WorldSIM Targets British Muslims For Low Cost Mobile Calls

WorldSIM Targets British Muslims For Low Cost Mobile CallsWorldSIM is offering a reduced-price phone service aimed at British Muslims who may be travelling to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj, their annual pilgrimage.

During the next month it’s estimated that 25,000 British Muslims will be making pilgrimage which falls over xmas and New Year this year.

As anyone who has travelled knows, roaming rates in foreign countries can be pretty horrendous – with charges being levied to _receive_ calls as well as significantly increased prices to make calls back home.

The WorldSIM offering is offering free receipt of calls with calls back to the UK costing ‘as little as’ 45p/min.

WorldSIM Targets British Muslims For Low Cost Mobile CallsUsing the Pay As You Go global roaming SIM card, users of the service are given a UK landline number to give out to be contacted on. We suspect WorldSIM has hooked up a VoIP service to transfer the calls Internationally.

Contacting the pilgrims is of particular value given the huge loss of life at last years gathering when over 345 Hajj pilgrims were killed in a stampede in Mina as they sought to complete a farewell stone-throwing ritual before sunset.


Hajj images courtesy of Space and Culture

Interview With Barry Hitchens About Game On (Podcast)

Interview With Barry Hitchens About Game On (Podcast)I had a fascinating conversation with Barry Hitchens, the exhibition consultant of the excellent Game On exhibition, which is currently at the Science Museum, it’s eleventh venue in a world tour that started in the Barbican in 2002.

You can listen in to Barry’s vast knowledge of video games and hear about the trials and tribulations of touring the show around the world.

The show has changed over the years, and Barry gives a lowdown on what has worked and what hasn’t, while outlining the history of significant stages of video gaming.

If you like video games, you’re going to love this.

Interview with Barry Hitchens – Exhibition consultant Game On

Excitement Building For UK Wii Launch

Excitement Building For UK Wii LaunchFollowing the success of the launch of the Nintendo Wii in the US where 600,000 units were sold within the eight days – that’s nearly one per second, the buzz about the UK launch continues to heighten.

First came selling out its pre-order allocation of Wii’s within seven minutes – although the number of actual units sold were never disclosed.

During our coverage of its early public unveiling at the Game On exhibition, we noted that the people were really rather excited about the Wii coming out. It looks like it’s going to do pretty well here.

News of a tie up between HMV shops and Nintendo will see the now-expected midnight launch at their Oxford Street flagship store of the gaming platform.

Starting at 11pm the great-unwashed (that’s you and me) will be able to play against some ‘celebrities’ called Ian Wright, Jodie Kidd, Pat Cash and Ricky Hatton (whoever they are).

Excitement Building For UK Wii LaunchGlobally Nintendo is planning to ship 4 million console before the end of 2006, a record for them.

Surprisingly the shipping in Japan starts on 2 Dec (the home country normally gets the product first) with the Europe-wide launch following on the 8 Dec.

The retail price of €249/£179 with Wii Sports game including Tennis, Bowling, Boxing, Golf and Baseball included in the box.

Included with every Wii console is one wireless Wii Remote, a Nunchuk, Wii Sports game, Stereo AV Cable and the sensor bar for Wii’s unique control system.

We can’t wait.

AutoRama Makes Panoramic Phone Photos Easy

AutoRama Makes Panoramic Phone Photos EasySome clever-types at a Swedish company called Scalado have launched add-on software for mobile camera-phones that they say makes taking panoramic photos on a mobile a doddle.

The fantastically-named AutoRama takes up to 10 high-resolution images in succession and features eight different stitching mode. The photo stitching process is automatic.

The way it works does sound remarkably cool – “It’s made so simple, you don’t need to be an expert as you just point and shoot as the phone automatically does the rest for you, vibrating to tell you when to take the next shot to create the perfect high-resolution multi mega pixel panorama,” explained Mats Jacobson, CEO of Scalado.

Scalado don’t claim to be the first to do this, but they say theirs is the first to do it simply and at high resolution – but they would, wouldn’t they.

AutoRama Makes Panoramic Phone Photos Easy

The self-declared secret of AutoRama is its patented RAJPEG technology that they say reduces memory requirements by up to 25 times. It’s also claimed that it increases performance and the speed for image manipulation by a factor of up to 10x.

We’re looking forward to getting our hands on it and testing it out.

Andrew Ball, PR for Scalado tells us “The images shown were taken by AutoRama installed on a Nokia N70 (1.3 mpix) phone. The images were created by pressing a button and the camera shoots 3 frames and stitches them together. The examples here also shows a Clearshot filter applied for improving backlight, which is another of Scalado’s new CAPS features.”


UK Meets Brazil (Mobile)

Date: Thursday 30th November 2006
Lunch: 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Presentations: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: Think London , Level 35, 25 Canada Square Canary Wharf , London E14 5LB
Think London , the foreign direct investment agency for London , in association with UK Trade & Investment and the DTI’s Global Watch Service invite you to attend an informal networking lunch and an afternoon of presentations with some of the most exciting companies in Brazil ‘s mobile industry. The event will be chaired by Mike Nutley, Editor of New Media Age and will feature speakers from significant mobile players such as Informa Telecoms & Media. You will have the opportunity to hear about the latest developments in Brazil and the UK from senior representatives from both countries. The Brazilian delegates will include specialists in R&D, content development and distribution. They will be in the UK to explore opportunities for bilateral trade, investment and technology-based collaboration. The companies attending will include, C.E.S.A.R, SupportComm, Tec Toy Mobile, Meantime, LocZ and Mowa. Location: Think London , Level 35, 25 Canada Square Canary Wharf , London E14 5LB

MediaTech 2.006

30.nov.06Library House’s MediaTech 2.006 event puts the convergence of media, technology and communications in one room: gathering the innovators, the disruptors, the investors and the corporate players face-to-face. Sponsored by Microsoft and Intel Capital, this one-day event is about making connections: between industries, between technology and opportunity, but most of all between innovators, corporates and investors. Bringing together some of the hottest upstart companies and mixing them up with the incumbent giants and the key investors, the panel sessions, the presentations and networking opportunities at MediaTech 2.006 are a must for anyone interested in doing smart business in the future of content-driven, technology-enabled businesses. With contributions from top entrepreneurs such as Bob Young (CEO, and co-founder of Red Hat), from giants such as Google, SKY and Yahoo, from Sequoia’s latest investee company, and from top investors such as Index Ventures, now is the time to register your place. Places are limited. Imax Theatre, London
Charlie Chaplin Walk
London, London SE1

BT Vision To Launch (Finally)

BT Launches Digital TV ServiceAs we’ve covered extensively, BT has been working on BT Vision for yonks now, perhaps struggling with some of the technical issues with the Microsoft system that they’re running.

Launching on Monday, BT Vision, BT’s new combined television and Internet service, will let customers view Freeview channels and catch up with TV shows over the past week with no monthly subscription fees.

We’ll be at the launch cover it live, so tune in on Monday.

BT will also offer “on-demand” content (films, music, TV programmes etc) for viewing on home TVs, downloadable over a broadband connection.

With BT and BSkyB enjoying joint rights to show Premiership matches, BT will provide paid access on a per-game and “season ticket” subscription basis.

Other one-off and subscription Pay TV content will be available via “add-ons,” with the service using BT Vision’s set-top, a programmable Sky+ style PVR unit capable of storing up to 80 hours of TV and set to retail for less than £100.

BT Launches Digital TV ServiceViewers will be able to pause and rewind live TV and enjoy access to around 30 Freeview channels.

BT’s new TV service echoes moves made by France Telecom and Telecom Italia in Europe, and should help the UK broadband giants fend off competition from rivals such as TalkTalk who are reeling in punters with their ‘free’ broadband service.

It’s also a smart piece of a manoeuvring to counter Sky, who recently launched their own residential broadband service, as well as cable network NTL who are mustard keen to start delivering content over phone lines.

BT Launches Digital TV ServiceBT is set to start rolling out the service early next year, although it’s going to be a bit of a half-cocked launch with only Channel Four currently signed up for the seven-day “catch-up” service (behind the scenes, BT’s legal team are busy battling with BBC and ITV producers to negotiate a path through the minefield of rights.)

BT Vision’s Download Store will also include music content, with deals already struck with Sony BMG, MTV, Video Performance Ltd and BTPodshow.

BT Vision

Digital Hollywood Europe In London

29.nov.06 – 1.dec.06 Digital Hollywood Europe in London: The Global Conference for the Entertainment, Media and Technology Economies “The premier event for transforming entertainment, technology & the global communications network: TV, cable, telco, mobile, broadband, consumer electronics, search & email, VoIP, RSS, blogs and websites Three days of presentations, panels and workshops. ExCel
Royal Victoria Dock
London, London

Play PS3 and Wii Now At The Science Museum (Podcast)

Play PS3 and Wii Now At The Science Museum (Podcast)The organisers of Game On, clearly have amazing contacts with the games industry having been running the exhibition for the last four years around 11 venues around the world. It’s contacts like this that has led to them getting hold of Sony’s PS3 and Nintendo before it’s launched in the UK – four months in the case of the PS3.

The Science Museum is currently the only place in the UK where Joe Public can play the PS3. There’s a couple of places around where the PS3 can be seen, but like the venue off Brick Lane, they’re invite only.

Even if you could get to see the PS3, not other venue has the PS3 right next to the Wii, so you can compare them.

So what are they like?
The PS3 is playing Motor Storm and it looks stunning, with amazing photo realism. The action is intense and it’s very clear that this is a major leap forward in gaming. The controller can be set in a mode where its physical movements control the action of the onscreen action. Being used to playing the PS controller without this, it take a little while to get used to the sensitivity on the movements needed to control it.

The Wii clearly has the movement sensors built-in (it’s the big selling point of the whole console). Playing with them is near-instantly understandable – feeling natural to wave your arms around to control a tennis racket or box the hell out of your opponent. The graphics are far simpler, delivered in the normal Nintendo cartoon style.

It is of note that the PS3 has a significant number of venting holes in its casing and a large fan under nearth to cool it – it draws 350w. The Wii doesn’t have any venting.

Play PS3 and Wii Now At The Science Museum (Podcast)Who’s going to win?
If sales are going to reflect the public interest here at the Science Museum today, Sony need to look out, because the Interest in the Wii far outweighed that in the PS3. This could be down to the affordable price of the Wii, or indeed that the public actually have a chance of own it this side of xmas.

Speaking to the punters here, the feeling was that the Wii would give far more of a gaming experience, not just the gloss that the PS3 gives.

It’s no exaggeration to say that some people were literally running into the exhibition hall, shouting, “is it here, is it here?” as the made their way to the Wii. I had thought it would have been the other way around, with the PS3 being the big draw.

The rest of the exhibition is well worth the visit alone – charting the history of video games from the start, and put together with a lot of intelligence. With the Wii and PS3 added to it, you can expect large queues at the weekend.

We had a chat to the event organiser, Gaetan Lee to get an overview of how he got the hold of the Wii and PS3 before their UK release and the background to the Game On exhibition.

Click below to play the interview …

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Game On – Science Museum

Mobile Adult Content Market To Hit $3.3bn In Five Years

Mobile Adult Content Market To Hit $3.3bn In Five YearsThe days of blokes nervously tip toeing up to the top shelf of newsagents for a slice of saucy sleaze look to be growing to a close, as a new report shows the explosive growth of the mobile adult content market.

A new study by Juniper Research predicts that the mobile adult content market is going to soar from $1.4 billion in 2006 to over $3.3 billion by 2011, creating $14.5 billion in revenues over the five year period.

Europe is expected to be the most lucrative market with a 39% share followed by Asia Pacific at 33%.

Back in the day, thrill seeking punters had to settle for text-based titillation, but the roll out of 3G services and more advanced phones has seen a shift to photo and video content, with Juniper expecting video to make up over 70% of mobile adult content market revenues by 2011.

Mobile Adult Content Market To Hit $3.3bn In Five YearsSoftcore in the boozer
Bruce Gibson, Research Director at Juniper Research said: “Adult content business models have succeeded in other major delivery media: print, cinema, DVD, PPV TV etc. There is no reason why the mobile channel should not be equally profitable for adult content industry players. The mobile channel will provide a different way of presenting adult content to traditional delivery channels and will reach new audiences.”

“Mobile is about fun and instant gratification,” he continued.

“I think the biggest opportunity is at the casual and “softer” end of the adult market – lads in pubs sharing a video clip after a few pints and people looking for a bit of fun when they have spare time to kill etc – not the hard core stuff.”

Much as we’d love to agree with him, we’d suggest that anyone looking at how the web grew will realise that where there’s money to be had, there’ll be no shortage of hard core pr0n.

Juniper Research