Mobile & Wireless is an Independent Blog Concerning Various Information, My Thoughts, Ideas, and Sometime Critics on ICT, Internet, Mobile, Wireless, and Data Communication Technology

Sales of GPS Devices Up 488%

  • Posted: Monday, December 31, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Gadget, MP3 Player

According to data released by the NPD Group, in just the first three weeks of the 2007 holiday season, the revenues for global positioning service (GPS) devices were up 214% over 2006—and unit sales were up 488%.

"GPS took off last year, but now it's gone to a new level," Steve Baker of NPD told Advertising Age. "Prices are much more reasonable this year, and [GPS has] much wider distribution and marketing."

Overall, consumers spent $4.5 billion on electronics in the time period. Though that may sound high, the figure was actually .5% less than last year's sales.

In the electronics category, while GPS sales are soaring, MP3 player sales are slipping. Revenue declined 16% while the number of units sold was down 9%.

In addition, tube, plasma and rear-projection television sales have fallen sharply. [eMarketer]

Kids Are Playing Games, E-Mailing

  • Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Digital Media

Q: What are your kids doing online?

A: Playing video games, most likely.

More than three-quarters of 6- to 11-year-olds surveyed by MRI for its "Survey of the American Consumer" report played online games in the past 30 days. That was by far the largest percent of any particular online activity.

Other top online activities among children included doing stuff for school (34.25%), listening to music (28.6%) and watching videos (26.2%).

The same percentage of boys and girls played online games. But boys were more likely (25.8%) than girls (5.6%) to go online for gaming tips or "cheats," the codes that change the behavior of games.

"The wide gap between the percentage of boys and girls using cheats could suggest boys are more engaged with their games, an insight of interest to marketers targeting kids," said Anne Marie Kelly, vice president of marketing at MRI.

Girls were more likely than boys to have listened to music online in the past 30 days (33% vs. 24.1%), and slightly more boys than girls watched online videos (28.9% vs. 23.5%).

Nearly three in 10 children who had been online in the past 30 days had their own e-mail addresses.

MRI sent questionnaires to households with children ages 6 to 11 and received answers from about 5,000 children. [eMarketer]

NTT DoCoMo to Launch Child-Friendly F801i Handset

NTT DoCoMo, Inc. and its eight regional subsidiaries announced today that the FOMA™ F801i, a new child-friendly 3G mobile phone loaded with special features for the safety and convenience of children, will go on sale December 20.

Building on the popular FOMA SA800i model that DoCoMo released in March 2006, the F801i offers many new or improved child-friendly features (see attachments) for security, theft/loss prevention, ease of use and more.

In an emergency, the child can quickly switch on the phone's 100-decibel alarm, which produces two types of noise alternately. When the alarm is activated, the phone also emits a bright light (high-intensity LED) that is easily visible to people in the surrounding area.

The phone can be set to automatically notify loved ones when the alarm is activated, and provide the handset's current location as well. Computer-generated phone calls can be placed to up to three registered numbers and messages can be sent to registered individuals who subscribe to the i-mode™ location service called imadoco search™. In addition, the child can discreetly message their location to a registered imadoco search user by simply pushing a button on the side of the phone.

If the phone's power is switched off, a presetting can enable the handset to automatically turn back on (in as little as five minutes) and message the incident and the phone's location to a registered DoCoMo phone. /PR

Nokia Siemens in joint LTE development with DoCoMo

  • Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: LTE, WiMax

While other mobile operators talk about implementing LTE, the next technology step after HSPA, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) and the leading Japanese operator, NTT DoCoMo, have announced that NSN's LTE base station product has been chosen for DoCoMo's Super 3G (LTE) base station project.

The new base station, which NSN has developed with its partner Panasonic Mobile Communications, will be used by DoCoMo for trials of LTE together with WiMAX and CDMA DO (data only) Revision C in its labs outside Tokyo. The hope to commercially deploy a network using some, or all, of the technology in the 2011-2012 timeframe.

DoCoMo has been a long-term pioneer of wireless high-speed technologies--being the first to deploy a commercial W-CDMA network in 2001, several years before other mobile operators in the US and Europe.

However, industry observers claim that this move by NSN is an attempt to position itself as a supplier with technical vision and remove itself from the crippling price war that is impacting both NSN and other infrastructure vendors. NSN has also been selected as one of four vendors for Verizon Wireless's LTE trial. [FierceWireless]

Verizon Wireless Choose LTE for Its Next Generation Mobile Broadband Network

Nokia applauded Verizon Wireless' choice of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology for its next generation mobile broadband network. Nokia said the choice is for an open and global specification that will bring scale and efficiencies for manufacturers of networking equipment. However, standards bodies have yet to agree on a 4G standard.

"Nokia has long been committed to working closely with operators in the U.S. and around the world, and is very pleased to support Verizon Wireless in their choice of LTE as their global 4G evolution path," said Mark Louison, president of the North American arm of Nokia."It is very exciting to see Verizon Wireless, one of the world's leading wireless providers, announce their open development initiative for devices and their decision to evolve their network to the open, global specification of LTE."

Broadband wireless technologies have the power to change the way people work, live, play and communicate. As the world leader in converged devices, Nokia is dedicated to offering a wide choice of mobile devices to consumers and remains committed to openness and innovation. Nokia is proud to expand our collaboration with Verizon Wireless to develop products that allow consumers to experience the benefits of mobility and the Internet.

Within the next 10 years, Nokia sees that demand for an enriched mobile experience and mobile computing will continue to grow at exponential rates. LTE will help to enable faster, richer multimedia services such as multi-player gaming with rich 3D graphics and simultaneous Instant Messaging or voice calls and a host of other applications providing a much more compelling mobile experience for consumers everywhere. [FierceWireless]

O2 Active Content Portal Gets a Makeover

British operator O2 announced an update of its O2 Active mobile content portal, promising its look and feel will now be the same regardless of whether the service is accessed via 2G or 3G handset. According to O2, the revised portal also reduces the number of clicks required to access content, with search links now featured on every page.

Additional O2 Active improvements include personalization options adding a subscriber's most-visited sites to the top of their homepage, as well as content recommendations based on their browsing habits. For example someone who regularly views 'Sport' content to check football results, headlines and transfers will see this information as soon as they enter the sports area of the portal.

"The refresh demonstrates that O2 is at the forefront of delivering compelling mobile internet services," said Grahame Riddell, Head of Content, O2 UK. "O2's focus has always been on offering the best internet content alongside a high quality and consistent user experience. The O2 Active refresh is an important evolutionary step that will embrace the best of the internet that will lead to further advances in the look and feel of the mobile portal." [FierceMobileContent/CellularNews]

Open Access Comes to The Forefront

Google started the movement and Verizon Wireless, once a staunch opponent of the concept, is now embracing it. Open access means operators open up their networks to enable any device and application to run on it.

Sprint has been touting the concept for its WiMAX network, saying it will let any WiMAX-certified device on the network (no need for Sprint to certify them) and the company envisions embedded WiMAX chips being included in all types of devices--cars, laptops, cameras, etc. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mandated that a certain portion of the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum have open-access stipulations attached to it.

Yes, open access is coming, but operators will be experimenting with the concept. The model has the opportunity to provide more innovative services, but operators will have to grapple with the end of device subsidies and finding ways to keep customers loyal.

Verizon President and COO Denny Strigl said that open access would provide the company with a "phenomenal" new source of revenue because it will allow customers to use all types of applications that developers will produce, which could potential drive lots of data traffic over the network. At the same time, he said that the model will help the firm reduce costs because it won't be a drain on customer service.


"Customer service is not a heavy expenditure on this business but will be done by those that bring services to this model," Strigl said. [FierceWireless]

Air France to Trial In-flight Mobile Data Services

  • Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Miscellaneous

Air France-KLM, Europe's largest airline, announced it will trial in-flight use of mobile phones, enabling passengers to send and receive text messages, e-mail and photos. The second stage of the six-month trial will allow travelers to make and receive voice calls.

Air France launched the trial this week aboard short-haul routes across Europe, and said it would examine feedback and comments from passengers to determine whether to introduce mobile services on all flights.

Related trials are planned by both BMI British Midland and TAP Air Portugal, and Irish discount carrier Ryanair announced it will introduce the service across its entire 160-aircraft fleet in 2008.

The Air France trial will employ services developed by OnAir, an onboard mobile and Internet communications system jointly launched by aircraft manufacturer Airbus and travel communications provider SITA. After a passenger's mobile handset connects to a miniature cellular network installed inside the aircraft, data and calls are transmitted to a nearby satellite, routed to a ground station and then passed along to the traveler's network provider.

Air France and most of the other airlines in Europe planning early trials are using the system developed by OnAir, a joint venture between Sita and Airbus. According to OnAir, the system avoids interference with aircraft avionics and ground communications networks. It may only be used at cruising altitude above 10,000ft (3,000m) once the new illuminated sign "Switch off your phone" is turned off.

Costs for using the service are invoiced by the customers' home telephone operator and are comparable to those used for normal international mobile phone calls.

The Air France trial is the first use of a mobile telephony system on international flights, although Qantas has been trialling for several months in the Australian domestic market a rival system developed by AeroMobile, a joint venture between Arinc and Telenor. [FierceMobileContent]

Fixed-Mobile Convergence a Question of Femtocells Versus Wi-Fi?

  • Posted: Friday, December 21, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Wi-Fi

One of the major talking points at recent femtocell conferences has been the question of which technology will take precedence for fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) in the home: femtocells, or Voice over Wi-Fi. ABI Research suggests that this is an outdated view of the market and that a mindset embracing both femtocells and Wi-Fi would provide the ideal solution to support a fuller FMC concept.

Research director Stuart Carlaw, says, “The current focus of the femtocell industry is on supporting FMS (Fixed Mobile Substitution) applications. However, in order to reach the hoped-for 36 million unit shipments per annum, the industry must take a wider view of FMC that embraces multimedia, place-shifting content and a multitude of innovative solutions including home automation and remote monitoring.”

Although ABI Research expects the majority of initial femtocell shipments to be standalone products, Carlaw contends that a solution which includes Wi-Fi will be best suited to providing a full array of consumer-friendly services. The absence of Wi-Fi would leave a sizeable hole in the package.

Carlaw goes on to add that, “The home remains the last uncharted battlefield for service providers and OEMs. Any failure to embrace as soon as possible a fuller product specification for femtocells that includes Wi-Fi fails to fully integrate the multitude of Wi-Fi-enabled devices that are currently in a home LAN, and therefore cheapens the value proposition that femtocells can bring to an FMC-attuned carrier. A service plan that includes both Wi-Fi and femtocells spans the full spectrum of mobile and home LAN applications.”

Perhaps femtocells are the last big chance for wireless carriers to make their marks as serious players in the home. Failure to fully embrace the femtocell concept could lead to their marginalization as isolated bit pipe providers. [ABI Research]

RIM Likely to End 2007 with 10% Share of the Smartphone Market

Research In Motion (RIM) is likely to end 2007 with around 10% share of the smartphone market. This means that in terms of device shipments, RIM will be the second largest smartphone vendor in 2007, after Nokia. RIM’s share in the smartphone market has steadily increased in the last five quarters — from 7.2% in 3Q 2006 to 9.5% in 3Q 2007.

However, RIM’s business is still predominantly in North America and the company now needs to put increasing efforts into addressing and benefitting from the growing demand for smartphones in the emerging markets of Asia Pacific and other regions.

According to ABI Research industry analyst Shailendra Pandey, “In addition to operator partnerships, RIM needs to grow both its R&D and manufacturing capabilities to expand and increase its presence in markets beyond North America and Europe. Considering the growing opportunities in the Asia Pacific region, a manufacturing and R&D presence in India or China can help RIM in shipping more devices and reducing overall costs.”

This specific focus on the enterprise market and the email feature has helped RIM establish itself as one of the most preferred vendors in the smartphone market. This also enables the company to maintain higher and more stable ASPs for its devices. ABI Research estimates $345 as the ASP of RIM handsets in 2007, which is substantially higher than the overall industry average of $248 for smartphones. The growing popularity of RIM’s devices indicate that consumers and carriers are willing to support higher priced handsets, if the feature set is right and the device is executed well.

ABI Research expects RIM to continue performing strongly in the smartphone market in 2008. However, RIM will have to seek ways to include better features, improved design and a clearer UI in its devices, and introduce more handsets like the BlackBerry Pearl for the prosumer market. [ABI Research]

Recycled Handset Shipments to Exceed 100 Million Units in 2012

Shipments of recycled handsets (old handsets recycled for reuse) are expected to exceed 100 million units in 2012, according to a recent study from ABI Research. Shorter handset replacement periods, growing demand for low-cost handsets in emerging markets, regulatory requirements, and growing consumer awareness are key factors driving the market for recycled handsets.

ABI Research industry analyst Shailendra Pandey says, “Mobile phone recycling companies such as ReCellular, Fonebak, and Eazyfone are witnessing good market growth, but increasing consumer awareness and retrieving used handsets at affordable prices are still key challenges. Also, the ASP of used handsets falls rapidly, so these handsets need to be handled at the lowest possible cost to ensure decent margins on their resale.”

Handset vendors including Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, and LG are concentrating more on designing and manufacturing mobile phones to ensure that they are easily recyclable and contain a minimum of hazardous elements. This is being complimented by the efforts of mobile operators, retailers, recycling companies, charities and various take-back schemes, resulting in more users starting to return their old, no longer used handsets for recycling.

ABI Research expects the market for recycled handsets to grow steadily in the next five years, generating over $3 billion in revenue in 2012. Having these handsets in their portfolios can help mobile operators and MVNOs in optimizing customer profitability by better management of subscriber acquisition costs. They can use recycled handsets to address low ARPU subscribers and use new expensive handsets to target the high ARPU customers.

ABI Research’s recent study "Handset Recycling and Refurbishment" focuses on the growing market for recycled and refurbished handsets and the associated opportunities and challenges for handset vendors, mobile operators, recycling companies and retailers. It discusses the high level business and marketing issues, and critical considerations for addressing this market. It also provides detailed shipments and revenue forecasts for recycled and refurbished handsets as well as ethical disposal of handsets from 2005 to 2012. [ABI Research]

Casual Gaming Continues to Lead on Mobile

Subscribers still perceive mobile as a casual gaming platform in spite of publishers' best efforts to roll out more advanced titles and features, according to a report issued by research firm Parks Associates.

In "The New Frontier: Portable and Mobile Gaming," Parks Associates reports that while fewer than 10 percent of Internet gamers wish to play core or console-centric games on a mobile device, 55 percent expressed interest in playing puzzle and card games on mobile, and more than 30 percent want word and arcade games.

At the same time, more than 30 percent of respondents interested in portable gaming are interested in playing sports and action/adventure games, with 29 percent interested in driving/flying games and 27 percent calling for first-person shooter titles.

"New 3D and multiplayer mobile games look great in demos, but casual games are where the money is and will be for the next few years," said Parks Associates broadband and gaming director Yuanzhe (Michael) Cai in a prepared statement. "Portable game players will maintain strong growth momentum because they provide an experience yet to be matched by mobile phones. Next-generation players will likely include mobile broadband, which would enhance their value proposition."

New research from entertainment analyst firm Understanding & Solutions reveals a stronger growth rate in mobile gaming than in console and handheld markets, albeit coming from a smaller market share. This places mobile in second position behind the online games market.

“Global revenues from mobile gaming are pegged at $3.6Bn this year,” says Understanding & Solutions Analyst, David Rouse, “and we predict this figure to rise to $6.0bn by 2011. Although not seen as the killer application for mobile, games are increasingly important as the market continues to see major growth.” [FierceWireless]

NTT DoCoMo, Access Team on Mobile Linux

  • Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana

Japanese operator giant NTT DoCoMo signed a memorandum of understanding with mobile software provider Access Co Ltd. and Esteemo (the mobile platform joint venture pairing NEC and Panasonic Mobile Communications) to develop a shared mobile Linux platform.

Under the terms of the MoU, Access will explore converging DoCoMo's existing Linux platform, MOAP (Mobile Oriented Application Platform based on Linux), with its own Access Linux Platform, spearheading a shared software platform based on specifications issued by the industry nonprofit LiMo Foundation. Access will target fiscal 2009 to launch commercial products based on the initiative.

"DoCoMo has been looking for a way to decrease its ever-growing cost of ownership of MOAP and provide its OEM partners with a software platform which can be used as a basis for handsets that can be marketed outside of Japan," market analysis firm Ovum said in response to the news.

"Economically it is challenging for Japanese OEMs to deliver handsets that meet DoCoMo's high specifications with the volumes achievable within the Japanese market. Japanese OEMs need to leverage the investment in software by re-using it in devices outside of Japan. Access' non-trivial technical challenge is to show that ALP can provide a credible migration path from MOAP and provide compatibility with the emerging Linux standards bodies."

As a free OS, Linux doesn't get much mainstream press. But this belies a steady growth in popularity over the last few years. A Diffusion Group report found that in 2005 Linux was the second most popular mobile phone OS, with twice the market share it had in 2004. [FierceDeveloper]

Mobile Social Networking Site Cellware.com Goes Live

Mobile social networking site Cellware.com announced its beta launch, promising subscribers free mobile content like ringtones, wallpaper, videos, games and applications as well as tools to explore, create, and share great mobile content contributed by other users.

Created by Advertising.com co-founder John Ferber, Cellware boasts content partnerships with firms including Alliance, Arphiola, Norstar Media, NO GOOD TV, Go Music Network, Oddcast, Selectracks, SoundIdeas, 4info and Hanaho Games -- its business model hinges on sharing advertising revenue with members, with the potential to earn money on each piece of original content uploaded to the site.

Cellware also provides a whole suite of easy-to-use, fun tools for users to create original mobile content Cellware's unique business model is designed to share the site's advertising revenue with its members. Members of Cellware's free social community will be able to earn money with every piece of content they create.

Informa, the leading international provider of specialist information that feeds the business community, recently measured mobile content to be worth 31 billion dollars and mobile social networking an additional 3.45 billion dollars. Cellware is revolutionizing the industry by integrating both mobile trends offering a way for users to create their own content and share it within a community environment with the added twist of earning potential for all members.

"Our vision is simple -- we want to provide a fun, creative, social environment where all of our members can get the content they want as well as earn money for their original creations," said Ferber in a prepared statement. [FierceMobileContent]

Apple TV Leads a Struggling Breed of Retail Based Internet Video Devices

  • Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Apple, Mobile TV

A new breed of retail-based Internet video delivery devices has emerged over the past few years, the most notable being Apple TV. However ABI Research notes that these devices have had difficulty resonating with consumers, largely due to their higher prices and competition from legacy set-top boxes, as well as confusion over the benefits they will ultimately bring to the buyer. Overall, ABI Research believes that this new breed of devices will see shipments of 1.2 million in 2008.

“Since this category first emerged in 2004-2005 with the debut of Akimbo’s public Internet VOD product, vendors of these products have struggled with a number of hurdles that have so far made this market relatively unsuccessful,” says research director Michael Wolf. “The high cost of these devices, their reliance on the home network, the need for consumer self-installation, and the scarcity of content have all contributed to their lack of commercial success.”

Nonetheless ABI Research believes that two factors offer new hope for these devices. While early examples lacked significant amounts of content, new models such as Vudu’s video device have significant libraries, including high definition movies. Additionally, consumers’ growing hunger for both user-generated and professionally produced content on the Internet could create greater demand for these new devices.

“This market will continue to be challenged by traditional set-top boxes, which are incorporating more VOD and public Internet delivery features, and by the emergence of VOD services on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and those such as the TiVo/Amazon Unbox offering,” adds Wolf.

“However, we believe that there is a possibility of a break-out success among these new entrants if they can create compelling content offerings, make consumer installation and management incredibly easy, and offer both the hardware and content at compelling pricing. We believe one way to achieve this is by incorporating some premium content using advertising support”. [ABI Research]

iPhone Major Hacker Target in 2008

Researchers at Arbor Networks are predicting the iPhone will be the subject of serious attacks from hackers in 2008. Hackers already broke Apple's security system in 2007, but Arbor Networks predicts that hackers are attracted to attacking Apple users and to becoming the first to hack a new platform.

The attacks, they say, will likely take the form of malware embedded in photos or video. Until its latest update, the iPhone was vulnerable to such attacks through a bug in its handling of TIFF images. Previous versions of Apple's firmware used a version of the libtiff library that was susceptible to buffer-overflow attacks.

"2007 was the year of the browser exploit, the data breach, spyware, and the storm worm," the Arbor report said. "We expect 2008 to be the year of the iPhone attack, the Chinese Hacker, P2P network spammers, and the hijacking of the Storm botnet."

Apple's release of a software development kit for the iPhone in 2008 could unleash a host of attacks, and AT&T and all WiFi networks in range could be the next target, noted Andrew Storms, director of security operations for nCircle Security.

The prediction is hardly a risky one, said Storms. "Predicting a higher rate of attacks on the iPhone is like saying there will be more people trying to hack Leopard in 2008," he wrote in an e-mail.

"This is an obvious direction for the hacking community," he added. "Those who hack for good or bad are always interested in the newest target and even better is a new target with a large install base."

But, things will change in 2008, Storms said, especially with Apple's release of a software development kit for the iPhone. "Once the SDK releases, everyday users will be installing third-party applications without having to risk an iBrick," he said, referring to the fact that uses who installed unlocking software found their phones were inoperative after an Apple firmware upgrade.

"The tools and methods which Apple integrates into the iPhone to protect users from malware developed with the SDK is what will be getting significant attention in 2008," he said, predicting that AT&T and all Wi-Fi networks in range of the iPhone will be the next target.

"Imagine a successful mobile worm that distributes itself over both cellular and WiFi," he said. "That's a day that security professionals have been worrying about for years." [FierceBroadbandWireless]

IPTV: Small User Base, Big Money

  • Posted: Monday, December 17, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: IPTV, Market Survey

Television delivered by Internet protocol —IPTV— will be used in 38.4 million homes worldwide by 2012, according to Informa Telecoms & Media's "IPTV - A Global Analysis" report.

Informa estimated that IPTV subscriptions and video-on-demand would generate an estimated $14.7 billion in worldwide revenue by 2012, up from $1.5 billion in 2006.

The 2012 estimate included $13.6 billion from subscription revenues and $1.1 billion from VOD. That revenue will come from a mere 3.1% of the world's TV households.

"In the shorter term we are forecasting 10.6 million IPTV households by the end of 2007, double the 2006 figure of 5.3 million," said Adam Thomas, media research manager at Informa.

"Much of the recent growth has come from service launches by European telcos, although US cablers are also starting to look anxiously over their shoulders at the success of U-Verse and FiOS," Mr. Thomas said. [eMarketer]

Orb Unlocks iPhone, iPod Touch From iTunes

Orb Networks announced that you can now play your PC music collection on your Apple iPhone or iPod touch without having to sync with iTunes. Responding to a user study that found repeated syncing of the iPhone to a PC to be 'a pain in the ass,' Orb enables users to play their PC music on their iPhone or iPod touch from anyplace they have a wireless Internet connection, right away.

"Wait, so, no more syncing? Just hit play?" asked Allison Logue, 18-year-old iPod owner from Fallbrook, California. "That's like having an iPod the size of your PC hard drive."

Here's how it works: install the free Orb application on the Windows PC where you have your music. Then go to the free service at: http://mycast.orb.com/ from the native Safari browser on your iPhone or iPod touch to play what you want right from your PC.

"What kind of robot always decides ahead-of-time what songs they're going to be in the mood for when they're away from their PC?" asked Joe Costello, CEO of Orb Networks. "Don't sync some. Stream all."

Orb also enables you to send your friends text messages with links to your PC music.

"With Orb, you can rock the inbox of your friends' iPhones... and any other phone with a Web connection and streaming media player," said Ian McCarthy, VP of Product Marketing at Orb. "Don't just text about the music. Share the experience of the music." [ABI Research]

3 Italia, Alcatel-Lucent, RAI Team on First DVB-SH Mobile TV Trial in Italy

First DVB-SH Broadcast Mobile TV Trial in the World Blending Mobile and Broadcast Networks. The mobile operator 3 Italia, Alcatel-Lucent, and Italian public broadcaster RAI are launching the first trial of Mobile TV based on the DVB-SH standard in Italy. DVB-SH (Digital Video Broadcasting - Satellite services to Handhelds) is an evolution of DVB-H, which is providing higher spectrum efficiency and allows integration with hybrid satellite/terrestrial networks.

The trial, based on Alcatel-Lucent's Unlimited Mobile TV solution, uses for the first time in the world a multi-layer DVB-SH terrestrial network blending low-power transmitters from a mobile operator and medium-power transmitters from a broadcaster.

The trial will take place in Torino and it will be overseen by RAI Technological Strategies Dept., Raiway SpA and RAI Research and Technology Innovation Centre, providing their three-year-old experience in mobile-TV field tests. Cellular sites provided by 3 Italia will allow the indoor coverage of Torino's downtown, while broadcast towers provided by RAI and Raiway will allow outdoor and vehicular coverage of the entire town of Torino.

Alcatel-Lucent will provide the DVB-SH equipment, the network planning, the network integration and the technical support required for the good execution of the trial. Alcatel-Lucent's DVB-SH low-power repeaters will be co-localized with the live UMTS sites of 3 Italia and connected to the UMTS antennas.

The first phase of this trial, taking place from December 2007 to March 2008, will consist in a technology trial to validate the capability of DVB-SH to make available a large number of high-quality mobile TV channels, in various usage conditions. The several innovative technical characteristics of the DVB-SH will be evaluated during this trial, which in this first phase of the trial will be only terrestrial.

In a second phase of this trial, the broadcast signal from a satellite will be emulated by a transmitter located in a high-altitude helicopter; in order to study a real business situation, a sample panel of customers will be provided with commercial DVB-SH handsets. In a longer term perspective, tests with satellites in operation will be carried out in cooperation with a major satellite operator.

It is expected that this trial will allow demonstrating the improved reception quality made possible by the DVB-SH standard, thanks in particular to improved radio performances for mobile reception (such as the time interleaver and as the reception antenna diversity) related to the use of the S-Band, in particular for indoor and particularly critical outdoor reception environments.

Claudio Cappon, General Director of RAI, declared: "RAI, as part of its public service remit, is interested to deliver to the Italian audience high-quality mobile TV contents, based on various technologies. In this perspective, it is our responsibility to permanently investigate new technologies, such as DVB-SH, in order to optimize the cost-efficiency of our broadcast services distribution to a constantly growing audience."

Olivier Coste, Chairman of Alcatel-Lucent's mobile broadcast activities declared: "For the first time in the industry, a broadcast mobile TV trial will showcase a network capable to satisfy the service needs of both mobile operators and broadcasters, spanning indoor, outdoor and in-car mobile TV usage.

We are particularly excited by this unique partnership with 3 Italia and RAI that will allow us to demonstrate the advantages for the Italian audience of Alcatel-Lucent's Unlimited Mobile TV solution based on the DVB-SH standard." The S-Band spectrum (2.17-2.20 GHz) is available throughout Europe and can be used to deploy across the whole continent mobile satellite services such as Mobile TV.

On February 14, 2007, the European Commission issued a Decision on the harmonized use of this spectrum at the EU level, and on August 22, 2007, the Commission adopted a proposal to select systems for mobile satellite services. If adopted by the European Parliament and the EU Council, this new selection mechanism will allow, from 2009, the deployment of innovative services such as Mobile TV based on DVB-SH. [ABI Research]

LG Voyager Most Popular Handset Online

  • Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Smartphone

According to a report from Compete, the LG Voyager was the most popular handset in November for online shoppers. Compete tracks the number of page views a handset's webpage gets on carrier sites. The Voyager had 131 percent more visitors than the third most shopped for handset, the Samsung SGH-T609. The other top ten most shopped for phones were: the Sidekick Slide, Sidekick ID, LG Venus, Sony Ericsson z310a, Sony Ericsson W508i, the iPhone, Sidekick LX and the Pantech C150.


Complete also compiled a list of the most-shopped smartphones in November. The iPhone earned the top spot here, which makes much more sense than its number four position (though I'm not sure why Complete included it on both lists). The remaining top 10 in order where AT&T's Pantech Duo, the RIM BlackBerry Pearl, Verizon's Samsung SCH-i760, AT&T's Motorola Q9h, a refurbished RIM BlackBerry Pearl, the T-Mobile Dash, AT&T's RIM Blackberry Curve 8310, T-Mobile's RIM BlackBerry Curve 8320, and the AT&T 8525. [FierceWireless]

Wireless Innovation Alliance Formed to Push White-space Services

A coalition of technology companies, public-interest advocates, think tanks and higher education organizations launched an alliance - Wireless Innovation Alliance (WIA) - designed to work with the Federal Communications Commission and other policymakers to develop regulations that will enable the use of television "white space" for broadband services. White space is the unused spectrum that sits between airwaves licensed to television broadcasters.

The Wireless Innovation Alliance's 15 members include Google, Microsoft, HP and Dell. Those are the same names that have been involved with the While Space Coalition, which earlier this year delivered to the FCC two WiFi devices the group claimed operated in this spectrum without interfering with high-definition TV. However, the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology found through preliminary trials of the prototypes that "the transmitter in the prototype device is capable of causing interference to TV broadcasting and wireless microphones."

Last week the coalition delivered to the FCC a WiFi device that the group says can operate in this unlicensed spectrum without interfering with high-definition TV. The prototype, built by Microsoft, will undergo months of testing. The FCC received more than 700 comments on whether it should allow personal and portable devices in this potentially unlicensed white space. Many comments came from licensed spectrum holders such as broadcasters, cable operators and mobile operators who opposed the idea because of interference concerns -- or more like competitive concerns.

"Our effort is about seizing a golden technological opportunity to deploy robust broadband, spur innovation, and maintain America's leadership in the global innovation economy," said Rhett Dawson, CEO, Information Technology Industry Coalition. "We all firmly believe that the FCC's liberation of vacant spectrum will promote greater broadband connectivity and foster the development of innovative new wireless devices and technologies for all Americans."

Google recently presented results of an "initial phase of ongoing trials" around white space technology it says demonstrates digital televisions and wireless services can exist side-by-side without interference. [FierceBroadbandWireless]

Motorola and Intelleflex Partner in Extended Capability RFID

Motorola, Inc. today announced a strategic relationship between the RFID division of the Enterprise Mobility business, and Intelleflex, The Intelligent RFID Platform Company, to deliver best-in-class Extended Capability RFID solutions. The companies will undertake cooperative development activities, combining their respective technologies to create new product platforms to be offered by both companies, enabling each to deliver a powerful set of new RFID solutions to customers worldwide.

In addition, Motorola Ventures, the strategic venture capital arm of Motorola, invested in the Series C financing round in Intelleflex along with new investor Arcapita Ventures.

"Many of the most important emerging applications of RFID technology depend upon extended capability solutions, with features such as large user memory, long range operation, advanced security architectures, robust performance in difficult RF environments and sensors for environmental data capture of items like temperature exposure," commented Bob Sanders, vice president and general manager of Advanced Data Capture, Motorola Enterprise Mobility Solutions.

"By delivering these types of solutions, we will be able to better serve our customers in markets like cold-chain distribution and asset tracking. We chose to partner with Intelleflex because they have established themselves as the technology leader in this product category," he added.

Over the past several years, RFID focus has shifted to closed loop applications, where individual business entities invest in technology to solution a targeted business problem. Many of these issues, such as high-value asset tracking, yard management, cold supply chain and parts maintenance require the features and performance of an extended capability RFID platform.

"We are very excited about new business opportunities that will be enabled as a result of this relationship," said Mike Lowry, President of Lowry Computer Products. "The combination of Motorola's RFID leadership and Intelleflex' breakthrough extended capability RFID technology is compelling. It will allow us to deliver powerful new solutions to our current and future customers in automotive, food and drug, electronics, government, healthcare and other industry sectors."

Motorola and Intelleflex have commenced joint development work that will result in the release of new extended capability RFID products, by both companies, in 2008. [WirelessIQ]

SendMe Mobile, Corbis Co-star on Celeb Photos

Mobile media firm SendMe Mobile announced an agreement with media and advertising creative resource Corbis to provide SendMeMobile.com members with access to celebrity images from the Corbis Entertainment collection. Per terms of the partnership, Corbis will make available images of A-list stars and emerging talent from film and television, all snapped by noted celebrity photographers -- premium made-for-mobile photos spanning the entire Corbis mobile library will also be available through SendMeMobile.com.

"We're always looking for new ways to extend the reach of our collection through new media to the important youth market," said Corbis' vice president of rights services and mobile Dave Reeder in a prepared statement. "Personalization is the name of the game for mobile, and our imagery helps people create their own stories."

SendMe Mobile, the premier mobile media company, and Corbis, a creative resource for advertising, marketing and media professionals, today announced that they are partnering to bring the red carpet to mobile phones users. A first-of-its-kind offering for consumers, the relationship will provide SendMeMobile.com members with access to images from the Corbis Entertainment collection.

SendMeMobile.com members now get exclusive front-row access to images shot by celebrity photographers -- from A-list stars at Hollywood's most high-profile events to emerging talent from top rated television shows and film. This collection of celebrity and artist photographs from major events is shot by celebrity photographers, including world-renowned Frank Trapper.

Trapper, who just published his book "Red Carpet, 20 Years of Fame and Fashion," is the first photographer to be part of this new program. The broader Corbis mobile library will also be available through SendMeMobile.com with a wide range of premium made-for-mobile photos.

"We're always looking for new ways to extend the reach of our collection through new media to the important youth market," said Dave Reeder, vice president, Rights Services & Mobile, Corbis. "Personalization is the name of the game for mobile, and our imagery helps people create their own stories. SendMeMobile.com is a good fit for reaching this rapidly growing market of mobile users."

"The hallmark of SendMe Mobile content is quality and we're proud to be the first to add these premium images from the Corbis Entertainment collection," said Russell Klein, co-founder and CEO of SendMe. "Our members expect nothing but the best creations for mobile entertainment, and Corbis allows us to bring this to life with its award-winning, comprehensive library of premier celebrity event photographs."

Anyone can sign up at http://www.sendmemobile.com/ to experience an expansive collection of ringtones, wallpapers, sweepstakes and SMS text products that are unsurpassed in the industry. [FierceWireless]

Dell at Work on Smartphone

  • Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Smartphone

A Forbes profile spotlighting Michael Dell and his second go-round as CEO of the technology firm bearing his name speculates that Dell is at work on a smartphone, developing the device in collaboration with Taiwanese hardware maker Quanta Computer. The device, which is said to include video, an MP3 player and Internet access, is reportedly scheduled to debut in early 2008, possibly in conjunction with January's Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

In February Dell hired Ron Garriques, executive VP of Motorola's handset division, to run its entire consumer business, the first indicator the firm was mulling entry into the smartphone market. In mid-August, it acquired ZING Systems, a consumer technology and services company emphasizing always-connected audio and entertainment devices.

In a move that reflects the renewed interest and energy being directed at its Consumer business, Dell plans to use ZING and its capabilities to continue improving the entertainment experiences it provides its customers.

Dell is offering no official comment on the device, although with $13 billion in cash and equivalents on the balance sheet, Forbes reports it is also exploring acquisition possibilities, Quanta among them. [FierceDeveloper]

In-Car Video Devices Based on MPH In-Band Mobile DTV Debut

In a move expected to accelerate the rollout of mobile digital television (DTV), Kenwood USA Corporation has become the first major manufacturer of automotive electronics to develop a truly mobile DTV receiver for over-the-air broadcasts in North America.

Kenwood has created prototype terrestrial DTV receivers based on the MPH in-band mobile DTV system, developed by Harris Corporation, LG Electronics and LG's U.S. R&D subsidiary, Zenith. Prototype in-car Kenwood MPH receivers — designed to bring terrestrial broadcast digital TV to consumers on the go, particularly those in fast-moving vehicles — will be demonstrated publicly for the first time at the 2008 International CES in January.

MPH is capable of providing robust terrestrial DTV signals to mobile, pedestrian and handheld devices. For consumers, MPH enables users to view their favorite broadcast TV programs, including movies and sports, and access local news and weather information. For DTV broadcasters, this new technology has the potential to create lucrative new revenue streams.

ATSC digital television — which was optimized for transmission to fixed receivers — will be the only broadcast television in the United States after February 2009 when analog broadcasting ceases. MPH represents a significant upgrade to ATSC, allowing excellent DTV reception performance in cars, even at highway speeds.

Kenwood's MPH DTV development effort builds on the company's aftermarket and more than 30 OEM relationships. In addition to its leadership role in successfully field- testing HD Radio (terrestrial digital broadcast radio tests with Harris and National Public Radio) and developing the first commercially available HD Radio and multicast receivers, Kenwood's Digital Broadcast Group has supported development of other mobile video technologies in Europe and Asia.

"At Kenwood, we have been watching the emerging market for mobile terrestrial DTV with great interest," said Shoichiro Eguchi, president, Kenwood USA Corporation. "With technologies like MPH paving the way, the in-car DTV market will be enormous. We are pleased to work with Harris, LG and Zenith on this breakthrough technology."

"MPH field tests show that ATSC-compatible mobile DTV works well. The next phase is to measure consumer interest. That's where various manufacturers will play a crucial role, and Kenwood's contributions to this effort are noteworthy," says LG Electronics President and Chief Technology Officer Dr. H.G. Lee.

"Kenwood's technological prowess and market strength in mobile electronics lend further credibility to the MPH system," said Tim Thorsteinson, president, Harris Broadcast Communications. "We look forward to jointly demonstrating mobile DTV on Kenwood MPH receivers." [WirelessIQ]

China Mobile the Exclusive Distributor of BlackBerry in China

According to a report from Interfax, which cites Chinese BlackBerry manufacturer TCL as a source, China Mobile will become the exclusive distributor of the first BlackBerry to hit shelves in China this month.

"China Mobile will have exclusive rights to sell the new BlackBerry model, along with its current BlackBerry services, in China. We have already received an order for 10,000 of the handsets from China Mobile," TCL Communications public relations department official, Cheng Yanyan, said. The handset will be sold under the brand "Alcatel BlackBerry 8700," according to Yanyan.

In June last year, China Mobile, the largest mobile carrier in China, launched two BlackBerry push-mail service packages and began to provide replacement SIM cards for users bringing BlackBerry handsets from overseas. However, the carrier has not yet begun selling BlackBerry handsets.

While in late October this year, Canadian-based RIM, the designer, manufacturer and marketer of BlackBerry smartphones, announced that it had entered into a partnership agreement with Alcatel-Lucent and TCL Communications to distribute BlackBerry handsets in China. TCL Communications, the Chinese mobile phone manufacturer that owns the rights to the Alcatel mobile phone brand, helped RIM gain certification for the 8700 handset in the Chinese market.

Chinese newspaper Guangzhou Daily reported today that a Gome Mobile document lists the 8700 model as having a retail price of RMB 3450 ($466.3). Gome Mobile is a newly established handset chain subsidiary under Gome Electrical Appliance Holdings Ltd.

The newspaper report said that Gome Mobile recently signed a purchase agreement with Alcatel for 500,000 new unnamed handsets, which implied that China Mobile might not be the only retail channel. However, Cheng from TLC Communications told Interfax today that the purchase agreement between Gome and Alcatel does not include the Alcatel BlackBerry 8700 handset.

The new 8700 handset features a synchronized e-mail, calendar and address book between handset and personal computer. The China model will support one e-mail account and will be compatible with various e-mail clients, such as IBM's Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook, a technical official from RIM's Beijing office previously told Interfax.

China Mobile currently offers two BlackBerry tariffs, one at RMB 398 ($53.8) per month and the other at RMB 598 ($80.8) per month. [Interfax]

LG Sells More Than 15 Million Chocolate Phones

  • Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: LG, Smartphone

LG announced that by the end of this month it will have sold 15 million Chocolate handsets worldwide. As of April, LG had sold 10 million Chocolate handsets. The phone has been released in about 100 countries around the world and most of these markets have seen a decline in sales for the handset.

However, some markets, like Japan, Central America, the Middle East and Africa are still seeing an uptick in sales since the phone launched later in those markets.

The "Chocolate" phone also available in China for $495. The tiny slider phone features a 2-inch QVGA display, 512MB of on-board memory and a 1.3-MP camera.

Verizon Wireless has launched a new version of LG's Chocolate handset: Blue Ice. The phone sports similar features to old models of the phone, like vibration feedback on the touch-sensitive keypad, navigation wheel with classic red trace motion lighting as well as a microSD memory card slot that supports up to 4 GB of memory.

Chocolate by LG in Blue Ice is available today for $79.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and new two-year customer agreement at Verizon Wireless Communications Stores within Circuit City. It will be available at Verizon Wireless stores and online come December 7.

Qualcomm Launches New Product: MobileView

  • Posted: Monday, December 10, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Qualcomm, Smartphone

Qualcomm Incorporated today announced the commercial availability of the MobileView product. MobileView is a software application that remotely captures diagnostic data with GPS from mobile handsets, providing insight into handset and network performance. MobileView is currently in trials with CDMA2000 and WCDMA (UMTS) network operators worldwide, including T-Mobile Germany.

"The need to ensure that our networks have the best quality is very important to T-Mobile," said Peter Smolka, head of measurement systems radio coverage, T-Mobile Germany. "Remote diagnostics is a positive evolution for network optimization."

"Remotely collecting performance data from opt-in users is the next trend in handset testing and network optimization," said Tia Cassett, senior director of business development at Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. "By collecting diagnostic data directly from handsets, MobileView delivers a thorough reporting of mobile and network performance. This enables device manufacturers to improve their time to market by identifying issues earlier. Network operators can also use it as a tool to keep their networks optimized and running efficiently."

The performance data that MobileView provides can help provide a more efficient and cost-effective way to proactively identify problems in areas not typically covered by drive testing. Drive testing is typically limited to major roads and freeways, while MobileView captures information throughout the network, including in residential and indoor settings. [WirelessIQ]

Better Browsers Needed to Grow Mobile Web

  • Posted: Sunday, December 09, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Mobile Content

Stalled mobile web adoption rates suggest it's necessary to develop improve browser alternatives, according to a new report published by market analysis firm JupiterResearch. In "Mobile Internet: Leave the Browser at Home on the Desktop," JupiterResearch says that 63 percent of mobile users are not using their phones to access Internet services that remain popular on traditional desktop computers.

However, 37 percent of mobile users are accessing some kind of information or services via wireless handsets, suggesting increasing consumer demand for more than voice services.

"We're not advocating the browser go away, just that there should be an alternative for 'glanceable' content--the content people need frequently," said JupiterResearch vice president Julie Ask in a prepared statement. "Consumers are willing to pay for good experiences and products. The industry should focus on this reality. In turn, they can double or triple current adoption levels and drive up usage by focusing efforts on those cell phone users who would be motivated by a better user interface and more compelling experiences."

Better experiences, combined with lower pricing, will likely drive adoption of Internet services on cell phones, although from a provider perspective there are varying degrees of expense and challenges associated with implementation. Still, consumer demand for better experiences is creating a valid need for a complement to the browser on mobile devices. Such alternatives will better serve mobile subscribers, especially for glanceable content needs

"Browser alternatives such as widgets or applets, which are mini applications that allow for content to be easily accessed from a home screen or with just a few clicks, can meet consumer demands for quick access to information," said David Schatsky, President of JupiterResearch. "The goal should be to engage the user through ease of operation so that accessing information in this manner will eventually become second nature." [FierceMobileContent]

Google’s Android: A Shot in the Arm for Mobile Linux?

The spread of Linux into the mobile environment will face significant barriers, including vertical fragmentation due to the lack of complete stack, and horizontal fragmentation (the result of many bodies developing solutions in parallel). Both aspects have made it very difficult for device vendors, carriers, and third-party software developers to justify vast investment in platform development, but Google’s Android may be the solution.

“Android provides a ready-made ecosystem of vendors, carriers, and software developers that could provide enormous economy-of-scale right from the start,“ explains Stuart Carlaw, ABI Research director. “Another concern over Linux involves how to monetize innovation that is subject to a public license. Android solves this through the use of the Apache V2 public license, which does not include a copyleft function.”

Android may produce an unexpected side-effect by providing a valuable proof-of-concept for the idea of mobile Linux, which could rub off on companies such as ACCESS and Trolltech. ABI Research forecasts that by 2012, approximately 127 million Linux smartphones will be shipped each year.

A recent report, Mobile Linux, demonstrates how and why the industry as a whole is rallying behind the Linux offering, and indicates significant barriers that still exist before Linux emerges as a true market power. This report explores these barriers, supplies a detailed SWOT analysis of the mobile Linux offering, and presents forecasts for Linux uptake in mobile devices for commercial OS implementations and RTOS replacement. It forms part of ABI Research’s Service Mobile Devices. [ABI Research]

Ericsson to Develop 3's Music Service in Sweden, Denmark

  • Posted: Thursday, December 06, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Miscellaneous

Ericsson has been selected by leading operator 3 to develop and host its award-winning mobile music service, 3Music, in Sweden and Denmark.

Under the agreement Ericsson will have end-to-end responsibility for 3's world-leading music service, including systems integration, operations and development of new features. The service will give more than 885,000 Danish and Swedish customers seamless access to music-related content from a variety of international and local record labels directly via their mobile devices.

The superior experience also includes ring tones, wallpapers and downloads and streaming of full-length audio, video and play lists, with the option to access the service via either mobile or web portals via Dual Delivery. Ericsson will take over the responsibility for the music service as from the first quarter of 2008.

Peder Ramel, CEO at 3 Scandinavia, says: "Ericsson's hosted solution is the next step in the development of our award-winning service. It allows us to focus on our customers and provide them with world-class content cost-effectively."

Mikael Bäckström, President Ericsson Nordic and Baltics, says: "Ericsson's mobile music solution is designed to make it easier for operators to offer attractive content to their customers and hosting allows launch of new services quickly and cost-effectively. We are excited about partnering with 3 who is a very innovative player in the service and multimedia area. This contract takes our successful relationship to a new level.

The enhanced music solution for 3 leverages on both Ericsson's existing solution for mobile music that has been successfully delivered to more than 20 customers worldwide and over ten years of experience in managed services. [ABI Research]

3 Turns on Non Stop Music Service

British operator 3 announced the launch of Non Stop Music, a new service delivering unlimited access to genre-based music streams ranging from dance to classic rock for 49 pence (about $1) per 24-hour cycle. Developed in conjunction with Ericsson, Non Stop Music promises eight different channels, each on a four-hour loop--3 subscribers may toggle between the stations as often as they like during each 24-hour window. New music is updated each week.

The Non Stop Music service aims to offer customers the best possible streaming mobile music experience. Non Stop Music is like having your own radio station; you can choose which type of music you want to listen to, when you want to listen to it. By clicking on the icon of the station you want, you'll be able to jump straight into the music.

Each station is on a 4 hour loop, and the new music will be updated every single week. You have the ability to switch between the stations as often as you like, all included in the 49p for 24 hours fee. The Non Stop music service was developed in partnership with Ericsson under its managed services agreement with 3.

John Penberthy-Smith, Marketing Director, 3 UK said, 'At 3 we thrive on providing our customers with the most innovative and exciting services on demand for the best price. The new 24 hour streaming will I'm sure be hugely popular with our customers. Our other music services such as MusicStore and dual downloads have set the pace for the market.' [FierceWireless]

Study: 35% of U.S. Tweens Own Mobile Phones

A new Nielsen Group study reports that 35 percent of U.S. tweens--defined as kids ages 8 to 12--own mobile phones. Among the tween mobile population, 20 percent have used text messaging, while 21 percent have downloaded ringtones and answer tones--related content including wallpapers, music and games are also highly rated by the demographic in question.

Additional Nielsen findings include:

  • 5 percent of tweens access the Internet over their phone each month
  • 41 percent of tweens access the mobile Internet while commuting or traveling
  • 26 percent of tweens access the mobile web while at a friend's house
  • 17 percent of tweens access the mobile web at social events
  • 58 percent of tweens who download or watch TV on their phone do so at home
  • 64 percent of tweens who download or play music on their phone do so at home
  • 56 percent of tweens who access the Internet on their phone do so at home

"Tweens use their mobile phones, and media in general, in very unique and important ways," said Nielsen Mobile VP of mobile media Jeff Herrmann in a prepared statement. "Marketers and media executives need to understand these 'digital natives' as they mature and reshape the way we all think about new and traditional media." [FierceMobileContent]

Hitwise: blinkx Recently Surpassed Google Video in the UK

  • Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Miscellaneous

blinkx, the largest video search engine on the Web, today announced new metrics from third party reporting agencies, comScore, Hitwise and Quantcast, which confirm explosive growth in search traffic across the blinkx network in the second half of 2007.

comScore is reporting a record 52.5 million unique visitors and 535 million page views through the blinkx network during October 2007. According to Internet measurement service Hitwise, blinkx increased its market share of visits within the Entertainment-Multimedia category by 541% between January and October 2007, outperforming the growth of the industry.

In addition, Hitwise is reporting that www.blinkx.com recently surpassed Google Video in the UK with weekly market share of visits. Compete.com also recognized blinkx as September 2007’s fastest growing video spot on the Web, with an increase of 188% in number of visitors.

Since its IPO in May 2007, strong demand for blinkx’s unique, patented search functionality has established blinkx as the gold standard in video search, powering many of the most popular sites and portals on the Internet. High-profile new syndication customers included Ask.com, RealNetworks and InfoSpace.

“The meteoric rise of online video, of both user-generated content and also high-value programming from established media companies, has resulted in fragmentation of video content across the Web, and therefore driven demand for an advanced multimedia search function,” said Suranga Chandratillake, founder and CEO of blinkx. “Navigation is a vital service, and blinkx’s tremendous growth is testament to the excellence of our technology and the results we deliver.”

Regarding demographics, Internet ratings service, Quantcast reports that www.blinkx.com “caters to a more youthful, very slightly male biased, more educated following.”

As the pioneer in video search technology, blinkx has built a reputation as the smartest way to search new forms of online content such as video. With more than 220 partners and 18 million hours of indexed video and audio content, including favorite TV moments, news clips, short documentaries, music videos, video blogs and more, blinkx uses advanced speech recognition technology to deliver results that are more accurate and reliable than standard metadata-based keyword searches. /PR

Mobile Becoming Global Gaming Platform

  • Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Mobile Content

End-user-generated revenues from mobile games are predicted to reach $10 billion by 2009, according to Juniper Research.

Juniper predicts that the number of mobile users downloading games will more than double to 460 million by 2009.

"Game downloads have already overtaken those of ringtones in a number of Western European markets, while mobile handsets are now the de facto games console in many developing countries," said Windsor Holden, author of the Juniper report.

The research company also predicted global in-game advertising revenues of more than $1.2 billion in 2012, up from $90 million in 2007.

Juniper also predicted that the number of mobile gamers in the Indian subcontinent would hit nearly 40 million in 2009, up from 10 million in 2007.

Mobile gaming revenue will be greatest in China and the Far East, with $5.7 billion in 2012, up from almost $2.7 billion in 2007. [eMarketer]

Philippines Cable Operators Battle Mobile TV

Philippines regulators have ordered Philippine Long Distance Telephone and its subsidiaries Smart Communications and MediaQuest Holdings to justify its myTV mobile television service in the face of opposition from cable providers. About 300 local operators are petitioning the National Telecommunications Commission to pull the plug on PLDT's mobile broadcast initiative, claiming the service is anti-competitive and infringes on their broadcast permits.

"Under the existing rules and guidelines, only cable television companies are allowed to engage in the provisioning of pay TV," said Philippine Cable Television Association president Alan Dungao.

Smart Communications launched myTV in March; the test broadcast issued by the NTC for the trial expired October 15. In a two-page order, NTC announced a hearing for next month to allow PLDT to explain its side of the controversy. [FierceMobileContent]

Google Debuts AdSense for Mobile

Google continued its acceleration into the mobile market, announcing the launch of AdSense for Mobile, a new service promising to establish a wireless advertising network matching the search giant's advertising inventory with mobile web content.

In an interview with the New York Times, Google AdSense product management director Dilip Venkatachari said the ads would offer a new source of revenue for publishers and could encourage more online sites to create WAP sites. Like the majority of Google advertising systems, AdSense for Mobile prices will be determined via auction, and advertisers will pay when a user clicks on its ad. According to Venkatachari, Google will encourage publishers to insert no more than two ads per mobile page.

Google will initially launch AdSense for Mobile to mobile publishers in 13 countries, including the United States, Great Britain, France, China and India. All of its online AdWords advertisers--which reportedly number in the hundreds of thousands--will be eligible for the new mobile initiative. [FierceMobileContent]

Study: Students More Receptive to Mobile Ads

A new study issued by Ball State University reports that college students are growing increasingly receptive to mobile advertising, with 56.3 percent of respondents saying they would accept mobile ads in exchange for free services or content. Among the findings of the BSU survey:


  • - 37.4 percent of students would accept advertising in exchange for a free ringtone

  • - 21.4 percent of students would accept advertising in exchange for discount or coupon to a restaurant, movie or grocery store

  • - 20 percent of students would accept advertising in exchange for free minutes, upgrades, access to the internet or music

According to the study, 36.7 percent of college students received a text ad in 2007, up 13 percent from 2005; only 25 percent of respondents said they are "very concerned" about how a business obtains their mobile contact information, with the percentage of subscribers who are "very concerned" dropping 25 percent from two years ago.

"Just a couple of years ago, few college students accepted ads on their mobile devices because they felt it was an invasion of their privacy," said Michael Hanley, Ball State advertising professor and mobile marketing researcher. "Now all you have to do is offer free ringtones, cash or access to the Internet, because this age group has grown up with cell phones and other mobile devices. It is the way they communicate with each other as well as with the outside world." [FierceMobileContent]

Portable Video Growing, Handsets Lose Ground

According to data issued this week by audience measurement firm Nielsen Media Research, video-enabled MP3 players, including video iPods, are moving into the mainstream at a rapid rate, rising to 10 percent market penetration in the first quarter from 7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006. At the same time, Nielsen says that penetration of video-enabled mobile phones has fallen from 11 percent in Q4 2006 to 9 percent in the first quarter.

Nielsen also announced it will deploy "solo meters," new metering devices created to plug into mobile handsets, iPods and other portable video devices. MediaDailyNews reported the solo meters were unveiled Thursday to clients as part of an update on Nielsen's mobile video measurement plans.

Roughly the size of a lipstick case, the meters plug in between the earphones and the device's earphone jack. Nielsen said it manufactured about 100 of the devices, and will begin internal technology tests later this month, with results to follow in the fourth quarter.

The meters are part of Nielsen's ongoing efforts to assess the portable video device market. The company also announced the formation of a panel of iPod owners to track how they utilize Apple products to download video and audio content via the computing giant's iTunes retail storefront.

Nielsen said it also assembled a separate wireless division to explore new methods for measuring mobile video programming across mobile operator networks, although no deals have yet been announced. [FierceMobileContent]

New BREW Client 4-Series

  • Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: 3G Handset, BREW


Technologies and solutions developer Qualcomm announced the release of its new BREW Client 4-Series wireless device architecture at the BREW 2007 event last week in San Diego. According to Qualcomm, Client 4-Series offers new platform and developer-facing features to enable handset makers to better collaborate with developers, promising manufacturers a platform to securely expose hardware and software layers to developer partners in order to create new applications for specific devices.

In addition, Qualcomm says developers will gain content-framework support allowing for enhanced content discovery, delivery and installation as well as support for security and DRM. Japanese mobile operator KDDI was the first carrier to leverage the Client 4-Series architecture in tandem with its KDDI Common Platform and Qualcomm's Mobile Station Modem MSM7500 chipset software, creating an integrated platform with software architecture consistent across devices.

According to Qualcomm, BREW Client 4.1 is scheduled for availability in the first quarter of 2008 and will include an SDK and three release versions: Porting Kit for MSM chipsets, Porting Kit Generic and Porting Evaluation Kit.

In related news from BREW 2007, Qualcomm announced a partnership with Hutchison Whampoa-owned mobile operator and media company 3 to launch handsets based on the BREW platform. According to 3, plans call for leveraging BREW to offer highly-integrated, feature-rich applications that capitalize on the solution's low-level API access and OTA downloading capabilities.

To date, 3 has launched commercial 3G services in the U.K., Italy, Australia, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Hong Kong, Israel and Ireland, with a total population coverage of roughly 175 million: "Using BREW, we can embed applications on the handset to deliver a single integrated user experience, which in turn will encourage take-up of our services," said Frank Meehan, director and general manager for Hutchison Whampoa Limited's global 3G handset and application group, in a prepared statement. [FierceDeveloper]

Mobile Games Lead Development

According to a new report issued by market intelligence firm IDC titled "Asia/Pacific (Including Japan) Software Developers: Development 'On-the-Go'," a majority of software developers now focus their efforts on producing mobile games and utilities software.

Among respondents who align themselves with games development, most are affiliated with large value-added reseller or software distributor organization, while most utilities software development is concentrated in IT hardware manufacturing.

IDC forecasts mobile development trends to continue their current growth as developers from smaller organizations forge a deeper understanding of the associated software tools. "Software tools vendors need to package their products to suit smaller budgets and adopt a marketing message that will attract developers from smaller-sized organizations to consider their application software tools," said IDC market analyst Prianka Srinivasan in a prepared statement.

The IDC report also queried respondents on the multimedia or information types they anticipate will dominate application development over the next two years--audio and video were most frequently cited, while JPEG images and animation ranked third and fifth, respectively.

The survey also anticipates that software quality assurance and requirement management tools will be the subject of accelerating purchase and demand: "IDC expects vendors to accelerate their product awareness efforts and cash in on the shift towards using more application life-cycle tools in the mobile application development market," Srinivasan said. [FierceDeveloper]

The Ups and Downs of European Online Travel

  • Posted: Monday, June 18, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Market Survey

A bumpy ride ahead?

eMarketer estimates that online travel sales in the five major travel markets of Europe — France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK — will total nearly $49 billion this year, up 27% over 2006.

That's the good news.

"Over the next four years, as the European online travel market matures, sales growth in the sector will steadily decrease," says Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer Senior Analyst and the author of the new report, European Online Travel. "Conversely, that means competition for online travel dollars is going to increase."

After peaking in 2005, personal travel and tourism spending growth (online and offline) by the 25 European Union member states entered a moderate phase, as evidenced by data published by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

"This year, spending by the EU-25 members is expected to grow only 2.4% over last year," says Mr. Grau. "The newest members of the European Union — Eastern European nations such as Poland and the Czech Republic — will play a key role in stimulating future growth."

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When the Only Phone Is Mobile

Landlines aren't dead... yet.

Over half of US adults who only use a mobile phone are younger than 30, according to a Harris Interactive study conducted between October and December 2006. In fact, a third of 18-to-29-year-olds use only a mobile phone or the Internet for their calls.

Over eight in 10 US adults said they had a landline phone, and over three-quarters said they had a mobile phone. About one in six used the Internet (VoIP). Only 2% said they did not have phone service at all.

About six in 10 US adults used multiple approaches to making telephone calls. Just less than one in five used only a landline phone, 11% used only their cellphone and 2% used only VoIP.

Mobile-phone-only users tended to be male and better educated, but less affluent than the general adult population.

The mobile-only population is important, because US mobile customers are starting to use their handsets for more than simply talking. Text messaging has taken off in the US, with nearly 90% of those responding to a November 2006 ROI Research survey commissioned by Bluestreak saying they had started to text.

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Motorola Enhances Chinese Music Portal - Motomusic

  • Posted: Saturday, June 02, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Handset, Motorola

Motorola announced an upgrade of its Chinese online entertainment portal Motomusic, expanding its catalog to more than 100,000 music tracks as well as implementing new tools including playlist creation, buddy interaction, management and sharing.

Motorola is also introducing recommendations on music, mobile phones, music devices and companion products in addition to a tagging function that enables users to label any kind of content with text to improve sharing within the online community. Users may customize their own albums and cover art to share with the Motomusic community.

According to Motorola, the Motomusic site now encompasses content from more than 50 record labels-in the two years since its launch, the portal has generated over 700 million page views, with over a million tracks purchased.

"In the face of the changes that digitization has wrought on the music industry, we must work together to create new ways to experience the music we all love, ways that are relevant to the way Asians live today," said Motorola Asia Pacific Mobile Devices president Michael Tatelman in a prepared statement.

"Making that happen is going to take more than outstanding mobile devices--it demands that manufacturers, operators, artists, labels and service providers share a vision that recognizes that the future of music is mobile, and that we must make mobile music even better than the music experiences we grew up with," he added. [FierceMobileContent]

AT&T and Samsung Unveil More Video Share Handsets

AT&T and Samsung have launched two new handsets, which will be the first to support the carrier's first IMS-based application, Video Share. The SGH-a717 is a clamshell-style phone that will become available on June 4 and the SGH-a727 is a candy bar-style phone that will hit store shelves in a few weeks. The devices are 12.9 mm and 8.9 mm thick, respectively--making them the slimmest 3G phones available to AT&T subscribers.

Video Share will be available in 50 markets by the end of the summer, according to a keynote AT&T CTO Randall Stephenson made at CTIA a few months ago. According to the carrier's website, the application requires the sender and receiver to have compatible phones and be in a 3G coverage area. Both sender and receiver will be charged for any airtime usage and call minutes, but only the sender will be charged for Video Share minutes.

Industry analyst Ken Rehbehn recently wrote a column for FierceWireless that highlighted the budding prospects for video sharing as an IMS application: "Video sharing and gaming stand out as two possible applications benefiting from the new era of digital communications. Making such peer-to-peer services--as well as client/server applications--work as part of a service offering is the job of IMS, with extensive building blocks for session control, AAA, security and legacy interconnection." [FierceWireless]

Mobile Users Believe iPhone Better Than The Current Mobile

  • Posted: Friday, June 01, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Apple, iPhone

According to research from analyst house Strategy Analytics, 90 per cent of mobile users said they believe the forthcoming iPhone will be better than the mobile they currently have.

The research also found more than 40 per cent of individuals rate the iPhone much better across key functional categories - including music player, web browsing, voicemail and phone call management than their own phone.

It's unclear how consumers have made their value judgement given that, to date, only a handful of Apple execs have been given an iPhone handset to use. The device itself is yet to be released to the public and no firm launch date has been set beyond the company saying it will appear in June.

Consumers aren't happy with every aspect of the iPhone, however. Strategy Analytics found they balk at the cost - the phone will be sold at two price points, $499 for a 4GB device and $599 for an 8GB version.

Prada Phone is Verizon's iPhone-killer

  • Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2007
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Apple, iPhone, LG

A recent USA Today article claimed that AT&T has a five year exclusive contract with Apple for the iPhone, during which time Apple cannot make a CDMA version of the handset. In the same article, Verizon Wireless COO Denny Strigle says, "We do have a very good response in the mill. You'll see that from us in the late summer."

The Street predicts that the LG Prada phone, the KE 850, is Verizon's response. A Verizon Wireless representative, however, says "We have several music devices coming" including the LG Prada, "but there are others." The Prada phone is just as pricey as the iPhone: $600 (the iPhone is expected to be $500), but Verizon Wireless could subsidize the Prada, a move AT&T has already rejected for the iPhone.

AT&T's five-year exclusive arrangement with Apple to sell the iPod-inspired iPhone is seen as a potentially big threat to the continued growth at Verizon Wireless.

Verizon and AT&T have ridden solid gains in wireless users to 52-week highs this month. But if the iPhone is a hit, AT&T stands to win many new customers when the phone hits the market, stealing momentum and lucrative users from Verizon.

Verizon can stem some of the defections if it has its own supersleek iPhone imitation.