17% said that their mobile phone was their top choice, coming third only to wedding rings and other sentimental jewelry items like lockets and bracelets. Personal items that also fare well on the list include photos, letters and childhood toys, which were thought to hold special memories of loved ones and significant moments.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
17% said that their mobile phone was their top choice, coming third only to wedding rings and other sentimental jewelry items like lockets and bracelets. Personal items that also fare well on the list include photos, letters and childhood toys, which were thought to hold special memories of loved ones and significant moments.
My personal view is that touchscreens with intuitive UIs are definitely going to carve out a segment for themselves. We have already seen a host of announcements by multiple vendors post the iPhone announcement.
As for lack of tactile response, I am not sure if this is going to be a significant dampener. Samsung recently demoed a touchscreen phone with tactile response by way of vibration of the phone (as typically happens when using traditional keypads).
However, increased power requirements could be a dampener, at least till we see some improvement in battery life, a long due need.
Will Touchscreens Leave the Keys Behind?
Although 2006 will be remembered as the year that thin was in, 2007 is shaping up to be breakout year for touchscreens. The touchscreen has suddenly become the interface of choice for manufacturers wanting to make a trendy splash with their cellular handsets. Recent weeks have seen announcements from Apple, Samsung, and LG, showcasing new handset models that feature touchscreens as the primary input device.
Although touchscreens in cellular handsets are not a new technology (models offering a touchscreen have been commercially available for several years), previous handsets did not have the benefit of the market buzz from a high-profile product launch such as the iPhone. Consumer awareness of touchscreens in cellular handsets has dramatically increased since the MacWorld show, and manufacturers are racing to take advantage of the media attention.
Touchscreens do offer significant benefits for manufacturers who are struggling to differentiate their product from competitors. First and foremost, touchscreens offer a novel user interface for the consumer. Manufacturers and operators are banking on this novelty to drive sales. A second key benefit is the increased screen size that can enhance multimedia applications. Operators with an interest in providing Mobile TV and other multimedia content have been quick to recognize the appeal that this will have for consumers.
These benefits are offset by some potential drawbacks. Naturally, the first is cost. A touchscreen interface is significantly more expensive than using a standard keypad, increasing the cost of the BOM. However, the increased demand from OEM's should help to bring those costs back down as more touchscreen handsets hit the market.
The second drawback is also very familiar - power use. Touchscreens draw more power than physical keypads, increasing the demands for an already scarce resource.
Finally, with an unproven track record, it is unclear how strongly consumers will embrace the touchscreen as a primary input technology, especially with the lack of tactile response. Although Samsung has announced its SCH-W5559 handset will feature tactile feedback (provided by Immersion's VibeTonz technology), the lack of tactile feedback in most handset models could be a significant drawback.
IMS Research Director, John Devlin, commented, "Consumers have been demanding handsets with easier to use input technologies and a cleaner user interface. The touchscreen is a tool that manufacturers can use to help achieve these goals." He continued, "The willingness of consumers to embrace touchscreens in cellular handsets is going to be the key measure of their success in the marketplace."
Although handset manufacturers and operators are embracing the newfound popularity of the touchscreen, traditional keypads will continue to be the mainstay for the foreseeable future. Cost, ease-of-use, and power efficiency will all be strong motivators for manufacturers to continue to invest in traditional keypads.
While mobile advertising presents tremendous opportunities, it needs to be managed very carefully so as not to alienate consumers and damage reputation of major brands and mobile operators.
If managed correctly, however, the potential benefits of mobile advertising far outweigh the possible downside for all parties
Crux is that it not be considered intrusive and for this it should be relevant and useful to consumers based on their age, interests and lifestyle
Mobile Advertising: Will there be a consumer backlash?
The mobile phone is the fastest growing and potentially the most effective advertising medium ever developed, but the danger of mismanaging this medium risks alienating consumers and damaging the reputations of major brands and mobile operators.
Mobile advertising has been a topic of discussion for mobile operator management teams for many years, but it was the recent moves by both Yahoo and Google to focus on the revenue opportunities presented by mobile advertising that has all in the mobile industry scurrying to develop a viable and sustainable business model that will generate additional revenues in the face of fierce competition and falling per subscriber voice revenues.
For those companies who have taken the early initiative, the ability to interact personally and intelligently with consumers via a mobile device is delivering recall and response rates not seen in advertising in a long while. Reports by NetInformer, a provider of wireless media and mobile marketing services, quote typical response rates of 15%, which is 10 times higher than traditional direct response advertising. Such successes should have advertisers and advertising agencies very excited as they currently struggle to reach consumers effectively with traditional media channels.
Today, advertising on mobile devices is still very much in its infancy, with an estimated $385 million being spent globally on mobile advertising in 2006. This is expected to increase to $1.6 billion by 2010 (Strategy Analytics, Mobile Advertising: MoCo Panacea or Just More Hype, 2006). Mobile advertising inserted in services such as messaging, mobile TV, video on demand, internet browsing, gaming and music has the potential to boost revenue opportunities for all parties involved in the value chain.
So does this now mean that it is open season for advertisers to use, and operators to sell, mobile advertising on a variety of services? Definitely not! Many subscribers are unwilling to be inconvenienced by the intrusion of this new medium. In a 2005 Yankee Group Study (A Test for New Carrier Business Models) it was found that only one third of all consumers were receptive to mobile advertising. In addition, there were provisos to the advertising being delivered to their mobile devices, including the messages being relevant, that there is tangible benefit for the recipient and that there was initial consent with an option to opt-out at any stage. These are significant prerequisites as consumers try and protect themselves from the evils of spam messaging and an invasion of their privacy via their always-on cell phones.
How then do operators harness the medium's obvious opportunities without alienating their loyal subscribers, and how do advertisers harness the new medium without negatively affecting their brand values and associations? This is not easily answered, however these questions need to be considered within a very structured and well-planned process, acknowledging and respecting the customer's attitudinal barriers towards the intrusiveness of mobile advertising. The risks associated with an incorrect strategy and services rollout are massive, potentially killing mobile advertising at birth.
If managed correctly, however, the potential benefits of mobile advertising far outweigh the possible downside for all parties. There is a definite increase and growing consumer awareness of mobile advertising and many subscribers expect it to be only a matter of time before advertising on their mobile devices becomes an accepted norm. In addition, there are many vehicles that can ensure greater subscriber acceptance, including incentives such as free minutes, credits on operator portals, etc. in exchange for the receipt of advertising. The key to subscriber buy in, even with incentives, will be in delivering content that is of interest and of use to the consumer. This could include location-based services or adverts delivered that are relevant to the viewer's age, interests and lifestyle.
As content becomes more available and as consumers become more comfortable with data and internet experiences, so more opportunities will present themselves for mobile advertising. However, a poor exploitation of presently loyal customers may result in a backlash whose negative effects will filter down through to the bottom line. Long-term success in mobile advertising depends crucially on the mobile and advertising industries working together in a structured manner in order to harness the power of this potent new medium.
Use Wind Power to Recharge your Mobile Phone
Orange UK has shown off a mobile phone charger prototype which is powered by wind energy. The Orange Mobile Wind Charger is the result of months of research into a viable alternate energy source to power mobile phones during summer music festivals, where attendees more commonly live in tents for several days.
Working with Professor Shashank Priya at the University of Texas at Arlington, Orange commissioned the research into an off grid wind-powered portable phone charger that would take into account the unpredictable English climate to ensure a constant energy source.
Whilst the research of Professor Priya's team is still in its infancy and continues to be developed before mass consumer rollout, Orange has built fully functioning models of a mobile wind charger that will be on display at this year's Glastonbury Festival in Somerset.
The wind turbine, weighing in at only 150grams, is small enough to fit into a weekend rucksack and is easily mounted onto festival goers' tents using a simple mounting bracket. So whilst festival revellers are out during the day taking in their favourite bands, the turbine stores wind generated power in the control box, ready for when they return to their tent each night to recharge their phone.
Mobiles phones are just as important as wellies in terms of festival survival essentials, especially one as big as Glastonbury. With capacity for this year's festival at a record high at over 175,000 spread across a sprawling 900 acres of farmland, keeping connected to your friends is essential.
Hattie Evans, Head of Sponsorship at Orange, said "As official communications partner of Glastonbury Festival, it is important that we continue to innovate and demonstrate how mobile technology can make festival life a little bit easier, whilst respecting Glastonbury's commitment to being environmentally aware. It is a small way that festival goers can enjoy their mobile phones when and where they need them while they are at the festival."
Friday, June 29, 2007
On the W960 (and W910) this feature has been taken to the next level. You can now receive detailed information about the song identified ? the background of the artists and the album. New ways to search have been added in, other than just by capturing an audio clip. If you know a bands name and not much else, for example, you can text search to find out more. Search by artist, title, album or lyrics.
The K530 is Sony Ericsson's cheapest 3G handset so far. The handset comes with a 2 megapixel camera along with x2.5 digital zoom and video recording capabilities. The handset also supports push email services and can access RSS webfeeds. An optional accessory is available which would add GPS capabilities. The K530 is a UMTS 2100 and GSM/GPRS 900/1800/1900 phone and will be available in selected markets from Q3 2007.
I foresee a lot of consolidation happening in the WiMax industry over the next two years as the initial development of the technology was primarily driven by VC funded start-ups. Its only recently we have had some of the big boys jump on the 802.16e bandwagon
Cisco WiMax Buzz Grows
JUNE 21, 2007
CHICAGO -- NXTcomm -- Sprint Nextel Corp. CTO Barry West added fuel to speculation about Cisco Systems Inc. entering the WiMax market.
Speaking briefly to Unstrung after his keynote here this morning, West said that a "major, major routing company" -- that he didn't specify -- is working on a home router product using WiMax wireless broadband technology. We exclusively reported back in May that the Linksys , cable, and wireless groups at Cisco are all looking at the potential of using WiMax in products. Sources at that time told Unstrung that the company had already started internal development work on products using the technology.
A move to WiMax would reverse the networking giant's perceived antipathy to the technology. The company still has a paper on its site that explains why "Cisco has no current plans to build 802.16 base stations."
Cisco's entry into the market would also be good news for Sprint, which - West emphasized several times during his keynote -- is keen to get as many WiMax chips as possible embedded in a wide array of devices. Anything from cellphones to TVs and washing machines, according to West.
Sprint is also working on several different strategies for ensuring good WiMax coverage indoors. If Cisco were to enter the WiMax home router space, that would likely make more vendors take the market seriously.
This also clearly seems like a move to not only go after the fixed line operators but also the VOIP folks.
T-Mobile Launches UMA in USA
T-Mobile USA 's gloves are off, and it's out for fixed-line operators' business with today's launch of its long awaited UMA-based service. Unlike UMA (unlicensed mobile access) services in Europe, T-Mobile's HotSpot @Home is a pure fixed/mobile substitution (FMS) play and works over any broadband connection.
T-Mobile is offering unlimited domestic calls over WiFi routers in the home as well as at any of its 8,500 WiFi hotspots in the U.S, for an extra $10 per month for one line and $20 per month for up to five lines. Customers will need a WiFi router from D-Link Systems Inc. or Linksys , which is free after a mail-in rebate.
T-Mobile offers two dualmode WiFi/GSM phones for this service: Samsung's t409 and Nokia's 6086, which each retail for $49.99. For the UMA network equipment, a T-Mobile spokeswoman says that it uses equipment from Alcatel-Lucent. But Alcatel-Lucent is rumored to source its UMA gear from Kineto Wireless Inc. Aside from some phone software, that startup isn't detailing exactly what it's providing the operator. Kineto, however, has been involved with the service since T-Mobile started testing it in Seattle in 2006.
"T-Mobile is positioning this towards the youth and family demographic," says William Ho, senior analyst at Current Analysis. "So this complements its myFaves plan approach."
Steve Shaw, associate VP of marketing at Kineto, says that the cost of the service shows that T-Mobile wants to take on more than than traditional fixed-line operators. "They're going after the VOIP guys as well," he says, noting that Vonage Holdings Corp. charges $29.99 a month for its service.
Ho adds that T-Mobile's billing approach is interesting, noting that T-Mobile will bill for calls based on the network from which the call originates. So, if a domestic call originates on WiFi, the call is still charged at the flat Hotspot@Home rate even if the user roams out onto the GSM network. And if a call starts on GSM and the user roams onto WiFi, then minutes are deducted from the customer's cellular calling plan as if it were a normal cellular call.
T-Mobile unabashedly explains its intention to replace fixed lines with this service. President and CEO Robert Dotson states in a press release, "More people than ever are looking to drop their home landline phone and pocket the savings."
The operator joins the ranks of BT Group plc, Orange France, Telecom Italia SpA, and TeliaSonera AB, which offer UMA services in Europe.
But T-Mobile's service in the U.S. is unique, because it is not tied to a specific broadband provider or bundled with a broadband service. To use BT's Fusion, for example, consumers must have a BT broadband subscription and BT's home gateway. Orange Unik customers need an Orange broadband subscription and the operator's Livebox home gateway.
"European service providers have been thinking about [offering the service over other broadband networks] but just haven't done it yet," says Emma Mohr-McClune, principal analyst at Current Analysis.
BT and Orange position their UMA services as fixed/mobile convergence plays. It's a value-added service to their broadband packages. But, with this approach, BT admits that it has struggled with marketing Fusion so potential users understand the value of the service.
For now, T-Mobile will offer UMA services only in the U.S. A T-Mobile International AG spokesman says that at the moment there are no plans to bring UMA services to Europe.
T-Mobile's parent, Deutsche Telekom AG, badly executed its T-One FMC service, based on session initiation protocol (SIP) over WiFi, in Germany earlier this year and cancelled it. But comparing T-One to T-Mobile's HotSpot @Home service is unfair for many reasons, mostly because the services use different technologies. There is no reason to think that T-Mobile's service will suffer a fate similar to T-One's.
Would a Huawei-Motorola combine seem absurd ? I personally feel that's the way things would go in the next year or two as Motorola doesn't have the critical mass to survive alone and there are hardly any options for partnering.
A combine would give Motorola the scale, low cost base and cutting edge technology while for Huawei it would help consolidate its growing international reputation and probably a shot at the US market.Huawei Wins Spanish 3G Contract from Vodafone
Huawei says that it has been awarded a High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) network expansion contract by Vodafone that will serve all the seven major cities in Spain, including Barcelona and Madrid.
This HSPA expansion contract follows the successful deployment of Huawei's first contract with Vodafone Spain, signed in August 2006. With this contract, Huawei has greatly increased its market share with Vodafone Spain as well as become its major HSPA mobile network partner. Under the HSPA agreement, Huawei has supplied Vodafone Spain with its Distributed Node Bs. The Node Bs' Remote Radio Unit (RRU), with an output power of 40W, can be installed directly on masts, decreasing power loss and increasing network coverage and performance.
Since the deployment the first phase of the HSPA project, a subscriber survey by Vodafone has indicated improved network performance.
"Huawei's dedication and commitment to expanding the network ensured Huawei achieved an excellent deployment pace that helped fulfill Vodafone's business objectives last year" said Jaime Bustillo, CTO of Vodafone Spain. "I'm sure that the expansion project will enable us to achieve further successes together and we look forward to continuing this partnership with Huawei."
Monday, June 25, 2007
Yahoo Steps Up Push Into Mobile-Software Arena
In a move to grab ground in the emerging mobile arena, Yahoo said it will launch on Friday an improved version of its suite of software for cellphone users in the U.S. and unveil test versions in 13 other countries.
The Sunnyvale, Calif., Internet giant will also announce pacts with six mobile carriers in Asia to use its oneSearch Web-based search service as the default engine on their mobile portals.
"We have a very clearly stated goal, which is to be No. 1 in mobile," said Lee Ott, director of mobile product management at Yahoo. "We're making a major push to get the service out in everyone's hands."
Ott predicted that "2007 is going to be the tipping point for mobile," because finally "the phones are good enough, the networks are good enough and now, with the new Yahoo Go, the products are good enough."
Yahoo's downloadable Go for Mobile application, which has been in test mode in the U.S. since January and, Yahoo said, has been requested by more than 3 million people, makes a number of Yahoo's Web-based services for computer users available from mobile devices.
Go will be released with several key improvements, the company said. Yahoo Mail users will be able to open many common attachments, including Word, Excel and PDF files, in addition to the basic text and image files they could view previously. They will also be able to access and file emails in folders.
The new Local and Maps service will offer satellite maps, satellite maps overlaid with street names and real-time information on traffic conditions. There will be shortcuts for finding the location of ATMs, restaurants and other places people often search for while on the road. And the software will use global positioning system technology embedded in certain high-end devices to help those users find nearby establishments more easily.
Go users will also be able to access Yahoo's calendar service, and address book users will be able to, with a click, call people in their address book and get driving directions and maps to their street addresses.
And in its effort to expand outside the U.S., Yahoo said it would test launch localized versions of the service in Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, Thailand and Vietnam.
Worldwide, Go will work on more than 200 phone models by the end July and 400 models by end of the year, Yahoo said, though availability to consumers will also be subject to the agreement of their wireless carriers.
The six Asian mobile operators that Yahoo inked search deals with are Globe Telecom in the Philippines; Idea Cellular in India; LG Telecom in Korea; Maxis Communications Berhad in Malaysia; PT Telekomunikasi Selular, or Telkomsel, in Indonesia; and Taiwan Mobile in Taiwan.
Even before the iPhone hype kicked into high gear over the past few months, touch screens in general were becoming more popular in cell phones with around 4% of all mobile phones shipped in 2006 having touch screen features.
The only difference is that the likes of the Palm Treo and Motorola ROKR E6 use "resistive Touch" technology (It has two layers of glass or plastic and calculates the location of touch when pressure is applied with either a stylus or a finger). A more advanced type of touch screen, featured on the iPhone and LG Prada, uses "projected capacitive" technology. A mesh of metal wires between two layers of glass registers a touch when the electrical field is broken.Touch-screen phones poised for growth
Apple iPhone Expected to Drive Mobile Phone Industry Toward Fancier Touch Screens
Get your fingers ready. Apple Inc.'s iPhone is leading a new wave of gadgets using touch-sensitive screens that react to taps, swishes or flicks of a finger. The improvements promise to be slicker and more intuitive than the rough stomp of finger presses and stylus-pointing required by many of today's devices.
Apple has already been showing off its finger ballet in video ads ahead of the smart phone's hotly anticipated launch on June 29.
Glide a finger across the screen to activate the device and main menu. Slide your digit up or down to scroll through contacts. Flick to flip through photos. Tap to zoom in on a Web site.
With Apple's marketing machinery, the iPhone is poised to become the poster child for the new breed of touch-screen technology, which relies on changes in electrical currents instead of pressure points.
But the iPhone will have its fair share of rivals.
Shipments of this advanced strain of touch screens are projected to jump from fewer than 200,000 units in 2006 to more than 21 million units by 2012, with the bulk of the components going to mobile phones, according to a forecast by iSuppli Corp., a market research company.
"This new user interface will be like a tsunami, hitting an entire spectrum of devices," predicted Francis Lee, the chief executive of Synaptics Inc., a maker of touch sensors.
Synaptics' latest technology is in a growing number of cell phones, including LG Electronics Co.'s LG Prada touch-screen phone that launched this year in Europe and South Korea and handles gesture-recognition similarly to the iPhone.
Apple does not comment about its component suppliers, and Lee declined to comment whether Synaptics is working with Apple on the iPhone.
Last fall, Nokia Corp.'s research and development unit unveiled online images of a prototype all-touch-screen cell phone called the Aeon, but the company hasn't disclosed any details of its features or market availability.
"Touch screens are going to be more common, period, because rivals will slap them on to compete with Apple," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at JupiterResearch.
Even before the iPhone hype kicked into high gear over the past few months, touch screens in general were becoming more popular in cell phones. About 38 million handsets, or about 4 percent of all mobile phones shipped in 2006, had touch-screen features _ a figure that will grow to 90 million units by 2012, iSuppli projected.
But most touch-screen phones that shipped last year, including Palm Inc.'s Treo and Motorola Inc.'s ROKR E6, used "resistive touch" technology _ the most common technology, said Jennifer Colegrove, a senior analyst of display technologies at iSuppli. It has two layers of glass or plastic and calculates the location of touch when pressure is applied with either a stylus or a finger.
A more advanced type of touch screen, featured on the iPhone and LG Prada, uses "projected capacitive" technology. A mesh of metal wires between two layers of glass registers a touch when the electrical field is broken.
That's why light finger brushes will do the trick. But capacitive sensors don't even need actual physical contact: such touch screens already detect the proximity of a finger from 2 millimeters away, Colegrove said.
Cell phone maker Pantech Co. Ltd., for instance, has a flip-phone in which Synaptics' capacitive sensors are below the keypad so users can do finger gestures atop the buttons to navigate the phone. The touch-sensitive navigation controls on the LG Chocolate cell phone also use capacitive technology.
The feather-like gestures that are possible with capacitive touch screens could feel more intuitive than the pokes needed on resistive touch screens that typically require a stylus or a fingernail to navigate. Capacitive touch screens are also generally brighter because their surface isn't covered with a thin film that's needed on resistive displays, Colegrove said.
However, users of capacitive touch screens will have to learn to adapt to new methods of input, which could vary depending on how the gadget's software is designed.
With High Tech Computer Corp.'s new HTC Touch smart phone, users swipe a finger to scroll. A second swipe speeds up the scrolling.
"We've been doing touch screens for a long time, but this generation of touch screens is definitely breathing new life into the experience," said Todd Achilles, vice president of HTC America. "They're more accurate, more responsive, and you can get what you want to do on the first click."
Immersion Corp., a maker of tactile-feedback technology found in game controllers and other devices, added a vibration feature to go with the LG Prada touch screen and expects 10 more cell phones with advanced touch-screen technology to be introduced by other handset makers later this year.
The feature gives a slight vibration sensation when the touch screen's virtual keyboard is tapped. It's similar to the response users are accustomed to getting from mechanical keyboards.
But the iPhone is the only cell phone that can handle more than one finger at once, analysts say. That technology, which Apple has patented, allows users to resize a window, for instance, by pinching or expanding two fingers on the display.
"Multi-touch" technology is not new but has only recently begun to emerge beyond research labs and product prototypes.
New York University research scientist Jeff Han has developed a large, dazzling multi-touch touch-screen computer display where one could manipulate pictures or data with multiple fingers, and founded Perceptive Pixel last year to market the technology.
Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp. has introduced a coffee-table shaped computer and display that responds to multiple touches at once. The commercial machines are set to begin appearing in some hotels later this year.
But, Colegrove said, the iPhone will be the first product that puts the multi-touch feature in a mainstream consumer's hands _ at a retail price of $500 to $600.
With Synaptics' Onyx concept phone unveiled last fall, the component maker claims its capacitive technology can do everything that Apple has shown the iPhone's touch screen can do. But no cell phone makers, other than Apple, appear to have developed the software applications to take advantage of multi-touch features yet, Lee said.
Industry observers say it's only a matter of time before that changes.
"The iPhone," Colegrove said, "is going to be a catalyst for this technology."
YouTube launches mobile portal
User-generated video aggregator YouTube has launched a new mobile portal m.youtube.com in a move that heralds the end of an exclusive mobile content partnership between parent firm Google and Verizon Wireless.
The new YouTube Mobile offers only a small selection of video clips, with categories including Featured, Recently Added, Most Viewed, Top Rated, Top Favorites, Entertainment and People.
Video files are streamed rather than downloaded, effectively circumventing local storage and conversion concerns.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Digital gap widens as global broadband reaches 300 million mark
18/06/2007 13:04:30 - by Leila Makki
By the end of March, nearly 300 million people worldwide had access to broadband, says UK research firm Point Topic. The new report publishes the latest global broadband data, covers the ever-widening gap between countries with access and those with little to no broadband penetration, and makes the ‘digital divide’ more visible.
Nations with greater access to broadband are clearly not representative of the global population. Western Europe and North America have extremely high levels of broadband usage, whereas developing countries have low to no broadband penetration at all, says Point Topic. As a result, the world is separated into two groups; countries that are broadband rich and those that are broadband poor.
The information rich US leads the broadband race with over 60 million subscribers. China is a close second with 56 million broadband users jumping from 41 million last year. With its current growth, China will overtake America as the world's largest broadband market by 2008, says Point Topic.
In third place is Japan with 26.5 million broadband users and Germany is fourth with more than 16 million. A nine per cent growth helped France come in fifth place to beat high-tech South Korea with 15.3 million. The UK came in sixth with just under 14 million broadband users at the end of March, up 6.4 per cent.
South Korea is the world's top broadband user with almost 90 per cent of the population online. Other countries with high penetration are Hong Kong, Monaco and Macau all of which are small, economically vibrant and densely populated states.
Although access to broadband in Eastern Europe is fairly low, the region experienced an overall 10 per cent growth. The newly admitted states of the EU saw a rise in broadband usage in the first quarter of 2007. Poland had a nine per cent increase in new broadband connections, Hungary experienced 10.38 per cent growth, Bulgaria at 10.94 per cent, Ukraine at 15 per cent and Croatia saw a massive 25 per cent growth.
Katja Mueller, Research director at Point Topic said, "penetration of broadband in Eastern Europe was really low, but it is starting to catch up with Europe and we expect Eastern Europe to continue to grow."
The new statistics also show information on poorer nations but due to lack of state statistics in many of the Sub-Saharan nations, data exists only for South Africa, Sudan, Senegal and Gabon. The figures reveal distressingly poor broadband penetration in this part of the world. In South Africa there are 215,000 users or 1.79 per cent of the population with broadband. Sudan has just 3,000 broadband users or 0.05 per cent, at the end of March.
Although, North Africa has relatively greater broadband access than the rest of the continent, the statistics are still remarkably low. Morocco has 418,000 users or 6.78 per cent and Egypt has a penetration of 1.55 per cent or 240,000.
Many African states are turning to mobile phone operators who hope will help bridge the gap by providing some form of Internet access, says Point Topic. So as mobile phones become more powerful and ubiquitous, it may not be long before every country will have access to type of broadband.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Other key TRAI recommendation pending with Govt. is with respect to 3G.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to review Telecom Licensing norms
In a move whose outcome will determine the future of telecom in India, regulator Trai on Tuesday launched a consultation process seeking the industry’s views on reviewing key licence conditions and capping the number of telecom operators in a circle.
The process also seeks to rework the existing merger and acquisition guidelines and also find answers to the crucial question of whether operators can be allowed to provide both GSM and CDMA-based services in the same circle.
Trai has said that review of the current norms was necessary as competition and steady subscriber growth by itself may not be sufficient to sustain the phenomenal growth that this sector is currently witnessing. “It is imperative that policy framework is periodically reviewed to provide required catalyst for sustained growth.
From the perspective of the cellular telephony market, there is an urgent need to ensure a clear, fair, predictable, transparent and stable policy and regulatory framework, especially with regard to spectrum policy, investment norms, competition policy, and the licensing regime,” the regulator said.
At present, there is no cap on the number of operators who can provide services in a telecom circle, except that every circle must have a minimum of three telecom players. While refusing to take a stance on this issue, Trai has instead called for an open debate to address it.
If the existing operators wanted a cap, Trai has asked them to specify the methodology for fixing this number. Besides, Trai has also said that the consultation will examine if the number of operators in each service area should be determined by market forces.
With CDMA players such as Reliance Communications, HFCL and Shyam Telecom seeking spectrum in the GSM space, the consultation process will determine if these players can offer services using both technological platforms.
If there is consensus on the fact that players should be permitted to offer services on both platforms, then the process will also lay down guidelines which specify both the priority and methodology that will be followed for the allocation of spectrum in such cases, Trai said.
Acknowledging that mergers and acquisitions play an important role in enhancing economic growth, establishing effective competition, attracting investment, enhancing efficiency, improving economies of scale and scope and promoting efficient utilisation of resources, Trai has sought the comments from all stakeholders to rework all M&A norms.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Nokia petitions Court on Qualcomm MediaFLO, BREW patents
Nokia escalated its patent dispute with Qualcomm today by targeting the U.S. company's BREW and MediaFLO technologies, claiming they use and infringe Nokia patents. The timing of the claims seems intended to cause maximum damage to Qualcomm, coming as it does after the International Trade Commission last week banned key Qualcomm 3G chipsets from being imported into the U.S., a major blow to both Qualcomm and the U.S. wireless industry. Qualcomm is now under siege from multiple fronts in an attempt to revise parts of its unique business model.
In the latest development, Nokia has filed patent counter assertions against Qualcomm in district court in Texas in relation to Qualcomm's unauthorized use of six Nokia implementation patents in its MediaFLO and BREW businesses. Qualcomm has previously sought injunctions against Nokia, and in this case Nokia is seeking both damages and injunctive relief from the U.S. company, the Finnish group said.
The announcement follows the news that South Korean handset maker LG has asked the U.S. courts to suspend the ban imposed by the ITC on imports of its high-end mobile phones, which it says could damage its U.S. operations. LG joins Qualcomm and operators AT&T and T-Mobile in petitioning the courts to suspend Thursday’s ITC ban on 3G handsets imported on or before June 7 containing chips by Qualcomm.
The chips were deemed by the ITC to violate a patent held by rival Broadcom. LG relies heavily on the sale of Qualcomm-based phones in North America and has much to lose from the ban.
The ITC order becomes final after 60 days, during which time it is reviewed by the Bush administration and can be vetoed by the president, though there are few precedents for this.
Nokia patents are at the core of MediaFLO and BREW technologies, used in ensuring broadcast quality of MediaFLO services and in enabling the downloading of applications via BREW, the Finnish vendor says. Nokia also recently declared another set of patents to the Telecommunication Industry Association as essential for the FLO air interface used in MediaFLO.
Nokia's patent counter assertions are part of its response to the Qualcomm lawsuit filed in the Texas district court April 2. The three patents names in that suit allegedly involve certain types of mobile software download and execution environments.
"Nokia has a strong history of innovation in IP broadcast television and mobile download environments predating Qualcomm's activities," Nokia CTO Tero Ojanpera said. "This is another example where Qualcomm has effectively copied Nokia's innovations. We believe that, for MediaFLO to evolve and for BREW to remain viable, Qualcomm needs access to these and many other patented Nokia inventions."
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Sharing of active infrastructure however is likely to have far reaching implications for mobile operators in terms of all aspects of their operations including their business models and how they probably would evolve.
Will More Mobile Operators Dare to Share?
Is radio access network (RAN) sharing the best way for mobile operators to cut costs? Vodafone UK and Orange UK think so: The carriers, in February, said they would share existing and new UMTS radio access networks (UTRANs). And that arrangement has some far-reaching implications for how today's carriers might evolve.
According to Brown's latest Unstrung Insider report, once operators commit to RAN sharing, it makes sense to create a new company to oversee the operation.
Through the agreement with Orange, Vodafone says it expects to save 20 to 30 percent over several years on combined 2G and 3G opex and capex. "What they're trying to do is really ambitious," says Brown. "There are quite a lot of dependencies on the equipment. In theory the equipment can support it, but it still has to be done."
Vodafone and Orange, which have 17 million and 15 million customers in the U.K., respectively, aim to combine their new and existing RANs and will also consider RAN sharing on their 2G networks. But the operators will maintain independence and responsibility for traffic management and service quality on their own networks.
The two operators will share the passive infrastructure, which includes the masts, antennae, site support cabinet, and power supply. They will also share the transmission links and the radio access equipment. But they will not pool frequencies or share transceivers.
Vodafone España S.A. and Orange Spain signed a similar agreement in Spain in November 2006, but that deal only covered new 3G sites with fewer than 25,000 inhabitants. Together they will deploy 5,000 radio sites during the four-year deal. The operators are also considering 2G RAN sharing and possibly decommissioning existing sites.
Perhaps the most significant network sharing deal in terms of scale and the impact on vendors will be the one between Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Vodafone Essar in India. In February, the operators signed an agreement to share passive infrastructure, involving 70,000 towers. The operators also want to share RANs and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently ruled in their favor to allow this.
Vodafone says the deal could result in savings of $1 billion during the next five years and contribute 1.5 percent to its EBITDA margins.
Among the equipment vendors, Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel-Lucent have been the most supportive of RAN sharing. While in theory network sharing reduces the size of the vendors' market, the reports finds that it is too early to assess whether the impact on vendors will be positive or negative.
A Wirelessly Powered Lightbulb
Researchers at MIT have created a revolutionary device that could remotely charge batteries and power household appliances.
Researchers at MIT have shown that it's possible to wirelessly power a 60-watt lightbulb sitting about two meters away from a power source. Using a remarkably simple setup--basically consisting of two metal coils--they have demonstrated, for the first time, that it is feasible to efficiently send that much power over such a distance. The experiment paves the way for wirelessly charging batteries in laptops, mobile phones, and music players, as well as cutting the electric cords on household appliances, says Marin Soljačić, professor of physics at MIT, who led the team with physics professor John Joannopoulos.
The research, published in the June 7 edition of Science Express (the online publication of Science magazine), is the experimental demonstration of a theory outlined last November by the MIT team. (See "Charging Batteries without Wires.") "We had strong confidence in the theory," says Soljačić. "And experiment indeed confirmed that this worked as predicted."
The setup is straightforward, explains Andre Kurs, an MIT graduate student and the lead author of the paper. Two copper helices, with diameters of 60 centimeters, are separated from each other by a distance of about two meters. One is connected to a power source--effectively plugged into a wall--and the other is connected to a lightbulb waiting to be turned on. When the power from the wall is turned on, electricity from the first metal coil creates a magnetic field around that coil. The coil attached to the lightbulb picks up the magnetic field, which in turn creates a current within the second coil, turning on the bulb.
This type of energy transfer is similar to a well-known phenomenon called magnetic inductive coupling, used in power transformers. However, the MIT scheme is somewhat different because it's based on something called resonant coupling. Transformer coils can only transfer power when they are centimeters apart--any farther, and the magnetic fields don't affect each other in the same way. In order for the MIT researchers to achieve the range of two meters, explains Soljačić, they used coils that resonate at a frequency of 10 megahertz. When the electrical current flows through the first coil, it produces a 10-megahertz magnetic field; since the second coil resonates at this same frequency, it's able to pick up on the field, even from relatively far away. If the second coil resonated at a different frequency, the energy from the first coil would have been ignored.
The researchers' approach, says Soljačić, also makes the energy transfer efficient. If they were to emit power from an antenna in the same way that information is wirelessly transmitted, most of the power would be wasted as it radiates away in all directions. Indeed, with the method used to transfer information, it would be difficult to send enough energy to be useful for powering gadgets. In contrast, the researchers use what's known as nonradiative energy that is bound up near the coils. In this first demonstration, they showed that the scheme can transfer power with an efficiency of 45 percent.
Wireless power transfer is an idea that's more than 100 years old. In the 1890s, physicist and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla proposed beaming electricity through the air. However, soon thereafter, power cables became the commonly accepted means of transporting electricity across distances. But with the widespread adoption of small, portable devices with batteries in need of constant recharging, people's attention is again turning to wireless power. In fact, the startup Powercast, based in Ligonier, PA, has, using a different approach from that of the MIT team, developed a wireless power system that can transmit low wattages across a distance of about a meter. To start, the company is targeting devices with low power consumption, such as sensors, but it's hoping to ramp up to more power-hungry gadgets in the future.
One concern that people might have, says Sir John Pendry, professor of physics at Imperial College in London, is health effects. "There will be safety issues, real or imagined," he says. "After all, the power has to pass through space in some form or other, and pass through any bodies lying in its path. The [MIT] team has minimized this problem by making sure that the power is mainly in the form of a magnetic field, a form of energy to which the body is almost entirely insensitive."
Based on calculations, Soljačić believes that the scheme is safe, even for people with implanted medical devices, such as pacemakers. Although the researchers have not made a detailed study to test how the system interferes with pacemakers, Soljačić says that they don't expect it to interact strongly with objects that don't resonate at the same frequencies used to transfer power.
At this point, the team has applied for a number of patents and is planning to commercialize the technology, although the researchers expect that it could take a few years before devices with such wireless power systems will make it to consumers. In the meantime, the team is exploring different materials and alternate coil geometries to try to extend the range and ramp up the power.
GSMA and MMA to agree mobile advertising collaboration
The GSM Association (GSMA) and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) have announced an agreement aimed at accelerating the development of mobile advertising worldwide. The two organizations will collaborate to deliver standardization and transparency around current mobile advertising activity, and to develop new advertising techniques, the two bodies said in a joint statement.
The MMA will lead the development of guidelines, formats and best practices for mobile advertising, while the GSMA will work with mobile operators globally to develop and prioritize consistent structures, such as inventory types, and commercial and measurement models that will allow advertisers to create valuable advertising propositions.
The agreement follows the recent announcement of the GSMA’s Mobile Media and Entertainment Group that will oversee its Mobile Advertising Programme, which is made up of representatives from leading mobile operators from around the globe.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Also reinforces the traction open industry standards usually enjoy. The virtuous cycle formed by them results in greater competition, more choice for all stakeholders in the chain and consequently lower prices.
TNZ abandons CDMA
Just three months after revealing it was studying the possibility of pursuing WCDMA/HSDPA for 3G, Telecom Corp. of New Zealand (TNZ) has officially said it is dumping its long-term CDMA 3G play. On Jun. 8, TNZ said the rollout of its WCDMA network will commence in late-
2007 and will cost around NZ$300 million (US$226.07 million) in capex over the next two years. “This is approximately NZ$200 million more than would have been spent over the next five years under a CDMA-only path,” the company said. In March, TNZ’s COO of technology Mark Ratcliffe said the company was evaluating rolling out a WCDMA/HSDPA network at 850MHz, noting that the “potential of deploying a UMTS network alongside our CDMA EV-DO network has improved.” The firm launched its 1xEV-DO Revision A network in Auckland in December.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Weight: 112g with battery
1GB microSD storage card included / 64MB RAM, 128MB ROM
2.8'' LCD touch screen with backlight, 240 x 320 dots resolution with 65,536 colours
Battery Life: Rechargeable Li-Ion battery with a capacity of 1100 mAh
Standby time: Up to 200 / Talk time: Up to 5 hours
Camera: 2.0 mega-pixel CMOS colour camera
Windows Mobile 6 Professional with Direct Push Email and HTML email support
Wireless Connectivity: GSM/GPRS/EDGE Tri-band: 900, 1800,1900, Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth 2.0
Choice of two colours at launch - soft black or wasabi green
Mobile Advertising to Hit $14 Billion by 2011
Advertisers will spend US$1.4 billion on mobile media this year, rising to US$14.4 billion by 2011, according to the new Strategy Analytics report. Strategy Analytics predicts that mobile media advertising will account for a fifth of global spending on Internet advertising by 2011.
Phil Taylor, Director, Global Wireless Practice, notes, "The outlook for mobile advertising spend has significantly advanced in the past 12 months. The supply of advertising inventory is rapidly increasing as mobile publishers look to develop advertising as a revenue stream. Major mobile network operators like SprintNextel, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone have all accelerated plans to sell advertising within their mobile media channels and advertisers appear to be responding positively."
This report highlights advertising value chain dynamics and growth for emerging mobile media categories, including game downloads, mobile broadcasting and video on demand.
David Kerr, Vice President of the Global Wireless Practice, adds, "Google and Yahoo continue to drive mobile advertising initiatives to market. The recent acquisitions of Third Screen Media by AOL and ScreenTonic by Microsoft, illustrate the importance that global Internet solutions players now attach to advertising on the third screen."
Monday, June 04, 2007
The Twitterization of Blogs
Most bloggers prefer mundane tidbits to deep thoughts, and backed by voice transcription and video sharing, the cell phone may soon be the tool of choice
by Catherine Holahan, Businessweek
There are dozens of Weblogs that seemingly anyone who is anybody in the technology industry reads regularly. Lisa Hsu's blog isn't one of them. A doctoral student in computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan, Hsu occasionally pens a post about topics like "secure shell protocols," a software standard for protecting data on a computer network. More often than not, however, she's just musing about mundane things that only her friends would care about: details of a trip to the dentist, random Web discoveries, or maybe a new movie.
Hsu guesses that only five people tune in regularly, while occasional readers may number 25. But she's far from disappointed about not having the mass following of the blog TechCrunch. "I don't hope that I meet new people. In fact, a lot of times, if I have a random person comment, I get scared," says Hsu. "All I really want is for my friends to see it."
Hsu's not alone in blogging for her buds. On average, there are only seven readers for each of the 12.5 million blogs on LiveJournal, one of the most popular services for hosting these online journals.
Most bloggers wouldn't have it any other way. "Blogs that tend to get a lot of press are the ones that draw a lot of traffic and get people fired up, but that is a very small, narrow, niche-use case," says Eric Case, product manager for Google's Blogger hosting service. Meanwhile, he says, the concept of blogging is already evolving. "This thing we understood as blogging is vanishing and it is reframing as people develop new ways of posting and sharing things."
Cell Blogging: Less Is More
As part of this shift away from lengthy blog reflections that entail time behind a keyboard, cell phones are gaining traction as a key blogging tool. Popular services such as Microsoft's Windows Live, Blogger, and Yahoo 360 began introducing mobile blogging features two years ago. These services allow users to post short notes and photos to their "moblogs" on the go, albeit from the discomfort of a cell-phone keypad.
But it wasn't until more recently, with the overnight sensation known as Twitter, that the cell phone showed its potential to move to the fore of blogging. With Twitter, people share quick updates on their most mundane doings, often from a cell phone. If a growing number of bloggers are shying away from the citizen journalism and mass consumption that originally defined the medium, Twitter's popularity shows how eager people are to share quotidian tidbits of life in real time.
One company hoping to further facilitate this demand is Six Apart, which operates the blogging services LiveJournal, Vox, TypePad, and MovableType. On May 23, Six Apart announced a deal with SpinVox, enabling LiveJournal users to speak their blog entries by phone. SpinVox, which transcribes the words with voice-recognition technology, says the system is 97% accurate, learning from individual accents over time. "Blogging is a really good product, but it becomes great when you can do it from any phone," says SpinVox co-founder Daniel Doulton.
Say It with Video
Microsoft sees the potential to offer a similar service. In March, the company acquired Tellme Networks, a provider of voice-recognition systems for phone directory listings and automated customer service. In the future, Microsoft could leverage the technology for call-in blog posts. "They have some great voice search services, and obviously voice is a great premise for the mobile phone," says Phil Holden, the director of Microsoft's mobile Web services group and himself the author of a mobile blog read by a tiny audience. "I don't care about having a billion friends," he says.
With the connections between cell phones and wireless networks getting speedier, blogging companies also see potential for mobile video blogging. Already, sites such as kyte.tv, owned by decentral.tv, allow users to post videos taken with mobile phones to their blogs. In the future, the company plans to allow live video posts to blogs via mobile phone.
Video and photos will become integral to blogging, says Andrew Anker, general manager of Six Apart's consumer products division. After all, most of the time, bloggers may not have the time to write 1,000 words. But they can upload the visual equivalent via a camera-phone photo. "The writing-lots-of-words blogging will be a small amount of blogging," says Anker. "When I'm in some place interesting and I have a quick thought or I see a funny sign and want to share it—when you think about blogging in the next five years, that will be blogging."
Apple`s new TV box did not fall far from the tree
Convergence marches on as Apple yesterday announced that its Apple TV set-top box will now be able to wirelessly stream YouTube videos directly onto their TV. The unit is a slick and intuitively designed addition to the web 2.0 living room. Using the "Apple Remote" and simple GUI users can effortlessly surf, select and view free YouTube videos.
Ironically the scheme's only drawback is the mediocrity of the average YouTube posting. Nevertheless, YouTube members can also use Apple TV to log on, view and save their own favorite videos as well as those they discover while browsing.
"Apple TV is like a DVD player for the 21st century-you connect it to your entertainment system just like a DVD player, but it plays digital content you get from the Internet rather than DVDs you get from a physical store," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO.
The box is also typically Apple proprietary requiring iTunes 7.1 or later running on a Mac with Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or later, or a Windows PC with Windows XP Home/Professional (SP2) and offers the latest 802.11b/g/n WiFI standards.
Aside from YouTube, Apple TV users can access their existing iTunes music and video collections as well as browse and purchase hundreds to thousands of films, TV shows (so long as you live in the US), music videos, podcasts, audiobooks and more than five million songs from the online iTunes store.
The original Apple TV box came with a 40GB hard drive capable of delivering high-definition 720p output, as well as standard HDMI, component video, analogue and optical audio ports. Today's announcement also includes a new Apple TV build-to-order option with a 160GB hard drive.
The cost of the box and Apple Remote is $299 dollars of the 40 GB hardware and $399 dollars for the new 160GB model in US Apple Stores and other Apple retailers in the US. The YouTube feature will be available as a free software update in mid-June
Imagine going to an airline counter and placing your ticket on the check-in counter and the system automically recognises you and gives you a seat option and issues you a boarding card ! Imagine knowing all about a wine (vineyard, grapes, region, etc.) by just placing it on a table top.
Microsoft wants connectivity to everything
Microsoft plans to bring connectivity to literally every surface with its latest product category.
Announced at yesterday's All Things Digital conference in California, so-called "surface computing" would transform everything from picture frames to countertops into interactive interfaces - for example a table that offers up related information when a diner places a wine glass on it.
"We see this as a multibillion dollar category and we envision a time when surface computing technologies will be pervasive, from tabletops and counters to the hallway mirror," said CEO Steve Ballmer. "Surface is the first step in realizing that vision."
Surface interaction is expected to occur via touch or tagged items such as glasses and pens. Displays are likely to recognize multiple simultaneous input - much like the heralded iPhone interface - with geographic interactivity in which placing an item in different places on a surface computing table results in different actions.
"Consumers now have an entirely new way to get the information they need, turning their everyday tasks into enjoyable and engaging experiences," said Microsoft Surface Computing general manager Pete Thompson. "There are hundreds of thousands of restaurants, hotels and retail locations that are looking to give their customers the unique and memorable experiences that surface computing will provide."
A quartet of US firms has contracted to trial the technology, including operator T-Mobile USA and resorts Harrah's and Starwood.
Google Gears up for Web 3.0 titan clash with Microsoft
01/06/2007 - by Andrew Beutmueller
Like two great-bellied Sumo wrestlers stuffed with cash, the mountainous US companies Google and Microsoft have planted their thick, powerful corporate legs in the middle of a virtual Sumo dohyo, each braced for the impact of the others' next bulldozing product launch or encroaching acquisition - who will be shoved out of the ring first and who will prevail?
Last week Microsoft pushed its way into the Google side of the ring shelling out $6 billion dollars for the digital ad company Aquantive, highlighting its designs on Google web ad territory. Countering back this week at the Google Developers Conference in Sydney, the company unveiled plans to smack down Microsoft's desktop with 'Google Gears' a so-called open source technology for creating 'offline' web apps.
This new browser extension is being made available in its early stages so that everyone can test its capabilities and limitations and help improve upon it according to sources at Google.
"Google Gears marks an important step in the evolution of web applications because it addresses a major user concern: availability of data and applications when there's no Internet connection available, or when a connection is slow or unreliable," explained Google in a statement.
The fact that Google Gears "allows you to run a web application without an Internet connection is a huge development," said Patrick Thomas, CEO of telepark, a German firm that develops specialty Personal Web Applications.
The technology "hints at the potential for offline web applications that don't compromise the core integrity of any interaction, interface, or data transaction," added Will Carter, CXO, Protomobl Inc., the LA-based Web and mobile social networking software company.
Other big web players are also moving into Google's corner of the ring; Gears after all works with all major browsers and across Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. Google is also building bridges, both politically as well as technologically, working closely with the web community to create a standard offering developers one consistent API for offline functionality.
"This announcement is a significant step forward for web applications," said Brendan Eich, CTO at Mozilla Corporation. "We're pleased to see Google working with open source and open standards bodies on offline web applications."
"Opera and Google share the common goal of making Web applications richer and more robust," said Håkon Wium Lie, CTO, Opera Software. "Developers have long desired the functionality and flexibility Google Gears can offer browsers ... [so] we're excited to work with Google to extend the reach and power of Web applications.
"We are definitely seeing opening skirmishes in what will likely be a clash of titans according to Yankee Group Research Fellow Laura DiDio; "Google has $12 billion in cash and Microsoft has approximately $26 billion. This sets the stage for a large-scale game of Monopoly between these giants ... fighting for preeminence in what Yankee Group identifies as the emerging Anywhere Applications ... versions of popular productivity packages such as e-mail, messaging and collaboration.
"It seems that web 3.0 season has officially opened, even though most of us are still grappling with the vagaries of Web 2.0.
Microsoft, Adobe and Sun also think so, according to Jeffrey S. Hammond, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research "which is why they've introduced Silverlight, Apollo and JavaFX" respectively.
"We're very excited to be collaborating with Google to move the industry forward to a standard cross-platform, cross-browser local storage capability," said Kevin Lynch, senior vice president and chief software architect at Adobe. "The Gears API will also be available in Apollo, which enables web applications to run on the desktop, providing developers with consistent offline and local database solutions."
Despite the love-fest Google has its work cut out for it, and Microsoft is not exactly breaking a sweat. Google Apps, albeit a less expensive curiosity, currently pose no threat to crown-jewel Microsoft Office for the simple reason that its features, functionality, documentation and support don't come close to those produced in Redmond, Washington.
Meanwhile, Google has yet to cash in on its $1.65 billion dollar investment in YouTube, which has do far only yielded legal troubles to the tune of $1 billion in damages in a suit by media giant Viacom according to Yankee Group's DiDio. This added to controversy surrounding Google's DoubleClick acquisition, which triggered antitrust finger pointing from AT&T and-ironically-Microsoft.