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Environmental charity the WWF has teamed up with the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and Nokia on a new website called Connect2Earth, which aims to put young people's Web 2.0 skills to work on saving the planet. It's not due to launch until February next year, but I got a sneak preview at the Nokia World show this week, and got the lowdown from the WWF's online outreach manager David Coles.

"There's a big environmental conference taking place next October in Barcelona called the World Conservation Congress, where world leaders, NGOs and business leaders will be gathering to talk about the environment and sustainability," he says.

"With Connect2Earth, we're trying to create a voice for young people, which can then feed into that event. It's an online and mobile platform for young people to express their thoughts, opinions, hopes and aspirations on the environment."

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Nokia showed off some new concept tech at its Nokia World show this week, with three standing out in particular. They're called Click to find, Point & Find, and Interaction via Gaze (that last one's more a description than a product title, to be honest). I had a look at all three, starting with Interaction via Gaze (pictured above)

The basic concept is to use the movement of your eyes to control a mobile device. The current prototype is a set of glasses attached to a baseball cap, with a display built in, as well as a mini camera to track your eye movements.

nokia-world.pngIt's been a hectic two days so far in Amsterdam, zipping between talky sessions and hands-on demos at the Nokia World 2007 show. There's plenty more posts to come, but now's a good time to round up some of the highlights so far.

Wired Magazine's Chris Anderson gave a thought-provoking preview of his next big theory, while the big news story was Nokia's announcement of its Comes with Music subscription service (with further details supplied by partner Universal Music Group).

There's been some Nokia bigwigs talking strategy, in the shape of Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Phil Brown, and Anssi Vanoki revealing more info on Nokia's 'Ovi' wannabe Google-killer.

Finally, we've had future-gazing sessions on MIT's Smart Spaces, and the University of Washington's Internet Of Things. And I've checked out a fun application called Mobile Secretary, and Nokia's new Internet Radio application. There's more to come, so keep checking back via the link below.

For the latest posts from the show, check our Nokia World 2007 category

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Earlier this week, Nokia announced its Nokia Internet Radio application, which lets you stream online radio stations to your handset, over 3G, Wi-Fi or even GPRS. Since it's on show at the Nokia World exhibition for the first time, I took the chance to have a go, and put some questions to Saket Gupta, program manager in Nokia's Nseries Hear New team.

Personal impressions first: the app is very slick to use, and it's certainly easy to search for available streams, and quick to fire them up. They're a strange mix though: some purely online stations, and some niche local stations, but not many big names in the UK at least. Where are the big guns?

"We only include broadcasters in our directory that have agreed to be included, by signing up on our website," says Gupta. "It's a simple process, but we can't include them if they don't sign up."

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Next up speaking in the More Vision session at Nokia World is Dr Gaetano Borriello from the University of Washington. His session is called the Internet Of Things, but he's focusing on using a cameraphone to overlay information onto the real world, as seen through your mobile screen.

It's come from work with people with cognitive impairments – helping them get from A to B in unfamliar environments by overlaying directions onto a mobile screen. He's showing a Nokia phone with a corridor viewable through the camera, but with satnav-style direction arrow overlaid on top, and a message saying 'Take the next right at the end of this hallway'.

badge1.jpgI'm still at Nokia World, although I've shifted rooms since Chris Anderson's keynote, so am now in the 'More Vision' track (translation: the cool pointy-headed futuristic stuff).

First up is Dr Joseph A. Paradiso from the MIT Media Laboratory, with a presentation titled 'Smart Spaces'. What follows is as liveblogged, although this room doesn't have Wi-Fi, so I'll be posting it as one piece when I get out.

Anyway, Paradiso is from the Responsive Environments Group at MIT Media Lab, and he's going to talk through its coolest projects. He starts by quoting Marshall McLuhan, on the idea of 'electronic media (aka television) as an extension of the nervous system'. But Paradiso says nowadays, it's not just TV, but all kinds of sensor networks and devices – “the world of electronic sensors connected to the world of humans” as he puts it.

chris-anderson-freeExciting stuff at Nokia World, with Wired head honcho Chris Anderson taking to the stage for his keynote, entitled 'Free'. It's his new Big Idea following up the long tail, and he's giving us a preview of it, in advance of a book due out next year. Liveblog follows, in chronological order.

He's kicking off with some thoughts - what if nuclear power had delivered on its initial promise, delivering free electricity for, well, everything. "It would have changed the world. And we're realising that there are other industries that touch the economy in ways as important as electricity, which are free."

Now he's talking about older theories from Carver Mead and Alan Kay, talking about what would happen if computing was, essentially, free. Kay was writing when computing was hugely expensive - huge mainframes behind locked doors, "controlled by a priesthood, the IT guys, and they determined what was worth running on the computers."

nokia-phil-brownThe second day of the Nokia World conference kicked off this morning to a hall of whey-faced delegates still recovering from last night's party (in short: the Dutch Beach Boys, a mountain of Pina Coladas, and Finnish beach-volleyball playing twins).

First up was Phil Brown, Nokia's VP of sales and marketing was first up, talking about the company's overall strategy, services and handsets. Some stats first: three quarters of people with Series 60 phones are using their handsets to share and upload photos - not just take them. I'm liveblogging chronologically, so head to the end and hit refresh for the latest.

Two thirds are "storing and sharing communities of music" (not quite sure what that means). Half are playing games, and half are browsing the web. The people who are leading this usage are, well, what Nokia calls 'Technology Leaders' - people who actively seek out new mobile apps and services.

nokia-world.pngThe talk of today's Nokia World Show is 'Comes With Music', the freshly announced partnership between Nokia and Universal Music Group, which will be a subscription based music download service.

Rob Wells, senior vice president for digital at UMG, got up on stage this afternoon to explain the thinking behind the deal, and gave some more details.

THE EXTRA DETAILS

- "The brand of the service will be free, so it may well be a free subscription. Our revenues will come from the sale of the device." In other words, it is UMG's Total Music idea, where the device manufacturer subsidises the music listening of the user. It's not free - because UMG is still getting paid - but it's Nokia footing the bill.

Get yourself a 3D mobile secretary

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One of the more eyecatching mobile applications on show at Nokia World today is called Mobile Secretary, from Chinese firm InterGrafx. It's basically a 3D avatar that acts as your virtual secretary, residing on your phone.

"It's very fun," says InterGrafx's Charles Chiang. "Your secretary handles things like SMS and incoming calls. You can choose different types of secretary from our server side, you can fire them and download a new one, or train them to be smarter. And you can even take a photo of someone, and put their picture on the avatar."

Mobile Secretary is available now in China, but Chiang says he's trying to drum up interest in Europe in the app too - hence his attendance at Nokia World. It's got that certain something that could make it a mobile hit - perhaps someone like Jamster will pick it up for Europe...

InterGrafx Mobile Secretary website

For the latest posts from the show, check our Nokia World 2007 category

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Nokia's multimedia supremo Anssi Vanoki showed off the company's new Ovi service at Nokia World today, demonstrating how it'll work on PCs, online and on mobile handsets. My takeaway thought is this: everyone bangs on about Nokia taking on Apple and its iPhone, but with Ovi, Nokia seems to be setting its sights at Google.

I mean that in its web form, Ovi is trying to bring together a bunch of different applications, including communication and content, while also rolling it out on mobile phones. Just what Google is doing with its web apps, in other words.

Also interesting is Nokia's bullishness today – for example, one Vanjoki slide had a bunch of Nokia Nseries phones in, but also an iPhone, a Sony Ericsson Walkman, and a BlackBerry. It might seem like a small point, but last year, Nokia execs wouldn't even refer to Apple by name, even when questioned.

nokia-world.pngIf you read my Digital Music Trends post yesterday, you'll know about Total Music, an idea cooked up by major label Universal Music Group that involved mobile handset manufacturers and MP3 player makers paying a monthly subscription to the labels, to give their users free, unlimited music downloads.

Well, Nokia's gone and done it. At least, I think they have. The service is called Nokia Comes With Music (stifle those sniggers, please), but it's being launched in partnership with UMG, and it's a subscription service where you buy the “product”, and then for a year you have unlimited downloads, which are yours to keep even when the subscription lapses.

It wasn't made clear how exactly this works, but if it's Total Music under a different name, then you'll buy a Nokia phone, and then Nokia will pay UMG the monthly subscription on your behalf, ensuring you get free music all year.

nokia-world.pngNokia chief Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo kicked off this year's Nokia World conference, on a whopping 47-metre-wide stage that over the next couple of days will hopefully see at least one speaker do a Mick Jagger and prance its length while hollering into a radio mic. Steve Ballmer would love it.

Anyway, Kallasvuo was on stage to talk Big Picture stuff, explaining Nokia's overall strategy and vision. And cor, Kallasvuo mentioned the iPhone (by name) within a couple of minutes of taking the stage. He's feeling confident, then, buoyed by Nokia's prediction that there'll be 3.2 billion mobile subscribers by the end of this year.

Nokia has launched two new add-ons available for music and calling on the go - the WH-700 and WH-600 stereo headsets, both promising 'premium audio quality' and 'seamless changeover' between your calls and tunes.

The WH-700 offers a comfort fit with the option of three different ear cups, as well as a lightweight design, easy call management and volume control.

The Nokia Stereo Headset WH-600 is 'headband style' alternative that aims more at music fans than busy businessmen, especially those who don't want background noise affecting their favourite tracks. It also features easy call management and volume control, as well as an adapter for standard 3.5mm connectors.

Expect both in January 2008, with the WH-600 retailing for 65 Euros and the WH-700 selling for 50 Euros.

Nokia

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Mobile TV on the rise - but operators struggling to generate revenue claims analyst
Analyst claims Apple may take issue with Nokia's new touchscreen S60 mobile

Tech Digest goes to Nokia World 2007

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nokia-world.pngI'm writing this from Amsterdam, where Nokia is holding its annual Nokia World event. Sadly, despite the name, it's NOT a theme park with N95-shaped rollercoasters. Yes, I probably did use this same joke last year.

Instead, it's part talking shop and part exhibition. The talking bit sees Nokia's top executives setting out their current strategy and future vision, alongside big-name guest speakers - this year's roster includes Wired magazine's Chris Anderson (he of long tail fame) and speakers from Universal Music Group, Technorati, MIT Media Laboratory and Ogilvy Group.

Meanwhile, the exhibition part sees dozens of companies showing off new mobile applications and services, as well as Nokia's own showcases – which may include some new handsets, if they're announced this morning as expected. I'll be posting session reports, interviews and hands-on demos throughout the next couple of days.

For the latest posts from the show, check our Nokia World 2007 category

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