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Mobile Phone Technology Makes mCommerce a Reality

In recent years, mobile commerce, or mCommerce, has developed into a major marketing tool for many industries. In the same way the Internet revolutionized communications and marketing, mobile communications technology has greatly refined the way business is done.

Essentially, mCommerce is in reference to a business transaction using any type of mobile device, including a mobile telephone or a personal digital assistant. Going to the store to shop has become archaic, with modern shoppers able to survey, select and purchase products from their own smart phone. According to one research study, nearly 40% of the their owners have used smart phones to make at least one transaction. And eCommerce is growing every year, with more than four billion mobile telephone users throughout the world. This tremendous growth in cellular telephone usage offers tremendous business opportunities, particularly for large retail outlets.

Mobile commerce came into being in 1997 when soft drink machines installed in and around the Finnish capital of Helsinki were equipped so they could be used by anyone with a mobile phone. The machines accepted payment through short-message texting services. The first mobile-phone banking service was established, also in Finland, the same year. Finland again led the way when the downloading of audio and video content became available there in 1998. A full array of banking activity was made possible via mobile phone access in a service that was established in the Philippines a year later. Once the world broke into the 21st Century, mobile marketing applications developed rapidly. By then, it was possible for those with mobile phones to pay for parking spaces in Norway, purchase train tickets in Austria and order airline tickets in Japan.

Many businesses have come to use mCommerce services to keep in touch with potential customers.

This capability was greatly enhanced when the iPhone was introduced in 2007. This technology offers considerably more security than conventional texting services, and is also less subject to the vagaries of telephone traffic “congestion”. A number of new eCommerce capabilities have recently come online, including location-based service (LBS), which can actually pinpoint the location of the mobile device and help guide shoppers to the nearest retail store. Other mobile marketing applications include the remote purchasing of “electronic” tickets, which can be presented at the desired venue, and the ability to obtain vouchers or coupons electronically. Through eCommerce technology, someone can receive news and sports reports, financial records and even participate remotely in auctions.

Industry Buzzwords

We have all heard the buzzwords that have come into our lives with the expansion of the Wireless industry. But do you know what they mean? It is confusing to say the least so let’s try to clarify some of the terminology related to the technology.

Wireless – refers to telecommunications in which electromagnetic waves carry a signal over part of the communications path.

1G – First Generation, Cellular systems based on analog technology.

2G – Cellular wireless based on digital technology. 2G systems offer increased voice quality and capacity to handle more calls.

3G – Systems designed to increase voice capacity and provide high-speed data. 3G will enable users with high-speed data, advanced global roaming and enhanced multimedia capabilities. CDMA provides the basis for 3G technology, which has been implemented as CDMA2000® and WCDMA (UMTS).

Air card – Aircard® is a registered trademark owned by Sierra Wireless and has become synonymous with a wireless PC card.

Blackberry – Two-way wireless device that allows users to check email and voice mail (via text), and page other users using a wireless network service. Blackberry® users must subscribe to a wireless service that provides data transmission service.

Bluetooth Wireless Technology – is the low-power, short-range radio technology that allows digital electronic devices such as mobile phones, headsets, PDAs, notebook PCs and even cars to “talk” to each other without wires and easily transfer files at high speed.

CDMA – Code Division Multiple Access, CDMA cellular systems utilize a single frequency band for all traffic, differentiating the individual transmissions by assigning them unique codes before transmission.

Cellular – Analog or digital communications in which a subscriber has a wireless connection from a mobile handset to a relatively nearby transmitter. As the cellular telephone user moves from one cell or area of coverage to another, the telephone is effectively passed on to the local cell transmitter.

EDGE – Enhanced Data GSM Environment- a faster version of the Global System for Mobile (GSM) wireless service

GPS – Global Positioning System – a location system based on a constellation of US Department of Defense satellites.

GSM – Global System for Mobile Communication is a digital mobile telephone technology

GPRS – General Packet Radio Service, a packet-based wireless communication service that provides continuous connection to the Internet for mobile phone and computer users.

iDEN – Integrated Digital Enhanced Network, A proprietary technology based on the TDMA standard that allows users to access phone calls, two-radio transmissions, paging and data from one wireless device. Nextel Communications® uses the iDEN® standard as the basis for its networks.

Streaming – an Internet expression for the one-way transmission of video and audio

TDMA – Time Division Multiple Access, a technique for multiplexing multiple users onto a single channel on a single carrier by splitting the carrier into time slots and allocating these on a as-needed basis

UMTS – Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, a broadband, packet-based system offering a consistent set of services to mobile computer and phone users no matter where they are located in the world

The Motorola Backflip Combines Smart Phone Technology and Aesthetic Appeal

The Motorola Backflip is a mobile phone that incorporates a multitude of advanced functionality all of which is incorporated within the confines of a stylish casing that measures just 108 mm x 53 mm wide whilst being 15 mm thick. The unit offers a QWERTY keyboard in conjunction with a touch screen whilst providing smart phone technology by virtue of its Qualcomm MSM7201A 528 MHz processor and android operating system.

The phones display screen is an impressively colourful 3.1 inch TFT touch screen that has the virtue of displaying remarkable imagery due to its 256,000 colour display options, all of which are accurately displayed within the confines of its 320 x 480 pixel screen size. The handsets primary form of navigation is the innovative Motoblur user interface which incorporates the added benefit of live widgets. The handset also offers simplistic text entry by virtue of its full QWERTY keyboard whilst also providing the added benefit of an accelerometer sensor. A useful proximity sensor is also provided as standard.

The handset incorporates a multitude of connectivity options which include web access at speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps which is facilitated by virtue of the built-in HSDPA and Wi Fi connections. Alternative forms of connectivity are provided by the class 12 versions of GPRS and EDGE, whilst the inclusion of blue tooth and micro-USB ensures the complete connectivity solution. Satellite navigation is provided by the GPS function that includes A-GPS support as standard. In addition the unit provides an organiser, document viewer in addition to a voice memo feature.

The element of social networking has been incorporated into this handset by virtue of its Facebook, Twitter and MySpace applications whilst the Photo bucket and Picasa integration provides additional social media integration in conjunction with the ability to access Google maps.

The handset offers a variety of entertainment options including an MP4/MP3 media player, in addition to 5.0 megapixel camera that includes the options of auto focus as well as a useful LED flash. The handset provides the option of Geo-tagging as standard. The camera doubles up as a video capture device offering the ability to record video at HVGA quality and at 24 frames per second.

The Motorola Backflip is both stylish and functional in equal measure. The unit provides a wide raft of useful technology, all of which are emphatically useful whilst incorporating them into a casing which is aesthetically pleasing.