Showing posts with label Mobile World Congress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mobile World Congress. Show all posts

Thursday, 28 February 2008

2008 may finally be the year of Mobile TV

Mobile TV was one of the topics that held a lot of interest in MWC08. Some of my clients i discussed Mobile TV with wanted to wait for MWC to check which direction the wind is blowing. The news seem to be that most of the handset manufacturers seem to be looking at it now.

According to this report in Forbes magazine:

Many Chinese can already catch analog television signals on some handheld devices. The Chinese government, however, intends to use the Olympics to showcase the next wave of digital mobile TV, based on standards developed in China.

Huaqi, a Beijing manufacturer of handheld devices, is planning to build inexpensive, user-friendly portable media players and navigation devices. Four different models, priced around $300 apiece, will debut in June, says Guo Hongzhi, Huaqi's general manager of resource management. Outfitted with 4.3-inch screens, they will also be able to play music and video and will eventually incorporate global positioning satellite data and wi-fi.

Some of the nuts-and-bolts technology, however, is coming from elsewhere. Alon Ironi runs Siano Mobile Silicon, an Israeli firm that makes the specialty TV receiver chips that receive signals encoded using the unique Chinese standards. Siano's chips can receive both satellite and terrestrial signals--an unusual combination that will eventually make the network more affordable, Ironi predicts. For now, that's hardly a concern: The Chinese government plans to subsidize the mobile digital TV service for the first year to whet Chinese users' enthusiasm for the technology.

The Olympics promise to be a picture-perfect showcase for China's digital mobile TV service. Work on digital TV has been going on for several years. Public trials in 35 cities are slated to begin in April. By the time of the highly anticipated Aug. 8 opening day of the games, China plans to be broadcasting digital mobile television to 65 cities throughout the country.

The magnitude of the Chinese mobile market, the largest in the world, with more than 540 million subscribers, means that the summertime experiment could turn into big business.

This would also be a boon for mobile TV around the world. Despite success in countries like Japan, Korea and Italy, which began broadcasting mobile digital TV as early as 2005, the technology has yet to take off worldwide.

There are many problems at present with adoption of Mobile TV. First is the high prices and poor quality:

There is a fast-growing army of ex-mobile TV users in the U.S. and Europe’s major mobile markets. Disgruntled by the high prices, and dissatisfied by the poor quality and reliability of the service, consumers are turning their back on the service in their droves. So much so, in fact, that the number of ex-mobile TV users now outnumber more than two to one mobile TV users in Germany, Spain, France and Italy.

This is the key finding of a survey conducted by M:Metrics, the results of which are published today. By comparing mobile TV usage patterns in January 2007 with those during November 2007 in the UK, Germany, Spain, France, Italy and the U.S. — more than 34,000 mobile users were surveyed in total — M:Metrics found the size of the mobile TV audience had increased by 36 percent. The bad news for mobile operators, however, is that the number of former mobile TV users had grown by a whopping 68 percent.

The second most popular reason for mobile TV disillusionment among M:Metrics’ survey respondents was poor quality and reliability, cited by an average of around 25 percent of ex-mobile TV users across the countries surveyed (ranging from 22 percent in the U.S. up to 30 percent in the U.S.).

The others are more due to technological limitations which will be overcome with time:

Receiver chips must be energy-efficient to preserve battery life--an important consideration in any mobile device. At the same time, they must be sensitive enough to transform even weak TV signals into clear images and function in sheltered places, like garages, and at moderate speeds, such as on trains or in fast-moving cars.

And then the standards:

Clashing standards have slowed adoption. Like many cellular technologies, mobile TV standards differ by region, forming an alphabet soup of acronyms: wireless technology company Qualcomm's MediaFLO in the U.S., DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting for Handhelds) in Europe, T-DMB (Terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcast) in Korea, and ISDB-T (Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting - Terrestrial) in Japan and Brazil. The standards are largely incompatible.

And ofcourse the business models:

That fragmentation extends to business models. There are "free to air" services, which, like basic TV channels, can be picked up by any device with the right chip or receiver--no service provider necessary. Particularly popular in Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Asia, these channels generally offer the same programs a home TV would show for free. Then there's the paid model, predominant in the U.S., in which mobile carriers provide premium TV shows to subscribers for a fee.

According to Ericsson's Mobile TV Research Study:

Mobile TV use is set to surge due to strong consumer demand, with the service ranked as the number one application users want on their phone, according to a consumer behaviour study conducted by Ericsson and the #1 international news broadcaster, CNN.

The results show more than a third (34%) of respondents ranking TV as the most in-demand application and almost half (44%) of the respondents poised to adopt mobile TV in the next two years.

Key findings also revealed that photo and video messaging look to be set for wide-scale adoption as consumer pricing and functionality improves. 57% of respondents use photo technology to send and receive images on a monthly basis, making it the most popular activity. This trend is mirrored by popularity of CNN International's user-generated content service iReport, which launched in 2006. The service garnered 50,000 submissions, including mobile phone footage and images, from 189 countries worldwide in its first twelve months, driving the worldwide trend for 'citizen journalism' and giving audiences a deeper connection to network news.

According to the report, nearly one in four (24%) current mobile TV users watch daily with around half (52%) tuning in on a weekly basis. At 77%, news leads genre viewing patterns, followed by scheduled television at 48%.

And ABI Research's report:

mobile TV services expand over the next five years, ABI Research sees the total number of subscribers growing to 462 million, driven in large part by the expansion of 3G networks, and flat-rate plans for mobile video. The build-out of mobile video delivery networks and an increase in the amount of available content will also contribute to the market’s growth.

ABI Research sees the Asia-Pacific region as the overall leader in the adoption of mobile video services. The number of subscribers to mobile video services in Asia-Pacific will grow from 24 million in 2007 to more than 260 million by 2012. High levels of penetration will occur in both Japan and South Korea, each a leading market in mobile video services, while China and India will both contribute significantly to the overall total due to very large subscriber populations, even though the overall penetration of video services will remain much lower than in more technologically advanced countries.

“South Korea and Japan will continue to lead worldwide, while some countries in Western Europe will also continue to see strong growth,” notes Wolf. “North America will also see some strong uptake as more services become available in 2008 with the launch of AT&T’s MediaFLO service, the continued expansion of Verizon Wireless’ MediaFLO subscriber base, and the growth of on-demand mobile video services.”

Panasonic announced that it has begun shipment of its P905iTV mobile phones to NTT DoCoMo, Inc.

Combining the design concept of Panasonic large-screen flat-panel TV ’VIERA’ and its high-quality picture technologies, the P905iTV is a sliding handset featuring "One-segment" mobile TV. Adopting frame conversion technology from 15 frames to 30 frames per second enables users to enjoy smooth, vivid and high quality "One-Segment" mobile TV together on a 3.5 inch Full Wide VGA large screen.

The handset employs Panasonic’s original high-resolution technologies, "Mobile PEAKS PROCESSORTM" and "Mobile Double Contrast AI" that achieves a high contrast ratio of 4000:1, enabling users to enjoy vivid and high resolution "One-Segment" mobile TV and motion pictures.
Using "LCD Artificial Intelligence" which adjusts the brightness of a display automatically and advanced system LSI based on "UniPhier" for mobile phone, the P905iTV leverages eye-friendly pictures and electric power saving, letting users enjoy long-time ’One-Segment’ mobile TV viewing and music playing.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Say no to "Dumb Pipes"

Mobile operators must focus on providing services, not just pipes, to ensure they continue to keep pulling a profit, leaders in the industry said.

At a keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Vodafone's chief executive Arun Sarin said big pipes - the term used to describe high-capacity networks - were not the right area to focus on to achieve growth in the market.

"We must not allow ourselves to become big pipes and let someone else do the services," said Sarin. "Communications is our core business - we have to provide these services," he said.

Speaking of services, he added: "If we get this right, the upside will be enormous. If we don't, it will still be enormous - just for someone else," he said.

His view was echoed by the head of Cisco, John Chambers: "If all we do is provide transport, it won't be very lucrative... If we allow markets to become dumb pipes, there'll be no profit."

Services - and how they are delivered - have been a hot topic at MWC this year. While new devices have drawn attention, the news is often more to do with the operating system, be it Android or Windows Mobile, or the web services than the new technology in the handset.

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son warned operators they risked becoming “dumb pipes,” if they did not move swiftly to control mobile content, reports TotalTelecom. Speaking on Wednesday at the MWC, Son said his primary plan when Softbank bought Vodafone Japan in 2006 was to drive the development of the mobile web, saying voice will “eventually become a utility.”

Son said that 2008 will see network speed and device capability hitting a point that will enable the mobile web to take off. In Japan, 90 percent of all handsets shipped are mobile-TV capable, while mobile phones now have faster CPUs that speed up browsing and bigger and better quality displays that allow the web to be viewed “properly.” Son noted that 3G was actually not good enough in terms of speed, and that with it, “you just end up with people getting upset.” HSDPA, however, was fast enough.

Just as the carriers' fear of becoming a dumb pipe is one elephant the industry can't seem to push out of the room, it's worth noting that mentions of the Apple iPhone declined significantly at this year's show. Panelists talked about the rise in popularity of touch screens, the importance of user interfaces and the big push to bring the desktop Internet experience to the mobile platform. However, they rarely mentioned the handset that has done so much to evangelize these three trends. After an entire year barraged by iPhone news, the attendees didn't need to hear it.

One high profile carrier speaker never gave a "dumb pipe" warning. Instead, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega detailed the myriad options that AT&T subscribers have for mobile content services after quickly rushing through a few slides with iPhone usage statistics.

De la Vega didn't give a dumb pipe warning during his keynote address because iPhone users have already turned AT&T's EDGE network into one. The iPhone's applications are managed by Apple and other Internet service providers. AT&T just needs to keep the network up and running.

So maybe Coleridge's quote doesn't apply here. Maybe the fearsome "dumb pipe" metaphor really is as tired as it sounds. Maybe the carriers' folly is already evident here at Mobile World Congress: No one addressed the power that Apple has wrestled from carriers the world over. The carriers' folly was in trying to resurrect the specter of one elephant in the room, while ignoring the presence of another.

Monday, 18 February 2008

MWC08: Everyone talked about their LTE offering

In the recently concluded Mobile World Congress, everyone made sure that they talk about their LTE offering. This included the Handset manufacturers, Mobile operators, chipset people and even the Applications developer who were telling that their applications would work better than others, etc.

Here is a roundup of some stories (a bit old though):

At the Mobile World Congress, Samsung and LG express their yearning for 4G in Mobile WiMAX and LTE (Long Term Evolution), respectively.

Samsung demonstrates the interworking between Mobile WiMAX and GSM in cooperation with Alcatel-Lucent. The company’s dual-mode phone supporting both Mobile WiMAX and GSM realizes seamless video streaming, moving from Mobile WiMAX to GSM.

Besides various Mobile WiMAX solutions, Samsung unveil Access Service Network (ASN) systems such as U-RAS Flexible and U-RAS Light Series 3 working as a base-station for expanding coverage of hot zones, inside a building or at home. Using ASN, service providers will be able to facilitate integrated services such as quadruple play service and thereby improve Mobile WiMAX network as well as enlarge service coverage, the company explains. Samsung also demonstrates OFDMA, the next generation Mobile WiMAX, in high-resolution video streaming at 1Gbps download, and unveils a wide range of Mobile WiMAX devices such as USB Dongle, PC cards, PDA, UMPC, PMP and notebook computers.

LG joins forces with Nortel, its strategic partner in telecommunications equipment, to demonstrate wireless multimedia transmission using LTE, a strong candidate for 4G mobile standard. The LTE platform introduced by LG supports 60Mbps download and 40Mbps upload, up from 20Mbps for both upload and download realized in the last year’s demonstration.

China Mobile has joined Vodafone and Verizon Wireless in trialling the LTE technology that will take 3G through to 3.5G before the world finally looks at 4G - and in doing so, has shaken the established standards by adding its own Chinese-oriented technology to the LTE mix.

It announced that the three-way operator trials "will focus on the testing of LTE in the Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) paired spectrum, and the Time Division Duplex (TDD) unpaired spectrum - both technologies which are seen by some as an attempt to avoid payments of royalties to Western IP holders.

If there was any question that LTE is dominating the charge toward 4G, Qualcomm, the primary supporter of competing UWB technology, is now deploying a number of chipsets with LTE support. Verizon is one of Qualcomm's largest customers, and their decision to go LTE has apparently broadened Qualcomm's horizons. The company also says they'll be conducting HSPA+ tests throughout 2008.

"Motorola's vision for next-generation networks is one of a 4G radio access technology with huge bandwidth like LTE, combined with a flat IP architecture tied to IMS, enabling an unlimited variety of media mobility experiences. Our carrier customers want technology solutions that fit with their business plans - regardless of whether their 4G choice is LTE or WiMAX that will deliver the user experience and capacity necessary to support the growing demand for bandwidth intensive mobile, multimedia applications," said Fred Wright, senior vice president, Cellular Networks and WiMAX, Motorola.

LTE will provide users with a personal media experience similar to that of fixed line broadband both in terms of bandwidth and latency, meaning applications that can be delivered today on fixed line will soon be available over the air and fully mobility with LTE. By combining expertise from across Motorola including, chipsets, network and video head-end solutions, and professional services, the Motorola LTE ecosystem will enable true media mobility, delivering innovative applications that can help operators to increase revenues and gain a competitive advantage.

Motorola is pioneering mobile broadband innovation and leveraging its experience, research and expertise in OFDM, as well as developments in chipsets, devices, high-speed backhaul solutions, collapsed IP architecture and video head end solutions, to deliver its end-to-end LTE solution.

Nortel, LG and LG-Nortel demonstarted at mobile event that how LTE enables the user to watch videos streamed from YouTube or monitor his home security through online video surveillance system access while traveling.

“Nortel is moving forward aggressively on LTE in order to bring to market a solution capable of supporting high demand applications like video and interactive services that will have an impact on operators''' bottom lines and revolutionize the user experience," said Doug Wolff, general manager of LTE, Nortel.

With the LTE market just starting to develop, Alcatel-Lucent and NEC Corp. believe combining their resources early on will help them develop a market advantage. Alcatel-Lucent CEO Patricia Russo said the move is an offensive play, rather than a defensive one.

Japan’s NTT DoCoMo Inc. already has selected NEC to help deploy its LTE solution, while Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility have selected Alcatel-Lucent as trial partners for planned LTE deployments.The two network vendors said they plan to participate in trials in 2008 and launch a commercial network solution in 2009. The companies will use a common LTE platform and then customize the configuration depending on the needs of the carrier. Alcatel-Lucent and NEC have been working toward the joint venture for about six months.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Nokia shows off Green Phone

Plastic from drink bottles form its chassis while its rubber keypad is made from old car tyres, Nokia said in a statement.

Called "Remade", the silver-coloured handset is a concept that "explores potential new ideas", the company said.

"The idea behind the concept was to see if it was possible to create a device made from nothing new.

"It has been designed using recycled materials that avoid the need for natural resources, reduce landfill, and allow for more energy efficient production," Nokia said.

Remade is part of Nokia’s ongoing environmental effort.

"It is designed to help inspire and stimulate discussion on how mobile devices might be made in the future," according to the phone maker.

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the Finnish firm's chief executive, pulled the clamshell handset out of his pocket during his speech at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona yesterday, pictured above. "It shows what can be done with materials," he said. "It is only a concept now but it gives you an insight into how we think we can break new ground." Nokia, which last year made four in 10 of the more than 1bn handsets sold worldwide, has been developing the handset - branded Remade - at its laboratories.

The metal casing and keypad are made from recycled steel, while inside the phone Nokia has been working on materials with an organic origin, such as polylactic acid plastics.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Do I hear TDtv again?

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb 12, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- NextWave Wireless Inc. (formerly IP Wireless) a global provider of mobile multimedia and broadband technologies, today paved the way for handset manufacturers to easily participate in the global market for TDtv by announcing a TDtv Device Integration Pack. Designed to meet the strict cost, size, and power consumption requirements established by some of Europe's largest mobile operators, NextWave's TDtv Device Integration Pack includes a low-power TDtv System in Package (SiP), a complete MBMS software stack, and MediaFusion multimedia client software from PacketVideo Corporation (PV). NextWave's turnkey solution will enable device vendors to deliver TDtv handsets to market in 2008 in support of the TDtv initiative announced today by NextWave, Orange and T-Mobile UK.

"Our TDtv device integration module provides a simple and inexpensive way for device manufacturers to integrate the power of TDtv into their next-generation WCMDA handsets," said Dr. Bill Jones, CEO of NextWave Network Products. "We're confident that a growing number of device manufacturers will support TDtv as mobile operators begin to accelerate wide-area deployments of TDtv systems."

TDtv is an innovative 3GPP MBMS solution that provides mobile operators an opportunity to profitably deliver up to 28 high-resolution TV channels, digital audio channels, and other IP data-cast services to an unlimited number of concurrent customers. By operating on existing 3G spectrum and with the unique ability to support multi-carrier spectrum pooling and network sharing, TDtv represents a breakthrough in reducing the cost of implementing mobile television and provides UMTS operators around the world with a powerful multimedia and advertising platform. Currently, more than 150 mobile network operators in over 50 countries have access to the spectrum needed to deliver TDtv to more than half a billion subscribers.

"When we looked at the available mobile TV technologies, TDtv was one of the technologies that impressed us the most, both from a performance as well as from a market opportunity perspective," said Michael Thelander, CEO of Signals Research Group, LLC. "With spectrum available across Europe and many parts of Asia and with two major operators now moving forward with an initiative, this is a market that handset vendors should take the time to explore."

NextWave's TDtv Device Integration Pack includes everything device manufacturers need to create a TDtv- enabled handset. The Device Integration Pack includes an integrated TDtv System in Package (SiP) measuring approximately 10x10 millimeters, a complete software suite that includes the required MBMS software stack, and TDtv radio access network controller software. The TDtv SiP includes a TDtv baseband chip, RF chip, receive filters and passives, and interfaces directly with the handset's application processor. This low power (active power consumption under 60 mW) solution enables device manufacturers to better meet network operator requirements for sleek and highly-attractive mobile TV handsets with internal antennas, and includes filters that allow for seamless coexistence with existing 2G and 3G services.

Meanwhile in Guardian:

T-Mobile and Orange will today announce a partnership to run a commercial trial in west London of a new mobile TV technology which could allow handset users to tune in to up to 100 channels.

The technology, TDTV, has been developed by US-based NextWave Wireless at its British unit in Chippenham, Wiltshire, and could provide a cheaper and more efficient way to get broadcast TV on to mobile phones. The trial, due to start in late summer, will see several thousand Londoners given either a new handset - made by a far eastern manufacturer rumoured to be LG - or a wireless receiver, no bigger than a matchbox, which will transfer the channels to their mobile phones.

The six-month test will see Orange and T-Mobile share their masts in London and install equipment that will allow them to broadcast 24 high-quality TV channels including several from the BBC and BSkyB, and 10 digital radio stations. It follows technical trials of the service carried out by Orange in Bristol last year. Orange and T-Mobile are also inviting O2, Vodafone and 3 to take part in the London test.

TDTV uses a slice of the 3G spectrum which Britain's five networks spent £22.5bn buying eight years ago and which has so far lain dormant. As a result, TDTV works with the phone companies' systems, making it easy to bill customers.

TDTV is more efficient and has more capacity for channels than other mobile TV solutions. Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone and 3 are all offering mobile TV through their 3G networks but they suffer from congestion if more than a handful of customers use the service in the same place. TDTV uses a different part of the 3G spectrum and many more users can watch TV simultaneously.

The European Union has proposed using a Nokia-backed standard called DVB-H for mobile TV in member countries, but there will be no spectrum available for it in Britain until the analogue TV signal is switched off in 2012, and the operators will have to pay if they want it.

DVB-H, which O2 tested in Oxford two years ago, can carry only about two dozen channels while TDTV could have up to 100.

Mobile World Congress 08 Diary

The Trade Show Disconnect - Telecom Magazine

Mobile World Congress highlights -

Top 10 trends at the Mobile World Congress - InfoWorld

You can check the Financial Times Diary here on whats going on at MWC 08.

If I find any other sources, i will add them on this post.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Why is everyone talking of Gooogle Android?

It seems everyone is eager to show their own take on the first official Google Android phones at MWC. ARM, Texas Instruments, Marvell and Qualcomm are just a few of the companies hoping to impress with their Android handsets.

Google launched Android, an open development platform in November. Phones sporting the Android software are expected out later this year. Google also announced the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 34 handset manufacturers, carriers and chipmakers that have said they plan to support Android products and services.

Google hopes Android will become the dominant operating system for many mobile phones. Android is set to improve the Internet for phone users.

"What's the big deal? Android doesn't look like it enables anything different from what everyone else offers."

But James Bruce, North American mobile manager for marketing at ARM, said that it's not so much what Android allows cell phone users to do, but rather what it doesn't require handset chip and device makers to do.
"Android provides a complete application framework, which can be put on chipsets with a lot less work," he said.

In a nutshell, Android should simplify the process of getting a new phone and new applications to market. Today, the cell phone market is extremely fragmented. Every manufacturer has its own operating system for phones. And very often even different models of handsets are developed using proprietary software. This makes it difficult for handset components makers, application developers, and the handset makers themselves to develop new products and services quickly because they have to design functionality for each software iteration. Even the most basic functions like SMS could require different programming from one brand of handset to another.

Android is supposed to alleviate this problem, because it provides a common operating system and development platform that has all the basic functionality baked in. But the software, which is based on a version of Linux, is also open enough to allow application developers to design new applications and services for the device.

To learn more about Android, check this out.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Nortel's 4G cocktail at MWC 08

Nortel is busy demo-ing 4G technologies at the Mobile World Congress (MWC ... formerly 3GSM) 2008.

"Today, at home or at the office, your network is just there - putting the world at your fingertips. But if you are out on the move, whether it be for meetings, running errands, or traveling around the world, your communications experience becomes very, very complicated," said Scott Wickware, vice president of marketing and strategy for Carrier Networks, Nortel. "You can e-mail, but you can't send or open certain files. You can surf the net, but you have to wait ages for pages to load and forget about watching a video. Your other option is to search out a WiFi hot spot where you'll then have to pay yet another connection fee. When you go mobile, all of a sudden you are forced to pay attention to the network and you shouldn't have to."
The demand for better connections and the need for the experience to be simple are what drive the next level of innovation in our networks. For wireless networks, that next level of innovation is 4G mobile broadband, which includes LTE and WiMAX. 4G can extend the quality experience that users get from their fixed connections into the mobile world. Nortel has all the elements needed to bring carriers successfully into the 4G world: innovation in WiMAX and LTE, a strong ecosystem, all IP-core, and a deep understanding of what consumer and business users are looking for from their wireless experience.

Nortel's 4G Mobile Broadband website says:
4G delivers true mobile broadband for the masses with a superior user experience. Nortel is boosting the adoption of mobile multimedia and the delivery of a true mobile broadband experience through our leadership in 4G-enabled technologies (WiMAX, LTE (Long Term Evolution), UMB (Ultra Mobile Broadband), and IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem). 4G mobile broadband provides improved performance, lower total cost of ownership and enables a new era of personalized services. 4G networks are IP-based and flatter with fewer nodes to manage. The benefits are significant and can make 4G mobile broadband a truly disruptive and game-changing technology.
If Nortel calls this 4G then this is 4G ;)