I still stand by my original post that the updates promised for the iPhone released today as firmware "update 1.1.3 "should be given a better number, maybe a 1.2?, to mark the great features and updates. Hoaxes and teasers aside, I can't contain my giddiness - mass SMS text messages are back! That and many other neat features tracks the industry-wide trend of users being able to customize their iPhones to greater and greater lengths. Installation, via iTunes (which itself got an update) was quick - within 10 minutes I was up and running.… Read more
It has been a while since Apple tinkered with the iPhone and its firmware. While the developer pack applications and free-for-all rages (For example, this week I saw a neat app that allows you to call internationally via VoIP-like interface; stay tuned), I keep getting notifications from fellow-iPhoners of leaks and teaser shots. Considering that the firmware update would be only a "1.1.3," all the screenshots and anticipation that have been featured by bloggerswho know a whole lot more than me, I still wonder (and am skeptical) if these features are forthcoming. I'd guess … Read more
It happens all the time. You're out somewhere and hear a good song on the radio, or want to jot down a book, movie or TV show you want to look up later. While many phones have built in voice note applications, the information you just (painstakingly) jotted down stays on the phone, and you might just forget about it. A company called Kwiry (like "query") is attempting to help you out with a new service that turns a brief text message into a full blown Web search that you can come back to when you're … Read more
Jangl is one of a group of "J" communications companies (others being Jajah, Jaxtr, and 3Jam) that offers users interesting Web-controlled communications for their mobile phones. Jangl's latest trick: You can now use Jangl numbers for SMS text messages, not just voice.
With Jangl, once you establish a connection with someone, you get a mobile phone number for that person that hides their true number. When you call this private number, you'll get routed to Web-based voice mail, unless the callee has authorized you to reach them directly, in which case your call goes through to their phone. Or, if the person on the other end tires of you utterly, they can block you from reaching them at all. No matter the access level you have, the one thing you don't get is the other person's actual phone number--only your own access number for the person.
Now you can use that number as a destination for SMS messages. And if the person you're messaging replies back to you, their message gets routed through the Jangl servers so their number is not revealed.
Jangl already has a widget you can embed in a blog or social network page that lets people reach you direct from the Web, and it will get updated so it can also send (and receive) text messages. The goal, according to Jangl CEO Michael Cerda, is to make the mobile phone an extension of the social network experience, while putting privacy and controls on the incoming communications so users aren't afraid of getting bombarded on their mobiles. Jangl's method of white-, gray- and black-listing users takes care of that.
It's not something you'd need to use with your close personal friends, but if you want connect your mobile to your public Facebook profile, it's a good way to do so.
Coming later, Cerda told me, Jangl will add interactive MMS functionality: You'll be able to create an MMS feedback system that offers different options to different callers. So if you're having a party, for example, the people you've invited would see the option to show directions to it, but other people would not.
I should also note that Jangl has scrapped its awkward "Jangl ID" system that I complained about a year ago. Now all you need to connect to someone on Jangl is their e-mail address.
I've embedded my personal Jangl widget after the jump. Try it out.
Of the companies I saw yesterday at the Under the Radar: Mobility conference (more stories), the most audacious, and therefore my favorite, was Zoove. This company makes a service and a technology that allows mobile phone users to dial a short code (preceded by **) and then receive information via SMS or e-mail.
Sounds like SMS short codes, right? But there's a big difference: to get data from the Zoove service, you dial your phone. That is you press a code, like "**coke," then the Talk key. It's just like making a call. Except that instead of … Read more
Take heart, hapless Boomers. As unbelievable as it may seem, there's actually some technology beneficial to your aging generation other than keyboards with letters big enough for eye examination charts.
U.K.-based Cre8txt has developed a keypad that supposedly translates the IM slang of your literacy-challenged prodigy into the King's English, according to Shiny Shiny. When communication inevitably breaks down, just have Junior plug the device into his USB port and peck away, a la SMS. What comes out on the other end will, at least in theory, be a language that parents can comprehend.
The downside: … Read more
As already noted, I'm a big proponent of the SMS text message. So much so that I was willing to pay $.50 a text sent from Australia! But on a more serious note, there was a 5.6 earthquake here in the Bay Area on Tuesday night. I was at dinner and I thought my dinner date was shaking the table or that there was a washing machine somewhere that went awry. But no, it was a bona fide earthquake. While there was no damage and it was minor, we both got text messages from our friends as soon … Read more
A simple plea to AT&T: Texts ARE data!
With that said, my travels ended and I got my first AT&T invoice from my far-flung travels. I managed to stick to a lean 15 MB of data used (both downloaded and uploaded) on the iPhone. I called stateside a handful of times using the international roaming plan, which reduced the charge per minute to $1.29 from $1.69. I found myself becoming the master of keeping calls from rounding up to the next chargeable minute (my average call time to the States was 2:59). In … Read more
Sitting on the plane in San Francisco I knew a few things would happen when I got to Syndey: I would have an international long-distance plan, I would have an international data plan (with a strict diet of 20 MB for a month) with data roaming and auto-email check switched off and I knew that I'd have to call my mom when I got there. Apart from that, I had no idea what the logistics would be.
In fact, I had ventured into an AT&T store on a whim to add these features. As it turns out, … Read more
So this month I will have traveled more than 20,000 miles via plane, train and boats to various destinations and various time zones. The iPhone has proven adept and adaptable - so long as you activate the international roaming and data plans - which you have to do in person or via AT&T's operators before you leave the country - as my friend Max found out the hard way.
Anyway, upon landing at each airport the iPhone will find the applicable AT&T network or AT&T compatible network - oftentimes in seconds. But … Read more