Last Week in Global Mobile | December 31, 2010

At times it's difficult to keep pace with the latest global mobile developments. I hope this selection of news stories from last week will help you navigate the growing global network of connectivity:

  • In Baghdad the U.S. State Department launched Window into the U.S. Embassy, a YouTube channel dedicated to building relationships with Iraqi civilians.
  • The U.N., Google, Harvard, and other institutions launched the Satellite Sentinel Project which provides crowdsourced satellite anti-war surveillance in Sudan to deter violence.
  • More than seven trillion SMS messages will be sent by over 4 billion mobile subscriptions in 2011, reported ABI Research, while 500 million mobile phones will be sold worldwide.
  • MIT’s MediaLab launched Konbit, an employment service that uses mobile phones to and language translators to connect out-of-work Haitians with NGO’s looking for labor.
  • A new mobile money service called Square was launched, allowing smart phone users to swipe and accept credit card payments directly on their devices.
  • Trapped at the airport during this week’s East Coast storm, some travelers turned to Twitter for more efficient flight information and help getting seats on other flights.
  • Google Maps may be blocked in China next year if the the search company refuses to move its mapping server to China to obtain the appropriate licenses.
  • Iowa State University scholar Jacob Groshek explored how the Internet helped build democracy between 1999 and 2003 in 72 countries in a paper recently published in the International Journal of Communication.
  • Reflecting on mobile operating system Symbian’s dominance in Africa, Erik Hersman at White African emphasized that the key to tech success on the continent is providing ordinary, not revolutionary, services through innovative platforms.
  • A consortium of international investors announced plans to open a major data center in Accra next year, the first of its kind to improve ICT services throughout West Africa.
  • Hispanics in the United States own or plan to use new technology like tablet PCs more than non-Hispanics, reported Advertising Age.
  • To help residents deal with Christmas’ “Snowpocalypse,” Newark, N.J., mayor Cory Booker tweeted regular updates regarding the city’s emergency response status.
  • Several diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks reveal that the Cuban government is more concerned with digital activists and bloggers than with traditional dissenters.
  • iPads, iPhones, and other smart phones are set to be permitted on the House floor, thanks to new rules being implemented by the House Republicans.

Happy New Year from everyone at NDN and the New Policy Institute!