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It's a cell phone, it's a TV, it's ... the future

Watching television on cell phones will be a mass phenomenon in 2008, Sweden's LM Ericsson predicted last week, saying the maker of telecommunications gear will work closely with Japan's Sony Corp. to develop new media solutions for wireless connections.

About one third of the world's cell phone users will regularly be watching TV broadcasts on their handsets in two years, which will open up lucrative opportunities for content producers and carriers, said Per Nordlof, Ericsson's director of Product Strategy, at a joint press briefing with Sony in Stockholm.

The two companies already have a joint venture, Sony Ericsson, for making mobile phones, but said they also see numerous opportunities for cooperation to cash in on the expected boom in mobile TV.

The two companies demonstrated a number of solutions it thinks will soon become commonplace, including systems where video and pictures can easily be sent between a regular TV and a mobile phone, allowing friends and family members to share footage at the press of a button, which could hit the market by the second half of 2007, Nordlof said.

Beware: They're not really your pal

With 78 percent of consumers expected to shop online this season, Internet scams are sure to increase.

For the past couple of years, consumers have received a steady stream of phony account verification e-mails supposedly from PayPal and other online businesses.

But they came from crooks seeking access to our passwords and account numbers, not from PayPal, or a large bank listed on the letterhead. Most Internet users are aware of these scams and do nothing except hit the "delete" button. But new versions of the ploy have been cropping up.

Slingbox sets out to conquer Europe

Embracing a technology that has unnerved media and telecommunications companies, a major European wireless provider will let customers watch their home cable TV on a cell phone if they also have a device called the Slingbox back at the house.

3 Group launched the new service in Britain first, followed by three more of its 11 markets in early 2007.

Two new handsets running on 3's next-generation wireless network will feature the Sling application, which customers can use to watch any channel available on their cable TV at home.

The partnership with 3 is a watershed for Sling Media Inc., the first sign of official recognition from the industry "establishment" for a device that the California-based company began selling a year ago. The Slingbox, hooked up simultaneously to a set-top cable box and a broadband connection, can stream live and recorded video over the Internet to any laptop or handheld equipped with SlingPlayer software.

Real ticket for cyber speeder in Norway

Police took up pursuit in cyberspace after a young Norwegian posted video of his wild car driving on the Internet.

Following an electronic trail that he left online, police caught him and slapped him with real-life fine of $1,300.

The offender, identified only as a man in his early 20s, posted the video called "Driving in Norway" on Google Inc.'s popular video-sharing site YouTube. The recording showed the car's speedometer hitting up to 150 miles - 240 kilometers - per hour on a public highway near Oslo. The video was removed from the Web site after it made national news in Norway.

Police said they could prove only that the man had driven an average of 86 mph and based the fine on that, which the motorist accepted

Britain drops ban on auto transmitters

Britain is legalizing the small wireless transmitters commonly used to play music from iPods over car radios.

Devices such as the finger-length iTrip have been banned in Britain because they are considered radio stations under the country's 1949 Wireless Telegraphy Act.

That means a user must have the right to transmit over an FM frequency and pay royalties for any tunes played on the music players.

ITrip, made by Griffin Technology for Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod devices, is one of a number of devices meant to allow owners of music players to listen to tunes on their radios. Legal in the United States, the devices transmit signals over a short range, so they usually don't interfere with high-power commercial broadcasts.