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February 27, 2009

Mobiles in medicine, netbooks, and shrt txt URLs. And BONUS: Cool irrelevant video

ESPOO, Finland – Yesterday, I had fun talking with folks about the new Ovi Theme. The theme was well received and I hope the Ovi team comes out with more fun stuff. I think they are just too modest and quiet, trying to cautiously deliver in an area that is new and growing for Nokia.

In the course of the discussion, folks were talking about three other things: a mobile medicine guide, a CEO from a large mobile device manufacturer discussing netbooks, and a new Twitter app in final rounds of a private beta (which sparked a thought). And it’s these three things I want to spread to the rest of you, so read on.

Guts and gore on the go
I have a particular interest in science and medicine. And being someone steeped in mobile tech, I always try to think how mobile devices and services might help scientists, doctors, and students in those fields. It just so happens that two avid S60 fans I follow, Rita, dotsisx from Symbian-Guru, and Anirudh, from The S60 Blog, both are also in the medical field.

Well, Rita posted a great round-up on tools folks in the medical field can use from their mobile. Back in my day, the selections were so much more limited, so it’s great to see that publishers have realized that being in the doctor’s pocket is much more useful than being on her shelf or desk. But, all of these are reference sources. I know there must be useful mobile-savvy Web services that help in science and medicine. Here’s hoping for another round-up by Rita on the (non-reference) services she uses every day for work.

Adding shortening without the fat
The new Twitter app, Gravity, which we spoke about earlier in the week, is getting rave reviews. Which led me to think of a mobile messaging related topic.

Ars Technica picks up on two studies, one related to SMS and one to IM, that suggest that the abbreviated text speak is not harming youth reading abilities and is even positively correlated with reading ability. Now that we know that shrt txting is safe for children, can we drop the subject now?

In any case, this is good news for all the URL-shortening services, which have been a boon for mobile services, simplifying the sharing of mobile-unfriendly normal URLs. But, one problem: these URL shortening services are usually not mobile-savvy, in that they end up serving the full page to a mobile user that is opening one of the short URLs.

I commented on this a while back, and that led to a cascade of related and parallel actions that gave birth to Delivr (good write-up, here). Delivr is not _just_ a short URL service, it’s smart enough to offer a mobile-savvy version of whatever the URL links to, even serving a mobile-savvy version of a YouTube video. And the guys behind it, long-time mobile content wizards, have added clever sharing features such as QR-barcodes of the URL, comments, and forwarding to friends (and tracking for your ego or business). Did I say that it works on a ton of phones?

The Delivr guys are not only clever with mobile content, they also have strong principles as to how content is converted on mobile phones, subscribing to the Manifesto for Responsible Reformatting, trying their best to respect the work content providers already have done to mobilize their content, without sending it through the munging process of a transcoder.

Did someone say netbooks?
The big Nokia talk of the week was our CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, being coy when asked if Nokia would someday make a laptop or mini-laptop. While I do not think he was being coy (not that I would know, or tell), but just polite and equivocal, since we already call our more capable phones “mobile computers,” not to mention our “internet tablets.” But it was fun to see all the speculation and discussion.

We’ve spoken about netbooks before and knew they would be a big topic this year. So, it’s not surprising folks are trying to rope Nokia into the discussions. But, let’s not speculate too much, right?

In the mean time, Ars Technica has a few articles (and more coming) on the whole netbook world, its history, vendors, and products (UPDATE: And speculating about Nokia). A good read.

BONUS: And now for something completely irrelevant
Mark Squires, who runs the Social Media Communications team here at Nokia, had pointed out this really cool animation tracking 24hrs of flights across the whole world. It’s just too darn cool to pass up. Check out the flows of dots as the dawn and dusk lines move.

Totally irrelevant (but pretty) image from *Susie*