iphone chargers recalled

Apple to Swap Adapters
more in Gadgets & Games »Apple Inc. said it will exchange power adapters for its iPhone 3G cellphone after receiving reports that the device’s metal prongs can break off in power outlets, causing a risk of electric shock.
The Cupertino, Calif., company said it has received reports of detached prongs involving a “very small percentage of the adapters sold,” but that no injuries have been reported to the company. The power adapter model at risk is the ultracompact USB adapter that shipped with all iPhone 3Gs sold in the U.S., Japan, Canada, Mexico and several other countries in Latin America. IPhone 3Gs sold in Europe and elsewhere aren’t affected, Apple said.

Apple Computer Inc.
Apple is exchanging power adapters for its iPhone 3G after reports the device’s metal prongs can break off in power outlets.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to say how many iPhone 3Gs were sold in the countries where it is offering power adapter replacements.
“Customer safety is always Apple’s top priority so it has voluntarily decided to exchange every ultracompact power adapter for a new redesigned adapter, free of charge,” the company said in a statement.
Users can order a free replacement on Apple’s Web site or exchange their power adapter at an Apple retail store starting on Oct. 10.
In a safety notice posted to its Web site, Apple advised users to charge their iPhone 3Gs by connecting them to their computers with a USB cable, or by using another model of Apple USB power adapter or a car charger.
Apple posted further details about the replacement program on its Web site: http://www.apple.com/support/usbadapter/exchangeprogram.


Little towns in BC shut out

Businesses blast Telus plan to retire analog cell service

A Telus plan to retire analog cellphone service in British Columbia on Monday is drawing fire from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

“Anybody with an analog phone is going to be cut off on Monday, anywhere in B.C. Even if they are in a digital area, they are not going to have service as of Monday,” the federation’s B.C. director of provincial affairs, Brian Bonney, said in an interview.

Telus began notifying customers of its intentions a year ago, according to company spokesman Jim Johannsson, who said in an interview that the number of customers who have not switched to the Canadian telecom giant’s digital service is “a small fraction of one per cent” of its B.C. client base.

Telus is offering free digital phones to its remaining analog customers, who also have the option of buying higher-powered long-range phones at “way below our cost just to help them get into the phone network that’s best for their application,” Johannsson added.

He described the analog system as “first-generation cellphone technology” — and said it’s no longer possible to get replacement parts for the system, which was built in the 1980s.

“Today we are at third-generation cellphone technology and we are working at getting to the fourth,” Johannsson said. Rogers AT&T went fully digital last year, he noted.

However, the federation is worried that customer who have not made the switch — including those in rural settings who do not have land lines — will find themselves cut off from 911 services when the analog system is retired.

Bonney says Telus should hold off for a few months in order to ensure all of its customers are prepared for the switch.

Also, some rural areas now using analog technology won’t have access to the company’s cellular phone network because they are out of range of digital services, he said.

So far the group has specifically identified two particular clusters of customers, one in the Shuswap and one between Williams Lake and Quesnel who may lose their access. But there have been reports of “pockets all over B.C.”


Japans cell phone woes

Japan’s handset makers search for new outlets

By Robin Harding in Tokyo

Published: September 19 2008 03:00 | Last updated: September 19 2008 03:00

The end of a business model in which Japanese mobile networks paid to give away high-tech phones was always going to hurt somebody.

For the smaller companies in Japan’s fragmented mobile handset market, however, last year’s decision by the Softbank network to offer a tariff without a subsidised phone may threaten their independent existence.

Mobile handset sales have collapsed since Softbank introduced its “White Plan” in January 2007. Shipments fell by 29.3 per cent compared to a year ago in July according to Jeita, Japan’s electronics industry association.

The plan, which rival Japanese network operators KDDI and NTT DoCoMo were quick to imitate, offers a bundle of free calls for a low monthly subscription of Y980 ($9.28). The handset must either be paid for upfront or over a two-year contract period .

Previously, the handset was cheap or free, and paid for by a high monthly subscription.

As a result, older users, who tended to keep their handset even after the end of the contract period, subsidised students who got a handset every two years.

But now those older users simply continue on their Y980 tariff after the price of the handset is paid off, and younger users, faced with the true cost of a new phone, are not upgrading as often. The average life of a Japanese handset has gone from two years and seven months to more than three years.

The resulting fall in handset sales hurts even more because the industry is so fragmented. Only the biggest player, Sharp, has a market share of more than 20 per cent according to IDC Japan, and only Panasonic, Fujitsu and NEC have more than 10 per cent.

The rest of the market is shared between Toshiba, Sony Ericsson, Kyocera, Casio Hitachi, LG, Nokia and several smaller manufacturers – not least Apple, with the Japanese launch of the iPhone.

Profits at all of these companies are under intense pressure and one likely result is consolidation.

“There is nothing concrete but I think that M&A chances will appear,” says the president of one second-tier handset maker.

There have already been some deals. Earlier this year, Kyocera finalised the acquisition of Sanyo Electric’s mobile handset business and Mitsubishi Electric left the field altogether.

Analysts are speculating about combinations of almost all of those that remain.

If mergers are to work, however, they will need to unite some of the technologies that are converging into Japan’s advanced handsets. One of Sharp’s advantages is that it makes many components inhouse, which allows it to get to market faster.

Another of Sharp’s strengths is that it sells to all three big networks, DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank. Rivals are trying to do the same: Casio, for example, will soon start sales to Softbank as well as its existing customer KDDI.

That requires mastery of two technologies – KDDI uses a different standard to Softbank and DoCoMo – as well as the skill to make a phone on which Japanese consumers now expect to watch television, pay for their subway ticket and record videos.

Developing such phones is expensive – and increasingly hard to pay for from sales in Japan alone. Japanese makers’ final strategy to deal with their domestic crunch, therefore, is to look abroad.

In spite of their technical strength, Japanese companies have found that difficult in the past, as foreign consumers have not taken to the does-everything-but-make-a-cup-of-tea sophistication of Japanese handsets.

With the success of Apple’s iPhone, however, some handset makers see an opportunity in high-end phones.

Sharp is moving into China. Companies such as Kyocera and Casio, which are strong in the CDMA2000 standard used by KDDI, are keen to boost their sales to US networks that use the same technology.

And all are contemplating the coming shift to a global mobile standard, known as Long-Term Evolution.

“Next-generation mobiles are the most important. LTE is another chance for Japanese makers to sell abroad,” says an industry executive.

If the handset makers are to overcome their domestic woes, it is a chance that they may have to seize.

Telus looking into GSM

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Breaking News from The Globe and Mail

Telus in talks with Bell on GSM pact

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Telus Corp. says it is still investigating the pros and cons of a cost-sharing alliance with BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada that would see the two communications giants convert their networks to a more popular wireless standard.

Robert McFarlane, chief financial officer and executive vice president of Telus, said the company is in the “advanced stages” of its investigation and will likely make a decision before the end of the year.

The network overlay would be an interim step on the way to preparing both Telus and Bell for the next wave of wireless technology, called 4G for “fourth generation,” which should be in the market by 2012.

About 75 per cent of cell phones are made for the GSM standard, used by rival Rogers Communications Inc., which makes the devices less expensive than the alternative CDMA-based devices that Telus sells. GSM networks also attract the more popular devices, such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

Mr. McFarlane said Telus was unlikely to benefit from significant cost savings for several years, however. That’s because the more powerful, 3G or third-generation smart phones just coming to GSM networks today do not offer the same cost advantage.

Speaking at BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc.’s media and telecom conference in Toronto, Mr. McFarlane also said that Bell Canada faces its own corporate strategies and constraints which complicate the decision-making process.

Genuity Capital Markets’ Dvai Ghose, who has been advocating all year that Bell and Telus work together to upgrade their network from the CDMA standard to the GSM standard, estimates the conversion would cost each partner as little as $400-million.

Greg MacDonald of National Bank Financial Inc. puts the probability of a network overlay alliance between Bell and Telus at “greater than 50 per cent and growing.”

Telus shares were trading up 35 cents at $40.26 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Canadian iphone trouble early

Some early adopters of Apple’s second-generation iPhone have witnessed thin cracks appear at the edges of the device that damage the phone’s look and threaten to pose a larger threat down the road. Those tracking the issue in an Apple support discussion thread and elsewhere say the hairline fractures most often appear on the plastic shell near the corners of the device, particularly near the headphone jack, ringer switch, and volume controls. The flaws appear regardless of how gently the user takes care of the phone and can increase in number, according to multiple claims, although there are no known reports of existing cracks growing in size. At least a few users, however, report cracks deep enough to create a visible opening, particularly at the headphone jack. Most of those noticing the issue are owners of the white model. Nonetheless, some owners of black editions also report the issue and suggest that it’s not a matter of the material used for the color but a more general problem. The black shell simply hides the cracks better, these users suggest. Apple’s own response to the problem has been mixed. The company doesn’t yet list the problem as common and has largely left exchanges to its in-store technicians. While some affected owners claim to have received little trouble and a quick replacement, others describe being rejected due to the cosmetic nature of the cracks, which to date haven’t resulted in an outright device failure. Those contacting their carriers aren’t necessarily so fortunate: in one case, an Ottawa, Canada resident has been turned back at retail and on the phone by Canadian iPhone provider Rogers Wireless, which said it would have to technically rule the flaws “customer abuse” and charge the full replacement cost of the phone. In all circumstances, though, these customers express frustration at a device that in a short space of time is already appearing to break down, even if the faults are purely superficial. “I don’t think it is such a big deal but then again, I just got this phone and paid a fortune for it,” says one detailed report. “There should not be any problems with it in week one.”

Phone got wet?

Posted by Marketnews – Christine Persaud in Marketnews.ca

Most people think that once an electronic device gets wet, that’s it. Chuck it into the garbage, because it’ll never work again (unless, of course, it’s water-proof or resistant). But this weekend, I was amazed to see a mobile phone come back to life after having been rained on for a full 8-hour night. Here’s what happened.

My friend accidentally left her phone out in the rain all night on a patio table. Although it was partially covered by an overhead umbrella, the phone was still considerably drenched when it was retrieved. We removed the battery and SIM and proceeded to sick my blow dryer on the device. At the same time, I did what any sane tech-savvy person does in an emergency like this one: “Google” the situation for some tips. I surfed a few sites, some confirmed to be reputable and others blogs from people around the world who had similar situations (or just knew what to do). Here’s what I came up with on what to do in such a situation:

1) Always, always, always remove the SIM (if it’s a GSM phone) and the battery

2) NEVER use a blow dryer. Because this simply blows air into the device, it could cause water to seep into hard-to-reach spots, eventually damaging the insides of the phone. It’s better to use a vacuum of some sort that will suck the water out.

3) Stick the device in a bag of rice for a few hours. Yes, rice. Apparently it will help to remove moisture. If you want to help keep rice particles out of the insides, you can also add a few bags of silica (that stuff that comes in a jacket or purse pocket when you first buy it).

4) Try the phone first by plugging it into the wall socket without the battery, then with the battery. It might just be the battery that’s gone kaput.

Despite the fact that we did initially use a blowdryer in a panic, the phone came back to life by the end of the day, and has been working ever since. Although there’s no telling how long it will continue to function, I was amazed that it was even able to power back up after being exposed to a full night of pouring rain.

Nevertheless, if these tips help to save just one device, then I’ve done my part.

people lining up for the iphone in New Jersey

iPhone Mania Hits Northern New Jersey
By Evan Koblentz
WirelessWeek – July 11, 2008

ROCKAWAY, N.J.—By 9:45 a.m., about 100 customers already were lined up near the Apple Store at the Townsquare Mall here, all hoping to purchase a new iPhone 3G which goes on sale today for $199. The line blocked several other stores and wrapped around a nearby perfume kiosk.
Many customers who already own an Apple iPhone enthusiastically wait in line for the new model. The buying process takes at least 15-20 minutes per phone and there’s plenty of inventory on hand, said David Steinruck, store manager. Then the line grew longer by another few dozen when stock ran out at an AT&T store upstairs. Most customers in queue were 30 to 50 years old and several were using their current iPhone s and laptops to stay in touch with their jobs through various Wi-Fi networks in the mall.
Approaching the long line, and talking on her first-generation iPhone , customer Raquel Hodge said she expected to wait and did not mind. Last year, her family paid $400 in termination fees to escape their old contracts using Motorola IPHONE s. “My husband and I had to have it,” she said. “We don’t care because it’s for the convenience.”
Another customer, Stephen Stetler, already downloaded the new iPhone firmware but still wanted the new hardware for its high-speed networking. He said waiting in line with fellow Apple enthusiasts is fun. “As long as it takes. I can come here tomorrow and probably walk in and walk out. But it’s the experience,” he said.
“It’s not to me a godsend of a product,” said Rod Gammon, who stood in front of Stetler in the ever-growing line. Gammon’s view of the iPhone 3G is more pragmatic. Its features save him 30 minutes each day because he can work while commuting to Manhattan. To get all of the iPhone ’s features on other phones would probably cost more, he said.

Trish Clark