twitter fanatics create new cultural icon he rapid growth of Twitter has been a mixed blessing for the two-year-old company. As a communications tool, it has rapidly evolved from a curious ‘status’ update to become the leading discussion tool – the water cooler of the internet. But with rapid growth comes excruciating growing pains. The enormous weight of millions of Twitter users, this past summer, crushed the system. Many of Twitter’s early features, such as tracking keywords across the network, have proven impossible to scale and have been taken offline. When Twitter goes down, the company often posts an illustration of a whale being lifted by birds. The artwork is titled ‘Flight of a Dreamer’ and is the work of Lu Yiying. Twitter allegedly bought rights to the illustration through iStockPhotos for US$10. And now Twitter fans

have turned it into a cult phenomenon. As Twitter’s troubles began to worsen mid-year, the Whale graphic began to appear regularly. So much so, that many users began to feel something of an affinity for the dreamer. The graphic was dubbed “The Fail Whale”, and has since sparked a massive following even though it is showing up far less on Twitter itself. You can now buy Fail Whale t-shirts and coffee mugs. Artists are creating kinetic sculptures of the Fail Whale. And the original artist herself has fanned the flames of fandom with a girlfriend (and the official mascot of the fan club) of the Fail Whale, named Eve Whale. Lot’s of people have also remixed the image in countless ways (like the way we did for this story).

You can now get Charged blog updates on your mobile, via SMS. Just sign up for Twitter and then follow Chargedmob (make sure you tick the box for mobile underneath our logo on the Twitter page). Twitter will then notify you whenever something new is posted to Charged, and provide a link to the story.


While the icon will live on, The Fail Whale, however, may be on the endangered species list as far as Twitter is concerned. Twitter announced earlier this year a US$15 million round of funding, which includes capital from Amazon. com founder Jeff Bezo’s fund Bezos Expeditions. Twitter says the money would be spent on harpooning the problems that gave rise to the Fail Whale: infrastructure and reliability, which it will need if it ever hopes to become profitable. So what does all this mean for the Fail Whale – it has morphed into a term that is now being used across the web to describe any time a site goes down like, “Ah, crap! The spike in traffic just made our site go Fail Whale!” It’s even had its Wall Street moment back in October when web pundits were describing Lehman’s Brothers as going ‘Fail Whale’.


Ah, crap! the spike in traffic just made our site go Fail Whale!


By Doug Crets

Sing-and-search allows anyone (in 30 different languages) to hum a few bars to find the name of a song. It’s voice search that has everyone excited.


New music search services offer the promise of naming any tune

Midomi might need a little tinkering first. Or, it just needs a bigger crowd to finetune the database. Charged tested out the service to see what it could do

anyone (in 30 different languages) to hum a few bars to find the name of a song. It’s voice search that has everyone excited. “When it comes to voice search, a mobile device is a lot more compelling than a website. Your phone is in your pocket and it has a microphone,” says Keyvan Mohajer, CEO of Melodis. The mobile phone, which started out as a tool for the rich, has over time emerged as a mainstream device that will put information processing power in the hands of millions of consumers. People are becoming more refined in their taste, not for music, but rather how they get the music. “Once people get the music on the phone, the next big change is navigation of the content,” says Brian Hamilton, CEO of Gracenote. “As memory prices get cheaper, navigation of the content becomes important.” Hamilton says that right now in America, the car is

considered one of the best delivery places for music, but as more mobile devices are refined and invented, consumers are going to lead the way in terms of how they get their music. “[Car manufacturers] are not going to want a hundred different music experiences for a hundred different customers,” says Hamilton. Midomi operates on crowdsourcing searches for music. A single user sings a bit of a riff on a song to search for it. The user can then choose whether to allow Midomi to cache that riff or to just simply take the search results. If the user agrees that Midomi can have the riff, it is added to the algorithm and the database, thus refining the search process. “The numbers were a lot higher than we expected in terms of downloads, and in terms of returning visitors and page views per day,” says Mohajer. “There is a lot of momentum.”

The more people that sing ‘out’ into the application, the easier it is for queries to retrieve the exact song. Midomi would not release figures on downloads or return visits, but they did say that they will be taking this voice search music model with the app and launching into new industries. “We have been, and will be licensing our core applications to other companies,” says Mohajer. The company declined to comment on what those industries would be or what companies they would target. “Our next products will focus outside of music,” says Mohajer. “It’s difficult to say what is going to happen, but I can say a lot of exciting things are going to happen. We can create applications that are revolutionary.” Yes, the revolution will make voice the primary interface for your phone – which seems like a strangely familiar tune.

Right now you have to be a very good singer or hummer in order to get Midomi to work properly. I hummed the first few bars of the Stevie Wonder song, ‘My Cherie Amour’, and Midomi provided the following list of songs:

7. Gli Assolati Vetri by Michele Zarrillo 8. Now You Know by Hillary Duff

1. Eclipse by someone named Beth…(not too bad, kind of catchy, in Spanish. Good job, Beth) 2. Ugly by Sugababes 3. Eternal Flame by Atomic Kitten 4. Una Faccia Pulita by Claudio Balioni 5. Mi Buen Amor by Gloria Estefan (my mom likes her) 6. Everybody Needs Somebody by The Blues Brothers

The other issue: You have to be very close to a speaker. Ambient music pick up is poor. Several times I sat at a bar stool or stood in the middle of a crowded bar and held the phone up to register the tunes on the ‘grab’ function, but the phone then displayed a text message that said it could not register anything.

No Stevie Wonder. So, I did it again. This time, it worked. Then, all I needed to do was tap the iTunes button to buy the song on the spot.


hem – clear your throat: searching with your voice will soon replace the business of letting your fingers do the walking. Voice search is the process by which mobile phone owners use their voice to retrieve information from the Internet. Like so much in mobile today, it’s a relatively new field with a future that’s louder than the fat lady at the opera. One of the newest to test her pipes is Midomi, launched in October by Melodis, a group of Stanford students and their venture capital partners, TransLink Capital, JAIC America and Global Catalyst Partners. Midomi allows music lovers to find tunes through their mobile phone, but with a twist. While music search services have been on offer for some time from the likes of Gracenote and Shazam, Midomi’s unique feature is its sing-and-search function. Sing-and-search allows


Forget about pushing buttons. The next great way to interact with your phone is to give it a really good shake

T By Jay Oatway

he handshake – ancient tradition, act of greeting, friendship, peacemaking, deal brokering, promise and trust. We all love a good shake. Now our phones do too. The iPhone, and many of its high-end competitors, have got this thing called an “accelerometer” inside. Accelerometers allow devices to sense motion – for instance, when it’s turned sideways, or when it’s jostled. This means that phones with an accelerometer can be programmed to do things in response to good shake. The result: a revolution in the way we interact with our phones – and each other. Friend Book by Tapulous briefly put this revolution to practice. Put two iPhone running Friend Book together, give them a good shake and – presto – personal contact information is shared. It’s like a handshake – and a business card swap. While the concept is great, the app was a bit of a flop. The CEO explains that shortly after releasing the app, it became clear that shaking your phone was sending private data flying everywhere.


“Within one hour of being made aware of the issue, we removed Friend Book from the AppStore to ensure that no more users would install the app and that we could fully evaluate the issue before making the app available again,” says Tapulous CEO Bart Decrem. “Shortly thereafter, we disabled the handshaking feature on our web servers to prevent any further exchanges of address cards by the people who had already downloaded the app.” While the app has not yet been re-released, we can’t wait until they fix the problem.

Urbanspoon turns the iPhone into a sort of magic 8‑ball, randomly selecting a restaurant NEAR YOU and its associated review

Better Than Etch-a-Sketch There are also new games, like Shake n’ Break from where players choose a photo from the iPhone’s library and shake it, shattering the image into small pieces. Then players would need to drag the pieces back together, jig-saw puzzle style. Why, you ask? Because shaking it up gives you that satisfaction you’ve been missing since you lost your childhood Etch-a-Sketch. And there’s Tap Tap Revenge, another shake app from Tapulous. Something along the lines of the famous Dance Dance Revolution, where you need to jump around like a clubgoing teenager, Tap Tap Revenge requires rhythmically shaking to the beat of your iTunes tracks. Looking for something a bit more titillating, you say? Try Shake, the erotic game from Artefactoestudio. The goal is simple gents: shake the clothes off the models. Long live the shake revolution!


Shake ‘n Bake What comes after the handshake? Could it be dinner to seal the deal? Let’s shake for food. A new app called Urbanspoon is providing iPhone users “time-critical dining data”, which means that when you’re hungry and there is no time to lose, you can get instant recommendation by shaking your phone (all of which are open to reviews from the general public as well as serious food critics). turns the iPhone into a sort of magic 8-ball, randomly selecting a restaurant near you along with its associated review. You can set certain variables such as location, cost or type of food, then keep shaking until it gives you a restaurant that you fancy. And with Urbanspoon covering 41 major markets in the US, Canada, the UK and Australia, you’ll definitely have your pick (Sorry, our Asia readers are just going to have to go hungry, for now).


Who needs to visit a mobile social site when you can have it delivered to your pocket By Jay Oatway


“pushes” the information to you. Having stuff pushed to us (or even pulled on a regular basis) can be really enjoyable. It’s like having a waiter rather than having to find the kitchen yourself. One of the first such waiters helping to make social media retrieval less of a hassle is BlueWhaleMail. The app comes from UK-based Blue Whale Systems, founded by Michael Maguire, who previously worked in the BlackBerry Applications team at Research In Motion – where he got his “push” expertise from writing the first email and SMS application. Once you’ve got BlueWhaleMail up and running, the waiter will bring a big heaping portion from your Facebook kitchen. It will notify you of your friends’ status updates, wall posts, and news items. You can use it to respond: send pokes, create wall posts, and get into some Zombie chomping or whatever. The notifications you receive are displayed on your phone as soon as they show up on Facebook – and there’s no need for you to have to browse the Facebook web site to either view them or respond. This just feels right. It’s mobile web connectivity that has nothing to do with web pages, or mobile-friendly sites. It heralds the future of the mobile web: not as something you visit the way you do at your desk, but something that you set up to come to you whenever events warrant a delivery. At the moment, the BlueWhaleMail app is only available for Nokia Series 60, Sony Ericsson and phones that run Java. But, like all things mobile these days, we can expect to see more devices, and more apps like it in the future. There is only one web, but it’s best when served up on a mobile silver platter.

Once you’ve got BlueWhaleMail up and running, the waiter will bring a big heaping portion from your Facebook kitchen



here is only one web. Forget about ‘mobile sites’. They attract no more mobile web visitors than any other site, according to Opera (the maker of a popular mobile web browser). “In most areas of the world, people are visiting a full range of websites,” says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. “The evidence of the Long Tail on the mobile web proves people will browse the web on their phone just like they do on their home PCs, where the value of the Long Tail has been shown repeatedly. This is also exactly why the web beats all manner of other mobile platforms and our vision of ‘One Web’ is becoming a reality.” Of course, we can also argue that the mobile web isn’t really about the browser either. The important restriction to be aware of, when it comes to the mobile web these days, is in how little effort we are willing to commit to checking out even our favorite online haunts while on the move. Nowhere is this more apparent than with social media sites. Sure, they all have mobilefriendly versions and provide an adequate user experience. But like much of the web, having to actually go online to check something from a mobile device is a real pain. If you are hooked on Crackbook, you need to get updates without the hassle. This is where we begin to see the next big trend in mobile web. It has nothing to do with mobile compliant web pages. Rather, it’s all about small amounts of information, delivered from sites like Facebook, via a helper application – not a web browser – that


Games, social media and marketing sent directly to your eyeballs

By Jay Oatway


lindfolded in the back of the car, hurling through the night. Destination unknown. Yes, this is adventure – or at least it is for Johnny X. Johnny is part of an alternate reality game (commonly known as an ARG) that you too can participate in. Johnny needs your help to figure out who he is, where he is, and why people are trying to kill him. Of course, this is actually a not to subtle marketing campaign for Sony Ericsson’s newest mobile gewgaw: the Xperia X1. ARGs have been around for a while, with more and more marketing agencies offering them as the newest of the cool “digital integration” marketing strategies. The ARGs typically create worlds of pure fantasy, where we follow clues to discover some sort of secret – or maybe even

compete to win a prize. But what they really represent is a shift towards creating immersive experiences. The best ARGs keep the branding and marketing to a minimum. Which means that mobile users get to have a good time at the expense of an advertiser – which is the way we like it. Now, if we combine ARGs with AR, which is short-hand for augmented reality, things get even more exciting. AR is still generally the stuff of science fiction, where we view the world through the lens of our mobile devices and see a world bathed in rich data – little visual hyperlink tags indicating location-specific information about a place or even a person. At the last TechCrunch50 event, Japanese innovators from a company called

Tonchidot showed their Sekai Camera app for the iPhone. Sekai is serious AR tech, although currently being billed simply as a mobile social networking app. But it’s actually a window to the future, one where your mobile combines positioning data ( from the GPS) and image recognition ( from the camera). As the name of the application might suggest, Sekai Camera is a camera application that overlays meta-information on top of your live camera-view of the world. As you move your iPhone’s camera around, meta-information about various products, places, and even notes from your friends pop-up on your viewfinder screen – it’s augmented reality with a social networking twist. No one expects to see this anytime soon. No one, except

1 Voicemail received to access select audio feed from the drop down menu

Accomodation Results: Holiday Inn 2 blocks N. Ritz Carlton 4 blocks NE. City Motel 200m Left

Tonchidot, which claims we should watch for it in the coming year. When quizzed at TechCrunch50 about details of how to make it work, the Tonchidot guys had the crowd roaring with laughter as they rebutted the TechCrunch judges with zingers (look for the YouTube video, it’s the funniest conference presentation ever). Whether it’s next year or in five years, it does portend a very different future made possible by the ever expanding capabilities of mobile. Of course, it won’t stop there. When we look a little further into the future, we get the final piece of the puzzle – the digital contact lens. This has again been making its way on to the long-range radar as university researchers make further strides in bringing this technology to life.

they can be incorporated into a contact lens to do a lot more than just improve vision

“If you look at the structure of a lens, it’s just a simple polymer,” says Babak Parviz, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington. A number of researchers are putting electronics into polymers to build flexible circuits or displays, for instance. “What we realized was, we can make a lot of functional devices that are really tiny, and they can be incorporated into a contact lens to do a lot more than just improve vision,” Parviz says

The contact lens they’re building allows for projecting your phones display directly onto the eye. The polymerbased lens incorporates metal circuitry and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to create a functional circuit biologically compatible with the eye. So not only will we be listening and talking handsfree, but we will be watching hands-free too. This lens has 16 working LEDs, which is sort of like the green display when PCs first came out in the 70s and 80s. So the team is also looking to shrink the LEDs while increasing the amount of LEDs on the lens to provide displays of a few hundred pixel. The lens was made from a polyethylene tetra phthalate substrate – also know as PET, the stuff used to make plastic bottles. For those of you wearing

lenses, you will already be familiar with the difference between hard and soft lenses. This lens, fully bio-compatible, is very much like a hard contact, and when the team tested the lens in a rabbit’s eye for 20 minutes, they found no adverse effects. While human trials are still a long way off (but inevitable), the digital contact lens promises a seamless flow of altered reality layered on top of normal life – beamed directly to a user’s eyes with no gaps for the true “reality” to seep in. Everywhere we go, we could be inside one long branded experience. So, expect to find yourself blindfolded in the back of the car, hurling through the night. Destination unknown.


Restaurant search... Downloading...[please wait]


By Jay Oatway



f you are like most golfers, you probably don’t fill in your divots as well as you should. I’m no different. Sure, I do my best to put a bit of sod back every time I take a massive strip off the fairway. I even try to fix a couple of extra pitch marks on the green – but only if I have the presence of mind to do so. And that’s the problem. Our minds are filled with thoughts about the next shot (or often about the last one). We are thinking about club selection, not course repair. Which is why it’s great to have a caddy. Caddies allow us to focus on our game, while someone else fills in our holes. Recently, a growing selection of mobile applications targeted at us golfers has hit online stores. They promise to take strokes off our game and keep track of our and our playing partners’ improvements, calculating distances and even suggesting the best club to play. They rely on the rapid spread of GPS in highend devices. The highest profile of these is the iPhone. Recently released for the iPhone is GolfFlyOver, available via the App Store (US$14.99). GolfFlyOver provides information for more than 12,000 courses. This means it can, if you are playing somewhere reasonably well-known, automatically find courses in your area using the iPhone’s built-in Location Services. It then detects which hole you are currently playing and then determines yardage from your current location to the green and the tee (well,

Why you need a caddy more than ever it does for any supported course using the built-in GPS function for pinpoint accuracy). It will take you from the bird’s eye view of the course using satellite imagery, to worm level using the accelerometer to determine the break of your putt. That does seem a bit like cheating, especially if not everyone has an iPhone. However, there are a few apps for Windows Mobile devices too. The Mobile Golf Scorer (US$99 via Handango) does much of the same as GolfFlyOver, but also includes the possibility to store an image for each hole, allowing you to add notes, measure the distance to the hole and to record your strokes visually. It has an electronic Yardage book, which – if you don’t have a caddy – would provide a lot of local knowledge even if it were your first round on a course you hadn’t played before. Plus, you can keep you and your playing partners up-to-date with complete round report in a PDF file, including score card, statistics, analysis and the lines you played on each hole, allowing you to analyze your game shot-by-shot. If Mobile Golf Scorer’s price is a bunker that’s just too deep for you, try Nova Golf (US$64.95 via Handango). This app also includes enrolment for one user in the Nova Golf Internet Network (NGIN) providing further features and functions. If you play a course that’s not in the database, just let them know and they’ll add it for you. It also provides shot tracking for measuring long drives or iron consistency, while providing distances from current position to any position

– which means you can decide if you can carry a bunker or whether you should lay it up. Best yet, the handicap calculations are the same as for tournament-approved golf clubs and associations. If you want your true handicap, Nova will calculate it according to regulations. And for BlackBerry users, try mScorecard (US$19.95 via Handango). If you’ve got a GPS endowed BlackBerry, this is the fastest, easiest and most effective golf scorecard, that claims to be as quick to use as paper scorecards, but far more effective. Sure, it instantly calculates scores, handicaps, side games, stableford points and advanced round statistics for up to five players

simultaneously. It’s also got many of the bellsand-whistles of the other apps. But none of these apps, regardless of which device you use, really live up to the promise of being fast, nor easy. They all require a fair bit of concerted effort after every shot to ensure the data is entered. Now, if I can’t be bothered to fill in a divot, what’s the chance I’m going to fill in my digital holes? Here’s a new opportunity for caddies. After they finish replacing my sod and cleaning my clubs, they can then fill in my data. However, until I can find a mobile-savvy caddy, I’m just going to have to keep to the traditional method of scoring golf – exaggerating every shot.


It will take you from the bird’s eye view of the course using satellite imagery, to worm level


By Doug Crets

Mobile technology does not make a President – but it does enable passionate consumers to make a viral brand out of a candidate


A Big, Digital Donkey The Democratic Party is literally a whole different animal, when it comes to using digital and mobile. Mobile and social media consumers will remember Howard Dean’s impassioned use of YouTube and the blogging memes during his run for the Democratic Party nomination in 2004. He is now chairman of the Democratic National Committee, the ruling body that governs how the Democratic Party does its business. Lessons learned from that campaign have helped party diehards concoct a near-perfect strategy for not only defeating Republican attempts at the White House, but to extend the role of government into the everyday. The Democratic Party has found its brand, its brand symbol, and like any consumer goods WWW.CHARGED.MOBI

rom the beginning, President-elect Barack Obama had announced he intended to use the digital technology that sews together the Internet and mobile devices to not only run a campaign, but to change fundamentally the way Americans interact with government and government interacts with Americans. “Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age…and let’s lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America,” said Obama when he announced his candidacy for president in Springfield, Illinois back in February 2007. With that statement and others, then-Senator Obama became the first candidate in history to truly deliver change digitally and through mobile. By early October, Obama became the first candidate to have a team of coding experts create an iPhone application that encourages supporters to vote, register and get their friends and family to do the same thing. This allowed him to take a lead in the perception game. Pushed on by this interactive ability to send their thoughts and dreams up the hierarchy to the decision-makers of the campaign, Obama supporters dropped US$66 million into the campaign kitty in August alone, the highest ever one-month boost in the history of US elections. “This election has done an amazing job

of showing what it means to have a fully integrated marketing and communications strategy,” says Michael Becker, EVP – business development at iLoop Mobile, the company that designed the mobile campaign software deployed by the Obama campaign. “When I look at what Obama’s doing with the campaign, it’s been magic in how they have leveraged all media. Interweaving of mobile into the media has just been exceptional,” says the staunchly non-partisan Becker. Ask a Republican spin doctor what the Obama’s social media and mobile campaigning has done to the perception of politics and political effectiveness in the United States, and one trends stands out in stark relief: not only have traditional media habits persisted, but the Republican party itself may be working in ignorance, despite the best efforts of a younger base of Republican power elite wannabes. “I have been trying to encourage Republicans to do this forever,” says David All, a 27-year old director of the David All Group, or DAG, what he calls the nation’s first conservative Web 2.0 agency. All hired his first staffer in 2007, and he had lofty goals of helping to run local and national campaigns for the GOP. “I thought our first clients would be political, but I quickly learned that politicians didn’t care about communicating effectively, and using the Internet, and paying for it,” he says.


manufacturer that has found success, it has also found its method of implementation and reach. Barack Obama has become Brand Obama, and he has run the most successful social media and mobile phone campaign in the history of US elections. Becker, who says he is nonpartisan, believes that the focus of this year’s campaign has been on how technology enables the successful branding of a candidate. “It’s never about technology. It’s always about brand. Technology is the enabler,” says Becker. “They recognize the power of the evangelist consumer.” DAG’s All agrees. He is amazed at how much impact the Obama brand has had on people. He has seen volunteers and their willingness to add to the campaign and seen a stark difference in how the Republican camp manages the McCain-Palin strategy. The only time the McCain strategy actually challenged Obama’s poll numbers was when he announced Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Her popularity took off readily on blogs, in chat rooms and on Facebook and other social media sites. The sudden popularity brings into question whether the Republican brand means anything to Republican party members. And even if Palin adds more meaning to the Republican brand, she is outclassed by the effective use of technology. DAG’s All believes a brand is only as good as its reach and its deployment. “Branding only matters when it means something to someone,” says All. “Barack Obama means something to a whole heck of a lot of people, because of his effective use of the internet


to connect to people, and to connect to people who have never been connected to a politician before.” Democracy is communicating the politics of perception to as many people as possible to create action that enables a country’s economic, cultural and political success. Obama has done more than his competitors to ensure that perception reaches the most proponents, says Becker. “Every time my phone rings, it says: ‘This is Barack Obama.’ They hear Barack. He’s turned me into a walking billboard,” says Becker. That viral ringtone reinforces the message of change to people who may not have heard it enough or at all. And when something is continually blasted into the consciousness, it begins to seem second nature. Says Becker: “He has used every media possible to help share his message. Whether or not you agree with that message, it doesn’t matter.”

Obama’s Will Be Done Obama’s email database of allegedly 5 million names has weberati pollsters at betting that he will take this email list with him to the White House and maintain constant communication with his voting base well after the election. His organizing website has more than a million registered users. Taking this database and tapped-in base with him into political office could alter the way the country runs. With the click of a mouse, or a few mobile phone keystrokes, his volunteers can mobilize gatherings, debates,

and live chats that will make State of the Union addresses seem like funerals. And the clapping may disappear. The use of the Internet fosters the idea that top-down management control is giving way to other alternatives, but not all are willing to make that change. DAG’s All says

It’s never about technology. It’s always about brand. Technology is the enabler.

generation, but our generation is not yet the generation that is pulling the levers.” The new order will be two-way interaction between governed and the governing, just as there is beginning to be pressure delivered from lower management on how upper management runs a company,

and just as people in the news are able to now react to how they are portrayed in the stories written about them. Political races such as the one just ended are the most exposed and prominent ways of seeing this change. The Democrats learned very quickly that in order

to succeed one has to have the approval of the people who perform the actions that transmit ideology into practice. “That revolutionary thinking is what made sense, and it worked,” says All.


that Obama has tapped into a long held belief that people on the grassroots need to be listened to. The feeling is they are outside of politics. “I listen to my interns just as much as I listen to my top staffers,” says All. “Their voice is just as important as mine. That cultural shift occurred in my


Volunteers build a killer iPhone App for the Obama Campaign

How the crowd built the brand: It’s all about authenticity. Had the campaign itself built the brand, it would have felt contrived. But when it’s built by passionate, empowered followers, it becomes magic By Jay Oatway


egardless of your political affiliation, it’s inspiring to see a rather impressive list of developers and designers come together to develop a powerful app in just 22 days. And they did for free. Yes, the recent creation of the Obama iPhone App was an all volunteer effort that began outside the campaign. And it’s a shining example of what makes the mobile revolution so powerful. The project lead, Raven Zachary, a leading consultant in the field of creating, developing, and launching iPhone products, saw the opportunity to use his favorite devices to further the cause of his favorite candidate. Zachary assembled a crack team and set to work, knowing that there was precious little time left to get this app to market if it was

going to have a chance to make a difference. The volunteers that he got together included such talent as author and programmer (previously of Delicious Monster and Tapulous) Mike Lee; former Tapulous engineer Tristan O’Tierney; designer Louie Mantia; Jonathan Wight of Toxic Software fame, and iPhone Dev Camp I and II organizer Dom Sagolla. “For me personally, this is exactly the type of work I love doing. I was able to apply my passion for the iPhone to a high-profile client, define a set of requirements, assemble a top-notch team, and deliver a quality product that helps the client to meet its core objectives,” explains Zachary. “In this case, that happens to be the presidential election.” The app automatically provided users with the contact for their local Obama for America HQ. It pulled in the latest campaign news via text messages or email. It would find local Obama events and then get maps and directions. It could browse videos and photos from the campaign trail. And it laid out the facts about Barack Obama and

Joe Biden’s plan for essential issues facing Americans. Most importantly, it would leverage the contact list of every iPhone user who installed the app. “The one feature I think is the most groundbreaking is ‘Call Friends’, or as I have been referring to it as ‘The Two Minute Volunteer’,” explains Zachary, “Call Friends organizes and prioritizes your contacts by key battleground

states, making it easy to reach out. Caller stats are then aggregated anonymously to a leader board within the application, displaying key stats such as the number of callers and total calls made.” The effect of volunteers creating mobile tools that empowers more volunteers to connect with more and more was truly awe inspiring. Totally viral, totally what the mobile revolution is all about.

(Sure there were also Obama ringtones and wallpaper, but no one could call that revolutionary, although they did become part of the viral brand.) The app was pretty well received, except for a small bug that causes it to crash for most of Pittsburgh. Well, no one said that an app made for free in just 22 days would be perfect.

The one feature I think is the most groundbreaking is ‘Call Friends’, or as I have been referring to it as ‘The Two Minute Volunteer’

Photo Courtesy of Steve Rhodes


hepard Fairey is an unlikely hero for the Obama brand. He’s been arrested countless times for vandalizing walls with his “art” projects. However, on the street, he is an artist with respect. His first poster of Obama, called “Progress” became an instant icon, with its red, white and blue image – almost Soviet-era retro. It worked because it came from the heart. He had heard

Obama speak, and for the first time was compelled to make a positive political comment. “I didn’t need a negative image,” says Fairey. “The negative approach didn’t work in 2004. It was time to try something different.” He started plastering up the “Progress” posters. They were a big hit. Fans began asking for prints. Fairey produced and sold a limited run (350 prints) of the poster. They sold out almost immediately. They now fetch more than US$3000 on eBay – and the price is expected to climb after the election. But the poster hadn’t come

from the top-down. It came from the street. Fairey made it authentic. And a big part of the nature of Fairey’s work is that it gets copied – freely. Even in Hong Kong, you can find another of Fairey’s creations, ‘Andre has a Posse’, plastered on walls – often above Fairey’s own brand name, ‘Obey’. Fairey has never been to Hong Kong. The graffiti is the work of copycats who love Fairey’s imagery. The Obama image was no different. As the election drew closer, the iconic painting would only grow even bigger. It was picked up and reused by others, again and again,

becoming the brand for change. Of course, the campaign immediately recognized a good thing and took the image on board. However, they did change the word “Progress” to “Hope”. These posters were repeatedly defaced, with the letters “PE” torn off. The street can smell it when you’re not authentic. But that hasn’t stopped the image from spreading far and wide – it’s even been lovingly recreated on the back of a Nintendo DS, which was then photographed and shared on nearly every gadget blog.


A street-artist turns vandalism into the core image for Brand Obama


The era of the Twitter grade is upon us. It’s not just enough to be out there sending 140 character updates, but it’s about amassing social capital, building up velocity and de‑centralising your network’s power very election brings a new communications technology into the spotlight. In 2004 we saw blogs become a central part of the campaign trail. This time around it’s Twitter – the 140 character micro-blogging service that integrates well with even the most basic of mobile phones. Twitter is all about succinct messages. It’s about making a point, and a call to action and providing a link. All in the blink of an eye. But it’s also about the network. Twitter’s greatest attribute is its speed of dissemination. Anything can be retweeted to hundreds of followers, who in turn pass it to hundreds more. Some


clever folks at twInfluence. com have come up with the ultimate in metrics for measuring this. Of all the metrics, one stat is boss: reach. In the run-up to the election, Obama’s campaign topped the charts with a reach of more than 9 million Twitter users. No other communication provides that sort of speed and impact. And no one else on Twitter comes even close to matching those numbers. Obama became the king of the new medium. (see Obama’s twInfluence) Other numbers to consider: velocity, social capital, and centralization. Here’s what they mean, according to Guy Hagen,

founder of Innovation Insight research and analytics consulting services, and the lead brain behind Velocity merely averages the number of first- and secondorder followers attracted per day since the Twitterer first established their account. As Twitterers build their follower network, their velocity tends to increase. In other words, the more followers you get, the faster you get them, and the faster your reach builds through a sort of “snowball” effect. Social capital is essentially a measure of how influential your

followers are. A high value indicates that most of that Twitterer’s followers have a lot of followers themselves. As Twitterers build their follower network, their social capital tends to start very high, build for a while, then slowly decrease. This is probably because, as most people start tweeting, they follow a few high-profile Twitterers who may reciprocate. Over time, however, they attract more and more people – and that means more and more people with only a few followers. Centralization is a measure of how much a Twitterer’s influence (reach) is invested in a small number of followers. In social network

You’ve got an entire generation of folks under age 25 no longer using emails, not even using Facebook: a majority are using text messaging

Obama’s twInfluence

analysis, a high centralization indicates dependency of the network on just a few nodes to maintain the connectivity of the entire network. A network with only a few high-profile followers is very sensitive to collapsing if those followers leave, making it fragile. A Call To Action Of course, there is a reciprocal benefit to having Twitter become central to politics. Twitter has gained a lot more users who want to be part of the new conversation.

The Twitter blog reported an increase in traffic around major political events, like the debates – during which tweets jumped 160% compared to the same time the week before. And sign-ups to Twitter rose by 135%. What might have been most telling, however, was who wasn’t jumping on the 140 character band-wagon. David All, a Republican newmedia consultant, laments how McCain missed this boat. “You’ve got an entire generation of folks under age

25 no longer using emails, not even using Facebook: a majority are using text messaging,” he explains. “I get Obama’s text message, and every one is exactly what it should be. It is never pointless, it is always worth reading, and it has an action for you to take. You can have hundreds of recipients on a text message. You have hundreds of people trying to change the world in 140 characters or less. What’s the SMS strategy for John McCain? None.”

Barack Obama’s Rank: #1 (100%) (as of Nov. 4) 112,024 friends 107,954 followers

REACH: 9,265,838 Velocity: 15,384 second-order followers / day

Social Capital: 85.8 / -0.9 Low Average Centralization: 1.14% / -1.2 Fragile WWW.CHARGED.MOBI

Photo Courtesy of Allison Harger


Buckle-up, return your seat to the full upright position and prepare for take-off – the mobile travel era has begun. We are mobile in every sense of the word. We want to go places – places distant and exotic. We travel for work and for pleasure. And it shouldn’t be too much to ask that we can accomplish a bit of both at the same time. When we arrive at our destination, time is precious. We need tools that maximize our ability to get work done so we can play. Or we want to be able to play, knowing that should a real emergency arise at work, we can put out the fire via our mobile device. In any case, our mobiles are with us no matter how far we travel. Since they are in our pockets anyway, our mobiles will increasingly serve a new purpose – that of travel companion. Mobiles are the new travel guides, unlocking exotic locations and allowing us to discover more than ever.


Location, directions and search: welcome to wherever you are on your mobile


aps used to be these cumbersome creatures that could never quite be refolded to its fresh-from-the-store form. They were expensive, stuck at whatever scale the map maker deemed appropriate, and, quite possibly, out-of-date before you bought them. Mobiles complete the evolution of maps that began with online maps nearly a decade ago. Back then, with online maps, you could already zoom in and out, search for things, find directions and plot routes. But then you had to print them out, and were stuck with a pile of static pieces of paper. Today, with GPS and other location-aware technologies, mobiles can plot your location live on the cartography. Which means no more turning a map around and around while asking, “Where are we?” It also means that you never have to figure out how to refold the damn thing when you’re done. A recent survey by Tele Atlas, a giant in the digital maps arena, shows that 62% of current GPS device users in China and 46% of GPS device users in Thailand primarily rely on their devices for map information. More than 80% of those surveyed in each market also want additional data services for their maps, such as real time traffic updates (which has been one

of the big selling points on the new 3G iPhone) The major rival to Tele Atlas has been Navteq, which Nokia acquired last year to facilitate its new “Maps 2.0” navigation app, which includes a handy pedestrian mode for those times when geographical confusion strikes while on foot. (It might also be fun for setting up treasure hunts.) And then there is Google Maps. You don’t need a massive data package to use Google maps on your mobile. Google provides its maps as a free download ( that you can pre-install on your device. This means you can use your GPS without expending your 3G data allowance. However, the big trends to watch for are the coming wave of mobile map add-ons. Everything from city guides to the allimportant voice guided car navigation. These add-ons are being designed to mash-up with all the major map providers – adding layers of useful information on top of the usual street map (let’s see paper maps do that!). Tele Atlas has even started a project it calls “Address Points”, which is now available for Singapore and Taiwan. This map add-on puts the pin-point location of 95,000 addresses in Singapore (approximately two-thirds of addresses) and 3.3 million addresses in Taiwan (approximately 80 percent of addresses).


The Way New Maps


Why? Tele Atlas technology director, Danny Grobben, explains that “for countries with irregular addressing, as is the case in many countries in Asia Pacific, Address Points offer our partners a more reliable way to help consumers arrive at their precise destination”. That is, of course, if your GPS is working.

Don’t Believe the GPS Hype Be Warned: GPS fails in dense urban settings. The antennae on most mobile devices just don’t cut it. In dense urban settings such as Hong Kong’s Central District, your built-in GPS will struggle to see enough of the sky to triangulate your exact position. GPS relies on making contact with a series of satellites – the stronger the signal the better. But when you’re standing on a narrow street between the skyscrapers, you are but a nearly invisible dot at the bottom of an 80-storey canyon. Some devices allow you to install larger antennae, which in many cases will make enough of a difference that you can put yourself on the map. But who wants to lug around an unwieldy aerial? And did we mention that the GPS chip could really drain your battery? GPS is certainly here to stay. But, perhaps, it’s too early to consign paper maps to the dustbin.


Got smartphone, will travel. These applications will get you to where you’re going in style

Download and GO For the Windows Mobile jet-set: WorldMate Live: This heavyweight agent can manage your full itinerary, including travel arrangements and business meetings, making all details immediately accessible on your mobile device, and ensuring a smooth trip by pushing alerts regarding imminent events such as flight delays. (Also available for S60 Nokias) Spb Traveler: This is one trip assistant that will go the extra mile, providing information on more than 10,000 cities worldwide, with services such as up-to-date weather forecast, currency exchange rates, measurement converter and a flight assistant. It even includes a Multilingual Phrase Book (based on phrase books). It’s been designed to help international travelers especially those making numerous connecting flights. It’s possible to save the trip schedule that’s been created to separate files and share these with colleagues and family if needed.

For the iPhone interloper: Travel Safety Guide: In today’s world, traveling to unfamiliar destinations has become more and more dangerous, for both your personal safety and your pocketbook. So think about arming yourself against those who want your money, your person, and even your identity. To keep the predators at bay, Foreign Travel Safety Tips is a must.

It’s quicker than using a phrase book, have your iPhone do the talking


Talking Translator: Developed by Coolgorilla, the Talking Translator for iPhone is a free service that provides both text and audio translations of essential holiday phrases from English into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German. Order a round of drinks, make small talk with the locals, deal with embarrassing medical situations, find your way around exotic locations and much more. It’s quicker and easier than using a standard phrase book, and the availability of audio translations means you can choose to have your iPhone do the talking for you (via the built-in speaker) or, should you decide to speak the language yourself, it will help get your pronunciation down pat. However you choose to use the Talking Translator, it’s a great way to score points with the locals and learn the basics of a new language.


Tri-band, quad-band, different types of 3G – who’s to know if your phone will work where you are going?


etwork operators around the world, in their infinite wisdom, agreed to disagree on the standard radio frequency for mobile communications. The result is a global patchwork of “bands” that are sometimes so different that your phone will no speaky da lingo. To find out where your phone can roam, first check your phone’s manual or specifications (you can often find this online if you’ve lost the book that came with your phone). It will likely say “tri-band.” Tri-band typically means 900/1800/1900 MHz bands for phones from Europe and Asia. In North America, tri-band usually means 850/1800/1900 MHz bands. As you can see there is some overlap. Some devices are billed as travel phones and come with quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz). That means they do both types of “tri-band”. Still confused? Don’t worry, 3G is supposed to make it all much easier.


3G devices operate in the so-called “Universal Mobile Telecommunications System” (UMTS) bands 850/1900/2100 or 850/1700/2100 MHz. But, of course, this isn’t actually universal: n 2100 (downlink) / 1900 (uplink) for Europe and Asia (usually referred simply as WCDMA 2100) n 1900 / 850 (independently, for both the uplink and downlink) for America (e.g. AT&T) n 2100 (downlink) / 1700 (uplink) for America (e.g. T-Mobile) n 850 for Australia (Telstra NextG) Note that being “UMTS” tri-band doesn’t mean that phone is a GSM tri-band. However, nearly all 3G tri-band handsets these days are also GSM quad band too. Five and six band phones (800/850/900/1700/1900/2100) are possible, but none has been announced. However, if that has made you even more confused, get this: China now has its own 3G standard, which won’t work with your brand new 3G iPhone – or any other non-Chinese 3G device.

China now has ITS own 3G standard, which won’t work with your brand new 3G iPhone – or any other non‑Chinese 3G device


he human brain is great at recognizing places we’ve been before. It’s like we have a perfect photo album in our heads to compare against images of our surroundings. But what do you do if you don’t recognize the landmarks and, for some reason, your mobile GPS is out of commission. Wives and girlfriends would have us stop and ask for directions, but few male egos relish that idea. Luckily, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have a solution. Just take a picture and let the brain in the clouds see if it recognizes the landmarks – chances are that someone has been there before us. How to find where you are with a phonecam: Take a picture: shoot something that others would likely have taken a picture of, perhaps a geographic feature or some unusual urban landscape. Send it to the eggheads. The new technique, developed by computer science graduate student James Hays and assistant computer science and robotics professor Alexei A.

Efros, compares the photograph against millions of GPStagged images in Flickr’s massive online library. It doesn’t require ‘clues’ such as signage, but instead operates on the statistical distribution of texture, color and line. Figure out where you are. Maybe. “We’re not asking the computer to tell us what is depicted in the photo, but to find other photos that look like it,” Efros said in a press release. “It was surprising to us how effective this approach proved to be. Who would have guessed that similarity in overall image appearance would correlate to geographic proximity so well?” OK, so it probably won’t help you that much. Yet. Only 16% of photos in a test set worked. However, that’s far greater than chance would allow, and even the failures often got close enough to be useful. A commercial version may still be some ways off, although Nokia is promising to have something similar out next year, which just might be worth holding out for if you’re the sort of real man who hates asking for directions.


A picture may someday be worth a 1,000 words of directions


Passenger: Mr Law Flight: CX201 n Destination: London Heathrow n Time to Boarding: 0h 13m 42s n Frequent Flyer: Yes n Type: Business Class n Location: 384.5x 24y 92.3z n n

Passenger: Mr Hamilton Flight: BA723 n Destination: New York n Time to Boarding: 0h 42m 06s n Frequent Flyer: Yes n Type: Business Class n Location: 385.2x 24y 92.3z n n

Airports of the future may track your every move

Passenger: Mr Daley Flight: VS203 n Destination: Singapore n Time to Boarding: 0h 2m 59s n Frequent Flyer: Yes n Type: Business Class n Location: 385.2x 24y 92.3z ALERT: IMMEDIATE CONTACT n n


Potential areas where mobiles will make a difference to tomorrow’s traveller: Imagine your mobile phone holding all your travel documents, including an e‑passport You can avoid travel stress points: n Spend less time queuing n Receive a timely reminder that the aircraft is boarding, with directions to the gate n Avoid waiting at the carousel for late bags n Have immediate access to applications that allow you to change your travel itinerary wherever you are

The satellite phone may be the ultimate in must-haves for the road warrior who knows no bounds. The requirement – deep pockets. The payoff – never, ever, out of touch.


here are several companies providing satellite connectivity for those who can afford it. The most wide-reaching in terms of pure coverage are Globalsat and Iridium. They’ll keep you connected everywhere: at sea, in the air, at the poles. Just as long as you are outside. Satellite phones are notoriously bad inside. Which means you may have to stand out in the rain to make a call. The good news is that the newest handsets no longer look like some sort of mobile frankenbeast from the ‘80s with giant rabbit ears. The

In 2002, a Bangladeshi court has sentenced Indian separatist leader Anup Chetia to seven years in jail for the illegal possession of a satellite phone bad news, new handsets retail for more than US$1,000. However, you can rent them on a weekly basis. Also, if you think international roaming fees are steep on your GSM handset, wait until you get your satellite phone bill. Pre-paid voice will cost you U$1 per minute. And while incoming SMS is free, it’s more than US$0.5 to send one. Forget about keeping up with your Twitter. Keep in mind that aside from the financial cost of having such a device, there are places in the world where possessing such a device could cost you your freedom. In 2002, a Bangladeshi court sentenced Indian separatist leader Anup Chetia to seven years in jail for the illegal possession of a satellite phone. And during last year’s media crackdown after protests in Burma, London-based Burmese blogger Ko Htike told the BBC that the only way to get reports from his contacts within the country was by satellite phone. “But these are difficult to come by and the risks for people in Burma are tremendous: three-and-a-half years in prison,” he said.



o you’re sitting at the airport’s departure lounge bar, swapping travel stories with some random stranger, who has, after a few beers, become your new best friend. It’s just about time to buy another round, when an SMS alert bleeps out from your pocket. The airline is reminding you that it’s time to go – and saved you from once again missing your flight. According to a recent report released by SITA (The Air Transport Industry Tech Gurus), ‘digital travellers’ will have on-demand access to a range of mobile-enabled services, giving passengers, for the first time, a proactive role in their travel experience while on the move. But not everyone is in love with this idea. The trade-off (yes, there always seems to be a catch) is that you lose your privacy (sometimes random strangers who meet in bars should really just remain anonymous). For those of us sober enough to notice, airline travel could actually be made even more unpleasant, as we are hounded through airports by online advertisers as well as security, customs and perfume touting dutyfree-sales staff. Tracking mobiles in an airport could mean both finding lost sheep, which delay flights, and costs airlines US$60 million a year. Or it could mean relentless hard sells at every connection. Maybe it’s best to just turn off your phone, and order another round for you and your new best friend.


Photo Courtesy of Susanna Hietala, Nokia

an Chipchase travels the world on behalf of Nokia, researching how people use their mobiles. He focuses on the developing world and emergent phone uses – on how billions of people are becoming mobile for the first time. But no matter how far he travels, people are basically the same, says Chipchase: “The common denominator between cultures, regardless of age, gender or context is: keys, money and, if you own one, a mobile phone. Why those three objects? Without wanting to sound hyperbolic, essentially it boils down to survival. Keys provide access to warmth and shelter, money is a very versatile tool that can buy food, transport and so on. A mobile phone, people soon realise, is a great tool for recovering from emergency situations, especially if the first two fail.” In a recent interview in New Scientist, Chipchase is referred to as a “cellphone


because your street is off the map or not officially recognised, you find people are writing their phone numbers above their door

anthropologist”. But Chipchase’s own blog quickly dismisses the moniker: “It’s interesting to see how other people label that thing that you do. I’m neither a trained anthropologist nor do I aspire to be called one – but whatever it takes to get on with the job. Only a small percentage of the work is related to mobile phones – life is way more interesting than little lumps of plastic and metal.” However, like it or not, Chipchase has become a bit of a legend within the mobile community. He has open the developed world’s eyes to places that were considered too far off the map to matter. Mobiles make remote places matter more, as Chipchases showed in early reports on the benefits of shared mobile phone use in developing nations. “The research team identified six shared

are re-marking our physical world: “We’ve started to see the mobile phone being used as the primary form of projecting your identity. For instance, if you live in a community with no street signs, because your street is off the map or not officially recognised, you find people are writing their phone numbers above their door.” So how does all his travels translate into a better designed phone? Well, that’s the tough part of the job. The data he collects then informs (and, hopefully, inspires) the designers at Nokia. But it’s getting harder to stay ahead of the street innovation: “If a way of changing, fixing or improving a popular model of mobile phone is discovered in any of the hacking communities around the world on Monday, by Friday it’ll be on the streets of somewhere like Ghana.”

It’s interesting to see how other people label that thing that you do. I’m neither a trained anthropologist nor do I aspire to be called one WWW.CHARGED.MOBI

use practices: an informal service called Sente that essentially enables a mobile phone owner to function as an ATM machine; mediated communication that neatly side-steps issues of technological and textual literacy; the ever popular practice of making missed calls; the pooling of resources to buy the lowest denominations of pre-paid airtime and extend the access days for the phone that is topped up; the use of community address books to reduce errors and (supposedly) encourage phone kiosk customer loyalty; and finally Step Messaging – the delivery of text and spoken messages on foot.” His more recent work showcases how different cultures use their phones as a way of projecting identity. These expressions of identity range from gaudy customizations of the phones themselves to the ways that phones


Small upstart companies are using internet wizardry, and some insider know-how, to provide an affordable alternative to international roaming fees. But making it work isn’t easy


o you love to travel, but hate to roam? Well, you’re not alone. Unless you travel for work, and the company picks up your international roaming fees (often more than US$5/ minute), chances are that you keep your mobile switched off while out of town. But what if you could roam for free – or at least for so little that you felt free to talk as much as you wanted to? What would you be willing to do for that privilege? The truth is that most of us still aren’t willing to ramp up our roaming skills, preferring instead to practice mobile abstinence – just don’t turn it on! But, increasingly, that’s no longer an option for many of us. Nomadic lifestyles demand that we remain responsibly connected to our projects at home, regardless of where our business travels may take us.


What Choices Do We Have? When we travel, we need a roaming alternative that is inexpensive (as close to free as possible). We need something that is easy to set up and use, without having to perform elaborate rituals every time we want to make a cheap call. And we need something that works on any phone, anywhere in the world. And the voice quality should be perfect. That would do nice, thanks. While that may seem like a tall order, there are several upstart companies racing to perfect an alternative to roaming. They have all found ways to cut costs dramatically from virtually anywhere in the world, on almost any GSM handset, which brings up the question as to why the big carriers can’t do the same (more on this later). The solutions, however, are anything but simple. The choices are: download

and install some roaming software, install a roaming SIM card or make calls from free WiFi hotspots. Despite obvious differences, they all work in a similar way: you place a call; the phone figures out that the call you want to make is going to cost you a bundle in roaming; it calls (or texts) your alternative roaming service, which then calls back to your phone; you answer and hear it ringing through to the number you placed a call to. All these transactions are necessary to ensure the calls at both ends are made as local calls, and that the connection in the middle is all handled by VoIP. It seems tricky, but it will save you money.

David vs. Goliath Small is powerful in the digital age. Thanks to the inexpensive nature of using the Internet for voice calls, there are lots of

ways to save travelers money – that is, if you can get your mobile connected to the net and the net connected to another phone at the other end of the call. But savings also come from running a tight ship compared to the bloated juggernauts of the traditional international roaming arena. “I work from the back of my house. It keeps the cost down,” explains Andrew Reid, managing director of Morodo, which offers a roaming service called MO-Call World. “And our development center in Beijing is a lot cheaper than if we housed it in the same 700 square meters in London.” But don’t let humble appearances fool you. Morodo, and many services like them, are signing up thousands of new customers every month. Morodo now has more than 65,000 registered users and revenues are growing fast. In its first

Truphone, another popular mobile VoIP service, rates fairly high on ease-of-use, but only if you have a Nokia, BlackBerry or iPhone. It, like MO-Call, takes a softwarebased approach that will call you back and then complete the call on the other end. Truphone also offers a free VoIP service via WiFi hotspots.

Ease-of-Use is Everything No one likes a complicated calling procedure. This is what international roaming agreements count on. The big carriers know that the while their service is expensive, making and receiving calls requires no extra effort. For the alternatives, every extra point of friction can mean the difference between success and failure. Cubic Telecom has learned the hard way. Its first product, Roam4free, relied on cheap,

but tricky to use numbers from Latvia, Estonia or Liechtenstein, or via a UKbased toll-free phone number. “This approach doesn’t work very well,” says Pat Phalen of Cubic Telecom. “The problem is that people have to call a strange country code just to call you. It just isn’t intuitive and it isn’t userfriendly. With MAXroam we have made the service work as you would expect, plus we’ve added a lot of new features that you will have never seen before.” MaxRoam believes the solution should be in the SIM card, but not just any SIM. It supplies its users with a “no country” SIM, which acts like a local card wherever it goes. (The side effect of this is that every outgoing call you make needs to include a country code, even if the number is in the same country as you are.) Switching to a local SIM card has long been a trick of

many international travelers, who have learned to seek out a pre-paid card upon arrival in a country where they need to be making local calls. The drawback: having to distribute an ever-changing new number locally – and still having to pay for the overseas calls forwarded from your usual number. MAXroam gets around this by allowing you to set up permanent local numbers in all the places you regularly visit (or just set up a temporary one if it’s a one-off trip). This means that friends or business partners in Tokyo can make a local call to your Tokyo number, and it will then ring your local number in Bangkok, Singapore, New York, Hong Kong, London or wherever you happen to be (you are allowed a maximum of 50 locations. Each will cost you €2/month to maintain). However, you still need to overcome the hurdle of getting your local number out



four months, it went global, taking on customers from 151 countries. The demand for its service is clearly strong. Cubic Telecom, which provides the MaxRoam service, has a similar story to tell – it’s all about keeping costs low. Cubic claims to also be saving the customer money by not trying to compete with the massive marketing and advertising spending of the major telcos. But the lack of exposure hasn’t been a problem for Cubic. Since launching MAXroam at last year’s TechCrunch40, it has negotiated deals with more than 500 carriers in more than 180 countries across the globe. MaxRoam can offer rates as much as 80% lower than roaming with your traditional mobile carrier. Plus, it is the only one offering international data and SMS as part of its roaming service.


How Roaming Alternatives Work Make a Call

MO-Call I. Before you call, you need to set a call-back number. The only way to stay mobile is get a local pre-paid SIM to put in your phone. Set this as your call-back number.

Truphone I. Truphone requires no call-back numbers. The software does all the magic.

MAXroam I. MAXroam uses a no-country SIM, which means all numbers you dial must include the country code – even if you are in the same country


Wait for Call Back

VOIP Bridges the Gap

Software works on 90% of handsets worldwide II. Instead of placing the call, the software sends an SMS to the UK (which you still have to pay for) of the number you want to connect to. MO-Call then makes a local call-back to your designated number.

III. Since all the chat time happens as VoIP, this makes for relatively small bills. But not free. MO-Call makes a modest amount off each call, but just a fraction of what your carrier would charge you. You’ll need to top up this amount on their website.

Provides free calls when both caller and receiver are using Truphone II. Truphone also sends and SMS (to either the US or UK) of the number you want to connect to. It then calls you back locally.

III. Truphone offers a VoIP service that makes free calls to anyone else also using Truphone

Local numbers in every country you need one II. 10 seconds after you dial the number you want, your phone will ring. Answer it and you’ll hear it ringing on the other end.

III. MAXroam also allows you to send and receive inexpensive (save up to 80%) SMS and data (email, internet, etc.) while roaming

Call is Connected Locally

Requires a local prepaid SIM to stay mobile IV. After you answer your callback, you’ll hear it ringing at the other end, where MO-Call has made just a local call on your behalf.

Only roams with Nokia phones IV. Calls are connected locally. It’s cheaper to call a landline than it is to call a mobile (due to a little charge known as a “termination fee” which is demanded by all carriers).

Costs 2/month to maintain those numbers IV. The call is connected locally, preventing the carrier from charging you for roaming.

How Normal Roaming Works

I. Travelling with your phone is possible because your home operator has a “roaming agreement” with a carrier in a country you’re visiting.

So easy to use. Just switch on and dial II. The poorer nations see no incentive to cap roaming or termination. They see it as a sort of tax on the wealthy international businessman.

How to Call You Calls Made to You From:




III. If you are calling back home, then the visited operator will connect the call back to your home country (and begin billing at the roaming agreement rate).

How to Receive the Call

Expensive. You never know how much it will cost you. Often as much as US$5/min. IV. Your home operator “terminates” the call, which means they connect to the number you dialed, and they charge you extra if it’s a mobile.

Pro vs Cons.

Callers dial your regular number, which may mean making a long distance call.

MO-Call calls you at a local number that you designate, such as a friend’s house, an office, or a local pre-paid SIM.

Simple download works on nearly every phone

Callers dial your regular number, which may mean making a long distance call – unless they also use Truphone.

Unless both your caller and you are using Truphone over WiFi, the call will incur normal roaming fees

Can use WiFi hotspots to reduce cost to zero

Let’s you setup local numbers in up to 50 countres, which means your friends, family or business contacts only need to dial a local number.

MAXroam calls you on your local number that you’ve set up.

can also handle data and SMS from anywhere in the world

Requires acquiring a local SIM to stay mobile while roaming

Nokia handsets only

each new number will cost €2/month to maintain


Normal Roaming




to everyone. Would you need to have a new business card printed for every country, or just have a card with a long list of numbers on it? But not everyone needs a permanent number. While Morodo’s MO-Call World does a similar trick when you make or receive a call (it too calls you back to connect locally), it doesn’t supply you with a local number. Instead, you’ve got to tell the MO-Call software which local number to call you back at. Once this is set, all calls made to your home number will come through as local calls to the designated number, which is great if you are staying with friends or family and can have your calls routed to their landline. But who wants to be tied to a landline? This kind of defeats the purpose of having a mobile. So you really do need to load a local SIM into your mobile, thus giving you a mobile local number, in order to make the MO-Call service convenient. Of course, having to acquire a local SIM is a much bigger pain in the ass than it sounds. When using Truphone abroad, it sends an initial SMS to the Truphone server instead of calling it. The difference is in the call-back, which comes to your Nokia handset without requiring you to set up a local number at all.

Naturally, none of this is free. Rates will vary depending on where you are and where you are calling. But the savings over traditional carriers are very real.

Socio-Political Implications So why aren’t the carriers worried? Why don’t they try to reduce roaming fees too? The answer is simple: they don’t need to. Convenience is their game, and everyday thousands upon thousands of international travelers continue to pay whatever price the carriers demand. Then again, the first strike has been made. The European

Union has capped roaming fees charged by carriers (as well as the termination fees). Of course, as soon as roaming fees were capped in Europe, then roaming fees in Asia went up. So don’t expect to see roaming caps imposed anywhere else in the world. In many countries that have not yet deregulated their telecoms industry, international roaming agreements have become an important revenue generator for the government. They are seen as a sort of tax on the wealthy international businessman, with money flowing from the rich mobiledependent North to the developing South. “Our service is still frowned

upon by many nationalized carriers. International roaming is a huge money spinner for them,” explains Morodo’s Reid. So if you find yourself traveling into places such as China, for example, forget about beating roaming fees. “We tried to set it up in China, but had the plug pulled by the Ministry of Information. Only two companies are allowed to originate calls, they told us: China Mobile and China Unicom,” says Reid. All this while the world continues to grow increasingly mobile. People are traveling more and more. And the small upstarts will continue to innovate. Everyone wants the same thing – to roam free.

Our service is still frowned upon by many nationalized carriers. International roaming is a huge money spinner for them

Custom Tours Ditch the Lonely Planet guide – it’s out-of-date before it’s even printed. The guides of the future: up-to-the-minute, customizable, and tracking the global party scene. Here’s how to mobilize your next adventure (warning: international data rates apply) Wikitude – the Mobile Travel Guide So there you are sitting in a cozy café in some distant land trying to decide what to do. You can take out your iPhone, go to, type in the city and street of your café, search for museum, and as a result you see a list of museums nearby sorted by distance With more than 370,000 worldwide points of interests (museums, schools, caves, castles, archaeological sites, battle fields, etc.) searchable by address, Wikitude will fill your day. First We Take Berlin – Then the World: Unlike Guides provide a buffet-style approach to filling your travel itinerary ( Offering “the definitive city guide for

the mobile generation”, Unlike is continuously updated with all the coolest happenings (shopping, bars, clubs, food, culture, wellness and more). Selecting from the buffet, you put together your own tour, which is then mapped out along with an itinerary – all accessible from your mobile device. You can share this tour with other travelers, as well as trying out the tours already created by others. Or you can use Unlike’s “locate me” function to find featured locations and what’s happening in your area at anytime. (Currently available just for Berlin, the company says more cities are on the way soon). Discover Where Everyone Like YOU Is Right Now If you are lucky enough to be on holiday and looking for a party in San Francisco this year, and you are a BlackBerry user, then you will have a direct line on all the hottest spots thanks to Citysense ( Citysense was built to show you where the action is, right now. It’s the creation of Columbia Uni-

versity computer science professor Tony Jebara to instantly show people where the hottest clubs or hangouts are, in real time. Using a billion points of GPS and WiFi positioning data from the last few years – plus realtime feeds – Citysense sees San Francisco from above and puts the top live hotspots in your hand. You don’t even need to sign up, just go to citysense. com on your BlackBerry, download, and open. (An iPhone version is coming) And what’s next? “When you use Citysense, the application learns about the kinds of places you like to go from GPS – without ever sharing personal information. It can simply see patterns: people who like Club X also like Bar Y. In its next release, Citysense will not only tell you where everyone is right now, but where everyone like you is right now. So there’s no excuse not to get out there and meet the locals. Off the Beaten Track With so much free travel infor-

mation online, all you need is someone to pull it all together. Which is exactly the service offered by Offbeat Guides ( Using more than two dozen data sources, Offbeat can put together a customized city guide for anywhere you plan to go (no matter how small or obscure). In just a few steps, you enter your destination, your starting location and travel dates. Then it spits out a multi-page travel guide for you to preview before you buy. Yes, this is a paid service, delivering mobile-friendly PDF files for just US$9.95. Not a bad value to have a guide to the latest festivals and activities, to all the bars and restaurants, along with history, cultural insight and weather – plus anything else it can find out. Offbeat makes customized travel guides for anywhere from Auckland to Zanzibar. Even testing it out on obscure destinations returned a wealth of information. You can then pay for a highquality print version to be mailed to you, or you can save and just stick with the PDF.


Transform your mobile into a guide book tailored to your own interests


Whether we’re travelling around the world or around town, we are all prone to the same calamity: a dead battery. Here are a few ways to power-up while on the move:


Turn Vampire

Go Green

Look for another battery to suck dry

Let the sun rekindle the fire in your battery. Let the wind fill your mobile sails

Turbo Boost – The Turbo Charge portable charger runs on a single AA battery and is able to juice up any cell phone battery in minutes. The major benefit of having an emergency charger like this in your bag is that you can easily buy batteries from just about anywhere while on-the-go. Just plug in a fresh AA and suck it dry. It’s not cheap running your phone off a supply of Duracells, but it is handy. Cost: US$19.95 From:

Flower Power – Reduce your carbon footprint already! Solio flips open the petals on a flower, storing power from the sun. Every hour in the sun will provide about 15 minutes of talk time. A fully charged Solio will recharge the average phone up to two times – or give you an additional 15 hours of MP3-playing electrons. Solio’s intelligent internal circuitry and adapter system lets you charge devices at about the same rate as its dedicated wall chargers. Cost: US$99.95 From: iSun Worship – Not everyone likes the idea of putting his or her shiny iPhone in a protective case. But if you’re going to tuck it into something it might as well also juice up the notoriously limp battery. The case includes a mini USB to USB cable so that you can also charge other USB devices from the case. Like many of the others, this case also has its own battery – a large high capacity 1500mAh battery that allows you to charge from a solar source and store the power for later use. Cost: £27.95 From: product/17551.htm WWW.CHARGED.MOBI

Drain a Laptop – Chances are that if you’re out on business, you’ve got your laptop with you. One option for recharging your mobile is to draw the power from your laptop battery. Most major brands of mobile devices provide USB charge cords, which can be plugged into your laptop. Or you can get a fancy multi-adapter and charge anyone’s phone (great for making friends at conferences). Of course, this comes at a cost – before long your laptop will be dead too. Cost: US$18 From:


Tilt at Windmills – When the sun goes down, you can always turn to the wind and hook up a stylish little turbine from HYmini. The turbine works with wind speeds above 9mph, producing sufficient electricity to charge most gadgets, including MP3 players, digital cameras, and cell phones. What to do if the wind isn’t blowing? Tip: hold it out the window of a moving vehicle. What makes this one such a winner is that it includes the best of solar and the battery-tobattery charging as well. It includes a built-in battery that can be charged via a wall socket, or via a small, portable solar panel (sold separately). So it’s ready whenever you need to power up, well just about any gadget. Cost: US$49.95 From:


Burn Fat Go on, work up a sweat Walk It Off – How long do you spend in the gym per week? Not enough? Well, here’s new motivation: get a free charge on your mobile while you work off that extra helping of dessert! US mobile power generation firm M2E Power has developed a mini-generator for mobile devices, which can harvest your kinetic energy. Like many of the mobile chargers, it comes with its own battery to store a charge and then transfer it to your phone. Of course, not all body parts are the same – get a different device for arms and legs. Or go crazy and get one for each. Now you’re working up a sweat! Cost: US$25 – $40 Available in 2009 From:

Dance Like Nobody is Watching – Go for a run, attend an aerobics class, do anything, just get moving – kinetic energy can recharge your mobile. Mobile phone operator Orange has teamed up with GotWind, a firm specializing in renewable energy, to produce a recharger powered by dance energy alone. The portable kinetic energy chargers were given a test run at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, the world’s biggest outdoor music and arts celebration in Somerset, England. Orange said the prototype chargers weigh the same as a phone and are about the size of a pack of cards. Strapped to the user’s arm, they employ a system of weights and magnets, which provide an electric current to top up power in a storage battery. This can be used later to recharge the phone. Cost: Not yet commercially available.

Attached to the user’s arm, they employ a system of weights and magnets, which provides an electric current to top up power in a storage battery

Just Get Dressed – Straight from the pages of sci-fi comes tomorrow’s re-charging technology. Nanotechnology researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology are developing a new type of clothing, which can produce energy from body movements. They claim that pairs of textile fibers covered with zinc oxide nanowires can generate electricity in response to the wearer moving around; the result is known as “the piezoelectric effect”. The resulting current flows from fiber pairs woven into a shirt or jacket may be used to power a range of portable electronic devices generated by the wearer’s body movement. These fibers can also be used to make curtains, tents or other structures for capturing energy from wind motion, sound vibration or other mechanical energy. With this, the only thing you have to remember is not to go out naked. Cost: Not yet commercially available.


Pedal Power – Nearly every mobile carrier is coming out with a human-powered gimmick. Motorola has a self-branded bike for “emerging markets”, where energy sources are scarce. O2 has also learned to love the bicycle, showcasing bike-mounted chargers at its Wireless Festival last July in Hyde Park. Of course, you too can easily add a generator to your bike. Just look online for the “POWERPlus Swallow Wind-up bike lamp and mobile charger”. Cost: US$19.95 From: product/17274.htm


Mobile Phone Selector Quiz Here are five broad personality categories for mobile phone users. Find out which you belong to, and which phone you’d get along with best… 1. What’s most important

4. Who do you admire the most?

8. Where do you carry your phone?

2. What’s your comfort level with technology

5. Where would you most like to go on vacation?

9. How big do you think a phone should be?

A Staying on top of work B Breaking the mould C Exploring the cutting-edge D Looking good E Saving money

A Strong grasp of mobile productivity tools. Generally know your stuff. B Can usually feel your way C Download away! Apps are your “thang!” D Good at texting. Who needs more? E Require idiot-proof device. Voice calls are enough.

3. Do you find yourself helping your technologychallenged friends? A Always B Sometimes C Seldom D They usually help me E No, but I do give them fashion tips.


A Donald Trump B Che Guevara C MacGyver D Sarah Jessica Parker E Your mom

A Not another business hotel B Somewhere adventurous C Anywhere with 3G data D All inclusive luxury resort E Camping

6. How do you usually communicate with your friends? A Email B Twitterific C Video call D Texting E Voice call

7. How much do you spend on mobile each month?

A Work pays for my phone B Whatever it takes to get the latest iPhone C The price of unlimited data D Money is no object when it comes to looking good E As little as possible

A Suit jacket / briefcase B Protective case C On belt / around neck D LV handbag E Jeans pocket

A Doesn’t matter as long as it fits in your handbag B Big enough to get my beefy fingers on the QWERTY keyboard C Somewhere between a small laptop and a brick D Who cares as long as its big enough to be noticed E Small enough to tuck somewhere safe as you strut your funky stuff

10. What type of ringtones do you like?

A Whichever is the best of the pre-set selection on the phone B An MP3 that means something personal C Something that makes an obscure sci-fi reference D Whatever is the hottest ringtone this week E Old fashioned ringing telephone sound

11. What do you use mobile data for?

A Email, email, email – and a bit of Google B Staying up-to-date with Facebook status updates C YouTube,, Flickr uploads, and more D Sometime’s need to Google a fact to win a bet in a bar E What’s mobile data?

12. If mobile phones were cars, yours would be a... A Mercedes-Benz B Mini Cooper C Bugati Veyron D Stretch Limo E A scooter

13. Would you bring your phone on a romantic getaway?

A Yes, and I’ll check it in the middle of the night if I need to! B I would, but only to use as an MP3 player to set the mood C I don’t go on romantic getaways D Yes, so I can send play-byplay updates to my friends E No, I really don’t need it that bad

Total your answers and see which is your dominant type: A I never leave home / office / hotel without a charger B Solar power or other renewable energy source C I’m almost always at my PC, so I keep it plugged into the USB port D I can usually go a couple days between charges E I just keep it turned off until I need it

15. If your mobile phone could cook, you’d order a...

A Steak dinner B Fusion cuisine C Pizza with all the toppings D Trendy salad E Fried rice

16. Twitter is...

A Never going to replace email B Your favorite communication tool C So last year D Something that can boost your celebrity status E Huh?

17. When do you think about getting a new phone? A Whenever your golf buddy gets something better than yours B Whenever Steve Jobs releases a new iPhone C Everyday D With the launch of a new season’s fashion E Whenever you lose your old one

If you answered mostly A… You’re a Power Player: Executive class features – led by a dominant need for email – makes you the king of productivity and power. The corner office is yours for the taking. If you answered mostly B… You’re an Iconoclast: It’s all about dancing to the beat of a different drum. You are cool to the point of being smug. We all hate you, but at the same time we all want to be like you. If you answered mostly C… You’re an Ubergeek:: There is nothing you can’t do with your mobile. In fact, it’s so powerful you often use it as a laptop replacement. Ubiquitous computing is in your blood. You are always-on and on-the-go. If you answered mostly D… You’re a Fashionista: It doesn’t matter what your phone can do – as long as it makes you look fantastic. For you, the phone is just a fashion accessory. The more bling, the better If you answered mostly E… You’re a Saturday Night Special / Plain Jane: This category has two sub-species. The first, the Saturday Night Special, are those who are actually one of the above types, but need a cheap, light-weight second phone for going out on the weekend. The second are for those who, well, just need to make phone calls, which is about 80% of the current marketplace.


14. How do you keep your phone charged?


The Charged Account $8000+


Before you start moaning about how expensive the latest and greatest phone is, keep in mind the early commercial mobile devices that cost a small fortune and offered just 30 minutes of talk time after 10 hours of charging. It had no fancy touch-screen, no GPS, no high-speed data, no MP3 player nor clever accelerometer. (source: RetroBrick)

That’s right – it’s just like Apple, but without copy protection. It’s just like Napster was in the beginning – only more expensive. (Source: Reuters)

Equivalent cost in today’s US dollars for the 1983 launch of Motorola’s DynaTAC


Percent of all communications sent by early adopters that are now mobile instant messages

Web-based chat is replacing SMS. (Source: TNS)


Estimated consumer spending in US dollars worldwide on music downloads to their phones by 2010

This is despite competition from various digital music players and a host of challenges faced by telecommunications carriers in delivering these services. (Source: Gartner)

Price for each mp3 download from Napster – all DRM free, and iTunes compatible



The future is all about location, IM, social web and search. Much like the present, but mobile. (Source: Juniper Research)

Television is still one of the most addictive parts of our media diet. (Source: Telegent)

Estimated value of Mobile Web 2.0 by the year 2013


Percentage of Mobile Internet users that are male

Mobile technology continues to make it easier and cheaper to connect bands with audiences. (Source: IFPI)

It’s not surprising that the demographic of the early mobile web looks a lot like the demographics of the early tethered web. (Source: Opera: Mobile Browsing Report)



All illegally dumped since the Soviet era. All found, photographed and mapped with geo-tags earlier this year. (Source: Teeme Ära 2008)

It seems so strange that a place considered light-years ahead in the use of mobiles has such resistance to the “next big thing” (source: What Japan Thinks)

Value in US dollars of worldwide mobile internet music distribution industry

Tons of pollution tagged by mobile phones in an effort by Estonian tech-millionaires to clean up their country.


Tons of pollution tagged by mobile devices and cleaned up in Asia

Why not get something started in your part of the world?


Total number of diamonds in the Vertu Diamond Signature phone

This phone really is a girl’s best friend. (Source: Vertu)



Percentage of Japanese surveyed who would prefer their mobile device NOT have a touch screen


Number of millions of Chinese mobiles users tuning into MOBILE analogue TV in the past six months thanks to an inexpensive little chip

Free TV is driving handset sales in China. Expect to see the trend spread across Asia soon. (Source: Telegent)

Percentage of Users who watch mobile analogue TV more than three times a week when the feature is available on their mobile


Users who use their phonecam more than three times a week when the feature is available on their mobile.

Say cheese! Even as cameras continue to get better and better – the number of occasions worth photographing don’t seem to increase. (Source: Telegent)


Predicted mobile adspend for Asia by 2012

With revenues rising from just $414 million in 2008 the question is who’s going to be spending all that money on mobile ads, and who wants to be bombarded by them? (Source: Juniper Research)


Percent of every marketing budget that’s wasted

The trick is in figuring out which half of the budget is being spent well. (Source: Lord Leverhulme 1851-1925, British founder of Unilever and philanthropist)

Charged Magazine (Issue 9)  
Charged Magazine (Issue 9)  

Celebrating The Mobile Lifestyle