Owners of GPS-enabled mobile phones could be at risk of privacy breaches, it has been claimed. Sophisticated, new mobile phones with GPS have significant implications for consumers’ privacy, according to an EU think tank.
In a new report into the technology, the Future of Identity in the Information Society (FIDIS) claims that mobile phones which use GPS to help users find their around in unfamiliar locales could also be harnessed in ways that would damage their interests.
This is because of the “staggering” degree of information about mobile phone owners’ lifestyles that can be accessed by operators through GPS.
Should this information, which might include how often customers went to bars or took exercise, be shared with insurance company it could severely impact on premiums or even result in insurance cover being denied to the applicant, the group warns.
Denis Royer, a researcher at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, told the Press Association: “This information is of course extremely useful for companies aiming to produce targeted advertising, and of course many of us would gladly receive customised drinks offers when we’re heading to a local coffee shop.
“However, if users are targeted based on their inferred lifestyle, which restaurants they visit, or how much alcohol they seem to drink, their own information could potentially be used against them.”
Touchscreen mobile phones’ market penetration will rise to over 20 per cent this year, according to a mobile phone touch panel manufacturer.
In an interview with Digi Times, TJ Lin, chairman of Young Fast Optoelectronics, predicted that the growing prominence of touchscreens will be fuelled by the use of the technology in more and more mid-range handsets.
Should Mr Lin be proved correct in his growth projections, the worldwide market penetration of touchscreen mobile phones would effectively double this year.
His comments follow analysis firm DisplaySearch’s forecast that the global market for touchscreen mobile phones is set to be worth as much as £2 billion by 2015.
This year will see the launch of a host of new touchscreen mobile phones, including the HTC Magic and a range of devices from Nokia.
Nokia was a relatively late entrant to the touchscreen market, but is rumoured to be releasing at least three phones that use the technology during 2009.
Cost-conscious consumers are increasingly seeking out cheaper tariffs at the end of their contract terms rather than opting for a handset upgrade, according to O2.
In its latest results, the UK subsidiary of Telefonica reported that over the first three months of 2009 the sum it accrues from each customer dropped by 3.6 per cent.
Matthew Key, head of the firm’s European operations, attributed the trend to customers hanging onto their existing handsets at the end of their contract term so that they would qualify for discounts.
Mr Key said: “It is clear that customers are looking to optimise their bundles. Consumers are obviously looking at all their spending in the current climate.”
The fall in customers’ average spend meant O2’s quarterly revenue slumped to €1.56 billion compared with €1.75 billion in the corresponding period last year.
However, despite the slowdown the enduring popularity of the iPhone helped O2 to add 141,800 new customers over the course of the quarter to take its total customer base to 20.4 million.
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Nokia mobile phone owners are being offered the chance to boost the life of their batteries by almost a third with an innovative new application.
Developed by Ravenscroft, the Battery Extender is claimed to extend the life of a battery by up to 30 per cent.
The app works by offering users a choice of five levels of battery usage, allowing them to configure their phone to ensure that power is used as efficiently as possible.
Battery Extender is compatible with Nokia S60 3rd Edition handsets, including the Nokia N95 8GB, E71, E63 and N82.
Owners of the phone can download a trial version now and will be able to buy Battery Extender outright when the Nokia Ovi application store launches later this year.
Nokia today announced the forthcoming launch of the updated version of the E51, the E52, which is claimed to offer massive battery life of 23 days when in standby mode.