Telefónica Móviles is runnning live HSDPA-enabled services at 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, February 13-17, with an HSDPA solution based on Ericsson's commercial hardware and software.

The HSDPA-enabled network covers the 3GSM World Congress area and parts of the city, including hotels. Access to the services at 3GSM World Congress is enabled for selected users.

Mobile broadband ensures access to e-mail, on-line music, the internet and mobile TV anywhere. By exploiting the capabilities of HSDPA in the network, the services will have all the necessary prerequisites for mass-market uptake.

HSDPA, the first step in the evolution path of WCDMA, enables download data speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps, offers operators more than double the system capacity and reduces the response time for interactive services.

WCDMA is the dominant 3G technology, selected by eight of the world's ten largest operators. Ericsson expects that, by 2007, as many as 80 percent of all mobile subscribers will be served by the GSM/WCDMA family, in which Ericsson holds the leading position with a 35 percent market share.

And briefs on priorities - push email and music, not TV and S60!

By Keith Dyer, at 3GSM in Barcelona

"Traditionally we launch one smartphone a year," Mike Pauwels, Sony Ericsson's senior manager of global product marketing, told Mobile Europe, "so it may be a surprise to see this launch as well as the M600 bring an extra one to the market."

The K610  (Sony Ericsson loves those three numbers after the success of its T610) is "the lightest and most compact 3G phone out there" according to Pauwels. "The development is getting to the stage where you can distinguish between 2.5G and 3G," he said, referring to the phone's small form factor.

"If you look at the S700 which we launched a year ago with a 1.3 mega pixel camera on board, it was still quite bulky." (Ha! Bet that wasn't Sony Ericsson's line at the time - ed). "But such is the evolution this phone has a 2 mega pixel camera and still has a very compact and stylish form factor.

The phone is targeted at the "standard business user, who wants a discreet looking phone but with full connectivity options, including push email, bluetooth and an expandable memory."

Sony Ericsson has licensed Microsoft's ActiveSync so it can offer push email "in the long run" on its own proprietary OS-based devices, as well as its Symbian devices, Pauwels said. It will implement the OMA standard for push email as well, he added.

Adding a comment to the news that Vodafone may make Nokia's S60 its preferred platform, Pauwels said that the operator "hasn't said it doesn't like UIQ" (UIQ is Ericsson/ SonyEricsson's UI environment for Symbian phones). Asked if he could envisage Sony Ericsson licensing S60 to meet operator demands, he said, "We haven't made any announcements yet!"

Despite the TV buzz at 3GSM Pauwels said that he thought music was the greater immediate 3G opportunity, with TV to follow once music is sorted. He intimated that Sony Ericsson was still going through interoperability and useability testing for mobile TV. So does that mean that manufacturers that are launching TV phones are moving quicker than Sony Ericsson, or are doing so without having gone through interoperability testing?

"These devices on the market - do they have full channel selection, are the services and content available? This is one of those applications where all the key pieces need to be there."

There were still issues with codecs and DRM around music, he added, and once those were sorted operators would be in a stronger position to attack TV.

"The key buzzword at 3GSM is music, and we have not exploited the full potential yet," he said. "Codecs, DRM, dual delivery to phone and PC, these are key issues and 3G is the key enabler."

"If customers don't get a great experience first time they won't do it again."

Whither the OMTP?

By Keith Dyer at 3GSM in Barcelona

Nokia and Vodafone have announced that they will collaborate to "strengthen the S60 software platform's role in Vodafone's device portfolio."

A statement from the company said, "The collaboration will help Vodafone to offer new services more quickly to its customers by increasing the use of S60 as a standard software platform for mobile handsets worldwide."

So what is this all about? At one level this is about Nokia offering increasing customisation options to Vodafone. The companies said Nokia and Vodafone will develop a Vodafone-specific software complement on top of the S60 platform.

At another, it seems to signal that Vodafone has lost patience with efforts to standardise phone software performance and features, through its participation in the OMTP. Vodafone has form for this, preferring to take what it sees as the quickest route to market, rather than wait for formal standards to catch up. Indeed, its founding of the OMTP was seen as just such a move.

Lasty week, George Grey, coo of Savaje, which promotes a rival Java based OS, which he says would make it possible for Java applications to take on the "operator" look and feel with no further integration, said that he thought the OMTP was doomed as "certain" parties were setting it up to fail. Perhaps he knew something specific, or perhaps not, but this announcement can bear that interpretation.

The announcement is also bad news for non-Symbian OS based handset vendors. Nokia has realised that the battleground now is in the UI and the software platform on the phone. Using S60, one of only two UIs for Symbian (along with Ericsson's UIQ), it can keep control of handset markets in which it was threatened by open operating systems and an operator insistence on customisation.

If Vodafone decides that it will prefer S60 as its software load, then other handset vendors are looking at licensing Nokia's software if they want to talk to Vodafone. And if they want to license S60, it would help if they had a Symbian based phone.

And who dominates Symbian? Nokia. Granted, if Nokia want's to grow the addressable market, it may well push for a big reduction in Symbian licence fees, to push the OS into the mid and mass markets. But if the upside of that downside is the dominance of S60 at the UI and software load level, then it will be worth it to Nokia, which after all doesn't have to share S60 licences with its Symbian partners!

That Nokia sees this as the way ahead is evidenced in this section of the announcement:

"The collaboration also includes the expansion of the licensee base and increased portfolio penetration through open roadmap governance and establishes a strong independent brand position for both the S60 software and the supporting developer activities. In addition, Nokia and Vodafone are working jointly to promote independently licensable reference designs from semiconductor vendors to enable shorter time to market for new S60 devices."

This announcement seems to be a strong counter-punch by Nokia against those predicting the increasing growth of open OS and software platforms. And further evidence that Vodafone ploughs its own furrows when it comes to getting what it wants.

 

This time we mean business, COO says

Java based mobile operating system developer Savaje has a renewed focus for 2006, and will have commercial devices soon. "We're back," COO George Grey said.

Boosted by a deal from Chinese OEM/ODM GSPDA to produce a wireless PDA based on its OS, and by LG's commitment to trial the technology, Savaje has said it is back in the market to do real business in 2006.

Admitting the company had been in stealth mode since March of last year, Grey said the company has new invesment, and has finally moved from technology development to a customer facing business. In recent times the ceo, vp marketing, vp business development and other roles have all been new hires.

And the OS is ready and able to do the job of reducing development costs for OEMS and ODMs, and increasing revenues and data and content service take-rates for oeprators, Grey said.

Savaje OS' great claim is that because it is an all-Java based OS, from the kernel to the UI, it operates much more efficiently with the mainly Jave based applications in the mobile market. Java is more attractive to developers, Grey said, because it is a much more widely and more easily understood environment.

Its other great attraction is that it allows applications to take on the look and feel of the operator UI on the handset, without further integration or development. Development time and costs to meet Vodafone Live! specifications, for instance, are greatly reduced. And the operator saves its time producing its new specs every six months. Adopting a native Java OS also means OEMs don't need to develop their own proprietary OS, as they currently do. Further, rather than optimise a Java application for they OS, as the device platform is already Java, the application is essentially pre-optimised.

Of course, the drawback for Savaje OS is the dominance of Symbian, and, to a marginally lesser extent Windows Mobile, in the market. Grey argues that as Sybian is so important to Nokia, and Nokia has such market power, a new OS meets resistance. There have also been suggestions that the Java OS lacks some full smartphone functionality, and is a little big on the handset. Grey counters that its footprint is smaller than its rivals, using 32MB or RAM compared to the 64MB or 128MB its rivals consume.

But Savaje has been funded previously by Orange and Vodafone, indeed Vodafone has continued its investment. And Grey admits that some of the operators' motivation has been to use Savaje as a threat to Nokia and other vendors to toe at least some of the line on personalisation and customisation. But now, Grey claims, with Savaje OS based products set to become reality, that is about to change.

Admittedly, LG's committment is unlikely to bear fruit much before the end of 2006, even later if it decides to skip directly to 3G development.

But the story has moved on for Savaje and will be worth watching through the year.



Mobile market measurements to monitor the audience for media, content, messaging and downloads.

A company that monitors moblie markets, producing detailed reports on just who has used what services on what handsets and networks, is expanding into major Western European markets in 2006.

M:Metrics, which has been producing syndicated market data for mobile operators, their partners and clients, in the USA for around nine months, and in the UK and Germany for three, is adding, in the second quarter of this year, France, Spain and Italy to the markets it has under surveillance.

M:Metrics gathers its information by polling 5,000 different users each month in a given market. Using a market research company to carry out demographically balanced online polls, the company asks users which handsets they have, which services they have used in the past month and so on. Added to this the company is continously updating a complete database of which handsets are available on which netoworks, what OS and applications platforms they run etc It also monitors what services an operator offers, what it is promoting on-portal, what it's market share is in a market.

From this, the company can produce detailed reports which benchmark the performance of handsets, services and operators against the market.

For instance, as a result of its December survey into the UK and German markets (the reports will now go monthly) M:Metrics found that 1,664,000 users in the UK downloaded a mobile game in the month, twice the number of German subscribers to do so.

But the numbers can go so much deeper. A subscriber to the results could see which games were downloaded, onto which handsets on which networks, on which developer platforms using which gaming engines. You could, for instance, compare uptake of those on Brew and Java, or a Nokia versus a Sony Ericsson.

The uses are obvious. Operators can use the information to benchmark themselves against their competitors. Media and content partners can see which are the best platforms and channels to give their product maximum exposure.

As M:Metrics was established by people with a background in media monitoring and measurement, as well as mobile, and is part-funded by and giant advertising company, you can see where this is going. As content grows and mobile advertising becomes a reality, the need for a reliable monitoring tool tracking investment will be palpable.

Of course, the potential downside is that M:Metrics' information is unreliable or unrepresentative. The samples could be wrong, people could lie in their surveys, the results could give a false impression of actual market activity.

But managing director Herve Le Jouan said that the company would soon be found out if that were the case. An operator would quickly be able to see if its own projected numbers were wrong, he argued, and so would lose trust in all the other stats. But if an operator looks at user numbers for a service and it tallies with its own records, then trust is established.

In the US, the company has had to change just three metrics in its time in operation, he claimed. In one instance, online companies providing mobile IM services thought M:Metrics' projections were high, compared to their own experiences. The company was able to change its questioning to eradicate false positives, where people were claiming erroneously to have used mobile IM.

At the moment the service has 50 subscribers in the US, where $75,000 gets you three users, with one being a designated power user able to request additional detailed reports and information.

In Europe, with a larger area to survey and sample, the cost will be nearer $120,000 for three seats, Le Jouan said.

External Links

M:Metrics

Demos in Barcelona

BridgePort Networks, the leader in MobileVoIP convergence, announced that it will be showcasing the first instance of seamless IMS voice call handover between GSM and Wi-Fi Networks during the 3GSM World Congress.

BridgePort Networks has successfully completed interoperability of its NomadicONE IMS Convergence Server (ICS) with a commercial IMS Call Session Control Function (CSCF) platform and multiple Mobile Switching Centers (MSCs) and other associated network infrastructure components.  IMS is a platform that can be used by operators to flexibly develop and deploy a range of multimedia services for 2.5G and 3G mobile networks.

BridgePort Networks’ NomadicONE ICS IMS-based fixed-mobile convergence solution provides mobile providers, fixed providers, cable providers and MVNOs the ability to offer single phone number voice services that can seamlessly hand over in-process voice calls between circuit-switched cellular and Voice-over-IP over Wi-Fi access networks.

The solution conforms to technical requirements recently ratified by the standards bodies 3GPP and 3GPP2 for IMS to circuit switched seamless voice handover, known as Voice Call Continuity (VCC). The NomadicONE ICS is a specialized application server in the IMS architecture that supports GSM, CDMA and UMTS networks, and implements the IMS Controlled Model (ICM) method of handover per 3GPP technical requirements and, for CDMA2000 networks, the Call Transfer Model (CTM) method of handover per 3GPP2 technical requirements.

In addition, NomadicONE ICS adds a number of optional advanced capabilities including Home Location Register (HLR) access for single registration and enhanced supplementary services support and mobile messaging support over Wi-Fi.

“Fixed-mobile convergence is the key business case for IMS deployment”, said Mike Mulica, President and CEO of BridgePort Networks. “Seamless voice call handover conforming to IMS 3GPP technical requirements between mobile and Wi-Fi networks is ready for market trials today. It can be commercially deployed this year and is supported by both handsets for both mass consumer and enterprise markets.  The revenue driven by these converged voice services will outweigh those of all other IMS applications.”

A growing number of dual-mode cellular/Wi-Fi handsets are compatible with the single phone number and seamless cellular to Wi-Fi handover capabilities of the IMS solution incorporating NomadicONE ICS. These include:

·       GSM/Wi-Fi - Microsoft Windows Mobile devices from HP targeting the enterprise and small form factor, low cost Linux smartphones from E28, suitable for mass consumer use.

·       CDMA/Wi-Fi - Microsoft Windows Mobile devices, with feature phones in active development.

For these devices a number of client software companies have implemented support for single number dual-mode telephony, SIP-based VoIP, security and seamless handover, including BridgePort Networks’ partners: E28 and PCTEL. 

Plan B ready to go if an injunction is imposed

Research In Motion has announced it has has developed and tested software workaround designs for all BlackBerry handsets s in the United States.

Although there is no injunction order in place, and RIM believes it has strong legal and factual arguments opposing an injunction, RIM has developed these software workaround designs as a contingency to allow BlackBerry service to continue should the court implement an injunction in the current litigation involving the NTP patents.

"RIM remains pragmatic and reasonable in its willingness to enter into a settlement that would generously compensate NTP while protecting RIM's business and partners," said Jim Balsillie, Chairman and Co-CEO at Research In Motion. "NTP's public offer of a so-called 'reasonable' license, however, is simply untenable. It comprises illusory protection for RIM and its partners and requires a lump-sum payment for the theoretical life of the patents even though the US Patent Office is expected to nullify them.

"RIM's workaround provides a contingency for our customers and partners and a counterbalance to NTP's threats. This will hopefully lead to more reasonable negotiations since NTP risks losing all future royalties if the workaround is implemented."

RIM's Workaround Strategy

RIM says there are only nine claims relating to three NTP patents remaining in dispute and those claims are only directed to specific implementations of certain aspects of the BlackBerry products and services.

As a result, RIM says it has been able to modify its underlying BlackBerry message delivery system to "work around" the NTP patent claims. The company said the development of this modification required "substantial R&D effort" and willrequire software updates in the event of an injunction.

RIM says that its legal guidance is that its workaround does not impinge on any of NTP's patent claims.

RIM has incorporated the workaround designs into a software update called BlackBerry Multi-Mode Edition. RIM has also filed new patent applications with the Patent Office to cover its workaround designs. BlackBerry Multi-Mode Edition is capable of operating in different modes that can be remotely activated by RIM through its Network Operations Center (NOC).

 In the absence of an injunction, the software and the underlying message delivery system can continue to run in "Standard Mode" (identical to the manner in which the current BlackBerry software and system operate) and the workaround will remain dormant. In the event of an injunction, RIM says it will be able to remotely activate "US Mode" via its NOC and the workaround designs would automatically engage for each handset containing the Multi-Mode Edition software update.

3.6 Megabits per second mobile service at 3GSM World Congress

Nortel and Vodafone Spain will be demonstrating mobile calls at 3.6 Megabits per second at the 3GSM World Congress.  At these rates customers have access to higher speed broadband than the majority of European fixed broadband connections operating at 2 Megabits per second, providing truly mobile broadband connectivity while 1.8 megabits per second will initially be rolled out commercially.

Nortel has upgraded Vodafone Spain’s UMTS network covering the world congress location in Barcelona to deliver live HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access) services to a select number of customers’ handsets and laptop datacards across the 3GSM world congress event. Both Vodafone Spain and Nortel will use the HSDPA network to support demonstrations for customers and organisations about the mobile services that they can expect to benefit from when the solution is rolled out.

In addition, further demonstrations of the potential of UMTS services in spare spectrum at 900MHz will be given at 3GSM to illustrate its potential use in delivering better mobile broadband coverage. Vodafone and Nortel support the authorization of 900MHz for UMTS services in various European regions, including Spain, to increase the availability of mobile broadband services. UMTS in the 900 MHz band is a cost effective way of delivering nationwide high-speed mobile coverage by providing up to 60 percent site reduction savings in rural areas as well as improved Quality of Service through enhanced in-building penetration by 25 percent in urban areas.

Corporate demonstrations of HSDPA and UMTS will use 3G datacards in laptops to show how employees can use mobile broadband to stay connected to corporate networks and benefit from secure connectivity that provides instant messaging, large file data transfer as well as new applications for the mobile workforce. Demonstrations of the consumer applications for HSDPA will involve new handsets with high quality live TV, High Definition video on demand, MP3 streaming and presence awareness amongst groups of friends.

“Vodafone has seen a huge increase in the number of 3G (UMTS) users in Spain in the last few months, with Christmas being a very busy period,” said Fergal Kelly, Director, Global Radio & Access Networks, Vodafone. “Providing a clear evolution of these services in both speed, by upgrading to HSDPA with Nortel, and coverage, through the potential use of the 900MHz spectrum in Spain is vital to highlight where our services are moving and how we are going to continue to delight our customers into 2006 and beyond.”

“As we lead the transition of HSDPA from the laboratory into live, commercial, deployments, we are working hard with operators such as Vodafone to highlight the personal and work benefits increased broadband mobile coverage can bring,” said Alain Biston, Vice-President GSM/UMTS Portfolio at Nortel. “At 3GSM World Congress, we are aiming to show how to bring true Enterprise mobility and connectivity to Europe as well as how to deliver the entertainment services of the future.”

Predictive text now available on both Sybian UIs

Zi Corporation has extended the range of user interfaces (UI) supported by its  Qix™ service discovery engine to the UIQ platform. This announcement comes along one month after the company revealed improved ARPU statistics as part of its UK trial with Virgin Mobile.

Qix now supports two licensable UIs available for Symbian OS smartphones. Qix for UIQ will offer the same features and functionality as the Qix version for S60. Transferring the Qix solution across to UIQ enables Zi to extend the reach of Qix across a larger range of Symbian OS based phones.

“This is a significant step forward for Zi’s Qix technology and comes hard on the heels of the encouraging signs we are seeing from our trials with Virgin Mobile,” comments Zi Corporation’s chief technical officer and chief operating officer Milos Djokovic, “Qix now supports the two most important
user interfaces deployed in the smartphone market. The Qix service discovery engine has created interest from operators worldwide because of its proven ability to drive up service revenues. Extending Qix to encompass the important UIQ user interface is another step towards making Qix totally
ubiquitous.”

“As a leader in UI technology UIQ Technology recognizes the important role that Qix is playing in enabling fast and intuitive usage of the smartphone’s functions and feature” says Elisabet Melin, VP Marketing at UIQ Technology.
 
“Up to Q3 2005 almost 48 million Symbian OS smartphones had shipped worldwide,” said Simon Garth, VP of Marketing, Symbian. “Zi’s decision to enable Qix for the UIQ user interface will bring this advanced functionality to even more smartphone users.”

Qix is now supported on version 2.1 of UIQ, the platform utilized by the Sony Ericsson P910i.  Zi expects to extend support to version 3 of UIQ by the end of the year.

The recently launched UIQ 3 platform is an open software platform, based on Symbian OS, allowing developers to potentially target all UIQ 3 based phones from different manufacturers, using one single codeline.

intentÒ GamePlayer coupled with TI’s OMAP 2 processors

Tao Group will be demonstrating premium 3D gaming
content on Texas Instruments Incorporated’s (TI’s) OMAP 2 family of industry leading applications processors, opening up a new level of game experience to a broad range of mobile device users. The demonstration will be featured in the TI booth (Hall 8, B-14-B15) at 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Feb 13-14.

The Tao intentÒ GamePlayer software platform has been optimised to work with TI’s OMAP 2 platform to deliver a gaming experience for mobile devices not previously seen outside of the dedicated gaming console market.

Announced earlier this month, the intentÒ GamePlayer is a high-performance, fully portable software platform that unlocks the native performance capabilities of the smartphone to deliver a compelling rich media experience.

The mobile games market is predicted to exceed $18 billion by 20091, with over 200m active gamers2. This will present a tremendous opportunity for game developers, operators and handset manufacturers.

“The mobile gaming experience has trailed some way behind consumer expectations, with a shortage of compelling 3D content. This is mainly due to the fragmented handset market which limits the potential return for game developers and network operators,” said Ray Burgess CEO of the Tao Group.
“The combination of the Tao intentÒ GamePlayer and TI’s industry leading OMAP applications processor family points the way to resolve this issue and deliver 3D games to consumers.”

“We are very pleased to be working with Tao to deliver compelling mobile 3G gaming to consumers. Texas Instruments is keen to continue to bring new and improved functionality to our handset customers and mobile users,” said
Bryce Johnstone, marketing and strategy manager of TI’s Cellular Systems Ecosystem. “This application demonstration is the first step to bring market making standards to the mobile gaming market.”

Both Texas Instruments and Tao are members of the Khronos Group, the industry body focused on creating open standards and APIs for the authoringand playback of rich media. Khronos recently announced the creation of an open standards working group for mobile gaming - the OpenKODE (Khronos Open
Development Environment) initiative. Both companies are supporting thisinitiative and contributing to the effort to establish industry standards.

Texas Instruments and Tao will be demonstrating the intent GamePlayer and OMAP2420 processor running rich content from major global games publishers at 3GSM Barcelona, 13-16 February.  Discover more at the Tao Roadshow, directly outside the main halls, locations AV20-25.

Subcategories