Toshiba unveils XDR ‘world’s fastest’ memory chip and ‘one-minute charge’ battery

Toshiba unveils XDR Toshiba has developed a super-fast Lithium-Ion battery capable of being charged to 80 per cent of its full capacity in under 60 seconds. According to the company, a full charge takes just “a few more minutes”.

Toshiba prototype ‘one-minute charge’ Li-ion battery can be recharged about 60 times faster than conventional lithium ion batteries, with the company claiming that the technology could be commercialised for portable electronics products in about three years.

Toshiba has developed two prototype batteries, with the smaller prototype (measuring 3.8mm by 62mm by 35mm) retaining 99 percent of its capacity after being charged 1,000 times, and the company are claiming that their fast-charging batteries will have about the same life as conventional rivals.

The company has been shouting about the new battery’s eco-credentials, pointing out that the fast recharging time will consume less energy than today’s Li-ion cells, leading to reduced carbon-dioxide emissions.

And, as they say on shampoo adverts, here’s the science: Toshiba clever technology uses “nano-particles” to “prevent organic liquid electrolytes from reducing during battery recharging. The nano-particles quickly absorb and store vast amount of lithium ions, without causing any deterioration in the electrode”.

So, err, now you know.

Toshiba’s ‘miracle’ battery will come to market next year, the company said, initially in automotive and industrial applications.

Toshiba announce Billy Whizz memory chip

Meanwhile, those crazy speed freaks at Toshiba have been busy making the earth go faster with an announcement that they have been sampling computer memory chips with the “world’s fastest data rate.”

Toshiba unveils XDR The 512Mb XDR (extreme data rate) DRAM chips run at a turbo-charged speed of 4.8GHz, which is about 12 times faster than that of the memory typically found in today’s desktop PCs.

DRAM is the main type of memory used in PCs and servers. The faster the memory, the more smoothly computers tend to work with the increased speed offering better graphics and gaming performance.

Working at the 4.8GHz speed, the chips deliver a bandwidth of 12.8GBps, making them suitable for use in high-end digital TVs and PC graphics applications.

If more voltage is used, the chips can work at a peak operating speed of 6.4GHz, according to Toshiba.

XDR memory technology was developed by U.S.-based Rambus, with the chips incorporating Rambus’s ODR (octal data rate) signalling, which can transfer eight bits of data per clock cycle, according to Toshiba.

South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and Japan’s Elpida Memory have also licensed XDR technologies from Rambus, and both chip companies plan to go into mass production of 512Mb XDR chips in the second half of 2005.

Toshiba made it past the post first, with Kim Soo-Kyoum, program director for semiconductor research at market research company IDC commenting, “Yes, it looks like Toshiba’s is the first … and yes, it’s the fastest … but Samsung and Elpida have similar schedules.”

Adoption of XDR as a main memory in high-end computing will start during 2007, according to a December 2004 report by IDC.

Toshiba

Legend of Mir 3 Gamer Killed After Selling Virtual Sword

Chinese Online Gamer Killed After Selling Virtual SwordIn a shocking example of virtual life crashing into real life, a Shanghai online game player stabbed his gaming pal in the chest multiple times after he learned that he had stolen approximately US$870 (£462/€671) from the sale of a powerful “dragon sabre”, jointly owned by both players.

The “dragon sabre” sword didn’t actually exist in real life – it was an artifact used in the popular online fantasy game, “Legend of Mir 3″, featuring heroes and villains, sorcerers and warriors, many of whom wield enormous swords.

Qiu Chengwei, 41, stabbed competitor Zhu Caoyuan repeatedly in the chest after learning that he had sold his “dragon sabre.”

Chengwei and a friend jointly won their weapon last February, and lent it to Zhu who then sold it for 7,200 yuan (£464/US$872/€673), according to the China Daily.

Qui went to the police to report the “theft” but we can only assume the desk sergeant couldn’t get his head around the notion of something that doesn’t exist being stolen. If you get our drift.

Chinese Online Gamer Killed After Selling Virtual SwordStill fuming, Chengwei popped around to have a word with Caoyuan who didn’t convince with his promises to pay him for the sword.

Eventually, Chengwei lost patience and let rip with a real-life knife that was most definitely sharp and very pointy, killing Caoyuan with stab wounds to the chest.

Chengwei gave himself up to police and has already pleaded guilty to intentional injury.

No verdict has yet been announced.

This tragic incident highlights the problems online gamers are having protecting their online property, with some experts suggesting that cyber armour and swords in games should be deemed as private property as they cost players both money and time.

But some legal experts aren’t impressed: “The ‘assets’ of one player could mean nothing to others as they are by nature just data created by game providers,” a lawyer for a Shanghai-based Internet game company was quoted as saying.

Chinese Online Gamer Killed After Selling Virtual SwordHowever, online game companies in Shanghai – the city with the most players – are planning to set up a dispute system where aggrieved players can find recourse.

Shang Jiangang, a lawyer with the newly established Shanghai Online Game Association, commented that “the association has drafted some measures to facilitate the settlement of disputes over virtual assets”, adding, “once any cyberweapon stealing occurs, players can report to the operator, which will then sort it out according to the circumstances.”

MSNVideoDownloads.com Launches For Mobile Devices

MSNVideoDownloads.com Launches. Download Video For Windows Mobile DevicesMicrosoft has launched MSN Video Downloads, a spanking new mobile service that will provide daily television programming for downloading to Windows Mobile devices, such as Portable Media Centers, Smartphones and Pocket PCs.

MSN Video Downloads will shunt out a wide range of daily content including, sports highlights, news headlines, children’s programming, music videos, independent films and comedy shows.

The video content will be produced by companies such as MSNBC.com, FOX Sports Food Network, and IFILM Corp.

Users will be able to download the digital videos daily to a Windows Media Player 10 library, ready to be synchronised with their portable device.

MSNVideoDownloads.com Launches. Download Video For Windows Mobile DevicesThe video content is compliant with ‘PlaysForSure’ video devices, and is optimised for Portable Media Centers and compatible with Smartphones and Pocket PCs that support Windows Media Player 10 Mobile.

A one-year premium “all you can eat” membership to the service costs $19.95, while freeloaders can access a limited amount of free content without a paid membership.

The service lets subscribers select the specific content they want downloaded daily to their XP-based PC each day. A new automatic deleting feature lets users specify how long they want MSN Video downloads to remain on their PC, thus avoiding a large backlog of clips.

“The launch of Portable Media Centers in 2004 began a new era of portable entertainment, and today’s announcement solidifies the continued momentum we’ve seen for portable video,” purred John Pollard, director of Windows Mobile Applications and Services Marketing at Microsoft.

MSNVideoDownloads.com Launches. Download Video For Windows Mobile Devices“With content from some of the most recognized brands in entertainment, MSN Video Downloads helps bring this vision to life, allowing people to take their favourite television shows with them whether they are on the train, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, or keeping the kids occupied in the back seat of the car.”

Josh Martin, associate research analyst at IDC, was on hand to tell us that “Readily available digital video content remains a key driver for the portable multimedia player market,” adding that “the proliferation and growth of video service providers will serve to fill the existing video content void and increase adoption of portable multimedia players such as Windows Mobile-based devices.”

In other words, people want easy-to-find and easy-to-download quality video content to slap on their mobile devices and Microsoft hope to grab a large chunk of the action with this service.

WatchMusicHere.com announces music video deal.

Another company, CinemaNow has also started offering mobile video downloads with its newly launched service, WatchMusicHere.com

The company will offer music videos from multiple genres ranging from classics to the latest chart-topping videos, priced from US$1.99 (£1.06, €1.55) to US$2.99 (£1.60, €2.33) for a permanent copy (viewable for an unlimited number of times on the selected playback device).

MSNVideoDownloads.com Launches. Download Video For Windows Mobile DevicesAll music videos on the site will be made available in multiple formats for playing on traditional PCs, laptops and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile-based secure devices including the Portable Media Centers, Pocket PCs and select Smartphones.

Users will be able to download the appropriate format and then transfer the video file to the secure device using Windows Media Player 10.

The company says that this announcement marks a major shift for record labels as they are now offering, for the first time, both classic and new music videos for purchase on-demand.

The site will launch with 75 music videos with over 1,500 additional titles expected to be available by December, 2005.

Windows Mobile
MSN Videodownloads
WatchMusicHere.com

Nuenen: Netherland’s Largest Fiber-to-the-Home Network Opens

Nuenen: Netherland's Largest Fiber-to-the-Home Network OpensLast week, deputy Director-General Mr Broesterhuizen of the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs officially opened the Netherland’s largest Fiber-to-the-Home (FttH) network in Nuenen, a village in the south of The Netherlands.

The Dutch haven’t messed about here: the entire village is covering 7,500 households, shops, offices, schools, elderly homes, sports clubs, churches, hotels and health institutes.

This provides over 15,000 people with access to super high-speed internet access (up to 100 Mbps full duplex), with several other services (telephony, TV, and unique local services) following soon.

The Nuenen network (try saying that after a few drinks) is part of the Kenniswijk Project, an Dutch government initiative to encourage public and private organisations to start experimenting with and deploying FttH infrastructure and broadband services.

Nuenen: Netherland's Largest Fiber-to-the-Home Network OpensBy summer 2005, approximately 16,000 FttH connections will be up and running in the Kenniswijk area, with over “100 innovative services” being developed, of which 50 are already available.

With the Dutch Government having no direct investment in the infrastructure, FttH in the Netherlands is a fully market-driven process.

Previously, companies weren’t too keen to invest their wedge in such untested, large scale ventures, but a new business model was used in Nuenen which made it possible to get this huge project up and running within just 6 months.

The business model works by individual households joining a cooperative society – “Ons Net” (Our Network) – which pays for and owns the network.

This ensures a high degree of user commitment and an extremely high degree of active users (a whopping great 97% in Nuenen).

These impressive figures have shown housing corporations, banks and the money men that it is a relatively safe and worthwhile investment, thus easing potential financial bottlenecks in the large-scale deployment of FttH elsewhere.

Nuenen: Netherland's Largest Fiber-to-the-Home Network OpensThe success of the scheme has created a blueprint for FttH projects in the rest of the Netherlands, with lots of other countries expressing a keen interest in the ‘Ons Net solution’.

Ons Net has also led to the development of innovative local broadband services, ranging from video consultations by family doctors to church services and sports broadcasts, offering interesting examples of how the internet can benefit communities.

Kenniswijk Project

Vodafone Access Control: Mobile Porn Block Offered To Dutch

Vodafone Customers First To Be Able To Ban Mobile Adult ContentAs of early May, Dutch Vodafone customers will be able to say ‘nr!’ to saucy adult content offered via Vodafone live! from their mobile phone.

A new ‘Vodafone Access Control’ service created in partnership with De Kijkwijzer allows sleaze-allergic customers to customise their mobile needs by allowing them to block adult content.

But who the chuffin’ Nora is De Kijkwijzer, do we hear you ask?

A quick rattle of the keys at babelfish tells us that De Kijkwijzer means “Look indicator” and their Web site reveals that it is a “classification system to advise and warn parents and educators about the possibly harmful influences that children may experience from a programme or film.”

This classification is carried out by suppliers of audiovisual productions for the Dutch market, including both public service broadcasters and commercial broadcasting organisations.

Vodafone Customers First To Be Able To Ban Mobile Adult ContentWith hand-rubbing porn-shifters keenly eying up a growing – and lucrative – mobile multimedia market, it makes sense for telcos to be able to reassure parents that young Timmy’s new handset isn’t going to become a mobile gateway into the portals of smut.

With this in mind, Vodafone will only be offering sexually explicit content to its ‘postpaid’ customers, a service only provided for over 16s.

Using ‘Vodafone Access Control’, customers wanting to avoid titillation will have the ability to block access to the saucy stuff by simply calling Vodafone Customer Services.

The service will only be offered in Holland, but we expect other telcos to follow suit.

Vodafone
De Kijkwijzer

Splinter Cell Chaos Theory Demo Preloaded On Lexar USB Drives

Lexar USB Flash Drive Bundles Pre-Installed Ubisoft GameMemory card kings Lexar Media have teamed up with videogame big boys, Ubisoft, in a cunning piece of cross-market publicity.

From 4th April to 15th June, 2005, purchasers of select 1GB and 2GB Lexar JumpDrive USB flash drives will find themselves the lucky owners of a pre-loaded single game level of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory for the PC, along with other specially created PC game content.

Lexar USB Flash Drive Bundles Pre-Installed Ubisoft GameDescribed as a “major value-add promotion” it looks more like the unexciting equivalent of a magazine freebie cover disk to us, but Theresa Boldrini, Lexar Director of Retail Marketing, can’t hold back her excitement:

“This promotion with Ubisoft represents a breakthrough in the convergence of USB flash drive technology tied to a highly anticipated new game title,” she enthused.

“By partnering with one of the world’s largest and most respected videogame publishers, we’re able to provide consumers with unique, value-add content while conveying alternative uses for our JumpDrive products. It’s also an ideal way for Lexar to stand out among other USB flash drive manufacturers as we continue our drive to build retail presence in the software specialty and gaming channels.”

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory is Ubisoft’s third installment of the popular Splinter Cell franchise and the Lexar promotion will be accompanied by all the usual big bits of in-store cardboard, as well as what’s described as a “colourful promotional burst” on the JumpDrive packaging.

As well as the single game level for PC, purchasers of select Lexar 1GB and 2GB JumpDrive products can expect to find pre-installed branded gaming wallpapers for the PC, a game screensaver and a “Strategy Guide” provided by Prima.

Lexar USB Flash Drive Bundles Pre-Installed Ubisoft GameAnd if all that wasn’t enough, a special Lexar promotion will offer consumers a free Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory t-shirt with the purchase of another Lexar product (be still my bearing heart!).

Although we’re a little under-whelmed by this offering (there’s nothing particularly new about memory cards coming with pre-installed software), it may get interesting if other devices take up the theme.

Manufacturers stuffing their hard disk based DVD recorders full of Hollywood blockbusters may get an edge over the rivals, in much the same way as PC retailers crank up the bundled software.

And with hard disk based mobile phones edging ever closer to the mainstream, the devices of the future could come preloaded with a bonanza of freebies, extras, demos and adverts and other such promotional guff.

Doesn’t that sound, err, great?

Lexar
Ubisoft

Analogue Switch-Off Starts In Wales Today, DTV Starts

First UK Homes Go Digital TV OnlyHistory will be made in a small corner of Wales today when the residents of two Carmarthenshire villages – situated on either side of the River Tywi – switch to digital-only TV.

Around 450 households in Ferryside and Llanstephan will become the only areas in Europe with digital-only TV signals (along with slightly more glamorous Berlin).

Closing down the analogue television transmissions marks a milestone for the government in its quest to install digital TV in every British home.

The government is keenly perusing its pledge to switch off the analogue TV signal and replace it with digital by 2008 in Wales.

A provisional timetable for the UK-wide switchover has earmarked ITV’s Border region – covering south-west Scotland and Cumbria – as the first to lose its analogue signal in 2008.

The government has said switching to digital would provide a major one-off boost for the UK economy, leaving Chancellor Gordon Brown free to flog off the lucrative old analogue frequencies to telecom companies.

The west Wales households agreed to run trials with the digital set-top boxes when digital transmissions in the area began last November. Each house was given digital receivers for each of their televisions.

First UK Homes Go Digital TV OnlyTo help smooth the transition, a helpline was set up for residents’ teething problems, with one-to-one support made available to the elderly.

After three months, the households were asked if they wanted to keep the digital services or revert to analogue only – and the overwhelming answer was “Ydw plîs!” (Yes please), with 98% voting to retain the digital services (out of the 85% of households who responded).

Project director Emyr Byron Hughes said residents had taken to digital because it provided more services, commenting: “It is such a leap forward even with the basic digital service, they have just taken to it.”

The trial had been run to discover how people coped with the new digital equipment and to learn from any technical problems experienced in the switchover.

Officials from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Department of Trade and Industry, joint co-ordinators of the project, seemed well chuffed with the progress so far, with Stella Thomas, one of the project team members, adding: “People have been more open to change than perhaps we have given them credit for in rural areas.”

First UK Homes Go Digital TV OnlyThere are concerns, however, that these fancy-pants new digi-boxes could be a problem for the elderly and those on poor incomes. The government is discussing with charities about how to protect the vulnerable while promising not to authorise a complete switchover until support measures are in place.

The trial results come on the day that Ofcom publishes its Digital Television Update for the fourth quarter of 2004, examining the latest data provided by the main digital television platform providers.

The update shows that by 31 December 2004 a total of 59.4% of UK households received digital television; an increase of 3.5% from 55.9% at 30 September 2004.

By the end of last year, the total number of digital television households grew by 914,980 to 14,773,881, representing growth over the quarter of 6.6%.

BBC Digital TV

E680i, E725: Motorola Previews New Music Phones

Motorola Previews New Music Phones, E680i And E725After the humiliating no-show of their much hyped (and currently in-limbo) iTunes phone at CeBIT earlier this month, Motorola have hit back with two new music phones.

The Motorola E680i is a stylised version of its first Linux-based music phone, retaining the integrated FM tuner and tri-band GSM/GPRS 900/1800/1900 MHz coverage with improved Bluetooth support capable of outputting stereo audio courtesy of the AD2P profile.

The handset boasts dual stereo speakers with virtual surround sound and can handle just about any music format you care to lob at it, including MP3 and WMA, AAC, MIDI and WAV.

The E680i comes with a large 65K colour touchscreen with QVGA (240 x 320 pixels) resolution and the same 0.3 MP integrated digital camera as found in the E680.

There’s also the usual basic suite of applications, support for J2ME, handwriting recognition, messaging support (including e-mail), and USB 1.1.

The handset is slated for release in the Asia Pacific in April 2005, but there’s been no pricing or worldwide availability announcements from Motorola yet

Motorola E725

Motorola Previews New Music Phones, E680i And E725Sporting a ‘slider’ form factor, the E725 is a music player-cum-smartphone featuring a 1.9″ display (176 x 220 pixels resolution) with dedicated music keys, 5-band graphic equaliser and dual stereo speakers with virtual surround sound.

The E725 offers support for CDMA2000 1xEV-DO which – in English – means that it can rapidly download full music tracks over the air directly to the handset. Naturally, users can also sync the handset with their PCs and make use of the memory expansion slot supporting miniSD cards up to 2 GB.

All the rest of the features of the E680i are present and correct: an FM radio, a 0.3 MP camera, a 3.5 mm earphone jack, USB, a memory expansion slot (supporting miniSD cards up to 1 GB) and the same dual stereo speakers with virtual surround sound.

The E725 also sports a set of daft ‘rhythm lights’ for funky disco people who think its waaaaay cool to have a series of LED lights pulsating to the beat of the music currently playing.

The E725 is expected to arrive in North America in the second half of 2005, but, once again, Motorola are being coy about pricing details.

Motorola

Infosecurity Europe Report: Identity Theft For The Price Of A Ticket in UK

Identity Theft For The Price Of A TicketResearch carried out on by Infosecurity Europe has revealed that 92% of people were willing to freely dish out all the personal information needed to steal their identity in exchange for the chance to win a theatre ticket.

The study was conduced on the streets of London of as part of a survey into identity theft.

The researchers asked passers-by questions about their theatre going habits, telling them that by taking part in the survey they would be entered into a draw for theatre ticket vouchers worth £20.

In a cunning piece of mind-mending double-think deception, the pedestrians were asked seemingly innocent questions about their attitudes to going to the theatre, sneakily interspersed with questions to find out the details needed to steal their identities, such as date of birth and mothers maiden name.

The survey of 200 people on High streets across London was designed to act as a “wake up call” to highlight how easy it is for fraudsters to use social engineering to carry out identity theft.

By revealing how easily people can be duped into giving out personal information, it is hoped that the experiment will raise awareness of the need to be very careful about the information people give to complete strangers, either face-to-face, by post or online.

Researchers started off asking people their names – a reasonable enough question if someone is potentially going to send you freebie vouchers – and every person surveyed gave their names.

Next, the researchers dipped into their evil bags’o’deception and devised a simple yet effective means of finding out personal information.

People were asked a series of questions about their views on the theatre in London, with researchers asking if they knew how actors came up with their stage name.

Identity Theft For The Price Of A TicketWhen they were told that it was a combination of their pets name and mothers maiden name, they were asked what they thought their stage name would be. Like a bunch of chumps, ninety four percent (94%) of respondees then blabbered out their mother’s maiden name and pet’s name.

Next up, researchers were tasked with finding out the address and post code of their ‘victims’.

And, once again, they were like putty in their evil, plotting hands.

Researchers simply asked for people’s address details so that vouchers could be mailed to them if they won. And like sheep to the slaughter, 98% of those asked obediently barked out their full address and post code.

Next up, the researchers managed to find out the name of their interviewee’s first school by asking, “Did you get involved in acting in plays at school?” followed by, “What was the name of your first school?”

Once again, almost all those asked (96%) gave the name of their first school.

This information, along with the name of a person’s mother’s maiden name, are key pieces of identity information used by many banks.

Finally, the researchers said that in order to prove they had carried out the survey they needed the interviewee’s date of birth. 92% duly handed over the information along with their home phone number “in case there was a problem delivering the vouchers”.

At the end of a three minute survey, the researchers were armed with sufficient information to open bank accounts, go on a wild spending spree with credit cards, or even to start stealing their victim’s identity.

Identity Theft For The Price Of A TicketIncredibly, the researchers did not give any verification of their identity, offering only a trusty clipboard and the offer of the chance to win a voucher for theatre tickets.

Claire Sellick Event Director for Infosecurity Europe who took part in the research said, “For the past 10 years we have endeavoured to highlight many of the common IT security concerns and vulnerabilities – such as information breaches via employees and consumers.

This survey showed how easy it is to steal a person’s identity and breach a company’s security – security is only as good as the awareness of the people it protects.”

Chris Simpson, head of Scotland Yard’s computer crime unit, agreed that the results of the survey were disturbing, commenting: “Preventing the theft of your own identity is relatively simple, but it relies on the individual taking steps to protect themselves i.e. restricting the people to whom you reveal sensitive personal data (whether in the physical or virtual context); shredding or destroying personal correspondence before disposing of it and never sharing passwords to access computer systems.”

The Home Office reports that more than 100,000 British people every year suffer identity fraud, with online scams such as phishing, forged emails and spoofed Web pages a growing problem.

There is a happy ending to this story however: all the information collected was destroyed by Infosecurity Europe but – bless ’em – they honoured their word about the draw and three lucky winners were selected at random and sent theatre ticket vouchers.

Identity Theft UK (Home Office)
Infosecurity Europe
Identity theft affecting one in four UK adults (silicon.com)

Lampposts To Access Web And Location-Based Services?

A British company has unveiled its cunning plan to roll out high-speed wireless networks and location-based services using street lampposts.

It sounds as mad as a box of gerbils to us, but Last Mile Communications reckons that the humble lamppost can be used to provide broadband Internet access and also to store useful information about its location.

The company has announced that it will work with security company Qinetiq to commercialise its plans, with trials scheduled later this year at an undisclosed location. The company is confident that its service can be rolled out on a large scale.

Last Mile’s service wouldn’t just turn the humble lamppost into wireless Internet access points – the company is also planning to turn the things into groovy info centres, with installed flash memory storing information about local pubs, coffee shops and retail outlets.

According to Barry Shrier, Last Mile’s sales and marketing director, people who run an application called the MagicBook on a mobile device will be able to connect to their nearest enabled lamppost and access the information stored on it.

In a slightly less than convincing move, Last Mile is also hoping to win the backing from emergency services agencies. The idea would be that firefighters rushing to a flaming building would flip out their laptops and start accessing local information from a handy knowledgeable lamppost.

Ian Fogg, broadband and personal technology analyst at Jupiter Research Europe, said that Last Mile will need the support of the public sector for this ambitious plan to succeed.

“The idea of a local wireless network that emergency services, local utility companies and local government officials can use generally for day-to-day activities is a common one that is used in many places around the world,” Fogg said.

Last Mile believes its lack of reliance on other telecommunications infrastructures such as local telephone exchanges would give their scheme the edge, with the system still working in the event of widespread network failures.

Shrier believes that revenue could be generated by persuading companies to store their information on lampposts, paying Last Mile whenever someone accesses data using the MagicBook.

“Say you operate a petrol station….The results of Last Mile’s proposition, developed in partnership with Qinetiq, would allow you to communicate instantly, quickly and very cheaply with motorists who need petrol and are near you,” Shrier said. “This is a profound advance in how the Internet works, and the benefits it provides.”

We’d think these petrol-seeking motorists would be more likely to flip open a map, use a GPS device or make use of the many location based services available through WAP and mobile phones, but the real killer blow to MagicBook’s plans may come from the increasing proliferation of Wi-Fi hot spots.

Pubs, railways stations and airports and cybercafes are all falling over themselves to offer free and paid wi-fi access in the UK, with even the roadside restaurant chain Little Chef announcing free access.

Ian Gogg shares these doubts, “3G manufacturers are building location-based functionality into handsets and base-stations today. “There are also a tremendous number of Wi-Fi hot spots in place already, for which the demand is relatively weak.”

Last Mile reckons it would cost around £500 (US$933) to upgrade one lamppost to provide their service. We think it’ll be some time before we see gangs of laptop-flipping consumers hanging around their lampposts.

Lampposts to provide location-based services (news.com)
Last Mile Communications