In this video I show the Mobile Fonera under development from Fon Labs and speak about some crazy ideas of what we could do with this product. The obvious one is that it is perfect to have wifi in cars and buses connected to these vehicles power supplies.  This fonera is also great for taking it to the park and give wifi connectivity to Nintendo DS, or PSP, or the new Sansa Connect (that I am in love with), or PDAs, Nokias like the N95, the iPhone, laptops.   The less obvious one is to distribute these mobile foneras with wifi among the homeless so instead of begging or selling newspapers they can offer wifi for a tip. If you are reading this and are from the press please remember that my blog shows ideas in progress and should be taken more as a brainstorming than an announcement.

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rsm on July 5, 2007  · 

These are the products we described to you 1.5/2 years ago Martin, and that we developed prototypes at that time. It was done in 2005 and early 2006, even the camera is the same. BTW, the code is still available.

P.S. There are more suitable cameras and products now.

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Martin Vives on July 5, 2007  · 


I was thinking about the possibility to do price discrimination in FON connection fares.

As fonero’s are able to decide how much bandwith they share, they could be able to decide how much money they want to make, within a given interval, depending on the quality of their link and the area where they are offering coverage.

For example in an area with other open networks avaiable or low demand, the price could be low. In the other hand, in the areas with lots of demand and “competitors” charging huge fares, the price could be raised, mantaining the service always cheaper than the rest.

Want it or not, there is not so many objective reasons for many to set up a fonera. And alien connections are not so frequent… So I think many people would be happy to see the margins incrase (mantaining the 50-50 ratio).

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Henrik Ahlen on July 5, 2007  · 

Yes mobility is great! I like the idea of FON access in public transport like buses, metro, taxis etc. Also, tourist boats that do sightseeing in canals etc could offer wifi connection with tourist information in multiple languages, a multimedia presentation as you ride along the Seine for example.

With webcams there are some privacy issues, but also great potential for new exciting services if the pricing can get low enough, and FON is a perfect player to enable this.

Combine with solar power panels and you also have an interesting, low cost solution for public displays that can act as wifi access points at the same time.

Henrik Ahlén, Stockholm

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Martin Varsavsky on July 5, 2007  · 

Well rsm, then we did not have the hardware. And we thank you anyway!

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Linus KEndall on July 5, 2007  · 

Also see this would be great whenever we’re out working outside of the office. Some teams I’ve been in have been going around town working in many differnet places, and we wouldn’t mind sharing/using fon wherever we are.

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Charbax on July 5, 2007  · 

You should offer bus and taxi companies to install this for free, it just needs to connect to some power on the bus or in the taxi, so you don’t need the batteries.

Then what you offer the bus and taxi company is GPS data connection service which pings the location of the bus and taxi to their central, which includes possibillity for their customers to have a real-time Google Map with the exact location of buses and taxis, so for example a simple Web 2.0 software could tell the person that “You should hurry up, the bus is going to be at the station in 1 minute” or “Take you time, you still have 5 minutes till the bus is arriving” with one-click possibillity to buy the bus ticket also over the Internet.

Then also you provide Free WiFi for everyone on the Bus or Taxi (just enough free bandwidth for WiFi skype calling, browsing shows an add and is limited to 15 minutes), but with priviledges for Foneros who authenticate. Those foneros get a little better bandwidth conditions for example. And you should get the free advertising space on the bus or taxi saying “Free WiFi provided by” as well as on the Web 2.0 bus/taxi online real-time location service it would also let you advertise freely for FON saying “Bus/Taxi real-time location provided by”.

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surftradon on July 6, 2007  · 

Really love this idea of homeless people selling Wifi access. Really nice idea Martin. I wish this idea becomes a great success.
Bon courage

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steven on July 6, 2007  · 

Too expensive for begars…
50 euro/month for 2gbyte 3G access in Belgium (when exceeding the 2gigabyte… you pay deerly)

In Roemenia I allready saw Cabs with this technique:

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Henrik Ahlen on July 6, 2007  · 

Charbax: you’re head on! Brilliant ideas. I just added your blog to my Netvibes.
I am convinced that GPS positioning services is the nex killer app, since there are so many ways of creating mashups with for example Google maps.

And combined with the accessibility and low cost of FON networks there is huge potential to spread this quickly among business like taxis, public transport etc that would otherwise not have the financial resources to fix it themselves.

Henrik Ahlen, Stockholm 🙂

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David Verde Sanchez on July 6, 2007  · 

Is funny that you are in love with Sansa connect. I have been trying to contact you for weeks with a better device than that under development in Singapore but is really tough to reach you. It will be awesome to offer it to the foneros at a social price at shop.fon but other than try to find your biking spot on google earth (from your previous bicycle blog video) i don’t know how to reach you.


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skynet on July 6, 2007  · 

Henrik, nothing news…
Check out Raccoon On Map … which shows you how to use your Nokia device linked with a bluetooth gps device & gprs uplink to send your coordinates to a google maps mash up…

Track The White Rabbit accross town 🙂

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Henrik Ahlen on July 6, 2007  · 

Skynet: of course this is not new, everything has been done already (almost) but as usual it is not about being first, it is about creating a service that is easy enough for a majority to use, and get the word out. FON enables this. And positioning services is still unknown to 95% of the general public and they are not aware that they have any big ned for anything else than finding there whereabouts. So a lot of evangelism is needed!

/Henrik 🙂

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skynet on July 6, 2007  · 

Mobile operators can also locate you using your cellphone/mobile phone and the cellid of the mobile antenna…
and hence almost every habitant of this earth has allready an avg 1.2 cellphone in his pocket…. and 90% doesn’t even turn it of at night… they are fairly easy to locate using the hlr services of a provider… Currently only police services are using them but you can use it for traffic measurement as well… 🙂
and indeed it should be evangelised but then you have these “privacy” concerns…
(look at Google Street View 🙂

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