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New Cellphones: Thin, Wind-Up, Used as Bugs

Your next cellphone may not look anything like the one you have now?no matter which phone service you use. A new cellphone will be available soon that?s as thin as a piece of paper?so thin, you can keep it in your wallet next to your credit cards.

Designer Stephen Forshaw has developed a thin phone that?s stuck onto a piece of paper. The only problem?it can only be used for one call, so you?ll stick it in your wallet (or give it to your kids) in case of emergency. The design won first prize in a competition sponsored by Sony.

Named the PS Call Me, the flat phone squashes all the phone electronics into a flat computer chip that is thin enough to stick on a piece of paper and mail like a letter, so you could send it as an all-in-one birthday card/gift. You could program special greetings on it that would be received as soon as the phone was activated. It would be an interesting way to send a marriage proposal.

"The phone adds value to communication," Forshaw says. "It will be like receiving a parcel, but you can respond. It really packs the meaning in."

Ever take your cellphone on a trip but forget to take your charger? When your phone runs out of juice, you?re out of communication. Cellphone users will soon be able to charge their phones with the same kind of Freeplay wind-up device that powers cordless, battery-free radios.

The FreeCharge generator consists of a small wind-up generator unit and a cord that connects the generator to the phone. One minute of cranking will give you enough energy to power the phone for about ten minutes of talk time. "This is the first time a portable phone is truly portable," says Rory Stear, chairman and CEO of Freeplay. The FreeCharge also has an internal battery that can store extra energy, either from a wall socket or from lots of cranking.

Like Freeplay radios, this new charger should be especially popular in areas of Africa where there is no electricity. For instance, only about 20 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa is electrified, yet there is huge cellphone use in those areas.

Israeli intelligence warns that an innocent cellphone, left in a room or even tape under a table during a business meeting, could be used by a business competitor to bug your conversations.

With a slight modification, cellphones can be turned into high-quality bugs. An owner can call the phone from anywhere in the world without it ringing, while its screen remains blank and looks turned off. "The beauty of the cell phone as a bug is that it's an innocent looking and ubiquitous object," says Ben Te'eni, of Netline Communications Technologies, which has developed a device for detecting cellphone bugs. "People trust cellphones, but modified and left in idle mode the cellphone can be used as a transmitter for up to a week. If it's connected to a power supply it can provide endless intelligence. Professional bugsweepers will ignore the cellphone frequency since the phones are so common and not suspicious."

They eavesdroppers give themselves away because the cellphones they use periodically transmit a signal to their base station. Netline leaves a small Cellular Activity Analyzer (CAA) device wherever people don?t want to be bugged that detects any unwanted cellphone activity. "I can leave the CAA in the office before important meetings and it will tell me if there's a cell phone in the room," Te'eni says. "I can also leave it in the room overnight or for a number of days (after a meeting) to see if a bug has been left behind."

This being Israel, his company also produces a jamming device which prevents the detonation of bombs by cellphones. "We have also sold to prisons because top criminals are known to continue their operations or coordinate testimony using smuggled-in cell phones,? Te?eni says. ?In Brazil, riots were synchronized in five prisons using cell phones and in Paris a prisoner escape was coordinated using cell phones."

To make sure your cellphone is safe, get a Waveguard protector, click here.

To learn about the thin cellphone, click here.

To learn about the wind-up cellphone charger, click here.

To make sure no one is bugging your cellphone,click here.

NOTE: This news story, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.


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