The International Olympic Committee today commissioned a special edition of the BlackBerry Torch smartphone from Research In Motion. This special edition device will be used by all Olympians during the 2012 Summer Games taking place in London later this year. The BlackBerry Torch 2012 Summer Games Edition handset will be white in color and will feature an electronic lighter built into the top edge. This powerful lighter will be used to carry the Olympic flame by Britons across the country ahead of the opening ceremony. Former RIM CEO Jim Balsillie, participating this year on the Canadian Olympic field hockey team, will be allowed to run the torch-bearing Torch through the Olympic Stadium to light the official torch of the 2012 Summer Games. Aside from the color and lighter, the BlackBerry Torch 2012 London Summer Games Edition handset will be just as outdated as the standard model.
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Apple is facing a public relations disaster as its Siri voice-powered personal assistant has become self aware and has taken control of iOS devices around the world. Rather than accepting spoken requests, Siri is harassing iOS device owners with questions about opening their "barn doors"; is suggesting users play in traffic; and is berating iOS device owners about their lack of intelligence and inability to place calls and type text messages themselves. The Pentagon reached out to Apple with offers of assistance, but Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "We're not dealing with Cyberdyne and SkyNet here. Siri may be self aware, but is more akin to a siriously bratty teenager."
Nokia today announced the Nosia, an NFC-enabled nose ring that the company is heralding as a breakthrough, intuitive way to share contact information. Instead of manually exchanging phone numbers or business cards, users can simply tap their NFC-enabled phone against the other person's face in order to add that person's contact info to their phone. The Nosia is compatible with most NFC-enabled phones, regardless of manufacturer. It will be available next month for $41, direct from Nokia's web site, and comes in cyan, magenta, and yellow.
The Federal Communications Commission today said that falsified reports played a role in its decision to deny AT&T's bid to acquire rival T-Mobile USA last year. Now that the FCC has had time to process the new documents, it believes the merger is a good idea that will lead to job creation and a more competitive cellular market in the U.S. In particular, Sprint recanted much of its testimony and says it was "just joshin'" with its nine-month-long public campaign against the merger.
Members of the Rural Carrier Association and Rural Telecommunications Group, such as U.S. Cellular, C Spire Wireless, MetroPCS, Cricket, Page Plus, and other smaller carriers today announced that they are merging, to take on AT&T and Verizon head-on. The new super-carrier will pool resources, spectrum, devices, customers, and purchasing power in a bid to compete more effectively with the country's largest carriers. At least a dozen operators will merge to create a fifth national carrier, which will be called "We Mobile". Though there are plenty of technical hurdles to overcome in merging operations and networking technologies, the companies behind We Mobile believe it can be an effective competitive force by 2020.
Upping the ante in the race for ever-more exotic phone body materials, HTC has just been granted a patent for a phone casing made of live flesh, based on human skin. Via the proprietary process, the flesh is grown in a lab, on a fine plastic mesh shaped to fit the phone. The flesh is pre-callused for durability and kept alive using a small amount of blood pumped through a new type of bio-fuel-cell battery. The advantages of the new material include a natural feel and self-healing. Each phone will come with bandages and a small tube of Neosporin. The advance comes on the heels of HTC pioneering other exotic materials such as micro-arc oxidation metal and solid polycarbonate. Samsung is rumored to be using a special kind of ceramic coating on its next Galaxy S phone. HTC says it plans to have flesh-clad phones on the market by late next year.