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Kids: Your cell phone isn’t worth it

Why is the story of a 16-year-old girl attacking her parents with knives a significant story for a prepaid cell phone blog? Because the issue stemmed from cell phone use, specifically prepaid. The girl’s father believed that she stole money from her mother’s purse to purchase more prepaid minutes, so he took the phone away. This allegedly turned her homicidal, as she wielded two kitchen knives, forcing her parents to lock themselves in their bedroom until the police showed up. Your cell phone just isn’t worth it. The girl now faces multiple felony charges.

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Small carriers band together to promote rural competition

Honestly, upon reading the headline to this press release, I was hoping for a list of companies involved. After about a half hour of Googling, I’ve got nothing, so let’s get down to the issue at hand. NextGen Mobile LLC has announced the partnership of 28 “independent mobile operators and commercial mobile license owners,” which will take on issues facing the competition in and advancement of rural wireless. This issue has become a bit more prominent recently. Rural carriers have bemoaned policies which disfavor them for larger network operators. The two recent spectrum auctions, 700 MHz and AWS-1, exacerbated the issue, as has the universal service fund cap. This is the small guy’s way of fighting back.

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Wireless shakeup in Canada

As we’ve discussed before, the wireless picture in Canada isn’t so hot. A few incumbent parties seem to be keeping the prices high for everyone. That won’t be so for much longer. A chunk — 40 percent — of the 105 megahertz spectrum up there is set to be auctioned off. The good news: Rogers, Bell Canada, and Telus won’t be eligible to bid. This, of course, has them upset, but honestly, this is the best thing Canada can do with its wireless situation.

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Mobile phone payments in 2008?

Maybe for Canada. It appears that Visa Canada is working with Royal Bank to make this a reality. According to Visa: “”mobile devices will be embedded with Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless chips that will enable users to make purchases using the Visa payWave feature just as they would with a contactless payment card.” Sweet deal, we say.

[Financial Post]

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Nokia’s prices drop, profits grow

Now, this story gives us pause to consider the markup on handsets. Nokia, the worlds No. 1 maker of handsets, announced a flurry of good news yesterday. Among it was that they now control 39 percent of the mobile market, up from 36 percent last year. The big news, to us anyway, is that their profit margin for their phones jumped to 22.6 percent, from 13 percent a year ago. That’s pretty damn significant. And they’re doing it with lower phone prices.

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Sanyo out of mobile phone business

You know, we’ve always been fans of the Sanyo Katana. Yeah, it’s basically a rip-off of the RAZR, but we saw so many damn people carrying them when it first came out — as well as a billiondy commercials for it — that we got sick of it real quick. Once we saw the Katana, we saw an alternative, and one which we thought was superior in its own way. Now, though, Sanyo is ditching the mobile phone portion of its business. No, it’s not completely folding, but rather changing ownership. Meet Kyocera, soon to be the No. 7 producer of mobile phones worldwide.

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Is your cell boosting your brain function?

The September issue of the International Journal of Neuroscience is being released in a week or so, though we didn’t know that until this morning. Our interest relates to a mobile phone study conducted that relates to the device’s effect on brain power. Until this point, most studies noted a negative effect on brain power in high-volume cell users. This one, however, takes a different tack, and one that might be a little more favorable to talkaholics.

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World mobile phone subscriptions double landlines

You should see our news feeds sometime. Okay, so they’re not really that interesting, but they do help illustrate this point. You see, while most of the news comes from American outlets, you’d be surprised at the number of news items we see about cell phones in India, Senegal, Pakistan, China, and other Eastern nations that we don’t normally associate with technology. Hell, we also get feeds from Africa. And that’s not to mention the glut of news we see from Europe — the UK and the Netherlands most frequently. Mobile phones are spreading everywhere, leading to an enormous number of worldwide subscribers: 2.68 billion.

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Joopz adds another dynamic to text messaging

So we found out about this new text messaging service called Joopz, and we think it’s compelling enough to share. See, it lets you send text messages from your computer to any mobile phone. Wait. Don’t leave! There’s more! If a reply is sent from the recipient, it sends right back to your computer. Okay, see? They do have something unique to offer. You can also send text messages en masse with their service, which has us hoping that they have some top-notch spam detectors.

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Nokia teams with Microsoft to enhance mobile entertainment

One of the factors holding back a more widespread selection of mobile entertainment programming is copyright. So many artists and corporations won’t allow their content to be used on a mobile platform because they fear piracy. Nokia has gone a long way in protecting copyrights, having developed S60, the most widely used copy protection software in the cell phone industry. Now they’re teaming with Microsoft to solidify the issue, hoping to bring more entertainment options to the mobile platform.

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Pay $399 now and never have another phone bill again

Remember back in the day when VoIP was free? Yeah, good times, man. But now they charge, and even though it’s a nominal fee, we still appreciate anything we don’t have to pay for. A new startup may satisfy our desire. Ooma is a new startup that provides free domestic calling via broadband. All you need is your high-speed internet connection and a $399 box — a one-time fee — and you’re on your way to never paying your phone company a dime ever again.

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Cell phones make Britons dumber

To be truthful, they’re probably making Americans dumber, too. But hey, this report is on the British, so let’s concentrate on them for the time being. It appears that memory functions among Britons is declining, and experts are blaming reliance on mobile phones. The idea is that we have more and more to remember nowadays, and we’re using technology to aid us. Problem: the less you actively use your memory, the worse it becomes. So while taking notes in your BlackBerry may be useful in the short term, it has long term effects on your memory.

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