Thursday, January 25, 2007

Podcast About Web2 from i wireless

If you prefer to listen to information about Web 2 from i wireless, Backslash Technologies addressed this topic in a November 10, 2006 podcast of TechTalk, available here.

The Weather Channel Mobile Exands Offerings

The Weather Channel's mobile website now features traffic data for 24 metro areas including speed overview maps, incident level reports, accident mapping and construction information. The company also added national severe weather alerts, Spanish language information, and detailed hourly forecasts including temperature, weather icons and chance of precipitation.

Choose Your Own Phone!

In a previous post, I addressed the fact that you do not have to choose from the limited selection of GSM phones that i wireless sells. Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Samsung all sell unlocked GSM phones on their company websites. This New York Times Article provides more detail on the issues involved with buying new, unlocked GSM phones, and some suggestions for customers who want more choice in the one device that comes with them wherever they go. Additional distribution outlets mentioned in the article include the manufacturers' company-owned stores and independent retailers such as CompUSA. If you do choose to go this route, you will need i wireless' GPRS & MMS settings so that you can properly program your device once you buy it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Qtek 8500 No Longer Being Sold

The Qtek 8500 is no longer being offered for sale by i wireless.

.mobi Internet Domain for Mobile Devices

For those of you who are interested in knowing more about the .mobi top-level domain I mentioned in a previous post, here you go...

The .mobi domain is intended for sites that are designed to be used on wireless phones and other mobile devices. The Internet's governing body, ICANN approved the creation of the ".mobi" domain suffix in 2005. mobile Top Level Domain Ltd (mTLD), a joint venture of mobile technology companies, is the global registry for the .mobi top level domain. It has contracted to provide the registry service for .mobi for ten years.

As part of its contracts with companies that use the domain names, mTLD will require they follow a style guide that includes requirements such as the ability to use a site on a low-bandwidth connection. The company sees phones eventually appending the ".mobi" suffix to site addresses automatically, saving users the trouble of entering it via a numeric keypad.

To see what .mobi sites are already up and running, go to

mTLD's investors include Ericsson, Google, The GSM Association, Hutchison, Microsoft, Nokia, Orascom Telecom, Samsung Electronics, Syniverse, T-Mobile, Telefónica Móviles, TIM and Vodafone.

Web developers: mTLD provides a free "Mobi Ready checker" to analyze your website's mobile-readiness, using industry best practices & standards. Many of the tests performed are based on the mobileOK work performed by the Mobile Web Initiative group of the World Wide Web Consortium. I ran the i wireless website through the checker and ironically, the site received a score of 1 out of 5.

A Better Small-Screen Experience

Since moving to an HTC S620 I have become less cognizant of the plight of those of you with smaller screens and phones that provide a more restrictive web-browsing experience. This post is for you.

If you are having trouble accessing a website on your phone, or getting it to load in a format that you can read and navigate, I have some tricks that you can try:
The well-designed websites out there will automatically detect whether you are on a PC or a mobile device and automatically redirect you to the appropriately formatted website. I consider this a "best practice" for web developers, but apparently there is some debate in the developer community about whether there should be "One Web" or two webs -- one for PC users and one for mobile users. Based on my own personal experience, the automatic detection and redirection method has not been universally adopted.

I am not a web developer, so if there are any web developers out there that want to clarify, correct, or expand on my post, please feel free to add a comment.

Wachovia Offers Mobile Banking to Users with Windows Mobile 5.0 Devices

I'm not a Wachovia customer any more, so I haven't been able to test this, but Wachovia is now offering mobile banking to its customers with Windows Mobile 5.0 on their wireless device. Here is how the company describes this service:

Wachovia Mobile is a new service providing access to your online account information through your Internet enabled wireless device. Devices using the Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system with Pocket Internet Explorer can:

  • View and monitor account activity
  • Check account balances
  • Transfer funds between eligible accounts

While you will have the optimal Online Banking experience using Windows Mobile 5.0 with Pocket Internet Explorer, you may have success with other browsers and operating systems as well. However, display of your account information and online functionality may vary depending on the device and operating system used. In addition, you must use a browser enabled with 128-bit encryption.

Top Ten Mobile Websites Visited in November

According to NPD, the following were the top mobile websites visited in November:

  1. Yahoo! Mail
  2. The Weather Channel
  3. ESPN
  4. Google
  5. MapQuest
  6. Yahoo!
  7. CNN
  8. MSN Hotmail
  9. eBay
  10. Gmail
Google climbed a couple of notches at the expense of Yahoo! and Google's Gmail (which I use) broke into the top ten, knocking out AOL Mail.

Friday, January 05, 2007

i wireless Launching EDGE in Iowa

I thought I would take this opportunity to address some questions posted by shawn.

While I am quite confident that i wireless will eventually launch 2.5G (EDGE) and/or 3G technology, I have no dates or specifics to share. As an early-adopter (or wannabe-early-adopter) myself, I understand the interest in this, but as an i wireless insider, I am not going to leak any of i wireless' future plans on this blog.

Same goes for the international roaming question -- Probably will happen at some point, but I can't say for sure.

I would like to point out that you have always been able to take select i wireless phones with you and use them in overseas GSM markets. First, make sure that you have a phone that operates on 900 & 1800 MHz (typically referred to as a "quad-band" phone, because it works on four bands total, including 850 & 1900, which is what is used in the U.S.). Then all you have to do is buy a prepaid SIM when you reach your destination and slip it into your phone.

It's been years since I've been outside the U.S., but I've been told that prepaid SIMs are readily available in most major international airports and many are more economical than what you would probably pay for international roaming with a U.S. carrier. Of course, you won't have your same phone number, but I guess you have to decide what's more important to you.