Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Year of the foundations -December 22nd

By Magnus Ingelsten
As we have aggressively pursued Android from the very start we have realized the good strengths with Linux. Thus also recently we joined the LiMo foundation.
Our VP of Solutions Management, Andrew Till did a speech at the SEE in October on “Avoiding the pitfalls of open source”. This speech was much appreciated and since then we have created a whitepaper available from our web as well as it generated an article which was posted today on the LiMo foundation blog. http://blog.limofoundation.org/index.php/LiMo-Foundation/Avoiding-the-pitfalls-of-Open-Source-–-Part-1.html Enjoy reading, all of you that consider the uses of open source software, and how you get most out of it.

Yes, obviously we will continuously strive to support mobile linux including Maemo on which we have many engineers and experts engaged. And we are looking for more people and engineers to join our team right now.

And, not least, the Symbian Foundation with new phones from SonyEricsson, Samsung and Nokia hopefully will make great x-mas gifts and fuel a great 2010 for Symbian.

Yes, we are heading towards brighter times. The Christmas shopping in Sweden breaks an all times high, despite the financial crisis, Tokyo stock exchange just hit all year high. As well as a very happy Nasdaq, as I am writing these lines, makes the outlook for 2010 very encouraging.

So, A merry x-mas and a happy new year to all of you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Time to get unified? -December 9th

By Magnus Ingelsten

2 years ago we thought mobile platforms were getting pretty unified with J2ME and the uptake of Symbian. Has there ever been as many OS and foundations to choose from as now?

Isn´t it pretty cool that whatever song (read format) we get from a friend we can play it in any laptop? Or that there is (in principle) one CD format that plays in every CD player? It’s easy and intuitive.

From the mobile handset standpoint it would be great if we could swap the handset and keep the apps. Or even buy apps from any marketplace whatever handset we have.

From an operators perspective it would be a great thing with one service to all handsets. The fact is the GSMA hailed JIL as the potential saviour to the disparate application environment. The Joint Innovation Lab´s (www.jil.org) call for a unified widget standard is a great initiative. Vodafone, Softbank, Verizon and China Mobile are certainly strong enough to impact the market, as well as attractive enough application developers.
The additional €1,000,000 prize fund set up by Vodafone won´t make it less interesting. Already LG, RIM, Samsung, Sharp and recently Foxconn have agreed to launch JIL compatible handsets. And Vodafone´s 360 service already includes the first JIL devices from Samsung.
It is interesting that the rockets in the statistics of manufacturer volumes have jumped on the train first (Foxconn built the iPhones). Can anybody resist the >1 billion user base represented by these operators?

Will the time come when it will be as easy managing apps as listening to any radio channel on any FM radio? Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.

North America – Breaking into a new frontier -December 9th

By Martin Wilde

Perhaps you recall a time not so long ago when business phones, then dubbed “smart,” were considered the consumer phone’s ugly cousin? When the idea of mobile Linux was sneered at, 4G was written off as a casualty of the global economic crisis, and no one had ever heard of an iPhone, Android, app store, eBook or netbook.
Fast-forward to the present when you can’t read twenty words on an industry blog without at least one of these terms popping up. Today, “smartphones” have become ubiquitous across the cellular landscape, and are in dire need of a new definition. What does it mean when my teenage kid wants a Blackberry? Should I be happy or call a shrink? Open Source and mobile Linux are fast becoming standard due to such organizations as the Open Handset Alliance, the Symbian Foundation, the LiMo foundation, along with the full support of new and established companies in the form of Google and Nokia. 4G services are being commercialized as we speak in such technological beachheads as Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Everything in my life is connected to the internet – my cellphone, my home phone, my TV, my car, my eBook reader, my refrigerator. There’s an “app” for everything, whatever that means, and now I have to worry about whether I live in a red, blue or yellow coverage area. What in the world is going on? Have we all lost our minds?

What a time to be in the mobile industry business! The above attempt at humor belies the tremendous explosion of both existing and new mobile technologies we have experienced around the world in just the last 2-3 years. And the marketplace shows no sign of slowing down.
That is good news for a world-leading mobile solutions and services company like Teleca, and especially good news for North America, one of the leading global markets for both the evolution of mobile handsets and for new emerging devices. As the industry we know begins to move beyond mobile handsets and into the broader segment of mobile enabled devices and end-user applications, Teleca has responded to the challenge by re-organizing the North America team around a new vertical strategy driven by our commitment to our existing customers and a view towards future market opportunity. From manufacturers, carriers and chipset vendors to converged devices and applications, Teleca provides best-in-class mobile software development, system-integration, customization and testing services to all these market segments, helping our customers be more successful and expand their global penetration.
In North America, and indeed across the entire company, Teleca combines strategic understanding and market expertise with an absolute commitment to our clients’ growth to help them reach their full potential.

Welcome the new frontier of mobile. Welcome to Teleca!

Friday, November 13, 2009

New kids on the block -November 13th

By Andrew Till
What a short time a week is in the mobile world. This week saw not one but two new announcements in area of mobile platforms and development. Firstly Samsung announced its new Bada mobile platform (http://www.bada.com/samsung-launches-open-mobile-platform/) designed for smartphones. Judging from the dedicated website and developer focused activities, development days, developer challenges and a new application store are all planned, this is a platform that Samsung is serious about pushing. While not all details are as yet fully clear, for example it does not state if the platform is Linux based or using some other kernel, it is clear that Samsung will be pushing Bada as a key platform to delivery both compelling user experiences and also perhaps more notability an integrated service experience.

Meanwhile on the other side of the world Google was busy making interesting noises about Google “Go”. A new mobile development language designed for the 21st century. While details remain scare it does seem to be a move by Google to improve the overall efficiency of application development and to leverage perhaps two of the most popular languages in Python and JavaScript along with promising enhanced support for key features such as garbage collection and SMP. While Go is relatively new in town given the effort Google is putting in to all things mobile it has to be taken seriously as a key future environment for application development. For more details on Go visit http://golang.org/

So another week and once again assumptions we may take for granted are being challenged. Will these initiative be successful only time will tell but once again as we approach the end of the week I look at the past 5 days and wonder what other industry possess such high levels dynamic change or opportunity.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

SEE Symbian Exposition -The last or first? October 3rd

By Magnus Ingelsten
Being at the Symbian show 2009 was a frustrating experience. How come? Well, being a believer in Symbian with its maturity, wealth of applications, great and proven business features, and, although Symbian having gone through a challenging time, (Not only adapted to a whole new business model, but also went through the mother of all business transformations with a new ownership and new organization) still retaining a large developer community and eco system.
We also continue to see the most advanced handsets being launched on the Symbian OS. But at the same time we have seen the show being slashed to less than half its size compared to its peak 2007, which has had an impact on the excitement level generated by the show and the overall impact it makes on someone attending.
While the number of licensees are now down to "a few", listening to one of the main stage discussions on the future of Symbian, much praise was given by SEMC, Fujitsu, Nokia and DoCoMo on the future potential for Symbian as the OSS of choice.
However, the spirit amongst the attendees was great at this years SEE, the hopes were high, and the determination was there. The right subjects were brought up, but was the main question really answered: How can Symbian attract more licensees and retain it´s leadership position for multimedia devices?
-The challenge is of course to convert the eco system. To make everybody partly changing their businessmodel and become comfortable with contributing assets to the foundation. And to be fair this is not just a question that Symbian needs to answer but many other OSS platforms as well.
Next year SEE moves to Berlin in the middle of November and being "replaced" by the OSIM that moves to London at the end of October.

So will OSIM be a replacement, and will the SEE be a developers event for the die hard fans only? Will OSIM cover all aspects of opens source objectively or will there be a need for the specialized platforms event on Symbian in this scale? We are many considering this thought right now. See you next year in London and/or Berlin…

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Techday- a really good idea. October 20th

By Magnus Ingelsten
We at Teleca have started a series of Technology Days. Just run a couple of them on two interesting subjects. LBS (Location Based Services) was the subject of a Techday in Bochum at our Teleca office, and another on Android at the Thistle, in central London. What is awesome is when you get a quality audience. Great level of people, high competence, dynamic characters and so interested they bother to come and visit us about it. Moreover, they (both peers, competitors as well as others in the value chain) engage in heated debates on whether positioning services are cloud service or clients, who is owning the media screen in the car or on a media device. Or if multi-media content and apps should be distributed OTA or via Wlan…. Next Teleca Techday is on Android and venue is at San Francisco November 3rd. Maybe we see you there?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Teleca and Dashwire partner to deliver best-in-class mobile-web services for operators and handset makers

By Anette Gregow
Yesterday Teleca annonced a marketing agreement with Dashwire (http://www.dashwire.com/) to deliver best-in-class mobile-web services for operators and handset makers. Dashwire is an industry leader in connected services that simplify backup and transfer of information, content and services between mobile devices and the cloud. Under the agreement, Teleca will team with Dashwire to help customize, integrate, test, and verify solutions that mobile operators and device makers create on top of the DASHWORKS platform from Dashwire, and integrate into their mobile devices. We are excited through the partnership with Dashwire leverage our expertise and off-shore sites to enable our customers to quickly roll-out customized E2E services!

Find out more here: http://www.teleca.com/Home/news_room.aspx

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Spend spend spend .. time and money -October 15th

By Magnus Ingelsten
Well, much is at stake these days. No need to remind about economic hardship in the global market. Although the west is week, China is relieving the pressure on the global economy by increased car sales in mid 2009, + 48% compared to last year! And the cell phone user base is growing with about 10 million users every month!! In spring China crossed the 50% cellular penetration mark. ..

So, belonging to the western economy, did you all have the relaxation that we needed during your summer holiday without having to worry? Did you do fun things! Bought the stuff you like such as a new cool phone or a nice new cabriolet. Yes, spend money and time on fun experiences, on happy moments with your friends and family, then we all will come back to a better, richer tomorrow and the rise of better global economy.

To relax at holidays you should leave your work PC behind, keep your phone off, get the voice messages only occasional-if at all... But what about the new phone you bought? Use it for writing your diary of fun experiences, getting the latest barbecue recipes, or checking the currency being down at the Croatian archipelago prior to using the phone to navigate there, and play a game of Sudoku now and then. Relax to recharge. Happy holidays! By the way, isn´t it time stop calling it “a phone” as telephony is probably the application least used these days! Why no call it Webby .. or Apply (oops too close to..) or just Player .. or …… eh?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Long live rich Games!

By Jari Saarhelo
Hey, following up last week blog, but to suggest a different point of view!
There probably wouldn`t be 3D HW accelerators on home PCs without games. The launch of a blockbuster game creates a peak in game console sales. New HW features are used in games as soon as the feature is available. Not so in games for mobile phones. A high volume seller can be 345th remake of a popular 70s/80s arcade game implemented with a “lowest common denominator” design.

The worst device supported dictates the game feature set and complexity. I bet it is not because the consumers insist on poor games, but because most of the systems on the market do not have the basic enablers needed for rich gaming to happen:

- Easy, fast and cost efficient game distribution to the device
- Large enough game asset size to accommodate the graphics & audio
- Gaming friendly device form factor (read: landscape display and gaming keys)
- Reasonable SW platform for creating and deploying the games (read: binary compatibility + fast access to HW)
- Enough firepower in device HW to make rich gaming happen
- Gaming ecosystem: publishers investing enough in game development, enough consumers buying games

Looking back, most of these things simply weren´t there. You can´t make a rich game on a platform that has fast HW, but very small media. You can´t publish a rich game for a device with only a small consumer base. However, most of the enablers are starting to be in place in the smart phone segment. Binary compatibility remains a challenge, but that is bound to improve – how can you otherwise compete with application business of Apple Store?

I bet that we will see a blockbuster rich mobile phone game within the next year. There will be a significant peak in the sales of the devices supporting the game … And the world of mobile gaming is changed for good … Goodbye Tetris!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Future of Rich Games in Mobile -September 28th

By Craig Turner
Teleca often discusses and debates hot topics from various viewpoints. Today, we present one viewpoint on the future of mobile gaming. Next week, we’ll follow this up with a counterpoint!

Rich games will never grow beyond a niche market on mobile devices. In this space, casual games will continue to take the lion’s share of revenues. That is not to say that only games like the original Snakes will be successful or that there is no interest in good-looking, fun games on mobile devices. I think the interest in mobile games of the caliber of the Halo or Grand Theft Auto will remain the exception to the rule.

1. Mobile gamers are casual gamers. We want to play quick and be able to start and stop at any time. Not that a game may not last longer than 5 minutes, but it shouldn’t have to last an hour.
2. Mobile games are limited by the form factor and hardware of their target device. These are extremely fragmented. There is no single hardware like in the console world and no unifying DirectX software platform that makes games easy-to-build. And games need to be playable and fun on such a wide range of systems that economics alone will continue to boil them down to the lowest common denominator.

For my mobile games, I expect them to start quick, entertain and challenge me, and not punish me when I take a break to get off the train or (heaven forbid) answer a phone call – all this without instantly draining my battery, please. If I want to blast my way uninterrupted through mind-boggling 3D scenery, I can turn off my phone and sit down with my PS3.

And I’m still waiting for somebody to show me a truly casual multiplayer game. Maybe that will be the key to bigger and better things in mobile gaming…

Do you feel challenged? - Any comment on this is welcome. Next week we expect a counter point blog!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why can´t my phone talk? - September 22, 2009

By Chandra Challagonda
Back in the days when mobile phones were perceived as a replacement for landline phones the definition of "Hands Free" meant not using your hands when you are talking on the phone. But nowadays mobile phones are used more or less as computers & usage is increasingly cantered accessing e-mails, social networking & internet browsing. So there is a need to re-define, what exactly "Hands Free" means with the current mobile phone usage.

The other day I was taking a walk with my dogs and heard my phone alerting me at the arrival of a new e-mail. Both of my hands were holding leashes so I did not have chance to take the phone out from my pocket and start pressing keys. So I had to tie the dogs to nearby pole and then reply to the email. After I started walking again, I come to think that the phone I am using is supposed to have the Hands Free-feature, right?

As a mobile device user I would like to have more intelligent & advanced voice command based usability of my phone which would be totally hands free. That means when my hands are not free, I connect a Bluetooth headset and when I get a new mail, I just say "Read New Mail", then I would expect my phone to read the e-mail with the same voice & accent I have. (good, eehh?). Also for example if I give a voice command to my phone "Next Meeting Please", then my phone reads out the next meeting details and then I say "Take me there/Drive me there", then phone should be able to launch Navigation application and guides me to that location.

Another use case is that the user keeps dictating and mobile phone automatically keeps typing it. There could be many more use cases like this. And this all needs to be done without using hands and without pressing a key buttons on the phone.
In today's world staying connected is considered important and doing multiple things at the same time has become so common that it would be really good to have one more hand to operate mobile phones.

Well I am not mentioning that all mobile users have to undergo mutation. But rather a usability mutation is needed to provide a true Hands Free experience.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

OSiM Observations Day 2 -September 17th

By Robert Kempf
It was good to see that the initial Sales pitch in the Day 1 talks was not visible anymore on Day 2 at OSiM, but that rather the key topic “Open Source in Mobile” was the focus again.

The presentation from Samsung on how they handle this transition phase from working in a rather closed environment towards using OSS was a good example. A very honest description of the challenges a company phases in this transition and an encouraging outlook for those who are going along the same path.

There were also quite some statements on having too many open source platforms coming up and the potential need to go one step back to see whether there can’t be a unique platform as a common base at least in the Linux space – but to be honest I doubt that anyone speaking about this idea will really invest in making this happen short term.

A very inspiring part of OSiM today were the WIPJam sessions. These 40min open discussions around a specific topic with a very diverse audience were great fun. Having open source freaks, entrepreneurs, senior management people from large companies and people who want to learn about this topic and are more kind of the end-user-type around the same table leads to a very unpredictable but exciting discussion on a topic and gives you new ideas of what could be done. It did also show the very different view of how to interpret benefit and innovation – especially in this area the view of the technical experts and the end-user-type participant were quite different.

It was well worth participating in OSiM 2009, meeting people you haven’t seen for some time, getting new ideas about where open source in mobile will go and seeing the ever increasing momemtum of OSS in the mobile industry.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

OSiM Observations Day 1 -September 16th

By Andrew Till
With OSiM now in its fourth year it is establishing itself firmly on the conference circuit. Here are our key takeaways from day one

Overall the conference has a more commercial feel to it suggesting that Open Source Software has clearly made its mark in the mobile space. This was echoed by a number of the first mornings presenters who deviated from their presentation titles to sell their credentials to the audience.

Web based development is now seen as a key platform for mobile application and service development. This was also linked to the future deployment of HMTL 5 browsers further blurring the lines between the desktop and mobile experience. However delegates also agreed that not all development will be web based with the need for native development continuing as a key way for developers to show off the best of the platform.

Another key theme was the need for greater education for companies about how work with OSS. It was observed that many companies do not know how to make the most of using OSS in their development strategy or how to contribute back to the community.

Building on past events the subject of fragmentation came up on a regular basis. This is clearly a subject area that is not going away and while there are concerns about fragmentation of platforms it was also recognised that there is a strong need to enable innovation and differentiation which is key to the long term success of OSS platform.

And finally the question that was perhaps posed the most is does OSS save development costs. While there was not quantitative answer given the general agreement was that using OSS in product developments may not save you money but it changes the way you spend money – for example more focus being place on innovation rather than core plumbing.

And so now it’s time for bed and to see what is in store for tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nokia world- a different service perspective Sept.15th

By Jari Saarhelo
Until the recent Nokia World, I thought Services are happening on high-end devices only. There is a tough competition going on over the best user experience on mobile or the best business application connectivity. Mobile services compete against other media, such as mobile gaming versus handheld consoles, browsing on mobile versus browsing on PC, listening music on a MP3 player versus phone etc. But what if there is no other media available? What if the mobile device is the only computer you have?

Nokia Money in emerging markets opened my eyes. I had been looking at it from a developed world point of view. I.E: yet another way to execute ecommerce transactions, which may be more convenient in some situations, but maybe not too often. The situation is totally different, if you have a mobile phone, but no access to banking services. Yes, this is not a special case, there are a 4 billion mobile phones out there, but only 1.6 billion bank accounts. Suddenly, we are talking about providing basic infrastructure.

It seems that mobile services have a potential to address totally different needs in emerging markets than in developed. Nokia is planning to offer a portfolio of services, which are running on lower end devices. The focus is not on the most responsive and coolest touch UI, but actually providing services, where the infrastructure is not available, such as banking, email/messaging, agricultural information.

Services are happening both on high-end and low-end devices after all. However, what services are successful and the needs of the consumer will be very different depending on the market. In looking at future opportunities emerging market services should not be evaluated from developed market point of view and vice-versa.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

3 Lessons to learn about security

By Volker Schütz
The first lesson to learn about security of products is that security is not a chip in the upper left part of your design. It’s nothing you buy as "fire and forget" solution. Security is a process. You need to consider it during your first design ideas and you still need to consider it when being in the maintenance phase of a product. At each stage you can easily completely ruin your security system.

The second lesson to learn is to list the possible threats and to decide which of those you want to protect against and which not. This is hard to understand, especially for people not deeply involved in the security area. "Why should I allow a certain attack?" or "Can't I just have a secure design?" are typical questions which arise. The lesson is that security is a trade-off between having secure designs and not spending too much money, time and resources. Finding the right balance is the key to having products with an acceptable time-to-market and budget on the one hand and a secure design protecting against the most dangerous attacks on the other hand.

The last lesson is that security by obscurity doesn't work. First, your enemies will find out what you have done anyway. You can't keep your security features secret. Second, if you just have a small men-in-black security team designing obscure security features, you miss the chance to review and audit your whole security system by enough experts to find weak points before the attackers do. Share your design; let it be reviewed by many experts.

Following these three principles is no guarantee for a secure product. There are many other pitfalls and the attacker just needs to find one of them, whereas the product owner needs to know and prevent all of them. This is a clearly outbalanced game. But when playing it with the right team you definitively have a chance to be successful with your product!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Consider going to OSiM next week ? -September 9th

Teleca welcomes you to OSiM/WIPjam September 15th-16th in Amsterdam
Ever wanted to put a face to a name ? Well if your are at OSiM next week then you can do exactly that with two of Teleca’s regular bloggers.
Robert Kempf and Andrew Till will both be at OSiM and WIPJAM to both give presentations and host round tables so if you want to meet them and discuss what’s happening in the market, innovative new ideas or other exciting areas then send us a mail at solutions@teleca.com

OSS, cross platform applications, E2E services and how to get it all work is a concern on everybodys mind right now. Seeking answers ? See you at OSiM and WipJam !

Didn´t consider OSiM ? Check out here first http://www.teleca.com/Home/news_room/events.aspx

Friday, September 4, 2009

What do You think is happening in Open Source ? -September 4th

By Andrew Till
In the coming weeks we will be attending a number of industry events such as OSiM and the Symbian SEE. During these events we expect to hear a lot about the changing face of open source software and its impact in the mobile world. We will also hopefully be stimulating some industry debate through the presentations and round table events we are participating in.
-So why not comment about your expectations for the key drivers in OSS over the next 12 months?

I will start of with a couple of expectations ;
-I expect part of the debate to move from OSS for handsets to other devices such as Netbooks, ebook readers and maybe even gaming consoles.

-I also believe that we will see OSS move in to the service domain with companies starting to use OSS more and more to deliver end to end mobile services. This is something I will be presenting on at OSiM so if you want to know more come along and listen.

So enough from me and tell us what you think, now!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ceding (Seeding?) Change -Aug 27, 2009

By Martin Wilde
Consider, if you will, a situation wherein you have a new product you want to bring to the market. However, being an ideas guy, you don’t have the resources or know-how to actually build the thing, so you have to find someone else to build it for you. You make the effort to put together an RFP laying out all the details and requirements of how you want the product to look, feel and behave. You solicit several reputable firms who have the demonstrated capacity to build such a thing, and wait for their responses.
“Sure, we can build that for you,” says device manufacturer #1. “Only we can’t meet X, Y and Z requirements, and it will take two years to build. Deal?” What!?!? Two years? That’s an eternity in technology. And you can’t even build what I want? Forget it! On to the next supplier.
“Yeah, those #1 guys are blowing smoke,” says device manufacturer #2. “We can build it for you in 18 months, guaranteed! But is there any way you can relax requirements A, B, J and Q?
We don’t think that stuff’s very important, and our research says people don’t want that anyway.”
Now wait just a cotton-picking minute. Your time to market is shorter, granted, but not that much. That’s still a VERY long time in technology cycles. Besides, I’m the customer! I know what I want, or I wouldn’t have asked you to build it that way. I couldn’t care less what you think. I just want to get this thing into the market before the competition catches up to me.

Same goes for suppliers #3 and so on. They’re either not able to meet the timetable, have competing projects for the right technical expertise, or try to redirect what you want. So no option yields the solution you really were looking for. What do you do now?

This is not unlike the situation that many companies trying to bring new innovative solutions to market find themselves in. For example many operators find themselves in when trying to bring new experiences to the marketplace. The speed of innovation is determined by the suppliers capacity on both the software and hardware levels. But what if the operators could supply their own software platform, that crucial part of the experience they want to deliver, and then work with the various ODM vendors just on hardware implementation alone? Suddenly the control would shift to the software platform supplier which in this example would be the operators. Time to market would, potentially, be greatly reduced, with customized experiences and multiple handsets available to lead the way.
This idea is utopia to some, refreshing to others, and downright scary to those invested in the status quo. However, this scenario appears close to the reality of how the mobile market is shapping up today. But to the larger question, does this benefit the consumer, our ultimate measure of success? Are we simply replacing one bottle neck with another? And will this ultimately lead to higher levels of innovation ?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Everything under control? 2009-08-13

By Robert Kempf
Yesterday I was reading a newspaper featuring an article on ChromeOS and its focus on cloud services – central information storage, accessible from everywhere, removing the need to have huge storage capabilities in your device, no need to store the same content on different devices, no synchronisation problems anymore, … We heard these arguments many times during the last 2 years and everyone appreciates that the cloud could make personal information management simpler than ever before. Looking out there it appears that a growing number of people trust cloud services and are not heisting to put their most private data out there.

However many still do not feeling uncomfortable with having all private content stored in a central place. It is not very clear what the data hosting party is allowed to do with our contents – whether these are securely stored only and won’t be exploited for research, personalized marketing or even other purpose we don’t even want to think of. I personally like the cloud idea, but would never use such a central storage for all my data. So where are the rules the hosting parties need to subscribe to? I haven’t seen them yet.
Interestingly enough there was another article on eBooks and users wondering that from one day to another an Ebook vanished from their devices without being notified – it was George Orwell’s “1984”. Did someone fear that people might read this book and create a dotted line to the cloud?
One might think of that, but the reason was simple – licensing issues ;-)
But still, we the users should know what’s going on on our devices and with our data and if anyone modifies or deletes our data we should be informed about that upfront.
For cloud services to reach their full potential and to reach a truly global audience this is a challenge that needs to be addressed.

So do we have everything under control still, or are others taking control?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

On the Road with GPS - 2009-08-04

By Magnus Ingelsten
Not until driving a car a long way do you realise what needs you may have for connecting with the outside world and access to multimedia content in order not to get bored to death or feel too isolated.
Yesterday I was driving from south of Sweden to the woods of Värmland (a Swedish midland county). So I drove a 1,000 kilometres. (And I got a terrible toothache due to an unreasonable amount of chewed chocolate, but that is another story.) Although, I had recently bought a TomTom XL, which have quite limited functionality despite it´s great navigation features so it couldn´t really suppress long hours of dull driving through an otherwise beautiful Swedish summer day. I know there are more expensive devices with some multimedia functionality such as MP3, jpg viewing, etc. And also I have my phone on the side.
After having gone through all TomTom features, the settings, speed camera warnings, points of interest, and selected different voices and symbols (now listening to Astrid and using a symbol looking like a Ferrari Spyder), I got insanely bored. (Yes I know. I Shouldn´t fiddle with the navigation while driving).
So, how about if my GPS in front could update me with selected news, reports, results, funny stories, e-book chapters, magazine articles etc, and Astrid would read them to me (as I probably shoudn´t read them on the screen when driving!) If this was a service on the internet I could subscribe and tick the wanted boxes and then when driving, I say to the GPS device (voice operated): “Read my media”. Then Astrid would respond: “Yes master, what would you like to hear?” If I said “Read Book” Astrid would continue to read “Stieg Larsons Millennium trilogy to me” or if I said (when bored) “Read Jokes” . And of course the GPS would use Bluetooth to access the service via my mobile which is in my pocket. This is what we call an E2E service. Hrrmm, maybe something we could develop at Teleca for somebody … Oops I shouldn´t perhaps have tipped everybody else off here...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Making mobile TV simple

By Andrew Till
Ever been bored at the airport and wish you had a simple way to access content from your home or friends PC? If so then take a look at this innovative application from TVMOBiLi that I came across during my travels this week. TVMOBiLi is available as a free download and seems to run on all major operating systems found in the home today and utilizes the increasingly common UPnP and DLNA protocols for media sharing. While UPnP and DLNA are not new, setting up a DLNA server is remains a complex and time consuming activity which is beyond the scope of most consumers. This is why TVMOBiLi is compelling as it removes this complexity and makes life very simple for the average consumer.

Another clever aspect is that it effectively allows you to establish a “social network” of friends, family and/or colleagues for viewing and exchanging digital media in a very simplistic way and one of the best things is that it runs on your existing hardware.

The application itself allows you to view images and videos not only from a PC but also via a wireless gaming console such as PS3, X-Box or Wii on any television, share files and music from any source so long as it is connected within part of your TVMOBiLi “network group”. There is also a trial release for the iPhone with more mobile platforms rolling out soon.

Another nice aspect to the service is that it has an intelligent tracking system that is centralized on the web so that it always knows where your data is. The data is never transferred to a central server but streamed on request over a peer-to-peer network. In essence it is very similar to using Skype with a small host application, a central connection database and no mass data storage requirement making it a simple and easy service to use.

You can find the application at http://www.tvmobili.com/ - enjoy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Polishing the Chrome

By Andrew Till
Another week and another new OS to throw in to the melting pot of the mobile industry. I am of course referring to the announcement of Google’s latest “bling” Chrome OS designed for the Netbook market. While details remain somewhat limited and the release dates appear to be more 2010 than 2009 it does raise a number of questions. Why does Google need another OS for the mobile segment, what does this mean for all those busily working on Android netbooks and what’s the key story for developers. Of course some of these questions will not be answered until we can get our hands on the SDK and source code but here are some initial thoughts.

  • To date no one has been able to produce a single OS that crosses all platforms and I include Apple in this statement.
  • Android is designed for entry level netbooks down to mass market mobile phones. Chrome OS goes in the opposite direction and starts with netbooks and scales up to PCs. Notably support for x86 will be included from day one.
  • Both Chrome OS and Android use Chrome as the browser and therefore we can expect strong commonality for gadgets and web services and hence there should be a common development environment for application developers that want to span the broad range of mobile and desktop devices.
  • While Chrome OS is a separate project from Android it will, like Android, be an OSS project. Therefore we can also expect to see the community work to bring alignment to many common components that all devices will have such as the WiFi stacks for example.
  • We can also reasonably expect a strong level of commonality for development tools.

Finally while I can not help but wonder about the timing with the official release of source code being some six months away. Was this in part driven by Intel’s recent moves to support the Atom/Moblin platform? Or the growing rumours regarding Apple launching its own netbook at next year’s CES. One can only guess. However it does suggest that the market for netbooks is heating up and 2010 is set to be a key year for this emerging segment.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Counting chickens after they are hatched

By Chandra Challagonda
During the recent times I have been frequently asked which mobile platform is going to take the major share, what is the best/popular mobile platform currently etc. My answer is usually just a friendly smile. I understand why people keep asking me these questions and I often ask myself. Whatever the predictions say, I think it is a bit too early to point in any certain direction and say anything.

The biggest mobile platform share holder in smart phones; Symbian took the bold step to go open source. Clearly this step is challenging as Symbian was not originally not designed for it and it will take significant amounts of hard work to complete the transition. That said Symbian is the one with a long term track record and still has the backing of the worlds No.1 handset vendor. Windows Mobile is challenging other platforms with the unification with enterprise applications, which makes sense as most of the organizations are using Microsoft Technologies for day to day work . Apple's iPhone has totally changed the perception of what mobile phones are with extremely good usability and App store concepts. I heard my friend saying that, his 6 year old daughter and 60 year old mother knows how to download from the App store! Android is getting more and more popular and the OHA has really helped in its popularity. The platform itself is very flexible which makes it easily adaptable to many needs.

For me it seems like every platform has its own strengths and weakness. I think still we need to wait and watch when the different kind of phones hit the market & consumers based on all these platforms. I personally would not under or over estimating anyone in this game and will keep watching it. As one of the English phrase goes, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch".

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thoughts on the modern testing approach

By Andry Plastov
Modern approaches to testing frequently imply antagonism between advocates of Scrum and CMM(I) processes. In my opinion, though, the question of drawbacks and merits is less interesting than combining these processes, i.e. providing the opportunity to create a symbiosis of both Scrum and CMM(I).

What are the particularities of Scrum and CMM(I)? The particular characteristic of Scrum is intensive cooperation and communication in groups, adaptive project management, frequent interim releases and, correspondently, frequently repeated test execution. For CMM(I) it is characteristic that releases come up in considerable time periods, the process is strictly documented and takes much more work input, and it’s less flexible as a result.

Is symbiosis between these processes possible after all? If we take an insight into these processes, we can see that one of them comprises the elements of the other and vice versa. Ex., long periods between releases go well with using Scrum within these intervals, whereas the necessity to manage the requirements and the configurative control are the integral parts of a good Agile project.
Besides, in the current projects it often happens that one project is added to the other one in spiral. Eg., when the test team increases or when new teams join on other sites working in different time zones but within one project, there evolves the necessity to change the process towards CMM(I). At the same time a reduction of the team makes expenditures of the resources for CMM(I) inexpedient and inevitably makes us turn towards the Scrum approach. The delay of the final release leads to the delay of the beginning of the test cycle and, correspondently, to prolongation of the product output; the demand to be on time requires frequent testing at the early stages; besides, the possibility to work out the test plan using raw versions of requirements is the key moment for using a Scrum approach.

An indisputable merit of symbiosis of Agile and CMM(I) is unsurpassed flexibility, which enables adjustments to the process and specifics of the project quickly, to support a good balance between the spend on quality and the cost of the end product. Test execution at the early stages of functional readiness helps to equalize workload of the engineers, to lessen overhead and to reduce the time, needed to put the product on the market.

In my opinion, the modern approach to testing not only can, but should be based on the balanced combination of Scrum and CMM(I) processes

Monday, June 22, 2009

Open Mobile Summit London 2009 – Openly Transparent

By Andrew Till
Last week I continued my world tour of trade shows and events with a visit to the Open Mobile Summit in London. Now a week has passed and I’ve had time to reflect on some of the key themes and highlights from the conference.

There is a widely held belief that Mobile Data is about to explode. Now I know you have heard this before but with the combination of powerful HTML browsers, faster CPUs and flat rate data tariffs things really seem to be moving and both T-Mobile and Orange talked about some impressive growth in this area. Especially with consumers who seem to be tweeting, blogging and generally getting addicted to mobile social networking in the same way they are on the desktop.

A lot of time was also spent discussing the benefits of HTML 5.0. Now this is a very compelling development for mobile and promises to take web application development a big step forwards. However will it offer the utopia of a single mobile development environment in the way it was discussed at the conference. I for one remain sceptical but I do see it as being a key development for 2010.

Another key these was Apps Stores and let’s face it, everybody want one. If the show was a good reflection of the industry then expect an Apps store to be top of everyone’s Christmas list this year. Handset vendors and operators alike were keen to outline what they are doing in this area. However, perhaps one interesting twist was the call for the OMTP to create a common standard. Now a common framework for apps stores with open operator APIs available to developers would be a compelling development and would help to contain fragmentation in this area.

There was also a strong debate about are we open, as it we really want people to play and change the code, or are we transparent, do we want to let people see what we are doing, in the mobile industry. Only time will tell what the real answer to this question is but one thing is clear there is a real momentum around open source in mobile then is not slowing down. Based on the evidence of the show as the industry fully understood how to get the best from open source the answer would have to be no. But, there are clear and positive signs that the industry is becoming more comfortable with open source and that it will play a strong role not only in handset platforms but in service delivery and none handset mobile devices as well.

So all in all a very good show and one worth attending. Perhaps not amazing revelations but clearly a lot of confirmation about the momentum of the trends that are going to shape the mobile space over the next few years.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Crawling Only on One Branch

By Chandra Challagonda

We proudly say that we are living in a world of high mobility. However, during one of my intercontinental flights I started to wonder why don't we have WiFi and mobile connections generally available on flights? Then it didn't take much time for me to realize we don't even have power sources for passengers on most the flights… It’s been 130 years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone but the concept has since remained the same, although technology behind it has changed and new features have been added. The telephone became wireless and now it even includes much of the computing power too. We have seen a lot of open hardware and software concepts in this area developing faster than any other industry. But the whole communication world is revolving around the wireless phones.

All said and done, it is all great and we have done good progress, but are we directing the innovations in a limited way? The communication world of innovation power and energy is focused on the telephone. No one, so far, has really focused efforts to bring the kind of the innovations which were done in the 19th and 20th century. Such as the major leaps like inventing electricity, combustion engines or the telephone. All we are doing is making existing innovations more efficient, trying to squeeze more from existing technology, increase profitability and push down the costs for development, production, licenses and components. But I think that this telephone's innovation branch is so exhausted that it cannot take many more features, although improvements and efficiencies are still possible. Is this the reason why mobile connectivity is not pervasive on flights?

Could it be the reason of cost? Are we caught in a classic Innovators Dilemma? These days we value technology and innovation that can be afforded by the masses. So are new technologies only thought of if we can see large imminent volumes?

I think that we have been proceeding long enough on this branch and we need something new, like some inventions which came to life during the 19th or 20th century. If Alexander Graham Bell had thought about only money then I am sure he wouldn't have invented the telephone, he would have invented sugar syrups. Let's think really hard, not focusing on volumes or cost, and we may come up with a real discontinuous innovation that will give a new branch to the tree! That is what we need. And I am thinking hard about it already, are you ?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

First Jamendo application on Android

By Magnus Ingelsten
Here is another Android application developed by Teleca. It’s very cool with a cultural value add. Teleca engineer Lukasz Wisniewski at Teleca in Poland created and delivered an application to Jamendo for Android devices that makes the Jamendo, music 2.0 platform, under Creative Common licenses, available for mobile phones.

The Jamendo Player gives access to 20.000 albums available for free by the application. As Lukasz says: -“As a member of OHA (Open Handset Alliance), this is a great opportunity to show our skills and expertise in the new emerging platform. We believe that Creative Commons music for mobile phones will get massive and well deserved attention now that we have brought Jamendo services to Android users.”

The Jamendo Player for Android includes several features such as an interactive user interface, attractively designed and easy to use with features such as search, favourites download playlists and most listened to। Other key functions of this innovative application are streaming music and radio, checking the most popular songs, viewing reviews, downloading to memory-card, sharing and music recommendations with friends over SMS.

Jamendo is a major shift in the music distribution giving more rights to musicians and listeners. We are happy to participate in this change by delivering Jamendo Catalogue to Android users. The Player is available on the Android market through your phone.
For more information see http://blog.jamendo.com/2009/06/02/jamendo-available-on-android/

Friday, June 5, 2009

Google I/O Digested

By Robert Kempf
It is now one week back that I attended the Google I/O conference in San Francisco. I had great expectations on what Google and the developer community would present and was excited about the possibility to meet the massive number of 4000 developers in one place. I was really positively surprised about the quality of the event and had to digest a bit what I saw and heard there…

Did you watch out the Google I/O keynote speeches on YouTube? If not, you should definitely do that!
The focus for day one was around HTML 5. With the new possibilities HTML 5 possesses it will make the Browser the center of gravity of all your devices irrespective of whether you are using a PC, Netbook, MID or a regular mobile handset. People already started asking: Do I need anything else other than a browser on my device? Is it still necessary to install applications on my device as I did for three decades now or can I just download and start them instantaneously in the near future? We will see…

The second day keynote revealed the big surprise: Google WAVE which will be open sourced and facilitate social networking and communication even further. The development of WAVE is all about a company being innovative and looking for new paths of accelerating innovation by a large open source community. It seems Google looked around on the market and the current solutions provided and combined them into something new, appealing which everyone wants to use. Looking at WAVE the parallel existence of Email and Instant Messaging applications seems to be outdated quite soon. The basic elements supported by WAVE are not completely new, we know most of them from online collaboration tools, Email and IM clients – but they show a thought through approach of integrating existing solutions into something which wasn’t there before and which includes some new key differentiators which everyone was waiting for. The presentation was really impressive, in particular the translation robot who eases the communication between groups with different native languages.
Apple has shown this ability of being innovative in the sense of enabling a new dimension of user experience and Google is now doing the same with WAVE. I am looking forward to check-out the WAVE with my Sandbox developer account.
And last not least: thank you Google for the MAGIC, the magic atmosphere at this event and the Android HTC Magic phone every participant of the conference got for free :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Everyone loves an App store.

By Andrew Till
What a couple of week it’s been in the applications world. With the iTunes and Android Market stores enjoying ever growing success two of the largest players in the industry, Nokia and Vodafone, have launched their new applications stores as the battle to lead the next wave of industry growth intensifies.

Both companies clearly have aggressive growth and deployment plans which will undoubtedly stimulate significant competitive responses from across the market.

The interesting thing about these two launches is that they are both supporting a very broad range of handsets. Unlike the current iTunes and Android stores which currently have a limited number of devices variants connecting to them the Vodafone and Nokia stores are both supporting in excess of 50 different handset models. The challenge for content stores has always been the management of fragmentation and ensuring consumers get the application or media that is right for their specific handset. If these new stores have resolved this challenge then we may finally have a strong challenge to Apples dominance in the content space.
The other exciting dimension to the Vodafone launch is its support for iPhones.

I for one will be watching closely to see if they are able to penetrate the iPhone user base. And I am sure there are many other operators and content companies who will be doing the same.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

oFono – Open Source Telephony.

By Andrew Till
Last week Nokia and Intel made an interesting announcement about their collaboration for an open source telephony solution. We at Teleca always like to see new innovative projects being launched and have been considering what this may mean for the future.
Firstly there is nothing in the announcement that suggests this project could not be supported across multiple platforms. So while it may initially look like a Maemo focused solution it’s also possible that we will see S60 device also embracing the approach.

However the real excitement is that this is opening up new parts of the platform to the developer community and should enable new innovative applications. In addition the new oFono platform should also support new methods of applications interacting with the telephony stack thus enabling developers to find creative ways to minimise battery power or exploit multiple radio environments.
And it should not stop there.

If oFono is successful then there is no reason why, as an OSS project, it could not be leveraged by other platforms especially those that are Linux based such as Android or uBuntu and hence it maynot be limited to just traditional handsets. But also MIDs, Notebooks and why not for car infotainment systems?
The mobile world evolves through innovation and initiative and that is what creates opportunities, for us and for You.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Battleship game for Android, born by passion

By Artur Kulik, Roman Prominski and Emilian Szyburski

It was an after-hours learning project that became a real-life application. Our gang, Artur, Roman and Emilian at Teleca Poland, wanted to get familiar with the Android platform. So we started from scratch, using emulators, SDK and resources from the internet to create something that could help us understand and become knowledgeable in Android software development.

We felt it was important to to touch several aspects of the platform with audio, imaging, connectivity, middleware and more, to get a complete overview of Google's mobile system. The exercise started out as a small proof-of-concept project, and quickly became a full-blown entertainment application ! Then we took the chance to put it (well tested though…) on the Android market in order to get comments from the users.

Overwhelming response
We received an overwhelming response from the people that downloaded our ‘Battleships’ application and liked it! There were greetings. There were improvement suggestions. And there were rants from users that lost against the phone in the naval action (..oops) For us it was not only the learning experience on the development side but we also realized the potential in the application market. The feedback we received provided priceless information on user experience, behavior and expectations.

Top 20
The “Battleships” application quickly became a Top 20 application on the market and got more than 50,000 downloads in the first four weeks.

Download Yourself
Download the application from the application market with your G1 or similar phone (look for Teleca Poland publisher) or alternatively check http://www.cyrket.com/package/com.teleca.bs for user ratings and score.

So enjoy the battle game to fight against the war tactics of Teleca :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Platform competition stiffens

By Hasse Annerfeldt
The playground for mobile OS/SW platforms has really increased in the recent 12 months. Instead of focusing on a few platforms we have seen the number increase. While we have seen Symbian gain an early lead leveraging its very strong position in terms of history, maturity and close relation to Nokia new platforms are now challenging it. What we have seen that Apple with the iPhone introduced a new era showing that offering products and services, that many operators and handset vendor’s have been struggling to achieve, is compelling to consumers. Apple starting from zero has got a large group of mobile phone users, enthusiastic and thrilled, over the user experiences it brings to them. They have also showed that it is possible to make money from music and application downloads which has been on every operator’s agenda for a long time. The success for this new Apple world has not yet been shared by the other handset vendor’s.

Google with its dominating position in the internet space with services and content is now filling a gap when creating the Android platform. An open source based project, has created a platform that will be highly integrated into services on the internet, copying Apple success for a potentially broader audience.

At the end of this year and beginning of next we will be able to see if S60/Symbian and Windows mobile can reclaim the initiative with new business models, increased openness and services that bring them into parity with the Open Handset Alliance model and Apple.

This should lead to a very compelling Christmas and new year sales season as the focus firmly shifts on to experience and service innovation which can only benefit all involved in the mobile industry from handset vendors, through to service companies, such as Teleca, consumers and independent application developers.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Is Symbian looking beyond handsets?

By Andrew Till
As the Symbian Foundation gets up and running and ready for the first releases of handsets based on its first release, there are signs that the Foundation may expand its horizons to focus on new market opportunities.
In this week’s BusinessWeek David Wood is quoted as saying "There's a lot of interest in netbooks," & "I've never been as busy and rushed off my feet in my entire life. We are seeing a lot of early experimentation." Given Symbians broad support for most of the world’s favorite application processors it would make a lot of sense for them to look at new market opportunities such as mobile information devices, GPS navigation solutions and web tablets. This would also make a lot of sense given the recent announcements about Android based netbooks and Microsoft’s long standing strength in embedded consumer electronics market with WinCE.

Exciting times ahead.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Platform strategy revisited

By Dr. Roger Hampel
Just recently, I got myself a new phone. It has plenty of new features while some of the ones already present in my old phone have been greatly enhanced. Nevertheless, it took me only a few minutes to get accustomed to it. Why so? It’s because the new phone is based on the same platform as the old one.

The mobile phone industry has seen the creation of a number of platforms. There are closed ones, created and used by a single OEM to leverage across multiple products and product lines (e.g. Nokia Series 40, Blackberry). Then, there are the ones available for licensing by other OEMs (e.g. Palm, BREW, Windows Mobile), the sort of half-open ones. And, just recently, open source platforms have arrived, available royalty-free to every OEM supporting the ecosystem around them (e.g. Android, Symbian).

The automotive infotainment market is still in the process of creating and establishing infotainment platforms. Microsoft Auto has been around for a while and was recently revamped. It can be experienced in Fiat’s Blue&Me as well as Ford SYNC systems. The GENIVI alliance was officially launched at this year’s CeBIT trade show, aiming to develop an open source IVI platform. And RTOS provider QNX just recently has also launched their QNX CAR program (Connected Automotive Reference), providing a reference platform for rapid prototyping and development of IVI systems.

So what to expect as a user? Expect shorter development cycles for IVI systems and improved compatibility and interoperability with mobile devices such as phones, media players, headsets, etc. Expect downloadable system and feature upgrades, application and content stores for automotive infotainment and improved user experience. Expect the car to become the ultimate phone accessory!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Happy Easter

By Magnus Ingelsten
Now innovations are born. In economic downturns many new ideas are spurred. These are the times when people must be creative and go the extra mile to become more competitive and unique. We heard Al Gore at CTIA when he praised the momentum and direction of the mobile market: "Your industry is growing and providing new applications, products and services," he said. "It's amazing to think how quickly this revolution has occurred and how rapidly it's still growing."

I just bought an excellent Netbook with total wireless connectivity providing 3G, Wlan and Bluetooth for the price of a low -end feature phone or half the price of a high end smartphone. Imagine how we now can be totally wireless and mobile. My car updates its software while I am driving. I swipe my credit card in the smartcard slot under the dashboard on the offer to upgrade with an additional 12 horsepower because the developers came up with smart ways to control the engine management system. I could agree to buy a new GPS map update and got a notice from the GPS system, making me aware the my daughter is waiting at the bus stop , so I turn in to pick her up. Then the shopping list turns up on my in car display.. wife is online obviously...
Is this possible ? Of course it is and I am sure it is under development by our excellent engineers as we speak.
Oh, and my car display writes out a message from the nearby supermarket , that easter eggs are at half price. So happy easter!

Friday, April 3, 2009

CTIA it´s all about speed

By Andrew Till
In between the wall to wall meetings I managed to grab a quiet half an hour to walk the halls of this years CTIA in Las Vegas. As with other trade shows attendance was down (a much maligned topic of conversation of every taxi trip I took but I for one will not complain at being able to zip around Las Vegas from the strip to the convention centre in less than 10 minutes) but there were some interesting insights to be gained about the key themes in the market.
The most notable was the push for ever faster Mobile Broadband technologies. LTE was a clear focus of the show with Motorola and Siemens both very visible in pushing their credentials in the infrastructure space. Verizon used the show to announce its first round deployment partners for LTE with Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson both being selected. Aside from this there banners and positioning statements galore focused on the mobile broadband opportunity.
Net Applications latest March data, also released during the show, perhaps explains why the focus on mobile broadband is so strong. Not only are mobile users surfing more the competition between platforms is increasing with Android based devices growing strongly as a % of the overall mobile browsing user base and shaping us as a key competitor to the iPhone in the US market. This seems to show that clearly consumers we willing to keep spending on mobile internet services even in these credit crunched times. Of course I will refrain from noting the irony of having mobile broadband being heavily push in a city that seems to be many base stations short in the network coverage stakes!
And the focus is not restricted to the US market alone. Perhaps one of the most interesting announcements was Samsung’s new Netbook with integrated WiMax for the Russian market. The NC10 looks like a very interesting proposition with a 10inch display, Windows XP Home edition and a battery life of up 9 hours on a single charge.
So I for one am already looking forward to next years show and being able to test out those 4G speeds.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The 6th sense

By Andrew Till
For a glimpse of what maybe the future of wearable technology take a look at this video of Pattie Maes at the TED conference recently.
The demo developed in Pattie Maes' lab at MIT, by her student Pranav Mistry, was the coolest show-off at TED. It's a wearable device with a projector that beams interactive information at a surface in front of the user. I'm sure some of these concepts will be making their way in to new consumer electronics devices in the not too distant future. I think the world is ready for this. But naturally a very challenging development project to get both the information access and the UI to make it all usable. It is internet convergence at it's peak! At maximum 350 USD, it is on my list of wanted geek stuff!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Does Apple open up?

By Andrew Till
This weeks announcement by Apple of its iPhone 3.0 software suggest that the company maybe moving towards a more open future. At the core of the announcement was 1000 new APIs to be made available to developers suggesting that Apple is opening up a lot more of the operating system moving forwards. Included in these will be new accessory control APIs enabling hardware vendors to create companion applications for the iPhone. Apple also announced 100 new features which will be part of the release including stereo Bluetooth support and peer to peer connectivity over WiFi and Bluetooth. Looking at these new APIs combined with the new built in feature set Apple is enabling a developers to create a new bread of compelling mobile applications and peripheral solutions to support the iPhone and iPod Touch range. The challenge is now on to see how the other key platform providers respond.

Oh and perhaps the most significant part of the announcement - good old copy and paste will also be part of the 3.0 release!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

3U mantra for Smart phones

By Chandrashekar Challagonda:
I was walking through the MWC-2009 halls observing all the booths and trying to understand how everyone tries to promote their product or service. After being around for 4 days I figured that most of those who are exhibiting and visiting are hungry for "Uniqueness". Well again, if we relate this to human evolution, it has been observed that human beings are quite "Unique" compared to other living beings. We are unique in every manner on this earth. High intelligence: This is unique for human beings. It’s in basic human nature to be instinctively unique. My cousin who is a fashion designer said to me once "Being fashionable is nothing but being unique". I kind of agree with her statement, because the only way to get noticed and draw more attention is by being unique from the crowd. If I apply this analogy to smart phones, everyone is trying to make their product unique. The way they are doing it is by having a killer feature or Unique UI. So it’s all about creating a phone which is unique. After all "Uniqueness is publicity by itself".

After first thinking about "U", I kind of drew my attention to another "U", which is "Usability". We are of course attracted towards the Uniqueness, but what is the use of it, if we can not use it. Usability is nothing but how good and comfortable the User Experience is. There are lots of technologies in the world which are excellent and unique who just died because of poor usability. Usability has always stayed top of my list for any feature or technology. This is the 2nd level of requirement to make the product more promoting. "Uniqueness" can turn heads, but to keep and retain the attention of that turned head; it needs to have the "Usability".

Sometimes I get nostalgic and remember the day when I first saw a phone, which weighed about 2-3kgs, was connected by a wire to some plug in the house and where you needed to hold a big door handle kind of speaker and mike near to your face and to speak. I was very happy when my father could hear me and I could hear him, hundreds of kilometers away from me. But now it’s totally different, phones are wireless and mobile and do more than the old phones used to do. To be more precise voice communication is only a 1% of the full phone features nowadays with lot of features and functionalities "Unified" in it. Now this is the 3rd "U" mantra “Unification”. Smart phone users are demanding more and more functionality and features to be unified in the smart phone. I personally would like to have a unified access to all my office and personal mails, applications which I use daily and paying bills through my smart phone. This unification of features and functionality is happening very aggressively in the APAC market, more so than in rest of the world. Smart phones are more versatile than any other electronic gadget when it comes to unification.

So these Uniqueness, Usability and Unification are the 3 key properties which are the success factors for the smart phones. The more extensively these properties are provided in smart phones the broader the market segment it will cover.

Friday, February 20, 2009

MWC 2009 Summary -New opportunities ahead

By Andrew Till:
At the start of this year´s MWC we speculated on a number of key trends that we expected to observe at the show. So now that MWC is finished for another year lets take a look at the key trends for the year(s) ahead.

One prediction was that the world would become more open. While we may not have seen too many Android handsets being announced it was certainly the key theme of discussion on the show floor. Expect to see a lot of Android products arriving in 4Q09 and early 2010 as handset vendors seek to leverage the platform and without doubt take advantage of the link to Google. A key issue and I would speculate a driver behind the lack of formal announcements is how to bring true differentiation to Android based devices (and yes I say devices on purpose but more on that in a moment). Do you add new applications, but run the risk that someone in the community will suddenly contribute this to the baseline, great new UI flows, focus on E2E services or align with operator needs and address their requirements. These seem to be the key issues that are keeping people awake at night. We can also expect to see Android appearing in devices outside of handsets with a range of consumer electronics devices being planned to utilise the platform.

But that’s the future what about the here and now and how open is it? Well the Symbian foundation started to put momentum behind its marketing machine and also pointed to the announcements of 3 key handsets at the show. The SonyEricsson Idou with a 12MP camera has clearly upped the stakes in the megapixel war. The Samsung Omnia HD delivers stunning audio and video performance using the S60 V5.0 platform and Nokia’s N86 8MP camera phone puts it firmly back in the megapixel fight. With the N86 and Omnia HD due out in 2Q09 the Symbian Foundation looks to be starting the year with a strong line up of flagship handsets.And of course lets not forget Palm who have been the recipients of lavish praise for the Pre and Microsoft’s re-branding of Windows Mobile to “Windows”. LG also appeared to pick up the standard for Windows following the decline of Motorola. LG used MWC to announce that it will launch 50 (yes that is FIFTY) models using the platform by the end of 2012.

But enough about smartphone platforms what else was happening at the show.

It was without question a quieter show. Estimates for attendance put it at anywhere between 30,000 – 35,000 people. And while this was great for one’s ability to quickly dash between halls to get from meeting to meeting it did not seem to impact the quality of the show. If anything this year was about getting back to basics and doing business. The meetings were more focused and serious, the questions were tougher and more direct and above all there was a sense of urgency that people need to move quickly in order to protect their turf or to go on the attack as they see competitors falling.

Well the RTOS appears to be far from dead with many players adding more capabilities and run time environments to their platforms taking advantage of the continued decline in chipset and memory prices.

The battle ground for leadership in the application processor market is heating up and this is driving prices down and speed up to dizzying heights. Expect 1GHz to become widely available with 2-3 on the horizon and YES I am talking about mobile phones not PCs. And if what TI were showing on their booth is a good guide form the industry then expect 3D displays to be something we can expect to see in the next couple of years. But will we need this I hear you ask. Well as memory continues to fall in price and more devices are launched with 8, 16, 32 GB of storage then yes we clearly will need more power to process all the data that consumers will store, download, share and blog from their mobile device.

There is also an interesting conflict looming between the PC driven Netbook and the more mobile industry driven Mobile Internet Device (MID). What’s the difference? About 4-5 inches in display size, keyboard and possibility DVD drives that Netbooks will have that MIDs will not. On the other side MIDs will be inherently more portable. It’s clear that PC vendors are looking to make another push towards the mobile market and view this as a key entry strategy. Who will win in this space is hard to predict and will ultimately be defined by the trade-offs that consumers are willing to make.

Away from the show floor there were a lot of LTE demonstrations with the corridor conversations focusing on mid 2010 as the date we will start to see real market activity for the next evolution of mobile data.

And Teleca was even mentioned in the day three notes of Dr Richard Windsor which is no small achievement.

But perhaps the most surprising news was that Nokia and Qualcomm are finally to work together on S60 to deliver handsets for the North American market.

So in summary, a quieter show but a more focused show. A show full of paradoxes and change but also with clear signs that despite the global economic downturn there is now slow down in innovation or competitive intensity within the mobile world. An event that made a clear statement that while the world may have its troubles and the leading players are changing, in handsets, chipsets, basestations, the show most definitely will go on.