News in Brief

Thatcher back
Carphone Warehouse has rehired David Thatcher from NTL as MD of its fixed-line business TalkTalk. Thatcher previously ran Carphone’s mobile internet portal Mviva.

Tsunami warnings
A free tsunami detector is now available for download to Nokia Series 60 smartphones. Tea Vui Huang’s “Mobile Tsunami Detector” analyses real-time earthquake readings from the United States Geological Surveys. Download it from http://teavuihuang.com/tsunamidetector

SMS suicide
Initially we weren’t sure whether this was a wind-up, but Staellium UK really does seem to have a self-destructing text message. StealthText is an applet that can be downloaded via a WAP connection; once a message has been opened, it will disappear after about 40 seconds. It operates as a premium SMS service; the price is £5 for a bundle of 12 messages. To comply with legal requirements, the message is retained on Staellium’s servers for a period of time – but the recipient of course has no access to the server.

Gatso Watch
CamTracker is described as a new road safety service: basically, it provides SMS alerts of mobile police safety camera locations. Within seconds of a mobile safety camera site being reported, subscribers in the local area get a text. “This will remind them to adjust their speed accordingly and drive more safely” says CamTracker, somewhat disingenuously. The website is more explicit: “Protect your license, your livelihood and your life” (in that order, presumably). Subscriptions start at £77 for six months.

Sony is best brand
Sony is the world’s most popular consumer electronics brand; Sanyo is the least popular. So says the Stewart-Allen/GMI BrandBarometer, an 18-country 17,500-person survey which also gave Nokia high scores – Sony and Nokia were seen as the two most reliable brands out of the 15 studied, and Nokia was perceived as ‘innovative’, ‘friendly’ and ‘engaging’ as well as being ‘customer-focused’, responsive’ and ‘empathetic’.