iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






December Mobile Digest.
Technologies and Communications.

Another month has passed and here is a bit late December Digest. I'd be very grateful if you write me what you think I should change in it. E-mail me to eldar@ixbt.com

Market Novelties.

December was rich with new product releases scheduled for a long time already. In particular, Handspring has begun sales of VisorPhone devices. I shall remind, that it is possible to convert a usual Visor organizer into a cellular GSM-phone with the help of such device. It is equipped with battery, speaker, antenna and "power on"/mode switch buttons. VisorPhone automatically registers in GSM-network at the first launching.

These units will be sold only on territory serviced by Cingular Wireless company, derivated at association of mobile communication divisions of the SBC Communications and BellSouth companies. The territory covers California, Nevada, part of Northern and Southern Carolina, east part of Tennessy and the coast of Georgia.

Clients, living on these territories and subscribing for mobile communications services of the mentioned company, can buy VisorPhone for $299.

It is necessary to mark, that there's the same module for Visor's competitor Palm.

Another interesting development has appeared on the American continent. On the 6th of January at the consumer electronics exhibition in Las Vegas Palm and Delphi Automotive Systems have presented a new device. Communiport Mobile Productivity Center is built into car board and allows drivers to receive information from Palm V or Palm Vx pocket computer notepad using voice handle, and also use it to call some Ericsson phone models. Hereinafter device, probably, will include GPS system. We already wrote about the similar device in the October Digest that time will show us if they will become popular, as these systems are expensive and not so functional.

At the same time Federal Communication Commission of USA troubleshoots problem of using mobile phones by the people suffering from ear diseases.

Today mobile phones conflict with acoustical devices. The problem is that mobile phones use radio waves for communication, which create electromagnetic fields around the antenna. These fields cause unpleasant buzzing sounds to people carrying acoustical devices.

The hard hearing people protection organizations have addressed to a Commission with the request to acquaint cellular phones manufacturers with the acoustical devices compatibility law passed in 1988. The law says that usual phones should be supplied with special devices eliminating noises and magnifying handset signal.

The representatives of cellular phone manufacturers association have declared, that compatibility standards of mobile phones and acoustical devices will be passed as soon as possible. Nokia and Motorola have already released special earphones for hard hearing people.

However not only cellular phones create interferences in operation of acoustical devices. Among the most widespread interferences experts name computer monitors, fluorescent lamps, shop safety systems and so on. Some analysts have already set a question, why it is impossible to make acoustical devices steadier to interferences. The American industry, however, prefers to ease life of hard hearing people, eliminating sources of interference.

Now let's take a look at the Korean giant, Samsung. Before Christmas holidays the releases of new devices followed one another. So, on ITU Asia Telecom 2000 it has presented new phone created especially for women. The CDMA SCH A360 model calculates woman's biological calendar, evaluates calorie consumption under the entered product information, and also grants access to female web-sites. The so-called Queen Phone model is produced with red slim case reminding lipstick by shade. This model is already for sale in Korea for the price of $300. The company plans to release new model on the Asian-Pacific market in the beginning of 2001.

At same exhibition the company has informed about the forthcoming release of "smartphone" series - on the basis of PalmOS, used in pocket computers. Thereby Korean corporation has preferred the Palm system, instead of Symbian or simplified versions of Windows OS, which Microsoft is going to use in future Stinger phones. The release is scheduled for the second quarter of 2001. They will use CDMA standard. The Palm company has informed before that it works on a new "smartphone" serie together with Motorola. Nokia and Kyocera also use PalmOS for mobile devices development.

And the company has also announced the development of the color display mobile telephone that allows to watch movies using "video by order" service. It is the first such telephone on the market. There is also MPEG4-decoder and stereo player. It is also able to receive information from the Internet with speed up to 144 kbps. The mass production will begin in February, the retail price is not known yet.

The Samsung company is known, first of all, as one of the largest memory manufacturers. Therefore the announcement of a memory module combining 64 Mbits of the NAND-type flash-memory with 8 Mbits of CMOS-type SRAM-memory was not so unexpected. The unit is intended for cellular phones.

The first samples of these units are already sent to manufacturers. Samsung hopes that the new unit will become the standard for 3G mobile phones as it has extended memory size and smaller overall dimensions (8 mm X 13 mm X 1,2 mm). The SRAM-memory chip realizes RAM functions and the flash-memory saves data. Samsung is going to increase NAND-memory size up to 128 and 256 Mbits. new units will appear for sale in the first quarter of 2001.

At the same time Japanese Toshiba Corp. and German Infineon Technologies AG have agreed upon the cooperative development of new type memory chips for mobile phones. This memory type is called ferroelectric RAM (FRAM), and can store information even after powering off.

The release of 32 Mbit FRAM units is scheduled to the beginning of 2002, and then, depending on the market conditions, 64 Mbit and 128 Mbit versions will be developed. The joint investments in this project, that will employ 20 engineers from Infineon and 30 from Toshiba, will make $60 million approximately.

Another interesting novelty is the cellular phone capacitor 0,9mm in width. The Japanese Elna Co. Ltd. has informed about two-layer DSK609 capacitor of 6,8 mm in diameter and 0,9 mm in width. The novelty is intended for 3,3V and has capacity of 0,07 Farads. It is quite enough to replace standard lithium-ion battery for some time. The capacitors unlike the majority of other energy storages, have practically unbounded number of charge cycles that makes them favourable in production of power supply units for mobile engineering. The company plans to present the first commercial shippings of new power supplies in the spring of 2001.

If to speak about such novelties, new ceramic mini-antennas designed by Philips for cellular transmission deserve to be mentioned. The group of experts in Aachen, Germany, has developed the miniature antenna for mobile communication devices. The antenna is created with special ceramics and is almost 8 times smaller than present antennas. Some mobile communication manufacturers have already become interested in this design. The plastic and metal antennas are built into telephone cases.

The appearance of mini-antennas quite corresponds the tendency of mobile phones miniaturization that become smaller from generation to generation. Probably, hereafter new antennas will be used in videophones and will be even built into watches. Philips intends to insert its invention in radio communication systems as well.

Another interesting development from the Concord Camera company – a digital Concord Eye-Q IR camera intended for working with Nokia 9210 smartphone. Concord Eye-Q IR has infrared data transfer capabilities. The camera has also a capability of connection via USB-port, and can store snapshots in the internal flash-memory and on memory cards.

The production of cameras is supposed, by the orders of both companies, to be adjusted in China, and they will be sold in all countries under the own trademarks of both companies.

In December a new company producing cellular phones has appeared in the market. Despite the "Sendo" title, that would suit Asia more, this is a British company. The first product of the company is the lightest in the world Sendo D800 GSM-phone, which weighs only 68gr. It is the dual-band GSM-telephone for business-users. It supports teleconferences, and also text autocompleting function. The telephone will be sold in Europe and Asia. The retail price will be set by local mobile operators, but it is supposed to about $150.

The Sendo company was founded in August, 1999. In some months it plans to release the second product, unknown for now.

The same time Ericsson corporation has presented a new mobile A2628 WAP-GSM-phone at the TelecomAsia exhibition in Hongkong. It weighs 140gr. As company says, A2628 is a model for the lowest price category, which will represent itself as the A2618's successor. The sales are planned to begin in the first quarter of 2001. The A2628 model has become seventh in a number of Ericsson's WAP-phones, supporting WAP 1.1. The telephone is a complete clone of A2618s. I do not think, that the release of this model is stipulated by good company standing in the market. Most likely, Ericsson for the first time for many years has listened to users' wishes and has released a model with the characteristics claimed by users, not the company. Nevertheless, though these are my thoughts, but there was no sense in the release of A2618s without WAP (as WAP over SMS is not really supported anywhere). It seems that Ericsson engineers could not adjust WAP browser in a new phone and consequently have released it with more simple and unsuccessful replacement.

Despite this, in Japan NTT DoCoMo has presented the first mobile telephone from Ericsson in the PDC standard with capability of Internet access. The ER209i model provides very good audibility due to the new sound processing technology, simple Internet navigation and convenient menus. It uses both English, and Japanese languages. The apparatus weighs 77 grammes, the batteries provide 130 minutes of communication and 310 hours in the standby mode. According to NTT DoCoMo information on the 26th of November there are 15.227.000 subscribers of mobile Internet services in Japan.

The Kyocera company has released three new models of mobile phones, one of which (QCP-6035) uses Palm operating system.

The QCP-6035 model operates in three modes (the digital CDMA format in 800 MHz and 1900 MHz ranges, and the analogue standard in 800 MHz range) and will appear for sale in the first quarter of 2001 under Kyocera and Qualcomm trademarks. The "smartphone" represents a hybrid of a pocket computer and a mobile telephone and can independently operate with applications for Palm computers. It is possible to use both usual web-browsers, and WAP-protocol while web-surfing. There is built-in Eudora e-mail software, possibility of using the device as the cordless modem and possibility of linking to other devices in the IR-range. It will be, probably, the first such model on the market in 2001, as the competitors will release similar models only in 2002.

QCP-6035 weighs 208 grammes, has dimensions of 5,59 X 2,6 X 0,84 inches, the accumulators provide 4,5 hours of continuous operation. The price is in $300-500 range.

And at last some pleasant news about cellular phones power supply plugs standardization. But, unfortunately, the standardization only between LG and Samsung, whose power supply units will be completely interchangeable soon. The majority of other manufacturers will hardly join this, as it will result in impossibility of a accessory price control and money losses. Just match: the "brand" travel charge costs about 30-50 dollars, and the same but Korean costs about 15 dollars.

New services

The New York Savos company has developed the technology, which allows to stream interactive audio to mobile phones. I.e. you call a local number in your city, select what you would like to hear (news, weather, business information, etc.) and listen. But you will also listen to... ads in traffic interruptions between the messages (and, having pushed the button on the phone, you can call the office which is advertised). Just an audio-banner so to say. But this feature will be possible only in future 3G-phones. Modern technologies doesn't allow music quality to be at a good level.

And the service, which allows mobile phone users to send themselves pictures via the special site, has appeared a very simple method to spoil one's mood and to make one waste money (you don't need to confirm that you own that phone number to change picture).

Many mobile phone users received "evil eyes", devils and marijuana leaves :) And it is necessary to pay to change picture, if there's no IR-port or a cord for PC-link. So, the spam has reached portable devices. Here you are.

In the meantime Israeli Niragongo Technologies company, the developer of cordless communication software, has informed about the release of Lava Platform for web-surfing, and also a number of applications to improve capabilities and accelerate Internet navigation in mobile devices.

In particular, the Lava platform decreases the number of steps needed to switch to one web-page from another. Besides, the platform and applications, designed for it, are compatible with the majority of mobile phones in the market and can operate in all types of networks, including GSM, CDMA, TDMA, IDEN and even off-the-shelf GPRS.

The developments for convenient content presentation in mobile devices have also appeared. The Agrogroup company, developer of the cordless communication applications, has presented software for converting usual HTML-pages into WML format, suitable for WAP-browsers. According to Netimperative.com, the WAP Tool is the third cordless infrastructure product for the company. The company considers the correctness of conversion as the main advantage – according to its researches, only 2% of WML-pages contain errors after conversion. The program is designed for Microsoft Windows 98, ME, 2000 operating systems, and is freeware.

In December the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published the base specification of the XHTML (Extensible HTML) Basic language. It represents the simplified version of the XHTML 1.0 specification, which defines rules of web-content delivery to small "non-computer" devices, i.e. to mobile phones, electronic organizers, pagers and web-browsers of TV Internet boxes.

According to the W3C's representative, XHTML 1.0 Recommendation and "Modularization of XHTML" specifications were combined to create XHTML Basic. XHTML 1.0 specification was created on the basis of HTML 4 language. However HTML 4 works bad on mobile devices because of their small screens, small memory size and limited power, and the XHTML Basic language initially takes these features into account.

The complete XHTML Basic specification is here http://www.w3.org/TR/2000/REC-xhtml-basic-20001219.

JMS is a competing development – a Java-standard facilitating development of on-line information services, with the guaranteed information delivery to end users. In particular, new iBus//Mobile development of the Swiss Softwired company allows to connect mobile devices (like smartphones, communicators, PDAs) to applications servers. Thus the given system is compatible to non-programmable devices as well. It allows to grant each device information in a necessary format, for example, to deliver information to a non-programmable Ericsson R380s smartphone. The capability of launching Java-applications is supposed for programmable devices, this allows to create e-commerce applications.

Phones with Java support will soon appear in Japan. J-Phone will be released in the first half of next year, and KDDI - in the end. Thus, three largest mobile communication operators in Japan will release phones with capability of loading more complex content and applications.

It will allow to double the income from the single client within 3-5 years for data transfer services. Java, for example, will allow phones to automatically load weather forecasts and quote prices in particular periods, to play more complex interactive games. Besides, the possibility of corporate networks access will appear, that will attract business clients.

DoCoMo does not plan to roughly increase price for phones with Java support comparing to the previous models. The difference will make about $45.

Following news are also about large-scale mobile devices integration with existing communication systems. The Swedish Telia telecommunication company has informed about the GSM-technology development, which will allow to unify data and voice transmission modes on the basis of IP-protocol. Though GSM-networks transmit data in digital format, their format differs from the Internet protocol. The usage of GSM based on the IP-protocol will allow to transmit digital data, Internet-traffic, mobile communication voice messages and Internet-telephony via one network. Earlier it was necessary to create separate networks for voice and data. The new technology has developed by Telia Bright, the department of the Telia company. The preparations for tests is now carried on in Vasteras, Sweden together with the ABB company. The tests will be held in summer, and the commercial start of the new technology is scheduled to the end of the year. One of the system advantages is the possibility to place a GSM-communication base station right at the company's office and to build it into a local area network, providing corporate traffic thereby. As the commutator is placed inside the company, it allows to save considerable sums on phone calls.

And the "Mobile communications and information networks" department of the Siemens corporation informs that the next year the new mobile communication service permitting to provide continuous contact between children and their parents will be launched. The family mobile communication services are to provide major children safety. Due to application of the satellite GPS system, the parents can find out where there their child is any time via the mobile telephone. Due to registration of all calls at the Child Call Center there is a continuous registration of a child location information. Parents, accessing the Center, presented themselves then they are given the information about the child. The Center staff, simply pressing the button, can help the child to contact the parents, whose numbers are stored in the database. Besides there is a possibility to call the terminal device itself, for example, in case of a dangerous situation, the Center can bring it into a listening mode via cellular telephone and call the police if necessary.

The given service is for 3-11 year old children. 50 families in Germany will receive new terminal devices and access to new services within the joint tests which will be conducted by Siemens and GAP since November, 2000 till March, 2001.

The Hewlett-Packard company and the Sprint PCS mobile operator are going to launch the cordless email service for the corporate users. The clients of this service are said to get cordless access to mail boxes in corporate networks with their mobile phones. The service is provided by HP Openmail system. With its help it is possible not only to check mail box contents, but also to access corporate intelligence system catalogs with the help of any of 18 Sprint PCS mobile phone models.

Hewlett-Packard and Sprint PCS plan to offer the HP Openmail system to the companies of all sizes.

And another indirect tag of fast mobile communications development and its major usefulness to users. Brittany Ferries has declared the installation of a private GSM network onboard the cruise ship. The company has concluded the agreement with Interwave about installation of mobile communication base station onboard the ship, which will be on-line to the VSAT terminal of Geolink satellite. The base station will allow the passengers to use the GSM/PCS phones onboard the ship and around of it. The calls outside the cover zone will be by the satellite. The private Interwave GSM/PCS base station named Waveexpress is like a computer case in size and weighs about 22 kilogrammes. Interwave plans to install the system in the beginning of the next year.

The systems of mobile services and goods purchasing become more and more actual. The Israeli Partner Communications mobile operator has declared the test start of the on-line payment system with the help of cellular GSM-phones. The system is named CellPay. It is developed by the young Israeli AdamTech company. The heart of CellPay is the server, where the virtual meetings of the sellers and buyers takes place. The server provides interaction with cellular operator's central computer and a banking system (or a credit card system). The CellPay system can be used for shop payments, in trade machines and in the public transport. CellPay encrypts the transmitted information, and the access to it can be gained only with the password. Partner Communications is the third cellular operator in Israel and is the only operator granting GSM-communication services. The test CellPay system has begun working in Tel Aviv and its suburbs.

The Xypoint company from Seattle, software and GPS and e-commerce service platform provider, and the Californian Kivera company have agreed upon integration of the Kivera's software into the Xypoint's platform. The Location Server software of the Kivera company allows the subscriber to find the nearest seller of the service/goods needed inside the given radius. The server reacts to subscriber's request, sending him a map with the paths to the required point, designated on it. The Xypoint platform combines GPS system with SMS, WAP, voice recognition and text-aloud technologies.

It is interesting, that existing technologies allow to create complex mobile "bundles" already now. An Australian university in the Wallangong city has developed a new technology for the remote control of robo-technical devices via mobile phones with WAP Internet access. Now it is enough for the manager to have the mobile telephone or another mobile device of pocket sizes to monitor production from any place in the world. There's the opportunity to input coordinates of the point where the robot should go to, and also to get pictures from the "on-robot" camera to the display of the mobile telephone. The concept and the model of the device have been developed already, and the real robot will appear in a year. It is due to low data transfer speed in modern GSM-networks. The new technology can find application in basic industry and in those branches where the remote observation is required. The mobile telephone will allow to omit computer or notebook as a monitoring tool, and that can expand the sphere of new technology to home applications.

Alcatel, Ericsson, Nokia and Siemens have announced creation of the "Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF)". The purpose of a new forum is to discuss and state main directions of cordless communications development by industry and research organizations representatives. WWRF will cooperate closely with UMTS developers forum, and also with ETSI, 3GPP, IETF, ITU and other official and unofficial organizations related to scientific aspects of mobile communications development. The forum is open for all companies. The forum creation is a logical continuation of the Wireless Strategic Initiative (WSI) initiative, undertaken by same companies. Three working sessions and a working meeting is scheduled for the end of the next year. You can familiarize yourself with information about forthcoming meeting on WSI site.

And some interesting news at last. The American CellPoint company and Swedish It's Alive!, the developer of computer games, have announced the cooperation in the field of network games creation for mobile phone users. These games are supposed to be accessible for the owners of WAP or SMS phones. As these games are on-line, it is supposed that the mobile communication operators will wish to offer them to users as new services.

Besides, the developers are going to create games that will use functions, specific for mobile phones, including GPS feature. According to Tom Soderlund, the executive director of the It's Alive! Company, these games are for users who know already what Playstation is and whom it's hard to surprise. New games will be integrated into the CellPoint Mobile Location platform after testing and then offered to mobile communication operators.

Bluetooth Devices

Creation of local area networks with Bluetooth support is possible next year. Such networks will be placed in airports, hotels and other public buildings, where any person can get access to a local information network. The company, granting such services, will be named Local Wireless Operator (LWO).

Bluetooth local area networks can grant services similar to those of 3G networks, namely data transfers with speeds up to 721 Kbps. The connection to local business centers, for example, to printers will be possible in hotels. Internet access will be available after purchasing Internet-cards. Despite such good forecasts that given technology will begin to take root in middle of the next year, it is quite possible, that the same IEEE 802.11 LAN networks will dominate public places. They have better transfer rate and greater distance in comparison with Bluetooth-networks. Nevertheless, both networks types work in the same frequency range that initially results in their conflict.

The Ericsson company together with the Scandinavian ICA Ahold trade company carried out first tests of the Bluetooth technology in retail shops. The appropriate system is installed in one of ICA shops in Stockholm. The Bluetooth network server and a set of access points are installed in the shop building. The server is on-line to the system of payment processing. The buyers, having Bluetooth and WAP mobile phones, can check their accounts and get some goods information along with purchases.

There's another Bluetooth device among December novelties. Bluetooth Connectivity Kit includes Bluetooth-adapter integrated into the Nokia 6210 mobile telephone accumulator, PCMCIA-card for a notebook and special software. The new device will appear for sale in the first quarter of the next year.

Japan Total Design Communication Co., Ltd. (JTDC) has released "i2me" earphones, supporting Bluetooth technology. The earphones are made specially for cellular phones. The "i2me" package consists of the adapter and earphones. Adapter weighs 45gr., earphones weigh 35gr. It is necessary to connect the adapter to a cellular telephone, and the earphones will connect to the Bluetooth adapter at once. "i2me" will appear for sale in March, 2001. The company says that "i2me" retail price will be approximately $230.

And here's the expert opinion about perspectives of the Bluetooth technology. According to analysts of Israeli Daedalus Venture Group (DVG) corporation, the investors now put too much money in Bluetooth chip development and production, whereas the applications sector for these chips lacks resources. Namely the applications should create demand for the mentioned chips. If the situation continues the same way any further, there's a risk of Bluetooth-chip overproduction.

According to DVG forecasts, 986 millions Bluetooth devices will be released by 2005. But the application deficit for them is present already. In USA since the fourth quarter of 1999 till the third quarter of 2000 only 1% of all venture investments was for Bluetooth technology, and only 23% of these resources were for application development.

Brand cellular manufacturers market standings.

Cellular phone markets are overloaded. In France, for example, operators have already begun advertising of special "children" cellular phones. They count on parents to buy their children basic but real mobiles instead of any Tamagochies or Pokemons. The operators and phone manufacturers see new business perspectives in it, as the sales in traditional market segments have decreased. This fact illustrates well what a mobile phone will become in the near future, if manufacturers will make efforts in this direction.

In the meantime French Sagem telecommunication company has received the order from the British Vodafone operator for the shipping of SAGEM MC 920 GSM 900/1800 phones for more than 700 million francs. Phones weigh 117gr. and are equipped with hands-free, vibroringers and currency converters. According to the company representatives, new phones have appeared for sale in Great Britain before New year.

And in December in Japan it was officially announced about an alliance that will be engaged in Bluetooth trademark copyright questions inside Japan. This alliance will consist of Toshiba Corp., Taiyo Yuden Co. and IBM Japan Ltd. Now all rights for the Bluetooth trademark belong to the Swedish Ericsson company. The joint venture created by three Japanese companies, will authorize different organizations wishing to join world Bluetooth-developers alliance. Capital of the new company will make 40 millions yens. The start is planned for April next year. The company plans to achieve sales level of 1 milliard yens by financial year of 2005.

Pacific region perspectives are bound to the fact that the Nokia has informed about creation of fund with the $500 million of capital for investments into beginner companies working in the sphere of mobile Internet applications and technologies creation.

It's a second fund already established by Nokia Venture Partners department of the Nokia company. Comparing to the first fund opened in 1998, new fund will also have other investor companies, such as Goldman Sachs, BMC Software, CDBWebTech, etc. as participants.

The attention will be mostly paid to the investments into Israel and South-Eastern Asia (especially into Japan). The creation of a new fund is an answer to a similar step made by Ericsson that has created a $300 million fund in August together with Swedish Investor, Industrivarden and Merrill Lynch investor bank.

And some really tremendous news. Motorola and Sega Corporation have concluded the agreement according to which Sega will develop games for new Motorola phones.

New phones will grant users possibility of network access and, in particular, will allow to load and execute different applications, including games. The phones will appear for sale in the first half of 2001. One of the games, for example, will be named Borkov, and will remind a usual puzzle game.

For the first time the company has paid some attention to its clients. It can be explained by the fact that sale volumes have decreased and the company convulsively tries to return them to a former level. Much is done for this purpose, in particular, Motorola negotiates about 3G network shippings with several Asian cordless communication operators. The company evaluates the whole 3G communication market as $200 milliards, Europe owns $112 milliards, Asia - $50 milliards. The negotiations are carried out with operators of Hongkong, China, Singapore, Thailand and Australia. However exact names are unknown. In December Motorola's quote cost made up $18 on NYSE. The best value was $62,56 in March.

Motorola has also concluded an agreement with Eastern Communications Co., one of the largest Chinese mobile networks equipment manufacturers, about joint development of cellular GSM and GPRS phones for the Chinese market.

Motorola will ship chips for these phones, and will also render the technical help in the construction development to the China Integrated Circuit Design Center, CIDC.

According to the terms of agreement, Motorola will grant Eastcom the license for its DigitalDNA architecture products for GSM platform, a GSM-chipset, protocol stack software, etc. The first GPRS-telephone of Motorola and Eastcom is supposed to appear on Chinese market during the nearest 1,5 years.

Motorola has purchased a license for the Compact NetFront Internet-browser and corresponding technologies from ACCESS Co., Ltd. for its cellular phones and pagers. Thus, Motorola will be able to present products based on the Compact HTML technology, successfully operating in i-mode phones, used by subscribers of Japanese NTT DoCoMo. The technologies will be built into Dragonball, PowerPC, Coldfire, M-CORE and ARM processors. The microbrowser from ACCESS takes 300 KBytes and requires 150 KBytes of RAM, supporting almost all HTML 4.0 features.

At the Wireless DevCon 2000 exhibition in San Jose, California Motorola and Lutris Technologies announced a new cooperative solution: Motorola is going to use Lutris's Enhydra applications server as a developer toolkit in the future mobile phones based on Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME).

Motorola's iDEN J2ME-phones will be first such devices with the applications formed with the help of the "open source" Enhydra software. These phones will interact with Enhydra like any other XML-client.

According to analyst opinion, the usage Java technology in cordless devices has its advantages. In particular, low bandwidth and memory size requirements, support of information protection on all sites of communication system, and also scalability. Besides, one of the main features of J2ME technology is the absence of a network gateway. The telephone will use HTTP protocol for direct connection with the application server for both incoming and outgoing calls.

And, at last, very interesting news, about the one spoiled project of this company. The Ministry of Defense of USA has initiated the restoration of the Iridium satellite network, that had belonged to Motorola before.

Pentagon has generally accepted to buy satellite telephony service of Iridium Satellite LLC for three years.

The Iridium project has been proven bankrupt 15 months ago, but the new company that has saved its name, has received court permission to purchase the Iridium property.

Iridium LLC uses the Ministry of Defense as the temporary leaser and searches for additional $80 million to invest them into project restoration. Nevertheless, there is no long-term perspectives for Iridium, as the separate low-orbit satellites will begin to hit the ground in five years approximately. Now Iridium consists of 70 completely serviceable satellites in total.

But it is not absolutely understandable, whether Motorola will score due to the contract with China or not. The Chinese Ministry of the Information Industry has signed the agreement about mutual understanding with the American Qualcomm company, the developer of mobile communication technologies. The ministry will support the China Unicom company that has signed the limited agreement with Qualcomm about CDMA technology development earlier. The agreement defines conditions of Qualcomm's intellectual property licensing for production and sale of the CDMA equipment by Chinese companies. Now China Unicom is authorized by the Chinese government to discuss the exact terms of the agreement.

In the meantime Japanese electronics manufacturers, hoping to score from 3G networks, have started mobile phone LCD production. Toshiba Corp. has informed on Monday about the intention to invest 10 milliards of yens into color LCD-panels production. Hitachi Ltd. and Matsushita Electric Industrial have begun production as well. Besides, NEC Corp. and Casio Computer have informed about LCD-panels cooperative development and release in the spring. With 3G networks mobile phones will be able to work with video data and, therefore LCD-panel demand increase is expected. This market is expected to achieve almost 400 milliards of yens by 2001 comparing to present 200 milliards. At the present moment the leaders are Sharp Corp. and Seiko Epson Corp.

Siemens, winning the market from the first three manufacturers, has informed that it does not have any relations with emails concerning presenting free mobile phones as if from the company.

Siemens has officially announced that it had never conducted such marketing, all these letters are fakes and the company recommends to delete them immediately. It has informed that such spam problems have also touched other largest cellular phone manufacturers - Swedish Ericsson and Finnish Nokia.

The Lutris company has informed about cooperation with Nokia in the field of software creation for WAP-protocol phones of this company. Cooperation with the Pixo company, developing software for cellular phones has also started. Pixo is engaged in adapting the i-mode microbrowser to Enhydra 3.5. Earlier Lutris company has already concluded similar agreement with Motorola.

The software will be "open-sourced" that will considerably simplify integration with other services.

The code is written in Java language that allows to select an operating system and platform that meets client requirements best. Usually it is necessary to create large number of applications to support clients with both browser and cordless interface, i.e. PDAs, pagers, Internets-phones. In this case the single Lutris Enhydra application will supply any client with information, including HTML, WML, XHTML, cHTML and VoiceHTML. The server supports main standards, including XML, DOM, Servlet 2.2, JSP 1.1, SSL and JDBC, as well as majority of cordless protocols, including WAP, iMODE and HTTP.

Though the code is in Java and should work on any operating system, the company wants to certificate the final version for Linux, Solaris, Windows NT and Windows 2000.

The Enhydra 3.5 Wireless server will be accessible at the end of December already. The price is not known yet, it will depend on technical support packages.

Nokia counts on profits from 3G networks as well. Nokia and T-Mobile International AG, mobile communication holding, member of Deutsche Telekom Group, have signed the agreement about mutual understanding, according to which Nokia will become the principal supplier of 3G network equipment and tools. Contract has made up more than 350 millions of euros and has been scheduled to the first quarter of 2001. According to T-Mobile representatives, the company plans to enter UMTS system as soon as possible. The operations will begin in 2001 and the first tests of 3G network are scheduled for spring, the commercial start of the network is scheduled to the end of 2002.

In general there is much talking about the third generation. Torbjorn Nilsson, the chief of Ericsson's strategy and marketing department, has informed that the mobile telecommunication equipment market will grow from present $50 milliards up to $100 milliards by 2003. Such forecast was made at the opening of a joint company with Juniper Networks, USA, where Ericsson expects to possess quotes for $10 milliards. The joint venture will develop routers permitting to route signals from mobile phones to trunk IP-networks. According to Ericsson's forecast, 1,2 milliards people will use Internet by 2003. And about half of them will use mobile Internet.

But already now Ericsson invests $12 millions into the Californian institute of telecommunications and information technologies (Cal-(IT)) for of new CDMA technologies and 4G mobile systems development.

The investment is carried out with the help of state government, which has also invested about $100 millions into Cal-(IT) for scientific researches.

Ericsson has also announced the schedules cooperating with Tivoli Systems (affiliated company of IBM corporation) for creation of programmable Internet devices. According to the agreement, Ericsson will build Tivoli's management technologies into the next generation of mobile communication devices.

The idea of this project is to create easily reconfigurable mobile phones which will be able to download new software via Internet. The users of such phones will be able to add or upgrade services, available in them without complex changes in configuration.

According to Ericsson's representative, the first such mobile telephone equipped with Tivoli's software should appear in the second half of next year.

Ericsson and Tivoli are also going to offer the official committees international standards for new generation mobile devices management in the first half of 2001.

An unsuccessful Ericsson's financial position and the cancelling of the several contracts have caused hearings about sale of the company's cellular phones department to a third party company. The hearings may be out to refresh the market or it's just a journalist's fake. According to L'Agefi, the French financial newspaper, with a link to unknown sources, Ericsson now carries on negotiations with Japanese Matsushita Communication (a division of Matsushita Electric Industrial) about sales of mobile phones business to it (probably, via the joint venture). Ericsson, that is third mobile phone manufacturer (its market share makes about 10%), has neither confirmed nor refused this message, having said that it does not comment hearings.

Nevertheless, Ericsson's representative from Paris has marked that the company now realizes the schedule of mobile business restructuring with the purpose to make it profitable by July, 2001. L'Agefi newspaper has also informed that Ericsson considers possibility of mobile phones division sales for a long time already, as it loses much money and is a like a parasite on the profitable division of mobile networks equipment. However Ericsson has announced in October, that it's not going to give up mobile phones business.

And Matsushita that sells mobile phones under Panasonic trademark, has announced in the beginning of December to win 10% of this market by 2003, and to increase quote share up to 15% by 2005.

Also Matsushita, having terminated cellular phones releases in USA in 1998, is going to ship phones to the Northern America from Philippines for one year. Takashi Kawada, the president of the company, has announced that the company counts on possibility of establishing production in Mexico or Southern America. Japan now is the main source of profit for the company. According to Dataquest researches, Matsushita has sold 15,6 millions of cellular phones last year, and has a market share equal to 5,5%, and is fifth world's manufacturer of this product.

And NEC, the second mobile phones manufacturer in Japan, has sold its British cellular phones factory and has ordered to establish production in Taiwan. The company is going to invest more resources into researches and developments. The buyer of the factory, which has 460 employees, is Celestica. Ben Nakamura, the high vice-president of the company, said that the research and development department will remain in NEC's possession. He has refused to announce the sale sum.

NEC plans to reduce industrial costs and to invest freed resources into development of phones with high-speed Internet access. For this the company is going to sell mobile phones factory in Mexico and to save production in China and Japan.

Factory sales in Great Britain have not become unexpected, as there were made such models as Nec DB500, DB2000 and DB4000, which were popular in 1997-1998 years, and have almost left the market already. In 2000 about 80% of phones, released by the company, were sold in Japan.

Samsung and NEC have also announced intention to create the joint venture project to produce displays for mobile phones and Internet-terminals of the following generation.

The joint Samsung NEC Mobile Co. company will develop, produce and sell displays based on organic electroluminescence (organic EL) technologies. Such displays are capable of providing the same quality as CRT displays. But new displays will be lighter and thinner. The companies think that 30-40% of all 3G mobile phones to be sold in 2005 will be equipped with such displays. The joint company will working in January, 2001. Its capital will make $83,46 millions. The Samsung's share will make 51%, NEC's - 49%. Next year the company plans to release 700000 color displays, based on the new technology, per month. Production volumes should achieve 1,5 million of units per month by 2003.

The licenses for communication of a third generation

According to expert forecasts, the high-speed 3G mobile communications will appear in Japan 18 months earlier than in the all other world. The first systems are supposed to be launched in the middle of 2001. It's known that 2G I-mode mobile phones are popular now in Japan, the number their users has reached 16.8 millions after 22 months. Each day 40-50 thousand new users connect to "I-mode". Thus, Japanese people are well prepared for more perfect 3G mobile communications systems, which will allow to grant wider spectrum of interactive services.

According to the Strategy Analytics forecasts, sale volumes of the world cordless communication market will reach $450 milliards by 2010. However only 24% of this sum will be owned by 3G networks. The so-called 2,5 generation technologies, for example, GPRS will dominate the market instead.

In opinion of Strategy Analytics analysts, now there is no demand for interactive multimedia applications, which require bandwidths above 384 Kbps. Nevertheless, in 10 years a large part of the income will be brought not by messaging services, but by entertainment applications.

Aberdeen Group, another analyst company, has recently conducted research of the European mobile communication and mobile Internet-access market. As it's stated in the report, European cellular operators are now engaged in implantation of the GPRS technology, which allows to increase transfer speed. However, GPRS, as well as WAP, will hardly be widespread. Certainly, WAP and GPRS are vast steps forward in cellular transmission development, but they fail to meet users requirements.

In opinion of Aberdeen analysts, the users wait for streaming video and other different exotic applications from GPRS-networks, which those just can‘t provide. In spite of the fact that GPRS-network's theoretical bandwidth is about 120 Kbps, it's limited by 14-28 Kbps.

WAP technology doesn't suit people as well. Now it's used by less than 2% of the European Internet-users. According to Aberdeen company, GPRS will achieve greater popularity, but its share will not exceed 10% of Internet-users, and it will not seriously increase the number of cordless network users.

According to the Aberdeen Group forecasts, GPRS will be superseded by the new Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) technology, which will appear in the third quarter of 2001. EDGE is the next "intermediate" step on the path 3G networks. The EDGE technology will support communications with speeds up to 380 Kbps. However there are no phones supporting EDGE technology.

And according to the report of 3G Labs research corporation, all Europe will be covered by UMTS-networks by 2010, and the quantity of 3G mobile communications subscribers will reach 250 millions that will make 64% of the population. 3G communication boom will spread worldwide. According to forecasts the half of 480 millions of subscribers will use 3G communication by 2006. The total number of subscribers will reach $1,04 milliards by 2010, and all phones in Europe and Northern America will work in 3G standard.

The Swedish Europolitan mobile operator company grants GPRS service already in Sweden, which gives user a possibility to be permanently connected to the Internet via the mobile telephone and to receive graphic information with high speeds (about 115 Kbps). Europolitan, that partially belongs to Vodafone, will be the first Scandinavian company to offer these services. The users will use Motorola GPRS 260 phones.

And Hongkong's Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. company, having obtained a 3G license recently in Great Britain, has informed that creation of communication network will make the sum about 3 milliards pounds ($4,34 milliards). It is a lower bound in the 3-5 milliard pound range. The company has also informed, that the network opening is scheduled to July, 2002. Hutchison Whampoa has obtained the license in April, having paid 4.4 milliards pounds ($6,37 milliards) for it. Then 35% of company shares were sold to Dutch KPN consortium and Japanese NTT DoCoMo. Hutchison representatives have also informed, that the Italian Andala consortium, inspected by the company, having obtained the similar license for Italy, will spend 4-5 milliards of euro ($3,45- 4,48 milliards) for services creation.

It is interesting, that according to research of OTR agency, only three companies granting 3G communication services will be profitable by 2005. Smartphones will become main devices for such networks and their cost will make about $300, but network infrastructure will influence pricing all the same and resulting price can be higher. Also, it is said that GPS and search services will be used widely by 2004, whereas videoconferences, e-commerce and Internet access will be successful only after they are requested by users.

In the research of European Next Generation Wireless: Licensing, Infrastructure and Deployment, published by The Strategis Group company, it is said that European operators will spend about $125 milliards to create 3G mobile communication networks during the next seven years.

For this period the number of base stations will increase almost three times, from 265000 up to 720000. The optimum base stations layout will becomes one of defining points in development of W-CDMA technology, that will change the role of government agencies in creation of base stations layout terms for particular operators. Now government agencies do not almost participate in this process.

The Spanish Telefonica telecommunication operator has informed that resources invested into development of mobile UMTS-communication will return within 4-6 years in Europe after starting.

Telefonica thinks the investments to return in 4 years in Spain, in 5 years in France, in 6 years in Germany. Telefonica has received UMTS-communication license in Spain, Germany, Italy and Austria, and is going to participate in licensing competitions in France, Switzerland and Sweden.

In the meantime Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications has announced in December the release of four 3G UMTS licenses. Each of the winners, chosen by the business-schedules, will pay 100 millions of crowns ($11,2 millions) per license, and besides, will pay 20 millions of crowns ($2,2 million) annually. There were seven applications and the winners were Telenor, NetCom GSM AS, Broadband Mobile, Tele2.

As the head of the Taiwan Ministry of Transport and Communication has informed that the main rules of 3G license auction that will begin in April will be published only in February. He has refused to name the number of licenses and their price. According to the Commercial Times newspaper, each license will cost from $300 millions up to $1,2 milliard. The government will set the backup price and will conduct sales in several rounds. Only candidates matching the minimum financial requirements will be accepted to the auction. 3G networks will allow data and voice transfers with speeds up to 2 Gbit/s.

The Federal Communication Commission of USA began frequency license sales. The experts think of these sales to become the largest in USA. The commission presents 422 licenses on 195 markets, for which 87 corporations, wishing to start new projects or to gain power, will compete. The tenders will take 2 sessions.

There are large companies like Sprint Corp. among competitors as well as small like Island Page Co. or Bijou Telephone Co-op Assoc. Inc. Many analysts think the auction to bring $16 milliards as minimum, and probably much more. However Lehman Brothers has preferred to underestimate the forecast, having announced, that its forecast for the auction is equal to $11 milliards. Anyway, it is more than $9,2 milliards that the Commission has earned on similar auction in 1996.

While everything is prepared for installation of new generation networks. The Nortel Networks company has announced the agreement with division of the german Deutsche Telekom telecommunication giant about the $320 million shipping of the equipment for high-speed network infrastructure. This network should be commercially started in 2002.

Besides Nortel will ship network solutions and infrastructure equipment for UMTS network to the T-Mobile company, and will also provide installation of this equipment and will conduct tests. Thus, this year UMTS-network contracts of Nortel have exceeded $2,1 milliards.

In December Lucent Technologies and QUALCOMM Incorporated have informed that they'd managed the first data transfer in 3G network at maximum speed of 2,4 Mbit/s. The tests were conducted on 1,9 GHz frequency using of the Flexent equipment from Lucent. Internet access, video streaming and email messaging were processed at speed of 2,4 Mbit/s, which is 165 times faster than nowadays'. This success allows to speak about the test for Lucent clients in the beginning of 2001.

In December the Agilent Technologies company has presented the Agilent Advisor software for 3G mobile system tests. Agilent Advisor enables network managers, engineers and technicians to participate in installation, maintenance, error search and recovery in 3G networks. The package is designed for W-CDMA networks. Cost of the Agilent Advisor makes up $4995.


The AYAXI company within the Poll4All project has conducted a poll called "A cellular phone, its advantages and disadvantages". The poll was conducted among Internet users by on-line voting.

73% of those who's taken part in the poll consider mobile communication to represent one of the most convenient communication ways. Its main advantage is the possibility to call any time from any place in the world, according to 91% of people.

Such qualities as dialup speed and communication quality have appeared less significant as only 16% and 15% of polled people have marked these qualities as main advantages.

Though the majority scores mobile communication advantages, only 54% of people use mobiles. The main hindrance for those wishing to buy a cellular phone is the high price, according to 82% of them. Though 48% of those already using mobiles also complaint about prices.

56% of polled say that the cost mobile services is also high. And service prices also prevent 74% of people from subscribing for them.

The poll organizers mark that high price level of phones and services is the main negative factor in the model of consumer behavior of users. And given tendency is right for both actual customers and potential clients.

Except the price there are other negative factors. The unreliability of power supply units, that has been underlined by 31%. The cellular transmission negative influence on health frightens 26% of respondents. 42% of polled are dissatisfied by signal cover zone and, therefore, by poor signal quality during location changes.

51% of polled consider monthly payment for cellular services the most preferable. Such payment system is especially attractive for company heads which've made 60% of participants, and that is not so surprising, taking into account the intensity of their phone calls.

From the data obtained, poll organizers mark that it's clear that the majority of Internet-audience actively takes part in phone negotiations or would like to do it.

Mobile phone design and its weight are considered very important parameters according to 81% and 71% of polled. 56% of the respondents have desired to replace their phones with new ones, more modern, stylish and lighter.

The growth of the number of stationary and mobile communication subscribers in South-Eastern Asia is forecasted to be more than 1 milliard within 10 years, as published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in the "Asia-Pacific Telecommunication Indicators" report. South-Eastern Asia will be the most dynamically developing world region in the sphere of telecommunications this decade. Now 53% of Asian territory is covered by operation zones of private telecommunication operators. The similar number for Europe makes 63%, 74 % - for Northern and Southern America, and only 35% and 29% for Africa and Arabian countries accordingly. The GSM standard remains dominating in South-Eastern Asia, it owns 49% of all 185 millions of subscribers, while Japanese PDC or PHS standards own 29% and CDMA owns 18%, other standards (AMPS/DAMPS/TACS/NMT) own 4%. 5 Asian countries are already among 10 countries with the greatest number of Internet users: Japan has 26,3 millions, China - 16,9 millions, Southern Korea - 15,8 millions, Australia and Taiwan have 6,4 millions each.


No new relations between cellular phones and cancer were found in the latest research. It was conducted according to the order of Wireless Technology Research industrial group and National Cancer Institute of USA. In particular, it is said that there was no cancer hazard due to using the mobile for 3 years, but it's still unknown, whether it's possible after long-time telephone usage. Nevertheless, patients with the rare form of cancer were detected among 891 persons who have been observed during research, but scientists do not consider these results as statistically affirmed.

One of the examinees had spent five years talking by mobile for an hour every day and no forms of cancer have appeared. This data can be considered as authentic enough.

Times of London newspaper informs that Vodafone and Verizon Wireless, the largest USA cellular operators, are threatened by the actions brought to court by cancer patients. Peter Angelos legal company, owner of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team, is ready to represent a number of persons in court who see relationship between cancer disease and cellular phones radiation. The company is known by its judicial actions against tobacco and asbestos industry magnates. The first two action will be taken before March, 2001, and the company is going to take another 7 or 8 during the year.

The unknown mobile phones influence to health has not stopped Archbishop of Kenterbury. The head of the Anglican Church having practiced leasing of several church and bell towers to cellular transmission companies has addressed the priests with sentence to practice similar things wider to increase church budget. Only 10% of the population visit churches regularly in England, and therefore the question on financing is very important. The leasing of church buildings for cellular base stations and antennas installation can bring the annual incomes at the level of $8 millions (there are about 16000 churches in England). Except "pure" benefit, the allocation of antennas and equipment inside available buildings will help to avoid constructions spoiling English landscapes. Vodafone company showed the greatest interest in allocation of equipment in churches among all British operators.

Another useful action took place in Great Britain in December. The British police has asked cellular operators to raise mobile phones security level. They expect the number of cellular phones street thefts to increase. As there's only a SIM-card needed to use a stolen GSM-telephone, the criminals use this opportunity well.

However there's a way to fight similar crimes. Some cellular network equipment can determine the unique IMEI number of the handset among other parameters, and that allows communication operators to trace stolen handsets even after the SIM-card is replaced. Similar systems are used only by two British operators such as Orange and One 2 One, and the largest Vodafone and BT Cellnet companies, having 20 millions of subscribers, have not yet started using such "anticriminal" system.

And, at last, something about mobile commerce. The first m-commerce platform capable of supporting up to 10 millions of users, moreover, up to 100000 users simultaneously processing up to 10000 request per second has been recently tested. The platform from TANTAU Software has passed tests with the help of the special test routine. High level of transaction security is one of the system's main features. According to forecasts, there will be about 36 millions of people in the world using advantages of mobile commerce (i.e. making transactions from mobile devices) by 2003.

Write a comment below. No registration needed!

Article navigation:

blog comments powered by Disqus

  Most Popular Reviews More    RSS  

AMD Phenom II X4 955, Phenom II X4 960T, Phenom II X6 1075T, and Intel Pentium G2120, Core i3-3220, Core i5-3330 Processors

Comparing old, cheap solutions from AMD with new, budget offerings from Intel.
February 1, 2013 · Processor Roundups

Inno3D GeForce GTX 670 iChill, Inno3D GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics Cards

A couple of mid-range adapters with original cooling systems.
January 30, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1

An external X-Fi solution in tests.
September 9, 2008 · Sound Cards

AMD FX-8350 Processor

The first worthwhile Piledriver CPU.
September 11, 2012 · Processors: AMD

Consumed Power, Energy Consumption: Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge

Trying out the new method.
September 18, 2012 · Processors: Intel
  Latest Reviews More    RSS  

i3DSpeed, September 2013

Retested all graphics cards with the new drivers.
Oct 18, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, August 2013

Added new benchmarks: BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light.
Sep 06, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, July 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 and AMD Radeon HD 7730.
Aug 05, 2013 · 3Digests

Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Golden Sample Graphics Card

An excellent hybrid of GeForce GTX 650 Ti and GeForce GTX 660.
Jun 24, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

i3DSpeed, May 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/780.
Jun 03, 2013 · 3Digests
  Latest News More    RSS  

Platform  ·  Video  ·  Multimedia  ·  Mobile  ·  Other  ||  About us & Privacy policy  ·  Twitter  ·  Facebook

Copyright © Byrds Research & Publishing, Ltd., 1997–2011. All rights reserved.