Tech Shorts


A round-up of other technology news in brief

Google mobile phone will have two versions

Google plans to sell two versions of its own-branded mobile phone: one with a service contract with T-Mobile USA and another that is unlocked, a source familiar with the matter said. The phone, manufactured by HTC, has code names such as HTC Passion, Dream or Nexus One and could be available in the US initially directly though the Google website by January 5th, according to the source.

Google said on its official blog last weeked that it was testing a new mobile device with its employees. The phone is similar to Apple’s iPhone but has, among other features, an exchangeable battery, a somewhat larger screen and the ability for consumers to add a memory card to the device. – (Reuters)

Russian digital firm invests $180m in Zynga game network

Digitial Sky Technologies, the Russian firm that invested $200 million in Facebook last May, has taken a stake in Zynga Game Network, the maker of the Mafia Wars and FarmVille games.

Digital Sky, partly owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, and other companies are investing $180 million in Zynga, the US games developer said this week. “The company’s growth is what impresses the most,” said DST chief executive Yuri Milner. “Zynga is using Facebook as a social platform. And everything related to Facebook is very interesting to us.”

Started in 2007, Zynga has amassed 230 million monthly users of its online games.

Meteor enforces Nokea Messaging

Meteor mobile operator has implemented Nokia Messaging, which enables subscribers with supported Nokia mobile phones to access mobile services including Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, as well as local service providers. The service is free for subscribers to a Meteor data plan and up to 10 personal e-mail accounts can be pushed to each handset.

iPhone app for 'Jedward'

X-Factor contestants “Jedward”, aka John and Edward Grimes, have released a Christmas iPhone app. Priced at €1.59, A Very Jedward Christmas allows iPhone create their own personalised e-cards which they can send to their friends via e-mail or Facebook.

The app has been endorsed by the twins management company, Walsh Global Management, and has been developed by Dublin-based Appsie, who are also behind the mobile social app Locle.

UCD computer scientists given British award

A group of UCD computer scientists have received a distinguished paper award from the British Computer Society for developing a technique to improve the helpfulness of user-generated online reviews.

“Our technique automatically analyses user-generated reviews based on four key factors – reputation, social, sentiment and content – and determines how helpful they are likely to be to customers before presenting the most helpful first – including both good and bad reviews,” said Prof Barry Smyth, director of Clarity, one of the researchers involved.

Iran elections top Twitter topic list

The Iranian elections proved to be the most discussed topic on Twitter, according to a blog post from the social network. The terms #iranelection, Iran and Tehran were all in the top 21 “trending topics”.

Other news events to make Twitter’s top 10 list included swine flu, Gaza, AIG, #uksnow and Earth Hour. The most discussed personality was Michael Jackson.

Cork tech for Portugal firm

Portugal Telecom, Portugal’s largest telecoms provider, is using technology from Cork-based Firecomms to conduct trials of interactive television services. The IPTV installations will use Firecomms’ optical fiber networking (OptoLock) technology for the home networking elements of the trial.

OptoLock-enabled IP set-top boxes provided by Cisco and home gateways provided by Thomson are key components in the trials.