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Era of “Near Field” Devices to Begin

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Near Field Communication (NFC) is a standards-based, short-range wireless connectivity technology to enable 2-way interactions between electronic devices.
The technology is based on RFID, which makes it compatible with the existing contactless infrastructure already in use for public transportation and payment. NFC is suitable for applications that can make plastic cards and paper tickets obsolete, resulting in cost savings and a solution to business/consumer needs in multiple industries.

Communication is enabled by bringing two NFC compatible devices within a few centimetres of one another or for the two devices to literally "touch" one another. NFC is compatible with the 13.56 MHz family and is based on the ISO standard 18092 approved in 2003 that integrates standard 14443 (which defines so-called "proximity" systems that can reach over 10 cm), as well as Sony's FeliCa and Philips's MIFARE systems (e.g. Oyster).
Due to end in late May, O2 launched of the UK's first large scale pilot of NFC (Near Field Communications) technology on mobile phones. The trial of the O2 Wallet could pave the way for the mass market use of mobile phones to pay for purchases, access events or even be used for travel around London, simply by touching the phone to a reader.

For more on NFC from Nokia’s Viewpoint

NFC Commercial Opportunities

At CES (and probably at CeBIT, too) Parrot demonstrated the first NFC-enabled product line comprising a digital photo frame, a hi-fi speaker system, a conferencing system and a car kit which all work with a Nokia NFC enabled phone

“The added value lies in the fact that NFC is fast and easy to use, while guaranteeing at the same time a high level of security” says Henri Seydoux, founder and CEO of Parrot. “The range of potential applications, from digital photo frames to music and car kits will add real value to the consumer.”

Parrot stresses it currently has no commercial offering with NFC so far. The NFC enabled photo frame, Hi-Fi speaker system, conferencing system and car-kits are exclusively for test purposes.

When Polly Wants to Pay for a Cracker

For Standards Info, the NFC Forum

Sharper Image Files Chapter 11

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 A 26% sales drop, dwindling margins and tighter credit terms from suppliers push specialty retailer Sharper Image to seek Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

TomTom and Garmin are among the company’s largest creditors, with unsecured claims of $2.1 million each.

Caught in a severe liquidity crisis, Sharper Image will shut 90 out of 184 stores. They had $251.5 million in assets and $199 million in debts at Jan. 31. The company wants a $60 million loan from current lender Wells Fargo while Chapter 11 protection allows it to sell off underperforming stores and escape unfavorable leases.

A Less-Sharper Image

Adobe’s Breath of Fresh AIR

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 AIR, a new software development system from Adobe will power tens of thousands of new applications to connect internet and PC (and also PCs and new mobile devices like smartphones).

AIR will help developers create apps that exist in part on a user’s PC or smartphone and in part on servers. Applications will look and run the same whether the user is on his notebook, at his desk or using a mobile device or at an internet kiosk. The AIR applications can mimic the functions of a Web browser but do not require a Web browser to run.

The first commercial release of AIR takes place this week, but dozens of applications have been built around a test or beta version. New AIR applications exist (from beta sites) with companies such as Salesforce, FedEx, eBay, Nickelodeon, Nasdaq, AOL and Yahoo.

Like Adobe’s Flash software, AIR will be given away. The company makes its money selling software development kits to programmers.

Fresh AIR

iThings to Adopt GPS Features

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Apple finds new directionsApple develops a solution to access complete directions and maps using a portable device. Their “podmaps” patent describes the "Creation, Management and Delivery of Map-based Media Items."

The patent seems to link audio, video, and images with map for a solution that would enable users to access complete directions and maps using a portable device. Another threat to TomTom, Garmin, and Mio…

Apple Finds New Directions (Literally)



Europe Overtakes America in Spam Masters

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Asia leads the world in spam. While USA generated far more spam than any other single country, Europe for the first time surpasses USA--with Russia (8.3%), Turkey ( 3.8%) Italy (3.5%) Poland (3.4%) Germany (3.2%) Spain (3.1%) and UK (2.5%) all in the Top 12.

Spam Chart

SophosLabs reveals a dramatic rise in the proportion of the world's spam messages come from compromised Russian computers. The country now accounts for 8.3% of the world's spam (or 1 in every 12 junk mails in our In Box).

"Responsible for a third of all unwanted email, USA and Russia can be viewed as the two dirty men of the spam generation, polluting email traffic with unwanted and potentially malicious messages," says Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos. "It's not the case that a third of the world's spammers are based in those countries, but that legions of computers are poorly defended, allowing hackers to break in and turn them into botnets for the spreading of spam and malware."

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