Emerging Technology

A billion mobiles in 2007… Desktop pilots… Map your web connectivity… Australia: the OPEC of 2020?

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A billion mobiles in 2007

More than one billion mobile phones will be sold around the world in 2007, according to tech industry researchers Gartner.

The 270 million mobiles sold in the June quarter of 2007 was up 17.4% on the same time in 2006, leading Gartner to predict that 1.13 billion phones will be sold around the world during 2007.

Emerging markets in Africa, Latin America and Asia/Pacific are the key drivers behind the growth in mobile phone sales, according to Gartner, with Western Europe and North American markets growing much more slowly.

Nokia took out the biggest share of mobile sales in June quarter 2007 with 36.9% of the market, followed by Motorola on 14.6% and Samsung on 13.4%.

Desktop pilots

The latest Google Earth toolbar download comes with a fun hidden feature, according to TechCrunch: a secret flight simulator that allows you to cruise the skies of the remarkably accurately rendered Google Earth world.

To access the hidden feature, open Google Earth and hit Command+Option+A (note it must be capital A) or Ctrl+Alt+A if you’re using a Windows Machine.

Once you’ve downloaded the feature you can opt to fly in one of two aircraft, a F16 Viper or the more sedate SR22 4 seater. From there you can choose to either start the game from your current location in Google Earth or can pick from a list of pre-determined runways.

Don’t be surprised if this proves to become a rather popular work timewaster – who wouldn’t want to cruise the Australian skies – or any skies, for that matter – from the comfort of their office?

Map your web connectivity?

Ever wondered where you fit in the world wide web? A rather cool online device called the TouchGraph Google Browser allows you to do just that simply by plugging in the name of you website or even of a particular event or industry sector.

The service pulls in data from Google’s database of related sites, delivering an interactive visual map of interconnected websites or search terms. You can then sift through the connections, deleting those that don’t fit until you arrive at an accurate, colourful picture of where you sit in the scheme of things.

Australia: the OPEC of 2020?

Australia’s worldbeating stocks of the minerals that will be integral to the next generation of computer chips could see the nation becoming an authoritative global powerbroker in the mould of the OPEC oil cartel, according to a report by consultants Longhaus reported by iTWire.

Longhaus says Australia is the world’s largest producer of zircon, the source of hafnium, a mineral that Intel, AMD and IBM plan to use in their next-gen chips.

Similarly, Australia is the world’s largest producer of tantalum, which is used to make a doohicky that is crucial to many high-tech technology devices known as a capacitor.

The reason Australia’s big stocks of these minerals is such a big advantage is that they are very rare. The flipside to that, unfortunately, is that our time in the sun will be rather short: global supplies of hafnium are forecast to last only a decade, and only two or three decades for tantalum.

“Moving forward, Australia’s role in supplying critical elements into the ICT manufacturing process may have to be one not unlike OPEC … peak ICT industry bodies need to join with the Federal Government and the resources sector to explore serious considerations for investment in foreign ICT policy,” according to Longhaus.

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