Crisp, the online child protection technology specialist, has established a partnership with AdaptiveMobile to offer its next generation anti-grooming software to mobile phone network providers.

AdaptiveMobile, provider of mobile subscriber protection for enterprises and individuals, has added Crisp's anti-grooming technology to its offering to further protect young people increasingly engaged in Internet-based conversations via mobile phone handsets.   

The addition of Crisp's technology to AdaptiveMobile's portfolio will enable mobile operators to expand the social networking capabilities of their networks whilst delivering a more responsible offering to customers.

By the age of 15 more than 90 percent of children own a mobile and 23 percent of three to six-year-olds use a mobile phone.  Mobile internet use has also seen a steep increase since 2003 with 21 percent accessing the internet on a mobile phone or PDA, which is up from 5 percent five years ago.

Crisp's technology will build upon AdaptiveMobile's existing Inappropriate Content and Parental Control systems.  AdaptiveMobile provide the ability to control inappropriate access SMS, MMS, email, IM, web and WAP services.

Crisp's technology does not restrict Internet access, but uses an approach to identify potentially-inappropriate instant messenger and social-network conversations, which can put young people at risk from online predators. Crisp makes sure parents are aware of unsuitable relationships while still giving children their online privacy. Parents are only alerted to dangerous relationships via SMS text messages.

Andrew Lintell, CEO of Crisp Thinking, said: "The opportunities for online conversation have increased dramatically as advanced mobile phone technology is offering similar quality Internet access to a home PC or laptop.  Quite simply, this means a device that may have been bought by parents to provide extra security could in fact offer abusers a direct link to children. Online groomers aim to isolate their victims and normalise their actions.  These tactics can be even more effective when a young person is using a device to communicate in more private and remote locations than any PC. 

"Crisp's technology goes so much further than website ‘blocking and locking'. Without taking away young people's freedom to explore the Internet, their parents can be safe in the knowledge that our systems are keeping an eye on who they are talking to, and more importantly, what is being said."

Lorcan Burke, CEO of AdaptiveMobile, said: "We have been providing per user controls to a number of operators and with the growth of Mobile IM it has been important for us to find a solution to the growing dangers of grooming using mobile platforms.   The introduction of Crisp's technology to the AdaptiveMobile solution, gives Mobile Network Operators the opportunity to dramatically increase the level of safety offered to their younger users. 

"It is important to realise that the busiest network time for phones owned by children is 10pm, which is generally when they have gone to bed.  This fact alone demonstrates how exposed young people are to potential threats.  Crisp's technology will play a major role in preventing unscrupulous and calculated predators establishing any kind of relationship with our children."

Opera has announced it has made Google the default search engine in Opera's mobile Web browsers. Anyone using Opera Mobile or Opera Mini can access Google's mobile search directly from the browser start page.
 
Google has been the default search option on Opera's desktop browser for seven years, and the new mobile collaboration covers all global territories except Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, and includes all of Opera's standard mobile Web browsers.
 
"Google and Opera have established a valuable relationship over the years and we look forward to continued collaboration on mobile products," said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera. "With 2008 poised to be the year the mobile Web goes mainstream, Google and Opera are extending this collaboration to give our users immediate access to the quality and convenience of Google's search results. We're excited to extend this productive relationship and we hope that the nearly 100 million people using our mobile products will agree."

Worldwide sales of mobile phones to end users surpassed 1.15 billion units in 2007, a 16 per cent increase from 2006 sales of 990.9 million, according to a report from analyst Gartner. Mobile phone sales at the end of the year were consistent with the yearly trend, as fourth quarter sales reached 330 million units.

"Emerging markets, especially China and India, provided much of the growth as many people bought their first phone," said Carolina Milanesi, research director for mobile devices at Gartner, based in Egham, UK. "In mature markets, such as Japan and Western Europe, consumers' appetite for feature-laden phones was met with new models packed with TV tuners, global positioning satellite (GPS) functions, touch screens and high-resolution cameras."
 
"After another strong year, we expect the growth in sales of mobile devices to end users will decelerate in 2008 and fall to about 10 per cent growth as mature markets become more saturated," added Ms Milanesi. "However, the global mobile devices market will remain relatively immune to a recession in the US and Western European economies as the majority of growth in 2008 will come from emerging markets.  The mature Western Europe and North America markets are driven by operator contract terms and replacement cycles and will account for just 30 per cent of the global mobile devices market in 2008."
 
Gartner says that Nokia achieved its long-term target of 40 per cent market share in the fourth quarter of 2007 when it sold slightly more than 133 million phones across the world. Despite some component shortages, Nokia increased its market share sequentially in all regions except North America, which remains a challenging market for the vendor. In emerging markets, products such as the 1110, the 1600 and the 2630 were in demand by consumers, while in mature markets such as Western Europe high-end phones like the N95, N82 and N73 were sought-after devices. In 2008, Nokia will need to continue to improve its portfolio, offering not only more applications and functions, but also novel designs and improved user interfaces.

In the fourth quarter of 2007, Samsung maintained second position, and although its market share slipped slightly, the gap widened between it and third-placed Motorola. Its success relied on its Ultra and Ultra II family of products. In 2008, Samsung needs to diversify its portfolio further with more form factors and colours so that single products stand out from the overall line-up.
 
The problems that beset Motorola in the third quarter of 2007 continued through the fourth quarter, and it recorded sales of 39 million phones across the world, taking 11.9 per cent of the market. It retained second place in terms of annual sales to end users in 2007, largely thanks to the inventory it disposed of in the first half of the year. Nevertheless, the extent of Motorola's troubles can be seen in the 9.7 percentage-points market-share drop in its fourth quarter of 2007 result from the same period in 2006.
 
Sony Ericsson ended 2007 with another positive performance, growing its market share on a quarterly basis to 9.0 per cent from 8.7 per cent. Its Cyber-shot and Walkman products, such as the K850i, K610i, W910i, K550i and W300i, remained popular among consumers around the world. As Sony Ericsson widens its reach, adding features such as Wi-Fi and GPS, as well as more low-tier products, it will stay competitive in the coming quarters.
 
LG's mobile phone sales totalled 23.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2007, maintaining its 7.1 per cent market share despite the increase of more than three million in sales volumes. The success of the Viewty, the Venus and the Voyager helped LG gain brand awareness across the world as well as improve its margins. Ms Milanesi commented: "In 2008, LG will need to continue strengthening its high-end portfolio for mature markets as well as its mid tier. In the low tier, LG will increasingly be challenged by vendors such as ZTE, which has already been eroding its market share in key markets such as India."
 
The market saw three new entrants into the top ten in the fourth quarter of 2007. These vendors included Research In Motion (RIM), ZTE and Apple. "On one hand, we have aggressive pricing and a focus on emerging markets (ZTE), and on the other, RIM with targeted functions and Apple with brand and design," said Ms Milanesi.
 
"Phone manufacturers need to continuously adapt their portfolios to respond to operators' demands for open platforms, lower pricing and more personalisation," recommended Ms Milanesi. "They should also try to meet consumers' desires for fashionable, easy-to-use phones."
 
Sales in the Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa region remained strong in the fourth quarter of 2007 and reached 61.8 million units. Mobile operators continued to add new subscribers to their networks, especially in Africa where countries such as Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria and South Africa saw healthy net new additions.
 
In the fourth quarter of 2007, mobile phone sales in Western Europe totalled 55 million units, up 2 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2006. Features such as music players, GPS and cameras proved to be significant attractions. In the same quarter, operators in Germany, the United Kingdom and France introduced Apple's long-awaited iPhone to the market. Although sales have been small, this iconic device renewed consumers' interest in high-end phones, which in most Western European markets are still heavily subsidised by operators.
 

Synchronica, an international provider of mobile email and synchronization solutions, has raised an additional $3.9 million to further fund its push into emerging markets with its mobile email and backup solutions. Its Mobile Gateway enables operators to offer push email on mass-market handsets for both consumer and business users, while Mobile Backup offers a backup and restore service for the personal information stored on devices.

This latest placing of new shares to institutional and private investors is in addition to the funding in January and brings the 2008 investment in the company to $7.5 million. The funds will be used primarily to expand Synchronica's sales and support functions in emerging markets including Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Commenting on the funding, Carsten Brinkschulte, Synchronica's CEO, said: "This new round of funding is important because it allows us to continue to strengthen our efforts in emerging markets. We have a robust pipeline of prospects in these regions and a first rate solution that truly offers mobile email for everyone, regardless of which phone they use. With these funds, and our recent announcement of the strategic partnership with Brightstar to distribute Mobile Gateway in over 50 countries across six continents, we are well positioned to offer mobile operators a ‘Blackberry for the rest of us'."

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) today announced the addition of 33 new members, bringing its global membership to close to 600 member companies. This is said to signify a more than 350 percent growth rate in membership in the past two years. 

Its membership base is said to represent some of the largest brands in the world, as the MMA continues in the development of guidelines and best practices to encourage the adoption of mobile marketing and ensure a positive consumer experience world-wide.  The MMA's Code of Conduct, Consumer Best Practices and Mobile Advertising Guidelines are also said to have helped to define the playing field for companies entering mobile marketing globally.

"Our MMA membership continues to proactively and collaboratively drive the adoption of the mobile channel world-wide," said Laura Marriott, president of the MMA.  "The MMA and its members have spent the last few years laying a solid foundation for growth and we look forward to making 2008 the year for mobile marketing globally.  We are particularly excited about our launch in Latin America and look forward to bringing our experiences in the creation of a sustainable channel for mobile marketing to our newest region."

Amdocs, a provider of customer experience systems, has today announced that mobilkom austria's newly founded subsidiaries in Serbia and Macedonia, known as Vip mobile and Vip operator, respectively, have deployed Amdocs Billing for convergent voice and data billing. Amdocs Billing is said to have enabled Vip mobile and Vip operator to set up billing operations quickly and ensure time-to-market advantages for current and next generation wireless services, including multimedia messaging services (MMS), video streaming and mobile commerce transactions.

Over the past decade, mobilkom austria has deployed Amdocs Billing across its Austrian, Liechtenstein and Slovenian subsidiaries. The operator has extended its relationship with Amdocs to support its new business needs in Serbia and Macedonia. The deployments in Macedonia and Serbia are the first Amdocs deployments in these regions.

"Amdocs Billing is helping us to achieve business excellence and to offer a compelling customer experience to the Serbian marketplace. In Macedonia, we were able to deploy Amdocs Billing in less than four months and rapidly grow Vip operator's market offerings and subscriber base," said Walter Goldenits, IT Director, mobilkom austria. "With mobilkom austria subsidiaries standardizing on Amdocs Billing, we can promote a consistent brand experience across the different regions while keeping operational costs low."

Amdocs Billing incorporates one rater for voice and data, and provides a single customer view across offerings.

"mobilkom austria is leveraging its existing investments in Amdocs Billing to support its regional expansion and establish group-wide common business processes in order to deliver a unified and intentional customer experience," said Charles Born, vice president of corporate communications at Amdocs. "This is a classic example of how a service provider can evolve its operating environment with our Customer Experience Systems Blueprint while driving low-risk deployments and cost of ownership advantages."

Tanla Mobile, a specialist in wireless application development, mobile billing and messaging solutions, has announced it has been selected by the European based mobile company Mliven,
to provide a mobile billing platform for the imminent launch of several of Mliven's mobile services in the UK.  Mliven is a specialist in mobile application and product development and has over 100 different mobile applications launched across Europe.  Mliven will immediately work with Tanla Mobile to launch several mobile gaming portals in partnerships with global mobile game publishers.

"Mliven has a proven track record in Europe and we are keen to create an official presence in the UK," explains Jan Rezab, President of Mliven. "In order to offer our services and applications to local consumers, we wanted to implement a flexible billing platform that enables us to monetise content and mobile internet search traffic. Having spoken to several suppliers, we chose to work with Tanla Mobile to deploy Payforit because they displayed unsurpassed technical knowledge, combined with a collaborative approach and an enthusiastic team."

Payforit is the new payment service, supported by all licensed UK mobile operators, designed to make it easy to pay for low cost services on the mobile phone. First announced in March 2006, the Payforit scheme has been developed by the operators to promote a trustworthy and consistent standard for paying by mobile, so that consumers can buy with confidence when they are making one-off payments or setting up subscription services via their phone. Tanla Mobile is one of the first Trusted Payment Intermediaries to offer PayForIt across all UK networks. It provides a complete PayForIt solution that helps digital content owners maximise revenues from content sales and increase consumer trust.

"Tanla Mobile is delighted to help innovative companies such as Mliven establish themselves in the UK market. Payforit represents the first step into mobile commerce, creating a whole new marketplace for mobile content," adds Gautam Sabharwal, Business Development Director, Tanla Mobile."Our Payforit platform will enable brands such as Mliven to actually convert customer interest and traffic on their mobile portals into customers' transactions, providing a simple, transparent billing mechanism that makes delivering cutting edge content painless."

Forthcoming improvements in mobile technology, such as better form factor and faster data speeds, are causing many retailers to think about adding a mobile commerce (m-commerce) channel in the next 12 to 24 months, according to research company, Gartner. However, in order to drive m-commerce revenues in the future, both retailers and m-commerce vendors must seriously consider how far consumers are willing to shop using their mobile phones.

"Focusing solely on driving m-commerce revenue will not deliver what customers are really looking for when using their mobile phones during the shopping process," said Hung LeHong, research vice president at Gartner. "Retailers developing a B2C mobile phone strategy must enable a multichannel shopping process as well as driving m-commerce revenue."
 
Mr. LeHong said that a few of the more-likely shopping activities that consumers will want to do on their mobile phones, such as finding stores and checking prices, will be provided by portals and price comparison engines. He advised retailers to ensure that they were aware of the options that exist in working with these portals, mobile map providers and comparison engines.
 
Gartner recently undertook a survey of more than 2,000 consumers in the U.S. and the U.K. to assess the likelihood that they would undertake a variety of mobile shopping activities, from price checking and product browsing to ordering and paying for a product from a mobile phone.
 
Key survey findings included:
 
  a.. Consumers are more likely to shop rather than to buy from a mobile phone. In the U.S., consumers were twice as likely to check for prices of items as to buy items from their mobile phone (24 percent were likely to check price, and 12 percent were likely to buy on a mobile phone). U.K. consumers posted similar responses (18 percent check price and 11 percent buy).
  b.. Checking item prices and finding stores are two shopping activities particularly suited to consumers on the go. These two activities were in the top three activities to be done on a mobile phone in both the U.S. and U.K.
  c.. Openness to receiving promotions on a mobile phone ranked third in the U.S. and fourth in the U.K. Twenty percent of U.S. and 16 percent of U.K. respondents stated that they would be likely to want to receive promotions on their mobile phones.
  d.. The younger the consumer, the more likely he or she is to use the mobile phone to conduct retail activities. In the U.S., the "digital native" respondents (ages 18 to 27) were, on average, 1.98 times more likely to do mobile shopping activities than the "boomer" generation respondents (ages 43 to 61). In the U.K., the digital natives were on average 2.63 times more likely to do mobile shopping activities than their boomer counterparts. This is consistent with the assumption that mobile use in the U.K. is considered more advanced than in the U.S.
  e.. U.K. consumers were slightly more conservative in stating their likelihood to use the mobile phone to shop, but the relative ranking of the preferred activities was very similar to U.S. consumers. However, digital natives in the U.K. were slightly more aggressive (7 percent more) in stating their likelihood to do mobile shopping activities than U.S. digital natives.


"M-commerce technology vendors should differentiate themselves by providing multichannel capabilities, such as enabling mobile-phone-generated orders to be picked up in a store or allowing consumers to save mobile-phone-created shopping sessions to be later continued on a Web browser," Mr. LeHong said.

O2 has today announced that it has won a coveted contract with Network Rail, which owns and operates Britain's rail infrastructure, to provide voice, BlackBerry and other mobile data services. The deal is O2's largest corporate customer win and one of the UK's largest ever port of numbers with 23,000 connections transferring from Vodafone to O2. The win overturns industry-wide perceptions that large corporates see the risk of changing suppliers as too daunting.

Network Rail was looking for a step change in the delivery of its mobile services and saw O2 as a great cultural fit, providing fresh thinking and the opportunity for true partnership. Key to O2's selection were its dynamism, best of breed solutions and differentiating brand.

Working closely with Network Rail, O2 will be developing and streamlining mobile solutions to help Network Rail maintain, renew and enhance the railway. O2 will help Network Rail identify areas of the business that will benefit from mobile technology to enhance efficiency and flexibility for the workforce and put in place systems to achieve both bottom-line and customer benefits.

As this relationship evolves, O2 will work closely with Network Rail to develop bespoke solutions which will set a new benchmark for mobile services in the rail industry as a whole.

Ben Dowd, Business Sales Director, O2 UK, said of the deal: "This is an incredible win for O2 and provides us with another great example of how we are changing the face of the mobile marketplace. We genuinely believe that customer and employee satisfaction are intrinsically linked to business success and together with Network Rail, we believe we can help the company achieve its objectives".

Network Rail's Director of Information Management, Catherine Doran, said: "We are delighted to enter into this relationship with O2. We are keen to embrace new ways of communicating with our people and suppliers and changing the way we work by using new technology. O2 has demonstrated the same passion and drive to help us achieve these bold targets, by showing great innovation, good customer service and commercial capability."

Ericsson and Russian operator VimpelCom have signed an agreement for the supply and implementation of a WCDMA/HSPA network, plus associated services, to cover seven out of nine macro regions across Russia, including Moscow, the North Caucasus, Siberia, Volga, Northwest Russia, South Russia and the Urals.

Under the five-year agreement, Ericsson will supply a WCDMA/HSPA radio access and core network, including circuit-switching and packet-switching, and subscriber management system Home Location Register (HLR). Ericsson will also be responsible for a range of telecom services, including deployment and integration, systems integration, operation and maintenance assistance, technical support and training. 

The move will enable VimpelCom to offer advanced multimedia and high-speed mobile broadband services, such as Mobile TV and video calls, to its subscribers. Ericsson's High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) provides fast data transmission speeds on both the uplink and downlink. It also boosts network capacity and lowers response times for interactive services. Ericsson's software upgrade of the existing GSM core hardware to a dual access packet core network allows for a smooth and efficient introduction of high speed WCDMA/HSPA services.

Peter Covell, COO at VimpelCom, says, "This agreement is a continuation of our long-term partnership with Ericsson and sets the stage for VimpelCom to introduce cutting-edge services to our customers. We believe that the move will also provide us with a competitive advantage in the telecommunications market."

Zoran Lukovic, Vice-President, Ericsson Eastern Europe and Central Asia, says: "Ericsson is honored to have been selected by VimpelCom for the supply of a state-of-the-art WCDMA/HSPA network. This deal further strengthens our partnership with VimpelCom and will allow them to offer their customers innovative commercial 3G services."

Aeroflex has announced the release of a new RF spectrum analyzer option for the 3500 hand-held 1GHz radio test set. The new spectrum analyzer option now allows users to see the signal they are receiving instead of just the frequency.  In addition, the 3500 will have P25 parametric test capabilities by summer 2008, making it even more versatile.

Using an advanced Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) algorithm, the 3500 spectrum analyzer option provides an almost instantaneous display of the RF frequency spectrum.  The 3500 has the ability to measure signal levels down to -136dBm, providing advanced signal analysis in a lightweight platform, weighing less than 4Kg. Operation of the 3500 spectrum analyzer includes span ranges of 10kHz to 5MHz and an effective resolution bandwidth as small as 19Hz.  Marker functions are available for the user to measure power in a specified bandwidth.

Based on a rugged design that has been approved by the U. S. military, the 3500 offers a wide range of RF test and analysis tools.  Features such as broadband power meter, frequency meter, deviation and modulation Index, SINAD and distortion measurements set the 3500 apart from other portable RF test equipment.

"The 3500 is in a class of its own," said Lyndon Zielke, senior marketing engineer, Aeroflex Test Solutions. "The 3500 Series is targeted to perform, quick, accurate tests for verification of radio performance and cable/antenna integrity in a variety of vehicles and platforms.  It also provides fast, quick, over-the-air testing of radio transceivers.  The 3500's flexible platform gives us the ability to add new features quickly such as the spectrum analyzer and P25 tests."

Aeroflex will equip the 3500 with P25 parametric tests, with initial availability in summer 2008.

"With the upcoming release of P25 test features, 3500 owners can take their unit to remote sites and perform complex digital modulation analysis, as well as standard analog measurements," said Zielke. "The 3500 is now the leading portable test set for the land mobile radio market."

P25 tests will include C4FM modulation fidelity, frequency error, power and deviation measurements. The 3500 will also generate both the 1011 and 0.153 bit pattern for performing digital receiver sensitivity tests.

mobilePeople, the local mobile search provider, has added to its proposition for directory publishers with the introduction of its liquid Advertising Suite. The solution is designed to improve monetisation opportunities through presentation of contextually and geographically relevant mobile advertising to mobile users.

The liquid Advertising Suite consists of the liquid Ad Server, the liquid Adsite Builder and liquid SMS Links. The liquid advertising suite is integrated with the mobilePeople liquid Mobile Search Platform, launched in 12 markets worldwide.

The mobile advertising platform has already proven itself in market implementation throughout Scandinavia. The Ad Server provides the capability to deliver targeted mobile ad campaigns for directory publishers. This is a highly attractive service for their active local advertisers who are looking to complement traditional listings which are based on yearly subscriptions with additional flexible campaigns. The Adsite Builder means the tools for rich and specific mobile adsite creation are available. SMS links is tailor made for directory assistance to add value to SMS messages using text or map links.

With the new Ad Suite, advertisements can be targeted to users based on time, keyword, category or location. The mobile user's behaviour also impacts the adverts that appear during their user session. The intelligent design of the Ad Suite enables provision of relevant advertising to users and provides ontology bases upsell opportunities for directory publishers. For example, if a mobile user is searching for a car showroom in his vicinity the user can also be provided with car insurance results and local garages.

Jens Andersen, CEO and co-founder of mobilePeople commented: "We have developed and tested local mobile advertising products that are highly relevant to Local Advertisers and Directory Publishers and based on our experience with both users and advertisers the solution is ready for global rollout".

Vodafone UK has announced that it has completed a deal with Neverfail, a global software company providing affordable continuous availability and disaster recovery solutions. Vodafone will now offer business customers a high availability and disaster recovery service for mobile email using the Neverfail software.

The Vodafone Neverfail High Availability Service for BlackBerry will provide uninterrupted availability of BlackBerry services to Vodafone business customers.

The Vodafone Neverfail High Availability Service for BlackBerry monitors the health of the entire email environment, including the server hardware, the network infrastructure, the application and the operating system.  If any anomalies are identified, Neverfail will immediately take action to prevent loss of service. It will either automatically attempt to restart applications before they fail, switch over to a secondary server, or alert the IT staff so that no downtime or loss of service is experienced. Once the issue is resolved, they are automatically switched back to the main servers and neither users nor administrators are required to restart their applications.

"As market leader in the UK in providing BlackBerry services, it was important to be able to offer robust access to email.  By adding Neverfail's solution into our Managed Service portfolio, we can offer enormous service expertise to protect critical parts of our customers' IT infrastructure," said Curt Hopkins, Head of Enterprise Mobility Solutions, Vodafone UK. "Neverfail has an enviable reputation for protecting mission-critical systems with its continuous availability solutions and we have selected them as our preferred provider for high availability and disaster recovery for BlackBerry and email implementations."

"Vodafone as a company relies on continuous mobile access to email and we have also selected the Neverfail solution to use within our own organization," continued Hopkins. "Having complete confidence that email will be available 24/7 365 days a year is a significant advantage as many key staff depend on access via Blackberry devices in order to fulfil their roles."

"Vodafone is well ahead of the general telecommunications market. Rather than just providing handsets and airtime minutes, Vodafone is offering strategic services, such as high availability, to support the entire BlackBerry platform," said Richard Ruddlesden, EMEA Channel Director, Neverfail. "We are very pleased that Vodafone has selected us to offer its customers an exceptional communications experience that is the best in the industry."

Vodafone Managed Services will work in partnership with Neverfail in the UK to offer customers advanced capabilities such as continuous availability for mobile devices and communications solutions from RIM, Microsoft and IBM Lotus Notes.