This week, Google launched a new application called Latitude to track your location and to locate friends in your network. Google Latitude is one of those applications that certainly has benefits, but considering all the fuss over the government’s efforts to use wiretapping to catch criminals and terrorists, it is odd that the this new mobile tracking tool would be hailed as so innovative and revolutionary.
While some child safety groups may hail this technology, the question to ask is: don’t you think a would-be kidnapper would just toss the phone? Yes, it is nice to be able to track your child, and anything that would ease a parent’s concern is a good thing. But on the flip side, is being able to be found at all times a good thing? If businesses start requiring it be used, it could also be used in ways to conceal actual locations. Don’t feel like working; leave the mobile handset in your office and head out to the movies. Google Latitude is that sort of technology that someone made because they could, not because it really has all that much use for most people.
Handset Rumors and Releases
This week’s big news of course is that Dell Inc. could be entering the mobile handset market, but every Thursday I will try to highlight some of the other newly released handsets, and highlight rumors on the street. The rumblings this week revolve around the Memoir, Arena and the Renew.
This new T-Mobile handset from the Big S could hit by the end of the month, and the price we’re hearing could put it in the sub-$300 range (with contract). This sleek 3G handset has a design that is similar to the iPhone, with more than a few nifty features.
- 3G T-Mobile handset
- 8 Megapixel camera with Xenon flash, 16x digital zoom, CMOS autofocuse
- Widget for one click uploading of photos to flickr, Kodak Gallery, Photobucket and Snapflash
- Stereo Bluetooth
- TouchWiz UI
The other Korean player also has the new LG Arena KM900 on the way. It also has that iPhone look for those who like the look but want something different.
- Tri-band GSM/UMTS/HSDPA
- FM Radio
- 1000mAh battery; 300 hours standby, and talk time just shy of 4 hours
- 5 megapixel camera
- 3-inch WVGA (800?480) touchscreen
Need a cheap phone that is being billed as “good for the planet?” If so, the MOTO (W233) Renew, a no-frills handset that is just $9.99 with a two-year agreement, is available from T-Mobile. The deal here is that the phone’s plastic housing is made out of recycled water bottles, and is itself recyclable.
Now I could go off on a rant about how just because something is made of recycled materials doesn’t always make it better. For one thing, energy is still used to recycle, and if it is used in a silly product that no one needs what is the point in the first place. This isn’t to say that the Renew is a bad handset. It could come in quite handy as the phone you use while you leave your main phone – the one with Google Latitude installed – at your desk, while you head out to catch a noon screening of those Oscar films you haven’t seen yet.