Feel the burn

People love to talk about what a high growth market China is, and the Informer thinks he may have discovered one of the key drivers behind the bumper handset shipments that the market stimulates. According to local press reports which emerged after last week’s edition went to press, the wife of a handset retailer in the Weifang area of China, seething with resentment after being dumped, gathered the shop’s entire stock of 400 phones, put them on the marital bed, doused them in kerosene and set fire to them. The cost of the bonfire was around $42,000. That’s 400 more phones shipping to China, then – every little helps, right?

Publicity shy

The Informer loves his anonymity like he loves the darkness. He can hide in the shadows, it gives him respite from the world and allows him to communicate with people without fear of revealing his staggering social ineptitude. For, truth be told, the Informer suffers from crushing insecurity. At school he crept from class to class, learning nothing so well as how to make himself near invisible to other people. And it’s become a way of life.

Anti mast campaign takes new turn

We’re all familiar with campaigners who think that cellular network masts are pumping diseases into their heads and lobby against the towers being placed anywhere near them. But it takes the Taleban to really grab the issue by the throat. This week the fundamentalist insurgents from Afghanistan threatened to blow up masts in the war torn country.

I don’t like it. It’s quiet… Too quiet

It’s always quiet in the week after World Congress. It’s as if the whole industry has pulled the duvet up over its head and is issuing only the occasional, muffled rejection of any attempt to persuade it out of bed. This was not a week during which the Gods of News Announcements, in their fury, flung thunderbolts down around our ears. They barely managed a stiff breeze – hardly surprising after the Beaufort-buster they whipped up in Barcelona.

Cheese and ham

The Informer has thought about this a bit but he can come up with no circumstances under which a person would need so much carbohydrate in a single dish that a potato omelette sandwich would be necessary. But they’re a staple foodstuff in Barcelona – and almost unique among the local cuisine in that they [...]

Oh Lordy

Several times in the last two weeks the Informer has been contacted by his company email administrator because his inbox has exceeded its size limit. This is because we are bearing down on the brouhaha of the Mobile World Congress, and thousands of PR folks around the world are frantically issuing press releases, briefing invitations and announcements about announcements.

She cannae take it, Captain

The setting: Deep space. The USS Motorola, a personnel transport vessel carries a delegation of important civilian shareholders, en route to Profitability 9, a distant star system on the far side of the galaxy. The navigator’s drunk.

Poor little rich boys

The Informer visited a basement bar in The City of London this week to see a friend who wears pinstripe suits every day. You hear tales of the City being full of men who are brash, flash and flush with cash and the Informer was expecting to see people burning £50 notes and pouring champagne over one another.

Stupid is as Stupid does

Do stupid people need protecting from themselves? Is it anybody else’s responsibility to stop them doing stupid things? This is one of the great arguments of political philosophy, of course. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld made a useful contribution to the debate in his discussion of the US Helmet Law that forces motorcyclists to wear protective headgear. This is a ruling, he said, designed to “preserve a brain whose judgment is so poor, it does not even try to avoid the cracking of the head it’s in.”

New Year’s Resolutions

People always say ‘happy new year’ when they see you first thing in January, and the Informer was about to confer the same blessing upon his readers. But then the following thought occurred to him: Just how happy is it?

How many of you have given up smoking (again) dear readers? How many are staying off the sauce for a few weeks? How many are on a diet, in a bid to shed the pounds gained over the festive season? How many of you have joined the waddling throng of red-faced January joggers, clogging their city’s arteries and wrecking their knees in the name of the Healthy Lifestyle?

Little donkey

And so this is Christmas, and what have you done? If you’re the Informer, you haven’t done a damn thing, including your Christmas shopping. And if you’re the rest of the industry, you haven’t done much either, judging by the paltry news offerings that wafted the Informer’s way this week, which counts among its events the last appearance of A Week in Wireless for 2007.

Nope, everybody’s hunkering down for the holiday season, gradually drifting away from the office and into the bosom of their family. Or the local pub.

Happy Birthday SMS

Let’s say you had to compile a historical ‘Who’s Who’ of the mobile communications industry. Who’d make the grade? Bell? Marconi? Gent? McCaw? Dunstone? Ollila?

How’s about Papworth? What do you mean you’ve never heard of him? We’re talking about Neil Papworth, here, people. Snap to it.

Going underground, going underground…

On Wednesday last week the Informer had to leave his trusty boneshaker at home and get the tube to work because he had a dining appointment in the evening. Riding the London Underground in rush hour is not a pleasant experience. You have to endure a level of physical contact with strangers that, were it [...]

Their darkest hour

Black clouds were thick on the horizon this week, as a certain manager looked on in horror, watching helplessly as the universe conspired against him and his team. Yep, it was Ericsson’s annual investors’ conference in New York and while England was mourning its darkest hour since losing the World Cup qualifier to Holland in ’93, the Swedish kit vendor was mourning its darkest hour since announcing its Q3 financials last month.

Next time he does it, just punch him on the nose

There’s a popular topic among the anti-tech handwringers at the moment: Cyber-bullying. Parents, teachers, politicians – they’re all wailing about the insidious nature of mobile phones and email accounts when they’re in the hands of The Bullies. It never used to be like this, they say.

There have been one or two high profile tragedies involving student suicides after sustained cyber-bullying but, at root, this has nothing to do with technology. Kids will always find new ways to make other kids’ lives miserable, because – by and large – a small but vocal minority of people just aren’t very nice.

My dad’s bigger than your dad…

That was a familiar playground shout when the Informer was a scab-kneed schoolboy, and one that appears to have replicated itself in the world of corporate telecoms.

In August last year, you’ll remember, China Mobile’s subscriber base became the biggest of any cellular carrier across the globe. This robbed Vodafone of a key piece of press release bombast, given that it could no longer describe itself as the world’s largest mobile operator.

Thank you for the music

“Mother said I was a dancer before I could walk,” sang one of the ladies from Abba, although the Informer doesn’t know if it was the demure blonde, or the slightly intimidating brunette. Even as an infant, the Informer found this statement a little hard to take in. You can’t dance before you can walk, just like you can’t run before you can walk, although this industry’s certainly tried that a few times – not least with music services.

Four Candles

Lovers of word play the world over will rejoice at the news that users of social networking tool Facebook can now update their profiles using the speech to text application Spinvox. For those who aren’t familiar with it, Spinvox converts voicemails into text messages and the technology has now been adapted to let users post [...]

Some you win, some you lose

It’s not really the kind of week in which the Informer feels like mentioning football. But, when he wasn’t watching England crash out of the Euro 2008 qualifiers, he was sifting his way through the world of contactless payments, and he came across the news that UK operator Orange and UK football club Manchester City are trialling a new mobile-based ticketing system for matches.

Do not pass Go. Do not collect £200

Way back when the Informer was a lad, during the summer holidays he would invariably spend part of each day playing the board game Monopoly with his siblings. It’s not so much that electronic entertainment didn’t exist – it did – it’s just that it existed in the form of the Commodore 64; the worst computer ever sold. You never got to play the games, you just watched the cassette tapes turn round in the machine until, after about ten minutes – when the tape was about to run out and the game was supposed to load – a message appeared on the screen saying “Syntax error: Line 20″. Then it all went dead.