Lost Packets 02

Cell covers become sunflowers

650 million cell phones are expected to be sold this year and most will be thrown out within two years. This will create an environmental nightmare. That is why British scientists have developped a cell phone cover that will grow into a sunflower when thrown away. How can that happen, you ask? The project, conducted by Pvaxx Research and Development at the request of Motorola, has come up with a polymer that looks like any other plastic but will degrade in soil when thrown away. Then researchers from the University of Warwick in Britain placed a sunflower seed in the phone cover that will feed on the nitrates that are formed as the polyvinylalcohol polymer turns to waste. The new plastic is said to be totally biodegradeable and non-toxic. Motorola has not made a final decision on when it will introduce a model with this new plastic but said it may take at least until the second quarter of 2005 to create a commercial product.

Photo lab for the road

Taking and printing digital photos got a whole lot easier with Lexmark’s P315 Snapshot photo printer. The light and compact printer has built in handles that allow for easy mobility. The device is designed to allow users to print photos without being connected to a computer. This standalone photo studio lets users instantly print high-quality 4” by 6” images from most digital cameras and memory cards any place with an electrical outlet in as little as 38 seconds, according to the company. Other features include an adjustable 2.5” colour LCD screen that lets users preview and edit images using tools so that pictures can be customized. The estimated retail price of the P315 is $199.

Coming soon to a cell phone near you

Why go to a movie theatre to see the latest new release when you can sit back and see it on your cell phone handset? Airtel, India’s largest private mobile service, did exactly that. On Dec. 9, Airtel subscribers in ten Indian cities such as Delhi and Mumbai logged on to Airtel Live, its own entertainment portal, for a streamed live feed of the Hindi film “Rok Sako To Rok Lo” (“Stop Me If You Can”) the day before it was released in theatres. On their handset, subcribers clicked on the movie link and the film began to play in 30 seconds. The film could not be copied or downloaded.

Ontario and Quebec to get mobile video services

Late last year, Look Communications Inc. and Unique Broadband Systems (UBS) announced an agreement to launch hand-held mobile video services in Ontario and Quebec. Called the Mobile Broadband Video Network, it will provide 80 channels of live video, data carousel broadcasting channels, and over 100 channels of digital audio broadcasting initially in Toronto and Montreal before eventually covering the Windsor, Ont.-Quebec City corridor. As well, customers in those areas will be able to use these new mobile broadband devices (the size of a normal PDA) to organize their schedule and watch live news, sports and traffic reports. The devices will also be capable of storing a large number of movies, songs and photos that subsrcibers can access anytime. Beta testing will begin in mid-2005 with service launch planned for early 2006.

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