May 25, 2011

Apps for Change: Top mobile ideas from around the world


JD LasicaOver the past few weeks, Nokia held the first Apps for Change contest, inviting people from around the world to suggest a mobile application to benefit society — which Nokia has agreed to develop. The winners also get to steer a $10,000 contribution to a nonprofit organization.

Some 302 submissions were fielded from people in 53 countries. I was one of the judges in the contest (along with Jussi Hinkkanen, Peter Hirshberg, John M. Jordan and Juliette Powell), and we’re now announcing the winners.

The winning entry was Red Heart, submitted by Sana Refai and Kamel Seghaeir of Tunisia. The entry put it this way:

This application will help you to generate your blood donor’s networks. In case of emergency, you (or someone else) activates the search of your nearest person in your blood donor’s connection (GPS Localization) and contacts him to come give you help. By installing the application, you precise your blood group. When you add a new entry, the application decides whether your connection can be a donor or not according to her/his blood group. The application can be extends from a private network to a public community by creating a website gathering all blood donors worldwide …

We liked the idea of a mobile app being at the center of a process that brings together hospital or emergency workers and volunteers in the community in a way that benefits accident victims through the use of geolocation services. Such an app could allow a wide range of individuals in desperate need of a blood transfusion to find compatible donors in their geographical area. While Kamel and Sana’s app could be useful in developed countries, perhaps its greatest value could be found in developing economies, where mobile phones are ubiquitous – but advanced blood transfusion services are not.

Honorable mentions: Using the crowd to carpool — & more

The judges also singled out three other entries for special recognition:

• Seamus Maguire from Ireland submitted an idea for an app designed to increase the use of carpools, and thereby reduce an individual’s carbon footprint. Using such a mobile app, the user could view other nearby users in need of a ride. Continue reading

July 17, 2009

Symbian: Going open source has made huge difference

Symbian goes open source from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaProbably few people have noticed that Symbian, the operating system that powers nearly half the world’s smartphones (compared with the iPhone’s 1.1% overall market share), is opening up its platform and going open source.

Samsung“Being open source has made an incredible difference in how we interact with the community,” says Anatolie Papas of the Symbian Foundation. In this 5-minute video, she talks about recent changes at Symbian, the value of open source, and the large number of software developers around the world writing code for Symbian-powered mobile devices.

The interview was conducted at the Traveling Geeks‘ Tweetup in London — which Symbian helped support — on July 5, 2009, with a Flip Ultra, and you’ll notice a few audio artifacts.

Anatolie charges her Symbian phone once every 2-3 days and uses it for data uploads and downloads constantly (which iPhone users can only dream of). She also talks about her “absolutely fantastic” Samsung Omnia HD i8910 phone (pictured), which sports an 8 megapixel camera, and mentions some of the cool Symbian-powered smartphones coming out this fall, including the new Sony Ericsson Satio with its 12 megapixel camera.

Continue reading