Unwired Tap – July 2008

Our old friend convergence, who we have written about many times in previous columns, is a consistent hue on the color palette that we use to paint the picture of the future of wireless products and architecture. We are continuing to see the blurring of the boundaries between personal computer functionality and devices such as smartphones that we carry with us all the time.

The underlying architectures that support this convergence capability are the key to this and other future content based activities. Why should we care? Well, the future functionality of our cell phones is hanging in the balance.

Brad Smith had an interesting article in the May 2008 edition of Wireless Week. In the article he discussed the growth of the cell phone market, the smartphone device market and the architecture that supports these markets.

In the article, Brad gave a very clear picture of why we should care about the architecture in the Mobile Internet Devices (MID) of today and the future. “Today’s smartphones use a variety of silicon, starting with a central processing unit (CPU) but often with companion or integrated chips to run various functions on the phone. These include multimedia processors for audio and video, graphics, games, video encoders or decoders, memory, power management, connectivity and communications. There also can be multiple radios in smartphones to connect to a 3G network, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth devices, and soon WiMAX. Phones not only make phone calls, but receive and send e-mail, take photos and video, play music and browse the Internet.”

Brad also gave some interesting statistics in his article. “The fastest-growing consumer electronics device market in the world for several years has been the cell phone. In 2007, there were about 1.12 billion mobile phones sold, which compares to the 271.2 million PCs and laptops sold last year.”

“Meanwhile, smartphone sales are growing faster than the overall cell phone market. Smartphones are generally defined as devices running an open, high-level operating system like Symbian, Microsoft Windows Mobile, Palm or RIM. ABI Research estimates smartphones comprised 10% of the total handset market in 2007 but will be nearly one-third of the market by 2013.”

So we want more and more functionality and content out of our cell phones or MIDs, and the foundation for building out these requirements is the architecture. Well, who are some of the major players and where are they headed? Let’s go back to Brad’s article for some insight.

Intel was in the wireless handset space several years ago but dropped out by selling its former communications and application processor group. Intel is getting back into wireless devices with a new strategy along with Centrino Atom chipsets.

“The company [Intel] is getting back into wireless devices, but coming at it from a different direction. It wants to enter the smartphone market from the top down, so to speak, by using the architecture it uses in its chips for laptops and desktops.”

“Intel’s new strategy, announced this year with a Centrino Atom family of chipsets, is further evidence of a blurring of the traditional computing and mobile phone worlds. There is one constant in wireless handsets, though, and that is power consumption. Battery technology hasn’t changed that much, so device manufacturers and semiconductor companies have to keep power consumption as low as possible.”

“The major competitor of the Atom platform is the chip architecture from ARM Limited which is used in a large variety of companies and products. According to Brad – “Products using the ARM architecture have been in mobile phones for about 10 years and in mobile devices longer than that. Apple was one of ARM’s early licensees, using its technology in the ill-fated Apple Newton and still uses it in the iPod and iPhone. Last year, there were about 3 billion ARM-based chips shipped in mobile phones worldwide, an average of 1.7 chips per phone. That’s because ARM’s designs are used in the central processors plus a variety of subsidiary chips.”

“Jim McGregor, research director and principal analyst for the In-Stat market research firm, says ARM’s central processor technology is in 90% or more of all mobile phones today. The main reason is that ARM’s technology was designed for low power consumption in mobile devices, he says.”

“Will Strauss, chief analyst for Forward Concepts, estimates 99% of the world’s mobile phones use ARM’s technology. ARM-based devices also are widespread in consumer electronics devices such as personal media players, Strauss says.”

As Brad points out in his article “There is a potential battle brewing between these two forces, as the world’s leading PC chip manufacturer, Intel, has started making processors for not only Ultra Mobile PCs but what it is calling the Mobile Internet Device (MID).”

“Gary Koerper, vice president of Platform Planning and Systems Architecture for Motorola’s handset unit, which is an ARM licensee, says Intel and ARM are coming at the same space from different worlds. Intel and its x86 architecture dominate the PC and Internet worlds, while ARM’s technology is optimized for mobile handsets.”

“ARM is certainly coming from the smartphone space and trying to work into a mini-PC world, while Intel is coming down from the laptop,” he says. But the latest OMAP chipset from TI is capable of rendering high-definition video while also making voice calls, he says.
“According to Koerper, Intel’s challenge is going to be to make a Windows mini-PC with good battery life, while ARM’s challenge will be to render Web pages on a browser as well as the Intel x86 architecture.”

“Nokia is among the handset manufacturers using ARM products that thinks it has the answer. Nokia just announced its N810 Internet Tablet WiMAX Edition, which will be sold for use on Sprint’s new Xohm wireless broadband network this year. The N810, which runs a Linux OS, has a Mozilla browser like the Firefox browser many people use on their PCs. The device uses a TI OMAP 2420 chipset, which uses an ARM11 core clocked at 400 MHz.”

“As smartphones add capabilities like video, ARM and its licensees have had to add functionality. Each added feature can require additional processing capabilities and demands on battery power, but McGregor says ARM and the chip companies have kept evolving to keep both at the lowest possible levels.”

“Even though ARM doesn’t see itself as a competitor to Intel, it has plans to move into MID-like devices – with 5- to 7-inch screens, full Internet browsers, wireless connectivity, multimedia capability and perhaps GPS. These are the Cortex A8 and Cortex A9 processors. ARM has licensed the A8 to about 10 companies, and Morris says there will be products in the market by the end of the year using the platform. Qualcomm is one of the Cortex A8 licensees and used it in its new Snapdragon chipset.”

“The Cortex A9, which Morris says will show up in devices in three to five years, has the ability to have four processor cores so that the amount of processing power can be scaled according to the application that is running.”

“Snapdragon is an example of how ARM’s licensees apply their ‘special sauce’ to the ARM core. Qualcomm licenses only the instruction set for the ARM Cortex A8 for its Snapdragon chips and then builds its own chip based on the instruction set, according to Manjit Gill, director of product management for Qualcomm’s chip business unit. Qualcomm has been sampling the Snapdragon chips since November and expects them to be in handsets this year from such manufacturers as HTC and Samsung.”

“Around the core microprocessor in Snapdragon is a 600 MHz digital signal processor called the Scorpion to accelerate multimedia applications.”

“TI also uses the Cortex A8 in its latest smartphone chipsets, those that fall in the OMAP3000 family. TI’s OMAP3430, which has been sampling and will appear in devices late this year or early 2009, has four main components – the ARM Cortex A8, a 2D/3D graphics accelerator, a video and audio accelerator and an imaging signal processor of the camera. The video accelerator enables encoding and decoding of high-definition video (720p or 720 lines of progressive scan resolution) so the phone could be hooked up to a large-screen display or even a projector.”

“Intel, meanwhile, is coming into the same market with new chips marketed under the Centrino brand. The new chipsets, called Centrino Atom, are due to ship by June. Sharp announced the first device to use the chipset – the D4 model for the Japanese PHS (personal handy-phone system) operator Willcom. The D4 uses a 1.33 GHz Atom processor and runs Windows Vista Home Premium. It also has a Bluetooth headset that can be used to make voice calls. Sharp hasn’t announced any plans to market the device outside of Japan.”

“The two most important things about the Atom processor is that it is fully x86 compatible and that it is designed for low power consumption, according to Pankaj Kedia, director of global ecosystem programs for Intel’s Ultra Mobility Group. The x86 compatibility means it will use an Internet browser capable of rendering all Internet pages properly.”

“What we are able to do is take the PC capability, performance and Internet access and shrink it into a device that you can carry with you all of the time,” he says. He gives as an example a personal navigation device that has Internet access through a wireless modem. The device can provide real-time traffic information, nearby points of interest based on your location and other location-based services. It might even be able to access video from YouTube.”

“Atom is not a dumbed-down Centrino laptop chip, but rather has been developed over the last four years specifically for the mobile device market, Kedia says.”

“Silverthorne (the code name for Atom) was created for the mobile Internet device from the ground up,” he says. “It is a totally new product. Our engineers figured out that we can have up to 1.8 GHz performance in a device that has a 5-inch display and can deliver four to six hours of battery life in constant use.”

“While Silverthorne/Atom cut power consumption by 10 times, the next generation Intel has on the design board – code-named Moorestown – will cut power use by another factor of 10, Kedia says. Moorestown, due out in 2009 or 2010, will still have the same performance capabilities. He says it will put Intel’s chips into smartphones.”

“The new Centrino Atom formally launched April 2 at an Intel Developers Forum. It includes the Atom processor, which is integrated with Intel’s controller hub. The controller, code-named Poulsbo, acts much like an accelerator for 3D graphics and other applications.”

“Analysts generally agree Intel has made significant strides with Centrino Atom, but it faces a couple of challenges.”

“In-Stat’s McGregor says Intel can offer WiMAX radios for the MIDs, but has no other wide-area wireless offering. Because WiMAX is just now rolling out, a WiMAX MID won’t be a mass-market device.”

“McGregor says a device manufacturer wanting to build a MID for a 3G network would have to buy a modem from another chip manufacturer like Qualcomm or TI. McGregor says those competitors could offer a complete package that includes the ARM-based chipset and 3G modem (Qualcomm does not yet have a WiMAX modem).”

“It is the next generation Intel has on the drawing board, the Moorestown chipset, that McGregor says will match or beat ARM-based power levels.”

“Of course, McGregor admits that ARM and its licensees won’t be standing still either. ARM has the advantage in terms of chipset volumes, its power management and its installed base. Intel has x86 compatibility and standards, with PC-like performance. As smartphones and computers become more alike, manufacturers will be making choices based on these strengths.”

Brad, great article with lots of solid information for us to ponder for the future. We are seeing our old friend convergence weave its way through every fiber of our future. We are also feeling the effect of personalization and content. Snapdragons, Scorpions, Atoms, Moorestown and You. The architecture of the future is being built to support you.

Report: 15 million 3G iPhones built in 2008

According to an article in FierceWireless, June 27, 2008:

Friedman Billings Ramsey semiconductor analyst Craig Berger estimates that Apple will build at least 15 million 3G iPhones in 2008 bringing the total iPhone production to at least 17 million phones. Berger previously said that Apple would build 13 million iPhones in 2008 (which included 2 million 2.5G iPhones) but he has revised his estimate upwards because he thinks iPhone production in the third quarter will be higher than expected.

  • Forecast: Mobile gaming revs grow to $4.5B in 2008
    According to an article in FierceMobileContent, June 26, 2008:

    Mobile gaming is on track to generate worldwide revenues of $4.5 billion in 2008, a 16.1 percent increase over last year’s totals, according to a new forecast issued by information technology research and advisory firm Gartner. Although games continue to lag behind rival mobile entertainment services including music and adult content, Gartner maintains the market is still promising, anticipating revenues will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 10.2 percent between 2007 and 2011, with worldwide end-user spending topping $6.3 billion by 2011. Gartner adds that operators and game providers can increase usage via game demos and advertising-funded titles  in addition, the firm suggests more tailoring their gaming services to individual consumer demographics, targeting smartphone users with more sophisticated games while reaching out to lower-income subscribers with discounted or free titles.

    According to Gartner, the Asia/Pacific market (including Japan) represents the biggest target for mobile gaming, with end-user spending expected to reach $2.3 billion in 2008 and hit $3.4 billion by 2011 thanks in large part to low PC penetration throughout that area of the globe. India alone is expected to generate mobile gaming revenues of $450 million by 2012. While the Western Europe market is expected to increase from $701 million in 2008 to $862 million by 2011, mobile gaming in North America is projected to grow from $845 million to $1.2 billion in 2011.

  • Forecast: 1.7 billion mobile web users by 2013
    According to an article in FierceMobileContent, June 25, 2008:

    The emergence of collaborative Web 2.0 applications including social networking, user-generated content, location-based services and instant messaging will galvanize the mobile web according to a new report issued by market research firm Juniper Research, which forecasts the number of mobile web users will grow from 577 million in 2008 to more than 1.7 billion in 2013. Juniper also credits expanded 2.5/3G penetration as a catalyst for mobile web uptake, but argues that mobile operators and handset makers will have to adapt their commercial strategies to accommodate greater collaboration with other segments of the value chain if its growth projections are to become a reality.

    Additional findings from the Juniper report:

    • The Far East & China will represent the largest market for mobile web use, topping 415 million users by 2013, up from a year-end 2008 total of 190 million.
    • The greatest potential for mobile web adoption lies in South America, while growth opportunities in markets like Western and Eastern Europe (which enjoy greater fixed broadband penetration) are more limited.
    • A number of mobile Web 2.0 applications will hinge on flat-data or even free pricing, meaning industry players must seek new revenue streams.

Factoid: Thumbplay’s Top Five 

   Ringtones    Games      Graphics 
  Moving Mountains – Usher  Wheel of Fortune Delux  Boston Celtics Logo
  Time of my Life – David Cook  Dominoes (Palm)    Boston Celtics Home Jersey
 
  Take You Down – Chris Brown  I-play Bowling    Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics)
  Break the Ice – Brittany Spears ft. Fabolous  World League Baseball  Kobie Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
  Mr Carter – Lil Wayne  Turbo Pizza  Vertical Poles (Beyonce)

June 26, 2008: Usher tops chart with “Moving Mountains. The follow up to his first single “Love In This Club,” Usher shows us his more sensitive and emotional side in his new smash single called “Moving Mountains.”

Courtesy of Thumbplay.

If you have a question pertaining to a wireless topic or digital living that you would like to ask or share with our readers send me an email and I will update everyone in a future column.

Wireless Nuggets of Knowledge

Following are a few interesting articles and discussions on wireless and digital living:

  • FierceMobileIT – June 25, 2008
    Nokia to buy all of Symbian

    Nokia has announced that it will offer to acquire the remaining 52 percent of Symbian Limited. Control of Symbian Limited, a software company formed to develop and license the Symbian OS, effectively gives Nokia sole control of the market-leading operating system for mobile devices.

    Already, irrevocable undertakings have been secured from most of the other key owners–representing 91 percent of non-Nokia shares. Post-acquisition, Nokia intends to establish the Symbian Foundation, which will be instrumental to move the Symbian platform to open source over the next two years.

    Mobile phone giant Nokia made everyone sit up when it announced on Tuesday that it will open source the venerable Symbian operating system. To do so involves a two-step process of buying out the other current stakeholders in the holding company, Symbian Limited, and then releasing the entire source code for Symbian under the Eclipse Public License.

    Any doubts that Nokia is playing for keeps are quashed when Nokia made known its strategic intention for Symbian–already the top operating system for Smartphones. In a nutshell, Nokia wants the Symbian OS “[to be the] most widely used software platform on the platform.”

    With the Symbian OS open sourced and Google’s Android just around the corner, Microsoft might just find itself under a tad more pressure with its proprietary Windows Mobile operating system. After all, unlike Microsoft, the developers of the other proprietary Smartphone operating systems–RIM and Apple–make their own hardware as well.

    To read more, click here.

  • Wireless Week FirstNews – June 25, 2008
    American Airlines to Test In-Flight Internet

    American Airlines, the latest airline to announce in-flight connectivity services, today announced that customers can begin testing Internet access on two flights. American Airlines said it hopes to expand service to more flights in a couple of weeks.

    The service, offered in partnership with Aircell, will cost $9.95 to $12.95 depending on flight length, though the test service will be offered for free. The service will be tested first on a flight from New York to Los Angeles and on a return flight. Passengers will be able to use e-mail, IM, download video and connect to secure networks using notebooks or other wireless devices. Along with the paid service, passengers will be able to connect to American’s Website, Frommer’s Travel Guides and some news headlines for free.

    Aircell is also working with Virgin America and JetBlue Airways to provide in-flight access solutions; JetBlue began testing e-mail, IM and some Amazon.com services aboard one of its planes in December.

    To read more, click here.

  • FierceWireless – June 25, 2008
    3G iPhone costs $173 to make

    How can Apple and AT&T put a relatively low pricetag of just $199 on the new 3G iPhone? According to research firm iSuppli, the answer is in the low cost of the components. iSuppli estimates the new 3G iPhone will cost just $173 to manufacture, which is significantly lower than rivals such as HTC’s Touch Diamond (priced at $785) and Nokia’s N96 (priced at $855).

    iSuppli says that the most expensive component on the 3G iPhone is the 8 gigabytes of NAND flash memory storage, which the firm estimates costs $22.80. The second pricey element is the touchscreen, which costs about $20. In all, the chips and handset components add up to $164. iSuppli tacks on another $9 for assembly for a total of $173.

    To read more, click here.

  • FierceWireless – June 26, 2008
    Chrysler turns cars into WiFi Hotspots

    Soon motorists will be able to check email and surf the Web without finding a local Starbucks or Internet cafe. Beginning in August, automaker Chysler is going to outfit cars with a dealer-installed system called UConnect Web that turns vehicles into WiFi hotspots. The system will be offered in most 2009 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeap vehicles. The in-vehicle wireless router will cost $449, plus installation of up to $50. Mobile Web access will cost about $29 per month after a $35 activation fee. Service will be provided by Autonet Mobile.

    The UConnect Web device, which will be hidden within the car, will work only when there is a key in the ignition. It will use a cellular 3G network and promises download speeds between 600 and 800 kbps with upload speeds of 200 kbps.

    To read more, click here.

  • FierceWireless – June 26, 2008
    Beijing to get citywide WiFi?

    Beijing, China, will be getting a citywide WiFi system just in time for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Chinacomm Communications has deployed the first of a three-phase system to blanket the city with WiFi coverage. The first phase covers 100-square kilometers and was launched yesterday. Eventually the system will have 9,000 access points in public areas and 150 base stations providing service to more than 90 percent of Beijing.

    To read more, click here.

  • PC World High-Tech at Home – June 26, 2008
    Samsung’s Instinct Smartphone: Is It an iPhone Killer?

    Samsung and Sprint collaborate on the most credible iPhone competitor to date. With 3G and GPS support, and a promised aggressive price point, the Instinct does outdo the iPhone in some respects–but will Apple fans bite?

    To read more, click here.

  • FierceWireless – June 27, 2008
    Are Sprint’s claims about Instinct true?

    Demand was so high for Sprint’s new Samsung Instinct touchscreen EVDO device that the device was breaking sales records. The carrier said that sales were so strong that it was causing temporary shortages at some store locations. Some dismissed this story as hype, but Pali Research called 100 Sprint stores across the country to check on availability of Sprint’s new Samsung Instinct phone and found the claims to be true.

    In 28 of 100 stores Pali Research contacted, stores had five or fewer phones and 11 stores were sold-out of the device. Los Angeles residents seem to be big fans of the Instinct because there were only seven devices in the five stores that they called in the area with one store reporting they had a 20-person wait-list for the phone.

    To read more, click here.

  • FierceMobileContent – June 26, 2008
    EU seeks to slash cross-border mobile data pricing

    The European Union reiterated its July 1 deadline for the mobile industry to either cut the cost of cross-border text messaging or face legislative restrictions–in addition, EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding said legislators will regulate the wholesale tariffs charged by operators for cross-network calls, arguing the current system distorts competition between carriers and results in consumers paying too much. According to the EU, the average cost of a text message within national borders is between 5 and 10 euro cents (about 8 to 15 cents in the U.S.), but the average cost of sending one abroad is 28 euro cents (43 U.S. cents).

    Between her efforts to harmonize both text and voice termination prices, Reding is seeking to bring down consumer costs as much as 70 percent from their current levels. Needless to say, European operators are resisting regulatory intervention: “The industry is competitive, the prices are coming down, the consumer satisfaction levels are very high and the whole market is very innovative and moving very quickly,” said the GSM Association’s chief regulatory affairs officer Tom Phillips in an interview with Associated Press Television News. “Now is not the right time to get the bureaucracy of Brussels involved in setting retail prices.”

    To read more, click here.

  • FierceBroadbandWireless – June 26, 2008
    Prospects fade for mobile WiMAX

    The launch of commercial LTE services by late 2009 is seen as one of the bigger of many nails in the coffin of mobile WiMAX, claims a new study by Frost & Sullivan (F&S), a market research firm.

    According to Luke Thomas of F&S, the prospects for the technology are coming under increasing threat unless spectrum auctions and commercial Mobile WiMAX rollouts (compliant to Wave 2 Phase 2 certification) do not take place by 2008. “Recent events have been unfavourable toward the technology. Any operator looking at Mobile WiMAX has to consider the current environment in which 97 per cent of laptops are shipped with Wi-Fi. 3G LTE is expected to be a fully ratified standard by the end of 2008 or beginning of 2009 with deployments slated to occur in late 2009 or early 2010 offering peak data rates of up to 170Mbps.”

    Thomas believes that 2009 will be the year when operators begin to realize that Mobile WiMAX can no more be considered as a feasible mobile broadband “access” technology. He comments: “In terms of indoor wireless broadband, WiFi fits well in this space and with the emergence of 802.11n, which includes MIMO, throughputs would be far better than what Mobile WiMAX can deliver. With respect to outdoor mobile broadband environments, users would expect Mobile WiMAX to seamlessly hand off to cellular networks in the absence of WiMAX reception. In reality this is not possible as Mobile WiMAX is not backward compatible with existing cellular technologies.”

    Regardless of this pessimistic viewpoint, Intel has continued to invest and lobby for the greater adoption of Mobile WiMAX, as seen by its recent acquisition of a WiMAX licence in Scandinavia.

    To read more, click here.

  • FierceIPTV – June 24, 2008
    North American IPTV not yet eating from satellite’s dish

    While IPTV growth was very strong in North America last year, telcos offering IPTV are not yet taking a significant number of customers away from satellite TV companies, according to market research firm iSuppli. A few telcos, notably AT&T, have had resale relationships with satellite companies that might have driven them to be more careful not to compete with satellite in the past, though the more likely reasons for this lack of IPTV-satellite competition could be that IPTV has not yet extended into markets where satellite adoption has been particularly strong. Case in point: I live in a neighborhood in Chicago where satellite dishes seemingly out-number houses. You can always tell when there is some local interference because half the neighborhood emerges from their homes armed with tools to bang on and re-position their gear. AT&T’s U-verse TV service, in any case, is not yet widely available in this particular area, but I have to believe the satellite firms will not rule this area for much longer.

    iSuppli shows that while IPTV subscribership actually almost quadrupled last year in North America to reach 1.2 million, many of those subscribers were net addition to the pay TV market as a whole, rather than stolen from satellite (though a couple of cable TV firms and telcos have indicated cable companies didn’t get off so easily). Satellite TV adoption continues to grow in North America, iSuppli says, but for how much longer?

    To read more, click here.

  • FierceWireless – June 30, 2008
    Jackson Hole, WY, gets first certified mobile WiMAX network

    Jackson Hole, WY, is the first city in the U.S. to get a certified mobile WiMAX 2.5 GHz network. DigitalBridge Communications (DBC) officially launched service today in the popular resort area using Alvarion’s equipment.

    DBC’s goal is to bring WiMAX to underserved rural communities. It has fixed broadband wireless up and running in a number of markets in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, and will work to upgrade those markets to standardized mobile WiMAX in the 2.5 GHz band within the next year.

    Greg Daily, president of Alvarion’s North American business, said DBC and other operators looking to target rural markets will benefit from the economies of scale of Sprint, which has ushered in the mobile WiMAX device ecosystem, and the new Clearwire, which is folding in Sprint later this year. “Think about the ecosystem launching and upwards of almost 100 devices that will come out at the end of the year. We’re starting to see customers in small in places like Montana and anywhere else in the world being able to access to architecture like this,” Daily told FierceBroadbandWireless.

    DBC’s primary business model will be selling subscriptions to businesses and consumers in the Jackson Hole area. It will also look to institute a visitor-based model whereby visitors to the tourist area can buy a daily or weekly subscription.

    To access it, click here.

  • FierceWireless – June 30, 2008
    Teen market nearly saturated

    Virgin Mobile USA and other mobile firms that specifically target the teen market may want to take note of this latest research from MultiMedia Intelligence that says that the U.S. teen market is hitting saturation point. MultiMedia reports that the number of teens subscribing to wireless service surpassed 16 million in 2007, an increase of 12 percent over 2006. By 2012 that number is expected to rise to only 17 million, which means that wireless penetration rates among teens are reaching saturation point and growth in this market is stagnating.

    In addition, the firm says that while ARPU from this market niche is strong because teens use their phones to do more things such as text and purchase premium content, pricing pressures and saturation will soon bring an end to the “teen cellular gold rush.”

    MultiMedia Research says that over half of teens are cellular subscribers by age 13. Girls tend to mature earlier than boys, which means that female subscribers outnumber male subscribers–the gap narrows by age 17.

    To read more, click here.

  • FierceWireless:Europe – June 30, 2008
    Clearwire eyes European WiMAX partnerships

    Having collected together a number of heavyweight backers for its U.S. WiMAX deployment, Clearwire has revealed that it is considering partnering with European firms to help it deploy mobile WiMAX. The company owns licences in seven European countries, covering 200 million people. “There are ongoing talks about potential partnerships,” said Clearwire CEO Ben Wolff. “The transaction in the U.S. has prompted some interest. It might behove us to partner with those companies who might bring something more to the table.” Without revealing any names, Wolff said companies of interest could bring with them network infrastructure and subscriber bases.

    Clearwire’s expansion into Europe goes back to 2004. Since then, Clearwire has acquired 3.5 GHz licences in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Romania, and Spain, and through its affiliate in Denmark, Danske Telecom A/S . As of the end of March, Clearwire had just 51,000 customers in Brussels and Ghent, Belgium; Dublin; and Seville, Spain. Separately, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is planning to invest up to US$20 million in the Russian WiMAX broadband Internet provider Prestige, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Enforta Group. The investment, designed to improve Internet coverage in Russia, will help Enforta increase its service area to 55 cities.

    To read more, click here.

  • FierceWireless:Europe – June 25, 2008
    Nike kicks off mobile multimedia campaign

    Athletic shoe giant Nike is poised to launch NikePhotoiD, a new pan-European mobile marketing service enabling consumers to create customized shoes based on images they snap viamobile device. After subscribers submit their photos to Nike PhotoiD, they’ll receive an image of a shoe customized according to the two dominant colors in the photo–the Nike MMS may be saved as a device wallpaper, and users may also purchase a pair of the sneakers in question. Nike PhotoiD was created by digital agency AKQA and will initially launch in nine European territories: The U.K., Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

    To read more, click here.

  • FierceDevelopment – June 24, 2008
    Study: Most wireless development targets .Net, Java ME

    Despite the hype surrounding Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android, more developers are targeting their apps to run on the .Net Compact Frameworks and Java ME platforms according to a new survey released by IT market intelligence firm Evans Data Corporation. Among 384 professional mobile developers polled by Evans Data, 42 percent said they are creating applications for .Net–the same percentage of respondents cited Java ME, followed by Linux and Windows Mobile 6.0. Only 7 percent of developers are creating apps for either Android or Mac OS, although the report notes neither has been around long enough to seriously contend with more established platforms.

    Other findings of the Evans Data survey:

    • Fifty-six percent of respondents are targeting Nokia devices, followed by Motorola (33 percent) and Sony Ericsson (29 percent).
    • Over one-third of wireless developers are developing applications for external use by their company’s customers.
    • The biggest obstacle to creating wireless applications remains cross-platform testing requirements, followed by lack of access to device APIs.
    • More location-based applications are in development in Asia and Europe than in North and South America.

      To read more, click here.

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About Robert Dominko

Robert S. Dominko, PMP, is a Principal Consultant for CIBER, Inc. in CIBER’s Global Enterprise Integration Practice located in Denver, CO.  He is a member of CIBER’s National Mobile/Wireless Team as well as CIBER’s Global Enterprise Integration Practice. Bob has extensive experience in the consulting industry where he has worked in roles such as Director of MIS, Program/Project Manager, Technical Architect, Data Warehousing Technologist, Business Analyst in global travel and hospitality, automotive, healthcare services, financial, bank card services, utilities, marketing, insurance, human resources, manufacturing, state and federal government. You can contact Bob at RDominko@ciber.com.

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