Pages

Showing posts with label Nokia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nokia. Show all posts

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Some interesting April Fools' Day 2014 Technology Jokes

Its very interesting to see all the companies proposing very interesting concepts on the 1st of April. I was told that not everyone knows what April Fools day means so here is the link to Wikipedia.

Samsung Fly-Fi: Samsung has come up with some interesting ideas, the first being Wi-Fi for everyone powered by Pigeons. They have a website here with Video.

Power of Pigeons


Looks like since we have Pigeons everywhere, so they are always used in one way or the other. The best prank ever in my opinion was the PigeonRank by Google, back in 2002. I spent a few hours that day trying to figure out how they were actually doing it.

Smart Wear was always going to be the big thing. Quite a few smart wearables this year.

Bonobos has done a good job with with TechStyle. See video below:



Samsung has a glove called Samsung Fingers here. The best thing I liked was 'Talk to the Hand'

Samsung Fingers_Talk to the hand

HTC came up with similar concept called Gluuv



Toshiba's DiGiT is as interesting. See the video:


Virgin Mobile, Canada has come up with SmartKicks. See here.



Roku Watch is not too bad:


Virgin America even convinced Sir Richard Branson to appear in the April Fools ad along with Tony Faddell, the CEO of Nest. Funny Youtube video here.

Sony Power Food was just okay, video here.

Toshiba Spehere is a funny Gaming concept, see here.

Nokia reviewed its most popular phone 3310 with modern day features here. Coloured screen with 41Megapixel camera.

Google wants to Emojify the web here.

Google Japan has a magic hand here.

Selfiebot by Orbotix is a cool concept, here.

Twitter Helmet didnt make me laugh though. See here.

Is there some others that I missed? Please feel free to add it in the comments.

Monday, 22 April 2013

eMBMS rollouts gathering steam in 2013

Its been a while since I last posted something on eMBMS. Its been even longer that we saw anything official from 3GPP on eMBMS. Recently I have seen some operators again starting to wonder if eMBMS makes business sense, while the vendors and standards are still working hard on the technology.

Not so long back, HEVC/H.265 codec was standardised. This codec helps transmission of the video using half the bandwidth. This means that it would be economical to use this for broadcast technologies. No wonder Nokia, Thompson and NTT Docomo are excited.

Interesting picture from a Qualcomm presentation (embedded in the end) shows how different protocols fit in the eMBMS architecture. My guess would be that the HEVC  may be part of the Codecs.



On the operators front, Korea Telecom (KT) has intentions for countrywide rollout. Korea is one of the very few countries where end users have embraced watching video on small form factors. Verizon wireless has already signalled the intention to rollout eMBMS in 2014; its working out a business case. Telenor Sweden is another player to join the band with the intention of adopting Ericsson's Multi screen technology.

One of the main reasons for the lack of support for the 3G MBMS technology was not a compelling business case. Qualcomm has a whitepaper that outlines some of the potential of LTE Broadcast technology here. A picture from this whitepaper on the business case below:

Finally, a presentation from Qualcomm research on eMBMS embedded below:



Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Future mobile technology with Graphene



Some days back I attended an interesting talk where the speaker showed how Graphene will revolutionise the future mobile devices. Here is what Graphene is:



Another version:



A concept phone video from Samsung



And a Nokia demo from the last MWC that uses Graphene as a sensor and also opens the possibility of using other gestures except for touch

Monday, 14 November 2011

Another concept phone from Nokia called 'HumanForm'


Description as follows:

HumanForm was created in a joint effort between Nokia Design and Nokia Research Center to translate the most promising new nanotechnologies into meaningful user experience, prototype those for decision making; and transfer and set aspiration for future portfolio.

Project is a key to bring significant user experience benefits to the market thereby creating mindshare and value share through nanotechnology enabled experiences.

HumanForm is a visionary solution for a dynamically flexible device beyond touch screen and voice communication where technology is invisible and intuition takes over. Natural interactions are enabled with kinetic user interface.

HumanForm concept and a follow-up Nokia Kinetic Device prototype were launched in Nokia World 2011.

To learn more, visit: http://research.nokia.com/

Monday, 31 October 2011

Phones with Flexible Screens in 2012


From PC World:


Samsung Electronics said Friday that it is aiming to launch mobile phones with flexible displays next year, with tablets and other portable devices to have these displays soon after.
The company said it was aiming to follow on the success of its Galaxy S II smartphone, which has now sold 10 million units in five months.
The comments came as the company discussed its earnings for the three-month period through September. Samsung said its overall profit fell 23 percent from a year ago to 3.44 trillion Korean won (US$3.1 billion), dragged down by its chip and display operations, but operating profit at its mobile unit more than doubled in the period.
"The flexible display, we are looking to introduce sometime in 2012, hopefully the earlier part," said spokesman Robert Yi during an earnings call. "The application probably will start from the handset side."
Yi said tablets and other mobile devices with flexible displays would follow.
Samsung has shown flexible OLED (organic light emitting diode) displays inside rigid cases that kept the screens curved. The technology has material within each pixel that generates light, making it perhaps more suitable for flexible screens than LCDs, which would require both a flexible screen and a backlight.

This is a Video from CES 2011 in January:



I like this concept of bendy phones. The following Nokia video shows how this could really be useful.



Toshiba shows something similar at SID 2010.


News via WebProNews.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Couple of presentations on GNSS and LCS

I came across couple of presentations from International Conference on Localization and GNSS, held in Tampere, Finland, June 29-30, 2011

This first presentation by Lauri Wirola of Nokia gives good summary of standardized positioning technologies in use today. It also lists the difference between control plane and user plane positioning. The 3GPP based positioning from Rel 5 to Rel 8 has been listed. Overall a very interesting presentation.

The second presentation by Ignacio Fernández Hernández of the European Commission, gives an overview of the EU satnav programmes (Galileo, EGNOS) and current R&D status; Present some numbers and findings of the overall GNSS R&D panorama in EU and abroad; Present some trends and challenges in location technologies for the following years. Another interesting presentation I think.


Friday, 1 July 2011

Summary of 'The Future of Wireless International Conference' #fwic

Here is a summary of the Future of Wireless International conference held in Cambridge on the 27th and 28th of June 2011. The summary is a compilation of my notes with the tweets sent using the #FWIC tag.

DAY 1

Roberto di Pietro, VP Product Marketing and Business Development, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies
• 26 million 3G connections being added every month
• 226% growth is seen in smartphones from 2010 - 2014
• Mobile as a single platform for developers.
• Devices smart enough to know which network to connect to
• Qualcomm arrived on the scene 6 months after everyone but they are the only ones with 4G, 3G and 2G multi-mode chips
• In 2012 they would be releasing the new System Architecture with Single / Dual / Quad cores upto 2.5GHz (Snapdragon next gen)
• Question: Will smartphones die in the future when people move to tablets for everything except for voice/sms and they get simpler phones for that
• Answer: Smartphones will co-exist as companion devices with the tablets and will continue growing for a while.
• In other discussions: QoS will be a big differentiator and offloading would certainly be needed. Femtocells are going to form part of any strategy.
• Network signaling load and need for developers to improve apps design noted in qualcomm keynote here in cambridge


Mr. BongGoon Kwak, Senior Vice President, The head of Mobile Business Fast Incubation Business Department Mobile Business Group in Korea Telecom.
• KT adding 0.5 million users every month.
• Mobile data predicted to grow 26 fold by 2015 (6.2 exabytes/month)
• E = MC^2. Where E = evolution, M = mobile and C = connectivity
• mobile banking users in Korea increased 100% to 18 million due to smartphones
• smartphone ARPU up 32% on feature phone
• KakaoTalk (http://www.kakao.com/talk/en) users have increased which has in turn reduced the SMS ARPU
• NaaS (Network as a Service) is a new trend

Mr. Edward Zhou, CMO of Western European Region, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
• states they have 5300 people in Europe but only 65% are from local market
• No. 2 telecom solution provider with revenues of $28 billion
• has 110,000+ employees with 150 nationalities worldwide, more than half work in R&D
• By 2020 there will be 5.5B MBB (Mobile Broadband) users as opposed to 1.5B FBB (Fixed Broadband)
• 70% of companies (especially SMEs) will be using cloud based services.


Mr. R. Swaminathan, Senior Executive Vice President, Reliance Communications Ltd.
• Low cost mobile networks and devices helped drive innovation in low cost business models in Rural India
• Customisation is a mecessity for the rural market.
• One offering includes a fixed phone that uses Mobile as a backhual using the Yagi antenna
• 15 operators in rural India. Voice tariff went from 20cents to 1 cent. Entry cost reduced by 95%
• ARPU in rural India is $2.
• Telecom operators have done innovations to keep costs to minimum
• Phone to tablet is best evolution for Indian rural market, using visual images and txt to speech technologies not smartphones
• Good to have some text to voice and vice-versa apps
• Ends with saying that there are 870 million people in rural India and possible market size is $25 billion that can be exploited


Kanwar Chadha, Chief Marketing Officer and Board Member of Cambridge Silicon Radio
• Innovations in location-aware wire-free connected world
• Spoke on view of local business vs global, very entertaining perspective , assume nothing and be careful of interpretation
• Example is the initial GPS cost $3700 but was still successful in Japan because guys wanted to show it off to their dates.
• Maslow's hierarchy of needs dont work for India as its more important to have entertainment (TV) than roof.
• FM very succesful in India but nowhere else.
• Sat Navs will not succeed in India because addresses and maps not very well mapped. Things like coupons, sms will be very successful


Innovation Hothouse: Mr. Christian Leicher, Member of the Executive Board at Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co. KG.


Session on start-ups very interesting
• Augmentra talked of GPS based smartphone apps. Users can share and get paid when someone else download what they share. Their guidebooks, etc are trusted by half the search and rescue mountain teams
• Oxems have a solution for the new plastic pipes that are being deployed. The normal metal detectors cant detect these pipes so they have a RFID based solution.
• Pneumacare has a non-contact medicare solution that can be used to track people with respiratory problems
• MagicSolver.com has a unique app discovery solution that can reach upto 6 millions users in 90 different countries.
• Cambridge temperature concepts has a solution that can increase the chances of fertility without IVF to the same levels after 6 months use.


Interesting points from the breakout sessions:
• Mike Bowerman of Alcatel-Lucent: Soon we will see pricing based on time of day, location, etc. Infrastructure sharing lower costs but it means that coverage from some location can completely vanish.
• John frieslaar of Huawei talks about how many will be connected to networks and the cause of demand
• Stephen temple says industry must spur innovation not gov.agree but will gov let us?
• 75% of UK mobile data consumption is driven by BBC iplayer, YouTube and adult videos says Sam Leinhardt of Penthera
• Ed Candy, 3: Apps evolving from Handset Apps to Widgets to Intelligent Browsers based
• Content is king but context is queen
• O2 in UK started putting data caps and lost 7K customers in London. They were using 7% of network capacity so O2 happy to get rid of them


DAY 2
Stephen Baily, General Manager, BBC R&D
• BBC R&D iPlayer usage on tablets is 3million/mth 2% of total
• Dual screens being explored by BBC with a universal controller API. The proposal has been submitted to W3C.
• Working on Dual-Screen concept where iPad becomes a complimentary device to TV (See http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/40584/bbc-focused-ipad-dual-screen)
• BBC R&D iPlayer usage on tablets is 3million/mth 2% of total
• BBC is looking again at mobile broadcasting based on DVB-t2m standard
• 90% of broadcast os normal schedule than the time shifted one.

Dr. Tapani Ryhänen, Laboratory Director, heading Eurolab (Cambridge and Lausanne) of Nokia Research Centre
• Imagining tomorrow devices, creating technology today
• Morph concept video



• Nokia Research Center in Cambridge working in lots of futuristic technologies like Data driven Apps, Stretchable electronics, Bend to zoom, flexible phone and display
• Another video that I wasnt able to locate on Youtube


Few points from The "Can big wireless deliver on the promise of a big society?" Panel Debate
• Motorola's David Chater-Lea: "Due to spectrum needs we're going to see breakdown of barriers between commercial & private networks"
• Neul/Ofcom's William Webb: "To get a truely wireless society we need more small cells and increased backhaul. Then we need FTTH"
• Otherwise we're going to have situation where wireless will be held back by the wired network
• Public safety: should governments use private networks or commercial networks & give priority to emergency services over customers?



Graham Fisher, Former CEO of Orange Labs R&D, BathCube:
• Net neutrality doesn't work in a world of finite resources
• High end phones expectaions include screens that can work in sunlight, AR, 3D, etc.
• When it comes to retail price plans mobile operators are all in a bargain basement, they need to reintroduce value

Dan Reed, Corporate Vice President, Technology Policy and Strategy and eXtreme Computing Group at Microsoft
• The uber change happening is collision of computing/comms/content. We need to work out how to work together


Ken Blakeslee, Chairman of WebMobility Ventures:
• Digital natives vs digital immigrants
• Is mobile too inward looking?
• We're moving from hardware to software driven marketplace where communities are the new currency
• Users can be bought and bribed, communities can not


Interesting Obervation:
• Cambridge Wireless - run largely by women as an organisation but 95% of attendees at Future of Wireless conf #fwic are male


Poll of #fwic audience returns 50:50 re: whether mobile infrastructure should be common wholesale solution vs competitive between operators

Hopefully you have enjoyed this summary!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Cognitive radio – the way out of spectrum crunch?

Another presentation from the Cambridge Wireless Event on Avoiding Cellular Gridlock. One of the ways suggested in the discussions with regards to the 'Geo-location database' (see slide 12) is that they could also be done using Smart Grids. Though it sounds simple in theory, practically we may never see that happen and that would not be due to any technical reasons.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Everyone is talking NFC



Its been over couple of years since I blogged about what NFC is. In fact successful trials in London occurred around that time but it seems the operators always had doubts.

Couple of months back, Nokia announced that from 2011, it will roll out NFC in all it phones. Here is an extract from the Register:

Nokia has announced that from next year every Nokia smartphone will have NFC, regardless of fact that the technology lacks a business model or any market demand.

The commitment was made during a speech by Nokia's VP for markets, Anssi Vanjoki to the Moby Forum, as
reported by NFC World. Vanjoki wouldn't be drawn on the company's smartphone plans, but did explain that every smartphone launched by Nokia would have an NFC component supporting the Single Wire Protocol (SWP) and MicroSD security, and probably a Nokia secure module too.

Once NFC is in a handset then one can do some interesting things with remote control of home electronics and Bluetooth pairing-by-tap, but none of that is the killer feature that NFC needs to make it viable.


Of course, the mobile industry isn't used to waiting for customer demand – no one ever requested a camera, or Bluetooth, those were pushed into punters' hands by operators (to sell MMS) and retailers (to sell headsets) respectively. But those were done by the network operators (which explains the popularity of Bluetooth in Europe, where operators own retailers).
Nokia, which has extensive IP in NFC, has spent a fortune trying to convince operators to back the technology, funding extensive trials and backing supportive research, but no matter how hard it tries, NFC just isn't desirable (at least until Apple puts it into an iPhone).


That was till last week. This week the news is out that Apple is testing NFC in iPhones. The following news from CNET:

Apple raised some eyebrows over the weekend when news spread it had hired an expert in mobile payments.

But now there's a report that says the company is already testing a prototype
iPhone with near-field communication (NFC) chips inside, which could pave the way for using future iPhones as a mobile wallet.

TechCrunch heard from an unnamed source that on Tuesday Apple is testing an iPhone with NFC chips it's ordered from NXP Semiconductor. It's not clear what kind of tests, and it could be very preliminary in nature. But coupled with the hire of Benjamin Vigier from mFoundry as mobile payments product manager, it does seem possible that Apple could be planning to open up its premier product to the world of commerce outside of iTunes.

In fact you may be able to do much more than mobile payments if Apple gets its way. You may be able to sync devices by touching each other. You can sync your MAC to iPhone or iPod. Here is a video showing some iPhone RFID demo, courtesy NFC world.

iPhone RFID: object-based media from timo on Vimeo.

In case you want to find difference between RFID and NFC, see here.

There is also an interesting article i read sometime back about when NTT DoCoMo will move to NFC. See here.

Friday, 23 April 2010

GPS to become commonplace and far more accurate


First it was Nokia that started giving away the Satnav software for free. Now Google is offering free Satnav software for Android phones in UK. Its already been available in US for quite some time and the response is generally positive.

According to comScore, the use cellphones for Satellite Navigation is becoming more common in Europe. According to them, in February, 21.1 million consumers in five large European markets -- Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy -- used their cellphones for navigation, 68 percent more than a year ago. This compares to 20.4 million personal navigation devices sold in those markets in 2008 and 2009 in total, according to research firm GfK.

I talked about Satellite based Internet before but today we will focus on satellite based GPS systems.

The GPS system, which was developed way back in 1989 for and by the military has been used by general public since the year 2000. Its has become very common in the last few years.

The GPS we know and love is part of a larger family of systems called Global Navigational Satellite Systems or GNSS. The following are the members of the GNSS; GPS is the USA system, GLONASS is the Russian system, Galileo is the European system and Compass is the Chinese system

The following is from the IET Magazine:

Satellite navigation systems take their location cues from 30 GPS satellites that circle the Earth twice a day transmitting status, date and time, and orbital information. Soon there will be around 100 satellites to lock on to as GPS is joined by global constellations from Europe (Galileo), Russia (GLONASS), and China (Compass).

GPS wasn't built to help us find our way to the shops - it was a Cold War project funded by the US Department of Defense to ensure that nuclear submarines could surface and target their missiles accurately. There are strategic rumblings about the new satellite constellations too, but the current consensus is that civilians have most to gain from more accurate and reliable location and tracking applications. That's if receiver designers can get the power consumption under control.

Russia's GLONASS system used to be famous for its satellites failing faster than they were launched, but since last month it has had 24 functioning satellites in orbit. Meanwhile, Europe's much-delayed Galileo system will have 14 satellites operating by 2014, according to the European Commission, with the full 30 available by 2017. The US GPS system is being modernised to become GPS III by 2013, with additional navigation signals for both civilian and military use. Information about China's Compass system is sketchier - it was going to be a regional system but is now understood to be global.

'All this activity is great news because whatever the application, there will potentially be multiple constellations to get a position fix from, which will help with signal integrity in safety-critical environments such as maritime, aviation or rail, and accuracy for mobile phone users in urban areas,' says Andrew Sage, director of Helios, a consultancy specialising in satellite navigation.

A GPS receiver should be able to 'see' at least four GPS satellites anytime, anywhere on the globe and establish three position coordinates (latitude, longitude, and altitude). But in city streets hemmed in by tall buildings, a receiver is unlikely to be able detect more than two satellites and the signals will often have bounced off structures.

'For the average pedestrian, the position fix can be a long way out and very unpredictable,' says Sage. 'Most users don't see that today because GPS receivers match us to maps and smooth the errors out. But if you are walking around a city and not on a road in a car, multi-path reflections are a problem.'

The more satellites visible from within these 'urban canyons', the easier it is to carry out consistency checks on the received signals. 'Even when you can't isolate the multipath-contaminated signals, the more signals you have, the more your errors average out,' says Dr Paul Groves, lecturer in global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), navigation and location technology at UCL.

Better GNSS integrity would enable new applications, such as road-user charging, enforcing bail conditions and pay-as-you-drive insurance. 'Clearly, if position information might be used as legal evidence, it has to be reliable,' says Groves.

The delayed arrival of Galileo and the resurrection of GLONASS have complicated matters for receiver makers. Galileo was designed to offer the simplest possible upgrade path from GPS to a dual-constellation system. Agreements were made to put the carrier frequencies of the main open services in the same part of the spectrum as GPS, at around 1575MHz, so receivers could share the same radio, analogue components and antenna. Both systems also send their signals using a spread-spectrum code-division multiple-access (CDMA) approach. GLONASS uses a frequency-division multiple-access coding technique (FDMA) and a main open-service carrier frequency of 1602.2MHz.

The complete IET Magazine article can be read here.

There is another interesting article titled 'GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Compass: What GNSS Race? What Competition' here. Interesting analysis.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

MBMS and AMR-WB


Nokia publicly underlined its commitment to broadcast-mobile-TV standard DVB-H with the recent unveiling of the mobile TV edition of the Nokia 5330 and its pretax, presubsidy price tag of €155 (US$230), after some in the industry had questioned its enthusiasm for launching new DVB-H devices. Nokia also quelled any suggestions that it might start supporting the MBMS standard with its future device launches.

The price is a massive drop from the €550 price tag carried by Nokia’s last fully DVB-H-compatible handset, the N96, which launched in 3Q08. So the official line from Nokia is this: “All is well on the good ship DVB-H.”

Read more here.

Meanwhile, In China, China Unicom has launched 3G telecom services in 268 cities across the country, said Li Gang, another deputy general manger for Unicom Group, noting that the WCDMA network supports a 14Mbps download data transmission speed and a 7.2Mbps upload data transmission speed.

Notably, the carrier has adopted the most advanced R6 technology in its core WCDMA network to smooth a WCDMA-to-EPS migration in the future, according to Mr. Zhang.

The China Unicom network is expected to support MBMS and HSPA+64QAM technology in the first phase of a further evolution, shore up a HSPA+MIMO technology in the Phase II evolution, and prompt a LTE technology in the Phase III evolution, said Mr. Zhang, adding that the network will present a 100Mbps download speed and a 50Mbps upload speed after the Phase III evolution.

Read more here.
Back in September, Orange Moldova announced the launch of the world's first mobile telephone service offering high-definition (HD) sound. The service will provide customers with a significantly improved quality of service when making calls. Unlike for other mobile technologies such as multimedia capabilities, this is the first time since the 1990s that mobile voice technologies have been subject to a significant evolution.

This is the second step in Orange’s HD voice strategy, following on from the launch of a high-definition voice service for VoIP calls in 2006. Over 500,000 Livephone devices have already been sold in France and the range will be extended to other Orange countries over the coming months.

The first mobile handset integrating high-definition voice capability that will be launched by Orange Moldova is the Nokia 6720c. This innovative handset integrates the new WB-AMR technology, which is widely expected within the industry to become a new standard for mobile voice communications.

Thanks to the Adaptive Multi Rate-WideBand (AMR-WB) codec, double the frequency spectrum will be given over to voice telephony over traditional voice calling. Orange boasts that the result is "near hi-fi quality" and "FM-radio quality", which seems an odd comparison.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Handset Manufacturers preparing for Ramadan

LG Electronics, third largest mobile phone vendor, has launched two new handsets exclusively equipped with integrated features that are almost tailor-made to meet the needs of Muslims in the region.

The newly launched LG GD335 and LG KP500N have special features, including a Qiblah indicator that uses an in-built longitude and latitude orientation or city references that, when used in comparison to the magnetic north, indicates the direction of the Qiblah. The two phones also come complete with Adhan and Salah prayer time alarm functions as well as Quran software, the Hijri calendar and a Zakat calculator.

With its slim 11.9 mm body, LG's KP500N is a slim and lightweight handset fully equipped with key features such as a 3.2 megapixel camera, 3D accelerometer and an Active Flash User Interface with vivid widget icons to provide easy access to commonly used functions. The LG GD335 features a 2 megapixel autofocus camera that displays photos on a high resolution 2.2 inch GVGA touchscreen. The handset also has a MP3 player and can hold up to 1GB of music, photos or data. In addition, it has Bluetooth compatability and enhanced battery capabilities through the built in light sensors.

With Ramadan approaching, the features will be a welcome benefit during the month. The phones are available at major outlets across the UAE.


Nokia has been doing its Ramadan Campaign since 2006 and they have done it again this year.

Nokia just announced that its Ramadan applications for 2009 have now become available on Ovi Store. The updated free mobile applications tailored for the Holy Month of Ramadan can now be downloaded on the compatible Nokia devices directly from Nokia’s Ovi Store.

“Last year’s applications were very well received, as we saw over 2.4 million Ramadan applications downloaded. And based on the feedback we had received from Nokia consumers, we have further enhanced the offering this year to include additional applications as well as upgrades to some of the existing features. The applications this year also support a wider range of devices, to include both touch and non-touch Nokia devices,” said Chris Braam, Vice President, Sales, Nokia Middle East and Africa.
Nokia 2009 Ramadan Applications include the following:

The Holy Quran: allows users to read, search, bookmark and listen to Quran recitation

Prayer Times: provides prayer timings and Qibla direction for 1000 cities in 200 countries, along with the ability to add, remove, update and edit any location using the GPS.

Hadeeth: gives an easy and convenient way to read the Honorable Hadeeth from Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Riyad us-Saliheen, Holy Hadeeths and Arba’in An Nawawi.

Zakah Calculator: helps Muslims calculate Zakah on different kinds of income

Hajj and Umrah: offers a mobile guide with multimedia content and the most famous places that people can visit during Hajj and Umrah.

Mozzaker: allows mobile users to listen, search and translate a large collection of of daily Azkar and selected supplications. People can also download more Azkar and share via SMS and MMS with friends and family.

Cards: helps users create their own Mobile Greeting Cards for different occasions and send them to family and friends via SMS or MMS.

New features of this year Ramadan’s apps include Quran recitation from multiple recitors, which users can choose to download based on their preference and in MP3 form. Prayer timings and Qibla direction are provided for 1000 cities in 200 countries, along with the ability to add, remove, update and edit any location using the GPS. The new Zakah Calculator helps Muslims calculate Zakah based on their income.The Ramadan applications are developed by ASGATech, a Forum Nokia Premium Partner in the Middle East, with all content reviewed and approved by Al Azhar Al Shareef.

Ramadan applications for 2009 are compatible with a range of Nokia devices including Nokia N97, Nokia N86, Nokia E75, Nokia E66, Nokia 7210, Nokia Nokia 6730c, 6720c, , Nokia 6303, Nokia 6300, Nokia 6120c, Nokia 5800XpressMusic and Nokia 5130, . The user interface for the applications is in English, Arabic, French and Urdu.

Users can launch Ovi Store from the Download folder on the main menu on their Nokia device or access nokia.com/Ramadan on the PC. However when I tried searching for one of Nokia’s

Ramadan apps on the Ovi the search turned a null result. To make it easy for users to find the app, I recommend Nokia to feature them on the Ovi store to users in the Arab world.

You can also watch the Nokia Apps Video:


Thursday, 13 August 2009

Shanzhai Mobile Phones: 'Bandit Phones' or 'Fake Phones' from China's Wild West



Have you heard of these brands called NokLa, Samsung, Nukia, HiPhone, etc. ? These are the 'fake phones' manufactured in China.

In 2008, an estimated 150 million, or 20 percent, of the 750 million handsets produced in China were either counterfeit or off-brand phones, according to CCID Consulting, a market research firm based in Beijing. Of those, over 51 million were sold in China while the remainder were sent to foreign markets.

Known here as "shanzhai ji", or bandit phones, China's gray market handset industry was virtually non-existent just a few years ago. While a handful of illegal companies produced black market mobiles, they often were of poor quality mainly because the technology needed to make them was hard to come by and even harder to master.



This all changed in 2005 when Mediatek, a microchip design company from Taiwan, developed what experts call a turnkey solution -- a platform that integrated many complex mobile phone software systems onto a single chip. This made it much easier and cheaper to build handsets and churn out new models at astounding speeds.

"[Mediatek] basically commoditized the entire market," said Jonathan Li, founder of Shanghai-based technology design studio Asentio Design. "They made it really simple and really cheap to make your own phone. Almost anybody could do it."

The shanzhai business got another boost a couple of years later when the Chinese government relaxed regulations limiting the number of companies that could manufacture handsets, lowering the entry barrier for hundreds of entrepreneurs eager to have a piece of the world's biggest mobile phone market.

"It is so easy to do because this whole ecosystem is in China," said Weaver. "It isn't so complex for a guy to figure out by watching how the global supply chain works in the mobile handset space to do his own thing."

By 2008, an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 shanzhai businesses had emerged, many with fewer than a dozen employees operating in offices sometimes comprised only of a back bedroom in a small apartment or basement of a private home. Some blatantly copy major brands, producing knock-offs with slight twists in their names, others come up with special makes of their own.

Either way, the shanzhai phenomenon has not gone unnoticed by legitimate handset manufacturers. The gray market phones, which typically sell for around $100, have already driven down the prices of brand name mobiles and are beginning to take away their market share, too.

"You cannot compete with them. You can't," said an employee of Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "It is almost impossible to make a profit [from handsets] now because of shanzhai."

Some manufacturers, like Nokia, say they are working with the Chinese government to crackdown on the counterfeiting companies as well as raise awareness about the potential dangers of the fake phones, some of which have had exploding batteries or expose consumers to abnormal amounts of radiation.


The market for Shanzhai cell phones lies not only in China, but also in the surrounding developing countries in Asia or even third world countries in Africa and Latin America. They identify overlooked/underserved market segments by incumbents like the rural areas and focus on these segments. The outstanding sales performance of Shanzhai cell phones is usually attributed to their low price, (usually lower than $50), multi-functional performance and imitations of trendy cell phone design. Although Shanzhai companies do not use branding as a marketing strategy, they are known for their flexibility of design to meet specific market needs. For example, during Barack Obama’s 2008 U.S. presidential election campaign, Shanzhai cell phone companies started selling “Obama” cell phones in Kenya, with the slogan “yes we can” and Obama’s name on the back of the cell phone. They also designed “Bird Nest” and “Fuwa” cell phones in light of the Beijing Olympic Games.

Who gains from Shanzhai Phones?

None of the stakeholders seem to gain from these low quality phones.

The phones are low in quality and do not necessarily follow the safety standards. Most of the times, the radiations from these phones are beyond the permissible limits and can cause serious damage to the health of the consumer. The FCC has adopted limits for safe exposure to radio frequency (RF) energy. These limits are given in terms of a unit referred to as the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), which is a measure of the amount of radio frequency energy absorbed by the body when using a mobile phone. The FCC requires cell phone manufacturers to ensure that their phones comply with these objective limits for safe exposure. Shanzhai phones do not follow the SAR norms.

Most of the Chinese handsets have dual SIM slots and allows the consumers to put SIM cards of two different operators. This means that operators would have to share their ARPU with other operators and the competition would lead to lower ARPU and multiple SIM phenomena

The Shanzhai phones do not pay any taxes of regulatory fee resulting in revenue losses to Governments across the world wherever they are sold. Even the Chinese government is in a fix now as the exports benefits given out to these handsets are over claimed. Moreover, since the Shanzhai phones do not have an IMEI number, there is an increased threat from terrorists as it is very difficult to catch a terrorist who uses a mobile handset without IMEI

According to Taiwan's National Communications Commission, people who sell or buy "Shanzai" mobile phones via the Internet or in electrics marts will face a fine of up to NTD300,000, which is about CNY60,000, in Taiwan.

According to reports in Taiwanese local media, NCC recently stated that under the Administrative Regulations on the Controlled Telecommunications Radio-Frequency Devices, Taiwan residents should bring no more than five "Shanzai" mobile phones from the overseas markets at one time and the number should be limited to two if the mobile phones are sent by post.

According to reports in Indian local media, the India government has decided to set stricter quality limits to imported mobile phones, dairy products, and toys and these measures reportedly target China.

The reports quoted the director of the Foreign Trade Bureau of India by saying that from now on, mobile phones without International Mobile Equipment Identities should not be imported to the Indian market, which means Chinese-made "shanzai" mobile phones will not be available in the country.

Check out some more photos here and here.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Q2 Mobile sales: No surprises but lots of good news


Nokia, the world's largest maker of mobile phones, reported Thursday that its second-quarter operating profit fell 71 percent to 427 million euros ($600 million) from 1.47 billion euros during the same quarter a year earlier.

The company also reported that sales fell about 25 percent to 9.9 billion euros in the second quarter. But sales were up 7 percent sequentially from the first quarter of 2008.

Nokia shipped 103.2 million units during the quarter, which was down about 15 percent compared with a year earlier. But shipments were up 11 percent sequentially compared with the first quarter of this year.

Nokia said that it increased its market share sequentially for global sales of mobile phones to an estimated 38 percent. And its smartphone market share grew sequentially to 41 percent.

Toward the end of the second quarter, Nokia brought its N97 smartphone to the U.S. market.

It was bound to happen, but we didn’t think the Nokia N97 would outsell the Nokia 5800 quite as quickly as it has. However, from sales figures that have just been released, it looks like the big fight of the summer is going to be between Nokia’s two touchscreen smartphones.

The top ten phones currently being sold by Vodafone looks something like this:

1. Nokia N97 32GB
2. Nokia 5800
3. Sony Ericsson W595
4. Sony Ericsson C510
5. Samsung Jet
6. Samsung Tocco Ultra Edition
7. Samsung Steel L810
8. Nokia 6300
9. BlackBerry Storm
10. HTC Magic

South Korean company Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd recently announced the earnings results for the second quarter of the ongoing year. Globally, the company registered an 11.7 percent increase in revenues during the quarter on a yearly basis, reaching 32.51 trillion Korean won, and posted 2.52 trillion won operating profit, up 436 percent compared to the previous quarter of the year.

Samsung’s Telecommunications business also went up compared to the same time frame last year, reaching 10.04 trillion won in revenue, or a 27.4 percent increase, while the operating profit was of 1.00 trillion won, with a 10 percent margin. During the three-month period, the company says, its mobile phones sales reached 52.3 million units, marking a 14 percent increase compared to the previous quarter.

LG Electronics posted a record quarterly profit on strong mobile phone and TV sales, helping it win market share from rivals Nokia and Motorola today. However concerns over weaker margins may stall a rally in its shares.

LG, which trails Nokia and Samsung in mobile phones, sold a record 29.8 million handsets in the second quarter, up from 22.6 million units in January to March.

It posted an 11 per cent operating profit margin in handsets, compared with 6.7 per cent in the first quarter, a figure Choi said was "pretty remarkable."

The company's operating profit margin was 7.8 per cent in the second quarter and was at 4.3 per cent for all of 2008.

Fourth ranked Motorola is working to narrow losses through cost cuts in the face of sharp drops in sales, while world fifth maker Sony Ericsson is also braced for a tough second half of 2009 as a demand slump hits its stronghold mid-range products focused on camera and music features.

Apple's quarterly results were better than forecast, thanks to strong iPhone sales, including its new 3GS model.

Net profits hit $1.23bn (£953m), or $1.35 a share, in the fiscal third quarter to 27 June, from $1.07bn, or $1.19 a share, a year earlier.

The US technology giant sold more than 5.2 million iPhones in the quarter, seven times more than a year earlier.

Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said: "We are very proud of this result, particularly given the economic climate around us."

He also admitted that Apple was "currently unable to make enough iPhone 3GS to meet high demand and we are working to improve that".

Apple also hopes to make the iPhone available in more countries than the current 18, including China "within a year".

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Iranians start boycott Nokia campaign


The mobile phone company Nokia is being hit by a growing economic boycott in Iran as consumers sympathetic to the post-election protest movement begin targeting a string of companies deemed to be collaborating with the regime.

Wholesale vendors in the capital report that demand for Nokia handsets has fallen by as much as half in the wake of calls to boycott Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) for selling communications monitoring systems to Iran.

There are signs that the boycott is spreading: consumers are shunning SMS messaging in protest at the perceived complicity with the regime by the state telecoms company, TCI. Iran's state-run broadcaster has been hit by a collapse in advertising as companies fear being blacklisted in a Facebook petition. There is also anecdotal evidence that people are moving money out of state banks and into private banks.

Nokia is the most prominent western company to suffer from its dealings with the Iranian authorities. Its NSN joint venture with Siemens provided Iran with a monitoring system as it expanded a mobile network last year. NSN says the technology is standard issue to dozens of countries, but protesters believe the company could have provided the network without the monitoring function.

Siemens is also accused of providing Iran with an internet filtering system called Webwasher.


"Iranians' first choice has been Nokia cellphones for several years, partly because Nokia has installed the facility in the country. But in the past weeks, customers' priority has changed," said Reza, a mobile phone seller in Tehran's Big Bazaar.

"Since the news spread that NSN had sold electronic surveillance systems to the Iranian government, people have decided to buy other company's products although they know that Nokia cellphones function better with network coverage in Iran."

Some Tehran shops have removed Nokia phones from their window displays. Hashem, another mobile phone vendor, said: "I don't like to lose my customers and now people don't feel happy seeing Nokia's products. We even had customers who wanted to refund their new Nokia cellphones or change them with just another cellphone from any other companies.

"It's not just a limited case to my shop – I'm also a wholesaler to small shops in provincial markets, and I can say that there is half the demand for Nokia's product these days in comparison with just one month ago, and it's really unprecedented. People feel ashamed of having Nokia cellphones," he added.

News of the boycott has appeared on the front page of Iranian pro-reform papers such as Etemad-e Melli, owned by the reformist candidate Mehdi Karroubi. Hadi Heidari, a prominent Iranian cartoonist, has published an image of a Nokia phone on a No Entry traffic sign.
A Nokia spokeswoman refused to comment on the company's sales in Iran.


The Iranian authorities are believed to have used Nokia's mobile phone monitoring system to target dissidents. Released prisoners have revealed that the authorities were keeping them in custody on the basis of their SMS and phone calls archive, which was at officials' disposal.

One Iranian journalist who has just been released from detention said: "I always had this impression that monitoring calls is just a rumour for threatening us from continuing our job properly, but the nightmare became real when they had my phone calls – conversations in my case.

"And the most unbelievable thing for me is that Nokia sold this system to our government. It would be a reasonable excuse for Nokia if they had sold the monitoring technology to a democratic country for controlling child abuse or other uses, but selling it to the Iranian government with a very clear background of human rights violence and suppression of dissent, it's just inexcusable for me. I'd like to tell Nokia that I'm tortured because they had sold this damn technology to our government."

NSN spokesman Ben Roome said: "As in every other country, telecoms networks in Iran require the capability to lawfully intercept voice calls. In the last two years, the number of mobile subscribers in Iran has grown from 12 million to over 53 million, so to expand the network in the second half of 2008 we were required to provide the facility to intercept voice calls on this network."

The SMS boycott, meanwhile, has apparently forced TCI into drastic price hikes. The cost of an SMS has doubled in recent days. Protesters view the move as a victory.

Monday, 15 June 2009

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.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Nokia’s Ovi store launch didn’t go well


Nokia has desperately waited for the day when it can launch its Ovi store thus envisaging that it would provide a direct competition to the apples App store.

Rather what I have found out is that Nokia's worldwide launch of its much touted Ovi Store proved to be an utter disaster and didn’t go as planned.

For those of you whoc don’t know, the Ovi Store is Nokia's direct response to Apple's App Store, serving as a central content store for applications that can run on Nokia phones.

This was supposed to be a glorious day for mobile phone giant Nokia . The Finnish company got out-innovated by Apple a couple of years ago with the introduction and subsequent success of the iPhone and the iTunes App Store, and has been desperately trying to catch up with Cupertino’s disruptive initiatives ever since by launching a couple of new devices on one hand, and consolidating its software & services business on the other hand.

While users who entered through the Ovi Store device client encountered no issues, it appears that web users were experiencing a intermittent or extremely slow response.

I too went to Nokia Ovi Store website and have been trying to browse the selection of apps to select 10 that users should download to start off. I found that the store was down most of the time I was trying to snoop around, pages often didn’t load, and if they did they nearly always did extremely slowly. Despite the fact that I constantly needed to refresh and hope for pages to load, I figured that the service must be getting pounded from all the press it’s getting and was willing to forgive the slowness and regular downtime for the time being. But this has been going on for hours on end now, and there’s no sign of improvement.

To add insult to injury, i hear people with an Ovi account are unable to use their credentials for logging on to the new service, but that they are being told that there’s already a profile with their username when they attempt to register for a new account. That means Nokia is basically blocking registered users from using its new service at this point.

It seems that a large spike in traffic resulted in performance issues. An apology posted to the company's Ovi Blog confirmed the situation: "We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused Ovi Store users." According to Nokia, it was able to make "intermittent performance improvements" by adding extra servers. Hopefully, everything will run smoothly in the next few days.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Killer Applications or Devices

Here is my breakfast briefing presentation.


As expected, we had a very lively and interesting discussion. It is not easy for me to remember and detail the discussions but the presentation will give some idea regarding the things we discussed. I also referred to a presentation about Japanese market which is embedded below.


Please feel free to comment, criticise, suggest, etc.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Rough time for telcomm vendors but sees light ahead

There have been many reports over the past year about the recession and hence the effects on the telecomm companies.

The verdict was already out that the telecom equipment vendors are bracing for what is expected to be a fairly rough round of first-quarter earnings, with the global economic recession cutting into demand from both consumers and carriers alike, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal

The report also forecasted that some of the world's biggest European equipment vendors, found that while some would fare better than others, 2009 will generally be more difficult than 2008 for the companies.

Amid all these developments came the report yesterday when Nokia reported a worse-than-expected 90 per cent slump in first quarter profits.

This is Finnish mobile group's worst results since 2001 and rightly so, blamed on to the global economic downturn which has hit phone sales.

Mobile phone companies have been hit hard by a sharp drop in consumer spending. Nokia said it sold 93.2 million handsets during the first quarter, down 19 per cent from a year earlier and down 18 per cent from the fourth quarter.

Sony Ericsson, which has its headquarters in London, has also announced today that it’ll be slashing another 2,000 jobs around the world. The latest cost-cutting drive comes as the company posted a €293m (£258m) net loss for the first three months of the year.

However Nokia still maintained its market share which remained steady at 37 percent. The company also calmed jittery investors by reaffirming its prediction that the mobile market would shrink by 10 per cent this year, and the decline would level out in the second half of the year. It retained its operating margin forecast for its devices and services business.

Although the above news looks to be shocking but it didn’t stop the company’s shares to rise 9.5 per cent to €11.05 on the Helsinki stock exchange. The primary reason for the rise is that the investors were cheered by the company holding steady on its outlook after a grim quarter.
Similar to Nokia, Sony Ericsson too has vowed to return to profitability as quickly as possible thus calming the investors.

Like many other analysts especially in the financial world, telecom vendors like Nokia and Sony Ericsson too believe that there are nascent signs of relative stability going into the second quarter.
I still believe it’s a little bit too early to call a bottom on demand in the mobile devices business.

However most of the analysts expect that companies to return to profitability in the second half of 2010 thus showing a light at the end of the tunnel.