THE BROWSER: Truth and rumors from the tech world
Apple rings up an iPhone
Word from Taiwan is strong that Apple is lining up manufacturers for its own iPod-cell phone hybrid. Plus: Plaxo pledges to stop spamming.
By Owen Thomas, Business 2.0 Magazine online editor

SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) - Since the Motorola Rokr's disappointing launch, iPod lovers have been hotly anticipating a cell phone that really does the job of playing music and fielding calls with equal aplomb. Now, it looks likelier than ever that Apple is actually working on such a device, which observers have dubbed the "iPhone." Smarthouse, an Australian tech magazine, reports on its website that Apple (Research) has approached several Taiwanese contract manufacturers to build the product for it. "Among manufacturers in Taiwan it is common knowledge," says an unnamed executive at BenQ, a Taiwanese maker of cell phones and handhelds. The BenQ executive's comments follow analyst reports that Hon Hai Precision or Taiwan Green Point Enterprises may land an iPhone contract.

Plaxo pledges to stop spamming

Nokia aims to kill iPods, camcorders
After conquering the camera market, the cell-phone maker is now targeting music players and handheld video. Plus: Google searches for classifieds business. (more)

If you've got any type-A, hyperconnected friends, odds are that you've gotten an e-mail purportedly from them asking you to join Plaxo. Your friends didn't actually send the e-mails, of course. Plaxo, a service which tracks contacts online, tries to get all the people listed in its users' address books to join Plaxo so it can update their contact information automatically. Many people, including TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, found Plaxo's unsolicited e-mails endlessly annoying. So it was with some glee that Arrington -- who long ago exiled Plaxo from his inbox with a spam filter -- noted that Plaxo has now promised to stop sending out so many e-mail come-ons, and to limit the automated e-mails its users can send. In a notice posted on the company's blog, Plaxo cited its "heartfelt desire to be a good net citizen" as a reason for slowing the e-mail flow. As Arrington points out, could that mean that Plaxo knew it was behaving badly all along?

PayPal Mobile preparing to launch

As expected, PayPal has rolled out PayPal Mobile, a wireless version of its payments service that lets users pay each other by text message. The eBay (Research) subsidiary has been quietly hiring to staff up its mobile payments service, and while it hasn't officially launched the service, PayPal Mobile is already up and running on its website. One feature of the new service is "Text to Buy," which lets magazine readers buy products advertised in magazines by sending a special code found in an ad to PayPal by text message. On his Pondering Primate blog, Scott Shaffer writes that PayPal's Text to Buy will be a "huge mobile marketing tool."

Some bundles are costing consumers a bundle

Telecom and cable companies are racing to offer "triple-play" packages of phone service, TV, and high-speed Internet to consumers, figuring that they'll be less likely to switch if they're getting all three services from one provider. But what happens when consumers feel ripped off and want to switch? That's when the nightmare begins. Introductory discounts often expire after six months to a year, poorly disclosed charges crop up on bills, and when customers cancel one service, prices can go up on the others. One praiseworthy offer: Cablevision's (Research) $90 bundle. For the same price that you would pay for TV and high-speed Internet, you get phone service for free, notes the Techdirt blog. Top of page

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