Aegis Mobility’s DriveAssistT software to disable cellphones while driving

A Canadian software company, Aegis Mobility, apparently has a software program, called DriveAssistT, that can be loaded into Windows Mobile or Symbian smartphones and will disable the phone when the software senses that the phone is moving at a speed that suggests the user is in a car. The purpose of doing so would be to promote safer driving.

Their business model is to offer the “feature” through carriers at say $10-20 per month. Aside from the fact that it means a non-driver passenger would also have their cell phone disabled, the only people who would pay for such a service are parents wanting to create a safer environment for their driving teens. However, I can’t see carriers offering a feature that reduces the ability of their customers to use their cellphone.

From the Globe and Mail.

Celio’s Redfly Mobile Companion

I recently acquired a Redfly Mobile Companion from Celio. This device provides much (but not all) of the functionality previously promised by Palm for its never-released FOLIO. The Redfly, the size of a very small laptop, provides a larger screen and keyboard for using a mobile phone. It is ideal for taking advantage of unlimited on-device data plans. Since the Redfly does not contain any memory and all processing is done right on the phone, if the Redfly is stolen or lost, the data remains secure (so long as the phone is not lost). Battery life seems very decent (and can even be used to recharge or continue powering a depleted cellphone).

My big disappointment is that the device is not compatible with cellphone sold by Canadian carriers, particularly Rogers. Hopefully this is a short term issue and Celio will update the device in the near future.
Continue reading Celio’s Redfly Mobile Companion

Banks to improve security for online banking

While not being a customer of Bank of America (BofA), I am pleased to see that they will be introducing a security feature to protect its online customers from unauthorized transactions – hopefully other American and Canadian financial institutions will also follow their lead and beef up their online banking access to include two-factor authentication. BoA’s service, which will be available at no charge, will be called SafePass. It works by delivering a one-time-use, six-digit code as a text message to customers’ mobile devices that they can use to authorize online transactions.

BoA’s SiteKey security feature, which includes an image, a brief phrase and questions that allow customers to confirm they are at the legitimate bank Web site will continue to be available.

Palm Foleo still not shipping

I was eagerly awaiting the release of the new Palm Foleo. While only hoping it would be mid June, I never imagined it would be delayed until the end of the summer. I dropped by Palm’s store at Century City Shopping Centre just over a week ago and every window display was empty. What a waste. Some of the most expensive window display space in Los Angeles and its just sitting there empty.

bOK offers free long distance

A Canadian startup, bOK, is offering free call-back based long distance for cellular phones. No downloads are required. Subscribers can simply send a text message containing the phone number they wish to connect to in order to initiate a call back. The service would also be useful for local calling by cellphone users who have subscribed to plans with unlimited incoming minutes.

Apple iPhone in Canada, Not

Apple’s iPhone is set to launch in the US within the next few days. While some commentators are complaining over the supposedly expensive phone plans that need to be activate from AT&T, personally I think its a great deal. The low end plan (which includes unlimited data) will cost about US$60 per month for 450 rollover minutes (or about $20 more than AT&T charges for the minutes alone). That’s only $20 per month for unlimited data. Since no plans are being offered with anything less than unlimited data, my thinking is that Apple probably feels that the bandwidth fees would otherwise be unmanageable. Which makes me wonder how it will ever be sold in places like Canada where today one cannot get unlimited wireless data at any price. Even a $100 per month data plan from Telus, Bell or Rogers has a cap. Well, maybe the iPhone will pave the way to re-introducing unlimited wireless data plans in Canada.

BMO Bank of Montreal launches a Prepaid Travel Mosaik MasterCard

According to Report on Business, Bank of Montreal is launching a Prepaid Travel Mosaik MasterCard. It can be pre-loaded with funds and then used while traveling to pay for purchases or to withdraw funds in local currencies from participating ATM networks. According to the bank, the card is safer than cash, because if it’s lost or stolen, it can be cancelled and the funds replaced. All true but if someone has an existing credit card then they can obtain the same benefits by simply making a deposit before a trip. I guess the real benefit will be for those with poor credit ratings who do not otherwise qualify for a credit card.