Chinese predictive test company Zi Corporation has launched a user interface application that takes users direct to the applications on their phone. Using Zi's expertise in predictive text technology, the Qix UI software prompts a user with either a contact or application after just one, two or three key strokes.

For instance, typing in just the number 5 would initially bring up any contacts beginning with the letters j,k,l as well as any phone numbers beginning with the number 5 or applications on the phone beginning with the letters jkl. Type in another number and the selection is defined only to the contacts, numbers and applications that begin with the text equivalents of those two numbers.
Mobile Europe has trialled this technology and has found one of the chief advantages is that the system tends to lead to a contacts-first mode of working. So rather than opening up messaging, selecting text, getting a blank text template up and then entering recipient and details, instead a couple of clicks means a contact is brought straight up on the phone display. Click options and you are asked if you would like to call, text, MMS this contact. Choose what you want to do and away you go.
Of course, the advantages of this to operators would be that as more applications are added to phones, this would be a good way of making them visible to end users, rather than expecting the user himself to go and search out the application from the menu.
One slight drawback to that is that although the "What would you like to do with this contact" approach works well, and inputting the letters required to take you direct to an application also works, the software is less fully integrated with the phone when it comes to changing the settings and profiles of the phone itself.
For instance, when you get a new phone one of the things you might like to do is find which ringtone you'd like. It would be nice if typing in 7,4,6 would bring up RIN, for ringtone, which it does. But then when you click on this you are presented with a "Help" file telling you about Ringtones and how to set them up etc, rather than taken directly into the available options themselves. Linda Wu, Zi Corp's marketing director said this was something the company was working on.
Zi's Qix was tested on a Nokia 7610, meaning of course it is built for Series 60 on a Symbian OS. Support for Windows Mobile and Palm OS based phones is in the pipeline, Linda Wu, ??, said. Qix is a C++ application that takes up about 400k of memory. The company's predictive text application is about 500k.

Chinese manufacturer ZTE has said it will win deals with European operators in 2005 for handset supply and for 3G WCDMA and CDMA equipment.

Although the vendor was unable to announce any contracts yet with European operators, aside from a trial in Spain with Telefonica, ZTE said it would be taking its 3G technology on the road, highlighting its three new W-CDMA handsets and v.3 WCDMA network infrastructure.
The vendor announced four new WCDMA products -- three handsets and a PC data card. One of the these, the F808 was billed as the world's smallest WCDMA handset. Not as trivial a differentiator as it might sound in a market which has seen consumers turned off by some clunky models.
Handset size apart it is still price upon which ZTE, like fellow country vendor Huawei, is competing in the market. Although the company played coy on the price of its handsets, it confirmed to Mobile Europe that it would be significantly cheaper than European and US rivals in terms of network equipment.
"We are very competitive," spokesman Cheng Lin said, "It's a native advantage of being a Chinese company that we are used to price competition." There's also the small matter of vastly lower labour costs, of course. But although Lin was happy to confirm that the company would make its first pitch on price, he said that cost alone would not be enough to win contracts. ZTE is well aware it needs to provide evidence of its ability to provide after sales service and support, and continuing product innovation, Lin said.
But his conclusion that "Our main advantage is cost," left it in no doubt as to what the message will be on that roadshow.
ZTE also confirmed the identity of its OEM partner for its CDMA radio technology. To no-one's surprise the widely leaked news that Alcatel is to include ZTE CDMA technology within its CDMA solutions was confirmed by Sylvie Richir, vp of Alcatel's broadband access product division. Richir also said that one of the first targets for Alcatel would be the 450MHz operators in the "emerging" markets in Europe. The old analogue 450Mhz band is providing a gateway for CDMA into central and eastern Europe, and Alcatel now has a play at the radio access level.

Being part of the FreeMove alliance has resulted in a 30% increase in the number of bids for multinational companies' (MNC) business, and a 40% increase in bids won, Cynthia Gordon, Orange Business Solutions' marketing director, said.

Gordon said that FreeMove's multi-territory offering meant that customers that would not previously have considered a mobile strategy have started to come to do business with the operator, and she credits the alliance strategy for pulling in recent contracts worth tens of thousands of connections.
FreeMove is an alliance between Orange, T-Mobile, Telefonica and Telecom Italia Mobile, and it provides a single point of customer access to a corporate customer, while providing a service that looks and feels the same to customers, wherever they are in the FreeMove footprint. It means the operators have had to do a lot of work on how they will manage bids and resolve roaming issues. In short, who gets the money!
So are all the operators playing nicely? Well Gordon admits that there are "always challenges", hinting that a lot of work has been done on bid management issues, but says that on the whole things have worked out OK.
Another plus for Orange, and an area it continues to be considerably more excited about that other operators, is M2M. Orange has just done a deal with Siemens to enable it to provide service to Siemens' M2M modules. Siemens has about a 305 market share of the M2M module market, and a large utility and professional services capability, so this is a big deal for Orange. Gordon says it means the operator no has 90% of the addressable M2M market in its sights.
Of course, at first glance, telemetry doesn't look very profitable or exciting for network operators. It gives them a slight uptick in data traffic, small bursts perhaps at times when the network is otherwise under-utilised. But Gordon says its M2M service is important because it is just that, a service. When Orange consults with companies on the benefits of M2M -- for example allowing remote diagnostics, ordering, pay as you go usage models for office machinery or car use -- it "moves it up the value chain" according to Gordon. This is important for an operator because, as Gordon admits, a mobile operator is not always the most obvious IT partner. But Gordon has said that in at least one major instance (Norwich Union) the operator has won valuable voice business on the back of impressing the client with its M2M strategy.

Mobile email seems to be an area rich in accusations of patent infringement and misappropriation of intellectual property.

Market leader Research In Motion acquired something of a reputation for its willingness to protect what it saw as its intellectual property, and now competitor Visto has added to its own allegations against Seven by filing a similar claim against Smartner.
The likes of Visto, Seven and Smartner offer push email software that can be installed on mobile phones and PDAs, as well as host servers.
 True push email that doesn't require synchronisation with the PC or server email software is seen as a must have application for mobile operators, and the addressable market for those that supply the enabling technology is huge. It seems, however, that making money out of suing each other, or attracting a buyer, is an attractive business strategy too.
Visto said in a statement that Smartner is infringing five of its 22 patents, The patents in question, the company said, are patents which describe systems and methods for securely synchronising multiple copies of a workspace element in a network, and the use of a global translator to synchronise workspace elements across a network.Â
Daniel Mendez, vice president and CTO of Visto Corporation, said,  "Smartner's attempt to misappropriate our industry-leading technology for their own gain hinders fair competition, inhibits true innovation, and ultimately creates confusion among customers and partners."
Smartner said it has not "been provided with an opportunity to refute the allegations prior to the complaint" but added that it denies any infringement of Visto's asserted patents. "Smartner sees no reason or merit in the allegations, and will defend vigorously its own innovation. Smartner highly respects the intellectual property of others and expects the same in return," it said.
The company accused Visto of running scared of its intention to enter the United States (Visto's home market). The European company also noted that Visto's motion for a preliminary injunction against Seven had been denied, although that case is still pending.
Smartner's ceo Paul Hedmand recently appeared put his company in the shop window by telling ComputerWire "Nokia should have bought RIM five years ago ... Now they regret they didn't. But they're now in a similar situation with Smartner now to what they were with RIM then ... It's now Nokia versus RIM. RIM should put in a bid on Smartner," he said.
A Smartner spokesperson said Hedman's comments had been  misinterpreted. Hedman was merely attempting to emphasise the strength of Smartner's market threat to RIM, he claimed. In the same way that Nokia had underestimated Blackberry, Hedman had tried to explain, RIM could not not afford to ignore Smartner.
All the wireless email vendors can legitimately claim some success.
Meanwhile Blackberry continues to develop its own device portfolio as well as licence its software to other device manufacturers as Blackberry Built-in.
All of the vendors either claim to or in fact do support the major smartphone operating systems, and are beginning to push into the mass market. Operators and the handset manufactures appear to be keeping their operations open, but for the time being   creating "confusion among customers and partners" does not seem to be the sole preserve of Smartner.

Sony Ericsson is launching a Bluetooth device that can be plugged into a HiFi or television, allowing music or clips stored on a memory card to be played on those devices.

The idea is for customers to use their mobile phone as a remote control device, slotting the memory card into the "Bluetooth Media Centre MMV-200". Other users with Bluetooth in their phones could also communicate with the MMV-200, Sony Ericsson said. 
The messaging behind the idea "Turn your phone into an entertainment hub" confirms that device manufacturers as well as operators are thinking of ways to make the mobile phone the principle device in a converged multimedia world. Sony Ericsson says the device will be available in the second quarter of 2005.
This principle was emphasised by other product launches from the phone manufacturer, which included a cable for connecting phone to stereo, and a stereo hands free set for listening to music stored on the phone. Sony Ericsson also launched a camera flash attachment for camera phones.
Finally, the company said it would be incorporating Fast port connector technology into a range of mobile phones and accessories, allowing for higher data transport speeds.
l Sony Ericsson has launched a Walkman branded phone.
The W800 is the Walkman phone, and includes a 2Megapixel camera, is supplied
with stereo headphones and  is compatible with MP3 and AAC music file formats. The as-supplied 0.5GB Memory Stick Duo gives capacity for around 150 music tracks, with Disk2Phone software supplied for getting tracks from PC to the phone

Research from O2 suggests that corporate mobile spend will grow eight times faster than conventional IT investment in 2005, as a third of enterprises plan to increase mobile spend by 20% or more against an underlying IT growth trend of 2.5%.

A study conducted by Quocirca on behalf of O2 conducted interviews with 100 IT and communication decision makers from a cross-section of industries in the UK.
Many company mobile email and data trials initiated in 2004 will come to fruition in 2005. 70% of businesses surveyed already have one or more wireless project in place; and 70% now have some level of mobile email rollout across the organisation as a whole, with 28% achieving either widescale rollout or a significant level of rollout.
38% of businesses now have some kind of mobile access to other business systems, with a further 25% expecting this to become an active area in 2005.
Despite the broad consensus on the increasing value of mobile, no one platform standard or device looks set to dominate in the short term. Instead businesses are predicting the continued deployment of a wide range of devices that reflects the range of applications and business roles that mobile working now supports.
Over 60% of those businesses interviewed plan to deploy 3G/GPRS cellular cards for laptops, with 25% anticipating widespread use throughout the organisation.
A further 50% anticipate that Mobile Windows-based PDA or wireless PDAs based on another platform will be deployed to some extent across the organisation, whilst over 40% expect to deploy BlackBerry for both email and other applications.
Interestingly for operators' enterprise strategies, over 70% of businesses are looking for tactical advice from operators on how to get the best from wireless devices and applications, while 30% are seeking broader strategic advice on technology and services.

T-Mobile has released financial figures for 2004 showng overall revenues up 10% to EUR25 billion, EUR7.7 billion of which it claimed as EBITDA.

The operator also said that customer numbers at T-Mobile International's majority-owned subsidiaries increased in comparison with the previous year, from 61.1 million to 69.2 million. Net customer additions ran at one million higher than in 2003.
T-Mobile Germany added 1.1 million customers in the year, 75% of which were contract subscribers, bringing its total customer base to 27.5 million. The operation returned an EBITDA margin of 40%, the operator said,
T-Mobile UK was the group's fastest growing European operation, with a 15.7% increase in customer numbers, a number which includes customers signed to the MVNO Virgin Mobile. EBITDA margin in the UK was up 7% to 31.5%, on revenues up just 1% at EUR4,344.
But it was the US operation which showed the most benefit, customer numbers increasing by 31%, and net revenues by 26.3%.

Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa (PTC), the Era network's Polish operator, is crediting the fact that it has one of the highest usage rates for data content in Central Europeon to its use of a SIM based service menu system from SmartTrust.

Since installing the platform in 2002, PTC has attracted nearly three million users to its portfolio of services, which include mobile banking, horoscopes, jokes, news and weather.
Using SmartTrusts' SmartaLaCarte system, these can be accessed irrespective of underlying handset or network technology, removing the dependency on WAP / GPRS enabled handsets to generate revenue from value-added data.
SmartaLaCarte allows mobile users to browse available content 'offline' by scrolling though service menus held on the SIM.
These menus can be built and managed remotely by the operator, to reflect newly available content, or to provide personalised services according to subscriber type (PTC's customers are also able to personalise their content menus using a web-based portal on PTC's website).
When users make a selection, content is pulled from the operator's server and delivered to the handset.
SmartTrust and PTC have been working together since 2002 to build a scaleable over-the-air delivery platform to build and manage SIM Application Toolkit service menus on customers' SIMs.
 Data is sent to the user over the SM (short message) channel where it is managed by the SmartTrust WIB --- a SIM interpreter and interface between the SIM card, applications and operator commands --- held on the SIM card. To date, around 250 million SIM cards worldwide contain the SmartTrust WIB.
"The increasing diversity of mobile technologies makes it a challenge for many operators to deploy data services that are accessible across all device and SIM types," James King, regional sales director, EMEA at SmartTrust, said.
"SmartaLaCarte cuts through this complexity, providing a common infrastructure for the delivery and management of revenue generating data services.
"Not only does the platform drastically reduce time to market for new services, but operators who use menu-driven services in this way report a three to ten fold increase in usage of existing data services."
The relatively low take-up of data services is often ascribed to customer confusion over the correct configuration of WAP and GPRS settings.

Rhode & Schwarz has introduced software that means two of its protocol testers can be used for analysing GSM to UMTS call handover.

The R&S CRTU-WA03 software option makes it possible to design  signaling tests that simulate different UMTS-to-GSM handover scenarios. Both voice and data transmission can be tested. The software is the expansion of the R&S CRTU-W protocol tester for UMTS.
Research and development laboratories of mobile phone companies and network providers need tools to test the interoperability of 2G to 3G networks in custom signaling scenarios. 
Users can perform such tests with the help of the GSM/GPRS/EDGE function library of the R&S CRTU-G protocol tester, which was integrated into the UMTS medium level application programming interface (MLAPI) as C++ modules.
As with the C++ MLAPI, these new modules can also be used in the GERAN protocol stack means of generating signaling scenarios at layer 3. All underlying channel structures are taken into account.

Calls it Pcket X-Press

HP has launched a designated push email solution for its iPAQ 6340 using software from Dialogs Software.

 HP strengthens its position in the mobile messaging market in Europe today by announcing Pocket X-Press, a "push" email solution for the HP iPAQ 6340. HP will offer this service in cooperation with Dialogs Software GmbH, which specialises in mobile data communication solutions.

Mailbox access and administration is an essential function of a mobile office. The hosted "push" email service powered by Dialogs offers instant delivery of new emails, the selective download of emails or the forwarding of attachments without previously downloading them. Users have anytime/anywhere connectivity to their SMTP/POP3 or IMAP4 format email accounts (such as Lycos, Yahoo or GMX) using the mobile GPRS service provider of their choice.

"The development of our latest mobile solution with Dialogs provides our customers with the top-notch service they have come to expect. The Pocket X-Press "push" email service enables our customers to access their data while out of the office and therefore remain productive," said Neil Dagger, Handheld and Wireless Device Manager, HP UK and Ireland.

Pocket X-Press is designed to increase productivity at an affordable price. All emails are compressed before transfer, therefore significantly enhancing transmission speed. The intelligent connection management of the Pocket X-Press client ensures a permanent connection to the "push" server. Pocket X-Press also enables browsing with end-to-end compression on the Internet. Future generations of converged iPAQs, including the upcoming HP iPAQ hw6500 Mobile Messenger, will also support this messaging service.

Easy Installation and Handling
Pocket X-Press has been specifically developed for the HP iPAQ h6340 and will be available for future HP converged products. Pocket X-Press software is simple to download and can be installed in minutes. No additional server installation is required and Pocket X-Press integrates directly into the operating system, supporting Pocket Outlook and Pocket Internet Explorer.

For less than £6 a month, Pocket X-Press offers "Push" email and fast web browsing for small business customers. The new service can be downloaded by customers in the UK from mid-March at www.ipaqchoice.com/email. Versions for additional countries will be available in mid-May.

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