by Clare Conway

I’ve trawled through the murky depths of YouTube to bring you a gem of a video – a rare blend of entertaining and informative shots. Although I use the term informative loosely, but if a granny falling on her arse isn’t newsworthy then I’m stumped.

This video is a mash of the top 100 most popular uploads on YouTube, and lo and behold most videos have been filmed on mobiles – judging by the grainy, shaky quality of the footage. The message is clear: quality can be secondary to content and anyone with the tools to record and a funny scene can garner mega Youtube hits.

So mobiles at the ready. You don’t have to be a professional photographer or a skilled reporter to be a success.

by Clare Conway

Facebook has revealed that 400 million users regularly access the social networking site from their smartphones. The stats were revealed in January of this year and mark an explosive trend for online interaction on the go.

thanks to louisvolant on Flickr

The huge numbers of people using the internet on their mobiles has perhaps been facilitated by an enormous increase in the global sale of smartphones.

According to figures by the International Data Corporation (IDC) published on Global Mobile Statistics, the number of smartphone handset shipments has risen by nearly 75 per cent from 2009 to 2010, and smartphones now account for over a fifth of all mobile phone sales. “Total shipments in 2010 were 302.6 million units up 74.4 percent from 2009,” Gobal Mobile Statistics reported.

For a complete table of global sales for handsets, with a breakdown of smartphone manufacturers, visit Global Mobile Statistics.

by Emma Dibdin

What a ludicrous question, I hear you cry. It would be as though I’d lost a limb! Or at least a finger! The very idea that I wouldn’t realise my beloved digital companion had left my side is a fallacy!

Or maybe that’s just what I shouted at my own screen. Just now. On my own.

Either way, PC World reports that the good folks over at YouGov have dared to ask the question, and they’ve come up with some pretty surprsing results.

Their survey of 2,000 mobile phone owners revealed that only a third would notice within 15 minutes that their phone was missing. Men are likely to notice sooner than women – 40% of men said they would notice within 15 minutes compared to 29% of women. Writer Tony Bradley makes the very good point, though, that this could be down to storage – men tend to stow their phones in a pocket where its absence is more immediately obvious, where women are more likely to keep theirs in a bag.

Other interesting figures from the study include the unsurprising fact that younger owners are more likely to feel the absence of their phone – 18% of 18-24 years olds would notice it missing within five minutes.

Bradley also points out that the survey should be taken with a grain of salt, given that the company behind the survey, SecurEnvoy, are in the business of mobile data security. Nonetheless, food for mobile thought.

How long do you think it would take you to realise your phone was missing?

by Daniel Masoliver

In January 2010, Brixton dweller Zoë Jewell set up a hyperlocal blog covering her beloved locality. Within a matter of months, Brixton Blog exploded (figuratively speaking), and firmly established itself among the London blogosphere elite. The blog now has over 1,600 followers on Twitter, and a permanent spot on the Guardian’s list of ‘Top London Bloggers’.

But the burning question that we’re all dying to ask is, how does mobile technology help Zoë go about her blogging business? Fear not, for all will be revealed below. And in the true Mobile Journalists spirit, the interview was conducted via Twitter, on our mobiles – Zoë using Twitter for iPhone, me using Tweetcaster for Android.


by Joe Brothwell

No excuses now: soon you may be able to recharge your phone with your heartbeat.


It’s every mobile journalists worst nightmare; you’re filming a march, taking a photo of a mugging or tweeting your most hilarious twit yet and your phone runs out of battery.

There’s no point in searching for a power point or trekking home for your charger because, by then, the moment will be well and truly gone.

But, if scientific research is to be believed, we won’t be fearing the flashing of low battery for much longer.

Those brainiacs have developed a minute chip  that can produce power by using the body’s  movement – thanks to something called ‘nanotechnology’. Don’t ask us. Anyway they are  saying this could  soon enable you to recharge your mobile phone by simply  putting it closer to your heart.

Dr Zhong Lin Wang, who led the research at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said: “This development represents a milestone toward producing portable electronics that can be powered by body movements without the use of batteries or electrical outlets.

“Our nanogenerators are poised to change lives in the future. Their potential is only limited by one’s imagination.”

For the nreds among you, the technology basically works by using zinc oxide nanowires that produce electricity when they are strained. This means the slightest movement (like walking or even a heartbeat) can generate power.

Apparently the device is far more powerful than previous versions, which means that scientists can unleash the technology upon the world soon.

“If we can sustain the rate of improvement, the nanogenerator may find a broad range of other applications that require more power,” said Dr Wang.

With these rapid advancements it looks like we’ll be able to use this technologyin a heartbeat (sorry).

Anti-cuts march: Mobile Journalism in Action

Posted: March 30, 2011 by Emma Dibdin in News, Opinion
Tags: , ,

by Emma Dibdin

If there’s one thing better than a friend, it’s a friend with chocolate. So the old adage goes. For the purposes of this blog, though, the only thing better than a friend is a friend who provides you with handy, colourful everyday examples of mobile journalism.

Five days ago, on Saturday 26 March, around 500,000 people marched through Central London in protest against the coalition Government’s public sector cuts. You may have heard about it.

I’m not going to get into a debate about cuts, or the definition of peaceful protest, or the conduct of the police force. What I am going to do is talk briefly about my friend Sophie Monks Kaufman, who was on the march, and later sent me the following report via the noble media of MMS:

Aside from being angry, articulate and politically active, Sophie is also something of an ace reporter. And like any ace reporter, she knows her smartphone is her best friend. On one level, this is just one friend texting photos to another to illustrate an anecdote. On another, it’s a mobile journalist sharing photos with their audience in order to back up a story.

Do you have any examples of everyday mobile journalism? Let us know with a comment!

by Emma Dibdin

thanks to osde8info on flickr

Mobile forecasters anticipate that Android will continue to lead the smartphone market over the next few years, the Guardian blog reports today.

The 2016 predicted stats from business forecaster Ovum are as follows: they expect Android to take a 38% market share, with Apple second at 17.5%, Windows Phone at 17.2% and BlackBerry OS at 16.5%. Other developing OS such as MeeGo will account for the remaining 10.8%.

As the Guardian’s Stuart Dredge points out, one of the most interesting aspects of these forecasts is their assertion that the Windows Phone won’t be the flop many are predicting.

It’s also notable that Android is predicted to lead by a wide margin, with the other three OS coming in with very comparable figures.

But the second set of predicted figures, from forecaster IDC, are even more surprising. They predict that Microsoft won’t only succeed with their smartphone, but they’ll even overtake Apple by 2015. They expect Android to lead with 45.4%, with Windows second at 20.9%, and Apple trailing well behind both at 15.3%.

To an Apple devotee such as myself, this is near blasphemy. Android’s lead is hardly surprising, as they took first place last year, but the idea of Microsoft’s much-derided Windows Phone outselling the iPhone is a much harder pill to swallow. But I’m far from a tech expert, and even further from a market analyst. Of course, these are only projected figures, and a lot will depend on whether the race continues to be a four-horse one, or whether a fifth major smartphone platform emerges.

What are your predictions for the smartphone future? Drop us a comment!

by Clare Conway

The Joby Gorilla stand is an ugly looking thing – a cross between a spider and a set of anal beads. It looks nothing like a gorilla, not even by a three-year-old’s finger painting standards.

thanks to phinnsfotos from Flickr

So I guess the name is in reference to a guerrilla warfare weapon. Because it’s a cunning thing – discrete and practical – employed by the most sleuthy of journalists. It’s a device for propping up your camera, phone or Ipad (depending on the make you choose) and with the Gorilla you can shoot video, take pictures and type, all on the move.

You can tie it around a Boris bicycle and go Rambo if you’d like, capturing moving footage of roadworks or anarchists spraying destructive messages on walls.

The man in the video will demonstrate for you. Word of warning, though, he comes across as a bit of a perve, and I wouldn’t take all his advice as gospel. At 1 min 28 he talks about getting your shots in strange places, like wrapping the Gorilla around a pole. I’m pretty sure filming is illegal in most of those clubs. If you like it and you want to buy one, they’re around £20. Try Amazon:

thanks to louisvolant on flickr

Britain is the highest ranked Western country when it comes to using social networks on mobiles, shows a recent report

by Joe Brothwell

Question: Which western country ranks top in TNS’s Mobile Life 2011 report when it comes to using social networks on mobile phones?

Answer: Why, it’s ol’ Blighty of course.

Apparently over 11 million of us are now logging in while we are on the go. The research says  16 percent of Brits go on social networks daily from their mobile, and almost half of those that don’t are interested in doing it in the future.

Stephen Yap, group director at TNS Technology said: “Mobile technology is transforming the lives of Britons at an unprecedented pace.

With social networking emerging as a killer application, mobile content and applications have never been more important. Handset makers and operators take note: it’s no longer just about the device or the network, but rather what people are doing and downloading.”

The UK is also the European country that downloads the most apps, watches the most social video and downloads the most games.

Shockingly 17 million people in Britain now own a smartphone. Look at the five people closest to you RIGHT NOW.

Do you realise that this means the chances of one of them having a smartphone is HIGHLY LIKELY. Unless you are the one with the smartphone. In that case it is NOT QUITE AS LIKELY BUT STILL PROBABLE.

The number of mobile phones in Britain now exceeds the number of people as there are approximately  1.3 phones to every single person. According the the same report, Brits aren’t quite so fussed by tablet devices. The data shows that only 17% of us will be considering buying a tablet device in the future, compared to 28% of people across Europe.

So it looks like our social networking obsession shows no signs of dying out. And we will know what our Uncle is doing every quarter of an hour, every day for years to come. Thank you twitter.

P.S You may ask: ‘Joe, why don’t you unfollow your Uncle if you find his tweeting so infuriating’.

And I’ll reply: ‘Don’t be so rude. He’s a family member for Christ sake’.

Top 3 Built-In iPhone Apps for Journalists

Posted: March 29, 2011 by Emma Dibdin in Apps
Tags: , , , ,

by Emma Dibdin

There’s already plenty of articles out there listing the best downloadable apps for mobile hacks, including a particularly fine Android-specific list from our very own Daniel Masoliver. But it struck me that a significant number of the apps I use most often for everyday journalist-ing are the basic spec ones that come as standard with the iPhone 4. It’s about time these old reliables got some love. So here, in no particular order, are a few of my most-used vanilla apps on the iPhone, interspersed with the odd anecdote illustrating a time when my trusty Apple buddy has swooped in to save my professional bacon.

1) Maps

Whether it’s a last-minute interview or an assignment in foreign lands, any journo will sooner or later end up in the position of needing desperately to be somewhere, and not being entirely sure how to get there. Enter the iPhone Google Maps app.

Enter a Start and End location, and the app will calculate how many miles you are from your destination and how long the journey will take by foot, car and public transport. It also draws a Sat Nav style line from one point to the next, so that even if you’re absolutely lost, all you need to do is follow the blue dot on your screen. Admittedly, you look like a bit of a knob as you walk along the street, but at least you’re a knob who knows where you’re going. I very rarely bother looking up directions to anywhere before I leave any more, because I’ve become so reliant on this little beauty. Over Christmas, I was in New Orleans for a journalistic trip and, on my last day, managed to get staggeringly lost in the narrow, time-warpy streets of the French Quarter. Had it not been for my beloved iPhone, I would have missed my flight. Thanks, Steve.

2) Voice Memos

Unless you happen to be AA Gill, a dictaphone is perhaps the number one must-have for any working journo. Even if you’re a shorthand whizz, recording interviews is essential both for accuracy and for insuring yourself against being sued. Nothing can replicate the functionality of a real dictaphone, and I would always recommend one of those over an app. But if you find yourself in a jam (or an off-the-cuff interview) you can turn your iPhone into a dictaphone using the Voice Memo app.

Once you finish a recording, the audio is saved to your iPhone’s hard drive and will sync automatically into your iTunes library next time you connect, making backing up your interviews a breeze. One time, I spilled sparkling water on my dictaphone half an hour before I was due to interview someone. No lie. It was busted, and I was screwed. Or I would have been, without this bit of iPhone functionality. Thanks, Steve.

3) Notes

Not fancy, this, but it does what it does very well. A journalist is always thinking – poring over story ideas, deciding on which contact to call, trying to come up with the perfect intro. Mental notes never last, and while in theory I love the romantic idea of carrying around a notebook to scribble down musings and ideas as they come to me, getting out an actual pen and paper when you’re laden with bags or sardined between commuters on the Tube just isn’t practical. Instead, I make my notes on Notes.

The functionality of this app really isn’t great, if we’re honest. You start a new note, you type it up using the normal virtual keyboard, you save and it’s added to your list of notes, which is organised by Last Modified. That’s about it. You can’t sync these notes with your laptop, which seems to me a pretty obvious area for improvement on the iPhone 5, and you can’t even change the colour from that vaguely nauseating post-it yellow. Still, I use it constantly, for to-do lists, for planning out articles in bullet point form, and for that it deserves the number three spot.

Do you have a fave built-in app that hasn’t been mentioned here? Do you love the Stocks? Are you mad about the Weather? Drop us a comment below.