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Spb Software, maker of Windows Mobile applications, has developed a user interface panel for Sony Ericsson's Xperia X1. As part of the strategic partnership between Sony Ericsson and Spb Software, Spb has provided a Mobile Shell-based solution that compliments the X1 in both style and speed. Taking advantage of the smartphone's panel technology, hardware and dynamic wide VGA touchscreen, the custom version of Spb Mobile Shell is optimized for the new Xperia, and comes with all X1 devices as a free download.

"We are very happy to be working with Spb, one of the most respected Microsoft Windows Mobile software developers in the market," said Mats Ekstrand, VP and Head of Convergence Unit at Sony Ericsson. "The addition of Spb to our panel ecosystem gives Xperia X1 users the opportunity to customize their handsets with an already established interface for the Windows Mobile environment, alongside enjoying the eight other active desktops through the unique Xperia Panel user interface."

Spb Mobile Shell is said to be an application that improves the innate Windows Mobile user interface, and is claimed to make it more direct, logical, and slick. The first version of software came out in February 2007.

"The Xperia panels are an innovative approach to personalization," - comments Yaroslav Goncharov, the Product Manager of Spb Mobile Shell - "With 3D acceleration, the panels are visually appealing for consumers, and at the same time present new opportunities for the developer community."

Volantis, the supplier of Intelligent Content Adaptation solutions for the Mobile Internet, has announced the availability of BuzzCast client for Apple iPhone, which is claimed to provide mobile operators with a way to brand their own content reader to quickly generate incremental data revenues. A similar client for Google Android devices will also be available soon.

Buzzcast is said to be a next-generation platform for integrating multiple content feeds, personalizing those feeds into custom channels, dynamically inserting advertisements and delivering content to multiple on-device clients.

The BuzzCast client for iPhone is the first Volantis-built on-device application for mobile devices. It enables subscribers with iPhones to access a range of syndicated content that they can search for and choose in a natural way by taking advantage of the touch-based user interface. 

"These new clients for BuzzCast will provide Volantis customers with the ability to offer compelling additional branded services to their subscribers," said Mark Watson, Volantis CEO. "Topical and frequently updated mobile content can help to drive data revenues and encourage takeup of higher-value data plans. The availability of BuzzCast clients on some of the most exciting mobile device platforms allows BuzzCast-delivered content to be in the hands of subscribers more rapidly than ever before."

The BuzzCast client for Android will provide equivalent functionality for any device based on the Google Android Platform.

Subscribers of Hutchison 3G Ireland, the operator of 3 Ireland network, have begun to receive high-speed mobile broadband services across the whole country as 3 expands its WCDMA/HSPA services in response to the growing demand for high speed broadband connectivity across Ireland.
 
Nokia Siemens Networks is upgrading and extending 3's network and is also providing the flat network architecture solution known as "Internet High-Speed Packet Access" (I-HSPA), a technology optimized for carrying huge volumes of data traffic, with its all-Internet Protocol (IP) backhaul. 
 
With the network extension, end users, whether they are on PC's, using laptops, or on the move with Internet enabled handsets, will have access to high-speed and high-capacity wireless broadband, with enhanced voice, data and multimedia services, enabled by the High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) functionality. In addition, with the higher data rates and increased network capacity the subscribers of 3 will have access to a vast range of service offerings.
 
Robert Finnegan, Chief Executive of 3 said: "This strategic agreement with Nokia Siemens Networks reinforces our position as the leading mobile broadband network and 3's commitment to deploying the very best technologies available. 3 has constantly challenged the established broadband providers to up their game and we're already seeing huge changes in the market place - mobile broadband connections are growing far faster than fixed line and we believe Ireland will be at the forefront of mobile replacing fixed line altogether, much like the trend we're seeing in the voice market. Not only is the mode of access changing but prices have dropped dramatically across the board since 3 introduced its 19.99 per month for 10 Mb last May. The broadband market is changing at a rapid pace and 3 is leading the charge to bridge Ireland's digital divide."
 
Under a three-year contract, Nokia Siemens Networks has already started to replace 3's legacy radio network with it's energy-efficient 3G connectivity solution, bringing 3 both environmental and operational benefits. The advanced solution, featuring the market-leading Flexi Base Stations, is said to provide significant power savings of up to 70 percent.
 
The setup will also simplify 3's network thanks to I-HSPA, the cost-effective flat network architecture concept, which is said to provide scalability to meet the demands of growing traffic and, at the same time, offers a smooth migration path to the future mobile networks, or Long Term Evolution (LTE).
 
"We are very pleased to extend and consolidate our partnership with this important agreement," said Sampsa Lahtinen, Head for West Europe at Nokia Siemens Networks. "We are also glad that our innovative solutions which simplify mobile networks, like the Flexi Base Station and Internet-HSPA, will provide the Irish consumers with a fast, reliable broadband experience."
 
Nokia Siemens Networks is also providing 3 with the NetAct network management and service management solution for maximizing network performance.

mBalance says it is helping mobile operators protect the environment, with software claimed to minimize energy consumption and provide operators considerable savings in both hardware costs and carbon footprint. And with mBalance's latest TextPass Suite 7 software release, the company is claiming to provide extreme SMS routing and delivery performance on existing hardware.

"Sending an SMS is becoming cheaper due to competition and regulatory price rulings, which results in even more use of SMS by subscribers. At the same time, mature operators need to be more conscious of the environmental impact of their heavy energy consumption. The result: these operators are now, more than ever, focused on reducing their carbon footprint. mBalance's new messaging systems allow them to do this while at the same time save considerably  on server hardware. This all means a more competitive business for them," commented mBalance CEO Marien van Ouwerkerk.

Mobile network capacity, one of the most effective ways to compare offerings, has traditionally been expressed in messages per second, but this number doesn't tell the customer anything about the hardware or energy efficiency needed to achieve it. mBalance believes this is better expressed as the power consumption per messages delivered, the common unit for this is kiloWatt hour (kWh). The mBalance modular SMS routing platform handles 140 Million messages per kWh - 30 times less energy than traditional SMSC (Short Message Service Centre) systems with comparable delivery capacity. 

mBalance's Green Messaging is also said to fall in line with the new environmental policies set by the GSM Association, which has launched a renewable energy push for mobile networks called the Green Power for Mobile Program.  The goal is to help the mobile industry to become more aware of its power consumption and its effects on the environment. The idea is not only to lower the energy consumption of existing (messaging) infrastructures, but also to introduce renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, or sustainable bio-fuels.

Although embedded cellular modem sales have been slow to take off, momentum is building for increased sales, according to a recent study from ABI Research. One recent development is the GSMA's Mobile Broadband Service Mark initiative which, backed by media spending of $1 billion, will create awareness of laptops with embedded connectivity, says ABI.
 
Other drivers include: Qualcomm's Gobi chipset that enables modem connectivity on both GSM and CDMA networks; lower mobile broadband pricing; and networks maintaining their current EV-DO Rev A and HSPA air interfaces for at least two more years. ABI has forecast that these and other market forces will increase embedded cellular modem sales to nearly $9 billion in 2013.
 
However ABI Research principal analyst Dan Shey observes that there are some near term barriers to market development. "Although embedded connectivity is convenient, operators can apply the important levers of PC Card and USB modem pricing and promotion, as well as device-specific mobile broadband pricing. These factors can change the total value proposition of an embedded modem device and limit their uptake in the near term."
 
Another near-term barrier is the current negative economic environment.
 
Shey concludes, "The holiday season will be difficult this year for purchases of bigger ticket items such as laptops. It would not be surprising for laptop OEMs to work more closely with operators to help drive the sales of these devices both with and without embedded connectivity. In other words, product bundles that include laptops, mobile broadband price offers and/or USB modems may be made available to entice buyers during these difficult economic times."  

The GSMA, the global trade body for the mobile industry, has called on
governments across Europe to emulate the "Digital Plan" unveiled by the
French Government. By allocating part of the digital dividend spectrum to
mobile broadband services, France is well-placed to improve its economic
competitiveness by closing the digital divide between those with access to
broadband and those without, it says.

"The French government has acted decisively by allocating 72MHz of the
spectrum freed up by the switchover to digital television to mobile broadband
services, which will reach rural communities that can't be served
economically by fixed-line broadband networks," said Tom Phillips, Chief
Government & Regulatory Affairs Officer of the GSMA. "Radio signals in this
spectrum band travel much further than signals in the higher bands, enabling
future mobile broadband networks to reach as far as 2G networks do today. The
rest of Europe should follow France's example as soon as possible."

The French Government's decision to initially allocate the 790MHz to
862MHz band for mobile broadband services will further encourage equipment
makers to develop handsets and base stations for this frequency band, which
the World Radiocommunication Conference has allocated to the provision of
mobile broadband services in Europe, Middle East and Asia.

The GSMA is calling on other European governments to also commit this spectrum
band to mobile broadband services. Harmonisation of spectrum across countries
provides manufacturers with the economies of scale necessary to drive down
the price of mobile devices and makes it easier for people to continue using
their handsets while traveling abroad, it says. The success of GSM is partly due to
the harmonized allocation of spectrum by European governments. The Swedish
and Finnish governments have already decided to make the 790MHz -862 MHz band
available for mobile applications.

Texas Instruments has today announced that its Bluetooth and WLAN technology software drivers are available for use in Open Handset Alliance's Android platform. Open access to these technologies simplifies the design process for handset manufacturers and software developers, providing the resources to architect Android-based devices. TI, a long-time supporter of the open source software community, is the first company to provide open source Bluetooth and WLAN software drivers for the Android platform, and is among the first to open WLAN drivers for the mobile industry.

"TI continues to increase its contributions to the open source community, removing barriers and sparking development of a new breed of mobile devices," said Haviv Ilan, general manager, TI's Wireless Business Unit. "Contributing our Bluetooth and WLAN driver source codes to Open Handset Alliance's Android platform is another step in this initiative."

TI previously announced support for the Android platform with its OMAPT3 applications processors, and is now providing the connectivity elements for its BlueLinkT Bluetooth and WiLinkT WLAN technologies. According to TI, pre-integrating the codes into the Android platform places a comprehensive set of tools directly into the hands of developers and handset manufacturers easing the innovation process, while reducing time to market. Additionally, TI leverages the Apache and BSD-style licenses in support of the Android platform. With these licenses, a broader number of companies will be able to adopt the Android platform and build on top of it without having to expose proprietary technologies. This is a competitive advantage that increases flexibility and encourages further adoption of open source software, says TI..

TI  joined Open Handset Alliance as a founding member in 2007, supporting Android development with its OMAPT, Bluetooth and WLAN technologies. In addition to Open Handset Alliance, TI participates in a number of consortiums that further promote open source development, including the BlueZ community that provides support for the core Bluetooth layers and protocols.

AIRCOM International, a UK independent network planning and optimisation consultancy, has been selected by Egypt's largest mobile operator Mobinil, to help plan and implement 3G technology into its existing 2G network. 

Mobinil has purchased the UMTS+HSPA module of the ASSET network planning tool from AIRCOM's ENTERPRISE tool suite, as it seeks to roll out a wide range of 3G services to its customers.  As well as the 3G module of ASSET, AIRCOM delivered 3G technology courses and will also provide a range of training and consultancy services to Mobinil's engineers, to ensure a seamless integration into the network. 

Commenting on the deal, Mahmoud Hatab, Senior Manager, RF Design & Optimisation at Mobinil said: "As part of the Mobinil mission to maintain its position as the leading mobile service provider in Egypt, we partnered with AIRCOM as they were in the best position to help deliver quality 3G services to the market quickly.  Having a great radio planning tool helps us deliver this quality efficiently and it was obvious that ASSET offered the best solution to meet our needs."

ASSET works across multiple technology mobile networks - including WiMAX, HSDPA, 2, 2.5 and 3G - and has been used by Mobinil since 2006 to plan and optimise its existing 2G network. 

"We are delighted to have been selected by Mobinil as it rolls out its 3G network," said Bashar Zako, Regional Managing Director for MENA and India, at AIRCOM International.  "ASSET will be able to generate sophisticated network statistics and reports for Mobinil to ensure the network provides optimum quality and capacity.  Ultimately this will reduce Mobinil's OPEX spend and help to ensure it delivers the best possible quality of service to its customers. 

Deployment of ASSET into the Mobinil network began in April and the tool is currently being used by Mobinil planning and optimisation engineers across Egypt. 

mobilkom austria, and fring, a mobile internet service and community service provider, have jointly launched a partner program for the mobile internet, including mVoIP, instant messaging and more.

Following the adoption of the SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) telecommunications standard, fring has developed a dedicated version of its mobile client to support the functionalities of mobilkom austria's service A1 over IP, along with additional popular internet communities. This is said to be a first step of the partner program -  fring plans to expand its portfolio to include additional features of mobilkom austria's A1 over IP, providing a true convergence of residential and mobile SIP telephony, mobile community and mobile internet provision.

Hannes Ametsreiter, CMO mobilkom austria and CMO Telekom Austria TA said, explaining the objectives of the partner program: "Internet services and mobile communications will become increasingly integrated. We were among the first operators to adopt the international SIP standard. Through the partnership with fring we can demonstrate today how the two worlds will merge in the future."

Avi Shechter, fring co-founder and CEO, added: "We are delighted to be working with mobilkom austria, a network operator who is among the first to truly embrace mobile internet communication and communities and build it into their business.  The A1 over IP offering demonstrates mobilkom austria's leadership and the commercial opportunities and rich user benefits available by offering integration into fring's mobile internet community and communication service."

A1 over IP was launched by mobilkom austria in 2007, primarily as a service for the PC, offering customers the possibility to make calls via ‘Voice over IP' using their mobile phone number, accept calls to the phone number on the PC and send and receive text messages on their computer. From the start, instant messaging as well as the presence function, which signals the online availability of all call parties, were elementary components of the service.

Following the launch of the partner program, these functionalities will also be supported by fring, which will continuously expand its portfolio to support all new features of A1 over IP, just as with traditional internet communities. As a result, users of the mobile version of this VoIP application will be able to keep in contact with their friends via the same service as on the PC.

Swanbay Mobile has launched an 'advanced' mobile video application for the Symbian platform, which is claimed to offer Symbian Smartphone users outstanding video quality combined with a simplified user experience.

The application provides full screen video streaming over 3G or WiFi networks, which is said to be made possible through the use of a proprietary video codec that optimises data compression and video quality.

Swanbay says it spent two years developing the Smartphone software, to provide a full media player with integrated browsing. This enables users to navigate the mobile internet and view mobile video all within a single application.

The mobile video application is a white-labeled product that supports customer branding.

Swanbay's first implementation of the product is on the Symbian s60 3rd edition platform which includes the recently launched Nokia N96 handset as well as the popular N95 and N95 8GB.

Mike Kennett, Director of Product Development at Swanbay, said: "We set out to develop a world-class Smartphone video application, and I genuinely think we have achieved that. The application offers the user an amazing video experience on a 3G network through a simple user interface and fantastic video quality."

Swanbay are a mobile video services company enabling broadcasters, Network Operators, content and brand owners to extend their products and services to global audiences, via a cutting-edge mobile video delivery technology.

New research has forecast that over 400 million mobile subscribers worldwide will use their mobile phones for ticketing by 2013. However, the study concluded that trials and pilots are not being implemented into full mobile ticketing services as quickly as expected for several reasons including bar code reading issues, lack of reader infrastructure and availability of Near Field Communications handsets.

The Juniper Research report found that the leading sector will be transport, followed by entertainment and then sporting events. The Far East and China region is leading the market, driven by adoption in Japan particularly amongst rail travellers. In addition airlines are beginning to offer mobile ticket purchasing. Outside the transport segment, the report identified a number of ground-breaking trials and services, such as by cinema chains in India which buys 37% of all movie tickets sold worldwide. In addition a number of football and baseball teams are beginning to offer mobile options for ticket purchase and delivery; however, many venues still require a printed ticket to gain entry.  

Juniper report author Howard Wilcox pointed out: "Mobile ticketing offers exciting new opportunities for ticket issuers to achieve increased sales including targeted last-minute sales campaigns. For example, tickets for the sporting event or movie happening ‘tomorrow' or ‘tonight' could be marketed directly to known fans."

However, Wilcox warned that whilst NFC mobile user trial results such as O2 in London and BART in San Francisco have been encouraging, market traction will be determined by the availability of NFC phones and the speed of installation of NFC readers.

TapRoot Systems, a developer of software solutions for the smartphone market, has announced that its "always-with-you" WalkingHotSpot internet connectivity solution is now available to purchase directly from www.walkinghotspot.com. 
 
With a one-time software download to a Wi-Fi enabled smartphone, WalkingHotSpot is said to transform Windows Mobile 6 and S60 3G/Wi-Fi smartphones into "walking" hotspots. Users can securely retrieve e-mails, as well as browse the Internet, on Wi-Fi enabled devices such as laptops and MP3 players.  Wireless subscribers can forget about data cards, cables, dongles and multiple service/hotspot plans, because WalkingHotSpot allows the option of consolidating connectivity subscriptions and expenses into one economical solution.
 
The WalkingHotSpot team is touring Europe this week to introduce this award-winning application. "WalkingHotSpot was launched as a beta-trial earlier this year, and Europe has proven to be one of our top markets," comments Bob Bicksler, CEO of TapRoot Systems. "Combining the proliferation of smartphones in Europe with the mature 3G infrastructure makes a strong user scenario for WalkingHotSpot. We see Europe as a significant market for this application. With WalkingHotSpot, users can feel confident they have a reliable, secure, inexpensive and readily-available internet connection wherever and whenever they need it," Bicksler continues.

Cicero Networks, a provider of communications solutions for fixed mobile convergence and Symbian, the specialist in open operating systems for mobile phones, have today announced a proof-of-concept for voice mobility across multiple networks on FreeWay-Symbian's IP communications architecture on Symbian OS.

Cicero, an active member of the Symbian Partner Network, and Symbian have collaborated to enable Voice Call Continuity (VCC) using the FreeWay communications architecture and CiceroVCC engine. The solution provides seamless in-call handover to enable roaming between circuit switched networks and all-IP based IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) networks including Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMAX.

As users move through mobile networks today, calls move seamlessly between cells and the user is unaware that this is happening. As all-IP networks are deployed in the future, mobile phones will need to move seamlessly not only between cells but also between network technologies, and VCC is the technology that will allow them to do this. With VCC, users will remain unaware of network switching during phone calls allowing operators to deploy all-IP networks in a staged manner, by having calls switch seamlessly between all-IP networks and traditional circuit switched (CS) networks.

"As mobile service providers deploy next generation IP-based voice networks, being able to support the old and new is critical", said Jonathan Webb, Principal Product Manager, Symbian "Our collaboration with Cicero demonstrates FreeWay's flexibility in enabling voice mobility across multiple network technologies. This is an important step in future network service delivery development."

"The combination of Symbian FreeWay and CiceroVCC provides handset manufacturers with an easy route to making Symbian mobile phones VCC compliant." said Ross Brennan, CEO Cicero Networks. "Cicero recognises that native voice bearer mobility is a critical requirement for future service delivery".

Palringo, the instant messaging applications for mobile phones, has added live location information to the latest version of its application - Palringo Local.

Said to be accurate to the suburb or even street-level in a city, and to the closest named town in rural areas, Palringo users can opt to display their location alongside their status, for fun, personal, social, business or any other purpose.

Palringo Local goes live today for Microsoft Windows Mobile users, and will be delivered as an automatic update for existing users.  Roll-out will follow for other popular mobile device operating systems - including Symbian OS-based phones, Java, BlackBerry and iPhone - completing before the end of 2008.  Palringo Local for desktop/laptop editions of the Microsoft Windows operating system also goes live from today and will be automatically updated. .

Kerry Ritz, Palringo's CEO, said: "Since the dawn of the mobile phone era, we've all listened into or been part of mobile phone conversations in which the two parties have asked each other where they are - or, with SMS, spent a message establishing those facts.  Now, people won't need to do that; provided someone wishes to 'show' the basic instinct to 'know', even if it doesn't matter, is satisfied."

"But there are also quite practical reasons for showing your location: if you're part of a group all meeting in one place, like a sports team; or you want to know where your delivery drivers are without investing in expensive systems.  Whatever your reason to show your location, now you can," he explained.

Anyone using Palringo Local must specifically opt in to display their location; users can opt in and out at will.  Even opted-in, users retain control over which contacts can see their location.  Location may also be set manually.

The popular instant messaging services with which Palringo integrates are: AOL Instant Messenger, Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger, Gadu-Gadu, ICQ, Jabber and Windows Live.  People can also use Palringo to contact their friends using iChat, Apple's IM application.