Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Loving smart mobile solutions...Wednesday 24th

By Magnus Johannesson
Watching the Olympics as a young kid a few decades ago one would be happy to tune in the right TV channel to watch the action. Today I don’t even have to be at home… I have it all in the palm of my hand.

With my mobile I can follow the action via streaming video and radio. If I don’t catch the competitions in real time I can replay whenever I want, how often I want. Twitters, blogs, facebooks etc. gives me the latest updates provided by media, other spectators and even athletes themselves. Widgets on my mobile home screen tell me Vancouver time and whether forecast. I can download and install the iPhone Vancouver 2010 app to get real-time results, photos, schedules adjusted to my time zone and much more. If I want to increase excitement even more I log in to my online betting company and put some money that Sweden will beat the Slovaks in tomorrow mornings ice hockey quarterfinal. Between the games or if tired watching I can also play a part of the action myself with the Vancouver Olympics game for Android and compete in downhill, speed skating and snowboarding.

As a true sports fan, I can’t wait for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, if I can’t follow it live in London, I feel assured that I will have plenty of mobile apps and channels to follow the competitions and athletes even closer than today maybe with real-time match statistics to complement the TV production, interaction with arena displays, voting player of the game and much more.

But before that, Ice hockey final on Sunday and of course FIFA World Cup in South Africa this summer. My mobile will not be far away…

Friday, February 19, 2010

MWC 2010 - Big show, Final observations -February 19th

By Andrew Till
Being home on safe ground after a very hectic Barcelona adventure filled with meetings around the clock, here is my final take on what stand out as the MWC 2010 observations.

Multi-screen content
A big theme of the show walking round the halls was multi-screen content and how to best solve this challenge. This ranges from simply being able to move media between devices through to devices powering more than one display. Will this challenge be made easier or harder given all that is happening with operating system platforms remains unclear but what is clear is that this is going to be a key battle ground between the major consumer electronics vendors who have a wide range of device types in their arsenal and everyone else. There are of course a number of different aspects to this challenge and a number of different solutions we on show at the event.

Adobe was pushing its latest versions of Flash for mobile with much interesting being expressed in Flash 10.1 and its ability to be used in handsets especially for the Android platform (helped by Google giving away Nexus Ones with Flash support at the show). Clearly being able to enjoy regular flash content on the web from your mobile device is a compelling proposition and one that is making many content publishers take notice.
Another company demonstrating solutions to this challenge was Antix who provide a solution to sharing games between different devices and being able to take advantage of the largest display available. Given the continued momentum and revenue generation around mobile games then a solution that further enhances the user experience should provide to be compelling.
Another take on multi screens was on show at the TI stand as then showed their OMAP 4 platform running Android powering two separate displays with a number of compelling use cases such as browsing the media gallery on one display and viewing a selected picture in full screen mode on the other. Of course we at Teleca were very excited by this demonstrator given our engagement with TI to bring it to life.
Although DLNA was perhaps less in evidence than expected there was also a lot of discussion around media streaming between handsets, STBs, TVs, PCs, in car entertainment systems, etc and how to further simplify the user experiences and interaction models.
Wherever approach wins out, if indeed it will just be one, it seems clear that the ability to seamlessly move content between devices or to leverage move than one screen for content consumption is going to be a driver of differentiation in 2010/11.

Android everywhere
Aside from the general discussion around Android releases and new handset announcements it is also clear that Android is rapidly moving beyond handsets and in to many other types of devices.
We have already some PMP devices launch with Android but it now appears to be rapidly penetrating a wide range of consumer electronics and automotive market segments. While many are interested in Android due to it being open source and highly customisable the ability to leverage the application and service ecosystem is proving to be easily as attractive. At MWC 2011 I expect to see a wide range of device types using Android and delivering advanced connected services.

Rich reference platforms
Another interesting change has been the continued move by silicon vendors to move away from just supplying chipsets to offering a much richer reference platform. Walking round the show this trend has clearly moved forwards again from demonstrating reference platforms to showing prototypes for differentiation. For example a number of companies where showing modified versions of Android running dual displays , others were showing enhanced multimedia support and others in some cases completely new UI concepts were on display (I personally really liked the TAT demonstration on the TI stand).

LTE is back
Perhaps the largest change of the whole show was the issue of network congestion due to data services. Only a few years ago operators were desperate to get their hands on compelling applications to drive data services and data revenues outside SMS. With the rapid growth of mobile browsers and application usage network congestion now seems to be the issue of the day. Hence LTE was very much back in the limelight at the show with every operator and infrastructure vendor pushing their LTE story.
Of particular concern was the roadmap for LTE handsets and how to accelerate time to market for these. Expect LTE to be a major feature of handset launches at next years show as everyone seeks to benefit from the explosion in consumer data usage and mobile browsing. Building on the point above I would not expect LTE to be confined to Smartphones but also to be a key feature of ebooks, tablets and PMPs.

Perhaps my final comment on change is the shift from clarity to confusion about how to differentiate product offerings. With form factors increasingly looking the same and a wider use of “smartphone” platforms in product portfolio’s it appears that many vendors are now finding it harder and harder to identify differentiation opportunities that can be easily communicated to consumers. Of course modifying UIs is on option but this then runs the risk of losing easy consumer recognition of the platform especially if the vendor is seeking to leverage the platform owners marketing support. It will be interesting to see how this plays out will it result in stagnation or a new and more intensive wave of innovation. Lets hope it’s the latter.

At the start of this blog I intended to write a short summary of my thoughts. Clearly I have failed but hopefully I have been able to share a flavour of the key developments from this years show. As I stated in the first part of this blog for me it was all about change. For me this is a big positive. It shows that the industry remains highly creative and innovative and that no one can afford to stand still without running the risk of a new entrant making them obsolete.
What a great industry to be involved in.

Read first part and other blogs at

Thursday, February 18, 2010

MWC Summary -Thursday Feb 18th

By Andrew Till

Well I’m back from another MWC, my 14 in total and don’t my feet know it, and what a show it was. Aside from the impact of the heavy rain fall during the first couple of days the mood was upbeat and shows what a difference a year can make in this industry.
If I had to summarise the show in a single word then it would have to be “change”. For me this year more than any other reflected the change and perhaps in some cases the confusion that is gripping the mobile industry. And when I say change this is not a bad thing as there are many changes that are clearly going to be of significant benefit to the industry as a whole from device vendors, through to developers and network operators. Of course change sometimes can be unsettling and cause people to worry and that is clearly happening but in most cases change results in more positives than negatives.

So what are these changes I hear you ask. Well let try and group them in to some key themes:

There were two major collaborations that caught my eye this year both of which were announced on the first day. Nokia and Intel confirmed that they are extending their working relationship to around Mobile Linux platforms with the creation of MeeGo from Moblin and Maemo. Clearly this is aimed at helping to bring a more competitive platform against Android but interestingly it will be hosted by the Linux Foundation and will see a tight level of integration between the platform and the underlying chipset platform, namely Atom, which should yield some significant performance benefits. It was very clear from the key messages pushed by both companies that this is about more than Nokia and Intel building smartphones as there are high expectations of other companies bring a wide range of consumer electronics devices to market utilising the MeeGo platform. And I am sure that developers will welcome the reduction in platform numbers even if it is only by one.

The other was the confirmation that 24 global operators are working together to form the “Wholesale Applications Community” to bring a common open application and content distribution model to the mobile market. Of course this will challenge the current platform specific approach that has become dominant in the past couple of years. While implementation details remain unclear it is expected to combine the efforts of both the Bondi and JIL communities in to a common standard. If this approach is successful then it will certainly be a significant leap forwards for developers who should be able to deploy applications through a single framework and gain access to a potential 3B subscribers.

OS platforms choices
Everywhere you went and in every hall it was alive with the buzz around the latest operating system releases. And no wonder given the year of change we have had with Android establishing itself as a major player, Symbian becoming open source, Microsoft unveiling Windows Phone 7 and a few other surprises.

Android: I lost count of how many handsets were announced but it was a lot. Not only were they high end large display models but there were also plenty of mid tier models from SonyEricsson, Motorola and Acer to name but a few. Much of the debate centred on when FroYo will be released and could you get in to the Google developer talks and then take your pick of a Nexus One or Droid giveaway.

Bada: Samsung launched its first Bada handset and I believe it took most people by surprise. Not only does it have a beautiful display and lost of great features but it was also simple and easy to use.

Windows Phone 7: Microsoft made a strong push and it is clear that they are not giving up on their aspirations to be a major player in Mobile. WP7 is a significant upgrade from 6.5 with much of the UE having been completely re-developed and once again I believe many people were surprised at how far the platform has come. Leveraging a lot form the Zune HD in terms of interaction models and having many nice simple usability features WP7 should prove to be a turning point for Microsoft and we can certainly expect to see a range of ODM based handsets by the end of the year.

Symbian: The major news from Symbian was that the Symbian 4 release will be a major upgrade for the platform designed to bring a new more flexible architecture and UI experience including support for the latest release of QT.

MeeGo: As highlighted earlier this is the new platform being created from the merger of Moblin, Maemo and with QT as the main runtime and UI framework. With pre-releases available now and the 1.0 release expected in late Q2 this looks like a platform that should gain some significant interest within the developer community.

That’s if for this part but check back later as I will be add more key observations from the show.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

MWC –Will consumers even care? -Wednesday 17th

By Magnus Ingelsten
Walking around at MWC, you got to be amazed about the wider and richer array of features and choices on offer for wireless s devices. Has there ever been an industry with as much innovation and possibilities? No (I dare say). But the challenge is to translate it all into consumer benefits and then choose among the many providers of devices, apps, and services. Although choice is good and choice is freedom, and this is what we want too. But how do we know what horse to bet on. It has not been clear to consumers what segmentation the offerings are intended for and how to better benefit from one choice compared to the other.

Trying to think as a consumer and as a cool-stuff geek I am not especially interested in platforms, OS, standards, HDSPA, W-cdma or LTE, nor do a care about API, architecture, ecosystems , app store competition, codecs, 12Mpix, ADK´s or communities or almost anything else either… So, what do I care about? I care about possibilities, convenience and excitement. Here is a new word: Possiveniment. Other words like fun, easy, passion and love is widely used in the industry as well as green and eco.

That´s all good but it does not happen unless nobody is taking it to a new level to boost competition and accelerate developments.
Imagine a standardized choice-and-definition system connected to a combined vendors cloud where you respond to a number of questions and as an output you got a preconfigured handset with preinstalled personalized applications, conveniently prepared for your various wifi´s, e mail, push, sync, tweets, facebooks, blogs, weather reports, e-bay account, pay-pal and what else, and supplied in your colour of choice with the suitable bling-bling and accessories and headsets to go? Without having to care about platforms and what else.
Wouldn´t that be possiveniment?
I think that we (read Teleca) , being a technology and solutions expert need to help the world with the possiveniment -factors too. Hey, we have recently launched a new Platform Benchmarking and Analysis Solution. I think from now on there could be an additional possiveniment assessment included in that offering!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Multi-platform play at MWC -Tuesday 16th

By Magnus Ingelsten
So in what direction is it going? New platforms available for 2010 makes an already congested play even more thrilling.
Windows Phone 7 series with phones coming out fall 2010 is merging the interesst of X-Box live , Zune and more to become a hub for music and video. But what about the change from calling it Windows Mobile to Windows phone?.. Just when every phone has become a mobile multi media device. There are no more pure phones, are there?

Even more interesting, perhaps is the marriage between Maemo and Moblin supported by father and mother Nokia and Intel. Topped by QT userexperience and designated MeeGo. It will be supported under the wings of LiMo and at Teleca we give it thumbs up. Can this now become a global force on par with Symbian and Android, as it is now free from from the perhaps too close relathionship with it´s mother and father ?

Talking about Symbian, The Symbian 3 OS also just launched with multi pages support and advanced layering. Interesting to follow.

And new phones from Samsung on their Bada platform...

All these platforms available for mid 2010. Intersting struggle for those that must make tactical decisions on what to support in their devices.

I am sure tomorrow will bring more excitement!

Monday, February 15, 2010

MWC: Hectic as ever! Monday 15th

By Magnus Ingelsten
Did anybody think MWC (Mobile World Congress) was going to be quiet this year? Yes come on, admit now.. Well, I did but hear this; It is not! It is as busy as ever although some stands are smaller and some exhibitors chose to not be here with a stand.There have been news pouring over us all day. New Android phones are literally everywhere. New devices officially presented by i.e SonyEricsson and ASUS, the latter known for a steady climb up the ladder in the PC world. Will be exciting to follow their maybe controversial inroad on the global mobile handset market. And the now official marriage of Maemo and Moblin with QT on top. Oh what I love this dynamic reinventing industry.
I really look forward to tomorrow!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Out of the tunnel! -February 11th

By Robert Kempf
Anybody out there? Looking for survivors of the worst economic downturn since ages…
-I have a great message for you guys: There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel and the most exciting event of the mobile industry is just around the corner – MWC 2010.
If you are still waiting to start-up again I can only recommend to hurry. A wider industry recognized the technical leadership and innovation potential of the mobile industry and is keen to leverage it to their products. Seamless connectivity, high data rates, value added services leveraging the cloud, marketplaces and the game changing user experience of some new mobile devices are only a few themes which come into my mind.

Already at CES 2010 we have seen many new devices like MIDs, Smartbooks, eBook readers and similar which leverage mobile technology and there is a clear sign of further convergence in this space in terms of the underlying technology used for all these kind of devices.
So let us exploit the full potential of our mobile industry solutions. I know it is easier saying that than making it happen, but we at Teleca can assure you that there are many ways of making this journey a success.

What are these success factors I am talking about?
I would only like to touch upon a few of them - we need to become smarter, we need to love open source solutions and we should never underestimate the power of communities.

You would like to have more details?
Just pass by our MWC booth in Hall 8, #B79 and we will explain in detail how we can help making your plans a success in this space.
We are active in one of the most exciting, and fastly transforming, industries with much undiscovered potential…
Yes, We Love Smart Solutions.

I hope we can explore this space together and looking forward to seeing you @ MWC!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Android+Google=always true? -February 8th

By Craig Turner
A very tech-savvy friend was telling me recently that he had heard of a phone that is under development with Android but not Google. He wanted to know how that could be possible. At first glance, the answer seemed obvious; of course it is possible; Android is available as OSS, you can skip getting it certified if you do not plan to include any Google services or get the Google branding on the phone.

But then I got to thinking. Can you really take the Google out of Android? The other side of the argument could be that, with Google as the original contributor of Android source code and acting as a key driver in the Open Handset Alliance which determines the contents and timelines of each Android release, it would be impossible to completely remove the influence of Google from Android. Even if you build a device purely on the OSS release of Android, the influence of Google on the core components of operating system is built in.

And what does it mean to separate Android from Google? Android is a mobile operating system with growing importance in the mobile computing sector. Google is an internet services provider and, more importantly, one of the world's strongest computing brands. The Android brand's real value comes from the association with Google. If you don’t get certified with the CTS, you are not allowed access to the online marketplace, which is called the “Android Market” not the “Google Market”. To again take the extreme case, the device owner can always claim to have built their product based on the Android OSS release – even there for the average consumer there is an automatic association with both the Android and Google brands.

So, which is more important, the operating system or the brand? Google would likely survive without Android, but the opposite is unclear. Nevertheless, the Google brand alone cannot make great mobile devices. That is the result of a combination of a high-quality operating system and Google's mobile services, certainly in concert with further software and services provided by the rest of the value chain, including ODMs, OEMs and operators. It will be an interesting case study in a few months to compare the success of the Google Nexus One with that of similar unbranded Android-based phones.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More green gadgets -February 4th

By Mariappan Vaithilingam

Yesterday, I was watching a TV program about some school student’s science exhibition. One of the groups was explaining about the possible ways of going green and suggested more use of solar energy. I started thinking of that.
- How can we possibly make use of solar energy in mobile phones as well as in other portable gadgets?

I googled 'Mobile solar Power Charger' and got lots of information about the solar mobile charger. Basically this solar power charger gets power from Sun and stores it in the build-in battery which then powers the processor, display, illumination etc.

Some time back my dad used a small calculator which used solar power. During the day time it stores and uses solar power and at night time it uses a normal light bulb to power up, and that really worked well. Now I think why can’t we make use of the same technique for handheld devices? I understand that handhelds will consume more power than a calculator, but at least using solar generated power we can send an occasional SMS or execute small applications.

-Could this be the next display innovation to also have it function as a solar panel? Maybe there is something Steve did not tell us about the Ipad ?