Twenty-five years ago seems just like yesterday at times. We’re coming up on the 25th anniversary of the “first cellular” phone call that was made from Soldier’s Field in
Chicago. Let’s take a quick look back at where our cellular and digital world started and bring up us to where we are today.
Andrew Seybold wrote a great article in the September 22nd
issue of FierceWireless. He wrote about how wireless has been around since approximately 1930. “The official history of two-way police radio indicates that the first two-way radio to be
installed in a police car was in Bayonne, NJ, in 1933.” Andrew continued in the article to talk about early cellular. Here are a couple short excerpts from that discussion of the wireless of
“Cellular, or ‘wireless’ as we know it today, was not the first mobile phone service to be introduced into the United States (or elsewhere), it was first conceived by Bell Labs and
presented to the FCC in 1945. Before the FCC got around to cellular, it first licensed mobile telephone service to AT&T and Southwestern Bell and the first system went live in June of 1946.
In 1964, IMTS or Improved Mobile Telephone System was introduced – if you got a channel, you could use a rotary dial in your car, dial your own call and also receive a call directly.
Operators known as Radio Common Carriers (private companies not related to the phone company) were also offering mobile telephone service, but most of them originated and placed calls using
operators and most ran one-way paging systems as well.”
“There was activity in the mobile telephone industry in other countries as well, and according to one source, the first truly automatic mobile phone was invented by Ericsson and was first
installed in cars in Stockholm. No matter what type of mobile telephone you had, it weighed about thirty pounds and was usually mounted in the trunk of your car with a control head mounted in the
“However, the vast majority of cellular phones were either mounted in car trunks, again with a control head in the front. Shortly after that we had ‘bag phones’ that were
smaller but still weighed ten pounds or more, and some were even usable in a car or when you were out of your car and walking around.”
“Looking back at the pictures of the phones in use in those days and the simplistic network architectures makes what we have today seem incredible. So as we approach the 25th anniversary of
the first cellular phone call made in the United States, we should keep in mind what came before and how long it took to get a cellular system approved by the FCC on unheard-of frequencies in the
Andrew went on to talk about how the attributes of today’s wireless world – technology, device size and device power – have changed dramatically from the days of yesteryear. The
focus of the first generation, analog voice started to change toward data in the early 1990s. “The first wireless email system was turned on by RadioMail in 1992 using the RAM Mobile Data
network (partially owned by BellSouth in those days), and it sported data speeds of up to 8 Kbps. This was followed by services over the ARDIS mobile data network owned by Motorola and IBM as a
joint venture and then by CDPD or Cellular Digital Packet Data systems that employed unused analog cellular channels and was the first, I believe, wireless IP-based network. Also in the 1990s,
there were more than 50 million pagers in use (today there are less than ten million) and we were experimenting with two-way paging, voice paging and, of course, faster digital paging
Where is wireless today? Generation 3 / 3.5 data speeds and digital technology. Running at breakneck speeds toward Generation 4 and newer technologies.
It seems like just yesterday when the hype over the first iPhone was demanding, and being given, the full spotlight of the wireless world. It was only a little over a year ago in my July 2007
column that I wrote about the unveiling of the iPhone. In a subsequent column, I wrote about how the iPhone was, in my opinion, a technology-changing event and a continuation of the convergence
theme I wrote about several years ago.
Over a year has passed since the iPhone was unveiled, so fast forward with me to today and the introduction of Android devices – a definite competitor to the iPhone and a continuation of the
expansion of technology. I’d be remiss if I didn’t get in a short review of T-Mobile’s G-1 Android based device so here are some reviews.
Jason Perlow, in a September 26th ZDNet Tech Update Today article has these comments:
“I will hand it to Apple that right now, they have the best handheld device on the market. That is, of course, if you can excuse the fact that their Infineon 3G chipset has more bugs in
it than a taco stand in downtown Tijuana and because of a number of problems with the firmware and the iPhone 2.0 software you’ll still be defaulting to the slower EDGE network in some of
most 3G dense areas in the country. But I digress — their application store is second to none, if you can excuse Apple’s capriciousness of what applications they allow to be sold in
their online store and desire for total control.”
“The iPhone will always be constrained to hardware that is completely under Apple’s control. At best, there will be as many iPhone models as there are iPod models at any given time,
should the company decide to expand into different form factors such as keyboard or flip-phone designs. And at least in the United States, we have a good four years left of an AT&T
exclusive on the device. While the Android platform is currently limited to T-Mobile, any carrier or device manufacturer can get potentially get into the Android game and make software
additions and improvements as well as competing hardware designs that use the Android OS.”
“Sure, as an overall competitive offering, the G1 is weak when compared with iPhone …. It’s lacking a library of apps and games, like any brand new platform would. But I
wouldn’t expect Google and their army of dedicated software developers in house and all over the world to sit idle for long.”
“In addition to apps, let’s not play down something that Google does better than Apple — it’s Google. And it understands how to leverage its own internet assets, which
are vast. If you compare what Apple’s MobileMe has with Google’s own portfolio of sites and services, it’s a complete joke — and if you’ve been watching
Apple’s stumbles with its service over the last few months, it hardly seems to have the infrastructure or the know-how to keep it a large volume email service running reliably.
Enterprise-class mobile E-Mail? Puhleeeze. Unlike Apple, Google also has the perfect opportunity and the real capability to compete with Research In Motion and the Blackberry.”
PC World did a great job in covering the G1 phone. The September 26th PC World Digital Gear Review gave a link to
a very good comparison between the iPhone and the G1. Here are some details from that article.
Platform and Device
In contrast to Apple that built its own phone, operating system and content ecosystem, the G1 is based on an open platform. That means any software publisher can design programs that run on the G1
and its Android operating system. The potential universe of T-Mobile G1 applications is huge. Yet, it’s too early to know whether mobile application developers will flock to the Android platform.
At least for now, Apple has the upper hand when it comes to the device. The number of iPhone mobile applications (accessible via Apple’s App Store) is growing every day. However, Apple’s total
control over the iPhone can also be bad because Apple can choose to exert too much control over what applications run on the iPhone and bar those that it doesn’t like, upsetting users.
Hardware Specs G1 vs iPhone
Weight: G1 = 158g vs iPhone = 133g
Battery Life: G1 = 5 hours talk time, 130 hours standby vs iPhone = 5 hours talk time, 300 hours standby
Screen Size: G1 = 3.2 inches vs iPhone = 3.5 inches
Camera: G1 = 3MP vs iPhone = 2MP
Storage: G1 = 2GB (expandable to 8GB) vs iPhone = 8GB or 16GB
The big difference between G1 and iPhone is how you put music, videos, games, and productivity applications on your phone. The iPhone has iTunes, mobile iTunes (for iPod Touch and iPhone) and the
Things work differently with T-Mobile’s G1. The G1 doesn’t require a desktop software program similar to iTunes to add content to your phone. Content can be added via a removable storage card,
but most content T-Mobile says will be downloaded using Wi-Fi connection.
Many Google applications will come pre-loaded onto the G1 – for example, push Gmail service, Google Maps functionality, Google Calendar and YouTube. T-Mobile is only talking about a handful
of third-party applications right now. There are likely loads more to be announced leading up the G1’s October 22 debut. Some include ShopSavvy, a program that turns your phone into a barcode
scanner able to read UPC codes and deliver instant price comparisons, and PedNav, a location-aware application that helps you find nearby public transit options and walking routes.
These mobile applications will be available through Android Market – a competitor to Apple’s App Store.
Music: Amazon MP3 vs. iTunes
The iPhone has iTunes, and the G1 has an application preinstalled called Amazon MP3, Amazon.com’s digital music download store.
Amazon many not have as big of a library of content to choose from compared to iTunes, yet. But the chief advantage Amazon has over iTunes is music is a bit less expensive and music tracks don’t
have digital rights management (DRM) on them. That means anything you download to you G1, you can play on your iPod, Zune or transfer to your PC – no hassles.
There was no mention of it today, but one can only assume that video content, as with music content, will be also be accessible through Amazon’s web-based download service.
Features: G1 vs iPhone
G1 = Touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard, Internet access via 3G and Wi-Fi, additional content via Android Market, music from Amazon, built-in GPS, and “compass” for easy navigation,
instant messaging, push-email, locked Sim card, web browsing.
iPhone = Touchscreen, virtual QWERTY keyboard, multi-touch gesture support, Internet access via 3G and Wi-Fi, additional music and applications via iTunes and App Store, built-in
GPS (second-gen iPhone), Visual Voicemail, multi-touch gesture support, Microsoft Exchange support, push-email, locked Sim card, web browsing.
The overall two-year cost of owning a $200 iPhone is $2,360 (unlimited texting). The cost of owning a G1 with an identical texting plan is between $1620 and $2460.
Well, I’ve guided us on a tour of yesterday and today, so let’s take that peek at the future. Where are we headed in the immediate future? Elizabeth Woyke had the following information
in her September 17th Forbes article:
- Android is fast, says Joel Espelien, PacketVideo’s vice president of strategy
- Espelien claims it would beat any phone in a speed test, including the iPhone 3G, whose ability to quickly load websites was touted in June by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs.
The secret to Android’s speed is its clean slate, says Espelien.
- Other mobile operating systems, including Symbian, Windows Mobile, Brew and even the iPhone, utilize old technology or code ported from other systems. “Supporting legacy stuff slows you
down,” notes Espelien. “Google could target fast hardware from day one.”
- He calls the phone a workhorse, with “forward” and “backward” buttons for easy navigation. “It is the first true multitasking operating system on a phone,” proclaims Espelien. That could
be particularly handy as Android isn’t just for phones. Like the iPhone, Android handsets will soon function as remote controls.
Jason Ankeny, in his September 23rd FierceDeveloper editorial, helped us get a peek at the future according to Google’s engineering director Andy Rubin in the official Google Blog. Rubin says:
- “The phone that you have in your pocket, pack, or handbag is probably ten times more powerful than the PC you had on your desk only 8 or 9 years ago… It has a range of sensors that would do
a Martian lander proud: a clock, power sensor (how low is that battery?), thermometer (because batteries charge poorly at low temperatures), and light meter (to determine screen backlighting) on
the more basic phones; a location sensor, accelerometer (detects vector and velocity of motion), and maybe even a compass on more advanced ones. And most importantly, it is by its very nature
Smart alerts: Your phone will be smart about your situation and alert you when something needs your attention. This is already happening today – eBay can text you when
you’ve been outbid; and alert services (such as Google News) can deliver news, sports, or stock updates to you. In the future, these applications will get smarter, patiently monitoring your
personalized preferences (which will be stored in the network cloud) and delivering only the information you desire. One very useful scenario: your phone knows that you are heading downtown for
dinner, and alerts you of transit conditions or the best places to park.
Augmented reality: Your phone uses its arsenal of sensors to understand your situation and provide you information that might be useful. For example, do you really want to know
how much is that doggy in the window? Your phone, with its GPS and compass, knows what you are looking at, so it can tell you before you even ask. Plus, what breed it is and the best way to train
Crowd sourcing goes mainstream: Your phone is your omnipresent microphone to the world, a way to publish pictures, emails, texts, Twitters and blog entries. When everyone else is
doing the same, you have a world where people from every corner of the planet are covering their experiences in real time. That massive amount of content gets archived, sorted and redeployed to
other people in new and interesting ways. Ask the web for the most interesting sites in your vicinity, and your phone shows you reviews and pictures that people have uploaded of nearby
attractions. Like what you see? It will send you directions on how to get there.
Sensors everywhere: Your phone knows a lot about the world around you. If you take that intelligence and combine it in the cloud with that of every other phone, we have an
incredible snapshot of what is going on in the world right now. Weather updates can be based on not hundreds of sensors, but hundreds of millions. Traffic reports can be based not on helicopters
and road sensors, but on the density, speed and direction of the phones (and people) stuck in the traffic jams.
Tool for development: Your phone may be more than just a convenience; it may be your livelihood. Already, this is true for people in many parts of the world: in southern India,
fishermen use text messaging to find the best markets for their daily catch; in South Africa, sugar farmers can receive text messages advising them on how much to irrigate their crops; and
throughout sub-Saharan Africa, entrepreneurs with mobile phones become phone operators, bringing communications to their villages. These innovations will only increase in the future, as mobile
phones become the linchpin for greater economic development.
The future-proof device: Your phone will open up, as the Internet already has, so it will be easy for developers to create or improve applications and content. The ones that you
care about get automatically installed on your phone. Let’s say you have a piece of software on your phone to improve power management (and therefore battery life). Let’s say a developer makes
an improvement to the software. The update gets automatically installed on your phone, without you lifting a finger. Your phone actually gets better over time.
Safer software through trust and verification: Your phone will provide tools and information to empower you to decide what to download, what to see and what to share. Trust is
the most important currency in the always-connected world, and your phone will help you stay in control of your information. You may choose to share nothing at all (the default mode), or just
share certain things with certain people – your circle of trusted friends and family. You’ll make these decisions based on information you get from the service and software providers, and
the collective ratings of the community as well. Your phone is like your trusted valet: it knows a lot about you, and won’t disclose an iota of it without your okay.
The iPhone and G1 dance has just begun. Others will join the challenge so I expect to see our old friends convergence, content and personalization continue to be major influences on the wireless
direction for the future. Stay tuned for the next column. I’ll take an in-depth look at another critical element of the wireless and digital world which will have a significant impact on the
Tips and Techniques: Extend Your Wi-Fi Range With a Parabolic Reflector
According to an article in PCWorld, September 18, 2008: Fitting a simple, passive, parabolic reflector around
your router’s antenna can focus the signal exactly where you want it. Your network will reach farther, and the addition can even improve your network security. Follow along for step-by-step
instructions to create your own homemade signal boosters.
Factoid: Study says mobile sector booming despite financial turmoil
According to an article in FierceWireless, September 23, 2008:
A study by Portio Research says that the worldwide mobile industry appears to be resilient to the financial turmoil that many other industries are experiencing. The top growth markets for wireless
are China and India (not surprising), which will contribute more than 1 billion additional subscribers between 2007 and 2013. Brazil is a distant third with 132 million additional subscribers
expected by 2013.
However, the study did note that mobile voice and data revenues continue to decline with mobile ARPU expected to fall from $23.2 in 2005 to $15.8 by the end 2013, largely because the additional
subscriber growth will come from low per capita income markets.
Factoid: Multi-DVR homes are increasing
According to an article in FierceIPTV, September 23, 2008:
About 30% of U.S. homes now have at least two DVRs, according to Leichtman Research Group. That is just what telcos rolling out whole-home DVR services wanted to hear, as it is a clear indicator of
interest in having the capability on more than one TV. AT&T just announced broad availability for its whole-home DVR capability, and such an offering should be among the hottest IPTV features
in the coming year.
“The number of U.S. households with DVRs has essentially doubled in the past two years, and – with a continued push from cable, DBS, and Telco TV providers – will likely double again
over the next four years,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman, at Multichannel News.
Factoid: Texting more popular than voice calling
According to an article in FierceMobileContent, September 23, 2008:
The average U.S. mobile subscriber now sends or receives more than 350 text messages per month, compared to placing or receiving roughly 200 voice calls, according to a new consumer study issued by
information and media firm The Nielsen Company. Nielsen notes that while the number of calls has remained steady over the last two years, text message volume has increased 450 percent over that
time: In the first quarter of 2006, mobile subscribers averaged 198 calls and 65 texts; and in the second quarter of 2008, they averaged 204 calls and 357 texts.
Teens drive the vast majority of text traffic, Nielsen reports – on average, teenagers 13 to 17 send or receive 1,742 text messages per month, compared to just 231 mobile phone calls.
Consumers ages 18 to 24 send or receive 790 texts each month, with teens 12 and under sending or receiving 428 texts per month. By comparison, subscribers ages 25 to 34 send or receive 331 texts
per month, subscribers 35 to 44 send or receive 236 per month, and users 45 to 54 send 128 texts per month.
Factoid: Thumbplay’s Top Five
|Miss Independent – Ne-Yo||Wheel of Fortune Deluxe||David Beckham Parody||Ain’t Sayin’ Nothin’ – Fat Joe||The Business – Yung Berg ft. Casha|
|My Life (Chorus) – The Game ft. Lil Wayne||Flavor of Love||UCLA Bruins Gameday 3D Football Helmet||Violet Hill – Coldplay||Can’t Believe It – T-Pain|
|Swing Ya Rag – T.I.||Video Poker (Palm)||Butterfly American Tribute||A Beautiful Lie – 30 Seconds to Mars||I Run This – Birdman ft. Lil Wayne|
|I’m Yours – Jason Mraz||God of War – Betrayal||Paris Hilton – Sexy Lookin’||Around the World – Daft Punk||Bartender Song – Rehab|
|The Business (Bridge) – Yung Berg ft. Casha||3D Jewel Quest – II||Spinning Pattern||Stupid Boy – Keith Urban||Girls Around the World – Lloyd ft. Lil Wayne|
September 25, 2008: Ne-Yo captures the #1 ringtone spot with “Miss Independent.” It’s almost like everything with Ne-Yo’s vocals on it, turns out to be a hit! Ne-Yo scores #1 on the ringtone
chart this week with “Miss Independent”. His latest album “Year of The Gentleman” was released last week. ”
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:
- FierceWireless – September 26, 2008
NTT DoCoMo moves ahead with ‘Super 3G’ NTT DoCoMo’s decision to push ahead with a “Super 3G” network suggests that LTE is on target for market introduction as early as 2010. DoCoMo has named long-time vendor
partner Fujitsu to supply Evolved Packet Core (EPC) equipment for the network and previously selected NEC for base stations and terminals.
While potentially confusing terminology and technology, Super 3G, in DoCoMo’s parlance, equates to pre-LTE. In an interview with FierceWireless, Peter Jarich, research director for Current
Analysis said that DoCoMo has said they were going to do some (LTE) soft launches maybe next year. “DoCoMo wants to move early.”
Whether it’s called Super 3G or pre-LTE, DoCoMo is moving apace, almost serving as a huge beta test bed for interested providers around the world as the LTE standard evolves. Jarich added that
Verizon Wireless will likely have LTE in 2010-2011. But for European operators, 2013 may make more sense.
To read more, click here.
- FierceWireless – September 25, 2008
T-Mobile USA removes 1GB data limit
A day after it was reported that T-Mobile USA would have a 1GB limit on data usage for its 3G UMTS network, the company said it has removed that limit from its policy statement and is currently
reviewing all details and terms for its new data plans.
Earlier this week, T-Mobile launched the G1 phone in conjunction with Google, which prominently features web and data access as some of both its flashiest and primary functions. The phone will be
available October 22. Data plans for the G1 range from $25 to $35 per month, with the $35 per month being touted as offering unlimited web, email and messaging access. Initially the fine print on
the contract said that customers who exceeded the 1GB limit in a given billing cycle would have their throughput reduced to 50 Kbps for the remainder of the billing cycle, effectively ending
their 3G connection.
T-Mobile has removed the 1GB limit and says it wants to ensure that all customers receive equal access to its 3G network. In addition, the company says that “a small fraction of our customers
who have excessive or disproportionate usage that interferes with our network performance” would be facing punitive action.
To read more, click here.
- FierceWireless – September 24, 2008
AT&T Mobility planning to beat back the Storm
Ahead of Verizon Wireless’ launch of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Storm, AT&T Mobility is readying a plan to beat back potential sales of the device as the holiday shopping season
approaches, according to a report on the blog Boy Genius Report.
According to an internal document from AT&T, some of the talking points that should be used to counter the Storm’s appeal include:
- The Storm does not have multi-touch technology
- The iPhone 3G is paired with Apple’s App Store and is linked to iTunes
- The iPhone 3G is capable of operating on three bands of HSDPA, and has GPS technology.
While it is not surprising that AT&T would make a marketing push showcasing the features of the iPhone 3G as more smartphones head onto the market – including T-Mobile’s G1 – the
fact that this memo exists reveals one thing: AT&T and Apple see the Storm as a formidable competitor.
To read more, click here.
- FierceMobileIT – September 24, 2008
Google’s first Android phone debuts
The first Android phone was unveiled at its launch in New York on Tuesday, as its specifications, availability and bundled applications were revealed in full for the first time. The G1 comes with
a touch screen much like the iPhone’s, as well as a full slide-out keyboard. Software-wise, a plethora of Google applications could be found, including Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Flickr and
GTalk. As would be expected, the G1 also packs the ability to read Microsoft Word, Excel and PDF documents. A “Chrome-light” browser has been included for surfing. Missing, however, would be
the ability to sync with Exchange. Andy Rubin, senior director of mobile platforms at Google noted, “That’s a perfect opportunity for a third-party developer.”
To read more, click here.
- WirelessWeek FirstNews – September 23, 2008
Xohm To Launch October 8
Sprint Nextel will officially launch its Xohm mobile WiMAX network October 8 in Baltimore, the company said today.
The announcement and demonstrations will take place at the Bond Street Wharf Park, officials said.
Intel will be a major sponsor, along with Motorola, Nokia, Nokia-Siemens Networks, Samsung, ZTE and ZyXEL. Technology partners also include Ciena, DragonWave, Mformation and others. There are
location-based services partners as well.
Future service will launch in Chicago and Washington, D.C., Sprint previously said. The carrier will share its technology with Clearwire after the companies complete their merger.
Ciena, in a separate announcement today, specified that its Carrier Ethernet backhaul products are one of multiple brands that Sprint will use for Xohm.
“Backhaul is a key focus area for us as we build out the Xohm network,” said Doug Smith, senior vice president and chief technical operations officer of Sprint’s Xohm business
unit in a prepared statement. “A next-generation, Ethernet-based architecture can optimize efficiency and give us backhaul cost advantages. Ciena’s Carrier Ethernet platforms offer
performance, scalability and simplified traffic engineering to expedite deployment and accommodate growth demands.”
To read more, click here.
- FierceDeveloper – September 23, 2008
Entertainment, games top smartphone content sales
Smartphone users are now downloading more games and entertainment applications than any other category of mobile content, according to smartphone content provider Handango. The firm’s First Half
2008 Handango Yardstick global trend report notes that games – buoyed by strong sales from brands including EA Mobile and Capcom – jumped from fourth place at the end of 2007 to
second place in the current rankings, just behind entertainment. Handango says that in unit sales, categories focused on “killing time” now surpass applications emphasizing “saving time,”
i.e., business and productivity apps. Entertainment and games together totaled 42 percent of unit sales during the first half of 2008, followed by business and professional applications at 13
percent. Productivity apps like address books and calendars accounted for 9 percent of sales. A separate Handango survey reports that 86 percent agreed or strongly agreed that smartphone content
makes their lives easier, while 76 percent agreed it makes their lives more enjoyable.
Handango reports its content catalog now boasts more than 140,000 entries across various categories – the company added more than 370 developer partners during the first six months of 2008,
bringing its roster of developers to over 23,000. The BlackBerry 8830 and BlackBerry Curve were the top two devices adding software in the first half of 2008, with more than 1,000 new mobile
applications added to the BlackBerry catalog during this period. “Ringtones” was the most searched term during the first six months of the year, with the top 10 also including “games,”
“themes,” “GPS,” “weather” and “music.” Ringtones and streaming television applications remain among the best sellers across multiple platforms.
To read more, click
- FierceWireless – September 22, 2008
Qualcomm set to bring satellite connection to mobile phones
Qualcomm has inked a deal with SkyTerra’s Mobile Satellite Ventures and ICO Global Communications that will bring satellite connections to multi-mode cellular phones, the companies said in a
Satellite phones used to be expensive and strictly for the uber-rich. They came with extra-long antennas that enabled the caller to get a signal anywhere. With this deal, Qualcomm is saying that
caricature has been relegated to the dustbin.
Qualcomm will put satellite and cellular phone technology into baseband chips embedded in multi-mode phones. This, the companies say, will both allow a wider consumer market to access satellite
connectivity and enable handset makers to develop phones that are satellite-capable.
The new chips will support the L- and S-Band frequencies, in which MSV and ICO operate, and will be available beginning in 2010.
To read more, click
- FierceMobileContent – September 22, 2008
Nokia launches mobile TV channel
Handset giant Nokia is poised to debut Capsule N96, a new mobile TV channel promising exclusive entertainment and lifestyle programming for users of its N96 smartphone. Capsule N96 –
launching October 1, timed to coincide with the U.K. debut of the N96 device – will limit all programming to a snack-sized 96 seconds, emphasizing subjects including fashion, gadgets,
comedy, interior design and culture. Series include Pulse (an arts and entertainment showcase) and Power Pads (which features designer Ben de Lisi touring luxurious homes). New
mobisodes of all series will be available for free weekly download through the end of November.
To read more, click here.
FierceMobileContent – September 22, 2008
Mozilla promises Firefox mobile browser by 2010
Open-source software development initiative Mozilla said it plans to introduce a mobile incarnation of its Firefox web browser by 2010. Outlining a series of proposed goals on her
LizardWrangler blog, Mozilla Foundation chairman Mitchell Baker writes the group’s mobile outlook includes “an effective product in the mobile market” and “[demonstrating] that mobile is
part of one, unified, open web,” presumably implying that a mobile Firefox will boast a similar look and feel as its desktop predecessor. According to web tracking company Net Applications,
Firefox presently claims 19.8 percent of worldwide browser market share.
To read more, click here.
FierceIBroadbandWireless – September 22, 2008
T-Mobile will have 3G in 27 markets by year’s end
T-Mobile USA, expanding its 3G network to reach more of its customer base, said it will effectively double the number of markets covered with UMTS/HSDPA by the end of the year. The company
currently has UMTS/HSDPA commercially available in 13 major metropolitan markets. It will have another eight up and running by mid-October and an additional six markets online by year’s end.
The announced deployments will bring the number of T-Mobile markets served by 3G to 27. With the expansion, more than two-thirds of the company’s current data subscribers will have access to
the new networks. The company plans to continue expansion to more customers and markets through 2009.
T-Mobile launched its much-delayed 3G network in May of this year; and as it works urgently to bring these new markets online, it intends to use what it calls “new and compelling”
data-centric, all-in-one devices to attract new customers to its HSDPA network. Currently, T-Mobile’s 3G customers have access to a number of UMTS handsets as well as the HSDPA-enabled Sony
Ericsson TM506. One of the new devices to watch for, which T-Mobile is expected to announce on Tuesday this week, is the HTC Dream, the first commercial device based on the Google Android
operating system. Clearly, T-Mobile hopes to create some buzz with this device. It has said that the Android device will hit the market in mid-October, which not-so-coincidentally is when the
next round of cities will have its 3G services.
Separately, T-Mobile’s parent company in Germany announced that it had conducted successful tests of the “4G” technology called LTE in partnership with Nortel Networks. The partners claim to
have maintained a LTE mobile connection and data rates of up to 170 Mbps on the download, and up to 50 Mbps for uploads, while driving in a car at highway speeds and transferring connections
between different cell sites.
To read more, click
FierceWireless – September 26, 2008
Google looking to free handsets from carriers
Google is interested in producing a technology that will enable users to have an open mobile device that searches for cellular networks in range, much like WiFi devices currently sniff out
hotspots, according to a patent the company filed in 2007 that was released this week.
The concept, called “Instant Bid,” allows users to effectively end the system in which handsets are tethered to a single wireless network, and may be geared more toward prepaid cell phone
users who do not have long-term contracts with carriers.
Google has said that the idea may amount to nothing, but with the Android software and the G1 device promising open application development, as well as Google co-founder Larry Page’s push to
get white-space freed up for unlicensed wireless applications, the idea of “open” at Google seems to be gaining steam.
To access it, click here.
America’s Network – September 22, 2008
The U.S. closes the mobile innovation gap
It was a familiar refrain: The U.S., the birthplace of the Internet, was a wireless backwater. Even early in this decade, many viewed the U.S. as a developing market, fit mostly for
hand-me-downs from the more advanced Europeans and Asians. Unlike unified Europe, the U.S. market was fractured by warring radio standards and dotted with dead zones. Long after cellular was a
way of life elsewhere, Americans still carried beepers and left messages saying to call cell phones only in emergencies. America was to be pitied, and the competitive upshot was huge: The next
great innovations in wireless, including the mobile Internet, were likely to arrive from outside the U.S.
Yet the competitive balance is shifting. As the focus of the wireless world moves toward Internet communications, the U.S. strength in software, most notably at Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL), is
pushing the U.S. ahead as a laboratory for wireless development. American users are catching up, too. In the past year, the U.S. surpassed Western Europe in the number of subscribers to the
high-speed networks known as 3G, according to consultancy comScore M:Metrics (SCOR). “The industry needs to stop talking about the gap between the U.S. and Europe,” says Kanishka Agarwal,
vice-president of mobile media at Nielsen. “We have caught up, and we have already passed.”
The change has been dramatic. While a year ago 6% of Americans who bought phones purchased smartphones, capable of web access and application downloads, their ranks rose to 16% in early 2008,
according to consultancy Nielsen Mobile’s survey of 70,000 U.S. wireless subscribers. Over the same time, in Western Europe, the jump in recent smartphone buyers was smaller, from 11% to 17%,
according to Nielsen.
Stride for stride with Europe, the U.S. is now neck and neck with Western Europe in use of short text messages (SMS), multimedia messaging and mobile games. More Americans, meanwhile, use mobile
e-mail and instant messaging, according to Nielsen Mobile. Mobile web browsing in the U.S. is also on a tear, but it’s still a few percentage points behind the Europeans. Some 17% of Americans
browse on the mobile web, compared to 20% of Western Europeans, according to Nielsen.
To read more, click here.
- FierceOnlineVideo – September 26, 2008
AP picks thePlatform
The Associated Press announced Tuesday that it has chosen thePlatform to host its Online Video Network. Launched only two years ago in 2006, AP’s Online Video Network now reaches 61 million
unique visitors through its 2,100 partner sites, according to company figures. AP partnered with Microsoft for the past two years on both technology and ad sales around the online video content,
but decided to change to thePlatform, a Seattle-based media publisher and Comcast subsidiary, for the technology portion after the partnership ended, according to Jane Seagrave, senior vice
president of Global Product Development for AP.
“thePlatform offers extremely flexible delivery and provides the functionality our affiliate network was seeking,” Seagrave said. “We expect to launch it across our sites fairly quickly, and
aim to complete the rollout by December 1.”
Seagrave said AP considered other options, but she declined to comment on other companies who may have been in the hunt for the juicy contract. She said thePlatform would continue to improve
AP’s online video offering, and her comments were echoed in released statements by AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll.
“We’ve been very aggressive in providing top stories and breaking news video coverage wherever it happens,” Carroll said in the release. “For instance, we chased half a dozen hurricanes over
Florida and the Gulf Coast and produced scores of video clips including first-person accounts, extensive raw video and live streaming. We also made available to OVN affiliates last week a
never-before-seen 1973 video on the release of John McCain when he was a North Vietnam prisoner of war.”
The partnership will allow AP affiliates to manage and apply business policies, syndicate video via a number of scenarios, and customize their feed to drive successfully integrated advertising,
according to thePlatform’s blog.
The next few weeks will be telling for the partnership’s eventual success; if the changeover goes smoothly, you probably won’t hear about it; if it happens to be a bust (which is unlikely),
expect lots of blog chatter and Microsoft “I told you so’s.”
It’s a huge win for thePlatform, that’s for sure.
To read more, click here.
- FierceOnlineVideo – September 19, 2008
YouTube to take down terrorist videos
Earlier in the week, YouTube officially announced that it would modify its Community Guidelines and begin removing any videos on its site that “could incite violence.”
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) was quick to attribute the online video site’s decision to his previously unsuccessful push to have such videos banned. This past spring, Lieberman lobbied the site
to take down terrorist training videos, but YouTube declined to modify its policy until now.
The senator asserts that these videos help terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda find and recruit new members, who are intrigued by the displays of shrouded figures packing automatic weapons. (Hmm, what
does this make Fox’s “24”?)
A line between protecting the public and allowing free expression has never been blurrier, given the myriad creative media people now have at their disposal. Using vague terminology such as
“could incite violence” to remove content from the site could have a chilling effect on creators, who may choose to mirror the violence in the world in their artistic works. Broad
interpretations of the new policy may cause such legitimate creative efforts to be removed from the site.
Censorship is a slippery slope, especially when making value judgments about the potential impact of a creative work such as a video. YouTube has different takedown policies for different
countries; no Nazi videos in Germany, no guns in videos in the U.K., etc.
To read more, click here.
- FierceMobileContent – September 19, 2008
Study: 84% of users would pay for all-you-can-eat mobile music
Good news for both Nokia and Sony Ericsson as they prepare to launch rival all-you-can-eat mobile music services: Eighty-four percent of subscribers are willing to pay for a service such as Comes
with Music according to the results of a new survey by market intelligence firm Strategy Analytics. While contending that the major drivers for mobile music are in place, Strategy Analytics notes
service adoption remains weaker than anticipated – while 83% of respondents said they use their phones to play music, only 6% of music content on their devices originates via mobile retail
“[Our] data shows that price and selection are the most important factors in a customer’s choice of music store, and that brand loyalty is extremely low,” said Strategy Analytics’ Wireless
Media Strategies service director David MacQueen in a prepared statement. “In this environment, even Apple cannot count on retaining users when competing with an offer that seems free to the end
user. Comes with Music and other bundled services, should they succeed, offer a lifeline to the music labels which have seen revenues decline sharply in the digital age.”
To read more, click here.
- FierceWireless – September 18, 2008
Nielsen says Americans are letting go of phone lines
Free-spirited Americans are becoming even less tethered. As many as one in five U.S. telephone owning households – more than 20 million in all – could be wireless-only by the end of
the year, according to a new study from Nielsen Mobile, which points to improved wireless data and the need to cut household expenses as driving the flight.
In a subtly titled report, “Call My Cell: Wireless Substitution in the United States,” Nielsen, better known for tracking audiences for such smash television fare as “America’s Got Talent,”
concludes that America’s got a hankering for cell phone service, and landline providers are the biggest losers in the equation.
Some of the report’s big findings include: cord cutters have lower income levels; they belong to smaller households; they tend to move or change jobs and don’t sign up for new landline service;
and they use their phones more than their landline peers. Here’s the interesting part, they “save an average $33 per month.”
To read more, click here.
Wireless Info Center
Looking for a job in wireless? Here are some sites to check out what is available:
Jobs from FierceWireless
- Solutions Architect | Sales Engineer EMEA – CommuniGate Systems
- Manager of CPE, Wireless – Cox Communications
- Marketing Manager – Wilson Electronics, Inc.
- Director – Mobile Wireless Device Software – Peek, Inc.
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Here are some resource links to Mobile & Wireless info areas: