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Wireless Networking Communications Handhelds Hardware

GPS Cell Phone in Soda Can Form 301

Myko writes " reports that Coca Cola has unleashed a new GPS enabled cell phone for a new promo. Apparently the user will push one button which will auto dial a Coke rep that will tell them they won an SUV. They'll then press and enable the GPS and the prize squad will drive to their location with the prize. So the big question is, will the phone give off any residual waves that will allow custom made detection equipment to find the right 12 pack, similar to the tilt and win iTunes trick? :)" We mentioned this last year, but it wasn't clear how the GPS-in-a-can trick was going to work.
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GPS Cell Phone in Soda Can Form

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  • Cola Contests (Score:5, Informative)

    by bobej1977 ( 580278 ) * <> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @10:55AM (#9073395) Homepage Journal
    Presumably, they're smart enough to not turn the thing on until you pushed the button. Your coca-cola probably gets bottled in your town or a nearby small town. My town of 100k has it's own bottler. They'll know which districts are getting a can so that their prize patrols can be ready.

    On a side note, I went to school with a kid who won a Jeep in the Pepsi contest where each cap had a word and you had to make phrases. The phrase was like 'DO IT' or something. The Jeep had a ton of pepsi stickers all over it and the contract he signed required that he could not sell it or remove any of the stickers for one year. Of course he had to pay the tax on the $20,000 vehicle before they would hand it over. Still better than a kick in the pants, but it's amazing the hoops they make you jump through.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:05AM (#9073539)
    Back in Junior High. I put my 50 cents in the machine, and out popped a slightly larger can with some red markings on it. (not a regular looking coke can.) I pulled the top off, and inside was a Coke T-Shirt and 50 cents to get another coke. Pretty cool back when I was in junior high, but I kind of wish it was an SUV.
  • Re:Cola Contests (Score:2, Informative)

    by JPM NICK ( 660664 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:07AM (#9073558)
    I believe the way it works is that the monetary amount of your prize gets added to your yearly income. then, you get taxed on that. So if you make 60,000 per year, and win a $40,000 car, you will then have made 100,000$ for the year. then you will lose whatever percent from your income tax bracket.
  • by Jtheletter ( 686279 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:12AM (#9073611)
    I doubt very much these phone cans will be always on, more likely when you press the button to make the call it also turns on the device so simply waiving an EMF detecting device around a coke display probably won't work.

    Still, the phone inside will be conductive, and in fact have an antenna of some sort to transmit the signal. A basic metal detector should be able to distinguish between an empty aluminum can and one containing a gps phone because of the differrence in inductance. Waiving around a beach-sized metal detector might not be such a good idea but it's not too hard to build your own [] hand-held unit.

    Unfortunately this approach would require you to pretty much scan an entire display up close. Anyone with more knowledge of gps and cell phones have an idea of how to detect the components even when they're powered down?

  • Re:Cola Contests (Score:5, Informative)

    by SoCalChris ( 573049 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:15AM (#9073637) Journal
    I won a Honda Civic on the radio a few years ago, here in Los Angeles.

    Before I could even take possesion of the car, I had to pay sales tax, title & registration - About $2,000.

    In addition to that, the value of the car was added to my yaerly earnings. Honda had to report the value of the car to the IRS. They reported it as being a $21,000 Civic. Of course, fully loaded Civics can be bought for much less than that, so the IRS allows you to do a fair market adjustment, and only be taxed on what you would have paid for the car had you bought it. I was able to knock it's value down to around $15,000.

    When I had to do the taxes for that year, the $15,000 added to my income because of the car put me into the next highest tax bracket, and I ended up owing just over $6,000 in income taxes since I hadn't taken out any withholding for the additional income.

    I ended up selling the car to pay the taxes, but I had a pretty good, reliable car for almost a year that I put almost 40,000 miles on.

    If any one is interested, here's a picture of the car I won. Blink 182 Civic []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:19AM (#9073685)
    It's a complete misnomer that the phone companies have been spewing the past year or so. It's not GPS but rather triangulation of the phone from the cell towers. It's GPS-like in that it can tell you about where you are but it's NOT GPS. GPS requires line of sight to several of the 14 GPS satellites which you wouldn't get inside a building or even in a metropolitan area with high-rise buildings all around.
  • Nokia? (Score:5, Informative)

    by earthloop ( 449575 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:24AM (#9073744) Homepage
    Looking at the FCC docs, and this one [] in particular. The is a photo of the bottom of the can. On the bottom is a label, on this is text that says "Made in Finland". What the betting that the device has been made by Nokia?
  • by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:30AM (#9073825) Homepage
    If it's like my cell phone, it's a crippled form of GPS. The phone can receive signals from the GPS constellation but it doesn't have the electronics required to decode and process them. Instead, the GPS data is relayed to the cellular company's cell site, which has the equipment needed to calculate your position.
  • Re:This is nothing (Score:3, Informative)

    by ( 450073 ) <> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:31AM (#9073840) Homepage Journal
    Another satisfied Sprint customer, I see.

    I've been with Sprint for about 3 years now. I had an older model phone prior to this past fall and the range did suck for the most part. I have a much better model phone now. [] It's quite rare that I fall into a Roam Zone and I have a pretty good signal most places I go. I do still notice a fair amount of network delay once the night hours start, but it'll still dial after a few seconds pause.

    A lot of people complain about Sprint, but I've never had any major problems with them to make me want to switch.
  • Re:Cola Contests (Score:2, Informative)

    by x.Draino.x ( 693782 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:31AM (#9073847)
    Anyone remember the Slashdot car that was given away? I wonder if Slashdot had any clauses like that. It still has the logo and the green paint. The guy who won it wasn't even a *true* Slashdot reader. I see him driving it every once in a while in Clayton, CA.
  • by phayes ( 202222 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:36AM (#9073928) Homepage
    From the pictures of the test device in the FCC application [], it appears that the bottom of the "coke can" has a slot that contains the SIM card. It also looks like the "can" was assembled from two pieces.Coka-cola Corp may change the packaging to make it less visible than in the test device, but it may be possible to find winners by looking at the bottom.
  • by Miphnik ( 239859 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:41AM (#9074007)
    Incorrect. There are a number of single-chip GPS solutions (here [], (here [], and article here []), that are being integrated into GSM phones. There have been substantial problems reaching the FCC E911 requirements using only EOTD (Enhanced Observed Time Difference). And then there's the problem of those areas serviced by only a single cell, where the best location estimate only narrows the position down to an arc up to several miles long with radius x in one sector of the cell. Like long stretches of rural interstates, for example.

    That's not to say that GPS-based solutions aren't without their problems. Picking up a GPS signal indoors in a steel-framed building is a substantial challenge, even with assisted GPS (where the cell system itself provides additional timing information to improved signal acquisition).
  • Re:Cola Contests (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:00PM (#9074256)
    When I had to do the taxes for that year, the $15,000 added to my income because of the car put me into the next highest tax bracket,

    The "next highest tax bracket" just means you are taxed past your previous bracket at the higher rate. It doesn't mean that your entire income is taxed at that higher rate.

    You sound like you are exaggerating, or you severly screwed up your taxes for that year.
  • GPS-in-a-can trick (Score:3, Informative)

    by Embedded Geek ( 532893 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:01PM (#9074271) Homepage
    For once, I decided to RTFA and it appears (from reading between the lines) that the thing isn't inside a can, merely shaped like a can and placed inside the cardboard 12 pack box.

    This is good, because I was wondering how they how they were going to pull off the "GPS-in-a-Faraday-Cage trick." Forget winning an SUV - there would be a Nobel prize in physics for that one.

  • Re:Cola Contests (Score:3, Informative)

    by lucifuge31337 ( 529072 ) <daryl@introspect.ELIOTnet minus poet> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:28PM (#9074601) Homepage
    The tax that the winner would pay I believe is capital gains tax.

    Nice try, but not even close. You'd pay income tax, just the same as if you won the lottery, a slot machine, etc.

    Capital Gains tax is what you pay when you sell an inventment asset before it's holding period (if any) at a profit.
  • Re:Cola Contests (Score:3, Informative)

    by ptbarnett ( 159784 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:41PM (#9074757)
    Free money -- a prize, income that doesn't come from capital gains or a job -- gets taxed at a really high rate.

    No, it gets taxed at the same rate as ordinary income. It may put you into a higher tax bracket (and a higher marginal rate), but it's no different than if you had collected the cash value as salary or as a short-term capital gain.

    Being in the prize-winning business is basically self employment for the purposes of taxation, so you get dinged for all those taxes.

    No, lottery winnings are considered to be gambling income and a W-2G is issued. The distributor of any prize must issue a 1099-MISC to the recipient. Both end up on line 21 of the Form 1040 as "Other Income", and is not subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes.

    Disclaimer: IANACPA, but my girlfriend is. However, one can confirm all of the above by simply reading the on-line help included in TurboTax and creating a sample 1099-MISC and/or W-2G to see the effect.

    For most people who make >$30K a year, the amount starts to approach 45%.

    The payroll tax (for SS and Medicare) is 7.65% * 2 for the self-employed. In 2004, the marginal rate for single taxpayers with a taxable income over $29,050 is 25%, for a total of 40.3%. For taxable income over $70,350, the combined rate is 43.3%, and for taxable income over $146,750, the combined rate is 48.3%.

  • Picture of the "can" (Score:2, Informative)

    by GeRM_007 ( 627791 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @02:41PM (#9075932)
    Since so many people are speculating about what this "can" will look like, here is a picture of it. []

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