Companies Tap Cell Phones for Podcasts
| by AP |
Many people are just getting used to snapping pictures, listening to music, watching videos, sending text messages and getting e-mails over their cell phones. It turns out the phones can handle much more.
Companies at this week's DEMOfall 2006 tech conference are demonstrating how the communications gadget lining millions of people's pockets also can be used to scan documents, personalize photos and listen to podcasts.
Two companies, scanR Inc. and Realeyes3D SA, introduced online services so their users can snap a photo of business cards, white boards or pages of documents. After the image is sent to the companies' servers, they turn the image into a digital document that's accessible online and can be delivered via e-mail or fax. Both services are free for a limited time, and service fees will be disclosed later.
Another company, Fonpods Inc., debuted a free on-demand service to deliver podcasts to mobile phones, extending the increasingly popular audio programming from beyond its usual realm of computers and digital music players.
The service is designed to work on regular landlines or Internet-based cell phones as well.
To listen to a podcast over the phone, users would first have to go to the Fonpods Web site and choose what they'd like to hear. Users can also set up customized ''channels'' of their podcast favorites. Then they just have to dial their Fonpods account to access it.
For those still trying to figure out how to get photos off their camera phones, PixSense Inc. is offering a service that will automatically upload to its online service every single video clip or photo you take from your camera phone. It will let users share the content with others, send it to blogs or other sites, or simply archive it — all done directly from the phone.
PixSense plans to deliver its service to consumers through partnerships with cell phone carriers. The carriers would determine pricing for the photo service feature.
But why stop at just a plain photo when you could personalize it?
A new photo-sharing service by PhotoCrank Inc. lets camera phone users capture a shot, add captions and choose artwork templates to go with it before sending the photo to a friend.
The company charges 30 cents per cranked photo; 25 cents apiece with a $4.99 monthly subscription fee; or 20 cents each with a $7.99 monthly subscription.
You don't necessarily need the fanciest featured cell phones either to become a power user.
Flurry Inc., for instance, is aiming to make e-mail accessible on most new, basic cell phones — and not just the pricier smart phones such as Palm Inc.'s Treo or Research in Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry.
Flurry lets its registered users automatically send their e-mails from either their Web or office e-mail accounts to their cell phones. The service also can handle e-mail attachments, including photos or Adobe PDF documents, and will open and resize them to fit the phone's screen.
The service is free right now but Flurry plans to charge later for premium features.
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