Featured Post

O2 XDA Guide unboxing video

Matt unboxes the new O2 XDA Guide (HTC Touch Cruise 09) and has a quick look at the OSContent by Drink Hot

Read More

What Does Google Wallet Need to Succeed? A Habit

Posted by admin | Posted in Cell Phones & Plans | Posted on 29-05-2011

Tags: , , , ,



What does Google need to do to make its Google Wallet mobile-payment system a success? Give people confidence. Then make it a habit.

Think about it. So many slight modifications to our daily lifestyle mean so many millions to manufacturers, especially as they’re repeated, day in and day out. And, once established, the cycle self-perpetuates.

Checking email on a BlackBerry. Tweeting. Checking in on Foursquare. A few more actions in CityVille. Planning the fastest route to your destination on a traffic app like Inrix. Keeping tabs on friends in Facebook. All actions that can be performed in a minute or two, several times a day.

The problem with financial applications is that people are afraid of giving up access what they consider to be their most valuable possession: money. My father, an engineer, avoided carrying a pager, a cell phone, or an ATM card until his employer (and his family) dragged him into the twenty-first century. I still haven’t joined Mint.com because, deep down, I’m terrified that my financial information will leak out. For Pete’s sake, Intuit can’t even keep their cloud services up consistently, it seems.

But mobile wallets are another matter. As with the GPS market, the U.S. lags behind Europe, where chips have been built into credit cards for years. When I lived in England, I made the leap from our magnetic-stripe cards to what’s known as “chip and PIN” rather easily; as a chip reporter, I instinctively felt comfortable with my financial information automatically encrypted within a chip, with my four-digit PIN code as the key.

Frankly, I have a difficult time understanding while the technology hasn’t crossed the pond to the U.S., where smartcards are nearly ubiquitous in most corporate enterprises, and are increasingly being used in universities and as stored-value cards for transportation. Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs) are now a staple of most business laptops. There’s still a barrier of unfamiliarity that may hold back Google Wallet or a similar technology, but a smart marketing campaign should overcome it.

Launched in beta Thursday, ‘Google Wallet’ is a free Android app that securely stores multiple credit cards, or a Google prepaid card linked to your credit card (one that Google provides). When opened on an NFC-enabled smartphone, you can tap your phone against a supported payment reader and the item you want to purchase is instantly charged to your credit card.

I think there are four problems that need to be solved to assure consumer confidence in Google Wallet. First, customers need to be assured that if they lose their phone, they won’t give a thief access to their bank account. I haven’t seen too many people report that the NFC chip still requires a PIN code to unlock it. I think that’s a critical piece of the puzzle.

Second, the carrier needs to convince the customer that their bank account won’t be vulnerable, period. Customers need to be reassured that their accounts won’t be remotely drained by a malicious NFC reader built into a subway staircase, for example.

Third, compatibility can’t be an issue. I may prefer my local bank because of their service, but I also have to be assured that their checks (and debit cards) can be used at any ATM I please, even if there’s an extra fee. Visa’s proposed alternative with Google Wallet must interoperate, period.

Fourth, if this is a digital wallet – make it one! A year ago, I argued that iPads could be fitted inside cases equipped with Bluetooth keyboards, making them a netbook. By that fall, they were in the market. The same could be done with a case for an NFC phone: include a clear sleeve on the back for an driver’s license or other ID, with maybe a slot for a backup mag-stripe credit card, or cash, for tips.

Make it a habit

One of the best presentations I’ve attended in recent memory was by Kendra Markle, a researcher at the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, who explained how mobile apps hook you. Essentially, she said, apps that successfully modified a user’s behavior to make using the app a habit, succeeded.

I doubt this will be an issue with existing Mastercard Paypass customers: there’s not much of a leap between tapping a card and tapping a phone. And U.K. customers shouldn’t have too many issues with “tap and PIN,” assuming Google brings Wallet there, too.

But U.S. consumers need to feel comfortable with tapping their phones. To do that, Sprint, Citibank and Google need to establish a habit. How? Discounts, discounts, discounts. Visit a Starbucks, get 50 percent off a latte – but only if you tap. Movie tickets? A $ 2 discount at your local AMC, for those who use Google Wallet. (Here’s your commercial: Enter customer, dressed in spacesuit. Taps NFC reader. Announcer: “That’s one small tap for man…” Cue 2001 theme.)

If you want cold, calculated behavior modification, look no farther than the morning commute. People sit in the same seats, park in the same spots, buy the same ticket. They’re tired, frazzled, stressed-out zombies. Establish Google Wallet as an adjunct to BART’s Clipper pass, a MetroCard, or other stored wallet system and you win, if only because of habit.

A virtual wallet isn’t going to establish itself overnight. Google’s single phone, the Nexus S, won’t change the world. But over a few years, it might. One tap at a time.

For more from Mark, follow him on Twitter @MarkHachman.

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

Zuck: Kids, Smartphones Need Not Apply at Facebook

Posted by admin | Posted in Cell Phones & Plans | Posted on 01-05-2011

Tags: , , , , ,


Mark Zuckerberg Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday backpedaled on an earlier endorsement for letting younger children on the social website and said his company isn’t getting into the mobile device business any time soon.

Zuckerberg also joined former Google CEO Eric Schmidt at the e-G8 conference in Paris in warning governments not to over-regulate the Internet.

The Facebook founder last week said children should be allowed to create profiles on the site for educational purposes. But in a question-and-answer session at the e-G8 summit, Zuckerberg said those comments were taken out of context.

“We’re not trying to work on the ability for people under the age of 13 to sign up,” Zuckerberg was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Facebook requires users to be 13 or older, though millions of underage kids reportedly get around the policy to use the social networking site.

Making a smartphone or tablet is also not a priority for Facebook, Zuckerberg said in response to another question.

“I think there are good ones already,” he was quoted as saying. “That’s not our business. We get software development and social dynamics. I don’t think that we get hardware. So far, what we’re focused on is just building really good experiences for these things.”

On government regulation of the Internet, Zuckerberg was joined by Schmidt in advising against legislating controls that could have unforeseen effects.

“Technology will move faster than governments, so don’t legislate before you understand the consequences,” Schmidt said, according to BBC News.

Zuckerberg added that it wouldn’t be wise to try to control certain parts of the Internet while letting other parts remain openly available.

“People tell me on the one hand, ‘It’s great you played such a big role in the Arab spring [uprisings], but it’s also kind of scary because you enable all this sharing and collect information on people’,” he said.

“But it’s hard to have one without the other. You can’t isolate some things you like about the internet and control other things that you don’t.”

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.


A Nokia N95 8gb Review for Those Who Need a Well-rounded Mobile Phone

Posted by admin | Posted in Symbian | Posted on 14-03-2010

Tags: , , , , , ,


When you think about it, Nokia should not just be considered as the world’s biggest mobile phone manufacturers. Nokia is also the company which leads the pact when it comes to releasing new mobile phone models, one after another, in the market.

If you are thinking of a new handset to go along with the mobile phone deals that you have and Nokia is the brand that you are considering – you will be stumped at the variety of choices that you have.

However, the good thing about it is that you cannot say that you do not have a myriad of choices. From the minute that you visit Nokia’s official website and you browse through the models of mobile phones that they have, you can categorize the mobile phones according to the following:

- The Form Factor

Is it a classic, fold, slide, twist, large screen or full QWERTY keyboard phone that you are looking for?

- The Key Features

Would you like to have a good music phone, an excellent camera phone – or a toss up between the two?

- The Price

Are you looking for a Nokia mobile phone which is on the middle-range or on the high-end of the price spectrum?

Nokia N95 8GB Review: A Multitude of Features

Now that you already know how varied your choices of Nokia mobile phones are, you should take a look at the specifications of the Nokia N95 8GB mobile phone.

This is part of the Nokia NSeries – where the company launched a line of smartphones which are suitable for business applications. These mobile phones are also preferred by the loyal Nokia consumers.

So what are the features included with the Nokia N95 8GB? Take a look:

- 2.8-inch 240×320 pixels QVGA TFT 16.7 M color display
- Symbian OS version 9.2
- 5-Megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, Tessar lens, auto focus and integrated flash
- MPEG-4 VGA video capture of up to 30fps
- Front camera for video calling
- MP3/AAC/AAC+/eAAC/eAAC+/WMA/M4A player
- Stereo FM Radio
- Built-in AGS support
- Bluetooth and USB connectivity
- 3.5 mm stereo headphone plug
- 100 MB internal dynamic memory
- 8GB internal flash memory for multimedia content
- 3.5 hours talk time
- 11.7 days standby time

The Nokia N95 8GB is an Excellent Camera Phone and a Good Music Phone

As you can see, the Nokia N95 8GB mobile phone is power-packed with features. The predecessor of this slider phone is the Nokia N95 which has a lesser memory capacity.

When you analyze the individual features of the Nokia N95 8GB, it’s as if you will not be looking for anything more.  What you will like most about this smartphone from Nokia’s NSeries is the fact that it is both an excellent camera phone and a good music phone.

When you compare the Nokia N95 8GB with the spate of similar high-end phones in the market – you will hardly find a model which balances out both the functionality of a camera and a music phone.

If you are looking for a well-rounded mobile phone that will give you these two features and more, there is no better handset to have than the Nokia N95 8GB.