As we reported earlier, Mobile ESPN will be shutting down its service by the end of the year. What we didn’t tell you is that The Walt Disney Company, which owns the service, will lose about $30 million while doing this. Never fear, it is still the happiest kingdom on earth. They plan to rake in the big bucks with their Disney mobile service, which debuted in June.
Disney Chief Financial Officer Tom Staggs says that Disney mobile, “is a very different customer proposition” that is “meeting a fundamental need of families.”
The service allows parents to regulate when, how long, and to whom their children can call, and even has the ability to select which contacts their kids can have. There is also a built-in satellite tracking feature for cell phone location. Disney mobile is available online now or in retail stores with an instant rebate of $99 and other attractive offers. We can see this working for the little ones in your family, but don’t even think about it if you have a teen.
Read More | Reuters
Sony Ericcson today announced the release of its Z550a quand-band clamshell phone, which has been designed just for the Americas. It features a 262k TFT display (220 x 176 pixels), a 1.3 Megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, a music and video media player, M2 (Memory Stick Micro) support, and 25MB of memory. You can send SMS/MMS/EMS or e-mail by POP or IMAP4. The Z550a also features full HTML browsing, an FM tuner, and Bluetooth capability. No news yet on price and availability, but check out Sony Ericsson to see if you should add it to your list for Santa this year.
Read More | Sony Ericsson Press Release
At this week’s Photokina 2006 in Espoo Finland, Nokia revealed new accessories to go with their ever-increasing product line. They include:
- Full-size 40mm headphones HS-62 can be folded away for easy storage or travel.
- The headset HS-81 will be available in a black/grey color combination. Hands-free, they feature a strong neckband.
- Speakers MD-3 are compatible with a 3.5mm audio connector, and come with an audio adapter AD-15, a universal headphone adapter AD-50, and travel charger.
- Mini-speakers MD-4 weigh only 130g. The speakers come in a thin, v-shaped design and fold into your pocket when you don’t need them.
- The Bluetooth headset BH-801, with optional earloop, weighs only 11g and provides up to six hours of talk time and up to 160 hours standby.
- The Bluetooth headset BH-302 (pictured) with adjustable earloop, has up to ten hours of talk time or 195 hours standby.
- The Bluetooth headset BH-207 is black with chrome detail. With it you can talk for up to seven and a half hours or keep it on standby for up to 140 hours.
Read More | Nokia Press Release
Sony Ericsson has announced the launch of M-BUZZ, a music service that will be an extension of their existing PlayNow service. While PlayNow features sampled music and games, M-BUZZ will offer a small selection of Sony/ATV music to start, and will be adding new selections monthly. You can also view videos and recording artists’ biographies and travel schedules, and listen to full-length audio tracks.
Miles Flint, President of Sony Ericsson, claims, “M-BUZZ enables music fans not just to hear new, unsigned acts, but also to find out more about the musicians through interviews, home movies and more, creating a new mobile music experience.”
M-BUZZ will be available on W850 and W950 music phones as of October 2 in markets that already feature PlayNow. Check out the M-BUZZ preview page for a sneak peak.
Read More | Sony Ericsson Press Release
T-Mobile has added the diminutive Samsung Trace to its product line. Weighing in at only 2.5oz and a size of 4.5 X 2.0 X 3-inch, the Trace has a 262k color TFT display of 220 X 176 pixels. It has a microSD memory slot, a 1.3 megapixel cam, USB connectivity, and speakerphone. Other features include an MP3 player, bluetooth technology and caller ID.
The Trace is available for $199.99 in retail stores and T-Mobile, with a $50 instant rebate and $50 mail-in rebate with a 2-year agreement. With up to 6 hours of talk time or 8 days of standby time, the champagne-colored Trace can keep even the fussiest princess from whining.
Read More | Mobileburn
You just can’t beat free. Verizon has started shipping its LG VX3450, a replacement for its VX3300 entry-level clamshell. The basic blue unit features a speakerphone, TXT messaging, a custom ringtone composer, voice dialing, is M4/TR hearing aid compatible, and meets the FCC SAR limit. At a weight of 3.3oz and a size of 3.4 X 1.9 X 1-inches, the VX3450 claims a usage time of up to 150 minutes and a standby time of 165 hours.
Verizon is offering a price of $29.99 on a 2-year contract or $79.99 on a 1-year contract. Optional features include a car charger, earbud headset, belt clip, and case. It may not be all bells and whistles, but if you order online, your discount is a free phone.
Read More | Verizon LG VX3450 Product Page
The LG Chocolate VX8500 debuted in the United States to much fanfare. Verizon pushed it as the next big thing in mobile entertainment phones, and even went all out with a television commercial campaign. Focusing on a cool music playing experience along with V-Cast entertainment over 3G EVDO, the hype machine seems to have paid off, as quite a few people that we know have ended up with an LG Chocolate phone. We took the VX8500 for a spin, and report back with our full review which you can check out after the break.
Inventor Mark Howe, who has been banned from casinos since the 1990’s, claims that his roulette computer can give you an advantage of 20% to 100% over a casino. The result is that the house’s normal 2.7% edge will be overturned. Because the UK gambling industry will be deregulated next year, amatuer and professional gamblers alike are scrambling to jump on the roulette bandwagon by purchasing such devices.
The UK based newspaper Guardian Unlimited reported that, “Keith Tayler, an ex-croupier and gaming inspector, says regulators are unwilling to ban predicting devices because it would amount to an admission that wheels can be biased.”
The gadget itself consists of a clicker that records deceleration speed of the wheel’s rotor and ball. You are then instructed by earphone which zone the ball will land in. In 2004, a group using this device actually won £1.3m at the Ritz Casino in London. At a price of US$5,000, the basic package includes the computer (inside a Nokia cell phone), an electronically shielded data input cable and button or switch, a DVD with footage of a wheel for practice, and an instruction manual. Let the games begin.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced that he will sign into law legislation that bans the use of handheld cellphones while driving. Although 38 state legislatures have considered similar bills, only New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington D.C. have actually passed them. Under the new law, which takes effect in 2008, a minimum of a $20.00 fine will be given when using a cell without a headset, speaker phone, or other wireless device.
“Public safety is the governor’s No. 1 priority,” said Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson, “and this bill will make the streets and highways of California safer by ensuring that drivers have both hands available for driving.”
Senator Joe Simitan (D-Palo Alto) has taken five years to bring his idea to fruition. The California Highway Patrol indicates that last year alone there were 775 accidents involving drivers who were using hand-held cellphones. Statistics show that the risk of death is 9 times greater for those drivers. Our only question is if public safety is Arnie’s #1 priority, why are they waiting until 2008?
Read More | LA Times
If you like Chocolate, but prefer it in a clamshell, here is a sneak-peak at the LG VX-8600. Similar to its VX-8500 mate (it has a lower resolution display), this model features EV-DO high-speed data, stereo Bluetooth, a 176 X 220 main screen with 262k colors, a 128 X 128 external screen with 65k colors, a 1.3 megapixel cam, a microSD card slot, and music player with external WMA/MP3 controls. Although no pricing or launch date has yet to be set, rumor has it that this exclusive Verizon Wireless gourmet Chocolate will be available for our stockings this holiday season.