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GLOBAL – If you’re getting that Friday feeling, then it’s quite possibly time for a wander round some of the outer reaches of the Web, as recorded in our bookmarks this week. There’s quite a lot of serious links in this week’s round-up: they’re all well worth a read but do send us the quirky links as well, so that we can make next week’s instalment a bit funnier.

  • This is a big week for mobile in that it’s reported that the world (pop. 6.7bn) now has over 5bn mobile phone connections. The pace of growth is astounding, with the most recent billion added in just 18 months. Most of that growth has come from Asia Pacific region. But it doesn’t mean that nearly everyone has a phone, sadly: penetration rates in much of Western Europe, for example, are over 150%.
  • Getting mobile access to those without it is quite literally a matter of life and death. Here’s a case study from Mobile Active describing how mobiles are being used by health workers in Mali to monitor the health of infants, leading to timely intervention and hopefully a reduction in the country’s very high infant mortality rates.
  • And here’s another case study about farmers receiving free advice through their mobiles on how best to nurture their crops in the Phillipines.
  • A lengthy but interesting report from analyst Chetan Sharma on the state of mobile in the first half of 2010. Note that it largely focuses on the US market, rather than global figures.
  • Even longer is Tomi Ahonen’s analysis of the smartphone market, identifying eight very different types of smartphone buyer, each of which is looking for slightly different things from their phones. Controversial, well-argued stuff that sails against the wind of many ‘expert’s’ opinions.
  • If you’re looking for something a bit more light-weight – and you will be if you’ve read more than two of the above – then check out this piece from David Pogue in the New York Times listing some of the apps that we need which haven’t been made yet. I especially like the idea of Shazam for art. (If you’re not already aware, Shazam recognises the music playing on the radio or in bars from samples caught by your devices’s microphone).
  • And finally, PFSK reports on an experimental fabric that… well, they say that “the wearer, in a shirt made entirely of this material, would be able to pick up sound- essentially functioning as a walking microphone. In addition, scientists say the fabric can generate electricity as well.” It’s suggested that you might be able to charge your mobile using power generated from the sounds around you. Interesting, though I am not convinced of the comfort of clothes that generate electricity.

That’s it for this week’s pick. As ever, do let us know of any articles we’ve missed in the comments.