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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Drivers for TD-LTE


From a presentation by Matthias Reiss –Head of LTE Radio, NSN

Monday, 29 June 2009

Complex LTE IPR System


Markus Münkler, Vodafone Group R&D spoke about IPR Regime for LTE @ LTE World Summit, Berlin

Progress since 2005
•ETSI has improved visibility of standards essential IPR across its membership
•NGMN Ltd has produced indications of the total royalty burden of candidate technologies LTE & WiMAX
•Placed IPR royalty rates in the middle of the next generation mobile economy debate
•Raised the IPR discussions to the attention of the EU and other regulatory bodies
•Built a legally sound platform of trusted collaboration among technology stakeholders

Interim conclusion
•IPR transparency has improved among engaged industry stakeholders
•However, new challenges have emerged from outside the technologydevelopers
•Therefore, IPR royalties remain a stumbling block on mobile technology developments

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Firefly for British Kids



A new mobile designed for kids, the Firefly phone, is set to launch in Britain later this year, but the four year-old target audience already has adults in uproar.

The Firefly phone, a tiny handset for toddlers which packs just five buttons including “Mum” and “Dad” keys, and extensive parental controls, has been a hit in Ireland, and it set to go on sale in the UK later this year.

But the phone has caused concern amongst parental groups, with Aine Lynch, chief executive of the National Parents Council going so far as to question “where parental responsibility is going”.
“Why would kids need to be contacted by mobile phone? Why are they not in the care of their parents, teachers or supervisors?”, she said.


Indeed. Still it could be amusing to see nursery lessons interrupted by the Nokia ringtone, and we’ve seen tweens rocking iPhones before so perhaps a controlled environment is better than nothing at all. And certainly more appropriate than the Penis phone. We’ll let you know if the Firefly phone leads to the downfall of civilization or not.


Surprisingly this phone was announced couple of years back, I cant see why its taking so long.

The French have already said no to such phones but we Britishers are much more tolerant (in all aspects ;) so you may find children using them soon.

Tim Dowling from the Guardian argues against it:

There can be no earthly reason why a child of four would need a mobile phone, but there must be dozens of reasons why it shouldn't have a Firefly. Here are just a few:
  • It is not possible to conduct a fruitful phone conversation with a four year old, as you will know if you have ever tried.
  • Four-year-olds rarely, if ever, have information to impart of such significance that it cannot wait until they are five.
  • A Firefly costs £60. Without a sim card.
  • Your child should always be in the company of a responsible adult who has a phone you didn't have to pay for.
  • A four-year-old with its own phone will spend all day attempting to contact Pocoyo.
  • Four-year-olds never hang up.
  • 52% of children between the ages of five and nine already own a mobile. Chances are you will have to buy the child a phone next year anyway, and they won't want a pink toy that doesn't do YouTube.
  • If you don't know where your four-year-old is, there's no point in ringing him. He doesn't know where he is either.
  • For much less money you can get tiny T-shirts with your phone number and the word REWARD printed on them.
  • Four-year-olds are enough trouble as it is. The last thing we want to do is give them is the means to organise.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Femto Forum Awards 2009: Winners and Losers

The Femto Forum, Femtocells award for 2009 were announced at a dinner on Wednesday,24th of June. Here are the names of the finalists and the winners:


1. Femtocell or femtocell network element design and technology innovation
• Bewan Systems - Femtocell residential gateway
• ip.access Ltd - nano3G
• Motorola Inc - Digital picture frame
Winner: ip.access Ltd - nano3G Enterprise Solution.

The nano3G represents an evolution of the femtocell into the enterprise environment. Not only does it support the 3GPP's new femtocell standard, it also represents a step up in coverage and capacity.

2. Femtocell service (commercial, prototype or demo)
• ip.access Ltd - Facebook virtual fridge notes
• Softbank Mobile Corp - IMS-based Femto trial
• Ubiquisys Ltd - Podcast sync
Winner: ip.access Ltd - Facebook virtual fridge notes.

The service implements a "classic" application use case - where the subscriber receives a reminder message when arriving at home - but with an innovative extension that enables the message to be composed and sent using Facebook.

3. Progress in commercial deployment (vendor or ecosystem)
• NEC Corporation - Commercial contracts and live trials
• Softbank Mobile Corp - Metro area trial
• Starent Networks/Airwalk Communications/Cellcom/Mavenir Systems - Multi-vendor femtocell solution
Winner: NEC Corporation

This recognizes NEC's strong traction in the market with several commercial contracts in place and several live trials underway with operators around the world.

4. Significant progress or commercial launch by a large carrier
• Softbank Mobile Corp - Launch
• Sprint Nextel Corp - Launch
• Vodafone Group Services Ltd - Trial
Winner: Sprint Nextel Corp.

This recognizes this commercial launch, which was the world's first commercial deployment of femtocells.

5. Significant progress or commercial launch by a small carrier
• Cellcom - Launch
• Chungwa Telecom Co Ltd - Launch
Winner: Cellcom.

For Cellcom’s deployment of the world's first IMS-based CDMA femtocell network for consumers and enterprises.

6. Contribution to femtocell standards (individual or company)
• Alcatel Lucent - General contribution to femtocell standards
• Nokia Siemens Networks - General contribution to 3GPP femtocell standard
• Taka Yoshizawa - Contribution to femtocell management standardisation
Winner: Taka Yoshizawa, Thomson

For his pivotal role in defining the femtocell management specifications by working through the Femto Forum, the Broadband Forum and the 3GPP.

7. Enabling technology (components, subsystems, modules etc.)
• Epitiro - Femtocell test suite
• Kineto Wireless Inc - Femtocell gateway controller
• picoChip Designs Ltd - Optimized system-on-chip solution
Winner: picoChip Designs Ltd -picoXcell™ PC302 SoC.

This optimized system-on-chip, which supports the 3GPP's new femtocell standard, embodies five years of femtocell experience, comprehensive interoperability testing and numerous real-world deployments.

8. Social vision - use of femtocells for social / economic / environmental development
• Alcatel Lucent - Consumer research into femtocell usage patterns
• Sagem Communications - Ecodesign
• Softbank Mobile Corp - Niimi project
Winner: Softbank Mobile Corp - Niimi project.

The project illustrates how femtocells can be cost-effectively deployed to deliver services in rural environments where existing coverage is limited.

9. Award for individual contributions to Femto Forum activities
• Chris Cox of ip.access - For coordinating the FemtoZone at Mobile World Congress
• Chris Fenton of Telefonica-O2 - For achieving architectural consensus in the Network & Interoperability working group
• Taka Yoshizawa of Thomson - For leading the Management subgroup to completion of TR-196
• Aya Mukaikubo of Softbank Mobile - For wide-ranging contributions to the Marketing & Promotion and Regulatory Working Groups as well as the Services Special Interest Group
• Dave Nowicki of Airvana - For leading the business case modeling work to an outstanding conclusion
• Alan Law of Vodafone & Chris Smart of picoChip – For coordinating the interference management white paper.
Winner: Chris Fenton of Telefónica-O2

For achieving architectural consensus as chair of the Femto Forum Network & Interoperability Working Group.

“The judges were extremely impressed by the high quality and number of award submissions which reflect the health and innovation of the femtocell industry,” said Simon Saunders, Chairman of the Femto Forum. “The femtocell industry is rapidly evolving as major advances are made in the technology, standards, services and applications - these awards recognise and reward this progress. Our congratulations to the winners and to all those who participated.”

The awards were open to the whole industry and were judged independently of the Femto Forum by a panel of distinguished analysts, journalists and industry experts, chaired by Professor William Webb, Head of R&D at Ofcom.

The judging panel comprised:
• Chairman of the judging panel: Prof. William Webb - Head of R&D - Ofcom
• Dean Bubley - Director - Disruptive Analysis
• Michelle Donegan - European Editor - Unstrung
• Caroline Gabriel - Head of Research - Rethink Wireless
• Peter Jarich - Research Director - Current Analysis
• Aditya Kaul - Senior Analyst, Mobile Networks - ABI Research
• Phil Marshall - Senior Research Fellow, Technology Research - Yankee Group
• Mike Roberts – Principal Analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media
• Sam Samra - Senior Director, Technical Programs - CDMA Development Group
• Adrian Scrase - Vice-President - 3GPP

The Future of Mobile Content, TV & Entertainment

Interesting presentation

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Operators give Femtocells Thumbs up in Femtocells World Summit

AT&T Inc. has announced that it will launch femtocells nationwide by the end of the year, expanding the trial launch it’s been running since January.

"We will expand that into a marketing trial of the AT&T-branded 3G Microcell, which will be open to customers through our AT&T stores ... in a handful of cities,” said Gordon Mansfield, AT&T's executive director for radio access network delivery, speaking at the Femtocells World Summit in London. "We're on track for a full national launch by the end of 2009."

He also said the carrier was exploring ways to expand the femto opportunity beyond simply selling standalone home base stations that offload cellular backhaul from the macro network and boost bandwidth for cellular users. For instance, integrating a femto into other devices in the home.

Meanwhile, Vodafone UK 's surprise femtocell service launch announcement yesterday won't force T-Mobile International AG 's hand to launch a rival service in the U.K. or in any of its markets.

The German giant is sticking to its femto guns and does not feel compelled to take on the largest mobile operator by revenue with a commercial home base station service of its own, simply because Vodafone was first to market in Europe.

"We won't be pushed by that announcement," said Klaus-Jürgen Krath, T-Mobile's senior VP of radio networks engineering, speaking on the sidelines of the Femtocells World Summit in London today. "Let's see how they do in the market...

"There is not any firm launch plan that I can disclose now," he added.

T-Mobile has been busily testing and investing in femto technology for the last few years, but the operator maintains that there are still technical and marketing issues that need to be resolved before a consumer mass market solution is possible.

T-Mobile is a strategic investor in access point vendor Ubiquisys Ltd. and femto chip startup Percello Ltd.

According to French mobile operator SFR , France is a tough market for femtocells.

And one of the issues that makes the country extra special in Europe is the growing public concern about the health risks from cellular antennas and handsets, according to Guillaume de Lavallade, director of network marketing at SFR, who was speaking at the Femtocells World Summit in London.

WiFi hotspots have been disconnected in public libraries; there have been court actions to prevent the installation of cellular masts or have them removed when they're close to schools or homes; and the national government is investigating the health risk associated with masts and handsets, explains Lavallade.

"Introducing femtos in France in this environment is raising these questions," he says.

You can explain that the emitted power of femtos is 10 times less than that of WiFi, comparable to a DECT phone, and that 3G handsets emit less power when connecting to the femto than on the macro network, or that a network based on a femto architecture generates less power than a macro architecture, he says.

"It's difficult for an operator to take those facts and figures to the consumer," he says.

SFR has been trialing a femto from Ubiquisys Ltd. , which was
spotted on a French Website recently.

SatNav need an integrated solution

Satellite navigation has evolved significantly in the past decade and the technology is now used in almost every walk of the life. Every body uses the satellite navigation to reach to certain destination.

But imagine that you have a navigation tool or gadget which acts as your own personal travel guide. It has satellite navigation, so when you get into your car it can direct you to where you want to go. It can choose the most carbon-efficient route and make sure you avoid crowded town centres, traffic jams and road works. It can let you know where the next petrol station is, and whether there is an Italian restaurant near your hotel. Before you arrive you will know which of the town car parks have spaces left. And when you've finally parked the car, take your guide with you and it will direct you, on foot, to your final destination.

For anyone who has found themselves stuck in a traffic jam, or has been unable to find a car park in a busy town centre, or has got lost on foot, it sounds too good to be true. Yet the technology to make it happen is already here. So why aren't we all carrying such a device in our pockets?

The question which then arises is that why the universal travel widget isn't at hand. One of the reasons for that is that several different worlds have to collide and co-operate. First of all there is a massive competition together with a huge confusion regarding the platforms in which such device can be built on. To start with we have got proprietary platforms like TomTom and Garmin, and then we've got the at least five major mobile phone operating systems.

The obvious competition between these different platforms has instigated some suspicion but apart from this the mobile companies also have yet to ¬recognize the potential of phones as navigation devices.

You can argue that many mobile phones are already GPS-enabled but in my opinion this doesn't necessary make them effective at navigation. For instance try using your blackberry as a navigation device and you’ll find that battery has quickly drained out. The mobile phone world is slowly coming to terms with the needs of navigation on mobiles, such as better ¬battery life and bigger screens. Infact GPS alone doesn't offer the precision needed to navigate pedestrians, and so to be useful needs to be combined with another positioning service such as Wi-Fi. This has been done with the iPhone, for example.

The accuracy and granularity of data used in satellite navigation systems is very critical and has to be improving all the time. The real problem lies in integration where the data needed to provide a coherent information service to a navigation device is held by different organisations in a number of different places. While there are companies that are providing some location-based information such as information about ATMs, speed cameras, train times or tourist sites but there is no company in my knowledge that offers everything.

Combining all the information and hence provided through a single device at a one point of time that information isn't going to be easy. The challenges which lies in this are not solely technical for example there's a data aggregation problem to bring it altogether, including highway changes, updates from local authorities and then there's a physical problem in gathering all that up.
Even if the above issues are solved there is still a major part of the problem which is revenue. How one would make money out of integrated Satnav device? There's a difference between what can be done technically and a viable ¬product that can be sold. How do you turn that into something that fits in a business model?"

Organisations that have valuable data rarely want to give it away for free, licences to reuse companies or government’s mapping data commercially are expensive. Similarly, there is no incentive for the Highways Agency or local authorities, for example, to share information about traffic conditions. Even the government website Transport Direct, which provides free up-to-date transport information, has restrictions on the integration of its content with other services.

So now you may realize that how trying to highlight the potential of the problem. It’s a mammoth task to bring all the above information together into one place as everyone wants their pound of flesh because everyone has developed their own data infrastructure and it's just very difficult to get them to agree.

I certainly hold the opinion that inspite of all these hiccups the demand for an all-in-one travel service almost certainly exists. People simply really want a so called integration or integrated device which can work across different ¬locations i.e. home, work, on the move etc.

It’s evident from the above facts that the emergence of a ¬genuinely integrated solution will depend on a government initiative to force public sector organisations such as Highways Agencies, Transport for London and local authorities to collaborate, or on a private sector organisation taking a ¬commanding lead in terms of developing location technologies.
Google is one such company which is creeping up with a whole series of ¬initiatives that are steadily putting the pieces in place. Best example for this is Google Maps which are now readily available on all mobile platforms and is integrated with traffic data from the Highways Agency. Not only this, the Google Maps application interface (API) allows third parties to build their own applications as well.

Google, no doubt is leading with an example in terms of it’s initiatives towards serving the customers in best possible way. Google certainly knows what the customers want which I believe a mini innovation in these current economic climate.

Location has always been such an absolutely fundamental framework for our lives, and we inevitably must embrace tools that allow us to manage that. I envisage a society in 20 years' time revolutionised by the ability to know all the location based information.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Mobile Phones too complicated



The majority of UK consumers see mobile phones as “overcomplicated and burdened with unnecessary features” according to a survey released today.

The research, conducted by mobile recycling specialist Fonebank showed 60 per cent of the 1,000 respondents find current mobiles too complicated to use. A third also cited “simplicity of use” as an important factor when choosing a new handset.

The survey comes at a time when new smartphone releases are dominating the headlines such as the N97 and iPhone 3G S.

Mark Harrison, director of Fonebank, said in a statement: “People think they care about ‘pixels’ or ‘megabits’ when in fact they just want mobiles that are easy to use. Calling and texting remain the primary functions of mobiles, with web surfing, emailing and music capabilities relatively unimportant.”

Interesting to see the same point being made as I made last month where I said that the manufacturers should not forget the people who just prefer simple things rather than the complicated apps and devices.

Report on 'Femtocell Applications Live' at Femtocells World Summit

I was at the Femtocells World Summit yesterday evening attending 'Femtocell Applications Live'. Everybody looked excited and the atmosphere looked charged with people full of energy. Earlier in the morning, Vodafone had announced that its launching first commercial European Femtocell network.

There were 12 companies showing their demo. Unfortunately I was not able to capture the complete details but here is summary of my understanding (and notes and photos).

Before we proceed further, I should also mention that Femto Forum launched Services Special Interest Group (SSIG) whose main task is to to develop a framework that will simplify the development and deployment of femtocell applications.

Demo 1: IP Access
IP Access showed couple of demo's. The first being Facebook Virtual Fridge Notes Applications and the other Femto-enabled Connected Home Applications. There was some problem with the microphone and also CDMA like interference problems (if someone in the room is shouting, everyone starts shouting and the noice level increase drowns out the useful info) so I diddnt catch the second demo very well.

The Facebook Virtual Fridge notes app demo was very interesting and I am sure that we will definitely be seeing apps like this soon. There is very good explanation on IP Access website here so I am not expanding on this.

Demo 2: Motorola
Motorola were showing their award winning Digital Picture Frame Femtocell. It combines the capabilities of a touch screen digital picture frame with femtocells and SIP soft phone. Their femto was CDMA based and are also known as CDMA 9100 series.

One of their demo was Video streaming on the mobile through femtocell where they demonstrated point to point video streaming by using electronic programming guide (EPG) and playing selectable videos in QCIF format with 5 to 15 frames per second.


Their other demo was to Demonstrate touch screen menu and features on femtocell. Here they showed user interaction capability.

Demo 3: Sagem
Surprisingly you may not find any Femtocell related info on the Sagem website but the friendly people from Sagem explained me all about their products. You can see the Joggler type device in the picture, its known as Tabbee and has been launched by Orange in France. You can read more about it here. Its known as My Home Screen internally by Sagem. There is a similar Dect device launched with Telstra in Australia, internally called as My Communication Center. Sagem is also Alcatel Lucent Partner in their Femtocell development. In the picture above you can see the big femtocell that is soon being launched and the small one in front is the next generation of the same device that is being tested right now.



Their demo included Mobile Presence where, when the mobile reaches the Femtozone, different actions are triggered. They also showed how to remotely control TV and other applications through mobile when Femtocells are present.

Demo 4: Ubiquisys, Intrinsyc, Mobica


Ubiquisys gave a demo with Intrinsyc. Keith Day from Ubiquisys made clear in the start that they do not make Apps hence they were doing a demo with others. Their first demo was Mobica Podcast Sync App where when you arrive in the Femtozone then this app downloads the latest podcasts and you can listen to them. Once setup, its fully automatic. Could be really useful for me. You can read the press release of this one here.

The Intrinsyc UX-Zone is for Android phones. Depending on the surrounding the theme (desktop of phone) changes. When you arrive at home, it will show new apps that were not visible earlier. You can read more about it here.

Demo 5: Pirelli
This was a complete new name for me as I have never heard of them before. Their website is here.
They were showing IMTV application. IMTV is IM + TV. Their demo showed two different homes having a Quad-Play bundle from their operator. With the help of 3G Femtocell and the set top boxes the two homes can interact via Instant Messaging (IM). It is also possible to share information like what one home is watching to other.

The set top boxes are designed with open API so some third party can develop apps using it.

Demo 6: Airvana
Airvana has been in leading position in Femtocells. I always see some of their Femtos being tested somewhere or the other.
They were also prodly showing off their products and the name of their partners as can be seen above and below

Their demonstration though not groundbreaking but was done very well. The concept was explained clearly and in a way that anyone can understand.

A scneario was created with the person doing demo saying that he has two daughters and whenver they enter the femtocell zone, he gets an SMS saying that they are home. If for example one of them gets their boyfriend then the person will get an alert as whenever a new user camps in the cell, he can monitor. He can also monitor the number of active users so if there is a party, he can find out. Maybe we should call them Femto Spy Apps ;).

You can also synchronise the Digital Picture frame to your mobile so that whenever the phone comes in the Femtozone, the pictures are uploaded to display automatically.

Demo 7: Alcatel-Lucent
Their Demo included a new location aware "Over the Top" (OTT) apps from Google Latitude, Geopepper, etc. This can also help in things like retail affinity and proximity marketing. Another demo was of Geo mag. A service that delivers e-mags when a user enters a Femtocell

Another demo was Home notes, a 21st century version of post-it notes, whereby you can text or e-mail your messages to a place delivered only when the user has entered the target femtocell. Somewhat similar to IP Access application mentioned above.

Demo 8: Huawei
Theirs was a simple demo of detection service. When a family member enters the femtozone, you will receive notification SMS. The other was that when the UE is in Femtozone, the handset will be updated with a list of latest services and can enjoy them with single click. By the way, their Femtocells are of different shapes which are quite interesting.

Demo 9: Thomson

They were showing Integration of a standard mobile handset (with no additional client software) into the home network and using the mobile as universal remote control connected via 3G. The mobile phone can be used to control home multimedia system in dlna environment

For handset as universal remote control, Keypad and display for an X.10 control application hosted by the Femto CPE in OSGi environment. They showed the phone switching a light in the house on and off remotely.

Demo 10: Softbank
There was a video demo showing how useful Femtocell can be in daily life. For example a person is leaving home but has forgotten to close windows, so he gets a notification just when he is locking the door. Also if some friend comes to your house while you are shopping outside, you do not have to rush back. You can remotely unlock your door for him.

Along with the demo's mentioned above, LG-Nortel was showing their WiMAX Femtocell solution.

Then there was Continuous Computing with Starent Networks and PicoChip demonstrating their successful Iuh Inter-operability.
And finally, I met heard about another company called Rakon. They make oscillators for femtocells. You can see their flyer here.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

ALU and Vodafone hit the first goal in Femtocell World Summit

We have been hearing this for over a year now about Alcatel-Lucent Femtocell being trialled by Vodafone and finally we had this good news in the Femtocell World Summit.

Vodafone has announced the Femtocell World Summit today that its launching the first commercial Femtocell based service on the 1st of July.

Many European and Asian operators have trialled the tiny indoor base stations, and have been forceful in driving standards, but commercial deployments have so far been confined to the US, where Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel are live with limited function CDMA devices and AT&T is to follow soon, using fully blown products from Cisco and the UK's ip.access. Now Vodafone, which has conducted a range of trials in various territories and with different suppliers, has delivered its always hefty endorsement by leapfrogging rival triallists like Telefonica/O2 with a live offering.

Vodafone 's move is important for the sector not because it is supporting any groundbreaking applications in the first stage - the launch is firmly focused on improved indoor signals - but because it quietens the major source of nervousness about femtos, that they are not sufficiently tried and tested for mass consumer roll-out. This has led some suppliers to argue that operators will not move beyond trials for at least another year and possibly longer, delaying the payback for vendors and other involved parties.

Vodafone is understood to be using femtocells from Alcatel-Lucent, probably the most prominent tier one wireless vendor to offer its own devices rather than badging those of a specialist supplier. ALU's products run on the architecture of UK-based picoChip, which also supplies the silicon for ip.access and others. Live roll-outs by Vodafone and AT&T will be valuable for the credibility of the whole segment, and for the sustainability of the specialist start-ups like picoChip.

I have been in the past been involved with IOT testing on ALU Femtocells so I am feeling quite pleased about this.

The Vodafone Access Gateway (VAG) as its being called will be sold for £160. Customers who pay £15 or more per month on contract will get it free.

Samsung flexes muscles in CommunicAsia 2009 with Jet S8000


Samsung Mobile is prepared to share revenue from its app store with operators and is planning further Android phones in 2010.

The revelations shared with Show Daily yesterday show how the Korean vendor, known for its go-it-alone approach, is changing the way it is operating.

This week it launched its new flagship phone, the Jet, based on Samsung chips, a Samsung operating system and an in-house interface, the Touchwiz 2.0. Unlike most smartphones, it does not allow users to download third-party apps.

The highly-anticipated, new Samsung Jet supports the latest smartphone features which include multi-task manager and Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, bringing user-friendly menu navigations in a sleek and compact design.

The Jet’s pioneering 16M WVGA AMOLED display (3.1”) offers vivid and colorful full touch mobile experience available; the WVGA AMOLED screen provides a resolution that is four times higher than a WQVGA screen. The 800MHz application processor delivers breathtaking speed and stunning performance, making Jet the fastest full touch handset on the market today.
Samsung’s latest TouchWiz 2.0 user interface new features such as intuitive 3D media gate UI and motion-response UI, smart unlock, customizable widget screen. The Dolfin Web browser lets users surf the net and access popular websites, especially social networking sites, with ease and speed. The 5 mega-pixel camera, built-in GPS, DNSe & SRS Sound Effect technology for superior sound quality, and DivX and XviD video support for hassel-free video downloading and viewing.

Younghee Lee, VP for overseas marketing in the mobile communication division, admitted to that the mobile business was inevitably becoming more open and Samsung would have to follow.
Samsung, the world’s second biggest handset maker, opened its mobile applications storefront in February and has been running a developers’ forum since last year.

Lee said the company was prepared to jointly operate its app store in a partnership or revenue share model with mobile carriers.

“We are looking carefully at the market situation,” she said. “But our basic goal is to help consumers to get more benefit from the mobile experience, so we are not competing directly against our operator clients.”

“We are always partnering with operators rather than taking their business model,”
Apple, RIM and Android have already opened up app stores, selling directly to consumers. No carrier has launched an app storefront, although China Mobile is set to launch in September and Vodafone by year-end.

Lee said Samsung’s first Android phone had just hit the market in France and Germany and will be sold in Taiwan and Hong Kong in August.

“We are experimenting,” she said. “It’s one of the most wanted smartphones in the mobile market. There will be more for next year.”

She said Android was “the most free and open platform” and was in demand from consumers and operators.

By comparison, the Windows Mobile OS was often “quite complex for consumers to use.”


Samsung also unveiled the Omnia II (I8000), OmniaPRO series (OmniaPRO B7610, OmniaPRO B7320) as well as the OmniaLITE (B7300). Featuring cutting-edge technology, these mobile devices will strengthen Samsung’s leadership in the smartphone market.

The new Omnia smartphone line-up follows the success of the very first flagship ‘Omnia’ phone, Samsung’s milestone Open OS model which was launched at CommunicAsia last year.

With the introduction of its new Omnia smartphone series, featuring diverse functions for a wide range of user needs, Samsung truly offers a variety of smartphones for everyone - from those seeking entertainment to business users to light users.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Book Review - Femtocells: Opportunities and Challenges for Business and Technology




Femtocells: Opportunities and Challenges for Business and Technology
by Simon Saunders, Stuart Carlaw, Andrea Giustina, Ravi Rai Bhat, V. Srinivasa Rao

This is not a very thick book with just 252 pages. Someone may say that there is not much to write about Femtocells. I say that you can fill couple of thousand pages not with much difficulty on Femtocells but it is important to seperate the useful things that everyone will be interested in and just keep that in the book. When I told a colleague that a new book on Femtocells is out, the first question he asked me jokingly is does it cover 'Zero Touch'. The answer is, yes it does ;)

It starts with the very basic what Femtocell is and what its not, goes on to talk about the types, the user benefits, Attributes, applications, challenges, etc.

It then goes on to examine the background for small cells, placing femtocells in the context of the history of other solutions for in-building service and explains the market and technological factors which have made femtocells a compelling proposition. It also addresses market issues, covering the benefits and motivations of femtocells for operators, the key market challenges, business case analysis and forecasts for the take-up of femtocells.

Chapter 4 covers radio issues for femtocells, including the requirements and methods for interference management between femtocells, femtocell RF specifications and health issues. There is a very good table that lists out the potential problems of using Femtocells.

The next chapter covers the network architecture of femtocells, particularly the interfaces and protocols for integrating femtocells with the operator network across the Internet and the way in which the various options differ between standards families. This chapter also introduces the 3GPP based Iuh interface for Home NodeB's. There are other interesting Femto architectures like the CDMA based, WiMAX based, GSM based and LTE based covered in this as well.

Then there is a chapter on the Management of Femto's that describes the requirements and approaches for provisioning and managing millions of femtocells in an efficient and scalable fashion. It explains about the TR-069 data structure and management protocol.

Chapter 7 is dedicated to the very important topic of Security. It explains the security aspects of femtocells from a customer and operator perspective, including analysis of the potential threats and solutions.

Chapter 8 covers the standards for femtocells across the main mobile standards families, namely 3GPP, 3GPP2 and WiMAX Forum. It also introduces the industry bodies who are playing important roles in the introduction and proliferation of femtocells. There is a list of all the 3GPP standards for the Home NodeB and Home eNodeB.

Finally there are chapters on Regulation (including lawful interception, etc.), Implementation Considerations (showing refrerence designs, etc.), Business and Service Options (with examples of scenarios and service options) followed by a Summary.

You can learn more about this book from its official website at http://www.femtocellbook.com/

There are lots of things I may not agree on and there are things i would like to argue about but overall It looks like an interesting book especially for people who either work in or follow femtocells area. With the femtocell information scarce at the moment, this book is like information goldmine for readers. I would be interested in hearing from any readers about their opinion of this book.

Vodafone's Lecture series on Mobile Telecom and Networks


This compilation brings together the transcripts of the third of a series of lectures on the subject of Mobile Telecommunications and Networks. The lecture series was established by The Royal Academy of Engineering and Vodafone to celebrate the enormous social and economic benefits that mobile communications have given us – a success story brought about and maintained by excellence in communications engineering. The three lectures in this series were given over the period between March 2008 and February 2009. All three were exceptionally well attended and generated enthusiastic and lively debate and discussions.

The series was opened by Professor P R Kumar, Franklin W Woeltge, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, at the University of Illinois. His lecture addressed the converging worlds of communications, computation and control – described through infrastructure - free wireless networks, and illustrated with fascinating films of model systems created at the University of Illinois.

The bedrock of all wireless communications systems is radio frequency spectrum, and this was the subject of the second lecture, given by Professor Linda Doyle of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Dublin. She entered into the debate of how one should allocate and manage spectrum, covering approaches from classical ‘command and control’ to dynamic ‘grab what you need when you need it’. Her lecture gave rise to the most lively debate we have had during the Questions and Answers sessions.

Most lectures on mobile communications nowadays are concerned with subjects like broadband access, convergence, mobile widgets or the phone as a computing device, so it was refreshing that in the final lecture of the series Professor Peter Vary of the University of Aachen returned to basics – voice communications. In a fascinating lecture he covered the history of and contemporary research on speech coding for mobile communications, providing great insight into what is the most important function of the phone.

The transcript is available here.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

New Text Message: "Feed me, I am Thirsty"


Technology that lets plants send text alerts when they're running dry may someday reduce overwatering, says a Discovery Channel report. A chip about the size of a clip-on earring can be attached to a plant leaf and linked to regular cell-phone networks, sending a text message when it's time to irrigate. Watering only when necessary could save water and energy, especially in the arid West. A company called AgriHouse is marketing the chip, which is based on technology developed by NASA for long space trips.

Water in the open spaces of the west is valuable, but it's virtually worth its weight in gold in outer space. The original cell phone for plants was developed years ago by scientists working with NASA on future manned missions to the moon and Mars.

"You need plants on future space missions," said Hans-Dieter Seelig, a scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder who worked on the original NASA project.

"They take out waste carbon dioxide, produce breathable oxygen, and the astronauts can use them as food," said Seelig.

During their research, the NASA scientists concluded that astronauts wouldn't be able to take anywhere near enough food and supplies for an estimated two-year mission to Mars. The pilots and Ph.D.'s selected for the trip would have to spend most of their time as celestial subsistence farmers.

To reduce the amount of time and supplies necessary to grow crops, scientists clipped sensors, wired to a central computer, to plants so astronauts would know exactly when and how much water to give them.

During the initial NASA tests the scientists were able to reduce the amount of water necessary to grow plants by 10 percent to 40 percent.

You can see a Video on AgriHouse website here.

A similar approach was also demonstrated earlier this year.

Interactive telecommunications researchers designed a soil-moisture sensor device that can allow a house plant to communicate with its owner. The device can send short messages to a mobile phone or, by using a service called Twitter, it can send short messages to the Internet. The messages can range from reminders to water the plant, a thank you or a warning that you over- or under-watered it. To communicate, probes in the soil emit electric waves. A voltage level based on the moisture content is sent through two wires to a circuit board that compares the optimum moisture level with the current one. A local network receives this data and allows the plant to send a message through the device.

All this is possible through a new system called Botanicalls, which is developed by Interactive Communications researchers. This system allows your plants to send text messages to your cell phone or even on internet. The plants will know when they need water and they will let you know, or, if they have been watered, they will just thank you. More, they will tell you if you put enough water or they need more.

So how Botanicalls works?

Some sensors are placed in the soil with the plant, and they measure the level of moisture. These sensors send a signal to a microcontroller to determine if the moisture is low or high, or if water has been added or not. Based on that, the sensors can send a wireless signal to an internet connected computer than can send a prerecorded message to the plant owner. Messages include “thank you” when the plants are watered, or warnings if the water is too much, or the plants haven’t been watered and they need water.

You can see their video here.

Friday, 19 June 2009

LTE/SAE Trial Updates from LSTI, May 2009

The LTE/SAE Trial Initiative trial results from May 2009 are available here.

More about LSTI Cross-Vendor Interoperability testing for LTE/SAE here.

More information on LTE/SAE is available here.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

LTE QCI and End-to-end bearer QoS in EPC



Gary Leonard, Director Mobile Solutions, IP Division, Alcatel-Lucent in a presentation at the LTE World Summit

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

SMS: Information, MisInformation, Emergency and Spam


The other day someone pointed out that the number of SMS send per day globally is 2 Trillion. I said, surely this cant be true. The population of the world is somewhere around 7 Billion mark. If we assume that everyone uses the phone and sends 1 message per day than that is still 7 Billion messages, 2 Trillion cant possibly be true.

According to a post earlier, 1 Trillion messages were sent in 2008, compared to 363 Billion in 2007. Thats between 3 and 3.5 Billion per day. We may have to wait probably just couple of years before we see 1 Trillion messages per day (assuming the Networks can cope with this amount of SMS's). The reason for sharp rise in the number would be due to various factors.

The first reason being Spam. China is already facing SMS Spam problems. Its becoming such a nuisance that the operators are considering limiting the number of SMS to a max. of 200 messages per hour and 1000 per day. On holidays, 500 and 2000 respectively. I am not sure if Spammers use phones, rather there are many websites allowing bulk messaging facilities. Many companies are also offering power texting facilities that allows big bundles for minimal pricing. The average price being 1 cent per SMS or even cheaper.

Another reason that we should not forget is the introduction of many QWERTY phones that is making life of texters easier. There is some debate as to whether its having good or bad impact on the teens but I think its the health problems we should be worried about more than anything else. Its just matter of time when you get a new phone, there will be a caution note saying: "Caution: Text messaging can seriously harm your health. It can cause sore thumbs, cause sleeping disorders, anxiety and in some cases depression. Please click on I Accept if you would like to use it at your own risk" :)

Deciphering teen text messages is an art in itself. I blogged about it earlier but things change faster than you can anticipate. LG have launched a DTXTR service that can help you decipher your teen text messages. I tried few codes and it failed miserably. I suppose for these kinds of services, one more thing you need is to know the location of the users. Same code word can mean different thing in different countries/states. Webopedia has a very detailed list of these abbreviations.

Finally, I have always wondered why emergency services dont allow SMS. If I am in a bank being robbed, its safer to send a text rather than call and speak to an operator. Good news is that, its already being tested in the US. This should complement the eCall feature in future.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Dictionary of LTE Acronyms


A comprehensive dictionary of LTE acronyms has just been released, providing a useful aid to understanding the LTE specification documents.

A companion to the highly-acclaimed book on LTE, “LTE – The UMTS Long Term Evolution: From Theory to Practice”, the new dictionary provides not just the expansion of each acronym, but significantly also a concise explanation. The dictionary will enable engineers and researchers to find their way through the often bewildering array of acronyms and to understand the LTE specifications with renewed ease.

Written by the editors of the companion book, Stefania Sesia, Issam Toufik and Matthew Baker, from the major telecommunications companies ST-Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, the dictionary is available to download free-of-charge from the website of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons:


Download the dictionary from
here.

SMS good or bad for the teens?

When SMS was invented it was though that it’s an ideal way of communicating with somebody in short and that too cheaper than the actual call. What really picked up in the field of SMA was an easy way of communicating with somebody whilst busy doing something else. SMS specially has become a big hit the teens of today and they love every bit of it.

Teenagers worldwide, these days are sending thousands of text messages per month. While one might be tempted to imagine that it is not a problem due to the availability of unlimited text messaging plans, the issue here is hardly a financial one.

Teenagers have taken the texting to a different level where they depict a brilliant example of multitasking. Albeit concerns are growing over issues such as how excessive text messaging threatens proper sleep, as many teenagers text message late into the night. Or as I can imagine, probably even waking up in the middle of the night to check and reply to new text messages.

In the last five years itself text messaging has gained significant momentum with the teenagers worldwide and the pertinent question here is whether such use of mobile devices will create a generation of adults addicted to perpetually buzzing or beeping mobile gadgets. This could produce a generation that has trouble sitting still and focusing on the task at hand.

There is no doubt it’s easy to find a way of getting distracted especially when you are teen. Imagine you are busy doing something important and you phone beeps thus indicating of the arrival of a new message. In this scenario 99% of the teens including some adults as well will definitely be paying attention to the new SMS and mostly replying for it as well.

In my opinion SMS is like any other things to play for the teen which basically keep them interested and involved. Any fun which is easily and readily available to the teens will definitely attract them no matter which generation they belong to. So what can be a boon for some can be bane for others. What is your opinion on text messaging?

Monday, 15 June 2009

Free Sim, Free Calls forever and no Topup needed - Welcome to '3'

Free Skype-to-Skype calls and instant messaging, free Windows Live messenger and free voice mail in the UK. Welcome to a new contract called SIM Zero from '3' UK.

A minimum contract period of 30 days and the ability to make free Skype calls, all for the princely amount of £0 per month is not bad at all. For the occasional one off calls or texts, 3 will charge users 20p per minute regardless of the networks and the time of call while texts will cost users 10p each. Furthermore, each MB of data will be charged at 30p which is fairly reasonable.

If you are likely to make more than 45 minutes worth of calls per month AND you'd like to stick to 3, then they've got a £9 price plan that gives you 100 anytime, any network minutes or texts, or any mix of the two plus free 300 minutes of 3-to-3 calls and a free mobile phone.

Users will not be coerced into topping up their mobile account regularly; 3 recommends using either theh INQ1 or the Skypephone S2 which are both available for £70 for the contract. Nevertheless, you should be able to plug any 3G phone to get the service.

Via: IT Portal

Nokia developing self-recharging phone


Standby mode is often accused of being the scourge of the planet, insidiously draining resources while offering little benefit other than a small red light and extra convenience for couch potatos. But now Nokia reckons a mobile phone that is always left in standby mode could be just what the environment needs.

A new prototype charging system from the company is able to power itself on nothing more than ambient radiowaves – the weak TV, radio and mobile phone signals that permanently surround us. The power harvested is small but it is almost enough to power a mobile in standby mode indefinitely without ever needing to plug it into the mains, according to Markku Rouvala, one of the researchers who developed the device at the Nokia Research Centre in Cambridge, UK.

This may sound too good to be true but Oyster cards used by London commuters perform a similar trick, powering themselves from radiowaves emitted by the reader devices as they are swiped. And similarly old crystal radio sets and more recently modern radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, increasingly used in shipping and as antitheft devices, are powered purely by radiowaves.

The difference with Nokia's prototype is that instead of harvesting tiny amounts of power (a few microwatts) from dedicated transmitters, Nokia claims it is able to scavenge relatively large amounts of power — around a thousand times as much — from signals coming from miles away. Individually the energy available in each of these signals is miniscule. But by harvesting radiowaves across a wide range of frequencies it all adds up, said Rouvala.

Such wireless transfer of energy was first demonstrated by Nikola Tesla in 1893, who was so taken with the idea he attempted to build an intercontinental transmission tower to send power wirelessly across the Atlantic. Nokia's device is somewhat less ambitious and is made possible thanks to a wide-band antenna and two very simple circuits. The antenna and the receiver circuit are designed to pick up a wide range of frequencies — from 500 megahertz to 10 gigahertz — and convert the electromagnetic waves into an electrical current, while the second circuit is designed to feed this current to the battery to recharge it.

The trick here is to ensure that these circuits use less power than is being received, said Rouvala. So far they have been able to harvest up to 5 milliwatts. Their short-term goal is to get in excess of 20 milliwatts, enough power to keep a phone in standby mode indefinitely without having to recharge it. But this would not be enough to actually use the phone to make or receive a call, he says. So ultimately the hope is to be able to get as much as 50 milliwatts which would be sufficient to slowly recharge the battery.
would be a remarkable achievement. . "Radio frequency power falls off exponentially with distance," he says. Earlier this year researchers at Intel and the University of Washington, in Seattle, showed that they could power a small sensor using a TV signal 4.1 kilometres away.

Wireless charging is not intended as a sole energy source, but rather to be used in conjunction with other energy harvesting technologies, such as handset casings embedded with solar cell materials. According to Technology Review magazine, the phone could be on the market in three to five years.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Verizon's bold step towards IPv6


Verizon is taking bold step of mandating the devices that connect to its LTE Network support IPv6. The following is from Telecom Asia via Network World:

According to device requirements Verizon released earlier this year, any device that hooks onto the LTE network currently being built on the 700MHz band "shall support IPv6" and further states that "the device shall be assigned an IPv6 address whenever it attaches to the LTE network." The requirements make support for IPv4 optional and state that any device supporting IPv4 "shall be able to support simultaneous IPv6 and IPv4 sessions."

IPv6 is a long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol, which is known as IPv4.

As CircleID blogger and Pennsylvania State University senior systems programmer Derek Morr notes, the adoption of IPv6 is going to be particularly important for wireless carriers that are expecting a surge in mobile data traffic in the next few years, as they will need a fresh batch of Internet addresses to handle the multitude of wireless devices that will hook onto their networks.
"The problem, of course, is that we're running out of IPv4 addresses," Morr writes. "The IANA pool will most likely be depleted by the end of 2010. This has led many people to wonder if LTE deployments will require IPv6. Now we have an answer: Yes."

Verizon is planning to launch its LTE services commercially in 25 to 30 U.S. markets in 2010. The network will be the first mobile broadband network in the United States to be based on the LTE standard, which is the latest variation of Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology that is used for 3G High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) networks. AT&T and T-Mobile have also announced plans to commercially launch LTE networks after 2010, while Sprint has already commercially launched its high-speed mobile WiMAX network.

One of the biggest drivers for carriers upgrading their mobile data networks to 4G technologies is the expected explosion in demand for mobile video services. A recent Cisco study on Internet traffic trends projects that 64% of mobile data traffic will be for video by 2013, vs. 19% for data services, 10% for peer-to-peer and 7% for audio. The study also says that the projected video traffic will increase four-fold between now and 2012

You may also want to read my post on the case for early LTE in USA.