Parallel Wireless is Hiring

Showing posts with label Mobile Phones and Devices. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mobile Phones and Devices. Show all posts

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Smartphones, Internet Trends, etc

Every few years I add Mary Meeker's Internet Trends slides on the blog. Interested people can refer to 2011 and  2014 slide pack to see how world has changed.

One of the initial slide highlights that the number of smartphones are reached nearly 3 billion by end of 2016. If we looked at this excellent recent post by Tomi Ahonen, there were 3.2 billion smartphones at the end of Q1 2017. Here is a bit of extract from that.


Rank . OS Platform . . . . Units . . . . Market share  Was Q4 2016
1 . . . . All Android . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,584 M . . . 81 % . . . . . . ( 79 %)  
a . . . . . . Pure Android/Play . . . . 1,757 M . . . 55%
b . . . . . . Forked Anroid/AOSP . . . 827 M . . . 26%
2 . . . . iOS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 603 M . . . 19 % . . . . . . ( 19 %) 
Others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 M  . . . . 1 % . . . . . . (   1 %)
TOTAL Installed Base . 3,211 M smartphones (ie 3.2 Billion) in use at end of Q1, 2017

Source: TomiAhonen Consulting Analysis 25 May 2017, based on manufacturer and industry data


Rank . . . Manufacturer . Units . . . Market Share . Was Q4 2016 
1 (2) . . . Samsung . . . .  79.4 M . . 22.7% . . . . . . . ( 17.9% ) 
2 (1) . . . Apple  . . . . . . . 50.8 M . . 14.5% . . . . . . . ( 18.0% ) 
3 (3) . . . Huawei  . . . . . . 34.6 M . . . 9.9% . . . . . . . (10.4% ) 
4 (4) . . . Oppo . . . . . . . . 28.0 M . . . 8.0% . . . . . . . (   7.1% ) 
5 (5) . . . Vivo . . . . . . . . . 22.0 M . . . 6.3% . . . . . . . (   5.6% ) 
6 (9) . . . LG  . . . . . . . .  . 14.8 M . . . 4.2% . . . . . . . (   3.3% ) 
7 (7) . . . Lenovo .  . . . . . 13.2 M . . . 3.8% . . . . . . . (   3.8% )
8 (8) . . . Gionee . . . . . . . .9.6 M . . . 2.7% . . . . . . .  (   3.5% )
9 (6) . . . ZTE  . . . . . . . . . 9.2 M . . . 2.6% . . . . . . . (   5.2% ) 
10 (10) . TCL/Alcatel . . .  8.7 M . . . 2.5% . . . . . . . (  2.4% ) 
Others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80.2 MTOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350.4 M

Source: TomiAhonen Consulting Analysis 25 May 2017, based on manufacturer and industry data

This year, the number of slides have gone up to 355 and there are some interesting sections like China Internet, India Internet, Healthcare, Interactive games, etc. The presentation is embedded below and can be downloaded from slideshare

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Research on Unvoiced Speech Communications using Smartphones and Mobiles

A startup on kickstarter is touting world's first voice mask for smartphones. Having said that Hushme has been compared to Bane from Batman and Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Good detail of Hushme at Engadget here.

This is an interesting concept and has come back in the news after a long gap. Even though we are well past the point of 'Peak Telephony' because we now use text messages and OTT apps for non-urgent communications. Voice will always be around though for not only urgent communications but for things like audio/video conference calls.

Back in 2003 NTT Docomo generated a lot of news on this topic. Their research paper "Unvoiced speech recognition using EMG - mime speech recognition" was the first step in trying to find a way to speak silently while the other party can hear voice. This is probably the most quoted paper on this topic. (picture source).

NASA was working on this area around the same time. They referred to this approach as 'Subvocal Speech'. While the original intention of this approach was for astronauts suits, the intention was that it could also be available for other commercial use. Also, NASA was effectively working on limited number of words using this approach (picture source).

For both the approaches above, there isn't a lot of recent updated information. While it has been easy to recognize certain characters, it takes a lot of effort to do the whole speech. Its also a challenge to play your voice rather than a robotic voice to the other party.

To give a comparison of how big a challenge this is, look at the Youtube videos where they do an automatic captions generation. Even though you can understand what the person is speaking, its always a challenge for the machine. You can read more about the challenge here.

A lot of research in similar areas has been done is France and is available here.

Motorola has gone a step further and patented an e-Tattoo that can be emblazoned over your vocal cords to intercept subtle voice commands — perhaps even subvocal commands, or even the fully internal whisperings that fail to pluck the vocal cords when not given full cerebral approval. One might even conclude that they are not just patenting device communications from a patch of smartskin, but communications from your soul. Read more here.

Another term used for research has been 'lip reading'. While the initial approaches to lip reading was the same as other approaches of attaching sensors to facial muscles (see here), the newer approaches are looking at exploiting smartphone camera for this.

Many researchers have achieved reasonable success using cameras for lip reading (see here and here) but researchers from Google’s AI division DeepMind and the University of Oxford have used artificial intelligence to create the most accurate lip-reading software ever.
Now the challenge with smartphones for using camera for speech recognition will be high speed data connectivity and ability to see lip movement clearly. While in indoor environment this can be solved with Wi-Fi connectivity and looking at the camera, it may be a bit tricky outdoors or not looking at the camera while driving. Who knows, this may be a killer use-case for 5G.

By the way, this is not complete research in this area. If you have additional info, please help others by adding it in the comments section.

Related links:

Sunday, 12 March 2017

High Power / Performance User Equipment (#HPUE)

3GPP refers to HPUE as High Power UE while the US operator Sprint prefers to use the term High Performance UE.

HPUE was initially defined for US Public Safety Band 14 (700MHz). The intention was that this high power UEs can increase the coverage range from 4km to 8km. This would mean larger coverage areas and less number of cells.

While the commercial UE's (class 3) transmit at +23dBm (max 200mW), the Public Safety people intend to use class 1 UE transmitting +31 dBm (max 1.25W). It was felt that this feature could be beneficial for some TDD bands that do not have to worry about backward compatibility. One such band, pushed by Sprint was TDD Band 41 (2500MHz). As this band is for the commercial UE's, instead of class 1, class 2 power at +26dBm (max 400mW) was proposed.

3GPP TS 36.886 provides the following justification:

Currently, 3GPP has defined only Power Class UE 3 as the type of UE supported for TDD LTE band 41 operations. This definition was based on aligning TDD LTE Band 41 UE power classes with prior work in 3GPP related to other bands. However, it should be mentioned that 3GPP UE Power Class 3 definition (i.e. 23dBm) was mainly driven to ensure backward compatibility with prior technologies (i.e. GSM/UMTS) [2] so that network deployment topologies remain similar. Furthermore, maintaining the same power class UE definition (i.e. Class 3) as previous technologies would maintaining compliance with various national regulatory rulings, particularly in terms of SAR, for FDD LTE duplexing mode. 

However, TDD LTE band 41 does not have any 3GPP legacy technologies associated with it, hence the backward compatibility consideration is not applicable in its case. Also, since band 41 is defined as a TDD LTE band, it is less susceptible to SAR levels that FDD LTE bands due to SAR definition. Therefore, defining a new UE power class with higher than 23dBm Tx power for TDD LTE Band 41 operations would not compromise any of 3GPP foundational work, while improving UE and network performance. It should also be mentioned that 3GPP has done similar work on other bands (i.e. band 14) when defining a higher power class UE, hence the concept presented in this document is a continuation of that process.

The present document carries out a feasibility analysis for defining a UE Power class 2 (i.e. 26dBm) for operation on TDD LTE band 41. The document analyses current and future technological advancements in the area of UE RF front-end components and architectures that enable such definition while maintaining 3GPP specification and other regulatory bodies' requirements. It should be emphasized that this proposal only relates to single carrier UL operations on TDD band 41 (i.e. TM-1/2 modes) without affecting current 3GPP definition for UL carrier aggregation on band 41.

As you can see from the tweet above, Sprint CEO is quite pleased with the HPUE. 

SourceDiana Goovaerts

Iain Gillott, iGR points out that HPUE applies to Sprint’s 2.5 GHz TDD network and associated spectrum, and the company claims up to 30 percent increase in cell cover from the new technology.  It should be noted that HPUE is a 3GPP standard that applies to the 2.5 GHz TDD band (Band 41) and is also to be used by China Mobile and Softbank.  HPUE was developed as part of the Global TDD LTE Initiative (GTI) which includes Qualcomm Technologies, Samsung, ZTE, Broadcom, MediaTek, Skyworks Solutions, Alcatel, Motorola, LG and Qorvo... The cool part: the improvement in coverage comes from simply improving the device uplink power.  So Sprint, China Mobile and Softbank will not have to visit their cell sites to make changes; they just need 2.5 GHz TDD devices with HPUE to get the benefit.

Milan Milanović recently wrote about Sprint’s Gigabit Class LTE network goes live in New Orleans. One of the questions I had was why is the uplink so rubbish as compared to downlink. He kindly pointed out to me that this is TDD config 2
If you are wondering what is TDD Config 2, see the pic below
Source: ShareTechNote

Sprint expects HPUE to appear in postpaid devices starting in 2017, including new devices from Samsung, LG, HTC, and Moto. It’s expected that all of Sprint’s new devices will have HPUE support within the next two years.

I think it would be interesting to see how this impacts when there are a lot more users and devices. I am quite sure there will be more requests for HPUE in further TDD bands.

Related Links:

Friday, 17 June 2016

History: 30 years of the mobile phone in the UK

In January 1985 the UK launched its first mobile networks. Now, thirty years on, many people and companies in the UK have been celebrating this enormous achievements and advances that have been made since then and which have seen the mobile evolve from a humble telephone into the multimedia pocket computer which has become such an essential part of modern life. It was simply not possible in 1985 to envisage a country that would be able to boast more active mobile phones than people or to have along the way clocked up several world firsts, and be now leading on the deployment of 4G and shaping the future 5G technologies.

Below is a series of talks in an event organised by University of Salford,

The following talks are part of playlist:

1. Launch of Vodafone – Nigel Linge, on behalf of Vodafone
2. Launch of Cellnet - Mike Short, O2
3. The emergence of GSM - Stephen Temple, 5GIC
4. The launch of Mercury one2one and Orange - Graham Fisher, Bathcube Telecoms
5. From voice to data - Stuart Newstead, Ellare
6. Telepoint - Professor Nigel Linge, University of Salford
7. 3G - Erol Hepsaydir, 3 UK
8. Handset evolution and usage patterns - Julian Divett, EE
9. 4G and onwards to 5G – Professor Andy Sutton, EE  and University of Salford.

For anyone interested in reading about the history of mobile phones in UK, read this book below with more facts and figures

If you have any facts to share, please feel free to add in the comments below.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

4G / LTE by stealth

In the good old days when people used to have 2G phones, they were expensive but all people cared about is Voice & SMS.

The initial 3G phones were bulky/heavy with small battery life, not many apps and expensive. There was not much temptation to go and buy one of these, unless it was heavily subsidised by someone. Naturally it took a while before 3G adoption became common. In the meantime, people had to go out of their way to get a 3G phone.

With 4G, it was a different story. Once LTE was ready, the high end phones started adding 4G in their phones by default. What it meant was that if the operator enabled them to use 4G, these devices started using 4G rather than 3G. Other lower end devices soon followed suit. Nowadays, unless you are looking for a real cheap smartphone, your device will have basic LTE support, maybe not advanced featured like carrier aggregation.

The tweets below do not surprise me at all:

This is what I refer to as 4G or LTE by stealth.

Occasionally people show charts like these (just using this as a reference but not pin pointing anyone) to justify the 5G growth trajectory with 4G in mind. It will all depend on what 5G will mean, how the devices look like, what data models are on offer, what the device prices are like, etc.

I think its just too early to predict if there will be a 5G by stealth.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Smartphones: It came, It saw, It conquered

Smartphones have replaced so many of our gadgets. The picture above is a witness to how all the gadgets have now been replaced by smartphones. To some extent hardware requirements have been transferred to software requirements (Apps). But the smartphones does a lot more than just hardware to software translation.

Most youngsters no longer have bookshelves or the encyclopedia collections. eBooks and Wikipedia have replaced them. We no longer need sticky notes and physical calendars, there are Apps for them.

Back in 2014, Benedict Evans posted his "Mobile is Eating the world" presentation. His presentation has received over 700K views. I know its not as much as Justin Bieber's songs views but its still a lot in the tech world. He has recently updated his presentation (embedded below) and its now called "Mobile ate the world".

Quite rightly, the job is not done yet. There is still long way to go. The fact that this tweet has over 600 retweets is a witness to this fact. Here are some of the slides that I really liked (and links reltaed to them - opens in a new window).
While we can see how Smartphones are getting ever more popular and how other gadgets that its replacing is suffering, I know people who own a smartphone for everything except voice call and have a feature phone for voice calls. Other people (including myself) rely on OTT for calls as its guaranteed better quality most of the time (at least indoors).

Smartphones have already replaced a lot of gadgets and other day to day necessities but the fact is that it can do a lot more. Payments is one such thing. The fact that I still carry a physical wallet means that the environment around me hasn't transformed enough for it to be made redundant. If I look in my wallet, I have some cash, a credit and debit card, driving license, some store loyalty cards and my business cards. There is no reason why all of these cannot be digital and/or virtual.
A Connected Car is a Smartphone on/with wheels.

A connected drone can be considered as smartphone that flies.
The Smartphones today are more than just hardware/software. They are a complete ecosystem. We can argue if only 2 options for OSs is good or bad. From developers point of view, two is just about right.
Another very important point to remember that smartphones enable different platforms.

While we may just have messaging apps that are acting as platforms, there is a potential for a lot more.

Here is the presentation, worth reflecting on each slide:

If you haven't heard Benedict Evans speak, you can refer to a recent video by him on this topic:

Related posts on the web:

Monday, 29 February 2016

The Internet of Me: It’s all about my screens - Bob Schukai

I had the pleasure of attending the IET Turing lecture last week and listening to Robert Schukai. He gave a brilliant talk on how Smartphones are changing the way we do things. Its a very interesting talk but its nearly 87 minutes long. Slides are not available but the video is embedded below.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Interesting gadgets from CES 2016

Here are some gadgets from the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016. These are all collected from the tweets and there is a Youtube video below if you are interested. There are just too many interesting things to list but do let me know which ones are your favourites.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Nuggets from Ericsson Mobility Report

Ericsson mobility report 2015 was released last week. Its interesting to see quite a few of these stats on devices, traffic, usage, etc. is getting released around this time. All of these reports are full of useful information and in the old days when I used to work as an analyst, I would spend hours trying to dig into them to find gold. Anyway, some interesting things as follows and report at the end.

The above chart, as expected, data will keep growing but voice will get flatter and maybe go down, if people start moving to VoIP

Application volume shares, based on the data plan. This is interesting. If you are a heavy user, you may be watching a lot of videos and if you are a light user then you are watching just a few of them.

How about device sizes, does our behaviour change based on the screen size?

What about the 50 Billion connected devices, was it too much? Is the real figure more like 28 billion?

Anyway, the report is embedded below.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Some interesting April Fools' Day 2015 Technology Jokes

Here is a quick roundup of some interesting tech #AprilFools day jokes from the web. Click on the links to learn more

Samsung Galaxy Blade Edge - Chef's edition

Selfie Shoes by Miz Mooz - Shoefie - You can try it in chrome browser, it was working

Smartbox by Inbox: the mailbox of tomorrow, today - by Google

HTC Re-Sok - the "world's first truly smart sock"

Bing's Palm Search technology

Introducing #MotoSelfieStick - By Motorola

Twitter’s Twelfie Stick

Domino’s Domi-No-Driver Service

Iltasanomat news on April 1st 2015 (source not available): Finnish Police is having their own air forces with 250 seagulls with TETRA radio and camera

And finally, these old style pranks still work :-)

If you like them, you will enjoy the last year ones too. Here.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Report on Spectrum Usage and Demand in the UK

Last week at work, we released a report titled "UK Spectrum Usage & Demand". The only time most people hear about spectrum is when there are some auctions going on. Often a small chunk of spectrum gets sold off for billion(s) of dollars/pounds and these surely make a headline. As I recently found out, 50% of spectrum in UK is shared and 25% is license exempt.

Anyway, this first edition of the report focuses on Public Mobile, Utilities, Business Radio and Space/Satellites. Space is becoming an important area of focus here as it is a significant contributor to the UK economy.

Anyway, the report is embedded below and is available to download from here:

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Is mobile eating the world?

Another interesting and thought provoking presentation by Ben Evans. His earlier presentation which was very popular as well, is here. The video and slides are embedded below.

How Mobile is Enabling Tech to Outgrow the Tech Industry from Andreessen Horowitz on Vimeo.

And a recent interview by Benedict Evans with Bloomberg TV on the same topic as follows:

Saturday, 11 October 2014

A quick update on Antennas

There were couple of very interesting and useful presentations from the LTE World Summit 2014 that I have been thinking for a while to embed in the blog. The first is a market overview from Signals Research Group. The research is focussed more on the US market but it has some very interesting insights. The slideset is embedded below:

The other presentation is from Commscope on Base Station Antennas (BSA) for capacity improvement. I really liked the simplicity of the diagrams. Anyone interested in studying more indepth on the antennas are encouraged to check out my old post here. The complete slideset is below:

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Envelope Tracking for improving PA efficiency of mobile devices

I am sure many people would have heard of ET (Envelope Tracking) by now. Its a technology that can help reduce the power consumption by our mobile devices. Less power consumption means longer battery life, especially with all these new features coming in the LTE-A devices.
As the slide says, there are already 12 phones launched with this technology, the most high profile being iPhone 6/6 Plus. Here is a brilliant presentation from Nujira on this topic:

For people who are interested in testing this feature may want to check this Rohde&Schwarz presentation here.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Wireless Charging: A must-have technology with maturing standards

Wireless charging has been in news recently with the discovery that Apple has found a brilliant way to wireless charge iPhones, iPads and iWatches. While we continue to wait for the details of that one, I thought its worth providing a bit of round up from the LTE World Summit not so long back. A summary of market by IHS is embedded as follows:

Qi (pronounced Chee), probably the most well known standard, not just because its already available in devices like Google Nexus 5 phone and Nexus 7 tablet  but also because its 1.2 standard allows devices to be charged from some distance away. They had an excellent presentation outlining their progress and technology as follows:

Finally, any discussion on Wireless Charging wont be complete without the mention of other big player, Alliance For Wireless Power (A4WP). The above shows a comparison between different standards and the presentation from A4WP is as follows:

Finally, if you haven't seen our concept of futuristic 'Smart Batteries' (crossed 10K+ views) then check it out here.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

LTE-Broadcast: Reality check

When I wrote my blog post about why the 'Cellular Broadcast may fail again' for the Cisco SP Mobility blog, I did not realise that this would become so popular and there would be so many people writing to me to tell me why and how my assumptions are wrong and how they plan to succeed. I have not yet received a successful reasoning on why people disagree with my article and where I am wrong.

In the Video Over LTE Summit just concluded, I did not get a chance to see all the LTE-B presentations but the ones that I saw, were not convincing enough, except for one by Erol Hepsaydir, of '3' UK, that I explain in the end.

Here is my presentation from that event:

The conclusion is not self-explanatory so here it is in my own words.

I am not opposed to the operators trying LTE-B out. I wish more operators do try and hopefully we can have a model where the technology can succeed. When operators succeed in a new technology, it benefits the whole mobile ecosystem directly or indirectly. The operators have to be prepared that they may not see any return. This should not discourage them because the learnings from this may benefit in something else. The customer and their loyalty is more important. We should try and provide them with a value addition rather than think of this as a new source of revenue. People are not interested in watching the same stuff they watch on the terrestrial TV on their small devices; unique and maybe tailored content would help. Finally, don't make the billing model too complex so the users shy away from trying this new technology.

The final presentation of the event was delivered by Erol Hepsaydir of the UK operator '3'. He said that from their point of view, they are trying to have eMBMS to create additional capacity in the network. If they know that many people watch news on different apps and websites, they can offer this as a free service over broadcast. What this means is that they have gained customer loyalty and also free up the capacity for other users who are doing other data related activities. I think this is a very clever approach. He did mention though that they are only in the simulation stages and have not tried it out practically. 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Internet Trends 2014, by Mary Meeker

Its June, time for the Internet Trends update by Mary Meeker, KPCB. Last year's update has crossed 3 million views on Slideshare. So many interesting slides, difficult to pick up some of the best ones to add here. I have selected a few that I really liked. The first being the growth in Smartphones and Tablets, as compared to PC's and Television's.

The other very interesting point to highlight is that the number of SMS's are decreasing and the number of OTT messages are rising. Just two days back, BITKOM, Germany released the news that SMS's are declining drastically in Germany. OTT's are taking over, rightly so.

Finally, with people doing too much multi-tasking, the above slide highlights what people are doing while watching TV.

Here is the complete set of slides:

Related news on the web:

  • Forbes: Are We In A Tech Bubble? Not Really, According To Mary Meeker's Latest Report
  • Business Insider: Mary Meeker's Stunning 2014 Presentation On The State Of The Web
  • Quartz: Mary Meeker’s 2014 internet trends report: all the slides plus highlights
  • Forbes: Mary Meeker's Web Video Love Affair
  • Guardian: Mary Meeker: 2015 will be about 'findable data' and mobile sensors
  • Business Insider, Australia: In 3 Big Slides, Here's Why Mary Meeker Is Optimistic About The Future Of American Healthcare
  • Tech2: What Mary Meeker’s 2014 trends report says about India’s Internet usage

Thursday, 27 March 2014

A quick case study on Smartwatches

My presentation from the Cambridge Wireless Connected devices SIG event "On Trend – High Fashion meets High Technology" held today, is embedded below. One of my favourite ads that highlights our fascination with the smart watches has been shown very well in a advert by Samsung mobile USA as follows:

I believe there is an opportunity and a market for the smart wear and smartwatches. There is a need for just the right kind of products to capitalise on the demand.