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Cognima's tests of MMS on the UK's four largest mobile networks show only low quality photos can be sent from the latest megapixel camera-phones

Cognima, the effortless mobile services company, today published a report following its research into the loss of image quality when photos are sent via the MMS picture messaging system. The report compares the quality of photos transferred from the latest megapixel camera-phones to online photo albums using MMS. Cognima used Nokia's new 7610 megapixel camera-phone to conduct tests on each of the UK's four largest mobile networks: Vodafone, Orange, 02, and T-Mobile.

For the tests, Cognima took several megapixel photos with the 7610 phone and sent them via MMS to an online photo album over the four UK mobile networks.  The results were consistent across all the networks.  When sending a photo using the default "small" MMS setting the photo resolution is reduced by a factor of 50 - from the 1152x864 pixel resolution of the original megapixel photo to a 160x120 pixel image. The result is an extremely low quality photo that some online photo albums will refuse to print.

The 'small' MMS photo setting is the default because many phones can only receive MMS messages of this size. However, all four of the UK operators can support larger 100k byte MMS messages, which megapixel camera-phones (including the Nokia 7610) can use if the user switches the phone to the 'large' MMS photo mode.

Cognima repeated the tests in 'large' MMS photo mode. Once again the results were consistent across all the networks: the photo resolution is reduced by a factor of four - from the original 1152x864 pixel resolution to a 576x432 pixel image. The result is a low quality photo that is barely printable and shows visible artifacts from the severe image compression.

"The quality of the photos sent from these phones by using MMS is below print quality even in 'large' mode," said Bloor Research mobile industry analyst, and semi-professional photographer, Rob Bamforth. "For users who have bought a megapixel camera-phone it will be extremely disappointing that they cannot easily get their high quality photos into an online photo album where they can keep them safe, share and print them."

"MMS was designed to solve the problem of getting photos from one phone to another.   Low quality photos are fine for that purpose, but it was never designed to get high quality megapixel photos from a camera-phone to an online photo album," said Simon East, CEO Cognima. "Cognima Snap solves this problem by allowing users to effortlessly transfer their megapixel images from their camera-phone to an online photo album".

Cognima recently announced the launch of its Cognima Snap(tm) service which allows megapixel quality images to be uploaded from supported camera-phones direct to online photo albums with a single key press on the phone. Results of a trial with a major UK network operator revealed that Cognima Snap increased the number of photos uploaded from camera-phones to online photo albums by 14 fold.

External Links

Copy of full Cognima test report

Leading mobile content provider DA Group has released the 3G version of its peer to peer MMS messaging solution, StereoTypes, providing an improved service for network operators and the ever growing number of 3G handset users.

The StereoTypes platform turns text messages into talking character video messages that reflect the mood of the text that has been entered by the sender. It already brings huge consumer appeal to the ubiquitous world of messaging and, as a result, drives increased data traffic and revenues for mobile operators. StereoTypes has been deployed by mobile network operators in the Philippines , Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and is being deployed in the UK this year.

The arrival of StereoTypes 3G brings all the functionality, features and character of the original 2.5G version and complements it with a number of added benefits to make messaging even more engaging, memorable and fun. The increased bandwidth available on 3G networks allows for a number of improvements to the system in terms of usability and delivery, including faster download capability, better user experience for creation and playback of messages, talking avatar video content offering sharper pictures and colours, improved audio content and increased file size availability.

StereoTypes 3G brings all the characters from the original version but gives more control to network operators. StereoTypes 3G can be configured to meet their specific requirements including; new characters, sound effects, message formats and file sizes, number of frames per message, optional text to speech functionality, original text display, colour and resolution, user instructions, network branding, language options and user interface options (SMS, Wap, Web).

The most striking difference has to be the integration of the text to speech engine with full motion video. Characters are now able to speak the words entered by the sender whilst performing their quirky animations. This synergy combined with the auto mood detection adds more impact to the animations than ever before.

External Links

DA GROUP

Uses customer care solution to found value added services

Orange Romania, leading mobile communications
provider with excellent customer service is expanding its market leadership with the  help of innovative solutions by ORGA Systems. Customer Care Services for all Orange customers are now operating on the wIQ platform, an award-winning ORGA Systems product.
Additional value added services will be offered as a result of functional improvements and faster communication using USSD.

Orange Romania's Self Care, implemented using an ORGA Systems solution,  was launched last month. Orange Romania now offers additional services, accessible only by  SMS or IVR for example, choosing the tariff plan, managing the favourite numbers, roaming service, international service, credit, recharge, bonus information, PUK code, mobile data service, voice mail, invoice information and the loyalty program Orange Thank You. The user can access all services by entering a USSD code (*100#) as single point of access.

The special feature of Self-Care is that Orange Romania can provide this service to both prepay and postpay customers. The service entails far more than the standard Prepaid
Account Query. USSD allows all customers at all times convenient access to tariffs and account summaries, roaming configurations and participation in loyalty programmes. The advantages: easy, user-friendly and quick.

Statement by Yves Gauthier. Chief Commercial Officer, Orange Romania.
"Implementation of the wIQ platform by ORGA Systems has optimised our Customer Care Service and made it quicker and more efficient. We expect customer satisfaction to increase further in all customer segments as a result of this service provided by ORGA Systems."

External Links

ORGA Systems

SonyEricsson and Option are the suppliers

The mobile data-communication market is beginning to
come to terms with the fact that GSM-based GPRS/HSCSD services will have to be integrated with WLAN radio-network technology to achieve the best possible customer-friendly solutions. To this end, a growing number mobile operators are offering combination rates that enable customers to choose the
best possible access technology available depending on their current situation. In cooperation with the WeRoam roaming platform, these providers are already able to offer their customers access to more than 10.000 Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide.

To make sure that users are actually able to take advantage of this flexibility and the time benefits that this brings, leading manufactures of PC cards such as Sony Ericsson or Option have developed convenient combo cards that support both GSM/GPRS/HSCSD and WLAN. These solutions are
characterized by their user-friendliness which allows the integrated SIM card to be used for accessing GSM-based services and for WLAN authentication as well. All users have to do is type in their personal PIN number and in seconds they will be able to enjoy Internet access using Wi-Fi hotspots.

This authentication method is just as fast, secure and convenient as using a mobile phone. As a pioneer in WLAN roaming, WeRoam is steadfast in its use of the advanced SIM authentication system and is able to offer customer's of
approved providers a completely new feeling in terms of mobility and convenience.

Working together with leading European mobile-phone companies, WeRoam has certified combo PC cards and is recommending the following cards to its customers: the Sony Ericsson "GPRS / Wireless LAN PC Card GC79" and the
Option "GlobeTrotter COMBO GPRS / WLAN PC Card". Users of the WeRoam service will usually get these PC cards from their mobile-phone provider - together with a SIM card, which is activated to allow worldwide access to the WeRoam network. Billing is pooled together on the mobile phone invoice and is taken care of by the user's own mobile phone company.

Combo cards that also support UMTS are already being tested. Here, too, the aim is to create a card that provides an integrative solution that is customer friendly and that allows choice between UMTS, GPRS and WLAN depending on the situation. To this end, the advantages of WeRoam´s
SIM-based authentication solution will be strengthened still further.

External Links

WeRoam
Option

Alcatel  today announced  the  signature  of  a  contract  with SMARTS, a leading regional mobile  operator  in  Russia,  for the deployment of an EDGE (Enhanced Data rate  for GSM Evolution) network throughout the city of Samara, a city with over one million inhabitants in the Russian Federation

Under  the terms of the contract, Alcatel will EDGE-enable the Evolium 900 and  1800  MHz  base  stations  already installed in the operator's network using  the multi-standard  GSM/EDGE/WCDMA capability of its industry leading
Evolium  solution. The  EDGE technology, embedded in the Alcatel Evolium radio  access solution and already installed in the SMARTS network, will be deployed  thanks to a simple software activation. Alcatel will also add new base  stations to the operator's network, guaranteeing full coverage of the
whole  territory  where  the  SMARTS  group  of  companies  provide  mobile services, and providing an optimal quality of services.

This  project will enable SMARTS to deliver, to its customers in Samara and the  Povolzhie region,  new broadband mobile applications and services such as  video  streaming, MMS, high-speed access to the Internet and electronic messaging service.

The  Alcatel  solution  will be delivered in several phases, with the first phase  scheduled  for  completion by the third quarter of 2004 and the last phase  by  end  of  first  quarter  2005.   The  commercial service will be operational by the fourth quarter 2004.

Gennady Kirushin, general director of SMARTS, commented: "We have partnered with  Alcatel  for  several  years already developing GSM infrastructure in Povolzhie  region. This  contract indicates a new step in our cooperation. The  decision  we  made in favor of Alcatel's Evolium ? EDGE-ready solution
was  the  right one allowing us to offer our customers the latest broadband services with minimum investments."

Marc  Rouanne,  chief  operating  officer  of  Alcatel's mobile activities, added:  "This  is  our  second  project  in  Russia for the deployment of a commercial  EDGE  network. It   demonstrates  the  growing  demand  for new broadband  user-centric  services in the fast-developing Russian market. We are glad to partner with SMARTS on the deployment of a leading EDGE network in Russia."

External Links

Smarts
Alcatel

Following the abduction and murder of his daughter Lucie Blackman in July 2000, SendMyTxt has worked with Tim Blackman to build the SafetyText application, a unique delayed text messaging service designed to protect anyone, anywhere in the world with GSM network coverage.

SafetyText is a breakthrough service, providing peace of mind to anyone who feels vulnerable in a given situation.  It works by a one off registration online and then the mobile phone owner has total control of a powerful application. They send full details of where they are going and with whom via a text. Once the user arrives safely home (or their destination), they then 'cancel' the text message, and no one ever receives it.

However, if something does happen to the user, and they are therefore unable to cancel their message, it is sent to the user's chosen Buddy who is alerted in the time span specified by the user. The information provided can include who the user was meeting and where they were going. It could also contain details such as car registration numbers and descriptions, which is helpful if someone is getting a lift from a stranger or travelling alone in a taxi.

Tony Coyne, Director of SendMyTxt, explains: "Traditionally SMS is an instant response communication tool; this is why we have developed a brand new way of utilising text messaging in a timed environment that can be used on all mobile devices. Delayed text messaging has formed the backbone of the SafetyText service. This technology does not discriminate against age, colour or creed and is secure enough not to dictate or judge the user keeping each message as unique and individual as the person who sends it."

Tim Blackman, Lucie's father, adds: "In the aftermath of Lucie's death, I have become very much more aware of how often terrible things happen to children and adults alike and felt I wanted to do something - for Lucie - which would really make a difference. Lucie has inspired SafetyText, which is for your protection and backup. As I have unfortunately discovered, you never know what tomorrow will bring."

External Links

SendmyTxt

Mobile marketing software underpins key marketing channel

Enpocket, the leading mobile marketing solutions provider, has licensed its mobile marketing software, the Enpocket Engine, to Vodafone UK to deliver marketing and CRM communications direct to the mobile phones of its customers.

Vodafone UK is currently using the Enpocket Engine, the world's most widely used mobile marketing software for SMS, MMS and WAP, to inform and educate customers of its range of products and services.

The Enpocket Engine has been fully integrated with existing enterprise systems to provide one user interface for in-house mobile CRM.

Vodafone UK selected the Enpocket Engine, after the competitive review, for its:

- Analytics and profiling capabilities - Acting on detailed reports of customer behaviour, Vodafone UK can set rules and triggers to get the right message to the right customer

- Scalability  - Enpocket Engine handles millions of messages daily, giving Vodafone UK confidence for reliable delivery during peak periods

- Flexibility - With the ability to handle SMS, MMS and WAP, the Enpocket Engine is a future proof application

- Speed of delivery - The full system was rapidly implemented.  The user-friendly web interface and wizards system means Vodafone can rapidly design and deliver tailored communications for core services

Enpocket now provides the preferred technology and solutions to many of the world's leading operators.  As well as the award winning mobile marketing work it has done to boost Orange's mobile Internet revenues, Enpocket also works with companies such as T-Mobile, 02, Vodafone Japan and Elisa (Radiolinja) amongst others.

"Operators and brands that want to provide high-impact mobile CRM to their customer base need feature-rich software that is capable of detailed segmentation and profiling.  Winning the Vodafone UK account after a comprehensive competitive review is a resounding confirmation of the strength of the Enpocket Engine," said Jonathon Linner, CEO, Enpocket.

External Links

Enpocket

SSEYO miniMIXA on Windows Mobile based Smartphone marks start of exciting new era for mobile music making

The SSEYO miniMIXA audio application for Microsoft Windows Mobile-based devices will make its world debut this weekend as it plays a Futuresonic Sound System dance set at FutureDJ, part of the ISEA2004 arts festival, featuring Drew Hemment (Manchester), Teemu Metsälä (Manchester/Helsinki), and fuchs-eckermann (Vienna/Manchester).

Drew Hemment, Director of the Futuresonic Festival, will use the application on a Windows Mobile-based Smartphone to create stunning on-the-fly mixes for a crowd of devoted music lovers from all over the world. The revolutionary SSEYO miniMIXA, powered by intent from Tao Group,will soon be available on Microsoft Windows Mobile-based Smartphones and
Pocket PCs.

Incredibly powerful yet easy-to-use, SSEYO miniMIXA is the feature-packed, multi-channel audio mixer and recording studio application for the Microsoft Windows Mobile platform. Featuring a wide range of per-channel sound effects, visualisers and supporting a number of DJ-like mixing
techniques, it provides an exhilarating and enjoyable mobile music making experience for all. An intuitive interface makes it simple for a user to create mixes from a collection of included beats, basses, chords, leads and sounds and then apply per-track sound effects - resulting in an almost infinite number of different possible and exciting combinations. Music and
mixes created by users can be saved and played for fun, sent to friends by MMS or stored on the phone as a unique ringtone.

SSEYO miniMIXA supports content in a range of standard audio and MIDI formats, as well as the new innovative SKM format that allows use of modular synthesis and the Koan generative music engine. Additional themed content packs, SSEYO MIXApaks, will be available for purchase at the time SSEYO miniMIXA is available pre-installed in mobile phones and PDAs.

For mobile network operators and device manufacturers SSEYO miniMIXA is a very cool music application that gives customers the means to personalise their phone experience and have fun creating content they may wish to share with others. The availability of additional content packs keeps SSEYO miniMIXA fresh and allows the operators to generate additional revenue streams and grow retail channel models.

For musicians, songwriters and the creative community SSEYO miniMIXA can both open doors to new audiences and provide a new creative dimension to DJ'ing, mixing and composition. Tao Group will soon announce audio partners for the first wave of SSEYO miniMIXA content packs and welcomes the interest of new artists and music owners who would like to be involved in
this ground-breaking opportunity. SSEYO MIXApaks can include custom background imagery that displays each time a mix is created from the pack, so providing strong visual branding opportunities for content partners.

As a dedicated 'out-of-the-box' solution for Windows Mobile-based devices, SSEYO miniMIXA can be deployed immediately.

Tim Cole, co-founder of SSEYO and now Head of Audio at Tao Group said, "Try jamming with two or more phones featuring SSEYO miniMIXA and you will understand why the mobile phone is the next electric guitar! That SSEYO can bring far-reaching and innovative music applications like this to the
mainstream mobile market to underpin significant new value chain opportunities is thanks to Tao and Tao's amazing partners."

"It is fantastic to see innovative and exciting applications like the SSEYO miniMIXA enabling users of Windows Mobile-based devices to do so much more with their Smartphones and Pocket PCs," offered Simeon Payne, European Product Marketing Manager for Microsoft's Mobile and Embedded Devices Division. "Enabling budding DJs to mix music wherever they are in the world mean that they can capture innovative ideas as soon as they pop into their head. From mixing music to managing travel arrangements; the rich
applications developed by our partners for the Windows Mobile platform offer an indication of the ways in which software is enabling people to do more with their mobile devices today."

ISEA2004 takes place between 14th and 22nd August.  During this week the Baltic Sea becomes the center of electronic music, new media research, art and design.  ISEA2004 is the 12th Symposium on Electronic Arts, organised for the first time in two capital cities and a ferry between them.

FutureDJ is an independent artist led project by Roger,  fuchs-eckerman, Roger Lyons (Major Tweaks) and Drew Hemment (Futuresonic Sound System).

External Links

Tao Group
intent Sound System

Buy that!

TradIndex.com, the financial spread betting company, today announces the launch of TradIndex Mobile, the first fully browser-based trading platform accessible via a mobile phone.

TradIndex Mobile will offer all the markets and trading functionality currently available on TradIndex.com’s website, including moveable stop losses.  Customers will be able to carry out secure spread betting on the move using intuitive screens and simple keystrokes.

TradIndex Mobile is a free service to all registered and activated TradIndex Investors. The only charge for using TradIndex Mobile will be the normal cost of accessing the internet from a mobile phone as charged by the mobile phone supplier.

"This is a logical extension of our service" said Robin Houldsworth, Managing Director of TradIndex.com. "It will enable investors to spread bet on the move allowing quick reaction to market movements and the ability to keep in touch with open positions.  Many mobile phones now have an internet browser as standard and our customers will find our service extremely user friendly."

External Links

TradIndex

A new series of bi-directional amplifiers (BDA) and duplexers from wireless technology group, Radio Frequency Systems (RFS) offers a convenient and inexpensive means of overlaying universal mobile telecommunication services (UMTS) on existing second-generation (2G) in-building RF distribution systems.
 

“RFS has had the foresight to build in future-proofing in its 2G in-building RF coverage solutions--as a result, these are sufficiently broadband to support the simple overlay of new third-generation (3G) UMTS services,” said Peter Raabe, RFS Global Product Manager for Wireless Distributed Communications Systems. “In many cases though, the UMTS RF power levels may prove inadequate, due to the higher insertion losses of the 2G network cabling. The new RFS I-BDA2100 and I-DUX2G/3G combination is one of the first on the market to offer a cost-effective and simple means of overcoming this situation.”
 
The series comprises two band-specific UMTS bi-directional amplifiers (I-BDA-2100-1 and I-BDA2100-2), plus a broadband duplexer (I-DUX2G/3G-1). The new BDAs supply 35 dB nominal gain in RF downlink and uplink, and are provided in two output power ratings, 18 dBm and 9 dBm. Used in combination with the new duplexer, the bi-directional amplifiers may be used to support a ‘3G on 2G’ overlay on an existing broadband in-building system.
 
Both I-BDA-2100 models support the full UMTS band, and provide automatic gain control in accordance with the Third Generation Partnership Project’s (3GPP) specified UMTS requirements. Manual gain control is also provided for final system levelling. The unit’s 10-30Vdc power requirements can be realized ‘locally’ via the unit’s power port, or ‘remotely’ via the RF coaxial feeds, permitting the units to be cascaded in a wide range of combinations.
 
The I-DUX2G/3G-1 duplexer is uniquely broadband, with its 2G port supporting frequencies between 800 and 1880 MHz. It provides particularly low insertion loss at both the 2G and 3G ports, and comes complete with two separate on-board dc power input ports, allowing even greater flexibility in system power configuration.

External Links

RFS

The Open Base Station Architecture Initiative, (OBSAI) today announced the availability of base station specifications covering the mechanics and functionality aspects of key modules, to complement the existing OBSAI interface specifications for the subsystem areas of Transport, Baseband and Control. This latest announcement means that the OBSAI members now have a complete suite of both interface and hardware specifications that will enable the production of base station modules to fit any OBSAI compliant base station - thereby widening the customer base of many OBSAI members. The 100 member strong group has also completed a power system interface.

Peter Kenington, OBSAI Technical Work Group Chairperson said, "It has been one of OBSAI’s goals to work towards an open market for base station modules, where genuine interoperability and interchangeability at the base station sub system level can take place. This will bring benefits to many players in our industry - from module and component vendors, who will be able to re-deploy R&D resources more effectively, to operators who will eventually realise a reduced spares inventory. It will soon be realistic to base a BTS module procurement specification almost entirely on the appropriate OBSAI specifications, plus the relevant air interface standard. This is a unique benefit of OBSAI."

Jukka Klemettila, OBSAI Chairperson, said: "We are very pleased with the progress of OBSAI. OBSAI compatible components and modules are now available on the market as previously promised. In addition to the module specifications, OBSAI has also just completed work on the power interface specification that defines communication interfaces between power systems and existing OBSAI modules."

These new specifications will enhance speed to market, reduce the cost of BTS systems and allow BTS sub-system vendors to focus engineering resources towards creating greater innovation in all areas of BTS engineering.

OBSAI is also currently ensuring compatibility with newer air interfaces, such as TD-SCDMA and WiMax

OBSAI previously announced the availability of internal interface specifications and the System Reference Document, for the Transport, Control, Baseband, and Radio modules in October 2003. One of the benefits of these specifications is that they are air interface agnostic and are compatible with WCDMA, CDMA and GSM/Edge base stations.

External Links

OBSAI

Provides data access for enterprise customers

As demand for "on the road access" to corporate data grows, PeopleSoft is advancing its mobile strategy by adopting Intellisync's Mobile Suite platform to enable access to business information in PeopleSoft applications anywhere, anytime and through any device for its enterprise customers.

Intellisync Corporation, a leading provider of synchronization and mobilization solutions, today announced that it has been selected by PeopleSoft, Inc. to enhance its portfolio of mobility solutions. PeopleSoft, the world's second largest provider of enterprise application software, will license the Intellisync® Mobile Suite to provide additional PeopleSoft laptop/tablet PC solutions around the world.

"Increased mobility and higher demands for customer responsiveness have created a mission-critical need for anywhere, anytime access to information," said Dean Alms, vice president, product management, PeopleSoft Tools & Technology. "Intellisync helps us meet the evolving user and business process demands of a complete mobile solution."

The award-winning Intellisync Mobile Suite platform provides both wired and wireless access to business data. The platform's scalable, high-performance Data Sync engine extends custom data residing in PeopleSoft to mobile workers' laptop PCs, when and where they need it. Intellisync's technology also enables desktop-based and server-to-server synchronization of contacts, calendars and tasks between PeopleSoft's enterprise applications and Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino groupware.

"We are very pleased to be selected by PeopleSoft to enhance their mobility platform and ensure that PeopleSoft users have universal access to their enterprise information," explained Woodson (Woody) Hobbs, president and chief executive officer of Intellisync. "Our relationship will extend Intellisync into both the PeopleSoft Enterprise and PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne product families. PeopleSoft is one of the most innovative enterprise application providers in the world. The level of sophistication, scale and functionality required by such an industry leader is extremely high, and we are delighted that Intellisync was selected above all other potential solutions. We believe this agreement represents a cornerstone in the creation of a complete mobility environment for PeopleSoft users around the world."

External Links

Intellisync

United Clearing PLC is pleased to announce that it been awarded an additional contract to clear O2 Germany’s new 3G international roaming traffic. In addition to this new agreement, O2 Germany have also extended their existing 2G contract, valuing the combined services at approximately Euro 300,000 over the next 24 months.

Mr. Daniel Nagler, Director of Sales at United Clearing commented; “We are delighted to provide additional 3G clearing services to O2. United Clearing is proud of O2’s continued confidence in our ability to deliver quality services that will provide O2 with cost and resource savings and deliver a professional and efficient settlement service for their international roaming partners and clients. We look forward to continuing to deliver O2 our usual high quality of service and attention.

Dr. Dirk Schmelzer, Vice President of International Carrier Services, O2 Germany,  said; "Since joining the United Clearing program in August 2003, we have been very impressed and pleased with their performance. United Clearing skill and expertise has had a significant and positive impact on O2 Germany roaming business. We felt that United Clearing was the natural choice to manage this new service and we are delighted that they will be bringing the same level of care and attention to detail to the management of our new 3G roaming traffic.”

The European Computer Telecoms Group (ECT), Europe's market leader for intelligent value-added services, has provided a turnkey solution for ring back tone service to the Tele2 Group, Europe's leading alternative telecommunications supplier of fixed-line and mobile telephony solutions.

ECT thus brings its new solution to Scandinavia after successful implementations in Germany and China.

In a competitive bidding process, ECT was recently awarded the contract for Tele2's new product, Ringuppsignaler. With its extensive experience in ring back tone projects, ECT was able to provide Tele2 customised user and network interfaces with the shortest possible time-to-market and highest possible cost-efficiency.

"I am pleased that our long-time partner, the Tele2 Group, has now also joined the ranks of major mobile operators utilizing our solution for ring back tone service," said Dr. Marshall E. Kavesh, the ECT Group's CEO.

External Links

ECT
Comviq