KMaps!

And I’m late in posting about our KMaps announcement on Monday:
http://www.ulocate.com/pr/kmaps112805.html

I used KMaps extensively in getting around Boston these first few days and it was pretty invaluable. Exciting stuff going on here. And great to have Ivan on board.

Opinions on Cingular's name change (AT&T!)

Some notable quotes about Cingular’s plan to change its name to AT&T:

MocoNews:

What a huge waste

Om:

Sometimes, I just wonder what they were thinking.

Techdirt

Simple, huh? How could anyone possibly be confused?

Maybe I’m missing something, but AT&T hasn’t been ranked as a top brand since 2001 (Number 10 in BusinessWeek’s ‘The 100 Top Brands’ in August 6, 2001). Older consumers will remember it, and may even have positive associations with a brand who’s second T stands for telegraph. But the younger generation of mobile phone users will barely remember it. Cingular, by contrast, is known to every living person in the US who has purchased or plans to purchase a mobile phone plan.

It appears that the relationship between SBC and BellSouth is driving this decision. But don’t they realize that building a new brand is very hard and very expensive?

Milestone_1885

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Vodafone's 1 million video streams

The headline about Vodafone UK’s new service looks impressive at first glance: ‘Mobile TV hits one million streams in 3 weeks’.

Seems surprising, even unlikely, that mobile TV could have such fast adoption. But drill down to the details and you find that
the service is free through January ’06, after which customers will pay 5 pounds per month. It will be interesting to see how many streams they have in February ’06.

Via i-mode Business Strategy.

More on Wi-Fi cell phones

A few stories today related to Wi-Fi and the carriers.

There’s a Reuters article in ZDNet News about the 3G World Congress this week (via Textually.org)

Nearly every major cell phone and telecommunications equipment maker at the gathering in Hong Kong is either testing a hybrid Wi-Fi service or handset, or has already launched an early model or two ….

Qualcomm, a maker of wireless technology, sees a clear future for handsets that sniff the air for signals, then hook up to the cheapest link, Chief Executive Paul Jacobs

TheWirelessWeblog reports that ‘Next-Gen Handsets Could Feature Up to 10 Radios’ including Wireless LAN, Ultra Wideband (UWB), Bluetooth, Cellular, ZigBee, GPS, DVH-H (or some other television variant), Near-field communications, FM, and WiMax.

PocketPCThoughts has some insider knowledge about an upcoming Verizon phone (the Verizon XV6700) which is a converged device. However, according to their source, WiFi is crippled again.

the poster reported that turning on WiFi turned off the phone portion of the device, which sounds like the exact same behavior as the Samsung i730 on Verizon. I guess Verizon is requiring this as a matter of course on all WiFi+phone devices on their network

Garden walls will fall

MSMobiles reports on a CNET review of Samsung i730 as a top smart-phone. This is the paragraph that catches the eye:

Yes, Samsung i730 has some stability issues with Wi-Fi, works only with CDMA EVDO (no GSM = no Europe) but features super fast 520 MHz processor and using Skype with it is a bliss… [my emphasis]

Clearly a Wi-Fi phone that works well with Skype represents a pretty big threat to carrier voice plans. Especially when you consider the number of homes with Wi-Fi access, and the number of cellular calls made from the home (don’t have this stat handy, but it’s impressive). And with Nokia pushing Wi-Fi devices and developing technology for switching from cellular to Wi-Fi, it’s likely that you will see more carriers accepting this technology, and making a requisite shift in focus to pure communications technology (as opposed to the ownerships of content/media).

moving on …

Tomorrow I start the new gig and it’s pretty exciting. uLocate is focused precisely in my area of interest: mobility and location. They’ve established a platform across some of the most innovative LBS technologies, they have a great management team and a strong board, and they’ve got some very cool concepts in the works around consumer products (which will be my top priority as of tomorrow).

The only reason I have for leaving the current job is that I’ve been wanting to work for a start-up for some time. While the lessons and experience of working for powerful brands with large resources are tremendous, I’ve found that I do my best work when I’m at a small company that provides the flexibility, risk-taking, and general sense of fear that constantly keeps a person on their toes.

It’s been an incredible experience working at MapQuest and serving a community of 45+ million unique visitors. Even more fun has been extending the MapQuest experience to mobile through one of the most popular apps on the US market. Fortunately, a successful partnership with MapQuest and AOL will allow me to continue to work with many friends and former colleagues.

I’m expecting it to be a fun ride and will keep everyone posted here.

Presence and location-routed phone calls

Nerd Vittles provides instructions on how to home-build a system to intelligently route your voice calls by sensing your location using Bluetooth.

when we’re finished, you’ll be able to walk out of your home or office carrying your bluetooth phone or headset and have your Asterisk server automatically transfer your incoming calls to your cellphone. And, when you return carrying your bluetooth phone or headset, Asterisk will automatically cancel the call transfers and reactivate delivery of incoming calls to the designated phones in your home or office.

It doesn’t require a phone, since any Bluetooth device has the requisite MAC address. (Will you need to wear your bluetooth headset and look like a Nerd to make this work? Not at all. Just turn it on, stuff it in your pocket, and call it a key.)

First of all, I want one of these for my own life. But it also raises some interesting possibilities of designing intelligence in systems that utilize Bluetooth, which is becoming a fairly widespread technology after 5+ years of slow adoption. And while Bluetooth marketing (aka blue-spamming) from advertisers will be one utilization, I think it’s more interesting to consider the implications of allowing computers throughout your life to customize their behavior depending on your presence.

Reminds me of a great quote from Bran Ferren at Web 2.0 conference: “the infrared urinal in the men’s rooms has a greater sense of context than the typical personal computer” (blogged here). So true.

Migrating my data

Every time I change computers, it seems that technology makes the process a little easier. This time it’s Mac to Mac, with .mac synching of website passwords and bookmarks. Very cool.

Hoping to keep the new computer hard drive at a minimum and use the web to store all email and most files. I’m so rarely disconnected these days I think I can get away with it.