Messaging Blues

The Magic of Messaging: This blog contains stuff related to E-Mail, SMS,Text Messaging, Instant messaging, MMS etc (Mobile/Internet/Wireless/Text/IM)

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

VeriSign to scoop up m-Qube for $250M

Seems there was some truth to my gossip column two weeks ago: VeriSign has agreed to acquire m-Qube for a cool $250 million "net of cash," or after cash already on hand at m-Qube. m-Qube is a MoCo enabler that helps brands develop and sell mobile content and messaging services. m-Qube claims to reach more than 200 million wireless subscribers in North America and has already powered mobile storefronts and marketing campaigns for customers including Sony Pictures, CBS, Major League Baseball, Warner Music Group and Reuters.

Last week, analysts railed on VeriSign's mobile unit, with one even calling it a "disaster." Insiders recently told me m-Qube was low on cash and that an acquisition was likely. The addition of m-Qube to VeriSign's mobile unit should perk things up for the company. VeriSign recently acquired wireless applications service provider 3united and Kontiki, which specializes in managed peer delivery systems for video and digital content.

For more on VeriSign's acquisition of m-Qube:
- see this press release

Monday, March 13, 2006

SMS to encourage voting among youth

Nonprofit agency Music For America plans to kick-off an SMS campaign called TXTVoter at concerts throughout the U.S. in June that aims to increase voter turnout in the 2008 elections. The campaign takes celebrity involvement in "getting the vote out" to the next level: Musicians will ask concert goers to register for the SMS service during the live show by texting a word of the musician's choosing to a short numerical code. Fans will then get a reply asking for their name and address to receive voter registration forms in the mail. They'll also get an SMS reminder to vote on Election Day. The MfA claims more than 350 member musicians, including Green Day, Moon Zappa and Death Cab for Cutie. Mobile Voter partnered with the MfA to enable the technical aspects of the campaign.

The Election Day reminder is a nice touch, but there's a disconnect there between soliciting the concert goer's name and address and actually getting them to sign up. Celebrities lobbying young voters to register has proven effective in the past, but really harnessing the mobile to do something as easy as voter registration could allay a lot of the frustration and laziness that leads to low voter turnout. Mobile content can also be sold this way, on the spot at concerts and at the behest of the performers.

For more on SMS and voting:
- take a look at this article from CNET

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Fixed Line Voice Messaging In Malaysia

Telekom Malaysia has launched a short voice messaging service from fixed line phones

Launched under the brand name “MyVoice”, the new Telekom Malaysia service permits fixed line users to record and send short voice messages to any phone user, fixed or mobile. By dialing a 4-digit short-code (1555#), users can record a message up to twenty seconds longwhich can be sent to either fixed line phones or mobiles. Background music, sound effects and other greetings can be added. The receiver can also reply to the message by pressing the "#" button on their phone.

The system has been developed by TM Applied Business (TAB) of Kuala Lumpur combined with TelcoBridges' TB640 System-Blade™, IVR and StreamServer™ technologies with TAB’s Virtual Communication Services (VCS) application solution.

"The service has been very well accepted by large organizations, the public sector and the visually-impaired, all of whom find it very fast and easy to send short voice messages to single or multiple numbers", said Abdul Malek Aziz, TAB’s Head of Marketing. TAB is now marketing system globally.

TAB is using the TelcoBridges' technology to develop a voice messaging on-line portal offering the broadcasting of voice messages to phone users via the Internet to be launched in April.

"Consumers in Asia are very open to innovative voice services" said Gaetan Campeau, President, Founder and Executive Vice-President, Worldwide Sales, TelcoBridges Inc.


O2 Is Top Of The Texts

Although is only about half a million more subscribers in the UK than the other operators, its subscribers send nearly twice as many mobile messages. According to the latest Ofcom figures mobile voice usage remains flat in the UK, while messaging increases.

Two Phones Each

At the end of September 2005, Ofcom’s research showed that there were 62.5 million mobile subscriptions – a figure that is higher than the total UK population. Ofcom’s tracker research shows that the proportion of UK adults with a mobile phone (about 40 million) has been stable at around 80% over the first three quarters of 2005, confirming that a significant number of people now have two or more mobile subscriptions.

Ofcom figures show that there were 62.5 million UK mobile subscriptions at the end of September 2005, 9% higher than a year earlier with MVNOs now accounting for over 5.5 million subscriptions in the UK. The numbers of reported active subscriptions for each of the four largest networks are still reasonably close, although it should be noted that the figures for T-Mobile include 4.2 million Virgin Mobile subscriptions and O2’s figures include around 750 thousand Tesco Mobile subscriptions. In addition to the four largest networks, 3 had over 3.3 million subscriptions in Q3 2005.

However while MVNO and independent service provider customers made up 13% of UK mobile subscribers, Ofcom estimates that they only accounted for 9% of total mobile revenues.

  Vodafone  O2  T-Mobile  Orange
2005 Q3 14,279 15,086 14,600 14,479
(O2 subscriber numbers do not include Tesco Mobile but T Mobile Virgin Mobile customers are included).

MMS Peeks Over The Horizon

Nearly a quarter of mobile subscribers used their handsets to take photographs. Although the average number of monthly MMS sent is still only a fraction of SMS volumes, there has been a significant increase in usage, with 36% of consumers sending or receiving multimedia messages in the three months to the end of 2005, up from 22% in Q1.

Over half of mobile users aged between 18 and 34 now use MMS, according to research carried out by Enpocket. Particularly interesting is the fact that older age groups have shown the highest jump in usage patterns: 38% in the 35-44 age group and 33% of those between 45-64 used the service in Q4, representing an increase of almost 20 percentage points for both age groups

Volume of SMS & MMS (millions)

  Vodafone  O2  T-Mobile   Orange
2004 Q3 1,462 2,382 943 1,387
2004 Q4 1,592 2,757 946 1,563
2005 Q1 1,661 3,052 986 1,668
2005 Q2 1,671 3,251 1,072 1,825

2005 Q3 1,752 3,457 1,110 1,864
T-Mobile figures for SMS & MMS do not include figures for Virgin Mobile.


aMSN : an open source MSN Messenger clone

aMSN is an free open source MSN Messenger clone with lot of features.
It is available for Linux, Macintosh, Windows.

You can download it from here.
aMSN MAC unofficial website.

» Display pictures
» Custom emoticons
» Multi-language support (around 40 languages currently supported)
» Sign in to more than one account at once
» File transfers
» Group support
» Normal, and animated emoticons with sounds
» Chat logs
» Event alarms
» Webcam support
» History in color
» Ability to autoclose the filetransfer window when it is finished
» New plugins log window (Alt-P)
» Plugins compatible with supported languages
» Faster loading skin window
» Skins in chatwindow
» Resizable chatwindow bottom
» When you add a new user, you can define in which group you want to add them
» When a contact change status, the top of the chat window changes color ( green for away, grey for offline, etc.)
» New panel GUI to alert when there's a new aMSN version
» Possibility to download the new release directly by aMSN
» Automatically update language files and plugins from the web
» New gui for deleting users (also possible to block on deletion)
» Possible to add notes for each user (XML)
» Support for MSN Mobile service
» Tabbed windows so you can group conversations using tabs
» Status is displayed inside a frame, so it won't dissapear when you scroll
» Display picture in notification alert (like MSN 7)
» Statistics for history (logging)
» Now possible to choose any state for your login status (before it was only possible to login invisible or online)
» Timestamping

But that's not all! More features can be added to aMSN with plugins or for the adventurous, completely change the look of aMSN with different skins!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Trojan - SMS.J2ME.RedBrowser.a targets smart phones running java applications

Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of secure content management solutions, has detected a new piece of mobile malware. Trojan-SMS.J2ME.RedBrowser.a is the first malicious program which infects not only smartphones, but any mobile phone capable of running Java (J2ME) applications.

The Trojan spreads in the guise of a program called "RedBrowser", which allegedly enables the user to visit WAP sites without using a WAP connection. According to the Trojan's author, this is made possible by sending and receiving free SMSs. In actual fact, the Trojan only sends SMSs to premium rate numbers. The user is charged $5 - $6 per SMS.

The Trojan is a Java application, a JAR format archive. The file may be called "redbrowser.jar", and is 54482 bytes in size. The Trojan can be downloaded to the victim handset either via the Internet (from a WAP site) or via Bluetooth or a personal computer. The archive contains the following files:

FS.class - auxiliary file (2719 bytes in size), FW.class - auxiliary file (2664 bytes in size), icon.png - graphics file (3165 bytes in size), logo101.png - graphics file (16829 bytes in size), logo128.pnh - graphics file (27375 bytes in size), M.class - interface file (5339 bytes in size), SM.class - Trojan application which sends SMS messages (1945 bytes in size).

The Trojan can be easily removed from the victim handset using standard utilities already installed on the telephone.


SMS is a temporary drag on 3G usage - Philippines

The take-up of third-generation (3G) mobile phone services in the Philippines will likely fall short of initial expectations.
"The potential market for 3G services is currently very small, and it will require some years for demand on content services to grow substantially to merit offering 3G," information technology (IT) research and consulting firm XMG, Inc. said.

In essence, 3G is designed to allow mobile phones to handle larger amounts of data. The speed of the service is being likened to an internet broad-band connection, this time using mobile phones and personal digital assistants, not laptops or desktop computers.

This early, 3G players are thinking of leveraging on "large and rich" content such cuts from movies, television and Japanese anime shows; news updates for business users; music tracks for audiophiles; sports clips for athletes and sports enthusiasts; and interactive games.

But for 3G to gain market success, XMG said consumption of data services per individual subscriber has to be substantial enough to automatically consume 3G capacity the moment it is offered.

"This might not happen in the Philippine market, however, as the low- bandwidth SMS service [or texting] remains the dominant source of revenue for local service providers," XMG said.

For instance, Smart's 2004 annual report showed the company derived at least 88% of its data revenue from SMS. "This suggests that a majority of subscribers still find SMS to be sufficient for their needs and would not immediately adopt 3G technology," XMG said.

Still, XMG said local prospects for 3G are bright, albeit not immediate. "Although SMS remains the dominant form of data service consumed by mobile subscribers in the Philippines, the growth in consumption of value- added data services is slowly outpacing the consumption of SMS services. This would indicate the potential market demand for 3G services in the future."