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Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts

Friday, 4 July 2014

Cell capacity and Opportunistic Use of Unlicensed and Shared Spectrum

One very interesting presentation from the LTE World Summit was about Improving the cell capacity by using unlicensed and shared spectrum opportunistically. Kamran Etemad is a senior advisor to FCC & UCMP and even though he was presenting this in his personal capacity, it reflected some interesting views that are quite prevalent in the USA.

If you don't know about Dynamic Spectrum Access Schemes, I wrote a post on the Small Cells blog here. The slide above is quite interesting as it shows the possibility of a 'Generalized' Carrier Aggregation in 3GPP Release-13. Personally, we believe that LTE + WiFi working together will be far more successful than LTE + LTE-U (unlicensed). As the blog readers would be aware, we have been pushing our vision of LTE + Wi-Fi working together; which we are calling as 4.5G. In case if you have not seen, our whitepaper is here.

The presentation is embedded below for reference:


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, 30 May 2013

Internet Trends by Mary Meeker at #D11

The last time I posted the presentation by Mary Meeker was back in 2011 but the things have moved on and its amazing to see some of the things that have changed. I think the slide that summarises what I mean is as follows:

Nomophobia and FOMO are a big problem and I see this day in day out working in this industry.

The slide pack which was actually posted yesterday has already crossed 550K as I write this, in just 1 day. So you can understand how eagerly awaited event this has become every year.



To download the above, click on the Slideshare icon and then you can save from Slideshare site.

If you want to watch the video of her presentation, its available on All things digital website here.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Is the Global Mobile Roaming model broken?

Yesterday, I noticed some heavyweights discussing roaming prices on Twitter. It is embedded below using the new Twitter embed feature:


Those who follow me on Twitter may have noticed me ranting about the roaming prices recently so I thought that this is a perfect opportunity to put my thoughts down.

As being discussed above, I went on the websites of two UK operators and found out about their roaming rates to India and The USA and they are as follows:


 It should be noted that there is a better rate available with some kind of bundle opt-in from both the operators and I have not shown about the other UK operators but they offer a similar sort of rate so I am not trying to single out O2 and/or Vodafone.

Since LTE is 'All-IP' network my interest is more from Data point of view rather than the voice point of view. A colleague who went to India recently decided that enough is enough and he bought a SIM in India locally. Apparently is just a bit too difficult to get SIM in India if you are not an Indian resident, nevertheless he somehow managed it. The rates as shown below was INR 24 for 100 MB of data.


Rs. 24 is something like $0.50 or £0.35. You see my problem regarding the data rates? People may be quick to point out here that India has the cheapest data rates in the world. On the other hand we look at US, the rates are as follows:

Even if we assume $15 / 1GB data, its far cheaper than the roaming rate which may be something like,  £3/MB = £3000/GB or £6/MB = £6000/GB.

I blogged about all the interesting developments that have been happening in LTE World Summit regarding the roaming solutions but what is the point of having all these solutions if the operators cant work out a way to reduce these costs. Or is it that they do not want to reduce these costs as they are a good source of income?

The operators complain that the OTT services are taking business away from them and turning them into dumb data pipes but to a lot of extent its their fault. People like me who travel often dont want to spend loads of cash on data and have worked out a way around it. Most of the places I visit have WiFi, most of my work is not urgent enough and I can wait till I am in a WiFi coverage area. In some parts of the world, still I have to buy an expensive WiFi access but compared to the roaming rates, its still cheap so I have stopped complaining about it. My decision to book a hotel depends of reviews, free breakfast and free WiFi. Some of our clients who give us their phone to use abroad strictly inform us that data should not be turned on unless its a matter of life and death.

If the operators dont change their strategies and work out a better solution for the roaming rates I am afraid that their short term gains will only lead to long term pains.

Do you have an opinion? I am interested in hearing.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

10 Billion out of 50 Billion - The Connected World


Remember the mantra of 50 Billion connected devices (blogged here and here) but 202x, apparently 10Billion are already here. The above slide is from a latest presentation by Chetan Sharma Consulting (embedded below). There are already 7 Billion mobile devices (phones + dongles) and 3 Billion others. The number of others will increase with M2M being the main focus and is touted as the next big thing, especially with LTE. 3GPP is focussing very heavily on standardising the MTC and is working on new features in upcoming releases.

Coming back to the topic of connected world, the presentation is embedded below and is a good read.



Thursday, 16 September 2010

Against the Limited "Unlimited" data plans

Once upon a time the Mobile Operators had loads of bandwidth and not enough data users. So they decided to lure the poor users into buying the 'unlimited' data plans. They were sure that the devices are quite rubbish and no one can use enough data. Just for the precaution some clever operators added a small print where unlimited meant 1 or 2GB. The operators thought that the users will never reach this amount.

Then came the iPhone and changed the whole world. People actually started using the data on their devices. The operators started panicking. Android just compunded this problem. So the operators now have started advocating against these unlimited plans.



The CEO of Vodafone , Vittorio Colao , has told attendees at this year's Nokia World 2010 event that he welcomes the end of "unlimited" Mobile Broadband data plans. Colao also warned consumers that "data pricing has to adjust", thus signalling a greater focus on tiered pricing models.

He added: "The principle here must be that, a bit like motorways or hotels, every class of service needs to have its own price and customers must be able to pay for the level of service [they want]. Pricing should be adjusted to reflect the usage and load. We are approaching the end of the free era."

The cowboy salesmen are still fooling the average Joe when it comes to unlimited plans. People sue the operators but dont succeed.

We are begging to see the return of those bad old days when WiFi was the only option in conferences, etc and they were really expensive. Now instead of WiFi we have got our dongles that may not work well anyway inside the conferences or hotels due to the structure or location but when they do, you again have to think about the costs.

In Korea, KT Telecom had to introduce unlimited plans because the other rival introduced one. This is probably because they still have spare bandwith available. Once that gets used up then they will either be running for caps or advocating against the unlimited plans.

I have been against the unlimited plans from the beginning but I advocate that the operators become a bit wise in the way they charge us, the end users.

If I have 4 devices I dont want limited data on all devices because I dont want to keep track of which devices use how much data or have an allowance. Maybe what I need is a data bundle that I can use across devices and maybe share with my family members. Wallmart has recently come up with something similar in US. Wallmart is a MVNO using T-Mobile network. Though their data plans are expensive compared to T-Mobiles plans just because they allow data sharing and rollover, people may go for them.

Rollovers are available on Pay as you go plans but not on Pay monthly which makes the pay monthly (generally on contract) people seem stupid. Operators should encourage this, maybe keep a maximum that can be rolled over.

Finally, there is this net neutrality and QoS discussions are going on. Eventually some kind of QoS or destination based speeds, etc will come but for the end user they will go where they will get what they want. The operators should remember this.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Femtocell Interference Management in real life

Couple of years back we blogged about the Femtocell Inteference in Macro network. Since then things have moved on a long way. There are commercial rollouts happening with Vodafone leading the way. Yesterday, I was reading Prof. Simon Saunders article on Femtocell and the following struck me.

A major technical challenge that femtocell designers initially faced was the need to manage potential interference. It takes up to two years to install conventional base stations, during which time radio engineers meticulously plan a station’s position and radio characteristics to avoid interference. However, such an approach is not viable in the case of femtocells, deployed potentially in their millions at random. Automating a process conducted by radio engineers was no mean feat and simply would not have been possible a few years ago.

Fortunately, the fact that the walls of buildings keep 3G signals out and keep the femtocell’s signals in provides strong inherent interference mitigation for indoor femtocells. Extensive studies have shown that proper implementation of a few key techniques to reduce interference can take advantage of this attenuation in an intelligent manner. Such techniques include frequent monitoring of the cell’s surrounding radio environment combined with adaptive power control. Indoor users gain faster data rates, as do outdoor users who now operate on less congested cells, while it costs less for operators to deliver higher overall network capacity. Large-scale, real-world deployments are demonstrating that these techniques work in practice and even allow new approaches, such as operating 3G networks in the same spectrum as 2G networks.

AT&T has deployed femtocells on the same frequencies as both the hopping channels for GSM macrocells and with UMTS macrocells. They have tested thousands of femtocells, and found that the mitigation techniques implemented successfully minimise and avoid interference. The more femtocells are deployed, the more uplink interference is reduced.

It is very interesting to see that the interference is not causing any problems in real life.


Back in Feb, Femto Forum released a new report on "Interference Management in UMTS Femtocells". A similar report was released in Dec. 08. Then in March they released a similar report for OFDMA (covering both LTE and WiMAX) femtocells. They are interesting reading for those who are interested in this area.


European Union is having a similar program called FREEDOM (Femtocell-based network enhancement by interference management and coordination of information for seamless connectivity ). FREEDOM focuses on:
  • Advanced interference-aware cooperative PHY techniques,
  • Improvement of the control plane procedures for seamless connectivity, and
  • System-level evaluation and hardware demonstrator of the proposed femto-based network architecture.

More info on their website (http://www.ict-freedom.eu/). You can see their scenario document that shows different interference scenarios and also compares different approaches including those of Femto Forum, 3GPP and WiMAX.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Mobile Payments to be mainstream in 2011

With some much talk (and hype) surrounding NFC and Mobile payments, it looks quite possible that m-payments will enter mainstream in the Western world in the forthcoming year. Though mobile payments have become norm in developing countries like Kenya, Senegal and India, its yet to catch on in UK and the USA.

Here are some interesting facts from MobileBeyond:
  • The mobile transaction market is so huge it offers room for multiple players. Yearly worldwide electronic transactions total $7-$10 TRILLION
  • Competitors are generally local to each country or region leaving plenty of open territory for mobile payment service and technology companies. Companies that win in their markets will be those that understand customer needs.
  • PayPal in the U.S., which has traditionally catered to merchant accounts, most likely will adopt a similar mobile strategy. (Both Obopay and PayPal are service providers–not technology companies like Fundamo in South Africa that provides software solutions for service companies.)
  • “The competition is cash”–not the other players in this market space
  • In five to ten years, mobile payments will achieve high adoption among consumers in developing and developed countries.
  • Brazil, Russia, China and Mexico offer growth opportunities for players that understand these markets
  • According to Portio Research, by 2011 mobile commerce payments are estimated to climb to $86.6 billion
  • Nielsen predicts 27% of all U.S. payments by 2012 will still be cash
To get an idea, there are already multiple m-payments providers in Kenya. Leaving out the gians like Google and Paypal, there are other local providers like M-pesa, Pay-Zunguka, Pesapal and Zynde.

The following are the developments in UK from Computer weekly:

Some forms of mobile payments already exist. Phone applications like PayPal Mobile support person-to-person (P2P) payments. SMS-based transactions are used for car parking tickets and mobile commerce allows online shopping through mobile phone browsers.

Contactless cards are also in circulation for credit cards, transport tickets and are used in some food stores. The industry is looking next at near-field communication (NFC) mobile handsets. NFC allows 'tap-and-go' style payments using mobile phones at in-store terminals by incorporating contactless card technology into handsets. Alternatively, micro-SD cards with NFC-enabled chips can be inserted into mobile phones.

The Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA) has launched a Pay-Buy-Mobile project to enable consumers to pay for goods and services via their mobile phones. "By storing a consumer's credit or debit card within the SIM card and employing NFC technology, the mobile phone can be passed near a contactless Point Of Sale (POS) terminal to complete transactions," said Nav Bains, GSMA's senior director of mobile money.

GSMA has been collaborating with standardisation bodies; the European Payments Council, EMVCo, which manages card specifications and smartcard infrastructure standards body, Global Platform. The consortium is developing the Trusted Service Manager requirements document and a certification process to accelerate the commercialisation of mobile NFC services. But some experts believe NFC is a long way from a mass market roll-out in the UK.

The biggest breakthrough in the mobile payment market have been in developing countries, providing bank services via mobile phones for people who have traditionally not had bank accounts. Visa Europe recently launched Europe's first micro-SD based mobile payment systems in Turkey. But it is unclear when such a system will be introduced in the UK. says Juniper Research senior analyst, Howard Wilcox.

The number of contactless terminals in the UK is approximately 26,500 and the UK Card Association predict 14 million contactless cards will have been issued with contactless functionality by the end of 2010. "We're not expecting to give a launch date any time soon," continues Swain. "Globally, there's a lot of discussion but the UK is one of the only areas where we already have the infrastructure that would accept contactless mobile payments," he adds.
UK-based mobile banking firm, Monitise, has also recently launched a joint venture with Visa in India to accelerate the delivery of mobile financial services such as banking, bill payments, mass transit ticketing and mobile top-up to Indian customers. More than infrastructure, Monitise group strategy director, Richard Johnson, believes banks and mobile network operators need to work together. "Banks are where most people keep their money. It's about mobilising bank accounts rather than creating new accounts with network operators. Tap-and-go really requires collaboration," he says.


Industry expert consortium, Mobey Forum, hopes to bring banks, mobile network operators, acquirers and merchants together to build the relationships needed to progress the mobile payments industry.

Gerhard Romen, Mobey Forum marketing chair and director of mobile financial services at Nokia, believes the NFC trials have proved the consumer demand and, by 2011, all of Nokia's new smartphones will be NFC-enabled. "Once people work together, it'll provide simplicity for the user" he says. "A phone with NFC can do more than just behave like a card - it has a display, keyboard and internet connection - and becomes more interactive," he adds.

Today we have credit, debit and, perhaps, contactless cards. Tomorrow banks and mobile network operators hope to provide a mobile wallet. The next step will be introducing tap-and-go into the mainstream market and, despite slow progress, industry experts are increasingly certain it will happen "soon".

From eWeek:

Google and Apple are both making moves to ensure smooth financial transactions on their mobile platforms.

Last week news bubbled up that Google and PayPal were brokering a deal to let the search engine use the e-commerce service as a payment option for applications purchased through Google's Android Market.

Apple, meanwhile, hired an expert in near field communication (NFC) technology as its new product manager for mobile commerce and has published a number of NFC-related patents in recent months.

Google's e-commerce infrastructure is poor compared with that of Apple. Users may only purchase applications for their Android smartphones from the Android Market in 13 countries.

By way of comparison, consumers may purchase apps from iPhone's App Store in 90 countries all over the world. PayPal would be a welcome addition to Google Checkout and credit cards as payment options in the Android Market.

Gartner has said the market for mobile apps will be $6.2 billion this year, making it an obvious sector for Google and Apple to attack with gusto.

From San Fansisco Chronicle:

Bay Area businesses like Bling Nation and eBay Inc.'s PayPal division are rolling out products that allow people to hand over money to stores, restaurants, coffee shops or friends with the tap of a mobile device. No credit cards, checks or cash are necessary.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that other major companies, including Apple Inc., AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless are planning or negotiating to provide similar services.

"What I see is all these distinct initiatives coming together and merging at some point in the not-too-distant future," said Aaron McPherson, practice director at IDC Financial Insights. "All together, they add up to significant change."

Bling Nation, a Palo Alto startup founded in 2007, is among the furthest along in this emerging field, with more than 1,000 retailers nationwide accepting its payment system. The company provides so-called Bling tags, or small stickers, that affix to the back of a mobile phone and transmit data using a wireless standard known as Near Field Communication.

When users tap the tag on a proprietary reader at participating retailers, it pulls money from their PayPal account. For security, users have to enter a personal identification number for purchases over a certain amount, or when transactions occur at an unusual frequency or location.

Merchants pay for or rent the reader and are charged 1.5 percent of the total of every transaction, which is well below the average transaction rate for accepting credit cards. The additional advantage for merchants is that they can analyze customer data in a more fine-grained manner than is permitted through the credit card system. This allows them, for instance, to target sales offers to regular customers or those who haven't been into the shop in a while.

"They enjoy cheaper fees and analytics that can help them issue coupons and make more money," said co-founder Meyer Malka, adding that the advantages are turning businesses into proselytizers on Bling's behalf.

A little more than a month ago, the company began an aggressive push in partnership with PayPal to expand its footprint in downtown Palo Alto. It included giving away thousands of tags preloaded with $20 in credit to customers. There are now more than 50 retailers in the city accepting the payments.

As I mentioned last week, with heavyweights like Nokia, Apple and Google all coming closer to NFC and M-Payments, it should be a winning formula for the end consumers. We will possibly see more use of m-payments in the developed world. Lets not mention about security just yet.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Femtocells data cap and offload dilemma

I recently heard Prof. Simon Saunders (who has a much impressive background that i thought of) at Cambridge Wireless International conference speaking on Thinking Networks.

One of the things mentioned that struck me is how convenient it would be with femtocells to offload the data on the internet directly without going through the operators core. This would mean less data on the backhaul for the operators and since data would have to travel through less nodes, the speed and reliability could be higher.

There is a slight problem though. In the recently concluded Femtocells World Summit (which I have blogged a lot about), AT&T has been harping about its data caps while using Femto. AT&T wants that the Femto's should mainly be used for voice and for data the users should generally switch to using WiFi. Their reasoning is based on the fact that they are not allowed to perform data offload as mentioned above due to FCC regulations. In fact the same problem may be present in other countries and would hamper the Femto growth in time.

Femtocells are better for data usage as I have mentioned in past because they provide seamless coverage and better data security. It should also be pointed out that the battery drains faster when using WiFi as compared to the mobile Internet.

When a user uses Femtocell, he is already using his broadband data allowance and if there is additional restriction placed in terms of data caps on the Femtocell, the users may just revolt and avoid using Femtocells at all.

Voice coverage advantage is good but users may prefer to switch operators if its just voice that they are using Femtos for. While the use of fixed line phones have decreased in the past (thanks to voice bundles on mobile), some users are switching back to using landlines because of the voice clarity and no reception problems.

The Femto manufacturers and the operators will have to act fast if they want their future predictions to come true.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

'Internet Kill' switch and IPv9

Slightly off topic today as I was going through the pile of information and I caught attention of this news article that for some reason has not been reported by major newspapers. The article says that the president of USA will have the 'Kill' switch to kill off internet (temporarily i guess) in case of a major emergency like war, etc. Joseph Liberman who proposed this idea has since then backed away saying that he meant that parts of Internet can be disconnected like they do in China.

This brought into attention the other article I was going through about IPv9. Yes thats correct, I did write IPv9. I first heard about IPv9 back in 2004-5 but then it was dismissed as nothing serious. Apparently Chinese government backed Ministry of Information Industry (MII) has been promoting this IPv9. According to an old TelecomAsia.net article:

Back in July 2004, reports of a Chinese IPv9 prompted a bewildered reaction from internet godfather Vint Cerf. 'What could this possibly be about‾ As far as I know, IANA [Internet Assigned Numbers Authority] has not allocated the IPv9 designation to anyone. IPv9 is not an Internet standard. Could you please explain what is intended here‾" he wrote in an email to China's internet leaders.

The idea was dismissed as a "rogue" project with no official backing. But it is back on the table led, now as then by Xie Jianping, the head of the Shanghai Universal Institute of Chemical Technology and more recently in charge of the decimal network standards team in the MII's science and technology department.

The project returned to prominence at a press conference at the unusual location of the Party Central School in Beijing two weeks ago, where Xie announced that the networking technology had been successfully tested by China Netcom and the Ministry of Commerce.

He asserted that the project is all about China wresting control of its own IP networks away from US dominance for which, he claimed, China was paying 500 billion yuan a year.

The system reportedly uses numerical addressing to make China "the only country able to unify domain names, IP addresses and MAC addresses" into a single, metric system, according to Xinhua. Without any explanation, Xinhua said it also made China the only country outside the US "to have root servers and IP address hardware connectivity servers and its own domain name, IP address and MAC address resources".

In an interview with a skeptical Sina reporter, Xie and denied the project was another Hanxin - a reference to a fraudulent state-backed chip project.

"Our IPv9 has gone through testing and assessment," he said adding that he could not give any more detail but would "make public some material at the necessary time."

But the system, or what little is known of it, has plenty of doubters at home. Sina said critics of the system complain that turning domain names and brand names into numerals is a "backwards step" for the net.

The fact that the decimal network appears to asset control over root servers is bound to alarm internet governance bodies around the world.

And whatever else might be said about it, the project is clearly backed by the MII. "IPv9" raises more questions than answers.

So it looks like the Chinese government may have been expecting some 'Kill Switch' in the future by the US government and is probably creating a backup based on a new approach so that the users within China remain connected to their Internet.

Any thoughts and opinions are more than welcome...

Monday, 17 May 2010

Mobile Phone Developments May 2010


HTC's 4G [sic] Phone is al ready to be rolled out. It is supposed to allow to transfer data averaging speeds of 3 to 6 megabits per second, and bursts hitting 10 Mbps. Ok, I can visualise some suspicious smiles but that's marketing. Its the data speeds of a normal HSPA network but it sells.

Inside the Evo is a 1 gigahertz Snapdragon processor, 512MB of ram, and 1 gig of built in memory. On top of those screaming specs are a 480×800 display, as well as two (count em!) cameras, the better of which packs 8 megapixels. Running it all is the newest version of Android (2.1), as well as HTC’s Sense UI for a little extra eye-candy. All told, this looks like an amazing phone to finally make use of Sprint’s fancy new network, and it may just be their best bet for reversing their falling fortunes.

The Evo 4G will allow for simultaneous voice and data and will be the first smartphone to ship with a YouTube HQ player and a video chat app from Qik to be used with the front-facing camera. Though Sprint's onstage Qik demo didn't work, we were impressed with the Evo 4G's speed (Sprint brought in a 4G tower for the event) as well the handset's 3D gaming capabilities and HDMI output.

As we learned at CTIA 2010, other goodies include an 8-megapixel camera on back, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, Android 2.1, and an extra-large 4.3-inch capacitive touch screen.



Tired of losing your cell phone? Maybe you need a Zomm.

The new gadget is billed as a wireless leash for mobile phones reminding you when you've left your cell phone behind. Here's how it works:

You just pair the nugget sized Zomm with your phone over Bluetooth. Then you clip the Zomm onto you or attach it to your keychain. When your cell phones gets more than 30 feet away from Zomm, the Zomm unit starts to vibrate, flash lights and then eventually lets out a wail.

You can also use the Zomm as a Bluetooth speaker so you can answer calls through it, instead of talking straight into your phone.

The leash idea can work in reverse too. If you're the type who loses their keys more than their phone, you can just attach Zomm to your keys and then whenever you lose your keys, you can call Zomm and set off its alarm.

There's also a panic button. In case of emergency you can just press it and get help immediately, without dialing on your cell phone.

Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has named ZOMM as ‘One to Watch’, because of its innovative use of Bluetooth technology and universal appeal.

“Through the use of Bluetooth wireless technology, ZOMM provides an array of convenient applications for users,” said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director of the Bluetooth SIG.

“Its simple application of Bluetooth technology appeals to the masses – nobody wants to lose their mobile phone.”



Verizon Wireless and LG Electronics MobileComm U.S.A., Inc. announced the LG Ally™ will be available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores beginning May 20. The first Android device from LG, the Ally is the perfect assembly of futuristic, stylish design and 3G Android power for customers looking to tackle life's most challenging feats and everyday ventures. Verizon Wireless customers can pre-order the phone at www.verizonwireless.com beginning May 13.


Until now, mobile users have been faced with a choice -- either type on a tiny keyboard or use a touchscreen keypad.

Neither is perfect but, so far, tiny but real keyboards have been winning out for many people. One of the many reasons cited by some BlackBerry users for not switching to an iPhone or similar device is that sensitive touchscreen keypad.

Some manufacturers have tried to give users the best of both worlds, a touchscreen and a pull-out keyboard, but search giant Google has another idea: make all mobile-phone keyboards obsolete.

With the recent release of its own phone, the Nexus One, users are beginning to experiment with what Google hopes is the future of mobile search: voice-and picture-based searching.

"Voice, we think, is just a natural way to solve a problem that exists on all phones, which is that typing is quite difficult, especially in certain languages like Japanese," said Alex Nicolaou from Google's office in Waterloo, Ont..

"Input methods are relatively onerous, whereas saying a brief phrase . . . is extremely fast . . . and there are just times when a picture really is worth 1,000 words.

"If you're standing outside a landmark and you want to know about it, it's obviously going to be much, much simpler to take a photo of that landmark and have the system tell you what it is, than it would be to figure out what name to type in, especially in a foreign country."

Google admits both are still in relatively early development stages and are not very reliable.

For voice searches, short strings of words work best. Even in noisy cafes, most four-or five-word searches worked well during testing. Nicolaou said one misheard word won't necessarily throw off your search results.

Google has hinted at some future features incorporating voice and image recognition. Engineers are working to improve the ability to photograph a printed page so it can be accurately scanned into text and quickly translated into another language. In a video posted online, a Google employee scans a menu from a German restaurant and uses his phone to translate it into English.

Google also hopes that, eventually, travellers will be able to speak a phrase into their phone, have it translated into another language and played back through their phone's speaker.


This season, big handset makers including Nokia, Microsoft and Motorola are betting you’ll want to flaunt cute, palm-shaped devices that look more like compact powder cases than brick-shaped mini-tablets.

Motorola is likely to introduce a new phone next month called Flipout that will have a 2.8-inch display, a 3.1-megapixel camera and a twist-out keyboard. We haven’t tested it yet, but on looks alone, it’s fabulous, darling.

Motorola’s square-shaped phone follows the release of Microsoft’s fresh-looking Kin One earlier this month. The Kin One has a 2.6-inch display, a slide-out keyboard, and looks like a rounded square when closed. In September, Nokia introduced the Twist on Verizon, a squarish phone with a 2.5-inch display. Even LG has a square-shaped phone called the Lotus, which has been available on Sprint for more than a year, and though it’s not exactly been a big seller, its looks are hot, hot, hot.

Microsoft released the final version of the desktop Office 2010, along with which it made available a flavor aimed at mobile phones, namely Office Mobile 2010. The owners of a device powered by Windows Mobile 6.5 can now take advantage of the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint editing capabilities of the application while on the go.

Among the features that Office Mobile 2010 comes around with, we can count SharePoint integration (users can easily access and edit documents stored on a Microsoft SharePoint 2010 site), Bluetooth controller mode for PowerPoint presentations, access to SharePoint Workspace Mobile, the possibility to easily take notes on the phone and to insert voice clips or pictures in them, and others more.

“Effective today, Office Mobile 2010 will be available for free via Windows Phone Marketplace for all Windows Mobile 6.5 phones with a previous version of Office Mobile. People using Office Mobile 2010 can perform lightweight editing of Office documents and take notes on the go.

As if mobile phone cameras weren't complex enough, Sharp has just announced a tiny 720p 3D camera for its mobile devices.

The 3D Camera Module has been made to fit inside either a compact point and shoot or a smartphone. The camera is crammed full of the latest technology, all of which enable it to capture both moving and still high resolution 3D images.

Things like colour synchronising processing, as well as 'fast readout' technology, help the tiny little camera to produce its images.

Sharp has made use of complicated high-density mounting technology in order to pack so many features in to this tiny device.

The company insists that the cameras will go into mass production by the end of the year.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Renewed focus on TD-LTE

Last year I blogged about the 3G Americas report on TD-LTE and Motorola's gamble on TD-LTE.





The following is from daily wireless blog:

Industry momentum behind Time Division LTE continues to grow with news that a number of major operators and vendors are working with the 3GPP to allow the standard to be deployed in the USA, using the 2.6GHz spectrum band. Clearwire and its partners own the majority of that spectrum. Most of Clear’s 2.6 GHz spectrum goes unused.

Light Reading Mobile notes that China Mobile, Clearwire, Sprint Nextel, Motorola, Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks, Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco Systems are asking for the 2.6GHz spectrum (2496MHz to 2690MHz) to be defined as a TDD band for LTE.

Outside the United States, part of the band (2570MHz to 2620MHz) is already specified for TDD. The new work will extend this compliance. The report adds that specifications for the US 2.6GHz band for TD-LTE is scheduled to be completed by March 2011.

LTE pioneers TeliaSonera, NTT DoCoMo and Verizon Wireless, will all use different frequency bands for their respective LTE networks, explains TechWorld. So for roaming in the U.S, Japan and Europe to work, modems will have to support 700MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz, with more bands to be used in the future. That will be a challenge for roaming, says Light Reading.


The following is from fierce broadband wireless:

The appeal of TD-LTE has widened well beyond China. The recent announcement of Qualcomm to bid for TDD spectrum in India to support a TD-LTE deployment confirms--although it was not required to validate--the emergence of TD-LTE as global technology, likely to command a substantial market share.


Why the sudden interest in TD-LTE?

There are four main factors driving a growth in support for TD-LTE:

  • The FDD LTE and TD-LTE versions of the 3GPP standard are very similar. As a result, devices can support both the FDD and TDD interfaces through a single chipset--i.e., without any additional cost. This is a hugely important new development: TD-LTE will benefit from the wide availability of FDD LTE devices that will be able to support TD-LTE as well. Unlike WiMAX, TD-LTE does not need to prove to have a substantial market share to convince vendors to develop devices. Vendors do not need to develop new devices, they simply need to add TD-LTE support to the existing ones.
  • There is a lot of TDD spectrum available, and in most cases it is cheaper and under-utilized. 3G licenses frequently have TDD allocations and upcoming 2.5 GHz auction in most cases contemplate TDD bands.
  • The increasing availability of base stations that can be cost-effectively upgraded will make it possible and relatively inexpensive for WiMAX operators to transition to TD‑LTE using the same spectrum allocation. The transition will still require substantial efforts and be justified only in some cases, but it will make it easier for WiMAX operators to have roaming deals and to have access to the same devices that LTE operators have.
  • Industry commitment to WiMAX 16m, the ITU-Advanced version of WiMAX and successor to the current WiMAX 16e, is still limited.


What's next?

In the near term very little will change. TD-LTE is still being developed and it will take time before it gets deployed beyond core markets like China and possibly a few others like China. In Europe, for instance, mobile operators will deploy LTE in the FDD spectrum and only when they will need additional capacity they are likely to move to TDD. Unlike FDD LTE, TD-LTE will move from initial deployments in developing countries, with a later introduction as a mature technology in developed countries--a quite interesting trend reversal.


WiMAX operators will also be barely affected by TD-LTE in the short term. WiMAX is years ahead in terms of technological maturity, devices and ecosystem. This gives them a strong advantage in comparison to TD-LTE operators: They know the technology already, they have a network, and they have customers. They also have the choice whether to switch to TD-LTE or not--and, more importantly, they have no pressure to do so before TD-LTE has reached the maturity they feel comfortable with or until the WiMAX 16m prospects become clearer.



Monday, 15 March 2010

Qualcomm's FLO on the go...

Qualcomm's FLO TV is a reality in the U. S. of A. This is the advert which was being shown in the Superbowl




Many popular channels like the CNN are available real time. The following is a review from CNET.




Not everyone is enthusiastic, which is understandable considering the high cost.

I remember reading a research couple of years back which said that users are willing to pay a maximum of £5 for any service like the Internet or Mobile TV over their phone. Personally I think that is right and maybe in the next few months we may see the subscription prices dropping.

I would be interested in hearing from people who have experienced the FLO service first hand.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Sprint, Verizon and Mobile Healthcare



In US, Sprint and Verizon are going head to head with their 4G (sic.) offering. Sprint has a WiMAX network from its Clearwire joint venture while Verizon is soon to roll out LTE.

During the ongoing Healthcare Information and Management System Society or HIMSS annual conference being held in Atlanta, the CEO of Sprint Nextel, Dan Hesse mentioned that the 4G (sic.) technology will play an important part in helping to transform healthcare to a greater height.

With wireless technology being an essential part of everyday life for nearly 277 million Americans, it is changing the paradigm of how healthcare is administered. Internet savvy consumers today expect immediate access to health information and care anytime, anyplace. Last year, 89 percent of wireless Internet users sought health information online*. Similarly, caregivers are using smartphones equipped with medical applications for instant, secure access to lab results, x-rays, vital signs, drug-to-drug interactions, and other vital medical records. These trends further validate the key role that wireless will play in shaping the future of healthcare by enabling innovative and cost-effective approaches in delivering quality care.

If I had to pick the one industry facing the biggest gap between need for change and use of wireless to facilitate that change, it would be healthcare,” Hesse said. Most industries spend between 6 percent and 8 percent of their revenues on telecom, but healthcare only spends 2 percent or 3 percent on it, he said. Darwin said that survival of the fittest is not about the strongest or the most intelligent — it’s about the most responsive to change, Hesse explained, and consumers are beginning to drive a lot of the change in healthcare. Healthcare spending on telecom will jump from $8.6 billion to $12.4 billion in the next few years, Hesse predicted, and two-thirds of that increase in spending will be from wireless apps and services.

What if we had asked the healthcare industry to partner with the wireless industry back in 1986, Hesse asked as he held up a massive mobile phone from that year. What if I said we could monitor patients and look at EKGs on one of these? The timing couldn’t be better for healthcare and wireless to work together, Hesse said as he took out a smartphone from his pocket. Today two-thirds of physicians use a smartphone like this one and soon more than 80 percent of them will.

What use cases does Hesse see for the wireless tools his industry offers?

> E-prescribing — Physicians’ bad hand writing causes some 4 percent of errors found in prescriptions. Hesse said a doctor friend of his realized the first time he saw a Palm PDA that it was the same size as his prescription pad and once it got Internet connectivity it would eventually eliminate the handwritten prescription. Hesse said e-Prescribing could save $20 billion annually.

> Instant, secure access to vital signs – Hesse pointed to AirStrip’s fetal heart rate monitor as a perfect example of vital sign remote monitoring that is in the market today.

> Advanced mobile apps for consumers – In just a few years we have gone from going online to look up home remedies for various ailments, Hesse said, to using apps like flu radar which can tell us how many cases of the flu have been diagnosed in our area. Hesse also pointed to the app currently being researched that encourages the end user to cough into the phone’s microphone so it can compare the sound to its database of coughs and come up with a preliminary diagnosis.

> Ultrasound probe that plugs right into a cell phone — Ultrasound exams could be conducted nearly anywhere and pipe the images to doctors that could also be nearly anywhere, Hesse predicted as he showed images of an ultrasound probe that connects to a cell phone. This will not only cut costs for ultrasounds, especially in developing market but also make it easier for EMTs and other healthcare workers who are away from hospitals to have a tool to use on the go.

> Wireless video monitors for virtual, in-home visits — While this one didn’t seem to leverage the real benefits of wireless, Hesse told a story of a nurse who had gained too much weight to be able to come into work anymore. After a short while of being detached from her former colleagues she became depressed over the situation and much less engaged in our own care. She then became part of a program that used wireless video monitors to enable two-way communications between patients in their home and physicians and nurses at care facilities. After receiving frequent virtual visits using the system, she took control of her health decisions, lost the weight and made it back to work.

> Virtual coaches on your handset — Hesse described another patient who had Type 2 diabetes, a regimen of oral medications and high blood pressure. In order to adhere to our routine she participated in a program with Sprint’s partner Welldoc to track her adherence. Welldoc offered her a virtual coach application that reminded and encouraged her to stay on track.

> Mobile enterprise for pandemic situations — During the H1N1 scare, Hesse said Sprint encouraged its workers to work from home or remotely to stem any potential spread of the flu virus among its ranks. Unlike businesses that have not adopted mobility tools for the enterprise, Sprint was able to restrict travel and encourage working from home without disrupting their employees’ workflow and progress. They had the mobile connectivity and devices to work from anywhere.

> mVisum for remote access to images, charts — Sprint partner mVisum enables clinicians to view charts, x-rays and other images right from their smartphones. Hesse said a cardiologist might be alerted through mVisum on his BlackBerry of an ambulance en route with a patient whom the paramedics suspected had suffered a heart attack. If the ambulance had wireless connectivity it could send that EKG to the cardiologist’s phone via mVisum and the clinician could prepare for the patient’s arrival knowing what needed to be done ahead of time. In those types of situations the time saved is extremely valuable.

> Intel Health Guide for remote visits and monitoring — Hesse said that moving more patients out of the hospital and back into their homes not only reduces costs overall by also improves opportunities. A woman with a high-risk pregnancy should not be moved in many cases, but she has to move in order to visit her doctor. Instead, hospitals could provide patients with Intel’s Health Guide, a tablet-like device with a touch screen that aims to make it easy for patients to track their vital signs and monitor their biometrics through peripheral devices. Physicians can make remote visits through the Health Guide.

> 4G wireless-enabled video cameras – Imagine video cameras with 4G wireless connectivity that can help patients learn how to apply their skin medication. A similar camera could be installed in an operating room to live broadcast surgeries in high definition. If it were installed in an ambulance, the EMTs could live broadcast stats, triage and more so that the clinicians at the care facility could prepare for their arrival.

> Intelligent medicine or pills with wireless embedded — “Soon i will be able to hold up a pill with wireless embedded into it,” Hesse said. The pill could also include a video camera and could send data and images straight to a doctor’s wireless device.

> 4G phones with Blu-Ray quality screens — Everyone always points to the cell phone screen’s small size or low resolution as reasons why images aren’t very useful on that platform. Hesse said HD, Blu-Ray quality resolution is coming to 4G phones.

“There are a lot of unsung heroes here today in this room,” Hesse said. “In the sometimes bitter debates on the subject of healthcare, too often we forget how important the job is of those people who deliver care.”

“To quote Yogi Berra, ‘The future ain’t what it used to be,’” Hesse said. With all the potential that Hesse pointed to and the fact that ten mobile phones are manufactured per every baby born today, the future is increasingly wireless. The future of HIMSS is wireless. And the industry can finally put the 1970s behind it.

More on the Sprint Mobile Healthcare solution at www.sprint.com/healthcare

Verizon Business has launched an information technology platform that enables the digital sharing of physician-dictated patient notes.

The Verizon Medical Data Exchange, launched Wednesday (March 3) at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society annual conference in Atlanta, provides a way for medical transcriptionists to share digitized patient notes detailing patients' care and treatment with doctors, hospitals and other health care providers. Until now, the lack of an interoperable, nationally available platform has made it difficult to share these notes, which primarily form the basis of electronic health records.

Verizon Business developed the platform for the Medical Transcription Service Consortium under an agreement announced last November. Founding consortium members MD-IT and MedQuist currently are using the platform. By August, when the Medical Data Exchange is expected to be in use by all of the consortium's members, 350,000-plus physicians, more than 2,700 clinics and nearly 2,500 hospitals will be supported.

The Medical Transcription Industry Association estimates that its members create and electronically archive nearly 60 percent of the more than 1.2 billion clinical notes produced in the U.S. each year. Approximately 25 percent of these records currently are shared among health care providers, including other physicians, hospitals and insurance companies.

Verizon Wireless offers customers in the healthcare industry an extensive portfolio of products and services that run on the company's reliable Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) Revision A (Rev. A) network, including:

PatientKeeper® – PatientKeeper's mobility products support all operations systems while connecting physicians to patient information across inpatient and ambulatory environments. With PatientKeeper, physicians save time, increase revenue and enhance patient care. PatientKeeper enables physicians to interactively manage patient information across multiple locations, view clinical results, enter charges, sign out patients, and enter and order prescriptions, all from their smartphones.

EPOCRATES Rx for Android and Palm OS – Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who use Verizon Wireless smartphones with the Android™ OS, such as DROID by Motorola or DROID ERIS™ by HTC, or devices that run on the Palm® webOS™ platform, including Palm® Pre™ Plus and Palm Pixi™ Plus, can leverage this mobile drug reference application to get prescription and safety information for thousands of brand name and generic drugs instantly. The application also offers Pill ID, which helps identify a drug based on physical characteristics such as color, shape and imprint code; table and calculators; and drug interaction information.

Medicine Central and Evidence Central – Unbound Medicine offers two applications for Verizon Wireless Android, BlackBerry®, Palm and Windows Mobile® devices.

Medicine Central is a collection of disease, drug and test information with literature tracking for mobile devices. The application features The 5-Minute Clinical Consult, A to Z Drug Facts, Drug Interaction Facts, Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests, and MEDLINE Journals.

Evidence Central supports effective evidence-based medical practice by integrating analysis with the latest research. Clinicians can access Evidence-Based Medicine Guidelines, Cochrane Abstracts, EE+ POEMs (Patient-Oriented Evidence that Matters from Essential Evidence Plus), and MEDLINE Journals anytime, anywhere.

Motion Computing® C5 Mobile Clinical Assistant (MCA) – Running on Windows® 7, the C5 is a hospital-grade device proven to enhance clinician satisfaction, improve point of care documentation, increase clinician productivity, and improve clinical documentation accuracy. The MCA is now available with embedded Verizon Wireless Mobile Broadband capability to stay connected to hospital information and the Internet.

More on Verizon Mobile Healthcare Solution at www.verizonwireless.com/healthcare

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Focus on TD-LTE by 3G Americas


3G Americas has published an educational white paper titled, "3GPP LTE for TDD Spectrum in the Americas". The report provides a top-level overview on the considerations for deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE) in Time Division Duplex (TDD) technology spectrum in the Americas and recommends LTE TDD as a mobile broadband solution to utilize valuable TDD spectrum assets in the region.

The white paper explains the technical mechanism in which LTE TDD (also known as TD-LTE) and Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (TD-SCDMA), a 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) third generation technology deployed in China, are smartly designed with the ability to operate together with great harmonization and efficiency. LTE TDD is a natural migration for TD-SCDMA operators. The technical synergy between LTE TDD and TD-SCDMA operators will thus increase the economies of scale for LTE TDD operators throughout the world.

Although operators are making plans for the deployment of LTE Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) technology, the white paper emphasizes that operators, regulators, license holders and investors must strongly consider the significant opportunities behind deployment of LTE in fragmented TDD spectrum as a mobile broadband solution that can serve the communication needs and demands of the marketplace.

Additionally, the report highlights that asmobile broadband is becoming ubiquitous throughout the Americas and the Internet generation is growing more accustomed to having broadband access everywhere, technology usage is exploding and, thus, is putting a tremendous strain on already well-utilized networks and spectrum. 3GPP LTE for TDD Spectrum in the Americas focuses on the LTE ecosystem and how operators are working to meet this increasing demand for mobile broadband services.

The LTE ecosystem supports both FDD and TDD operation, offering operators flexibility to match their existing networks, spectrum and business objectives for mobile broadband and multimedia services. Fifteen paired (for FDD operation) and eight unpaired (for TDD operation) spectrum bands have already been identified by the 3GPP for LTE. This means an operator can introduce LTE in new spectrum bands.

The white paper, 3GPP LTE for TDD Spectrum in the Americas, was written collaboratively by members of 3G Americas and is available for free download on the 3G Americas website at www.3gamericas.org.

The whitepaper is available here.