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The Mobile Marketing Association has today released its Annual Mobile Attitude and Usage Study, conducted with research partner Synovate. With the objective of helping brands and advertisers understand the habits of mobile users, the study is said to provide insights into overall consumer mobile usage by demographic group as well as the awareness for the United States, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America markets. The study's key global findings include:

 

  • Overall interest in mobile marketing varies by geography. The United States and Western Europe report comparable interest levels in mobile marketing; similar interest levels are also noted among mobile phone users in Asia Pacific and Latin American markets.
  • One-in-four mobile users in the US and Western Europe express strong or moderate interest in mobile marketing.
  • Interest levels are higher in Asia Pacific and Latin American markets where roughly one-half and two-thirds of mobile users respectively express strong or moderate interest.
  • In all regions, "text-to-win" and interactive voting campaigns are the most common efforts in which mobile users have participated.
  • Echoing receptivity to mobile marketing overall, Asia Pacific and Latin American markets report greater participation in mobile marketing efforts; roughly one-in-five mobile users in these regions report having participated in mobile marketing efforts in the past year.
  • Creating strong market opportunity for mobile marketers, across all countries and regions surveyed, heavy penetration and reliance on mobile phones combined with strong feature, text and mobile web usage indicate a willingness to accept mobile phones as devices that reach beyond traditional communications.
  • More than half of mobile consumers (regardless of market) report that their mobile phone is "highly important" to their daily life.
  • Mobile feature usage of non voice applications (text, mobile web, camera and picture messaging) is strong in all markets.

"The Annual Mobile Attitude and Usage Study is one of the most powerful tools available in our industry and we are pleased to expand the number of countries profiled in this year's study," said Laura Marriott, president of the MMA. "Consumers are becoming more adept at using their mobile devices, opening the door to help them to explore and discover mobile marketing campaigns."

"Overall interest levels in the mobile marketing concept vary by market and geographic region - however, common in all markets is the importance of mobile phones in daily life. Further, all markets show an ever increasing reliance on services that are precursors and enablers to mobile marketing efforts," said Beth Ritchey, Vice President, Synovate Tech and Telecom. "This year's Mobile Attitude and Usage Study contains a wealth of information geared to help marketers understand market trends and opportunities in both individual markets and geographic regions."

The global study covers the following markets: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom and United States.

Mobix Interactive, a specialist in mobile video and TV, and Wmode, a provider of mobile content distribution services, today announced that their global partnership would be enabling new entertainment destinations for Orange Switzerland and Unicel.

 

Using Mobix's Adrenalin mobile video platform, Wmode will be able to offer both European and North American clients a mobile entertainment package in conjunction with its ClearMode service.

In Europe, Orange Communications (Switzerland) SA, a subsidiary of the Orange Group, has commissioned Wmode and Mobix with the management of its entire downloadable content catalogue; sourcing and consolidating the content and assuring quality and delivery of collateral from games and videos, images, polyphonic and real ringtones to full tracks and mobile themes. The partners will also provide a dedicated mobile service delivery platform, marketing downloadable content through the Orange World web and WAP portals as well as by SMS, and managing the Orange Content Hub storefronts.

In North America, Wmode and Mobix will also be managing the complete content portal for regional GSM operator Unicel. This will include video, true and poly tones, images, games and themes and will be available through Unicel's WAP content site.

The Adrenalin-powered storefront, managed by the ClearMode Service, is a complete turnkey solution that provides operators with the ability to deliver an optimised experience integrated with a suite of advertising, pricing, editorial, reporting and quality control capabilities irrespective of the number of content partners or volume of content. The solution provides an environment for consumers to browse and purchase content and features full personalisation and customer self-care functionality.

Damian Mulcock, CEO, Mobix Interactive commented, "These two deals validate the compelling solution that the integration of the Adrenalin platform and ClearMode service offers to operators."  

 

"The addition of Adrenalin to the Wmode offering has created a broad range of distribution and merchandising services for rich media, resulting in global opportunities such as these with Orange Switzerland and Unicel agreements," stated Tom Beaman, SVP of Global Marketing and Sales for Wmode.

Coupons delivered and redeemed via mobile phones are forecast to be used by some 200 million mobile subscribers globally by 2013, according to a new study by Juniper Research.

The Juniper Research report determined that the mobile coupons market is currently most advanced in Japan and Korea, but that growing numbers of mobile coupon services are being offered in the USA and Europe across all the main retail sectors including restaurants, entertainment, shopping and grocery. The developed nations of the Far East, North America and Western Europe are forecast to account for the major part of the market by 2013.  

Report author Howard Wilcox gave more details: "Today the overwhelming majority of coupons are paper-based, but the mobile phone is the ultimate individual marketing device and mobile coupon pilots show greatly increased redemption rates - often double digit percentages."

The Juniper report highlighted the increased benefit in user convenience and the greater efficiencies for organisations operating mobile coupon campaigns as the two key benefits for the adoption of promotional coupons on the mobile platform. However some significant hurdles were identified, including the lack of suitable point of sale (POS) infrastructure at the supermarket checkout allowing for the quick and easy redemption of coupons, which is critical to the consumer shopping experience.

Nearly all mobile coupon usage today is in the Far East region. However by 2013 Western Europe and North America will together account for almost 20% of coupon redemption values. Technology is also a factor, with most mobile coupons today delivered by a code (often bar code) and SMS. In future, Near Field Communications (NFC) will become popular in this application.    

The Mobile Marketing Association has announced the publication of its first revision of Global Mobile Measurement Ad Currency Definitions. Addressing common ad currencies, the definitions are designed to create consistency across the industry and to serve as the basis for the development of future mobile ad guidelines.

"Metrics and measurement are critical in order to drive further brand spend into the mobile channel," said MMA president Laura Marriott. "We appreciate the leadership of the MRC, and the foundation from the IAB, in helping to shape the ad currency measurement definitions, a crucial step towards driving the adoption of mobile advertising world-wide. We also appreciate the endorsement of the 4 A's."

Developed by the MMA Measurement Committee in close collaboration with the Media Rating Council (MRC), the definitions use the Interactive Audience Measurement and Advertising Campaign Reporting and Audit Guidelines developed by the IAB as a basis to cover the following areas of mobile advertising:

  • Ad Impressions
  • Streaming Video Advertising
  • Rich Media Ad Impression
  • Click Measurement

"Measurement initiatives that provide industry consistency and qualified metrics on the performance of campaigns rather than different data according to vendor or network are essential criteria for the continued growth of mobile advertising campaigns. This is a key step towards the first set of guidelines around metrics and future industry standardisation", stated George Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of The Media Rating Council.

The currency definitions included participation from MMA Measurement Committee member companies, ADObjects Inc, Amobee Media Systems, AOL LLC. DoubleClick, O global limited, Isobar, Media Rating Council, Microsoft (MSN and Windows Live), The Coca-Cola Company and Yahoo!

Dexterra, a provider of software to automate and manage mobile workforces, has announced two new editions of its Dexterra Concert mobile development platform - the Dexterra Concert Carrier Edition and Enterprise Edition.  Both editions support the new fully integrated Dexterra Field Service Suite also announced.

Dexterra Concert provides customers with a single platform for mobile application development that integrates with enterprise back-office and legacy systems either behind corporate firewalls or as a hosted service from their wireless carrier. Dexterra Concert supports all market-leading devices and mobile operating systems, including Windows Mobile, RIM BlackBerry, and Symbian OS.

"The lack of mobile solutions specifically designed for the unique needs of enterprises and wireless carriers has been a limiting factor in mobile adoption and market growth," said Rob O'Farrell, general manager of Mobile Platform and Tools at Dexterra.  "By creating separate editions of our Dexterra Concert platform, we meet the specialised mobility requirements of these two types of customers, accelerating their deployments, reducing overall costs, and increasing profits and productivity."

Opera today released a preview of Opera Mini 4.2, the newest version of the mobile Web browser that works on almost every mobile phone. With this beta release, Opera says it is celebrating Opera Mini more than 20 million unique monthly users worldwide. Opera Mini users in the United States and Asia-Pacific region can now also experience faster browsing speeds, due to the addition of an Opera Mini server park in the United States.

"The number of people using Opera Mini worldwide proves that there is a true revolution going on: people want to access all their favorite Web sites on the mobile phone they have today," says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera. "We constantly focus on developing a faster and more personal browsing experience. Opera Mini 4.2 beta is an update that takes mobile Web browsing to the next level."

Opera Mini 4.2 beta is claimed to provide a more personalized experience with its colorful selection of new skins, improved support for YouTube and other mobile video services on a wider selection of mobile phones.  Improvements in Opera Link allow users to share notes between their mobile phones and PCs, in addition to their bookmarks and recently-visited URLs.

The latest version of UK sourced mobile development tool MobiForms 4.06 now includes support for wireless PDA access to SQL Server databases.

With MobiForms it is now said to be possible to remotely connect to most industry standard databases including Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase, IBM DB2, SQLite, HSQLDB and MySQL. Alternatively for off-line local storage MobiForms runs with a range of PDA databases. The latest version of MobiForms also includes a free copy of the open-source HSQLDB database for server, standalone or mobile database applications, complementing the MobiForms Developer tool and the Mobiforms runtime interpreter. MobiForms says it offers all the tools in one "box" for the creation and deployment of any type of mobile application - from surveys to field service, from signature capture to bar coding.

MobiForms is a rapid application development tool for building mobile applications for wireless platforms including Tablet PC, Pocket PC, Windows CE, Windows Mobile, Smartphone, Symbian and Palm. MobiForms is aimed at novice or expert users alike who do not want to spend hours writing complex code like Java or C++. Instead professional mobile applications can be created and deployed quickly using the intuitive MobiForms drag and drop interface, with the data tied seamlessly back to corporate systems.

With the global economy showing more and more signs of slowing down, mobile messaging growth will continue, according to a recent report from ABI Research, which says that mobile messaging services revenues will grow from $151 billion in 2008 to greater than $212 billion globally by 2013. Supply side drivers will be of primary importance for maintaining this level of growth.
 
Principal analyst Dan Shey comments: "Mobile messaging ARPUs are 85%+ of all handset data services revenues regardless of region and will remain so for many years. As messaging involves all the biggest players in the mobile industry there will be incentives for all mobile messaging suppliers to work cooperatively to serve customers well and propel all parties through these rough economic waters."
 
The important messaging suppliers include operators, device OEMs, content providers and middleware vendors. But although these suppliers can make the mobile messaging experience as pleasurable as possible, there must also be valid practical reasons for customers to use them and to and consider upgrading to new plans and services. One of the main reasons: more and more customers see mobile messaging services as a more efficient way to communicate than voice services.
 
Shey says, "The utility of mobile services will keep them a necessity in tough economic times, particularly since displaced workers need to be mobile to find work."

comscore has reported that 6.5 million Americans tuned into mobile video in August. Among the top operators in the US, AT&T claimed the most mobile video viewers, with 4.4 per cent of subscribers accessing either programmed or on-demand mobile video. Sprint's figure was 4.2 per cent, followed by T-Mobile and Verizon with 2.4 per cent each.

According to the study, on-demand video was the most popular format, with 3.6 million viewers. With 1.3 million viewers, amateur videos, such as those on YouTube, represent the most popular type of content, followed by music videos and comedy videos. Music videos are the top choice for programmed mobile broadcast video users, followed closely by full television shows or films and movie trailers.

comscore senior analyst Mark Donovan said, "While the most popular forms of mobile TV and video are genres such as music videos and movie trailers which offer short video snacks, the data also show a nascent audience for long-form mobile content such as TV shows.

"At under three per cent penetration, the mobile video audience in the US remains small, but it is composed largely of males between 18 and 34 years old, which could make it attractive to advertisers seeking to reach multi-tasking early-adopters who don't have time for appointment television."

comScore also announced the results of its August Benchmark Study. Mobile social networking posted the highest growth, at 8.8 per cent, while photo and video messaging had the highest rate of penetration, at 26.3 per cent.

Alvarion, a provider of WiMAX and wireless broadband solutions, today announced the expansion of its frame agreement with the French WiMAX operator Altitude. Alvarion's Mobile WiMAX 4Motion solution will be used by Altitude to extend its coverage and provide voice and data services at 3.5 GHz to corporate, ISP and residential users in the Jura and Deux Sevres districts.

The rollout of this commercial network is already underway, with plans to be completed in early 2009. The new network will offer an enhanced portfolio of high quality wireless broadband services over Alvarion's Mobile WiMAX solution, including indoor and outdoor CPEs.

"Building on our success throughout the region of Aveyron, we see an increase in demand for WiMAX broadband services," said Fabrice Ballart, Managing Director of Altitude Infrastructure. "As always, we are committed to provide the best services and cost effective solutions to our customers, and therefore growing with Alvarion was the natural choice for moving forward and enabling seamless connectivity to the residents of France. This expansion will allow us to reach more customers and offer them the benefits of WiMAX at competitive rates."

"A pioneer of WiMAX in France, we congratulate Altitude on the expansion of its network and look forward to our long-term partnership," said Tzvika Friedman, President and CEO of Alvarion. "Increasing network capacity with our Mobile WiMAX solution enables Altitude to maintain a competitive position in the challenging market while ensuring quality of service and innovation for future expansions."

Alvarion's end-to-end 4Motion solution is the foundation of the company's OPEN WiMAX ecosystem, which combines BreezeMAX and other best-in-class systems. A complete all-IP Mobile WiMAX solution, 4Motion is designed to enable service providers to offer subscribers fixed and mobile Personal Broadband services anytime, anywhere. The 4Motion solution is comprised of core network elements, IP radio networking elements and end user devices.

Aspects Tools has announced the release of Tool Box 1.0, its new suite of test tools for mobile handsets and (U)SIM cards.
                 
Tool Box comprises tools for monitoring communications between a mobile handset and a USIM card; testing a USIM card's behaviour and profile; testing a mobile handset; and running ready-made test suites. As well as supporting ISO 7816, GSM and 3G, Tool Box adds SWP/HCI support as well as CDMA2000 translation.

"Tool Box 1.0 gave us the chance to start again," said Steve Lincoln, Aspects CTO, "using everything we have learnt over the years and including our customers' suggestions to build an exceptional suite of new tools. Tool Box was a great opportunity to improve the usability and power of our offering. Aspects Spy, for example, has been designed to make spying a much more intuitive process. Aspects Spy's split view, multiple protocol views and timeline makes the session easier to follow, and our inspections offer automated session analysis to reduce the time required to troubleshoot."

The first release of Tool Box also sees the introduction of Aspects Mobile, a new tool for testing cards. Aspects Mobile allows users to write tests using Aspects powerful high-level Java APIs; to run tests and to save certificates and batch summaries that can be read by Aspects Viewer, a free session and certificate viewer.

André Reumerman, Aspects' CEO, adds "Before we had two version of everything: one for GSM and one for 3G. Now, we have only one. Customers pick the technologies they work with and then add tools and test suites to build their own, custom-built tool box. It makes sense."

Aspects has developed Tool Box 1.0 to support Aspects' existing hardware environments as well as those of their hardware development partner, Micropross. Micropross' SWP/HCI hardware platform MP300 TC3 is Tools Box' launch platform. Aspects and Micropross announced their partnership on October 16, 2008.

Wapple has announced it is unveiling Wapple Architect, which is claimed to enable developers to quickly mobilize existing PC web applications and create new mobile services that integrate existing data and content.

"Architect is a ground breaking technology that integrates at the very heart of an existing web application, unlike transcoding systems," claimed Rich Holdsworth, CTO at Wapple.

Only 50% of traditional websites can be viewed via mobile, the other 50% provide a poor user experience because they have not been designed for mobile devices.  Wapple Architect is claimed to dramatically cut the time and cost of mobilizing web applications and delivering rich multimedia mobile content. And because Wapple's device profiler automatically recognises the characteristics of any mobile device, the application and content instantly repurposes to work on the thousands of different handset and software combinations on the market. This eliminates the need for manual device or browser profiling or developing multiple versions that have held back the growth of the mobile internet, says Wapple.

"There is growing demand for good quality mobile applications and content, but developers have been faced with the impossible task of supporting more than 50,000 device and software variants," says Holdsworth. "The result is that many have either used crude transcoding to deliver very basic content or spent weeks developing different sites for different phones. With Wapple Architect, developers simply build it once and let Wapple's delivery engine do the rest."

At the heart of Architect is Wapple's 'unique', easy-to-understand XML-based mark-up language, WAPL (Wapple Application Programming Language). This enables the development of genuine device independent applications that can be written in any language and output in WAPL.

WAPL works in the same way as HTML/XHTML for websites and applications. Once WAPL files have been added, Wapple's web services will detect if a mobile device is being used to access the site and output WAPL as the view file.

The Wapple Exhibit device profiler and delivery engine provides dynamic and intelligent optimisation so that applications and domains developed using Wapple Architect are accurately rendered not just for all of the devices in use now but from the moment a new device or update is launched onto the market.

"More than 100 new device and software combinations appear every month," Holdsworth continued, "By using Wapple Architect, developers are future-proofing their mobile applications. Our delivery technology simply identifies new device properties the moment they are used and presents content in the right way. The correct mark-up language is delivered, logos and other images are never distorted or in the wrong colour, navigation is presented in the most appropriate way and only content the device is able to handle is displayed and adapted to the screen size."

A beta version of Wapple Architect is available from today.

At a press conference held yesterday evening, the telecommunication expert Professor Kruse from the Helmut Schmidt University of Hamburg, Telekom Austria Group's mobile subsidiary, mobilkom austria, T-Mobile Austria and Orange (Austria) warned about the EU roaming regulation's negative effects on Austria's mobile industry. Kruse, who knows the Austrian market very well, presented independent research on the effects of the regulation on the Austrian telecommunications industry.

The outcome of the analysis is said to show a dramatic scenario: the decrease in EBITDA due to roaming regulation amounts to a total of EUR 81.5 million for the three Austrian mobile providers: mobilkom austria, T-Mobile Austria and Orange (Austria). This decline has a direct impact on investment volumes of the three providers, which decreased by 41.2% in the first half of 2008 compared to the same period of the previous year. In absolute terms, this means EUR 128.3 million in the first half-year 2008 versus EUR 218.2 million in the first half-year 2007, prior to the introduction of the EU roaming voice price caps.

The call volume effects forecasted by the EU did not take place: the average price per roaming minute (for both active and passive calls) decreased by 43%, however, the three mobile operators reported increases of only 3.7% for active roaming minutes and of 10.3% for passive roaming minutes. As a result, price cuts could not be compensated with rising call volumes. Since the introduction of the price caps, voice roaming revenues from active roaming minutes have decreased by 41.4% for all three mobile providers compared to the previous year. For passive roaming minutes the drop in revenues amounted to 37.4% on a half-year on half-year basis.
Professor Kruse drew the following conclusion: "Since its deregulation, the Austrian telecommunications market has been marked by intensive competition, which has led to considerable price reductions for the benefit of the Austrian customers. However, the central intervention measures of the European Commission in some areas of the price shaping process have resulted in negative effects on national price structures." 

"The Austrian mobile telecommunications sector is marked by three key attributes: an extremely high penetration rate of 122.5% (as of end of September 2008), the lowest prices when compared against international benchmarks and an internationally recognised strong commitment to innovation," said Hannes Ametsreiter, CMO mobilkom austria and Telekom Austria. "The planned intervention measures of the EU Commission with regard to roaming price caps for both SMS and data as well as the plans for pulsing, represent a massive threat to the Austrian mobile telecommunications industry. If we are obliged to reduce investments due to the aforementioned regulations, this will have repercussions on Austria as a business location as well as on customers," added Ametsreiter, warning that further financial losses of the same magnitude are expected due to planned increases in roaming regulation.

Wolfgang Kniese, CFO T-Mobile Austria, pointed out: "This research study confirms our point of view: the assumptions of the European Commission, according to which the negative effects from price cuts were to be counteracted with an increase in call volumes, proved wrong. On the long-term this results in negative effects for the entire industry. In the current context of the global economy this approach is in contrast with the EU political intentions of promoting growth via investments."

"As a traditional tourism country Austria is particularly exposed to roaming regulation compared to other EU member states," said Michael Krammer Orange CEO in Austria. 

The number of foreign visitors' call minutes within Austrian networks increased by 24% due to two effects: a good winter season and the 2008 European Football Championship. However, revenues per minute decreased by 44.8%.

Mr Krammer further pointed out: "In particular, the reduction of roaming prices at the wholesale level does not bring about any benefits for Austrian consumers. Quite the reverse, it leads to a capital outflow of millions of EUR to foreign countries as Austria is a popular tourist destination, which results in more customers of foreign networks roaming in Austria than the other way around. The EU regulation is weakening the entire European industry, while hitting Austria particularly hard."

Revenues from mobile phone sales are expected to grow at 6.8% CAGR between 2007 and 2013, and should exceed USD200 billion by the end of 2013, according to Informa Telecoms & Media in its latest Future Mobile Handsets report. Emerging markets, including Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) and Africa, will make up the majority global handset market value, with 60% share in 2013. Growth disparities between developed and emerging markets will become apparent within the next five years, says Informa.

Growth will not exceed 2% CAGR in developed markets according to the report, handset market value growth rates are slowing significantly in developed markets and, if the current economic slowdown persists, could even turn negative after 2009. Informa does not expect revenue growth from mobile phone sales to exceed 2% CAGR in Western Europe, 1% in North America, and less than 0.5% in Japan between 2010 and 2013. In these regions, the smartphone market will represent the major growth area. Revenues from this type of phone will represent more than 55% of total handset market value in North America, Western Europe, and Japan. However, this growth will only help offset the sharp decline of non-smartphone market value.

Handset market volume sales in these regions are reaching saturation, leading to increasing competition between handset OEMs. The price war will only intensify at a time when new entrants such as Apple and Google are increasing their pressure on competitors to reduce their prices mainly for feature phones and smartphones.

"With the ongoing fall of feature phone and smartphone ASPs, several leading handset vendors are now looking for new ways of controlling handset manufacturing costs in order to maintain margins", said Malik Saadi, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media and co-author of the report.

"With this in mind, vendors have already shifted the majority of production plants into low labour cost regions such as China, Taiwan, India, Vietnam and Eastern Europe and now they have to play the only remaining card: lowering the bill they pay for chipsets and terminal software", Saadi continued.

Device vendors have traditionally relied on customized chipsets for powering their products. Now that modem chips are becoming a commodity, and vendors are adopting off-the-shelf solutions, price competition is expected to increase significantly, requiring suppliers to generate significant economies of scale.

The mobile handsets industry is also turning its interest to open-source, a community based approach, which promises vendors a reduction in or the elimination of royalties related to terminal software and will also help them lower the cost of maintaining commoditised software because, under open source rules, this cost is shared among all members of the community rather than being borne by a single vendor.

With all these efforts OEMs will find it hard to maintain feature phone and smartphone margins in the future. This is due to growing competition in these market segments involving different types of vendors including incumbent OEMs, consumer electronics vendors, PC vendors, and internet content providers.

"Looking forward, it is becoming clear that, in these regions, handset vendors can no longer rely on mobile phone sales to sustain growth. They will have to look at other opportunities, for example getting involved in content creation and service offering", said Saadi.

This trend is already happening as a number of device vendors such as Nokia, Apple, and Sony-Ericsson are seeking to create end-to-end ecosystems linking their devices to services they offer. Not only will this enable them to differentiate themselves by offering enhanced user experience to their customers but it will also create new revenue opportunities for them by either delivering their own services or partnering with mobile operators to deliver these services.

Smartphones versus non-smartphones:

The growth in value of the mobile phone market will be driven by the smartphone segment, which will see double-digit annual growth until the final year of the forecast period. The annual value of non-smartphones will register almost at zero growth until 2011, partly due to the aggressive migration of subscribers in developed markets to smartphones with an adoption level exceeding 60% in 2011. After that year, the value of non smartphone sales will start to grow again but this time driven by the uptake of 3G and 3.5G services in emerging markets such as China and India.

The value of the global smartphone market will grow from almost USD39 billion in 2007 to more than USD95 billion, 47% of the total handset market value in 2013. This impressive potential is encouraging device vendors to prepare strong strategies to tap into this lucrative market. A number of vendors are increasing their involvement in open mobile terminal software, which is a core foundation in the development of smartphone devices. Open source will play an essential role in bringing smartphones to the mass market. A number of mobile open source foundations have been created within the last two years; including the Symbian Foundation (SF), the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), and the Linux in Mobile foundation (LiMo). Virtually all OEMs and the leading operators are actively working within these organizations and preparing themselves to compete strongly in this market segment.

 "This development clearly indicates the industry is entering a new era where product differentiation will increasingly shift from hardware to software. Vendors who have prepared themselves for this radical change will find themselves in a better position than those who continue to differentiate their products on the basis of hardware" said Saadi.