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Envivio, a technology provider of IP video convergence encoding solutions from mobile to HD, has announced that the performance of its 4Caster M2 mobile TV encoder is to be 'enhanced significantly' with the addition of Extreme Compression. 

As an encoding platform for Mobile TV, the 25 percent increase in performance made possible using Extreme Compression on the 4Caster M2 will have a 'profound impact' on the quality of mobile broadcast and 3G mobile streaming services around the world, claims the company. Operators with both new and existing H.264 based Mobile TV deployments which use the 4Caster M2 will be able to provide subscribers with a 'dramatically enriched quality of experience', it is claimed.

"Our in-house codec development team has worked incredibly hard to improve upon the already outstanding performance of the M2 encoder and we are very excited about the results. By liaising closely with the world's mobile handset vendors and the network operators we have as customers, Envivio has been able to develop an even more efficient mobile TV compression implementation that delivers a truly stunning end user experience on mobile devices that have been designed specifically for multimedia playback." - Eric Rosier, Vice President of Engineering at Envivio.  

GSA, the Global mobile Suppliers Association, has confirmed a large rise in the number of HSPA devices introduced onto the market. GSA's latest HSPA Devices Survey identifies 805 HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) products have now been launched. The number of HSPA devices has virtually doubled in less than 11 months. The number of suppliers increased from 80 to 129 in the same period, i.e. over 61% growth.

HSPA devices address all market segments, and the GSA survey provides the following breakdown:

* 384 mobile phones and UMPCs

* 120 PC data cards (PCMCIA cards, ExpressCards, chipsets, embedded modules)

* 118 notebooks

* 102 USB modems

* 73 Wireless routers/gateways

* 7 Personal Media Players (PMPs)

* 1 camera

500 devices, i.e. the majority, support 3.6 Mbps (peak) or higher download data speeds, including 228 devices supporting 7.2 Mbps peak or higher.

The number of HSUPA-capable (High Speed Uplink Packet Access) devices has tripled in less than a year. Today 97 devices support HSUPA operation, with the majority delivering up to 2.1 Mbps (peak) on the uplink, while 28 products already support or upgradeable for 5.76 Mbps (peak) speed.

Alan Hadden, President, GSA, said: "The number of HSDPA mobile phones increased by 93% since last October, and the number of notebooks with embedded HSPA-connectivity increased by a similar amount. The benefits from deploying HSPA in the lower frequency bands are also widely appreciated. Over 300 devices operate in the 850 MHz band, and the availability of UMTS 900 devices has significantly improved."

While the majority of WCDMA-HSPA systems and devices operate in internationally designated 3G/IMT-2000 core band spectrum (2100 MHz), the 850 MHz frequency band as widely used throughout the Americas, in Australia and in Asia is also well supported. There is also significantly increasing availability reported for UMTS 900 devices, already today supporting UMTS 900 service launches in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

HSPA Device breakdown by frequency (excluding notebooks):

* 637 devices i.e. over 92%, operate in the 2100 MHz band

* 307 devices i.e. over 44%, operate in the 850 MHz band

* 224 tri-band 850/1900/2100 MHz devices facilitate global roaming

* 33 devices operate in the 900 MHz band (UMTS 900)

184 HSPA devices incorporate 802.11/WLAN functionality. Excluding notebooks, this represents over 26% of HSPA devices. 142 HSPA devices also incorporate positioning functionality functionality (GPS, Assisted GPS, etc.). Excluding notebooks, this represents over 20% of HSPA devices. 58 HSPA devices also incorporate mobile TV functionality, representing a number of standards.

Nokia has updated its mobile device market share outlook for the third quarter 2008, with the company now expecting its mobile device market share in the third quarter 2008 to be lower than in the second quarter 2008. This compares to Nokia's earlier estimation provided in the second quarter results announcement on July 17, 2008, when the company said it expected its mobile device market share in the third quarter 2008 to be approximately at the same level sequentially.
 
Nokia continues to target an increase in its market share in mobile devices for the full year 2008.
 
Nokia expects the overall mobile device market in 2008 to be impacted by the weaker consumer confidence in multiple markets. However, it continues to expect industry mobile device volumes in 2008 to grow 10% or more from the approximately 1.14 billion units Nokia estimated for 2007. Nokia also continues to expect industry mobile device volumes in the third quarter 2008 to be up sequentially.
 
Nokia says its current estimate that its mobile device market share in the third quarter 2008 will be lower than previously expected is said to be due to multiple factors. These factors include Nokia's tactical decision to not meet certain aggressive pricing of some competitors, the overall market competition, including the entry markets, and the temporary impact of a slower ramp-up of a mid-range Nokia device. Nokia's strategy is to take market share only when the company believes it to be sustainably profitable in the longer term. Nokia has not broadly participated in the recent aggressive pricing activity - as it believes that the negative impact to profitability would outweigh any short term incremental benefits to device unit sales.

Messaging International, provider of messaging services, has, through its wholly owned subsidiary TeleMessage, announced that its PC2Mobile Application Suite, which allows users to send text, pictures, music and video from a PC to a mobile phone, has been integrated for global availability into Comverse's comprehensive messaging portfolio and has been successfully deployed by a leading tier-1 operator in Eastern Europe.

By downloading the application from a PC, mobile subscribers can send SMS and MMS messages directly from a PC to any mobile phone.  The service integrates as a plug-in onto Microsoft Outlook, and as a toolbar for the Microsoft Internet Explorer and File Explorer. Customers pay the operator for each SMS and MMS message sent via their monthly phone bill.

Messaging International CEO Guy Levit said, "We are excited about this development with Comverse, a worldwide leader in messaging.  This is an important stamp of acceptance for our products and will significantly expand our marketing reach.  The recent successful launch the PC2Mobile solution with a major mobile operator gives us valuable exposure to the booming Eastern European messaging market, which will, we believe, become increasingly important to our future growth."

Dror Bin, Head of Comverse' Products Group, said, "TeleMessage's PC2Mobile fits very well into Comverse's converged messaging strategy, extending the operator's presence to the PC with new and innovative ways to send SMS and MMS messages.  Enabling people to send user-generated and other multimedia content easily from their PCs differentiates the operator's offering, improves the user experience, and paves the way for unprecedented MMS growth potential."

O2 has announced that Pay & Go will be available for the Apple iPhone 3G on September 16 with pricing at £349.99 for the 8GB model and £399.99 for the 16GB model. iPhone 3G Pay & Go customers will also receive inclusive unlimited data and Wi-Fi for 12 months following activation, services regularly worth £120.  

iPhone 3G on Pay & Go will come with unlimited data browsing over O2's mobile network and unlimited access to over 9,000 Wi-Fi hotspots through both The Cloud and BT Openzone for 12 months following activation. Following this, an unlimited data and Wi-Fi bolt on will be available to Pay & Go customers for £10 per month.

"Launching iPhone 3G on Pay  Go opens up even more of the market for this innovative device," said Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 in the UK. "With inclusive data and Wi-Fi access for the first 12 months, Pay  Go makes it easy for customers to enjoy the best mobile browsing experience ever." 

iPhone 3G will be available to Pay & Go customers in the UK exclusively through Apple, O2 and Carphone Warehouse retail and online stores.

The market for Mobile Internet Devices - the new class of Internet-connected products offering "always-on" Web browsing, photography and video, navigation, games, social networking and voice communications - is forecast to grow at a 'spectacular' compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 167% over the next five years, according to a report from ABI Research.
 
According to ABI, this impressive growth will be paralleled by the penetration of several wireless technologies that are integral to the MID's functions: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and eventually ultra-wideband (UWB).
 
"All Mobile Internet Devices will feature Wi-Fi from the start," says ABI Research senior analyst Douglas McEuen. "That is the essential form of wireless connectivity that no MID will be without. But in addition, ABI Research expects to see Bluetooth reach a 95% penetration rate by the end of 2008."
 
While many MIDs will include voice capabilities, they are larger than mobile phones, and for convenience some users will carry a low-cost phone as well. However many consumers still want an all-in-one device, and the handset/headset configuration enabled by Bluetooth will meet their needs. That will be one of the main rationales for its early adoption in MIDs, says ABI.
 
The report says that more enhanced forms of connectivity are in the pipeline too. The first to reach the market will be "Bluetooth over 802.11," also known as AMP (Alternate MAC PHY). It involves a software addition that will allow the device's Bluetooth circuits to "piggyback" on its much faster Wi-Fi connection when it is necessary to transmit large amounts of data.
 
By 2011, ultra-wideband (UWB) will be added to the mix. "Ultra-wideband offers an ‘on steroids' version of Bluetooth," says McEuen, "Today it is just a wireless USB replacement, but the chips are getting smaller and more powerful and they are aiming for the portable device market. In a few years, it can be really useful in the MID market."

EADS Defence & Security (DS) has been chosen through its Spanish partner Abertis to maintain, service and upgrade the existing TETRA radio network of the Navarra region for the period 2009-2012.

The four-year service contract includes the roll out of the complementary TETRA infrastructure, the maintenance, the connection to the existing 112 emergency centre and the supply of more modern terminals.

"Together with our very efficient partner Abertis, we are convinced that our network expertise and our state-of-the-art service solutions will meet the expectations of the people who use the network every day and we commit to further extend their reach.. said Jean-Marc Nasr, President of EADS Secure Networks.

Sony Ericsson Developer World has today announced its continued investment in the bridging technology, Project Capuchin, which was announced in April 2008 and which will enable developers to bridge Flash Lite and Java ME for the first time. The Project Capuchin Software Developer Kit (SDK), a set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), a packaging tool and getting-started tutorials, is now available to developers around the world to download for free at the Sony Ericsson Developer World website.
 
The SDK release is said to be the next phase in the commitment to drive momentum for the new technology and to engage developers and partners in creating user experiences and new, innovative applications together with Sony Ericsson.
 
Sony Ericsson's Project Capuchin is an API that combines the richness of Flash Lite and Java ME technologies, allowing developers to utilize the best attributes of both software stacks to create innovative and content-rich applications for Sony Ericsson mobile phones. Based on the Project Capuchin APIs, the newly introduced packaging tool makes it possible to package existing Flash Lite content in a MIDlet jar file and the simplest way to utilize the API by using this tool, the advantages of Flash Lite design can be combined with the rich features Java has to offer, including higher levels of complexity, infrastructure access and security.
 
"Sony Ericsson is dedicated to providing its customers with a best-in-class user experience, and our dedication to Project Capuchin marks yet another milestone to help developers bring the richest applications to users on a mobile device," said Rikko Sakaguchi, CVP and Head of Creation and Development at Sony Ericsson. "Innovation is at its best with open development, and today we are proud to invite new and old developer partners to take advantage of the latest addition to the resources of Sony Ericsson Developer World."
 
Sony Ericsson Developer World members and a growing number non-traditional developers-like graphic artists and the graphics community- are said to have shown overwhelming support and interest in Project Capuchin, as it will allow them to develop rich applications, which would not have been technically possible in the past.

"As it stands today, the world of mobile development is highly fragmented," said Kirk Knoernschild, application platform strategies analyst at Burton Group. "Any efforts that reduce this fragmentation should be warmly received by the mobile development community."
 
Sony Ericsson's C905 Cyber-shot phone is the first phone to support the Project Capuchin API. Developers who utilize the Swf2Jar 1.1 packaging tool will be able to test their applications on the C905 as it comes to market, and further phones as the Sony Ericsson portfolio expands.

Dynamic Logic, a Millward Brown research company, has announced the aggregate results of mobile branding research studies for an early look at mobile advertising performance. The company has completed over 30 AdIndex for Mobile research studies in the US and the UK to measure the branding effects of mobile advertising campaigns across a number of industry sectors, including alcohol, automotive, consumer electronics, FMCG, entertainment, financial services, retail, telecommunications, and travel.  The campaigns included display ads on mobile WAP sites and downloadable mobile applications.

Comparing people exposed to the mobile campaigns to those not exposed, the initial performance averages from 21 studies suggest that mobile advertising can be an effective medium for raising top and bottom funnel brand metrics.  An average increase of +23.9 percentage points in Mobile Ad Awareness shows that these campaigns generally cut through and grab users' attention.  Average increases in Brand Favourability and Purchase Intent of +5.4 and +4.7 percentage points, respectively, support the ability of mobile advertising to change consumers' attitudes towards a brand and to drive intent to purchase.

Part of the reason for these positive increases may be a result of the newness of the medium, says Dynamic Logic.  People may be intrigued by advertising they see on their mobile phone, which is displayed on a smaller screen and in a less cluttered environment compared to the Internet, so they may tend to pay more attention to it.  More research and campaign analysis is needed to help marketers understand what will continue to work best on mobile devices.   

"Planning a campaign around new media is challenging and research continues to become more important," says Caroline Jones, director of Starcom MediaVest Plus.  "While this initial research is a great start, we need to continue to share our learnings from mobile marketing campaigns so these early averages can expand into a valuable benchmarking resource going forward."

"While these results are only based on a small number of campaigns and should be used as directional increases, we realise it is important for our clients to begin comparing their mobile campaign's effectiveness to an industry average," says Angela Whitelaw, director of client services, Dynamic Logic.  "As we measure more campaigns, we will continue to build these averages into a normative database that can be used to help marketers understand what's working and what's not on mobile.  Ultimately, we'd like to have norms that can be used for mobile campaigns in the same way our MarketNorms database is used for online performance benchmarking and planning."

"Having initial averages to compare our clients' campaigns' performance will serve as a guideline to what's working and what's not in these early stages of the medium," says David Fieldhouse, mobile manager, MediaCom.  "It's exciting to see this normative information around mobile's impact on branding become available, as it offers our clients some insight on how to best use mobile."

LG Electronics has today unveiled the LG-KC910, the first 8 megapixel multimedia phone with a full touchscreen interface. It is said to boast top-of-the-range camera capabilities, the latest multimedia features and at just 13.95 mm thick, it's also claimed to be he slimmest 8 megapixel camera phone on the market.

"The LG-KC910 follows the success of the LG Viewty, the brand's multi million selling camera phone. LG has once again combined a high-end camera with a full size touchscreen interface to provide the ultimate multimedia experience - in yet another world first device," said Dr. Skott Ahn, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. "According to our customers, touchscreen is essential for fully utilising high-end multimedia features and the LG-KC910's interface has been developed to meet these requirements."

Research specialist, comScore, has today reported that after a slower start,  the United States has caught up with Western Europe in the adoption of 3G with 28.4 percent of American mobile subscribers having 3G devices versus 28.3 percent in the largest countries in Europe. 

According to comScore, the number of U.S. subscribers with 3G enabled devices has grown 80 percent to 64.2 million during the past year. The market has responded enthusiastically as mobile vendors have rolled out their enhanced networks and a new crop of 3G enabled devices. The only individual major European countries exceeding the U.S. in 3G penetration are Italy and Spain.

"For years, the American mobile industry has aspired to the level of sophistication of the European market," observed Mark Donovan, senior vice president and senior analyst, comScore. "Today, Americans have finally caught up with Europeans in adoption of 3G.  The advancements in 3G network technology and the introduction of sleek devices into the U.S. market have paid off as adoption of mobile media continues to grow at a rapid pace."

Operators should look to prepaid offerings to maximise the mobile broadband opportunity in Q4 2008, rather than pinning their hopes on mobile broadband substituting fixed services, according to a new report by global advisory firm Ovum, titled 'Mobile broadband operator strategies in Western Europe'.

The research, which highlights the approaches available to operators in maximising the opportunity for mobile broadband, finds that mobile broadband services are best positioned as complementary to fixed.

"Fixed broadband penetration across Western Europe is simply too high," commented Steven Hartley, senior analyst at Ovum and the report's author. "Mobile broadband can not compete with fixed on speed or capacity, particularly as high bandwidth applications such as IPTV take off."

There will be some consumer segments for which mobile broadband could be a realistic substitute for a fixed service, such as students and itinerant workers; those in short-term shared or rented accommodation; and those simply unable to access a fixed services. But, according to Hartley, the window of opportunity to target these segments is closing rapidly:

"The size of the substitution opportunity is limited and operator activity to date means these segments are becoming saturated. Therefore, the potential for a long-term fixed mobile substitution strategy in Western Europe in the future looks unlikely."

Ovum says that operators in Western Europe to date have focussed on maximising the potential of mobile broadband through contract offerings. This makes sense as a customer locked into a contract provides a stable revenue stream.

However, the pool of customers willing to commit to an average of a two year contract for mobile broadband will naturally shrink over time. This is particularly true where mobile broadband is most likely to be used in addition to a fixed broadband service. Furthermore, as the cost of USB modems (or dongles) continues to fall a major barrier for entry is removed for the consumer. For the operator this also means no hardware subsidy to recoup, says Ovum.

As a result, Ovum is predicting that the next opportunity for mobile broadband in Western Europe will be prepaid offerings. With a prepaid approach operators can attract users who appreciate the mobility and simplicity of mobile broadband on some occasions, but are unwilling to commit to a long-term contract. As such, it is a model in which mobile broadband complements the already high fixed broadband penetration in Western Europe.

"What's more the timing for a focus on prepaid is perfect. With Christmas approaching everyone wins - those purchasing a bundle as a gift have no contract commitment, end users have a flexible mobile broadband service and operators gain new customers and revenues," concluded Hartley.

Purchases via mobile devices of digital and physical goods, contactless NFC (Near Field Communications) transactions and money transfers will together generate transactions worth over $600bn globally by 2013, according to Juniper Research's Mobile Payments Study. The figure represents the gross value of all the items being purchased or the value of money being transferred.

The report determined that while the mobile market today is dominated by digital goods purchases such as ringtones, music, games and infotainment, there are three high potential markets which offer major new opportunities for the future: contactless NFC, mobile money transfer and physical goods purchases via mobile devices.

Report author Howard Wilcox commented: "We're forecasting that all segments of the market will see growth over the next five years, driven by both the rapid availability of exciting, easy to use services, and the continued growth in mobile subscriber penetration, particularly in developing countries. As well as becoming multifunctional devices for many users, mobiles will become wallets that people won't leave the home or office without."

Highlights from the report are said to include:

  • Global annual gross transaction value will grow over 10 times between 2008 and 2013
  • Juniper Research's 2008 forecasts show an increased growth rate of the global mobile subscriber base than previously, with in excess of 1 billion new users by 2013
  • The top 3 regions for mobile payments (Far East & China, W. Europe and N. America) will represent over 70% of the global mobile money transfer gross transaction value by 2013.

 

Sony Ericsson Developer World has announced the release of the Sony Ericsson Beta Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows Mobile 6.1, a set of tools, plug-ins and documentation that allows developers to build and test XPERIA Panels and applications for Windows Mobile 6.1 to be used on the XPERIA X1 phone. The SDK and accompanying documentation will be freely available to all developers to download.
 
The Sony Ericsson SDK for Windows Mobile 6.1 will allow a wide range of developers and content makers to develop, test and deploy Web and native Panels for the XPERIA X1. The Panels are lightweight applications that extend the phone's ‘Today Screen' API to provide a fully customisable user interface on the XPERIA X1.
 
"With the release of the SDK for Windows Mobile 6.1, we are inviting developers and content creators to capitalise on the vast opportunity offered by mobile content in the coming years," says Rikko Sakaguchi, CVP and Head of Creation and Development at Sony Ericsson. "This is yet another milestone in Sony Ericsson's commitment to provide our partners with a complete, rich and open development environment that catalyses innovation and variety in mobile content and gives the best user experience to the consumers."

The SDK combines development tools for Microsoft Visual Studio with guidelines and resources designed to get developers deploying XPERIA Panels quickly and easily. A built-in XPERIA X1 phone device phone emulator enables developers to build and test Panels directly on their PCs without resorting to phone hardware. Integration with Microsoft Visual Studio also gives developers a set of predefined components for creating Panels that spares them having to spend time/resources creating code and allows them to start their Panel projects with a single mouse click. 

"Windows Mobile provides an open, flexible platform to help developers create rich applications and new mobile experiences," said John O'Rourke, general manager of the Mobile Communications Business, Microsoft Corp. "Developers can utilise this new toolset to build Xperia panels and open up a world of possibilities for people to interact with the X1 phone."