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Simon Rockman

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Founder of What Mobile, creative experience director at Motorola and head of requirements at Sony Ericsson, Simon Rockman is a phone geek turned suit. He now runs Fuss Free Phones, a mobile phone service for older users.

Vodafone, Moneygram hook up to create mobe money MONSTER

A deal struck between Vodafone and Moneygram has added 334,000 international agents from whom you can send money to Vodafone's M-Pesa. This will allow migrant workers in around 200 countries to send funds home to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Fiji, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania. There …
Simon Rockman, 12 Feb 2014

Ono board mulls Vodafone's offer to grab its pipe for £5.8bn

The board of Spain's biggest cable operator Ono will meet today to decide if it should accept a £6bn (€7bn) bid from Vodafone or push ahead with its plans for an IPO. The sale would see a reasonable return on investment for the four venture funds Anglo-CCMP, Providence, Thomas H Lee and Quadrangle, which invested in 2005. …
Simon Rockman, 11 Feb 2014
Thibaut_Kleiner

EU network tech boss: Europe to take the lead on 5G (thanks, Huawei)

At the 5G@Europe Summit on Monday, Brussels networking czar Thibaut Kleiner said that Europe will "lead" the way with 5G, and that this will mean growth in the IT sector and the economy at large. The Munich event was heavily sponsored by Huawei and while panel members included representatives from French telecom and networking …
Simon Rockman, 11 Feb 2014
Microsoft Clippy

Qipp debuts 'Clippy for your STUFF' app

It looks like it's time to oil your bike chain. Would you like to 1) check warranty instructions 2) just oil it already and/or 3) check if the kids' bikes need attention? A new mobile app called Qipp aims to help you organise your life by putting all of your possessions into a database. You enter details of your things such as …
Simon Rockman, 10 Feb 2014
Pandaboard ES ARM PC

ARM slaps on smartwatch, MIPs chip dip just a blip

British semiconductor design firm ARM has announced its fourth quarter and full year revenues for 2013, saying it netted $1.12bn (£714.6m) in 2013, an increase of 22 per cent over the previous year. But thanks to a unexpected decision by a patent consortium, of which ARM is a member, not to license its IP, the company posted a …
Simon Rockman, 05 Feb 2014
Borg

Yet ANOTHER Brit MOBE tower BORG: Three and EE ink network-sharing deal

A new deal between EE and Three will apparently see the two British mobile operators sharing their cellular networks, according to reports. Neither company has an obligation in its licence to provide a certain level of coverage – the only company which does is Telefonica's O2, which is required to provide 98 per cent indoor …
Simon Rockman, 04 Feb 2014

Bangable poster firm Novalia makes printed 'leccy keyboard

The Cambridge company Novalia is working to launch a printed keyboard in the next year. What makes it special is a process which allows x-y printing, which means much more speedy production of the 'boards. Both layers are printed at the same time While the Cambridge-based company has previously shown devices with discrete …
Simon Rockman, 04 Feb 2014
The Powa hardware

Ker-ching...Er, ZZZWIP: Square-alike mobile swipe type scores $96m

Sitting above what used to be Laskys in London's Tottenham Court Road is a British mobile money startup which has just raised almost $100m in its second round of funding. Powa, together with its mobile products mPowa and Powatag, provides a system for retailers to both take payments and mine information about their customers. …
Simon Rockman, 03 Feb 2014
Jake Gostylo collects one of the first TerraMiner IVs

Cointerra promises free, specced-up boxen for late shipments of first gen miners

Texas-based Bitcoin hardware shop Cointerra has shipped the first batch of its TerraMiner IV $6,000 Bitcoin mining boxes. At a ceremony held at their Texas office they handed one over to local customer Jake Gostylo. As is traditional for Bitcoin hardware it’s late and below the advertised specification. Yet unlike many of their …
Simon Rockman, 03 Feb 2014
The World's Smallest Camera

Snap! Nokia's gyro stabilised camera tech now on open market

The tech that makes Nokia's smartphone cameras so awesomely good has become available on the open market for the first time. Gyroscopic stabilisation, which means cameras' shutters can stay open for longer without blurring the final image, has been around for a while in digital cameras. Cramming the technology into the minute …
Simon Rockman, 29 Jan 2014

Mobe industry quails as Ofcom floats idea of QUADRUPLING 2G spectrum prices

The GSM Association has castigated Ofcom for wanting to quadruple the price of the mobile phone spectrum mostly used for 2G. The price hike, which will hit the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands, was proposed in an Ofcom document issued in October. John Giusti, head of spectrum at the GSMA, said: “We focused on the relative impact that a …
Simon Rockman, 28 Jan 2014

Radio boffins remember the future-ture-ture: From the Cold War to (White) SPAAAAACE

Attention radio boffins: hankering for a look at some vivacious valves? Have some ideas on what "could have been" had Britain gotten its hands on certain broadcasting tech just THAT much sooner? There's a wireless heritage special interest group at Cambridge Wireless with plenty of hot models to ponder from the past "100 years …
Simon Rockman, 28 Jan 2014
Vodafone Simply Sagem VS2

US megalocorp AT&T: We're NOT swallowing Blighty's Vodafone

Speculation that AT&T was shopping for Vodafone as an entry into the European market has been brought to an end after an exec ruled it out. At the request of the Takeover Panel, the independent body which regulates the city of London code on takeovers, AT&T has said that it will not pursue Vodafone. The takeover panel refused to …
Simon Rockman, 27 Jan 2014
Nyancoin logo

Altcoins will DESTROY the IT industry and spawn an infosec NIGHTMARE

Much has been written about how Bitcoin will affect libertarian society, banks, money and government, but there are some other effects that bear consideration: what it will do to the IT industry. Imagine you've always lusted after the highest of high end graphics cards. Why pay £500 for something that's only for improving the …
Simon Rockman, 27 Jan 2014
using mobile when, er, upwardly mobile

Ofcom says yes to sat broadband on PLANES (and trains and ships)

A generous allocation of 4,128 MHz worth of spectrum running from 27.5GHz to 30GHz (albeit not contiguous) will give data speeds of 50Mbit/sec to a single plane or ship and an estimated 10Mbit/sec per user thanks to a new frequency allocation from Ofcom. The ruling allows "Earth station antennas" on moving vehicles which will …
Simon Rockman, 22 Jan 2014
Back of iPhone 5

Pay-by-bonk? YEP, it's an Apple patent now...

Apple has filed a patent which defines how iPhones can make secure payments using a combination of NFC and a separate data connection – and it could lead to a new payments system for iTunes. The patent describes a number of transaction models where NFC is used to make an initial connection between the phone and a merchant's …
Simon Rockman, 21 Jan 2014

Display tech based on EYEBALLS could reduce teens' mobe-fiddling

Kids just can't help fiddling with the brightness and contrast on their smartphones. That's the result of the latest survey carried out by pollmeisters Ipsos MORI. According to the poll, the main reason behind two-thirds of 15 to 24-year-olds wanting to change the settings is to improve the picture quality on their devices – and …
Simon Rockman, 21 Jan 2014

Mobile money biz Fundamo founder moves on

Hannes van Rensburg, the founder of mobile money company Fundamo, is to leave the business at the end of the month. Fundamo was sold to Visa for $110m in June 2011 and is a major part of Visa's strategy for mobile money - which also includes the British company Monitise. Bridging the gap between the kind of un-banked and …
Simon Rockman, 21 Jan 2014
Microsoft Surface bomb

Surface Pro 2 dim screen of death snafu STILL happening after patch

A December update for the Intel-based Microsoft Surface Pro 2 tablets has been pulled as it was making things worse. It was supposed to fix a problem which resulted in the screen dimming to such an extent it was unreadable, but led to greater issues. The withdrawal of the patch was, however, too late for some users who …
Simon Rockman, 20 Jan 2014
Bitmain AntMiner S1

MANIC MINERS: Ten Bitcoin generating machines

Bitcoins are either the new bubble economy or the future of online commerce. It’s not the first time anonymous e-money has been tried – ask Mondex – but Bitcoin does seem to have traction. There are things you might want that you can buy with it, such as Tesla cars and Virgin Galactic trips to space. Zynga has announced that it …
Simon Rockman, 17 Jan 2014
EU Bods look to future of UHF

EU eyes UHF spectrum: What do you think, biz bods... broadband?

The European Union has formed a new advisory group to work out what the future uses of the UHF spectrum band (470-790MHz) should be. And the list of representatives to the board reflects a more political than technical take on this, with company presidents and director generals listed rather than CTOs. The advisory group will be …
Simon Rockman, 17 Jan 2014
Firefox Fish

Pint-glass-flashing FISHNAPPERS strike at Firefox daddy Mozilla

Tupac lives!* Aspirant mobile phone software provider and Firefox browser-maker Mozilla nearly lost its "golden staffers" just before Christmas, when Tupac and Biggie Smalls, the two goldfish from its reception, were fishnapped. Mozilla has a cool space at its Covent Garden offices which gets lent out to friendly companies and …
Simon Rockman, 16 Jan 2014
Another way to pay with your mobile phone

Five UK banks sign up to hook up customers' ACCOUNTS to their MOBILE DEVICES

British banks HSBC, First Direct, Nationwide, Santander and Metro Bank have all signed up to Zapp's mobile payment system, allowing their customers to pay using a tablet or smartphone. The announcement comes just days after O2 snapped shut its Wallet service. The five banking firms together provide services to around 18 million …
Simon Rockman, 15 Jan 2014
NFC works on trams in Nice

Pay-by-bonk on the blink: O2 loses Wallet

UK mobile network O2's Wallet was supposed to be the start of its move into the banking biz, with your mobile phone playing the role of bank card. The service grew out of the 2007 trial of NFC which found that if you give people free money they enjoy spending it. But it turns out that people aren't that keen when it is their …
Simon Rockman, 15 Jan 2014
Remeber me?

Plastic iPhone 5Cs? Nah, we'll flog India our OLD iPhone 4 models - report

While sales of Apple's brand new "not-so-budget budget phone" 5C founder, Apple may have found a way to take on Samsung in India. Reports from the trade are rife that the 8GB iPhone 4 will be back on the shelves at a price of 15,000 Rupees (about £150, $240). This is nearly half the price it was before it was discontinued in the …
Simon Rockman, 15 Jan 2014
Bacteria on a mobile phone

Got a mobile phone? Then you've got a Trojan problem too

Something wonderful has happened: phones have got smart, but the bad news is they may open the door to those you don’t want to let in. Time was when getting software to run properly on your mobile phone was such a challenge that it was nigh on impossible for bad guys to write malware that worked. Most phones used proprietary …
Simon Rockman, 18 Oct 2013
Smartphone user on Tube

Don’t let mobile malware steal your company data

The mobile malware landscape is changing. Standardisation might be a good thing for building ecosystems and making phones more useful, but the emergence of Android and iOS as leaders in the operating-system wars makes life easier for those who would target the data on your corporate devices. It also means there is more to steal …
Simon Rockman, 16 Oct 2013
management mobile6

The irresistible rise of the corporate app

The rise of the corporate app is due to both fashion and user demand. Once upon a time there were programs. Today they are called apps. The big difference is that apps are fashionable, and fashion drives a lot of what even sane IT types do. So much so that even the Windows Phone has settings in the control panel for “company …
Simon Rockman, 08 Jul 2013
Old person in mibility scooter threatens running children with stick

Phones for the elderly: Testers wanted for senior service

As if getting a business idea from Reg reader comments wasn’t enough for Simon Rockman he now wants help to get it working. Some time ago I wrote a review of mobile phones for Seniors for The Reg. I’ve often said that the quality of the readers’ comments is one of the things that makes this publication special. I’d been …
Simon Rockman, 25 May 2013
pic of toddler and baby with compression results

Brit firm flogs bit-crushing app so you can throttle your OWN data

pic of toddler and baby with compression results The networks - both mobile and fixed - have been squashing your data for years. But now a London company has launched a product allowing you to control it yourself. The latest company to launch a consumer-side compression product is UK firm Millenoki, which allows users to …
Simon Rockman, 07 Mar 2013

O2 flogs new GPS mobile-based telecare to sick and elderly

O2 has launched the first of its mobile-based telecare services in the UK. Most of the services currently provided by pendant alarms are attached to landlines and their reach extends to the user's garden. But research shows that people feel trapped in their homes by alarms which connect to a landline, and as a consequence …
Simon Rockman, 06 Mar 2013
Nokia 3310

Hey, media barons: The noughties called, they want their mobile tech back

The last major keynote of Mobile World Congress saw speakers from ratings giant Nielsen, advertising agency Tribal DDB Worldwide, CNN International and developing world mobile firm Jana take the crowd through how the media - that is to say advertising - relates to mobile. If listening to the speakers from NTT DoCoMo is like …
Simon Rockman, 01 Mar 2013

Truck-maker CAT flogs smartphone spawn to butter-fingered fondlers

It’s all very well making a phone waterproof, but over 70 per cent of smartphone deaths are down to a cracked screen. With that in mind, the first smartphone from CAT - yes, Caterpillar, the mechanical digger, truck, footwear and sunglasses manufacturer - sells itself on being drop-proof. From head height onto concrete. It is …
Simon Rockman, 01 Mar 2013
The Register breaking news

Air-to-ground rocket men flog top-secret mobe-crypto to Brad in accounts

Don’t believe what you see at the cinema - James Bond doesn’t use a Sony mobile. Today’s British spies are kitted out with a BlackBerry for email and a Motorola for voice. The Motorolas use a protocol called Sectéra for scrambling which comes from General Dynamics, which does stuff for the US military, including system …
Simon Rockman, 28 Feb 2013
The Register breaking news

4G, quad-core, pah. Now connect the next billion bods to mobile web

Phones are here, there and everywhere - but there is a need to drive down costs to connect the next billion or so people to the world of mobile internet. This was a subject tackled by Manoj Kohli, the MD of Bharti Airtel; Dr Nasser Marafih of Ooredoo; our favourite Canadian, Nokia’s Stephen Elop; and new-boy at the GSMA party …
Simon Rockman, 28 Feb 2013
The Register breaking news

Brit biz stops coked-up moist pocketstrokers ruining your pub lunch

Unlike digestive biscuits, mobile phones do not react well to being dunked. With perhaps this in mind, two companies at Mobile World Congress claim to have the best technologies for treating phones to make them waterproof. Ruggedised mobes at the bottom of fish tanks have appeared at MWC before, but what makes this particular …
Simon Rockman, 27 Feb 2013
The Register breaking news

Networks go over the top to meet the enemy

One of the things mobile network operators complain about most is how they have to invest in infrastructure while over the top (OTT) players are making all the money. So it takes a brave man to take part in a keynote when he’s one of those OTT pariahs. At the “Future of Communication” keynote that man was Talmon Marco, co- …
Simon Rockman, 27 Feb 2013

So a health boss, a GM veep and Qualcomm's big cheese walk into a bar

The GSMA, which represents the world's mobile networks, tries to get people from outside the industry to give speeches at its annual Mobile World Congress shindig - preferably ones unlikely to upset anyone. This had led to an odd mix of folk from inside and outside the mobile world sharing a stage at the conference, held in …
Simon Rockman, 26 Feb 2013
The Register breaking news

Fujitsu to get oldsters out the house and thoroughly caned

Fujitsu exhibited a prototype of its GPS-enabled walking stick yesterday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The futuristic stick is aimed at getting older people out of the house, but would be equally at home slung over the arm of an Apple hipster while their iPod Nikes are in the wash. The user can configure their route on …
Simon Rockman, 26 Feb 2013
The Register breaking news

Telecom bigwigs: 'We're all friends – really'

A gaggle of the world's top telecom grandees put on a show of smiling unanimity as the Mobile World Congress got underway in a kumbaya-fest that masked the intense competition among them. Get the bosses of Telefonica, Vodafone, AT&T, Telecom Italia, and China Mobile together – five men who have a significant majority of the …
Simon Rockman, 25 Feb 2013
The Register breaking news

Mobile operators look to Firefox to beat back Google, Apple

Jumping into bed with Apple was a mistake for the mobile operators. Firefox is their second attempt at a solution. Apple was a mistake because operators gave away all their apps revenue to Cupertino, and that cash would have come in handy as voice and SMS cashflow declined. Instead, Apple was allowed to break all the rules – …
Simon Rockman, 25 Feb 2013
3D Touch 3D printer

Ten 3D printers for this year's modellers

You may not know why but you probably want a 3D printer. These are intrinsically cool devices: A mix of engineering, electrical engineering, material science, chemistry, electronics and software. As an emerging technology you need to understand a bit of all of these to get the most from a hobbyist device, just as early computer …
Simon Rockman, 04 Feb 2013
Mio Cyclo 300 bike satnav

Review: Mio Cyclo 300 cycling satnav

For some people cycling is about the exercise, for some it’s about the countryside and for some it’s about the gadgets. The carbon fibre water bottles and rare alloy spokes. Mio Cyclo 300 bike satnav Mio's Cyclo 300 all weather satnav It’s easy to assume that a bike computer is something which is only right for those in the …
Simon Rockman, 12 Dec 2012

What killed Motorola? Not Google! It was Moto's dire software

The Motorola we used to know is dead. After it was split in two, Google bought phone maker Motorola Mobility in May this year, leaving the profitable equipment biz Motorola Solutions to live on. Then the ad giant decided to lay off 20 per cent of the Moto Mobility workforce. Although this was all relatively sudden, the fall of …
Simon Rockman, 29 Nov 2012
3D printed bust

How to get your bust in good shape

A 3D printer is a great toy, but only if you have something to print. If you want to address the big issue of “yes, but what can you do”, then just downloading models isn’t any more personal than buying the finished thing online. 3D scanning The bust is back in vogue You need to make your own. To this end I looked at 3D …
Simon Rockman, 24 Oct 2012
FormLabs Form 1

Formlabs preps first home stereolithic 3D printer

3D printing geeks have become very excited about Formlabs' Form 1, the first home-oriented stereolithography 3D printer. While affordable 3D printers are becoming more widespread, what makes the Form 1 special is that instead of piping resin through an extruder, it uses lasers to heat and harden a point within a bath of liquid …
Simon Rockman, 01 Oct 2012
Motorola Razr i

Motorola's Razr design daddy legs it, gets inside Intel

Roger Jellicoe, the veteran engineer behind Motorola’s greatest hits – the MicroTAC, StarTAC and Razr – has joined Intel as a vice president at the newly formed Devices R&D team within its Mobile Communication Group (MCG). It's an awesome coup for Intel, and a loss for Google, after mass redundancies signalled the Chocolate …
Simon Rockman, 25 Sep 2012
MakerBot The Replicator with model

How hard is 3D printing?

If you want to make your own gun or harboured a desire to make a boat perhaps the device you need is a 3D Printer. In principle it sounds easy: just download a 3D model from the net, throw it at the printer, and whatever you desire comes out the other end. MakerBot The Replicator MakerBot's The Replicator The truth is, it’s …
Cycell Easyphone

Ten phones for seniors

Whatever Philip Larkin may have said about your mum and dad, you probably want them to have a mobile phone they can use. If you think an iPhone is easy you need to reset your sights. There are plenty of people who find switching a phone on a challenge and entering phone numbers daunting. We all suffer reduced eyesight from …
Simon Rockman, 18 Aug 2012
Lytro light field camera

Lytro light field camera

Since before the days of Fox Talbot, cameras have worked like the human eye. A lens focuses an image on a plane, be it a retina, silver halide or electronic sensors. The Lytro is different Lytro light field camera Lytro: the box camera for the 21st century Instead of capturing a single image it captures the rays of light, …
Simon Rockman, 20 Apr 2012