Text N'Drive reads your email to you on the road

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Jul 20, 2010 6:22 PM CDT

In an ever-expanding fight to keep your eyes on the road where they belong instead of on your mobile device, the iPhone app Text'nDrive has been made available at the App Store. The free version, which has been specifically tested with Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, and MobileMe, will read up to the first 45 words of an email to you. For $20 USD you can get the full version that pumps the word limit up to 500 and even allows you to dictate a reply.

According to CEO Daniel Robichaud, Text'nDrive is an "innovative solution which we hope will entice more responsible driving habits and ultimately make the roads safer for everyone." SMS functionality is reported to be under development, and the company is actively taking user feedback to improve the product. Text N'Drive is also available for Blackberry and is "coming soon" to Android.

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Qantus to trial new online check-in system next week

Steve Dougherty | Mobile Devices | Jul 20, 2010 5:35 AM CDT

Qantus has decided to go ahead with its new next-gen check-in system and will be trialing it next week in Perth.

This system comprises technologies from 15 differing vendors and will involve 100,000 of Qantus' platinum, gold, silver and bronze Frequent Flyers. The system's development has been in place for two years now and includes helps from vendors such as IBM, New Media Innovations, Unisys, Fujitsu, Telstra and several others to make it all come together.

The project was first announced as far back as November of 2009 by Qantus CEO Alan Joyce in which he stated its aim would be to speed up the check-in process and reduce congestion at the terminal. New loyalty cards will be given to platinum, gold, silver and bronze frequent flyers with a smart chip built-in which is designed to act as a boarding pass when scanned through new check-in kiosks that are being deployed for the trial.

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BMW first to introduce "in-car internet" in Australia

Steve Dougherty | Mobile Devices | Jul 20, 2010 3:22 AM CDT

BMW, one of the leaders in technological car gadgetory are bringing aboard select production vehicles another advancement to help distract them some more from the critical responsibilities of road awareness down under.

BMW will be the first car maker to bring vehicles to Australian roads with an in-car web surfing option. BMW simply refer to it as BMW Internet; it's designed to work via the iDrive interface and utilizes a 3G network equipped smart phone for its connection point. So it's not quite as advanced as you may have first thought with self-linked internet, but I'm sure in the not too distant future they will tick that box.

The system is also designed not to be operational when the car is in motion, but we all know how quickly someone will find a way around that.

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RIM, HTC, Nokia blast back at Jobs' stance on phone reception

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Jul 19, 2010 11:17 PM CDT

Apple's huge press event on Friday did more than announce free cases for all iPhone 4 users; it also lit a fire under several companies as Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that many modern phones suffer from "death grip" signal loss. He used examples such as the

BlackBerry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris, and a Samsung Omnia II during the conference and the top brass at several of the companies aren't taking Jobs' words lightly.

RIM was one of the loudest against Apple, stating "One thing is for certain, RIM's customers don't need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple."

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Jobs' press conference on iPhone 4 'antennagate' - Free case....

Steve Dougherty | Mobile Devices | Jul 19, 2010 3:58 AM CDT

July 30 is the big day many are holding out for in the land of Oz with Apple launching its iPhone 4 then. But perhaps the sales numbers won't be quite as big as they would have been if the whirlwind of reports about signal issues (dubbed antennagate) weren't floating around.

However, Jobs had this to say upon opening a press conference on Friday morning. "We're not perfect. We know that, you know that and phones aren't perfect either, but we want to make all of our users happy. If you don't know that about Apple, you don't know Apple.

When we fall short, we try harder ... if a user is having a problem, it's our problem."

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Video rental stores worst enemy: The Internet

Steve Dougherty | TV, Movies & Home Theatre | Jul 19, 2010 2:51 AM CDT

It's not hard to understand in today's world of technology why many services of yesteryear have become redundant and forced people and corporations to go the way of the internet highway. In many ways this is for the better for all parties involved, but there are a lot of cases where the ease of accessibility and usefulness of internet based services is a big black cloud hanging over many business owners heads.

One such example applies to owners of video rental stores. With such advents as Foxtel IQ, fetchTV, Telstra's T-Box etc. giving a vastly growing number of movies on demand, this is one of the main reasons why you see Blockbuster and Video Ezy stores shutting down that were once upon a time booming with activity. It's all too easy to jump on the net and pay for a movie download or stream these days, too. The convenience of such means less people taking trips to their local video rental store.

However, there are a number of clever folks out there looking to revolutionise the video rental industry so that it can still survive the long haul and be a viable alternative to these fandangled internet connected services. Jennie Curtin of SMH has the full report.

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According to Motorola, eFuse will not brick your Droid X

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Jul 16, 2010 4:44 PM CDT

Yesterday it was reported by many outlets, including yours truly, that the eFuse technology will brick your Droid X if the phone finds anything modded or hacked in the software. The guys at Engadget decided to do a little more digging and got a response from Motorola. Motorola states that eFuse will not kill your phone; it will simply go into recovery mode until approved software is reinstalled. It seems the modders out there will still have a rough time tinkering with the Droid X, but the results don't seem to be as bad as initially reported.

Here's the full response from Motorola: (courtesy of Engadget)

"Motorola's primary focus is the security of our end users and protection of their data, while also meeting carrier, partner and legal requirements. The Droid X and a majority of Android consumer devices on the market today have a secured bootloader. In reference specifically to eFuse, the technology is not loaded with the purpose of preventing a consumer device from functioning, but rather ensuring for the user that the device only runs on updated and tested versions of software. If a device attempts to boot with unapproved software, it will go into recovery mode, and can re-boot once approved software is re-installed. Checking for a valid software configuration is a common practice within the industry to protect the user against potential malicious software threats. Motorola has been a long time advocate of open platforms and provides a number of resources to developers to foster the ecosystem including tools and access to devices via MOTODEV at https://developer.motorola.com."

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iPhone 4 slammed by U.S. senator in letter to Steve Jobs

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Jul 15, 2010 11:51 AM CDT

Well, the cries over the iPhone 4 have been heard all the way to the top of the mountain. While Apple gears us for the press conference tomorrow, even a U.S. senator has gotten involved in trying to get Apple to fix things with their newest device. Charles E. Sumner, a senator from New York, has posted an open letter to Steve Jobs criticizing the iPhone 4 and its problems and strongly encouraging Jobs to make things right with customers.

Here's a copy of the letter: (courtesy of Gizmodo)

July 15, 2010

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iPhone 4 recall "inevitable" according to PR experts

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Jul 14, 2010 12:32 AM CDT

With the release by Consumer Reports stating that the iPhone 4 antenna issues are hardware related as well as the other problems plaguing the iPhone 4, many are wondering when Apple is going to take a hard look at what to do about the situation. Public relations experts spoken to by CultofMac.com seem to have a similar take: a hardware recall may be in order.

"Apple will be forced to do a recall of this product," said Professor Matthew Seeger, an expert in crisis communication. "It's critically important. The brand image is the most important thing Apple has. This is potentially devastating."

Apple's foot dragging and spinning on the issue have reminded some of the hit Toyota took for the mishandling of the problems the Prius had with its braking system, although no one is saying this is in the same league dangerwise. Toyota ended up taking a serious PR hit and recalling over 10 million vehicles.

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NZXT site hacked; assuring customers they are still in business

Don Lynn | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Jul 13, 2010 10:43 AM CDT

People trying to browse the NZXT site last night as well as those subscribed to the NZXT newsletter got an awful surprise when a letter was released stating that NZXT was going out of business. This was an attack on their site in which hackers infiltrated the site and changed product warranties, deleted products and banners, and even sent out a newsletter stating that NZXT was going out of business.

The folks at NZXT have since booted the hackers, cleaned up the site and have assured us that NZXT is still going strong and plan to continue business as usual. Here's the official statement from Johnny Hou, Product Manager and Co-Founder of NZXT:

To our friends and loyal customers in the PC enthusiast community,

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