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 Versions for additional countries will be available in mid-May.

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Sony Ericsson today announced a new family of Quad Band GSM/GPRS, Class 10 radio devices which delivers three
distinctly targeted products for M2M communications, telemetry and automotive applications. Sony Ericsson's new range of products provides developers and system integrators with a wealth of functionality and enhanced features to address a diverse application landscape and win customers that are tendering for today's leading M2M projects.

The launch includes the slimline GS64 for applications such as PDAs, Laptops, POS terminals and other portable or battery powered devices; the backwardly compatible GR64 as a high performance upgrade for those applications already using Sony Ericsson's current generation of GSM/GPRS devices; and the automotive grade GA64 to address the GSM cellular telematics market. Benefits offered across the family
include a compact design, Quad Band GSM/GPRS, Class 10, enhanced I/O and TCP/IP capability including USB for increased connectivity, powerful processor, enhanced memory with increased application space, and all are fully Type approved and lead free compliant.

Anders Franzen, Corporate Vice President and Head of Sony Ericsson Machine to Machine Communications said: "Our machine to machine customers seek fast development time in order to capture the market opportunity. Sony Ericsson's new product range gives integrators a head start by offering advantages that ultimately put critical design time on their side and position them for innovative, system cost optimized, product development. Since the M2M market is experiencing explosive growth, even exponentially in certain areas, our customers are looking to Sony Ericsson's M2M leadership and expertise to
provide the answers that will help them win."

Integration samples will be available from mid 2005.

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Sony Ericsson announces the D750 and K508 mobile phones exclusive to T-Mobile

Sony Ericsson today announces two new mobile phones, the D750i and the K508i Twilight Black, exclusively for T-Mobile's European markets, further strengthening its relationship
with this key network operator. In addition, the Z800i UMTS clamshell phone, announced earlier this month, will also be available from T-Mobile, though this will not be an exclusive agreement.

Both the D750i and K508i will be exclusive to T-Mobile and available in all T-Mobile's European markets.  The K508i is already shipping in some markets and will continue to roll-out during Q2, while the D750i will start shipping during Q2.  The Z800i, which is not exclusive to T-Mobile, will ship in Q2.

The D750i is the perfect mobile phone for short trips and holidays; it offers a 2 MegaPixel camera, MP3 player, FM radio and foreign language translation programme in one easy-to-use device, saving room in your suitcase or backpack. The D50i comes equipped with technical features common in stand-alone digital cameras such as Autofocus, 4x digital zoom, preflash with red eye reduction, an intuitive digital
still camera user interface and accessories such as a camera flash.

Thanks to its up to 38MB internal memory and the 64MB Memory Stick Duo(TM) included in the box, the D750i can store an impressive amount of images or music, memory can be further expanded as the phone is compatible with up to 2GB Memory Stick PRO Duo(TM).  The D750i offers Mobile Jukebox through T-Mobile's t-zones.

The K508i Twilight Black is an entertainment mobile phone with
premier content and great applications. Test your gaming skills with a virtual racing driver integrated 3D game or enjoy wallpaper and animated MMS templates ideally suited for the big 65K colour TFT play, which is also ideal for sharing messages and images with ends and family. Featuring an integrated MP3 player, VGA camera with 4x digital zoom and a range of exiting embedded games make the K508i the ultimate entertainment mobile.

The Z800i is ideal for using new 3G UMTS mobile broadband networks services, such as video telephony, Mobile Jukebox and video streaming and downloads. With an integrated 1.3 MegaPixel camera with Motion-Eye(TM), the Z800i also has breathtaking imaging capabilities, while fast data access and a wide range of connectivity options make this new clamshell phone especially suited to people who are heavy users of voice and data servies. The phone features a 2.2 inch 262,144 colours TFT display. Bluetooth(TM), infrared and a USB cable
connectivity, enable calendar, contacts and other data to be
synchronized quickly and easily via PC. The Z800i has a generous amount of storage giving it enough room for Java applications, e-mails, video clips, photos and music files.

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Expands Vodafone Germany contract, adds Tele2 in Norway

The European Computer Telecoms Group (ECT) has said that Vodafone Germany has extended its capacity for its Ring Back Tones (RBT) service following a successful first year. The service supplier has also announced Tele2 Norway as the latest operator to buy it RBT offering.

"Vodafone D2 is now vastly expanding its capacities for this value-added service based on ECT´s Ring Back Tone Application," a statement from ECT claims.

"The ring back tone service has been very successful across Europe and has emerged as a profitable application for mobile carriers," said Dr. Marshall E. Kavesh, CEO and co-founder of the ECT Group. "I am very pleased that the successes we predicted for this innovative service have been realised so quickly."

With the ECT Ring Back Tone Application, mobile subscribers can choose from various songs, jokes or other sounds to be played to their callers, while the familiar ring back tone is heard in the background. The service works regardless of who calls, and subscribers can configure their personalized ring back tone using a variety of user interfaces including web, WAP, interactive voice response (IVR), and SMS. Additionally, the application offers numerous tariff models for mobile carriers, ranging from a fixed monthly fee to fees per transaction.

ECT has deals with Tele2 across Europe andf ollowing the launch of its RBT service (Ringuppsignaler) in Sweden in May 2004, the Tele2 Group is now rolling out Ringoppsignaler in Norway, but using the Swedish installation to support the Norwegian service.

"Now, with a centralised installation for the ring back tone service in Sweden, the service will be delivered to Tele2´s customers in Norway as theapplication supports country-specific network and user interfaces as well as local currency and content. As a result, the service can be offered in additional countries with virtually no additional CAPEX and OPEX," ECT claimed.

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