Nokia’s phone of the future? Touchscreen covers whole device

Finnish handset maker Nokia has unveiled a concept phone with a touchscreen that covers the entire surface of the device. It's called the Gem - "because polished precious stones have several sides."

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Nokia Research Center, the Finland-based mobile phone maker has unveiled a new concept phone, the Nokia Gem.

The unique thing about the Gem is that the entire surface of the handset is a touchscreen that changes its appearance depending upon on the function chosen by the user.

Choose the map function, for example, and the whole of one side of the device (the virtual keypad will disappear) will show a detailed, close-up map of your location while the other side will show a broader view.

And as you can see from the images, no space is left unused – even the sides of the device are covered in virtual buttons.

On the Nokia Conversations blog, the man who led the team that created the Gem, Jarkko Saunamäki, said, “Now, when you launch an application like the camera, your mobile phone still looks like a mobile phone, but with Gem, when you launch the camera application, the whole phone looks like a camera.”

He continued: “You can have one image wrapped around the whole device or one on each side, as demonstrated in the stylish video animation [see below] when the woman user photographs some wallpaper and adopts it as the design for her phone casing.”

Jarkko calls the Gem “the ultimate customizable device.”

It’s even suggested that advertising messages could be displayed on the back of the phone, enabling its user to receive a discount on bills.

When you consider all the dead space on the surface of a mobile phone, it makes perfect sense to somehow utilize it. However, with the whole device transformed into a touchscreen, it’s not entirely clear how you’d avoid accidentally activating functions you don’t want to activate. But overall it looks like a rather cool bit of kit that one day, in one form or another, could become part of the handsets of the future.

7 Million Fans Like Leo Messi’s Facebook Page in 7 Hours

Seven hours after Argentine soccer player Leo Messi started a Facebook Page, he has almost 7 million Likes as of Wednesday afternoon.

To put that number into perspective, it’s nearly 40% as many Likes as U.S. President Barack Obama has on his Facebook Page and about 30% as many as Justin Bieber fans have contributed to the pop star’s Facebook Page — but Messi’s Likes were gathered in hours, not years.

Messi, who plays for FC Barcelona and is considered by many to be the best soccer player in the world, wrote in a translated welcome message on the page, “Hola! Welcome to everyone. Thank you very much for the great number of messages that I have received. I am so excited! From now on we will be more closely connected … through Facebook.”

Lady Gaga beat Obama to 10 million Likes last summer, but we can’t remember another celebrity nearing the milestone so quickly. We’ve reached out to Facebook about whether Messi has set a Facebook record.

Update: Some commenters have suggested that Messi may have automatically transferred fans from his unofficial pages to his official page. While Facebook allows businesses to merge place pages with fan pages and to turn personal profile pages into fan pages, there’s not a public option to merge multiple fan pages. We’ve reached out to Facebook about whether Messi’s page administrator negotiated a merge with a Facebook representative.

Nearly 4 out of 5 of burglars use social networks to find empty homes

With many users of social networks like Twitter and Facebook are updating the services with locations in status updates, criminals are using that information to find potential targets for home invasion.

According to a study out of the United Kingdom from Credit Sesame, approximately 78 percent of ex-burglars use Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook to identify properties with absent homeowners. This includes people that use location-enabled status updates or pictures to identify when they are at work or on an extended vacation. In addition, nearly three out of four ex-burglars use Google Street View to check out the quality of the home in addition to various escape routes within a neighborhood. The typical home invasion costs the homeowner just over $2,000 in the United States and robbery that occurs during the day usually yields higher losses than burglars that break in during the night.

The demographic most likely to tweet a location are Americans between 18 to 34 years old and approximately 15 percent of Americans regularly use social networks to state when they have left the home. According to the ex-burglars, 80 percent of first attempts to break into a home are typically unsuccessful and 78 percent would be driven off by a simple alarm system. On average, it takes a burglar about two minutes to break into a home and the average amount of time spent within the home is about ten minutes. Some of the the most common mistakes that homeowners make besides social updates include hiding a key near the front entrance, leaving UPS or Fedex deliveries on the front porch, leaving windows open and leaving valuables out in plain view of people walking through the neighborhood.

The ex-burglars also recommended steps to ensure greater social security including altering Facebook privacy settings to make sure the public can’t see location updates and restricting friend list additions to actual friends. Other steps include refraining from updates about extended vacations and avoiding posting photos of expensive items taken within the home or photos that list the location of the home.

Microsoft erects world’s largest ‘Windows Phone’ in NYC

Microsoft has erected the world's largest "Windows Phone' in New York City in celebration of the launch of its three new Windows Phones.

Perhaps Microsoft is taking the concept of increased screen real-estate too far — in celebration of the launch of its three new Windows Phones – the Samsung Focus S, Focus Flash, and HTC Radar 4G, Microsoft has assembled a six-story ‘Windows Phone’ in the Herald Square area of New York City.

The large six-story screen operates more like a large television than a phone with each individual tile fed by various video feeds that can be moved to accommodate live stage performances.

It would appear that the big ‘M’ is trying to foster some much needed publicity for its own mobile phone platform. Microsoft has been lagging somewhat behind competitors — Apple and its ubiquitous iPhone, and the strong presence of Android-based phones on the market.

Time will tell whether the new phones will prove popular among smartphone consumers, but in the meantime no one can fault Microsoft for trying to promote its latest offerings.