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Photos: The new gadgets and tech services up Orange's sleeve

From softphones to stadiums
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By Jo Best on
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1 of 12 Jo Best/ZDNet

From softphones to stadiums

At Orange's biannual La Collection event in Paris, the mobile operator gives a sneak peek at the technology set for future release.

silicon.com went along to the 10th La Collection event last week to take a look at the gadgets and services set to make their way into consumers' hands in the coming months and years.

Photo credit: Jo Best/silicon.com

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2 of 12 Jo Best/ZDNet

Last week saw the operator unveil a software application called ON.

ON aggregates communications with a users' contacts from a variety of sources - text messages, IMs, social networking sites, Twitter and others - and groups it together on their mobile phone.

It also lets users drag and drop their contacts who also use ON into groups - such as work colleagues or friends - and publish status updates to the separate groups accordingly. Pictured above is an ON homescreen with four separate groups.

ON can also set preferences on how contactable a user is to each group - for example, the phone can be set to silent for all calls except those from individuals in the friends group.

ON will be available to Android and iPhone users this year, and to Symbian and Windows Mobile in 2010.

It will also be available to users of other networks and over the web.

Photo credit: Orange

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3 of 12 Jo Best/ZDNet

Next year will also see the introduction of a new Orange mobile homescreen.

It will allow users to choose the people they stay in contact with most frequently and have them appear on the homescreen, shown above.

Users can then call or text their chosen contacts directly from the homescreen, or use it to view the texts, voicemails or missed calls from that person.

The updated homescreen will appear in new phones in France from 2010, with other countries expected to follow.

Photo credit: Orange

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4 of 12 Jo Best/ZDNet

La Collection also saw Orange unwrapping its softphone software, due for release in the middle of next year in France.

The software, available as a downloadable app for Android, iPhone, Symbian and Window Mobile, allows users to answer incoming calls to their home phone on their mobile using wi-fi, or make VoIP calls from their mobile using their home broadband line.

Photo credit: Orange

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5 of 12 Jo Best/ZDNet

Another wi-fi-focused piece of software on Orange's list is the Orange TV Player, shown here working on an HTC device.

French users with an unlimited TV package from Orange will soon be able to watch any of their favourite programmes on their phone using wi-fi.

Orange TV Player, which previously only showed TV programmes using mobile networks, will be wi-fi compatible from the first quarter of next year.

Photo credit: Jo Best/silicon.com

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6 of 12 Jo Best/ZDNet

Also set to debut in Orange's home territory of France next year is this gadget, the Livephone Touch.

As well as the traditional home handset, the Livephone Touch also has a touchscreen for multimedia content.

Users can get access to mobile-like functions such as address book, text messaging and visual voicemail, it can also be used to browse the internet and send links or information - such as weather forecasts or venue details - to contacts.

It can also be used to set up three-way calling.

Photo credit: Jo Best/silicon.com

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7 of 12 Jo Best/ZDNet

The mobile operator also demonstrated a concept entertainment hub, called the Orange Box, at the event.

The aim of the device is to blend web content with TV programming - for example, allowing users watching TV news to access content on the same story through a newspaper's website.

Here, a TV equipped with an Orange Box is accessing YouTube. The box's remote control uses a laser pointer to allows viewers to point and click on links on screen.

Photo credit: Jo Best/silicon.com

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8 of 12 Jo Best/ZDNet

Orange is also hoping to dream up new applications for M2M (machine-to-machine) tech - where two or more bits of kit swap data between them without the need for human intervention.

It had one use for the tech on show, using the vending machine shown above.

Photo credit: Jo Best/silicon.com

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9 of 12 Jo Best/ZDNet

Thanks to M2M, vending machines embedded with SIMs can use mobile networks to report when they're experiencing a malfunction and their location.

The owner of the machine can see where the affected machine is on a map - as seen above - and then dispatch the nearest engineer to fix it.

Photo credit: Orange

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10 of 12 Jo Best/ZDNet

Orange has created a smaller SIM - pictured below a SIM used in a typical mobile phone - to enable a wider range of objects to be used in M2M applications.

Photo credit: Jo Best/silicon.com

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11 of 12 Jo Best/ZDNet

Orange also showcased a mobile system that's being trialled with Stade de France, the country's national stadium.

The Stade de France is piloting mobile ticketing using NFC: sports fans receive a ticket to their mobile which they validate at the ticket gates by swiping their mobile against a contactless reader.

Photo credit: Orange

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12 of 12 Jo Best/ZDNet

The gates at the Stade de France can scan mobile as well as paper tickets.

Photo credit: Orange

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