In an attempt to cut costs in a shaky economy, Wireless Week laid off almost half its editorial staff, leaving four editors to produce one of the industry’s main sources of print and online wireless coverage.
The weekly magazine, which has an online publication that included daily news, has also decided to reduce its publishing cycle to twice a month.
“This will give us more flexibility to do in-depth stories and analysis as well as reducing our costs,” said Bill Menezes, the publication’s editor-in-chief. “But our focus still will be news features about the trends and developments that are shaping the industry.”
Menezes assured readers that Wireless Week will remain a staple at wireless tech tradeshows, where the magazine is passed out for free. Menezes also said the magazine’s parent company, Reed Business Information, remains committed to the wireless sector and is “financially very healthy.”
Porn to go: Even in today’s tough economy, pornography remains a lucrative business. So it’s not surprising that enterprising young companies would want to find new ways to get a piece of the action.
Among the latest innovations served up by a handful of startups are new and better ways to distribute pornographic content via mobile phones and PDAs.
Startup PocketJoy.com just launched a website that lets cell-phone users download a host of pornographic images, dirty jokes, news items about the adult industry and biographies of porn stars to their cell phones.
However, only users of next-generation cell phones with color screens log onto the site. The company plans eventually to launch a PDA version of the website.
There are porn websites today written in wireless markup language for cell phones, but they are limited to text and fuzzy, cartoon-like, black and white images. What’s more, the phones’ screens are smaller and less sophisticated than today’s 3G devices.
“This is the next step forward for adult entertainment and wireless devices,” a spokesman for PocketJoy.com said. “This is the first time high-quality adult content has been available for wireless devices in the North American market.”
Hutchison 3G, a mobile phone carrier in Europe, has investigated business opportunities in adult entertainment, but has yet to officially announce any services.
Talk to the Palm: Paying for items using a Palm handheld is gaining momentum in California.
Companies such as Le Bleu Zen jewelry store in Hollywood, San Francisco Taxi and California Small Business Services have replaced some of their wired-line cash registers with sleek Palm handheld computers.
The devices – Palm VIIx and Palm i705 – scan the bar codes of products and customers’ credit cards. The Palm then sends the transaction across the Internet. The network processes the information and prompts the Palm user for a signature. Once the signature is entered, the retailer can point the Palm at a printer and, through infrared, print out a receipt with the signature.
For the retailer, scanning a credit card over a Palm is cheaper and safer than entering the number by hand on a cash register because it ensures that the credit card owner was present, said a spokeswoman for eProcessing Network, the company that powers the service. Manually entered data carries a higher risk of fraud since there is no way for a retailer to prove that the credit card was in the store at the time a product was purchased.
For further assurance, the wireless system sends the retailer an e-mail for his records confirming the transaction.
Eating up local phone companies: Local phone companies are losing business to cell-phone carriers, according to a recent study by Solomon-Wolff Associates.
In its annual July telecom survey, the marketing research firm found that 13 percent of all U.S. customers make most of their local phone calls on a cell phone. Last year, only seven percent of consumers said they used a cell phone to make most of their local calls.
Still, despite the increase, only four percent of customers have replaced their local phone service altogether, Solomon-Wolff Associates said.