Posts filed under '3G'

World’s First Firefox OS Smartphone Released In Spain

Though having Google’s Android and Apple’s IOS hitting the market with their name, quality, value and functionality, Telefonica has launched a new Firefox OS Smartphone in the market jointly with Mozilla and ZTE. Telephonica is Spain based telecommunication and broadband service provider in Europe, Latin America and Asia and 5th largest mobile network provider in the world; Mozilla, a open source project by Netscape Communications Corporation, launched the Mozilla Firefox browser and now developed Firefox OS for the Smartphone; ZTE Corporation, China based multinational telecommunication equipment and systems company, the 4th largest mobile manufacturer in the world, has developed this Smartphone’s design.

The above trio has launched world’s first Smartphone, ZTE Open, with Firefox Operating System in Spain for 69Euros(90Dollars) and soon be launched in Latin America.  As per the statement by Carlos Domingo, Chief Product Development, Telephonica, in one conference, this device would be mainly  be for youngsters and those who are new to use the Smartphones.

Equipped with a 3.5-inch & 480x320pixels touchscreen, includes a 3.2MP camera(back), 256MB RAM and 512MB flash memory enhanced with a 4GB MicroSD card that comes as part of the package.

The ZTE Open is fully integrated with Facebook and the Spain-based social network Tuenti and talks are on about incorporating the WhatsApp instant messaging service, Telefonica said.

Mozilla executives said the ZTE Open is the “first chapter” in what they expect to be a long project, one that is already attracting interest from many other telecommunications companies.

 

Excerpts – Techgig

July 3rd, 2013

Facebook not quite “Home” yet on mobile phones

Apparently, Facebook “Home” is not to be, not yet at least.

The Android application launched by Facebook to create an FB overlay on the Home screen of the phone was supposed to be the big bet by FB to control the first touchpoint screen for a smartphone user. But due to poor reviews by initial analysts, Facebook is said to be revamping the FB Home application. The device which was supposed to launch this was HTC One and in US, AT&T was to be the exclusive carrier for this. In UK, operator EE and Orange were planning to launch it. The social network is said to be encouraging the carriers to delay the launch to give the firm more time to create a more palatable user experience.

The battle for the phone user is becoming more intense as time goes by. With smartphones overtaking web users globally, it is of paramount importance for tech firms to own the phone customer and drive more and more smartphone traffic to these firms’ offerings, in order to attract ad revenue and other commerce monetizations.

Without a doubt, Facebook social network application remains one of the top apps on all mobile systems including Apple iOS and Android. But Google, Facebook, wireless carriers and other media are jostling for more and more of user attention on phones as well as real estate on the limited phone screen, which are the next evolution of internet cycle.

Facebook released the following statement on Thursday evening via Engadget: “Following customer feedback, Facebook has decided to focus on adding new customization features to Facebook Home over the coming months. While they are working to make a better Facebook Home experience, they have recommended holding off launching the HTC First in the UK, and so we will shortly be contacting those who registered their interest with us to let them know of this decision. Rest assured, we remain committed to bringing our customers the latest mobile experiences, and we will continue to build on our strong relationship with Facebook so as to offer customers new opportunities in the future.”

htc-first-2

HTC First aka “Facebook Phone”  (Photo: Courtesy / HTC)

After extremely disappointing sales of the HTC First, Facebook will reexamine the Facebook Home before expanding its operating system to more phones in more countries.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said he would’ve rebuilt Facebook as a mobile exclusive app if he had the chance, so clearly offering a solid mobile experience means a great deal to Facebook. In this regard, the Facebook phone was a brilliant idea and makes a great deal of sense — like Google and Android, a true Facebook phone would allow Zuckerberg & Co. to have complete control over the user experience and ad strategy. The HTC First was the company’s first attempt at such a device — Facebook would focus on software while HTC would focus on hardware — but with the phone failing so soon after its initial release, Facebook will need to take a long look in the mirror. 

Failure of the HTC First may be blamed on Facebook’s decision to make Facebook Home features too accessible to other mobile users on Android and iOS, or maybe Facebook will realize that the Facebook Home features were not that stellar to begin with.

Facebook has fumbled on mobile before, when it launched it’s first mobile site using the mobile browser channel – with poor user feedback on that approach, Facebook later changed course and focused on more cleaner mobile apps, but this was much later in it’s lifecycle; Facebook mobile has a history of bouncing back. The early years of Facebook mobile efforts were limited to working on a common mobile website version of it’s platform addressing multiple platforms like iOS and Android with one approach. It later realized that that approach did not augur well and got into building platform specific Facebook apps, which have been superb hits since.

The last note above take one back to mobile site vs mobile app debate, which continues to simmer in the mobile development world. So far, it seems, the Apps are winning with many firms (eg Financial Times) having switched from a common http://m.xyz-firm.com approach to custom mobile apps for each mobile platform. More on this later in this space.

(with extracts and ideas from International Business Times article dated May 24 by Dave Smith)

May 26th, 2013

Apple iPhone 5 is here : CellStrat opinion

As if you have not heard enough about iPhone 5 already, here is more of it :)

Apple announced iPhone 5 on Sept 12th. The other big thing that happened that day was Quantitative Easing version 3 announcement by US Federal Reserve – one wonders, it was a synchronized announcement – just kidding.. Certainly, some market analysts have said that iPhone 5 may do more for US GDP growth than Fed’s QE3..amazing..

Well, intentional or not, both the announcements have a dramatic impacts – QE3 will accelerate the stock market rise around the world, fuel more inflation etc. Apple announcement will lead to Apple maintaining it’s hegemony in the smartphone ecosystem. I know, I know, some of you are on side of the table which is less than enamoured by the new iPhone 5. However, our take is that the ecosystem of Apple is much too strong and still underestimated by most. The vertical integration of iTunes, Macs, iPhones, iPads, licensed content in there, seamless charging via iTunes, cross-device synch capabilities are so intense and so transformational in the tech world, that few can match up with Apple prowess over the marketplace. Apple ran out of online inventory of iPhone 5 in one hour of opening the sales..validation enough of a huge pent-up demand out there.

Lack of NFC or some other popular features, now commonplace in other smartphones, will not deter iPhone 5 in creating breakthrough success once again for Apple sales. What most people fail to realize about Apple is that it does not usually toe the line created by others – it creates new models which, in many cases, become the benchmark over time. Coming back to NFC, Apple did bundle a feature called Passbook in the new iPhone 5 – a loyalty and coupon management feature – this is not payment enabled but it could evolve into a Digital Wallet. Many leaders like eBay, Square, Paypal are making do without NFC in Mobile Payments and quite successfully at that. It is likely that NFC may never become the mainstream mobile payment tech if Apple and others listed here do not push it.

As to what Apple iPhone 5 does pack, it has a laundry list of neat features :

LTE (4G capable), Thinner, Lighter, bigger screen (4 inch diagonally), all new Apple-designed A6 chip, better retina display, improved camera (although megapixels remain at 8 megs), enhanced HD video recording, 5 rows of icons on the screen, improved Siri assistant, new lightning connector, new Apple mapping app, better iCloud integration, 700,000 apps, new iOS 6 OS, Passbook loyalty feature, the list goes on and on.

To view all iPhone 5 features, click here.

As far as we can visualize, we still feel demand for iPhone 5 will be back-logged and people will go gaga over this device the world over. Apple mobile leadership is far from being threatened, not until they make major blunders or others truly can provide a neat vertically integrated ecosystem. So far, we see only Amazon as being anywhere close to providing the vertical ecosystem with Kindle platform. Samsung tried but it is missing many major components for creating a complete ecosystem, music partnerships to begin with, among other things. Google does not try as their focus is entirely different – to monetize via search engines on Android devices.

So – for now, it is Apple’s world to rule in the mobile arena, until somebody else “does an Apple” on them.

September 17th, 2012

Notes from TIE Bangalore Seminar on Mobile App Monetisation

(from our Bangalore desk)

This week I attended a seminar organized by TIE Bangalore on the topic of Mobile App Monetization. This is a vexing problem which has bedeviled most Mobile Apps developers around the world. Problems of app discovery, app marketing, too many apps, app development fatigue are well known.

This was an interesting panel discussion sponsored by Qualcomm Ventures. The speaker lineup was top-notch and included the following speakers :

  • Karthee Madasamy, Sr. Director, India and Israel, Qualcomm Ventures
  • Manik Arora, Founder & Managing Director, IDG Ventures India
  • B. Vamshi Reddy, Co-Founder & CEO, Apalya Technologies
  • Rahul Chowdhri, Director, Helion Venture Capital
  • Suresh Narasimha, Founder & CEO, TELiBrahma Convergent Communications
  • V. V. Ravindra, Managing Director, Idea Brahma

The discussion was riveting and inspiring with this star speaker lineup. Below are the key points of discussion from this seminar :

Karthee’s keynote :

  • Globally, there exist 6 billion wireless connections now out of which 1.6 billion are 3G connections. This number is expected to swell to 3.1 billion 3G connections by 2015. Also, by 2015, emerging markets will contribute 50% of smartphone market share.
  • A smartphone is now a full blown computing device. A smartphone now embeds more and more electronic functions like camera, GPS, watch etc. Tight silicon integration is driving this trend. Mobile processors now offering full windows experience Eg Windows 8 may run on the same processor has as the Windows 8 phone.
  • As to India, in 2012, 200 million phones are expected to be sold in India. By 2015, 300 million phones will be sold in India. Smartphone sales will multiply by 4 times in India by 2015, compared to now. At the same time, the costs of high-end smartphones keep falling.
  • Another great trend is that of the rise of mobile broadband users in India. Today, there are 52 million active users in India. 42% Facebook users in India are mobile users. India has 37 million 3G HSPA users today.
  • India is very interesting in that, here, a phone is the first computer for a user, it is often the first camera as well as it is the first gaming device a person might have.
  • India has a huge amount of mobile opportunity. In fact, for India, mobile may be the only primary computing device which a huge amount of users might have.
  • 3G tariffs have dropped drastically in India. India is one of the cheapest 3G markets now, anywhere.
  • There was a time when there were hardly any Indian-brand devices. Now India has seen several homegrown device brands – who have increased market share using innovative strategies like dual SIM or Tier 2 market penetration. Indian brands like Micromax and Lava now own 20-30% of the market in India.
  • There are too many apps now and app fatigue exists, however good apps can still see a bright future.

Karthee also mentioned about the Qualcomm program to find successful startup models – this program is called the QPrize and it has total 1 million USD available in prize finding. One of the previous QPrize winner has been Capillary Tech.

Question : Is mobile apps just extension of VAS ?

Vamshi – Apps are to engage and entertain customers as far as Service Provider is concerned. Monetization of Apps, however, does have a VAS feel in India.

Suresh – TeliBrahma had decided early on not to work with operators and focus on domestic markets, however it is now trying to work with operators and is also marketing abroad. Advertising is a tough market. Need a billion impressions to make 1 million dollars.

Rahul – Their firm is concious that VAS market is challenging. As to working with carriers, it is a country specific issue and mostly an Indian problem. Mobile payments is a tough business to crack (but one of Helion investments ngpay has succeeded after some efforts). App monetization is generally difficult, somehow apps have to go local to add value. B2B2C seems to be a monetization model so far.

Question : How to make money on apps ?

Ravindra – To make money, need persistence. Positioning is important. For mHealth, doctors have to be targeted. App Store is not a good model – need to go through B2B channel eg via clinics or other healthcare firms. Selling via B2B2C seems only viable option in India to make money so far.

Vamshi – Apalya is selling via operators and direct to consumers also now. Collecting money today is via operators – that is one of rare ways to collect money. Apart from that, app monetization is very hard. Sheer persistence is key to get to inflection point in environment. Collection agent today is service provider. Another model – Vodafone is trying to act as change agent and willing to take only 30% app revenue share
similar to the app stores. Discovery thru app stores etc is hard.

Manik – with app stores, mobile social networking or mobile travel firms are hot again. Mobile is anytime anywhere location-based experience. Internet penetration is low but mobile penetrations is high. Especially, targeting tier two cities and local language support can help.

Social networks in India and search are in India are not promising as global guys do this. Mobile Commerce or m-Commerce requires local people, and hence is promising.

Angry bird started with a Finnish operator first, and then reached scale. And then Apple accepted them.

Rahul – ngpay – primary monetization is via payments. It has been difficult for ngpay in the beginning. Making money directly from end users is hard but possible.

Question : Paid apps vs ad-based apps?

Suresh – brand advertising is interesting but it is not easy. Eg Angry Birds became success after Rovio had tried many other apps. Mobile CPMs are too low compared to web CPMs. Mobile ad based revenue is not a viable model. White label apps do not work as IP gets transferred to the customer.

Manik – has a mobile advertising firm-vserv – in app advertising. It is early days for sure. if a firm has a little bit success, need to promote that. Eg Angry Birds. Long tail for mobile advertising in India is quite long. Only two media agencies in India have a dedicated mobile guy. Digital ad budgets will double at least in the next few years. But next growth has to come from mobile. Clearly there is a shift in positioning.

India has 900 million subscribers. So critical mass is there. Vserv has 60 million addressable users.

Vamshi – Angry birds focused on viral marketing.

Ravindra – India is about sheer size. Just smartphones are 15 million.

Rahul – invested in Dhingana. If one has a single app firm, need to have a deep app. Stay in low burn mode. Show engagement. Dhingana is radio ad market as radio has 100s of crores in ad revenue

Predictions :-

Manik – IDG is bottom up firm. Sees app opportunities in :

1) Infrastructure and enablers – eg advertising , security, discovery
2) enterprise mobility – still very new in India
3) cool movie movie hits type approach

Rahul –

1) B2B2C model is promising, that is hwere mobile and tablets are interchangeably used.
2) LBS services can be interesting
3) Global markets are promising

Karthee – Tablets are interesting – have a larger screen.

Vamshi – tablets market is still very small.

Suresh – tablets are promising. Eg winstores on tablets. Tablet will be bigger than PC at some point.

Ravindra – very bullish on tablet growth. Everybody knows tablets now and people understand their use now. People see PC replacement to a large extent. Clinics are good use cases for tablets. As doctors and radiologists are small compared to population, healthcare sector needs productivity improvements using mobile devices.

August 16th, 2012

Key points from Chetan Sharma update on US and Global Mobile Data Market

Today Chetan Sharma, prominent Wireless Consultant in US and a friend of CellStrat team, released a great summary of Mobile Data market updates from Q2 2012 quarter (some are US specific stats while others are global stats). The key points from Chetan’s note are :

  • US Mobile Data market is $19.3 billion in Q2 2012. Data now accounts for 42% of US mobile industry revenues.
  • In terms of Y/Y growth, Connected Devices segment grew 21%, Prepaid 12%, Wholesale 4%, and Postpaid was flat. AT&T, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon are number one respectively in these categories.
  • Prepaid subscriptions exceeded 100 million for the first time in the US. This is also indicative of US’s downward economics trends. Postpaid growth is slowing in the US.
  • iOS and Android are the two dominant mobile OSes. Windows Mobile may be third but with a very tiny market share.
  • Samsung dominates global device unit shipments – however Apple has 70% of global mobile device profits in spite of just 5% of device market share. Samsung now leads in every major unit sale category both on the world stage as well as in the US. However, profits are a different equation where Apple overshadows its rivals like Gulliver on the Lilliput land.
  • Apple iPad has 97% of global tablet profits with the remaining tablet players fighting for remaining crumbs.
  • Smartphone penetration crossed 50% in the US.
  • Ranking for top mobile data profits globally includes China Mobile, Apple, Verizon, AT&T, and NTT DoCoMo, in that order.
  • AT&T and Verizon have launched shared data plans (a first – where two or more folks share the same data plan on a family account) in the USA.
  • US continues to sell over 40% of the world’s smartphone every quarter thus making it the most attractive market for OEMs.
  • The overall data consumption in the US market in 2012 is expected to exceed 2000 Petabytes or 2 Exabytes. The smartphone data consumption at some operators is averaging close to 850 MB/mo. As we move into 1GB range along with the family data plans kicking in, you can expect the data tiers to get bigger both in GBs and dollar amount.
  • Globally, one sees a Mobile First approach by firms now evolving into Mobile Only approach. Leading apps and services like Facebook, Twitter, Pandora are already operating in the world where mobile is driving majority of their user engagement. Expedia, Fandango and others are seeing the early signs of migration into the mobile dominated world. Very soon, mCommerce revenues will overtake eCommerce revenues.
  • Q2 2012 again saw tremendous activity in the mobile commerce and payments space with a lot of announcements from the operators, Internet players, and startups as well as the retailers and the ecommerce players. All are vying for a piece of the mobile wallet. Much more to come in the next 12 months. On the retail side, Starbucks is a player to watch as it tries to become a more active participant in the digital ecosystem.
  • Race to a billion – China is first nation to cross a billion subscriptions. (I guess India is second, massive population helps of course)

You can refer to this Update from Chetan and the other content on his site at http://www.chetansharma.com/.

Chetan Sharma is also organizing his high-end mobile conference Mobile Future Forward on Sept 10th in Seattle. Highly recommended, with a great set of speakers and topics.

August 13th, 2012

Over view of M2M and Internet of Things (IoT) & issues being faced…

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) refers to technologies that allow both wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices/systems of the same ability. M2M started with point solutions, created for one specific task. However, in the not too distant future we will get to a point where it is more common for devices to be connected than not. Then we get to the Internet of Things (IoT) where we might get a sharing of data across different sectors and between different devices in a way that wasn’t envisioned when M2M first came about.

The ROI for connected machines is rapidly expanding to a much wider market. E.g.

• Forecast for cellular M2M Connections range between 287 – 400 million connections by 2016 (Ref.: Pyramid research).

• Annual revenues from M2M services have been forecasted at US$35 billion by 2016 (Ref.: Juniper Research).

Both traditional vertical market applications and new cross-sector services are likely to exist, based on a data rich environment. These will vary immensely between the enterprise, or B2B, and B2B2C worlds. Connected homes and connected cars provide current early examples of the direction this is heading towards.

The Internet of Things is about utilizing data from billions of connected devices – the value is in the data. In order for this to happen, much more is required to get these devices to connect seamlessly. Getting billions of devices connected easily and cost-effectively in a way that allows interoperability is critical and does not yet exist. Evidence of this lack includes the high return rates (up to 90%) for home alarm and control products. M2M platforms are one key to solving this challenge.

Storing consumer data in the Internet of Things will create new security issues involving personal data and its acceptance quite different from those related to enterprise data storage. Educating consumers about the security and privacy of data – and its benefits – is and will be increasingly important. The value of stored data highlights key differences between B2B/enterprise and consumer behavior.

Facebook, where users consciously share information with others, provides a possible device model – set up your devices and tell each what you’re willing to let it do. Data ownership then becomes an issue. Who owns the device, who owns the data and how far can you share it? Also, how do I opt-in or opt-out? This is a business issue as well, making the right tools available so that the information can be shared in a secure way.

Scaling up and collecting massive amounts of data is a major challenge. There is a need, though, not to get too far ahead of the reality of the way people see value coming from applications. For example, automobile manufacturers had only a few people managing connected cars a short time ago; now hundreds are involved, across multiple departments. E.g. in case of a car crash, car sends data like location and impact of car crash data, to nearest fire station, police station, hospital etc. That creates a major challenge that must be resolved before creating new business models and sharing data with other industries.

M2M Market Examples :

VERTICALS FEATURES VALUE
Automotive • Vehicle Tracking 

• Traffic Control

• Manage a Fleet of Vehicles

 

  • Use less fuel
  • Have fewer Accidents
  • Gain logistical efficiency
  • Integrated IT / Finance
Security • Environmental / Subsidence / Utility AMR & AMI Monitoring 

• Home Security

• Water, Gas, and Electricity Meter Reading

 

  • Conserve electricity
  • Match supply & demand
  • Lower costs
  • Increase collections
Finance & Retail • ATM / EPOS / Kiosks/ Stock Control / Gaming 

• Digital Signage

• Point of Sale : Speed / Reliability / Security

 

  • More customer interaction
  • Interaction on Demand
  • revenue opportunities
Healthcare & Medical Devices • Patient Monitoring 

• Telemedicine

• Emergency Vehicle Response

  • Fewer Doctor visits
  • Higher quality of care
  • Real time patient assessment

 

Overall M2M areas could be:

  • Utilities
  • Fleet Management & Logistics
  • Connected Vehicles
  • Remote Assets Monitoring
  • Digital Signage
  • Smart Security
  • Smart Vending
  • ATM/POS
  • Public Services ( Safety , Transport etc. )
  • Smart Homes
  • Consumer- Connected Devices
  • Telemedicine… and many others…

Even when verticals are quite similar regulations may vary on a regional basis; individual countries may decide that health data should stay within its borders, for example, requiring data localization. Cellular M2M has been built around the telecom voice model but is actually in the Internet world. Regulators and operators need to adjust their perspective accordingly. Many operators recognize that data is a larger business than voice in the future, with LTE needed for data, not voice. The data business should not be constrained by the traditional voice model.

Scalability is about getting connectivity quickly but it’s not all cellular and doesn’t rely entirely on telcos. Large volumes of devices will be connected with WiFi or 802.15.4 radios connecting to an existing wired network. There are connectivity challenges within that part of the ecosystem as well.

M2M projects take anything from 12 to 24 months. Customers need this time reduced to get to market faster in any way possible, including getting help on device deployment, speeding up certification, and so on. Some of the biggest debates in contract negotiations involve data ownership, data usage, and indemnification around IP; these are major legal issues. Liability is another major legal issue — what happens when eCall doesn’t call or an alarm system doesn’t reach the central station?

Beyond connectivity, who will be responsible for the acquisition, analytics, and storage of large quantities of data? Some M2M customers generate hundreds of Gigabytes of location-based data every month, sending information updates every second; multiply this by 10s of thousands then millions – these are very sophisticated problems. IT companies are more likely to solve them than telcos although some are in the midst of M&A activities with data analytics and “big data.”

(Source: Excerpts from a recent Ericsson round table on M2M in CTIA; CellStrat Research)

July 28th, 2012

The New PC Era: The Personal Cloud

A new era that will give users a new level of flexibility with the devices they use for daily activities, ultimately leading to greater user satisfaction and productivity. But enterprises will need to fundamentally rethink how they deliver applications and services to users, the firm notes.

Users becoming more technologically smooth and having different expectations of technology. In addition, the Internet and social media, as well as the emergence of powerful, affordable mobile devices have empowered IT consumers.

Other key trends include virtualization, which has improved flexibility and increased the options for how IT organizations can implement client environments; the advent of the cloud for servicing individual users, and the ongoing shift to mobility.

Gartner says a number of factors are converging to make for a perfect personal cloud storm by 2014:

Megatrend No. 1: Consumerization— you ain’t seen anything yet
Gartner has discussed the consumerization of IT for the better part of a decade, and has seen the impact of it across various aspects of the corporate IT world. However, much of this has simply been a precursor to the major wave that is starting to take hold across all aspects of information technology as several key factors come together:

  • Users are more technologically-savvy and have very different expectations of technology.
  • The internet and social media have empowered and emboldened users.
  • The rise of powerful, affordable mobile devices changes the equation for users.
  • Users have become innovators.
  • Through the democratization of technology, users of all types and status within organizations can now have similar technology available to them.

Megatrend No. 2: Virtualization — Changing How the Game Is Played
Virtualization has improved flexibility and increased the options for how IT organizations can implement client environments….

Megatrend No. 3: “App-ification” — From Applications to Apps
When the way that applications are designed, delivered and consumed by users changes, it has a dramatic impact on all other aspects of the market….

Megatrend No. 4: The Ever-Available Self-Service Cloud
The advent of the cloud for servicing individual users opens a whole new level of opportunity. Every user can now have a scalable and nearly infinite set of resources available for whatever they need to do….

Megatrend No. 5: The Mobility Shift — Wherever and Whenever You Want
Today, mobile devices combined with the cloud can fulfill most computing tasks, and any tradeoffs are outweighed in the minds of the user by the convenience and flexibility provided by the mobile devices….

“The combination of above stated megatrends, with advances in new enabling technologies, is introducing the era of the personal cloud,” Kleynhans said. “In this new world, the specifics of devices will become less important for the organization to worry about. Users will use a collection of devices, with the PC remaining one of many options, but no one device will be the primary hub. Rather, the personal cloud will take on that role. Access to the cloud and the content stored or shared in the cloud will be managed and secured, rather than solely focusing on the device itself.”

(Source: ZDnet)

March 21st, 2012

The Memorable Smart Phones, Apps and Services of Mobile World Congress 2012!!

There was plenty of new hardware to keep the gadget fans happy, but the big buzz at this year’s Mobile World Congress was about software and services

What Mobile World Congress was asking attendees to keep in mind as the exhibition opened in Barcelona this week. More than 60,000 people will have passed through the closely guarded doors of Mobile World Congress by the time the event closes later today, with more than 1,400 exhibitors cramming themselves into the exhibition halls.

And with the GSMA – the association that runs the show – estimating the numbers of connected devices will more than double from the current nine billion to 24 billion by 2020, its clear mobile will continue to be an important platform.

Although previous years have seen some major phone launches at Mobile World Congress, this year, things were more measured. Hardware announcements were made, with plenty of phones and tablets to keep gadget fans happy, but it was the software and services that really mattered at this year’s event.

Even Facebook got in on the standards discussion; with chief technology officer Bret Taylor saying that the company would get behind the move to improve web standards so apps can be delivered to users without having to go through app stores.

“The social networking site Facebook and mobile were made for each other,” Taylor said in his speech at the event.

“Mobile operators will hope that working with Facebook could help mobile operators create a new eco-system, that over, time dilutes some of the power held within the industry by the current market-leaders in the application-store space: Apple and Google.”

Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt, meanwhile, told attendees at his keynote speech that smartphone prices would become more aligned with basic feature-phone costs next year. “A mobile experience at least at the level of today will be available to almost everybody, at a fraction of the price,” he said. “If Google gets this right, there will be an Android in every pocket. At our current growth rate, this is possible.”

Nokia also showed off the 808 PureView. The handset grabbed headlines for its staggering 41-megapixel camera. However, rather than opting for its favoured Smartphone platform, Nokia put the hardware into a Symbian handset.

As usual, the Irish contingent was well represented at the event. About 25 Irish firms were exhibiting at Mobile World Congress this year, with several taking space in Enterprise Ireland’s pavilion, including Solaris Mobile, Socowave and AltoBridge. Other companies moved outside the Irish pavilion, with payments firm Ezetop and Newbay both exhibiting elsewhere. Movidius showed off new 3D camera modules at its stand, with the company poised to take advantage of the new wave of 3D in mobile devices.

Payments firm BoxPay was on hand to show off its new Android one-click payment method, allowing users to buy smaller items through their phones and add it to their mobile bill. It also now offers recurring subscriptions payments, and is setting its sights on new markets.

BoxPay wasn’t the only firm trying to revolutionize mobile payments. Earlier this week, Vodafone announced a deal with Visa that would see consumers pay for goods with their mobile phones through near-field communications, with an account based on Visa’s prepaid system.

Vodafone’s chief executive Vittorio Colao described the mobile wallet as the “next stage of the Smartphone revolution”.

(Source: http://www.computerworld.com)

March 1st, 2012

MaaS360 Won Best Enterprise Mobile Services @ MWC’12

MaaS360 platform was honored with the 2012 Global Mobile Awards for “Best Enterprise Mobile Service” at Mobile World Congress. The Global Mobile Awards is one of the most prestigious in the mobile industry and fiberlink took top honors in a category that included MobileIron, Good Technology, Virtela Technology, Enterproid, Portugal Telecom and Click Software.

MaaS360 was selected Best Enterprise Mobile Services for providing the “Most innovative mobile tools to help corporations or enterprise user to work smarter and do business better on the move.” The Global Mobile Awards recognizes innovators and market vendors that deliver best solutions to the enterprise. MaaS360 prevail over competitors based on its ease of use, benefits to users and enterprises, ease of implementation, international applicability, return on investment and customer satisfaction.

In selecting MaaS360, the judges noted, “This demonstrates genuine understanding of enterprise user issues, and enables straightforward and cost-effective mobile device management.” More than 170 independent analysts, journalists, academics and subject matter experts and 16 representatives from mobile operators throughout the world participated in the judging of the 2012 awards.

MaaS360 provides comprehensive enterprise capabilities to mange iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices throughout the entire device lifecycle. As a true cloUd-based MDM solution, MaaS360 is faster to deploy and delivers far greater time to time value than any on premise or hosted solution.

In addition, smart phones and tablets, MaaS360 supports PC and Mac laptops in a single pane of glass for total enterprise device management.

MaaS360 is used to mange and secure more than one million endpoints globally.

February 29th, 2012

MWC’12: Cisco Announces New Network Roaming Technology

Today cisco announced that it is releasing a world first technology that will allow mobile phone users to roam between wi-fi hotspots and their mobile networks. Its industry first carrier-grade, end-to-end Wi-Fi infrastructure to deliver Next-Gen Hotspot (NGH),  which allow users to roam freely without losing their data connections.

Murali Nemani Cisco’s Senior Director of Service Provider Mobility Marketing told CBR that this is the world first deployment of Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) technology alongside the release of its new Small Cell Gateway for operators. This will manage subscriber and service information, integrating 2G/3G and 4G LTE networks with Wi-Fi/femtocell networks seamlessly.

This means mobile devices will handshake across mobile networks and wi-fi hotspots similar to how a 3G network operators now have your unique user ID, which recognize you anywhere, between any compatible network seamlessly. Its invisibility to the end user is what makes it key – all the work is done on the back end.

Cisco assures us, that it adheres to the Hotspot 2.0 specification, that rival technologies will also be compatible, once they launch.

“That’s the beauty of this system. We’re complying with a standards based implementation – the Hotspot 2.0 specification. We helped write the spec, so we were the pioneers here tying the operating systems together between the operators and the handset manufacturers,” Nemani said.

For those already running Cisco hotspots, ‘the majority’ of these operators, ‘around 12 million’ will be compatible with the new technology through a simple software update.

The speeds of these hotspots will remain unchanged. Cisco’s tech uses the 802.11u spec but is backward compatible with 802.11n and g. 

The mobile operators on the backend, just need to employ the new small-cell gateway. For those using Cisco’s ASR5000 packet core, which operators such as Vodafone and Verizon currently use, they will just need to add a software module which will integrate the wifi functionality.

The end user simply runs a free update on their phone.

(Source: Business Week)

February 29th, 2012

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