Tuesday, 9 June 2009

NGMN put into our context

Here is a slide from Klaus-Jurgen Krath of T-Mobile Germany, which simplifies NGMN for us. NGMN or the Next Generation Mobile Networks intends to complement and support the work within standardisation bodies by providing a coherent view of what the operator community is going to require in the decade beyond 2010.

You can read more about NGMN here.

An old whitepaper titled "Next Generation Mobile Networks Beyond HSPA & EVDO" gives much more insight into NGMN vision, mission and details some of their recommendations. Its available to download here.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Cell Radius on Different LTE Frequencies

I mentioned earlier about the cell radius being 300 metres at 2.6GHz. Here is a diagram showing that.

The Case for Early LTE in the USA

Doug Wolff,Vice President , End-to-end LTE product management, Alcatel-Lucent spoke about "The Case for Early LTE in the USA" in the LTE World Summit. Here are the main highlights from his presentation:

Overview of US Wireless Market:
  • With the penetration rate approaching 90% and the economy decreasing, customer and revenue growth are both slowing
  • Data is becoming increasingly important to operators’revenue growth –driven by flat rate data plans and the iPhone
  • Operators are developing new revenue models, including M2M and mobile advertising
  • Consolidation continues --the top four operators have recently purchased: Alltel, Rural Cellular, Dobson and SunComWireless
  • LTE deployments are scheduled to begin in 2009, using the already auctioned 700 MHz and AWS spectrum bands
  • Increase in availability and demand for smartphonesand multi-featured devices
  • Verizon & AT&T, with 60% of the market, focus on network quality and coverage –smaller operators jockey for position with pricing
  • Operators have increased their focus on OPEX cost savings related to network spending
The US Wireless Users of Future will demand and consume more data. According to a survey done by Alcatel-Lucent, Consumers are more likely to be interested in video, image, location and Business in collaboration, video conference, data transfer. There is a very high likelihood of people signing up for 4G [sic] when it is available.

The US lags in broadband adoption. It ranked 21st in world in 2008 vs. 6th in 2001. Rural broadband lags urban/suburban areas. 21% of US (nearly 60M people) live in rural areas.

To encourage Broadband rollout especially in rural areas, Broadband Stimulus Bill has been proposed. The Bill highlights can be seen from the picture:

LTE can be an ideal candidate as it leverages wireline/wireless assets for rural access in the USA
  • Digital dividend band (700/800 MHz) offers ideal radio environment for rural access
  • Best available backhaul using microwave, GPON and optical aggregation
  • Common aggregation and service routing offers converged access solution

Along with the technology, focus is also on services, etc. Verizon has recently Wireless LTE Innovation Center to foster the development of new devices and applications for its upcoming fourth generation, long-term evolution (LTE) network (see presentation). The main aim being:
  • Accelerate innovative services
  • Enable new business models
  • Attract open innovation
  • Enable multi-screen experience

Along with this there is n.g connect program that will help various players in the ecosystem to come together.

There is also a Verizon Open device/development initiative and they recently released its initial set of technical specifications for devices that will run on its Long Term Evolution (LTE) fourth generation (4G) wireless network. The specifications are available for download at www.verizonwireless-opendevelopment.com.

So in conclusion, the case for early LTE in the USA driven by End-user demand for enriched QoE and New market opportunities (M2M, rural zone, M-advertising, 700MHz spectrum..). This is being helped by Network & Ecosystem initiatives led by Verizon & Alcatel-Lucent for successful early LTE launch in the USA. Drivers & Enablers of early LTE in the USA are highly relevant in European & Asian Mature markets. An early rollout in USA will encourage early rollout in other markets.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Samsung unviels first 12 mega pixel camera phone

Samsung will release what it said is the world's first 12-megapixel camera phone this month, beating rival handset maker Sony Ericsson to market and jumping ahead in the megapixel race.
Samsung reinforced its leadership in the high megapixel cameraphone market by unveiling Samsung Pixon12 (M8910).Samsung will launch the Pixon12, which has a full-touch 3.1-inch AMOLED display, later this month in Europe and in other regions of the world in August.
Samsung is launching this camera phone with three keywords in mind i.e. Instant shoot, Instant see and Instant share which they think will provide incredible user experience.

Instant Shoot:
The Samsung Pixon12 enables users to take perfect pictures quickly and easily, thanks to a Dedicated Camera Power Key which gives users fast one-touch access to the camera function. Once the camera is turned on, users can aim and snap, capturing images as fast as today's advanced digital camera. Samsung Pixon12 also features fast image saving for next shot, so users can move to next shot within around 2 seconds. The phone provides the best photo quality by adopting innovative camera features. With Touch Auto-Focus (AF) tracking, users can simply select focus point with the touch of a finger, after which the AF function will automatically follow the object, keeping it in focus even as it moves across the screen. Moreover, Smart Auto feature allows users to capture the perfect images as the camera automatically changes the scene and mode based on its object, background and lighting. Images taken on the Pixon12 are worth showing off to friends and loved ones as they boast digital camera quality thanks to the phone camera's superb lens and Xenon flash. The 28mm wide angle lens also allows a better perspective and more full capture of a scene for consumers.

Instant See:
After they are done snapping, users can re-live and enjoy the pictures on the Pixon12's brilliant 3.1" AMOLED screen. The screen boasts a contrast ratio of 10,000:1 while providing power-saving features which increase battery life. Finally, the Pixon12 enables users to easily organize and manage photos with multiple ways of sorting - by tags, file names, ratings, and time. In addition, the multi-selection feature enables users to pull up images in groups rather than one by one, making viewing and editing photos much easier.

Instant Share:
With Samsung Share Pix, the Pixon12 lets users easily upload images and videos to popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, MySpace, Photobucket, Friendster - a breeze. Add to that, the phone's high-connectivity functions including Wi-Fi and HSUPA capabilities mean that user's photos can be shared to their friends in no time. The Samsung Pixon12 will be available from end of June in European countries and it will be expanded to other regions in August.The announcement of the Pixon12 is a blow to Sony Ericsson, which has touted its Satio phone, previously named the Idou, as having a 12-megapixel camera. The Satio will be available in the fourth quarter.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Signaling latency in UMTS/HSPA and LTE

I think this is a very good self explanatory picture from a presentation by Qasara.

Do check out the 3G4G page for up to date presentations, whitepapers, etc. on LTE/SAE.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Nokia’s Ovi store launch didn’t go well

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

"Has Japan lost its fizz?"

Interesting article from the Independent, not related to mobiles though...

Walkman, compact disc, VCR, DVD, PlayStation; It reads like a roll call of the coolest gadgets of the last three decades, and Japan is responsible for making the bulk of them. From the Sony transistor radio in the 1950s to today's global megahit, the Nintendo Wii, the technological prowess of Japan's corporations has been a key engine of its economic success since its rise from the ashes of the Second World War.

But is the world's second largest economy a spent technological force? This concern has been sharpened by the brutal balance-sheet realities of Japan's once all-conquering consumer electronics sector. Hitachi leads the pack, filing a record annual loss of £5.3bn this month after announcing worldwide job cuts of 7,000 employees. Panasonic, the brand name of appliance giant Matsushita, has posted its first net loss in six years and will slash 15,000 jobs and shutter 40 factories. In the late 1980s, Matsushita was turning out two-thirds of the world's video recorders, but now finds itself in a battle for market share with cheaper rivals.

For Sony, a company synonymous with Japan's postwar resurrection, the plunge from greatness may be steepest of all, with the posting of a £141m operating loss for the final quarter of last year and the planned slashing of 16,000 people from its global payroll. The company that brought the world the Trinitron TV, quietly slipped to third place in the global television market this year, behind South Korea's Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. Even the PlayStation 3, touted as Sony's comeback product, has been outperformed by the Wii. More than three years after being appointed president, British-born Sir Howard Stringer is said to be deeply frustrated at his apparent inability to pull the company out of its death dive.

Almost wherever one looks, the picture isn't pretty. Toshiba and NEC's consumer electronics divisions are also in trouble; embattled Sanyo has just become a subsidiary of Matsushita. One of the few bright spots is the Wii, which has sold over 50 million units worldwide. But is that simply the fading light from a burnt-out star, wonders Jonathan Allum, Chief Japan strategist at KBC Asset Management in London.

"I think its fair to say that Japan's big brand names have lost some of their preeminence." The key question is whether this loss is cyclical or terminal. While much of the recent red ink can be blamed on plummeting global demand that will presumably recover, the Japanese electronics industry faces "historic challenges" that threaten the survival of its most famous brands, warns Tim Hornyak, author of Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots. "The 20th-century appeal and market share of Japanese brands has eroded amid the IT revolution and new rivals in electronics." True, Japan still sells over 60 trillion yen in consumer electronics every year. The profitability of finished products is slumping, however, with competitors in China, Korea and Taiwan increasingly churning out cheaper flat-screen TVs, DVD players, mobile phones and digital cameras. Analysts say Japan has clung to its hardware strengths even as the world around it has been transformed by the digital and Internet revolution.

Meanwhile, at the top end of the technological spectrum, fleet-footed rivals like Apple have swept Japan's dominance of the market for portable gadgets aside, replacing music and video players with a single device like the iPod. "The consumer electronics business has disappeared as we know it," points out Allum. "There has been a convergence of the computer and consumer electronics worlds; people download music and movies from their PCs now." But Mark Lytle, a tech nology consultant who runs the Japan-based Digital World Tokyo website, calls the convergence notion "patent nonsense."

"Converged things are really all about one core function (e.g. a mobile phone) with extras bolted on (e.g. a camera) as marketing points. It's rare to find one thing that performs more than one or two functions as well as a dedicated device would for each. The combination of iPod and phone in the iPhone is one shining example, which is why it gets so much press."

Many Japanese analysts remain unconcerned at the rise of the Asian tigers, which have been playing technological catch-up for "many years now," says Takuji Okubo, senior economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "The countries in the middle – Korea and Taiwan – have a much bigger problem than China or Japan. China doesn't threaten Japan directly; it threatens Korea and Taiwan." Many of the lower-end goods coming from China are in any case produced in Japanese-owned factories. Hornyak too believes that talk of Japan's technological demise has been "exaggerated," and that the country will stay ahead of its Asian rivals. As evidence, he cites a list of recent product breakthroughs, including Sony's compact HDR-TG1 high-definition camera and pocket-sized PCs, Nikon's D90 digital camera with video capture, and JVC's ultra-thin LCD TVs. "I believe current aggressive restructuring moves may better position Japanese makers to regain market share and their former leadership position."

Perhaps so. Sony is getting ready to dump about half its suppliers and shrink its electronics factories from 57 to 49. Matsushita and Hitachi are also preparing to swing the axe. But critics say Japan's problems have exposed an old Achilles heel: a lack of truly groundbreaking creativity. The transistor, IC circuit, LCD screen, PC, VCR and compact disc, after all, were invented elsewhere before being miniaturised and mass-produced by Japanese corporations. Once out in front, these corporations floundered in the face of more innovative foreign rivals.

Veteran Japan-based commentator Eamonn Fingleton calls that analysis part of the "creativity conceit" that consistently blindsides America and Europe to Japan's strengths. "In economic terms, probably the most significant form of creativity is the development of new, more efficient manufacturing technologies," says the author of In the Jaws of the Dragon: America's Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony.

Look beyond the eye-catching market for gadgetry, says Fingleton, and Japan is still the world's leading technological player behind the scenes. Toshiba, for example, manufacturers the mini hard drive that powers the iPod, Japanese companies monopolize the production of semiconductor-grade silicon, and make much of the optical fiber and laser diodes that form the backbone of the internet; Nikon and Canon supply many of the optical machines that print lines on computer chips, and so on.

"Anyone who thinks Japan is out of the game should look at trade statistics," advises Fingleton. "Japan's current account surplus last year totaled $211bn. That was nearly four times the total in 1989, the last year of the great Japanese boom. Japan has achieved this despite rapid growth by other East Asian nations." So down, but not out seems to be the message. Still, the country's corporations have no room for complacency. Falling profits will affect their ability to invest in R&D, and competition, especially from South Korea, is likely to intensify; Samsung has already stolen much of Sony's thunder. China, with about 10 times Japan's population, is an economic behemoth that will easily outpace its rival in the long term, outspending it in research and in trained scientists and engineers. "There is still an awful lot of stuff that Japan is doing technologically very well," says Allum. "But people are catching up."

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

All about latest Mobile Phones

Picked this one up from a Forum Oxford thread. Where to get the latest information and statistics about Mobile phones? Here are some of the links. If you know more please feel free to add them via comments.

Skyfire Browser for your Windows and Nokia mobiles

A complete browser is now available for your mobile phones. Unfortunately its only available for Windows Mobiles and Nokia N and E series phones. Fortunately I was able to download and try it on my ancient Nokia E61. Very impressed but I have to say it seems that when a big website is being downloaded then the phone/browser sort of grinds to a halt. I remember trying to use it when Beta came out but would crash while loading.

The release brings with it a host of improvements, such as improved navigation, zooming and interaction and a faster launch, lower power consumption, and new search functionality.

Also, while the new version of the browser starts up, you can begin typing URLs or search queries into the box at the top, saving time. That's added to existing flash support, so you can peruse your favourite video site.

Check the Skyfire website here.

To download the browser using your mobile, click here.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Is GPS really going to fall over?

The satellite navigation has become one of the staples of modern, hi-tech life. Using satellite navigation tools built into your car or mobile phone to find your way from A to B is one of the most basic things we are used to in our day to day activities.

But experts have warned that the system may be close to breakdown. A recent US congressional report says that the GPS system that could be on the verge of breakdown, thanks to a lack of proper investment.

The thought of the GPS not working itself is scary let alone it's a worrying possibility, not just for the Pentagon, which is having its ability to manage a complex service like GPS called into question, but for the companies that have built businesses on the solidity of the global positioning system.

As you might be aware that GPS data is made free to use by the US government, primarily with the concept of fostering the growth of the system and adoption by a wide range of companies - from the makers of in-car satellite navigation systems to high-end mobile phones, tagging the criminals and even child-locating wristwatches.

But what do they think about the possibility that GPS could fail?

The satellites are overseen by the US Air Force, which has maintained the GPS network since the early 1990s. The study by the US government accountability office (GAO) continbues to argue that mismanagement and a lack of investment in GPS technology means that some of the crucial GPS satellites could begin to fail as early as next year.

The impact on ordinary users could be significant, with millions of satnav users potential victims of bad directions or failed services. There would also be similar side effects on the military, which uses GPS for mapping, reconnaissance and for tracking hostile targets.

Among the companies that could be seriously affected is TomTom, the Dutch satnav maker that was founded in the early 1990s - around the same time as GPS went live.

The contents of the report from the government accountability office suggest that the reliability of GPS will begin to drop drastically, with at least five years of deterioration before things might get better.
However I still believe that GPS is, and remains, an excellent technology for all who use it. Although these report appears to be serious but I’m not overly concerned about this, and there is no reason to believe it will. I’m pity sure that the US government will pledge full support for GPS and will not allow it to falter.

I would be very much surprised if anyone in the US government was actually OK with letting it fail – it's too useful. Instead, the theory which is emerging now is that the worries generated over GPS are merely the push and pull of Washington politics and that the problem isn't really a serious one.The failings of GPS could also play into the hands of other countries – including opening the door to Galileo, the European-funded attempt to rival America's satellite navigation system, which is scheduled to start rolling out later next year.
Russia, India and China have developed their own satellite navigation technologies that are currently being expanded.

For the above reasons US government is taking it very seriously and it appears though are now considering to appoint organizations to monitor the development of GPS, which are good signs in terms of looking ahead to ensure GPS continues to deliver the great quality it has to so many people.