Friday 30 January 2009

Commercially Viable Video over Wireless Broadband

(Click on the diagram for full sized image)

Continuing the LTE World Summit theme, Paul Steinberg, Fellow and Chief Architect - Telecommunications Wireless Infrastructure, Motorola spoke on 'Video Impact and Opportunity on a LTE Network'.

The image above conveys loads of information and I found it very interesting so I have shared it with everyone. The main message of the presentation was:
  • Mobile Video is Real & LTE Enables Commercially Viable Wireless Video
  • Technical Innovations Improve the Viability of Mobile Video Delivery
    • Video Encoding / LTE Air Interface / Devices / Network Architecture
  • Operators Can Leverage Video as Differentiator to Monetize LTE Networks

Thursday 29 January 2009

LTE Femtocells Killer App: Wireless HDD

Just read this article:

Security appears to be all washed up, as USB sticks with sensitive data are being left regularly in pockets when workers take their clothes to be cleaned at laundrettes.

According to a survey from Credant Technologies, who claims that 9,000 USB sticks have been forgotten and left in pockets of clothes taken to dry cleaners. These figures were obtained from phone interviews with 500 dry cleaners across the UK, who found an average of two USB keys per year. Extrapolating this to the 4,500 dry cleaners in the UK leads to the 9,000 figure.

Data sticks are most frequently found in city centres and commuter areas with one proprietor in the City of London finding 80 memory sticks in 2008 alone.

Back in the LTE world summit last year, one of the things I mentioned was, that once LTE Femtocells are available we may be able to create innovative and groundbreaking applications to run on it. I was aware of some people suggesting that the broadband providers may throttle the backhaul traffic on the Femto but I was assured by one person from Sweden (or Finland ... cant recall for sure) that in the Nordics there is already upto 100Mbps speeds available and most of the people use P2P networks thereby consistently loading the ISP's. He did not think that there will be a problem.

One of the applications I suggested was a wireless Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or maybe a better term would be mobile USB (MUSB). The following slides are extracted from my presentation as I am being a bit lazy (and busy) to put them here.

As always, I am happy to receive feedback, comments, criticisms, etc, etc.

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Recipe to design Killer Applications

Back in the LTE world summit, I presented recipe for designing killer mobile applications. I have listed them out here but feel free to suggest some more things or to correct me.

Recipe to design killer applications:
  • Something new everyday
    • E.g., News
  • Available instantly whenever needed
    • E.g., Youtube or similar VOD services
  • Challenging or Entertaining
    • E.g., Games, Music, etc.
  • Something that can reduce cost
    • E.g., VoIP services like Skype
  • Keeping in touch
    • E.g., Facebook, MSN messenger, etc.
  • Something to help in everyday life
    • E.g.,GPS, Maps, LBS, etc.
  • Purchase whatever and whenever you like
    • E.g., E-bay or Amazon
You may notice that I have not listed Email and browsing above because they fit multiple categories. Can you add to the list?

Tuesday 27 January 2009

HSPA+ arriving soon from Vodafone and TIM

Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) says it will be offering mobile data packages with peak download speeds of 21Mbps by mid-2009, rising to 28Mbps by year-end. The services, based on HSPA+ technology, will initially work via PC datacards using Qualcomm chipsets, CellularNews reports. Ericsson will supply equipment for the network upgrade.

Vodafone has trialled the Release 7 version HSPA+ mobile broadband technology in its Spanish network, and has achieved actual peak data download rates of up to 16Mbits/s.

The field trail of the HSPA+ 64QAM technology was done in conjunction with chip supplier Qualcomm Inc. and network gear provider Ericsson, following convincing results in laboratory tests.

Vodafone now plans to trial mobile broadband data connections with peak rates of up to 21Mbits/s early in 2009 using HSPA+ MIMO functionality.
The operator says the technology would be capable of video downloads at more than 13Mbits/s in good conditions and an average of more than 4 Mbits/s across a full range of typical cell locations, including urban environments.

If the trials prove a success, Vodafone plans to make this technology available in selected commercial networks.

HSPA+ technology is the next evolutionary step in the (3G) HSPA roadmap and increases performance through the use of the more powerful 64QAM modulation technique. Download performance is also improved through the use of multiple antennae (MIMO) technology on both base stations and data devices.

The operator is also working with several device vendors on the testing and validation of these devices ready for commercial availability.

Other major operators known to be conducting trials of HSPA+ technology include 3 and Australian company Telstra.

Telecoms equipment supplier Huawei has revealed that it will be showing off the world’s first commercial HSPA+ modem at the upcoming Mobile World Congress event, taking place in Barcelona next month.

Huawei’s connection to the Vodafone trials is unknown, but The Link has done a bit of detective work and observes that Vodafone released a statement early last year announcing partnerships with Huawei (amongst others) to develop the service. Huawei’s commercial HSPA+ stick could therefore be the first glance of Vodafone’s upcoming service, unless of course another network has quietly beaten it to the punch.

No release date or price has been revealed, but it does sound like HSPA+ will be arriving a lot sooner than we’d first thought. Mobile World Congress is taking place from the 16th – 19th February.

Monday 26 January 2009

Reversing trend of outsourcing

For years the companies has flourished in their business where outsourcing was one of the major source of saving money and still getting good work done.

One of the main reason why India become the major hub for outsourcing was because of it’s immense pool of skilled science graduate which were far cheaper than in US and Europe.
Although in the last decade the salaries in India has risen manifolds but it still remaines the main destination for outsourcing simply because there is no shortage of the skilled techies.

But the current economic climate is changing the whole dynamics and the early signs are for what they call Outsourcing may be coming home.

With the rising unemployment in US and Europe and with so many people are desperate for the jobs all of a sudden companies see the pool of workers who are ready for work in far less then they were may be five years ago.

Remember no body wants to outsource if only they can get the work done at home.
In the current market situation there is a need to cut costs and increase productivity and for that reason some tech companies are looking for a new approach that bypasses traditional overseas locations like India.

One company who has taken a lead in this is IBM who is focussing on two U.S. communities which are East Lansing, Mich., and Dubuque, Iowa. This could be a trend setting move which other could follow very soon.

IBM believes that in these places there is access to skills also there is a willingness of local universities to cooperate with their business endeavours, and some government incentives to make it economically worthwhile. IBM hopes to create 1,500 direct and indirect jobs in five yearsin East Lansing, Mich and 1,300 jobs in Dubuque, Iowa.

Dubuque didn't just open the door and invite IBM into town but they also offered Big Blue (IBM) an enticing package of incentives worth $55 million over 10 years. These include a loan of $11.7 million that will be forgiven if IBM fulfils its hiring pledge. A local development agency also will spend $25 million to rehab an historic former department store.

Another major factor which is contributing towards bringing the jobs back to US from India is the stimulus package considered by the new president Obama. Although it has not been passed yet by the Congress, Obama has repeatedly discussed IT spending together with the rebuilding the US’s crumbling roads, bridges and schools.

I remember back in early 90’s when India opened its economy to go global one of the first companies to make use of the cheap and skilled science graduate was IBM.
For years India has been the primary location for technology outsourcing not only for IBM but other major tech companies as well.

This all seems to be changing now and the cycle seems to reversing.

It’s not only US but the Europe as well, which is going to get benefited by this reverse in trend. One of the astonishing thing which I came across just last week is that the Japanese companies who has R&D centres in UK are now considered as a cheaper options as compared to the ones in Japan. With the value of British pound fallen so much in the last six months the work force in UK all of a sudden becomes cheaper.

Could this be a new trend?

Industry analysts expect more tech services companies to establish operations in low-cost parts of the U.S and Europe.

I believe that in the coming months and years you'll see more of this although it might not be huge, but it will be a nice niche.

I am calling from the loo to tell you 'I Love You'

Almost one in two Australians admit to using their mobile phone while on the toilet and a quarter of men believe the mobile is an acceptable way to propose to their partner, a survey reveals.

The survey, commissioned by Microsoft and completed by 2,500 people across Australia, China, India, Japan and Taiwan, was conducted to determine just how integral the mobile phone has become in society.
It found that 48 per cent of Australians admitted to using the mobile phone while in the toilet, compared to 66 per cent of Chinese people who do so.

Of the occasions surveyed, 80 per cent of people said they would use their phone while eating a meal with others, 62 per cent said they'd use it while driving and 48 per cent would do so while trying to sleep.
Married women were also more likely to check their partner's phones than married men, while 30 per cent of people admitted to using their mobiles to flirt with someone other than their spouse or partner.

A quarter of Australians would use a GPS to track their partner's whereabouts, while 13 per cent said they would use their phones during "extremely intimate moments".

It was also revealed more than double the amount of men (24 per cent) to women (11 per cent) believed it was acceptable to propose to their partner using their mobile phone.

The Synovate survey on consumer behavior, commissioned by Microsoft's Windows Mobile division, found 58 percent of Asians polled across China, India, Japan, Taiwan and Australia wanted to use their mobiles on flights.

The 69 percent of respondents in favor of using their phones while flying, said this would help keep friends and family informed of flight changes, according to the survey.

Indians are the "most social" with 69 percent most likely to use their phones in a cinema, 21 percent in a place of worship and 79 percent at a wedding ceremony.

One thing parents across the Asian region agreed about was that children under the age of 12 should not be given a mobile phone.

The survey also revealed consumer preference for different form factors. The Chinese, Indians and Taiwanese are predominantly in favour of touch screen phones with the increased language input capabilities offered by such devices.

However, the Japanese prefer a flip phone while Australians prefer the more traditional numeric keypad.

Sunday 25 January 2009

Tomi Ahonen shares 50 pearls on Mobile Advertisement

Tomi Ahonen has recently published his book sharing 50 pearls (advice/ideas/tips) on Mobile Advertisement. Tomi has in past shared his pearls and ideas in many forums in public domain so this is a good chance for anyone into Mobile advertisement to get their hands on. The book costs 9.99 euros so its not expensive if the topic interests you.

In Tomi's own words:

...And finally, its topical - this is all about mobile advertising and marketing. Out of my thousands of real mobile services - public and private - in my Pearls collection, here is the "Best of Pearls" around mobile advertising topics. Blyk, BMW Winter Tyres, Admob, Otetsudai Networks, Northwest Airlines, Flirtomatic First Face, Virgin Festivals, Ford's Virtual Ka, the Nighlife Guide to the City, etc. All the biggest faves and best examples. But with much more detail in the book than on the slides you may have seen. Oh, and out of the 50 Pearls in this eBook, 13 are ones that I have not shown in the public domain, so you get plenty of real competitive insights too ha-ha...

More info on the book here.

Friday 23 January 2009

Nokia feels the pinch due to credit crunch

Nokia Corp., the world's largest maker of mobile phones, reported Thursday a 69% drop in fourth-quarter profit as demand for its handsets fell sharply during the key holiday season, particularly in China, and as it lost market share in the lucrative high-end segment.

The European tech bellwether also lowered its dividend, slashed its 2009 forecast of global demand for phones and said it would cut roughly 1,000 jobs to keep a lid on expenses.

The results mark a reversal of fortune for the Finnish company, which earlier this year seemed to have all but crushed even its nearest competitor with its stronghold on emerging markets, efficient cost control and extraordinary distribution power.

Quarterly sales declined 19% to 12.66 billion euros, missing forecasts calling for a top line of 13 billion euros, as demand for phones dropped sharply.

The number of handsets shipped in the latest three months fell 15% to 113.1 million units. Sequentially, shipments slipped 4% -- an unusual development considering the fourth quarter is customarily the strongest one for phone makers.

Phone makers have been suffering in the past few months as consumers rein in their discretionary spending. In developed markets, many are delaying replacing their old mobile phones. In emerging markets, handset users often simply aren't buying new ones.

Underscoring this, Sony Ericsson, the phone-making joint venture of Japan's Sony Corp. (SNE) and Sweden's L.M. Ericsson (ERICY), posted its second straight quarterly loss last week and warned the market would deteriorate further in 2009.

Also last week, Motorola Inc. (MOT) said it would report a fourth-quarter loss and slash 4,000 jobs after its sales collapsed over the holiday season.

And on Thursday, Nokia lowered its outlook for global industry mobile-device volumes, saying it now expects them to fall 10% in 2009, compared to an earlier forecast of a 5% drop.

The projected decline would be sharper in the first half than in the second half, with volumes dropping more sharply than is customary between the fourth and the first quarter, Nokia said.

Higher profile for digital mapping

Among Nokia's individual divisions, the handset business suffered the most, with sales down 27% to 8.1 billion euros. The sharpest decline in the number of handsets shipped happened in China, which registered a 36% drop, followed by the Middle East and Africa, with a 23% fall.

Nokia estimated its market share at 37% in the quarter, down from 40% a year ago and 38% in the third quarter. It said it lost ground in the Middle East and Africa, North America and China. It also lost ground in the high-end, smart- phone category, which worried investors.

Nevertheless the phone maker said it expects to maintain its market share at 37% in the first quarter.

The average selling price of a Nokia handset slipped to 71 euros from 72 euros in the third quarter, even though many new handsets, such as the 5800 XpressMusic, hit the shelves in time for Christmas. The decline put pressure on gross margins, which narrowed to 33.8% from 36.5% in the third quarter.

The division's operating profit decreased 70%, to 766 million euros, in the latest quarter.

At the Nokia Siemens networks joint venture, sales fell 5% to 4.3 billion euros.

The division, half owned by Siemens (SI) of Germany, achieved most of its targeted cost savings but reported an operating loss of 179 million euros while it broke even in the same period last year.

At the Navteq digital mapping business, sales jumped 31% sequentially to 205 million euros. The unit's operating loss shrank to 73 million euros from 80 million euros in the third quarter.

Thursday 22 January 2009

'Hyundai Mobile' to test British waters for success

Hyundai Mobile has announced its UK launch and aims to achieve three to five per cent market share within the next five years.

Hyundai Mobile UK will initially be located at the Advantage Cellular distribution centre in Oxfordshire and will utilize its warehousing and logistcs facility. Former Advantage marketing manager Graham Jelfs has also been recruited as Hyundai Mobile’s head of marketing and communications.

The new manufacturer will be looking to take its largely prepay offering to UK networks, distributors and retailers. Its pitch is “niche products and mobiles for a broad, price-conscious target group”.

Ten to 15 handset models are planned annually across Hyundai’s ‘Basic’, ‘Music’, ‘Lifestyle’ ‘Innovation’ and ‘Business’ product segments. Product launches are scheduled for the first half of this year.

Hyundai Mobile UK director Roland Prinz said: “The central location and ability to get set up immediately was the reason for selecting the offi ce within Advantage House and we can use the facilities here to provide physical stock within the territory, rather than suffer delays shipping from the Far East to our UK customers. We are now eager to meet with networks and distributors that have direct routes to market, especially those focusing on the retail sector.”

The company is also recruiting for roles, including a head of sales responsible for networks and distributors. It will be exhibiting at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Nortel bankruptcy creates worry for 2010 and 2012 Olympics

Everybody by now knows what happened to Nortel. On 13th January Canada's Nortel Networks filed for bankruptcy in Delaware under Chapter 11 and Chapter 15 guidelines.
Nortel has been struggling financially from the past couple of years and was cutting jobs at regular intervals. Toward the end of the year, the Toronto-based company was warned of a possible de-listing from the New York Stock Exchange.

The Chapter 15 filing enables a company to seek a U.S. bankruptcy court's recognition of a foreign bankruptcy case as the main or controlling proceeding.

There might be some potential buyers for Nortel but let’s see what happens in the coming days.

Nortel Networks at the moment is of course the topic of much conversation and speculation. In my view following are the key issues which Nortel has to deal with in the immediate future:
  • It might loose some of it major partners, like Microsoft and how does the bankruptcy will affect its smaller partners, like Airvana,

  • How long it can hold onto skilled talent in places like Ottawa, Ontario, and Richardson, Tex, and,

  • Where the company should continue to focus its product energies as its fate plays out.
These events have affected many in the industry but one of them in particular is the organizers for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics. Remember Nortel is the official sponsor for these two Olympic events and any trouble in Nortel is to stimulate significant trouble for these events.

Although Nortel Networks says, at least for now and before the bankruptcy court gets involved, that it remains committed as a sponsor and official network infrastructure provider to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics.

Back in July, Nortel signed up as a Tier One Olympic sponsor, and, to support the London Olympics. In addition to million of dollars in cash, Nortel also committed to provide the network infrastructure for communications in cooperation with British Telecom for the 2012 Olympics.
At the moment Nortel is giving every signs to reassure its commitment to the games as a 'tier-one' local sponsor and official network infrastructure provider for the London games.
Under the London sponsorship deal, Nortel is to supply network infrastructure, including secure networks, local wireless networks, call center and fixed landline infrastructure to support more than 205 international sporting organizations, 20,000 members of worldwide media, 9 million spectators, and "billions" of television viewers.

This looks quite staggering so just imagine the scenario where Nortel can’t fulfill its commitment.
Just like it has done with the 2012 organizing committee, Nortel is assuring the Vancouver Olympic organizing committee that it will stand behind its commitment to the 2010 Winter Games.

It does makes sense that Nortel fulfill it’s commitment I think it would be able to do so as much of Nortel's support has already been delivered and is expected to be in place by May.

3GPP Earthquake and Tsunami Warning service (ETWS)

Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Service: is a service that delivers Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Notifications provided by Warning Notification Providers to the UEs which have the capability of receiving Warning Notifications within Notification Areas through the 3GPP network.

Earthquake and Tsunami Warning System: is a subsystem of Public Warning System that delivers Warning Notifications specific to Earthquake and Tsunami provided by Warning Notification Providers to the UEs which have the capability of receiving Warning Notifications within Notification Areas through the 3GPP network.

Earthquake and Tsunami Warning service is provided to users by PLMN operators. Warning Notification Providers produce Warning Notification to PLMN operator when an event occurs e.g. an Earthquake. PLMN operators distribute Warning Notifications to users by utilizing ETWS.

The ETWS consists of the PLMN that is capable to deliver Warning Notification and the UEs that are capable to receive Warning Notification. A Warning Notification Provider is able to send Warning Notification to the users in Notification Area by activating ETWS. Warning Notification is classified into two types depending on the purpose and urgency of the notification.

The first type of Notification is called Primary Notification. This type of notification delivers the most important information of the threat that is approaching to users (e.g. the imminent occurrence of Earthquake or Tsunami). The notification shall be delivered to the users as soon as possible.

The second type of Notification is called Secondary Notification. This type of notification delivers additional information, such as instructions on what to do / where to get help as long as the emergency lasts.

More Information at 3GPP TS 22.168: Earthquake and Tsunami Warning System (ETWS) requirements; Stage 1.

You may also find interesting this FAQ for Cell Broadcast (CB) in Public Warning.

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Emergency Phone Network enabled on the London Underground

Airwave has completed its deployment to all 125 below ground London Underground stations - within budget and ahead of schedule.

The complete roll out of the terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) network on the Tube means that British Transport Police, Metropolitan Police Service and the City of London Police will now be able to use the same radios underground.

Police Minister Vernon Coaker welcomed the completion, saying the system was now fully functioning ahead of schedule, and would help frontline officers carry out the work they already do in tackling crime.

Tim O’Toole, managing director of London Underground, said the roll out was achieved five months ahead of schedule.

Airwave, a Macquarie investment fund venture, won the contract to provide access to its TETRA network in January 2007. The National Policing Improvement Agency managed the roll out, linking the emergency services to London Underground’s Connect digital radio system.

The Connect system forms part of a £10-billion investment programme by Transport for London. And the TETRA Tube roll out was initiated after the London Assembly called for improved public safety communications underground in its report into the 2005 London bombings.

Mobile dating to get big by 2013

In Sep 2007, Juniper Research proudly claimed, "Mobile dating revenues to reach $1bn by 2012, according to a new study from Juniper Research ". Most of the predictions are for the next 5 years as its safe to predict that much in future.

Now their latest report claims, "Mobile Dating Revenues to Approach $1.4bn by 2013 as Event-based Charging Models Proliferate, says Juniper Research":

A new Juniper Research report has found that new revenue streams from event-based charging and advertising will help to push the value of the mobile dating and chatroom market to nearly $1.4 billion by 2013, part of a burgeoning user-generated content (UGC) market that will reach $7.3 billion by the same time.

The report says that while subscription revenues will continue to contribute the bulk of service revenues over the next five years, an increasing number of dating companies have now switched to offering event-based charging, through products which offer free registration but levy charges when end-users wish to contact one another, or else offer virtual gifts for subscribers to send to other users.

The Juniper report also observed that while the initial impetus for dating services was provided off-portal, network operators have become increasingly keen to offer services on-portal as part of their entertainment portfolios: Vodafone offers Dating Direct, while 3 UK has partnered with Flirtomatic.

Other findings from the report include:
• Less than 30% of mobile dating customers will be on flat-rate subscriptions by 2011
• The Far East & China region is currently the largest region in terms of subscriber numbers, primarily due to the success of dating services in Japan
• Advertising will provide the majority of mobile social networking revenues but less than one-third of all UGC revenues by 2013

Its just matter of time when Location Based Services (LBS) will combine with these and offer 'instantaneous flirting' and 'speedy dating' ;)

Monday 19 January 2009

MMS of NY Plane Crash, first photo on the web

A dramatic picture of the US Airways aircraft that crashed in the Hudson River appeared around the world within minutes after a bystander uploaded a photograph taken with his mobile telephone on to the website Twitter.

In another illustration of the growing power of Twitter, where users post mini-messages, Janis Krums took the picture with his iPhone and sent it to the site.

Mr Krums, from Sarasota, Florida, posted: “There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.”

Read complete article here.

Sunday 18 January 2009

What lies ahead in year 2009

In the year just gone i.e. 2008 we saw some unprecedented economic situations. I can clearly say that I have never seen anything like that but then I’m too young to say that anyway -:))

Talking to more experienced people in the industry I came to the conclusion that this recession indeed one of the worst one.

It's a very tough economic climate out there and there an every chance that no one will be reprieved by its effect. What I men by that and even if you haven't been touched by the downturn thus far, you will be. There is an argument that IT or technology shop has some advantage over other departments which makes sense as well as I can rarely think of a business these days which doesn’t use telecoms these days. Nevertheless, it would be unthinkable not to be wearing your flak jacket at all times.

Jos losses have started to happen in telecoms now with the likes of Motorola, Nortel already involved in this procedure. More than 50,000 tech workers lost their jobs before the financial meltdown hit, and more jobs may soon be axed.

Everyday we see ourselves into more gloom and doom with more bad news coming our way. Even India is getting affected by this and especially after what happened Satyam. The Satyam scandal had shocked India specially the IT world. This has definitely not helped to boost up the confidence with some of the IT companies shares plunging. The Satyam scandal what many has labeled as India’s Enron has put a big doubt into investor’s mind which is a very serious concern.
In way this scandal has done woken up many and will do some good in the future. Telecom companies are working feverishly to get their balance sheet right and hence already started taking drastic measures. I view it like this where everybody is anticipating a tsunami and to save themselves from high waves they are already moving onto high grounds.

I myself is involved in the situation where the salaries of the staff are frozen for at least one year. I believe any measure taken now although painful is a right thing to do. So when tsunami comes the high waves may not do the much damage and if doesn’t then it’s even better.
Companies are in the mindset of not spending in the coming months and plans to invest only in what it call key projects but with an increase of only 1 or 2 percent in the next 12 months.
LTE is considered as one of the key area of development but at the same time provide immense dilemma as well. Companies are no doubts thinking of concentrating on the current projects which guarantee a source of revenue but then want to spend in LTE product as well so that they are not behind when the good times begin.

People with high skills especially in wireless and VoIP may have got good chances of just clinging on to their jobs.

Remember everybody would need the skilled people when good times come back so it’s in companies interest to freeze the salaries instead of making make people redundant.

It's important, above all, to keep your skills at top form and be flexible with an employer going through tough times.

In the end I will mention the line from Judi’s blog which is
“Remember, don't panic. The trains cannot run without you”

'Sexting' is dangerous for teens

It's a popular trend among teens called "sexting."Middle and high schoolers are texting racey nude pictures back and forth, and it's causing an uproar across the country.

According to a recent study, one out of five teens have done it. The study also shows that teen girls are not the only ones sharing sexually explicit content. Almost one in five teen boys said they have sent or posted nude/semi nude images of themselves. One-third of young adults -- 36% of women and 31% of men ages 20-26—say they have sent or posted such images.

A year ago, a 19-year-old cheerleading coach was charged and prosecuted for taking a topless photo of herself and a 15-year-old girl.

And a boy was taken to juvenile court last year for taking explicit photos of his girlfriend.

Mr Brown, who is also resource officer at the areas primary school, said of the 14-year-old boy's mobile phone photos: "They were as graphic as you would see in any Penthouse magazine."

In the latest case, three teenage girls in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, who sent nude self portraits, and the three male classmates who received the images, have all been served with child pornography charges.

The girls have been charged with manufacturing and disseminating child pornography while the boys are accused of possessing it.

In Wisconsin, a 17-year-old was charged with child pornography after posting naked pictures of his girlfriend, who is a year younger, on the internet. In Rochester, New York, a boy aged 16 faces seven years in jail for circulating an image of a girlfriend to friends.

"Sexting" is fast becoming a moral and legal headache for school heads and police throughout America. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy last month published a study suggesting one in five teens had sent or posted images of themselves in various stages of undress.

Jim Brown, an official at Glen Este high school in the Ohio town of Cincinnati, told the Cincinnati Enquirer: "If I were to go through the cell phones in this building right now, of 1,500 students I would venture to say that half to two- thirds have indecent photos, either of themselves or somebody else in school."

Prosecutors are facing increasing dilemmas because case law has not kept up with the impact of digital media on teenage behaviour. Young adults can face lengthy sentences resulting from relationships with younger teenagers, with penalties varying state by state.

Federal law also requires hefty punishment for teenaged relationships that span the legal start of adulthood at 17. An 18-year-old in their last year of high school who dates a 14-year-old in the first year faces up to 30 years in jail for a first offence.

Saturday 17 January 2009

Keep your kids safe, get num8 from Lok8u

Launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Num8 (pronounced 'new mate')watch from British company Lok8u (pronounced 'locate you') is said to be the first tracking device specifically designed to help parents keep tabs on wayward offspring.

The £149 Num8 looks much like any ordinary digital wristwatch, but it houses a GPS chip similar to that contained inside a satnav unit. This constantly keeps tabs on the location of the child - it is accurate to within 3 metres - and beams it back to Num8's website for monitoring.

Relatives can receive text messages about the watch's location direct from the device, pinpointing the street address of their youngster at the touch of a button.

"As far as the child is concerned it's a digital watch - for the parent it's a child locating product," said Steve Salmon, Lok8u's chief executive. He added that he hoped it would be used as a way to give children more freedom, rather than restricting them or promoting lazy parenting.

"Only 20% of children are now allowed to go out and play. It's my profound hope that Num8 will help parents feel more comfortable about letting their children go out to play," he said.

It is not the first time that a company has offered parents the chance to track their children by GPS, but most previous devices have been built into mobile phones - expensive pieces of technology that are notoriously easy to dispense with. By contrast, Worcestershire-based Lok8u says it has improved the situation by locking the watch on to the child's wrist.

If an errant child forcibly removes the watch - or has it taken from them - the system immediately trips an alarm, sending an alert to the mobile phone of a parent. Removing the gadget also triggers a warning that is sent by email, just in case the worried parent happens to be sitting in front of a computer.

And to get around the limitations of satellite tracking technology - such as going indoors to prevent the satellite overhead from establishing a direct connection - the system can also use mobile phone signal triangulation to determine a more approximate location for its target.

An Australian children's advocate is very upset with this device. He has already labeled this device as 'alarmist' and 'flippant'. According to him "There won't be a huge market here because I think Australians are smarter than that."

Even though this device is claiming to be the first, there have been other services that can already achieve this. In this article in Guardian, couple of years back, the author successfully tracked his girlfriend using a similar technique via some spying website. The accuracy was not as good though but because of many more cell sites, some of them micro-cell sites and with the use of A-GPS this should be easy.

Anyone aware of similar services out there?

Friday 16 January 2009

Lucky dad escapes bankruptcy due to 14,528 SMS messages

Ok, i know the heading is quite a bit exaggeration but how would you feel if you received a bill for nearly $3000? Luckily in this case, this didnt happen.

Greg Hardesty didn't LOL when he got his teen daughter's cellphone statement.

All he could think was "OMG!"

The California man's 13-year-old daughter, Reina, racked up an astonishing 14,528 text messages in one month. The online AT&T statement ran 440 pages.

It works out to 484 text messages a day, or one every two minutes of every waking hour.

The reporter for the Orange County Register grilled his daughter on her texting habit - by text message, of course.

"Who are you texting, anyway? Your entire school?" he asked.

"Well, a lot of my friends have unlimited texting. I just text them pretty much all the time," she explained.

She messages a core of "four obsessive texters" - all girls between the ages of 12 and 13 - on her LG phone.

Luckily, Hardesty has a phone plan that allows unlimited texting for $30 a month. Otherwise, he estimates, he would have owed AT&T $2,905.60 at a rate of 20 cents per message.

The average number of monthly texts for a 13- to 17-year-old teen is 1,742, according to a Nielsen study of cellphone usage.

Hardesty admits he himself punches in 900 messages a month - 700 more than average for his age group, according to Nielsen.

Hardesty and his ex-wife have since placed restrictions on Reina's cellphone use, ruling she cannot text after dinner.

Thursday 15 January 2009

Projector phones a plenty at CES 2009

AT CES2009, there were quit a few phones that can be used as 'Projectors'.

The new Logic Bolt, a touchscreen GSM quad band handset, boasts pico projection with the ability to project a 36- to 64-inch image.

Other specs of the Windows Mobile device include a 3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, GPS, and of course, for the office appeal, PowerPoint for those impromptu presentations.

Onboard storage of 4GB and expandability up to 20GB means that business users, which are clearly the demographic for this phone, would be able to store hours of super-fun PowerPoint presentations and video on the handset to show off in important business meetings.

And for the all-important sound, the speaker located on the bottom was more than adequate, pumping out good sound even when flush to surface.

After that, any other features would be a bonus, and there are a few for the more than casual user. A 3MP camera, GPS and internet connectivity mean that this is more than just a business phone... although the lack of 3G connectivity and WiFi might hamper the last part.

A likely launch of around $600 phone-only, or $100 with a 2-year tie-in on T-Mobile or AT&T in the States is hinted at, but no news on a UK release.

Samsung recently got the wraps of an innovative mobile phone accessory called the MBP200 Pico Projector. In a compact and light weight form factor, the projector has been design to offer users amazing projector performance with its wide functionality.

Offering easy connectivity to mobile phones as well as laptops, the MP200 projector is equipped with Texas Instruments DLP pico chip that enables users to convert their device into a large 50” viewing experience. Packed with a microSD card slot, users can also transfer files and project content that does not rely on the attached source.

The projector weighs just 160g and is about 107.3 x 48.8 x 19 mm in dimensions making it a very portable device. Powered by a smaller version as the imaging technology found in Samsung HDTVs, additional features of the Mp200 Pico projector include 3.5mm standard jack, and a built-in speaker. Accessorized by a small screen holder that has a telescoping pole hidden within, the projector offers instant conversion of a regular sheet of paper into movie screen viewing.

3M was showing off miniaturised projectors (rather than phones with projectors)

They had two prototypes on view: one played video off SD cards, the other plugged into an iPhone and played videos off that. Unlike other pico projectors, these have an RGB LED inside rather than a straight white LED, which is a significant step forward. Both were very nice looking, but alas, both were mere prototypes. The projector the prototypes were based on is smaller than ever, which is great, but until we see these things built into actual phones rather than in relatively bulky separate devices, I don't know how far they'll go.

Their tiny MM200 is a projector meant to be fitted inside the casing of a mobile phone so you don’t need to carry anything else. At the touch of a button it would then project what’s being displayed on your phone’s display.

This is actually the second generation of 3M’s mobile projector with the first appearing last year with the name MPro110. With the MM200 3M are offering a 50″ screen projection while requiring just 1 watt to function through its use of LEDs for illumination.

Wednesday 14 January 2009

LG shows off new 'touch watch phone' GD 910

The world's first market-ready "touch watch phone" with 3G video telephony and GSM quad band capabilities, the GD910 will go on sale in Europe "sometime in 2009".

Described as "chic and wearable", arguably it is not as comedic as some previous watch-phone offerings, but LG is perhaps pushing it a bit when they say that at first glance it could "simply be a high-end timepiece".

With a curved tempered glass face and a high quality metal casing the watch measures 13.9mm thick, a dimension that might be forgiven when you consider the 7.2Mbps 3G HSDPA compatibility.

Capable of sending text messages (on its 1.43-inch screen), there are also voice recognition features, which can be used with or without a Bluetooth headset, phone book, stereo Bluetooth and a built-in speaker for playing back MP3 music files.

It also recognises voices, transforms text to speech, has a Bluetooth function and works as an MP3 player.

The 'watch phone' is part of a trend towards multi-tasking gadgets that can perform a host of functions. Mobile phones, in particular, have been at the forefront of this convergence revolution.

At first glance, LG's new Watch Phone appears to simply be a high-end timepiece. The company used materials and stylistic elements found in watches from top manufacturers to ensure that people will be comfortable wearing it for any occasion. The Watch Phone has a curved tempered glass face, high quality metal casing and is a mere 13.9mm thick.

"This Watch Phone is the result of a great deal of research and development, something that is very important to us at LG. We will continue to invest in creating innovative new products and technologies like this and setting trends in the mobile phone industry," Dr. Ahn said.

Tuesday 13 January 2009

Nokia Dot Mobi extends reach

Nokia has extended its offering with the launch of Here and Now, a new section that provides the latest world news, music, celebrity buzz, as well as information on Nokia services and products.

Bookmarked in every new Nokia device, is accessed by millions of consumers across the globe. Here and Now opens up new opportunities to advertise alongside news and entertainment content aimed at the 18-35 age segment.

The different sections of the site allow consumers to:
  • Listen to music
  • Grab downloads
  • Read the Buzz about celebrities
  • Get to Know the latest news
  • Browse the mobile net
  • Discover Nokia services and products
Here and Now is part of the Nokia Media Network, a premium mobile advertising network comprised of top-tier publishers such as Reuters and Hearst, operator partners such as Sprint and Airtel, and Nokia services. It is accessible through your Nokia device at

Nokia Interactive Advertising helps brands reach the potential global audience of 3.3 billion consumers with mobile devices. Through the Nokia Media Network and Nokia Interactive Solutions, it provides brands with all they need to connect with and engage consumers with mobile advertising.

Monday 12 January 2009

Femtocells: Who's who

LightReading has an interesting report online on who makes what in Femtocells. Too much information to be listed in a blog so if interested check out this link:

SDXC: Next Generation Memory cards

SDXC (SD card with eXtended Capacity) is a next-generation memory card format, with up to 2 terabytes storage capacity and read/write speeds of 300 megabytes per second.

SDXC will provide maximum speeds even when it achieves its maximum 2TB storage capacity. “SDXC is a large-capacity card that can store more than 4,000 RAW images, which is the uncompressed mode professionals use, and 17,000 of the fine-mode most consumers use.” said Shigeto Kanda, general manager at Canon. Developed by the SD Association, specifications for the new SDXC standard will be released in the first quarter of 2009.

Turning mobile phones into media centers SDXC allows users to enjoy more from their mobile phones. Larger capacity and faster transfer speeds allow for expanded entertainment and data storage. A 2TB SDXC memory card can store 100 HD movies, 60 hours of HD recording or 17,000 fine-grade photos.

"With SDXC, consumers can quickly download higher quality content to their phones, including games, video and music -- giving consumers a richer media and content experience," said James Taylor, president of the SD Association. "The SD interface already has proven itself valuable in mobile phones. Now, SDXC memory card capabilities will spur further handset sophistication and boost consumer content demand."

Sunday 11 January 2009

LTE gained momentum in year 2008

In my blogs related to WiMax and LTE in the past I have always mentioned about the competition between the two and how each of them does everu thing possible to score over each other.

I must say I have always though that eventually LTE will come through the competition and will gain significance in the future in terms of mobile technology for high speed.

With the current economic climate and by looking at the advance stages of WiMax one would thing that WiMax might win the battle. With the budgets are shrinking as every day passes in these unprecedented economic climate there is always a worry for new technolgies.
By looking at all these circumstance LTE (Long Term Evolution) was supposed to significantly lag behind WiMAX, but the technology gained significant momentum in 2008. The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has completed the majority of specifications for standardization of LTE next-generation technology, meaning the full Release 8 standard is on track for completion by March.

Operators do see this opportunity and the work done by the 3GPP. Nortel like many other companies chose LTE over WiMax thus marking significance towards LTE growth.
Following Nortel a number of operators, including Verizon, T-Mobile and China Telecom, are champing at the bit to deploy LTE. Verizon Wireless has indicated it will have LTE up and running by the end of 2009.

It’s true that there is still significant amount of work to be done by 3GPP toward completing the specifications. The 3GPP still has to work on the evolved packet core, otherwise known as System Architecture Evolution, because the specifications weren't complete enough. 3GPP has written up a list of "exceptions" that will need to be finalized by March in order to be included in Release 8.

Still what became extremely significant for the technology was the fact that a number of CDMA operators, including Verizon and Bell Canada, are moving to LTE, which is supposed to be the technology path for the GSM community.

Vendors like T-Mobile continue to announce their momentum with trials. Just like T-Mobile did the initial trial for LTE, recently Motorola also announced that it has conducted LTE test successfully. In its test it conducted the first over-the-air data sessions for LTE technology in the 700 MHz spectrum in an outdoor field test that included mobile video streaming and other data-heavy applications. These kind of development takes LTE and WiMax further apart and talks of LTE WiMax merger becomes less popular.
There is every possibility now that we won't likely see a merger between WiMAX and LTE.

By looking at the LTE developments in the year 2008, most of the companies do see that future in LTE as there is no doubt that it will become commercially available in few years time.

Telecomm companies in US are feverishly backing LTE and are busy in developing the LTE products. It’s very much likely that initial LTE deployments will happen in the U.S. market on a significant basis first because of the amount of spectrum license holders have in the 700 MHz band. Elsewhere, large swaths of spectrum are hard to come by for significant deployments of LTE.

Mobiles for French children: Non, Merci

New laws cracking down on children's use of mobile phones are to be introduced in France amid growing fears that they may cause cancer and other diseases.

All advertising of the devices to children under 12 is to be prohibited under the legislation – announced by the Environment Minister, Jean-Louis Borloo, last week – and he will also take powers to ban the sale of any phone designed to be used by those under six.

The French government will also introduce new limits for radiation from the phones and make it compulsory for handsets to be sold with earphones, so that users can avoid irradiating their heads and brains. And one of the country's largest cities last month started an advertising campaign to discourage the use of the phones by children.

The clampdown represents the most comprehensive action yet taken by any government worldwide. It contrasts sharply with the stance of British ministers, who have largely ignored the recommendations of an official report nine years ago that people aged under 16 should be discouraged from using mobiles, and that the industry should be stopped from promoting them to children. Since then their use by the young has almost doubled, so that nine out of 10 of the country's 16-year-olds own a handset.

Swedish research indicates that children and teenagers are five times more likely to get brain cancer if they use the phones, causing some experts to predict an "epidemic" of the disease among today's young people in later life. But consideration of the threat to them has been specifically excluded from Britain's official £3.1m investigation into the risk of cancer from mobiles.

The French ministry warned that "mobile phone use is increasing at a rapid pace among youths", and warns that the young may be "more sensitive because their bodies are still developing". Children's heads are smaller and their skulls thinner.

Lyon, France's second city, launched an advertising campaign before Christmas aimed at dissuading people from buying mobiles for children as presents, with the slogan "Let's keep them healthy, away from mobile phones!"

A year ago France's official Agency for Environmental and Occupational Health Safety said that parents should not give small children mobiles. And France's Health Ministry urged using them in moderation.

The French legislation is the latest evidence of growing official alarm at the hazards of the radiation caused by mobile phone use. In September, the European Parliament voted 522 to 16 to urge ministers across Europe to bring in stricter radiation limits, and the European Environment Agency has also issued a warning.

Toronto's Department of Public Health has advised that children under eight should only use mobiles in emergencies and teenagers should limit calls to less than 10 minutes. The Russian Ministry of Health says that young people under 18 should not use the devices, and Israel's Health Ministry has also advised caution.

Friday 9 January 2009

LBS to find parking space

Drivers in Westminster in London can now solve their parking problems by sending a text message.

Westminster City Council, which pioneered a satellite navigation system to help people find nearby public toilets, has adapted its technology to help visitors park in the area.

Drivers who text CARPARK to 80097 will get a text back within seconds giving them details of their nearest car parks, based on their current location.

The service uses satellites to locate the phone when the message is sent allowing it to return information accurate to less than one mile.

The technology directs users to the nearest two of the council's 14 car parks across Westminster.

Locals can also text to receive an instant message back with details of the location and phone number of their nearest leisure centre, swimming pool, library, youth club or children's centre.

The authority hopes the system will eventually be used nationwide.

The service costs 25p (plus standard network charge) per text sent to the 80097 number.

There seems to be some confusion about the technology being used but my assumption is that it is Location Based Service. This service was earlier also referred to as 'SatLav' (SatNav + Lavoratory: because it was initially used to locate nearest toilets :)

Earlier, Robert Thurner, Commercial Director of Incentivated, which created the technology to pin-point users and their nearest toilet by matching postcodes, said:

"By employing the latest mobile technology, councils like Westminster Council are helping to make residents' lives easier. Whether they want to pay the congestion charge via their mobile or use location based services to find their nearest recycling centres or licensed minicabs, mobile can offer an immediate solution, at any time and anywhere. We applaud Westminster Council for adding text-public conveniences to their list of services and look forward to working with them in the future."

In future it could be used for a lot more different purposes.

I am not totally convinced if this is a great idea, expecially for parking:
  • In UK, users are not allowed to use mobile while driving so how do they send the text message?
  • If you park temporarily on the road to send this text message then you can get parking fine or you may just block other users
  • You may send this text message while driving, in which case by the time you receive the response you have already travelled some distance.
  • Generally SMS responses are quick but in congested situation they can take time.
  • 25 pence + 10 pence network charge seems a lot to me if people are going to use this service regularly and its rolled out nationwide.
  • A simpler alternative it to get a SatNav (available from 50 pounds) and they have Parking as points of interest.
  • Google maps for mobile already uses LBS. Its just matter of time before they add this service and you can avail it free (or maybe pay some data charges if you are not on flat tariff).
Anyone seen this or similar services in action? Please give your opinion.

Thursday 8 January 2009

Mobile TV Wassup?

EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding hasn't given up pushing Mobile TV on anyone who'll listen, and has just published a set of guidelines in the hope that gentle persuasion will work where attempted legislation failed.

The EU still apparently believes that Mobile TV is going to be worth €7.8bn by 2013 as everyone leaps to watch TV on their mobile phones, citing the 5,000 punters signed up on Austria as a clear indication of things to come if only everyone in Europe would agree to abide by the newly-published recommendations.

Unfortunately only Austria, Finland, France and Germany have shown any interest in Mobile TV - and it's hard to imagine many regulators agreeing to the recommendations which include awarding technology-specific licences, penalising operators who fail to build enough coverage, and mandating cross-border service compatibility.

The recommendations (pdf) make some play of the fact that DVB-H has been endorsed by the EU as a mobile television standard, without mentioning the fact that the EU already recognises competing-technology MBMS as part of the GSM standard, and that most regulators want more technology-neutral spectrum licensing. In the UK Qualcomm owns a huge chunk of spectrum, and has no qualms about deploying another DVB-H competitor, MediaFLO, if the market wants it.

Viviane Reding, EU Telecoms and Media Commissioner:

“Successful commercial launches of Mobile TV in Austria, Italy, Finland and the Netherlands have proved that efficient authorisation procedures are a key factor for the fast take-up of Mobile TV. In Austria, 5,000 citizens were using Mobile TV within the first weeks of its launch. With predicted growth in sales during the Christmas period, many more Europeans should have the opportunity to watch TV on the go. This is why we want to give Member States guidance on how to allow industry to get these innovative services on track as quickly and smoothly as possible. We stand for a collaborative approach between all actors involved including broadcasters, mobile operators and platforms operators, and we oppose heavy regulation or burdensome authorisation procedures for the introduction of Mobile TV in Europe.”

Meanwhile, Nokia unveiled its own mobile television channel in an attempt to showcase its latest multimedia device and persuade users to finally embrace watching programmes on the move.

The Finnish handset manufacturer, which supplies four out of every 10 phones sold, has created a series of 96-second programmes.

Six new programmes – on motoring, fashion, gadgets, comedy, culture and homes – will launch on October 1 and are designed to show off the multimedia capabilities of Nokia's new N96 handset.

Nokia announced a tie-up with the BBC that would allow N96 users to access its popular iPlayer 7-day catchup service. Previously, Apple's iPhone was the only mobile compatible with iPlayer. Ainslie said the initiative was not intended to signal a major move into commissioning.

One would assume that this channel would also be available on the old Nokia N77.

The 16 French broadcasters that were awarded a mobile TV licence have entered into talks with Orange and other mobile operators about the service’s business plan. So far, the introduction of what the French call TMP (Television Mobile Personnelle), is not moving forward according to the original plan.

The broadcasters are concerned about the business plan and expect the mobile operators to pay a fee per subscribers to them. Earlier this month at a meeting with the media authority CSA they reiterated their confidence in the future of the mobile TV and the DVB-H standard.

Three mobile TV licenses for the territory will be put up for auction in mid 2009, according to Hong Kong's Commerce & Economic Development Bureau.

The licenses, valid for 15 years, will allow operators to broadcast up to 20 channels via the European Union-endorsed DVB-H standard, and 6 channels through the Korean T-DMB standard.

License holders are required to start broadcasting within 18 months from the conclusion of the auction, with mobile TV services expected to begin by 2010, according to the Bureau.

"Mobile TV exemplifies the technological advancement and media convergence," said Duncan Pescod, permanent secretary for Commerce and Economic Development. "The market world wide has called for timely response from governments and regulators to facilitate the launch and growth of this innovative service."