Originally created 05/15/04

Cell phone limits, Browser feeds, Wedding tie-ins



NEW YORK -- How would you like to curb your gabby teen's mobile chats or your employee's cell calls about fantasy football?

Boston Communications Group Inc. might have something for you.

Its Mobile Guardian lets bosses and parents visit a Web site and limit calls from certain numbers or during certain hours. They could also limit the number of minutes a user could talk, while marking some numbers - a colleague's or mom's, say - for unlimited use.

Boston Communications is "in heavy discussions" with wireless carriers, but none have signed contracts yet, said Tom Erskine, vice president of product development and marketing.

One could argue that, at a time when mobile companies are trying to increase the minutes their customers use, the service could be a hard sell.

Erskine is betting otherwise.

"With wireless penetration where it is, we're reaching a point where we need tools to help mobile carriers reach new segments," he said. "This would appeal to small enterprises. That's a market that continues to be underpenetrated."

-Ellen Simon, Associated Press.

NEW YORK -- A new Web browser from Opera Software ASA this week is the first major browser to incorporate an emerging technology that automatically delivers new blog entries and news articles.

Visitors can subscribe to feeds using Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, and have new items come in regularly as individual messages in Opera's mail client, which is packaged with the browser.

Because RSS is integrated into Opera, visitors can easily e-mail items or open links from the same application.

Support for RSS had been available primarily through standalone applications and as plug-ins for Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer. RSS also comes with smaller browsers like OmniWeb for Macintosh computers.

But the decision by a major browser maker to include RSS is a sign of the technology's rapid adoption.

"In some means or another, it's there to stay," said Christen Krogh, Opera's vice president of engineering.

Opera is the No. 3 browser for Windows computers, behind Internet Explorer and Netscape, and is popular particularly in cell phones and handheld devices because of its small file size.

Version 7.50 was released Wednesday for Windows, Linux and Macintosh computers. A forthcoming version for mobile devices, however, likely will not include RSS support, Krogh said.

-Anick Jesdanun, Associated Press.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- What does a royal wedding make you think of? Well, Danish companies are using this week's nuptuals of Crown Prince Frederik to Mary Donaldson as one way to promote their Web sites and cell phone gaming.

Denmark is no stranger to technology. Personal computers are found in nearly every home and mobile phones in almost every pocket. And Friday's wedding is one of the biggest events in the country's history.

In a bid to combine them both, some companies have gone all out to not only promote the event, but also make it more fun for those who aren't part of the 800 or so guests expected at the ceremony.

Cell phone provider Orange, which counts more than 49 million subscribers throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East, commissioned a game that lets players pretend they're the crown prince.

In it, the prince must catch the crowns tossed by his mother, Queen Margrethe (shown smoking a cigarette, a habit for which the 64-year-old monarch is known). Once he catches enough crowns, he's united with Donaldson.

Danish TV2 is celebrating the wedding by letting its viewers play a Donkey Kong-inspired game on its Web site. Frederik must dodge crocodiles tossed by an evil dingo and avoid paparazzi to reach Donaldson. Once he scales to the top, he gets the girl and a big kiss.

A small Danish cell phone company is getting publicity by offering six free voicemail messages that can be downloaded from its Web page to send to the royal couple.

Says one message, with an accent from Down Under: "As an Australian in Denmark ... I would like to use the opportunity to congratulate the Danish Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson on the day."