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FirstNews - August 04, 2008

Mon, 08/04/2008 - 8:20am

Former Q-Comm COO to Head Moto’s Handsets

By Evan Koblentz

Motorola said Sanjay Jha, the former COO of Qualcomm, is now the CEO of its wireless handset division.

It won’t be an easy job.  The division has been for sale since this spring and will become an independent public company by the middle of next year, officials previously said.  Jha will have to steer the ship through the complicated transition.

The company recently fell to the third spot in handset market share, behind dominant Nokia and second-place Samsung, with LG Electronics in a very close fourth place.

Before moving into management at Qualcomm, where he was president of the CDMA Technologies division, Jha held engineering roles at Brooktree and GEC Hirst Research Labs.  He has a Ph.D. in electronic and electrical engineering from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland.

In addition to leading the wireless handset group, Jha is now co-CEO of the whole company, sharing duties with Greg Brown.

 

Ikea: First Furniture, Now Phone Service

By Rhonda Wickham

Retailer Ikea is the latest company to try its hand at selling wireless services. The Swedish furniture retailer turned mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is using the German-owned T-Mobile network for its services in the U.K..

Ikea's service offers a pay-as-you-go plan and requires only that customers make an initial $20 airtime purchase.

The MVNO model is gaining more popularity lately with commercial players in the U.K. The Ikea deal is similar to ones Vodafone brokered with Asda and Carphone Warehouse. Also, Orange is reportedly close to signing a deal with Lycamobile to target Britain's immigrant population.

 

AT&T Extends iPhone Deal Until 2010

By Rhonda Wickham

According to a report in USA Today, AT&T has extended its exclusivity arrangement with Apple until 2010.

This is a year longer than was originally documented for the exclusivity arrangement for AT&T’s sale of the iPhone 3G in the United States when it launched on July 11, 2008.

 

CTIA Spent $1.6 M in Q2 Lobbying

By Rhonda Wickham

CTIA, the wireless industry association, spent almost $1.6 million in Q2 to lobby on wireless taxes, federal auctions of wireless spectrum, net neutrality, white spaces and other issues, according to a disclosure form.

CTIA weighed in on the use of “white spaces,” the unused spectrum between TV channels as well as lobbied on the transition from analog to digital broadcasting.

The trade association also proposed net neutrality rules that would prohibit broadband providers from favoring or discriminating against Internet traffic flowing over their networks.

 

MobiTV Claims 4 M Subscriber Metric

By Evan Koblentz

MobiTV said today that it now has 4 million subscribers, 1 million of whom signed up in the past 10 months.

The company formed in 1999 and began offering TV service for handsets in 2003.  Most of the content is clipped and edited versions of standard TV shows, although MobiTV also offers mobile-specific content as well as some interactive features.

The challenges of putting real and full TV shows on handsets are numerous.  The shortest shows are typically 30 minutes long, which means many minutes and battery life being consumed.  High-quality video is typically a bandwidth hog and most phones do not have the kind of sound quality that viewers expect for watching TV.

Currently the paid service works on select devices from Alltel, AT&T, Bell Canada, Sprint Nextel and Telus.  There are more than 50 channels available, officials said.

The company also said it’s seeing a large increase in unique daily users and viewing time.  But no forecasts were disclosed for other subscriber metrics.

 

Sybase to Announce Enterprise Mobility Software

By Evan Koblentz

Tomorrow at its TechWave conference, Sybase will announce new development and deployment tools for enterprise mobility.

Dubbed the Sybase Unwired Platform, and due for release in about 6 months, the software will integrate with existing mobile development systems such as the open-source Eclipse framework and Microsoft’s .NET suite.

Aspects of the development side will include modeling, coding and user interface tools, while aspects of the deployment side will include a server runtime engine.

Sybase mentioned the software in a technical presentation in February, and details will be explained in another presentation this Thursday.

The software is part of a larger Sybase announcement that includes 7 new products coming out in the next 6 months, said Raj Nathan, CMO and senior vice president.  The other products will touch Sybase’s businesses in databases and messaging.

Also, the majority of announcements tomorrow will be upgrades for existing products, not new products entirely.

 

LiMo Gets More Members, Handsets

By Evan Koblentz

The LiMo Foundation, which advocates the free and open-source Linux operating system for mobile phones, today announced 11 new member companies and 7 new handsets.

Freescale Semiconductor, PacketVideo, Telecom Italia and ZTE are the most noteworthy of the new members.  The others are Cellon, Esmertec, , Longcheer Holdings, MIZI Research, Movial Corporation, SK Innoace and VirtualLogix.

In hardware, the new handsets are Motorola’s Motozine ZN5, NEC’s N906i, N906iµ, N906iL and N706i, plus Panasonic Mobile Communications’ FOMA P906i and P706iµ.  (FOMA is the name of NTT DoCoMo’s 3G service in Japan.)

That brings the total number of LiMo handsets to 21, officials said. 

LiMo’s version of mobile Linux is due for a second major update later this year or early next year, along with an online expansion aimed at developers, officials said in May.

 

Movial Opens Source Code

By Monica Alleven

Movial joined the LiMo Foundation and unveiled its open sourcing technology, Browser D-Bus Bridge. The announcements were made in conjunction with LinuxWorld taking place in San Francisco this week.

Joining the LiMo Foundation is a natural for Movial, said Tomi Rauste, president of Movial Creative Technologies, based in Helsinki, Finland. The Movial IXS Toolkit is an easy-to-use Linux SDK that allows Web developers and designers to build fast mobile device user interfaces (UI).

Operators can bring their own flavor of services to end-user devices, he said. Movial is in discussions with several operators, both in Europe and North America.

Browser D-Bus Bridge, Movial’s open source contribution to the Linux mobile community, translates HTML and Javascript commands to D-Bus commands (Desktop Bus).

The D-Bus is also used by the LiMo Foundation for inter-process communication (IPC) between applications and services. Movial’s Browser D-Bus Bridge can provide a browser-based UI for the LiMo stack and makes it possible for applications to initiate platform services, like media engines and instant messaging engines on mobile devices, enabling Web developers and designers, operators and device manufacturers to add browser-based UIs easily.

Running on WebKit and Mozilla engines, Movial expects to deliver the code to the Linux mobile community within 90 days.

 

Gaming Controller Launches with Sony Ericsson

By Monica Alleven

Mobile gaming is getting a lot more exciting, but you’ll need to visit the Netherlands if you want to try the latest gadget. That’s where Zeemote and Sony Ericsson are launching the Zeemote JS1 Controller with the W760i.

From Aug. 8 to Oct. 31, the Zeemote JS1 will be offered free to buyers of Sony Ericsson’s new 3G mobile handset, the W760i Walkman, via a mail-in voucher promotion. The W760i will come with two embedded Zeemote-ready games, with 14 more games available through the Fun & Downloads section of Sony Ericsson’s Website, said Jim Adams, vice president of sales and business development worldwide for Zeemote.

Why release the controller in Holland? Well, you have to start someplace. Adams said the company will harden its processes and ramp up production as it scales, but for now, the Netherlands represents an ideally sized market and Sony Ericsson is a “great partner.” The controller works with Java handsets.

The JS1 is ergonomically designed to fit any size hand and fingers, he said. It runs on Bluetooth 2.0 and uses two AAA batteries.

Sony Ericsson is the company’s first go-to-market partner, but it is not exclusive, he said.

 

News Briefs for August 04, 2008

Companies in the news: Alltel Wireless, Telit Wireless Solutions, Rogers Wireless, Fujitsu Global Mobile Platform, WiChorus, ZyXEL, InterAct Public Safety Systems, Pepperjam, M3 Mobile, Aeroflex, Matsch Systems

• Alltel Wireless rolled out EV-DO Revision A technology in Lincoln and Omaha, Neb. The coverage extends along Interstate 80, linking the two cities. Customers using Rev. A will experience average upload speeds of 500 kbps-800 kbps with bursts up to 1.8 Mbps. Upload speeds on the company’s existing broadband network average 50 kbps-70 kbps, with bursts up to 144 kbps. Download speeds also will increase. Rev. A download speeds average 600 kbps to 1.4 Mbps, with bursts up to 3.1 Mbps. By comparison, downloads on the existing broadband network average 400 kbps-700 kbps with bursts up to 2.4 Mbps.

• Telit Wireless Solutions has announced that six of its M2M communications modules have been certified for use on Canada’s Rogers Wireless GSM/GPRS network. Telit was awarded certification on the GE864-QUAD, GC864-QUAD, GE863-QUAD, GE863-GPS, GE862-QUAD and GE862-GPS modules. Telit's modules support a range of applications such as automatic meter reading, fleet management, security and surveillance, asset tracking and remote device management.

• Fujitsu Global Mobile Platform (FMPI), a joint venture between Fujitsu Limited's former LSI business divisions and the Institute for Information Industry of Taiwan, has opened its doors for business. FMPI will develop reference designs for WiMAX-related products for Taiwan-based ODM vendors, in addition to providing technical support.

• WiChorus, a provider of scalable platforms for 4G networks, and ZyXEL, a provider of broadband wireless access solutions through its WiMAX-certified products, have successfully completed interoperability testing between WiChorus’ Intelligent ASN gateway and ZyXEL’s base station.

Leveraging the WiMAX Forum’s NWG Release 1 specification, WiChorus and ZyXEL demonstrated interoperability with the R6 network interface. With a standard, open R6 interface, mobile operators can choose from a large ecosystem of best-of-breed equipment including base stations and ASN gateways. Without a standard interface, service providers get locked in to a proprietary solution that limits deployment and service options and inflates costs.

• InterAct Public Safety Systems, provider of safety and security software, has unveiled HerculesCAD, a next-generation computer-aided dispatch system. HerculesCAD is available as either a hosted or SaaS (Software as a Service) application, or may be deployed as a premise-based system. Peer-to-peer configurations enable networked backup facilities and secure collaboration between agencies. Critical data from incoming calls for services via phone, SMS, VoIP and e-mail including images and video can be transferred and shared quickly between agencies and jurisdictions over a secure network.

• Pepperjam, an Internet and affiliate marketing agency, and M3 Mobile, a full-service mobile marketing agency, have launched a joint venture that will give advertisers a 1-stop shop for Internet and mobile marketing. The venture will be named pepperjamMobile Powered by M3 Mobile.

• Aeroflex has released its Auto-Test II Motorola Test and Alignment support for the Motorola XTS-5000 radios. This new capability allows users of the 3900 Series to automatically test and align radios with minimum user intervention. This new software is available for all 3900 series products currently in the field, including the 3901, 3902 and the new 3920 Series. The 3900 connects directly to the radio via a USB or RS-232 connection and controls the radio directly without the need for a separate computer.

• Matsch Systems has added a suite of carrier-agnostic cellular management application services called CM SaaS – Cellular Management Software as a Service (SaaS). The Cellular Management SaaS applications enable organizations using cellular services to select a management solution that best meets their organization’s needs. The suite of services includes CMS, CMS+, Cellular Rebilling services, and MobilNow – Cellular Call Record Collection.

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