I was in Düsseldorf last weekend and it took about 45 minutes to find a free wifi hotspot. For Internet lovers, German cities may feel like a barren desert, with a very occasional wifi oasis in the shape of Starbucks or McCafe. Take a stroll around the centre of any American town and you’ll experience the opposite. A lush supply of free wifi zones in cafes, restaurants and hotels where you can surf until your heart’s content.
Even German airports lag behind the rest of the world in terms of wifi access but this is slowly beginning to change. Passengers are often permitted to go online for a short time before having to pay in order to continue. Frankfurt Airport has offered this system for more than a year while Munich Airport started offering it in January. Cologne is one of the few German airports that offers full free wifi – I flew from there roughly two months ago and I was delighted to find totally free wifi in Germany…it feels sort of like finding your keys after they’ve been missing for a week. That same feeling of elation tinged with relief.
Airports and train stations are usually boring places involving a lot of waiting. Nowhere more so than Germany. Widespread free Internet access would significantly benefit tourists and business travellers, especially international business travellers, constrained by their foreign telephone/Internet contracts. I was very impressed on a recent trip to Ireland. The intercity trains offer free wifi, along with many tour buses. In fact, the Irish intend to install wifi on all city buses as well. I was travelling through the centre of Dublin on the bus, making a video call via Skype on my iPod Touch. It felt great. Contrast that with Germany where I’d have to fork out a lot of money to use wifi on Germany’s modern high speed rail network.
So what’s going on? Why are the Germans so slow to embrace free wifi? Nobody seems sure. How come Cologne Airport offers full free wifi and Munich Airport doesn’t? Again, nobody really seems sure. Arguments range from legal issues with content downloaded by users to competition between companies as well as the emergence of 3G networks. Maybe the answer lies somewhere in between all of these ideas. In any case, I’ll prepare for the worst whenever I travel through Germany – that means loading up on podcasts, news and maps before I travel.
Image Note: this image is released under the creative commons license (source: rubenard/ Flickr)
Out of 140 million users worldwide, Twitter recently revealed that UK active users have peaked at 10 million. However, the most interesting aspect of this statistic is that 8 million of these users accessed Twitter from their mobile phones. The global average for mobile access to the company site is approximately 55%. Therefore, a height of 80% within the UK market represents an unusually high figure.
Why is there such a massive difference in mobile Twitter usage between the UK and the rest of the world? This can be directly attributed to the amount of mobile phone users in Britain, which is significantly higher than the worldwide average. The use of smartphones has skyrocketed in recent times and the UK now boasts usage some 45% higher than the global average. Twitter will celebrate the first anniversary of its London office in June and the UK has now become the fourth largest country in the world in terms of Twitter usage.
The site has proved controversial in the UK, however. Most recently, footballer Ryan Giggs sued the company when tweets alleging he was having an affair appeared on the site. Privacy issues were then brought sharply into focus. Most famously, Twitter was blamed by many for causing the 2011 London riots with users out of control, inciting violence and vandalism.
Despite the controversy, Twitter’s pace in the UK is showing no signs of waning. The company launched its promoted products program in September 2011. Since then, 140 well known brands including Sky, Sony, Vodafone and O2 have utilised Twitter as an advertising platform. Coupled with a growing number of enthusiastic users, the future of this platform in the UK is looking extremely bright.
imagenote: Adrian Pingstone/wikimedia/cc
Have you ever thought of using a disposable camera? You can never imagine the innovations and other features that the latest technology brings to the world. The all-new KNÄPPA disposable digital camera is going to hit the IKEA stores this year! This camera is designed by Jesper Kouthoofd. KNÄPPA digital camera measures 4.13×2.56-inch and it is held with the help of two plastic screws. The camera ensures 2.3 megapixel quality pictures and the camera works on a single circuitry board. It also has camera sensor and functionality programming. The storage capacity of the camera can store up to 40 images and the users need to transfer them manually to the computer using the USB stick attached on the upper corner of the camera. To erase the photos, you just need to insert a paper clip or something similar to the reset button. Just hold for 5 seconds and the memory is reset. It works on two normal batteries that can be recycled after use. The IKEA customers will be able to experience the new camera this year as the company is planning to promote their new PS 2012 collection. To prevent the camera from taking pictures when placed in your bag or pockets, shutter button doubles as power button. You need to hold the button for few seconds until it turns on before snapping the pictures. Each photograph takes around eight seconds to process after snapping. IKEA is planning to introduce this camera to the customers as a part of a new campaign to make the people take pictures of IKEA furniture and share the photos worldwide. Unfortunately, people cannot buy the cameras in bulk for projects or events.
For more information: www.digitaltrends.com
Image Note: this image is released under the creative commons license (source: Steve Webel/ Flickr)
Most of the analysts all around Europe have questioned the 4G capabilities of the new iPad by Apple. Apparently the regulators are not satisfied with the Apple as it is accused of misleading the customers. I was astonished to see the Apple amid such controversies. As a matter of fact the UK does not currently have 4G capability and it is believed that the iPad would be incompatible even when it does. Reportedly the regulators have confirmed that they have received dozens of complaints regarding the issue.
Most of the complaints were resolved as a result of discussions between Apple and its regulators. Even then, I believe that the company would still be under the scanner for a considerable amount of time. The apple has decided to eliminate all the 4G related contents from its UK based website. Such an effort from the Apple is expected to resolve the matter more quickly. The Apple has claimed that it has included videos related to 4G rather than any 4G references in its recently updated websites. Literally transformed, “4G LTE” is only supported in certain networks in Canada and United States. The downfall of Apple will be a setback for the telecommunication field in Europe. The frequencies supporting the new networks are different in different European countries this adds to Apple’s misery.
To me, the Apple’s assurance of refunding the users has been a reasonable one. The company is presently trying everything within its range so as to suppress the concerns of the customers in Europe.
For more information: www.bbc.com
Image Note: this image is released under the creative commons license (source: @Doug88888/ Flickr)
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