Saturday, April 30, 2011

MEMSIC intros LOTUS - next-generation Mote platform for high-performance wireless sensor networks

ANDOVER, USA: MEMSIC Inc. has introduced LOTUS, a high-performance wireless sensor platform. LOTUS is an advanced wireless node platform developed around the low power ARM7 Cortex M3 CPU and incorporates the best of IRIS, TelosB and Imote2 onto a single board.

LOTUS is built on a modular and stackable design, incorporating connectors for expansion boards, and features several new capabilities that enhance the overall functionality of MEMSIC's wireless sensor networking products and solutions. LOTUS is backward compatible with MEMSIC's MDA and MTS range of Sensor Data Acquisition Boards.

This latest MEMSIC mote platform meets the requirements of existing Imote2 and OEM customers requiring higher speed processing capability as well as applications requiring GSM/GPRS gateways. LOTUS features 32Bit/100MHz processor, 64kB SRAM, 512kB FLASH, 64MB serial FLASH memory, an integrated 802.15.4 compliant radio with on-board antenna and USB Client with on-board mini-B connector, and runs at 50mA on-state and 10uA in stand-by mode.

LOTUS is factory configured to run RTOS (Real Time Operating System). Several other options are also available for LOTUS, including MEMSIC Kiel, RTOS, IAR Systems, Free RTOS, MoteRunnerTM and TinyOS. The 51pin expansion connector supports Analog Inputs, Digital I/O, I2C, SPI and UART interfaces enabling ease of connection to a variety of external peripherals.

"As a leading sensor manufacturer and wireless sensor networking infrastructure solution provider, we are pleased to announce the introduction of LOTUS, MEMSIC's next-generation mote platform, enabling higher performance, low power consumption and pricing than Imote2", said Steve Tsui, Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Systems Business. "Our mission is to continually enable our customers' growth by delivering innovative Wireless Sensor Network products and solutions."

Friday, April 29, 2011

Apple becomes second largest buyer of consumer/cell phone MEMS sensors in 2010

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Apple Inc. in 2010 rose one rank to become the world’s second largest buyer of microelectromechanical system (MEMS) sensors for consumer electronics products and cell phones, as it snapped up parts for products including the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch, new IHS iSuppli research indicates.

The company’s purchases of consumer/cell phone MEMS sensors rose by 116.7 percent in 2010, the highest rate of any major buyer. Apple’s purchases rose to $195 million in 2010, up from $90 million in 2009.

This strong increase propelled Apple past Nintendo. Apple in 2010 also came within a hair’s breadth of taking the No. 1 spot, trailing leading purchaser Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. by just $5 million.

MEMS differentiate Apple products
“Consumers in 2010 happily bought up Apple products including the iPhone 4, the iPad and iPod Touch,” noted Jérémie Bouchaud, principal analyst for MEMS at iSuppli. “Much of the appeal of these products lies in their sophisticated user interfaces, which rely heavily on MEMS sensors, specifically accelerometers, gyroscopes and microphones. This caused Apple’s purchasing to boom in 2010.”

MEMS sensors bought by Apple last year included 3-axis gyroscopes from STMicroelectronics for the iPhone 4, iPod Touch, and—toward the end of 2010—the iPad 2 tablet. Apple also bought accelerometers for the above three devices as well as for the iPod nano and MacBook computer. Furthermore, the company procured bulk acoustic wave (BAW) duplexers from TriQuint Semiconductor for the iPhone and iPad 3G. Analog Devices Inc., Knowles Electronics and AAC Inc.—using die from Infineon Technologies—provided Apple with MEMS microphones for the iPod nano 5th Generation, iPhone 4 and Apple headsets and the iPad 2.

Apple’s MEMS influence
While Apple’ procurement activities are extensive, the company’s influence on the MEMS sensor market transcends its own purchasing.

“Apple is responsible for creating new MEMS markets for consumer electronics and cell phones far beyond its own consumption,” Bouchaud said.

The first iPhone made it popular for handsets to use accelerometers—devices that provide auto-screen rotation and gesture-based command functions. The iPhone 4 also employed gaming-helpful gyroscopes. Likewise, the MEMS industry owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Apple for single-handedly reviving the tablet, a hotbed for MEMS projected to be worth more than $200 million by 2015.

Samsung surges to No. 1
Samsung in 2010 recaptured the top spot from Nintendo Co. as the largest buyer of MEMS sensors for mobile phones and other consumer electronics like tablets. The company’s purchases rose 46 percent from $195 million in 2010, allowing it to surpass Nintendo to take the No. 1 spot. Samsung had been the market leader in 2008.

Samsung’s shopping bag included BAW filters from Avago Technologies and TriQuint, followed by accelerometers from Bosch Sensortec, Kionix and STMicroelectronics.
Other important MEMS items purchased by Samsung last year included microphones from Knowles, gyroscopes from STMicroelectronics, and Digital Light Processing (DLP) chips for pico projectors from Texas Instruments.

Nintendo falls to third
Nintendo’s purchases declined to $123 million in 2010, down 11.5 percent from $139 million in 2009. As a result, the company fell from the top spot in 2009 to third place in 2010.

“Nintendo’s MEMS sensor orders declined primarily because of the market saturation of Wii video game controllers, which use accelerometers,” Bouchaud said.

Nintendo MEMS expenditures were for single- and dual axis and also 3-axis gyroscopes from InvenSense, intended for both the Wii Motion Plus remote controller as well as for Nintendo’s newly released 3DS handheld device featuring 3-D gaming. The company also bought single-axis gyroscopes from Epson Toyocom, plus accelerometers from STMicroelectronics and Bosch Sensortec for the Wii and 3DS.

Other MEMS buyers
LG Electronics, staying put in fourth place this year, purchased MEMS mostly for its handsets. The company also obtained BAW filters from Avago; microphones from Knowles; accelerometers from Bosch Sensortec, Kionix, Freescale Semiconductor and STMicroelectronics; and toward the end of the year 3-axis gyroscopes from InvenSense and STMicroelectronics.

Sony’s one step move up from sixth rank in 2009 placed it second, after Apple, in yearly MEMS expenditure growth, with revenue of $95 million, up 55.7 percent from $61 million in 2009. Sony bought gyroscopes as the company’s highest MEMS spend, sourced from various players and fitted to the Sony Move remote controller for the PlayStation 3 game console.

Suppliers to Sony included STMicroelectronics for single-, dual and 3-axis gyroscopes; Sony itself for the dual axis version; and Murata, Epson Toyocom and STMicroelectronics for the single-axis gyroscope in the Dualshock controller for the PlayStation 3. Accelerometers also were needed for the Sony Move and Dualshock from Kionix, with STMicroelectronics serving as a second source.Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Huawei sues ZTE

Matt Walker, principal analyst, Ovum.

AUSTRALIA: Huawei has recently filed suit against ZTE in three European countries, alleging patent and trade mark infringement related to data cards and LTE technologies.

As an outsider, it is not possible to know who is in the 'right' here. These disputes are rarely black and white, even to objective insiders. It is unfortunate that the companies could not resolve their dispute directly, but they are hardly alone. Courts are asked to step in and arbitrate intellectual property disputes all the time, very often lately in telecom. Hopefully this will be resolved quickly, as nobody but the lawyers benefits from a long, drawn-out process.

In fact, these suits are sometimes encouraged by lawyers looking to stir up lucrative casework – even to the detriment of the public interest. Like any market, the legal market sometimes is driven by a ‘supply-side pull’ dynamic.

Beyond this case, it’s well known that Huawei and ZTE are long-time rivals. Huawei has grown faster recently, and has high ambitions. Given this history, Huawei may aspire to be China’s premiere national tech ‘champion,’ in which case it needs to carefully differentiate itself from other contenders.

The national origins of companies should not cloud the workings of markets, though. There is plenty of room in the global telecom/tech sector for Huawei, ZTE and many more vendors that happen to be located in China.

CommScope renews commitment to innovation for China’s wireless networks

BANGALORE, INDIA: Deploying advanced technology wireless networks means bringing high performing RF Path components into the field, where network performance and the resulting customer experience are critical, every second of every day.

With China’s wireless networks deploying 3G technologies, CommScope is opening a new state-of-the-art base station antenna testing facility in Suzhou to ensure the superior performance of its Andrew Solutions antenna portfolio in all types of wireless network conditions.

“The performance and reliability of base station antenna technology becomes even more important to the customer experience in 3G, 4G and the next generations of wireless networks,” said Ray Butler, vice president, Base Station Antenna Products and Development, CommScope. “The new CommScope Antenna Performance Assurance Center offers our Chinese customers advanced testing services for ensuring the superior performance of their networks today and into the future.”

CommScope, a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communication networks, hosted a grand opening event for the CommScope Antenna Performance Assurance Center in Suzhou on April 26–27, which was attended by company executives, customers, and government officials. The CommScope antenna testing center will enable wireless operators and OEMs to conduct a number of performance, environmental, and quality tests on base station antennas in less time and with increased accuracy.

“The most significant enhancement is our addition of a new 128-probe testing system in a building designed specifically for optimized verification, which offers enhanced speed, accuracy, and ease of use for testing RF pattern performance,” said Butler. “We also offer a variety of environmental tests and other quality and reliability measurements, as well as training that explains how to make and understand antenna measurements in the near-field antenna range.”

CommScope offers quality and reliability testing for base station antenna systems in its Suzhou manufacturing facility. This testing gauges the long-term impact of various environments and conditions on antennas, helping determine product lifecycles and improve product longevity. CommScope manufactures many of its Andrew Solutions products in Suzhou including HELIAX coaxial cables, connectors, and cable assemblies; base station antennas; ValuLine microwave antennas and RF filters. The Suzhou facility was opened in 1997 by Andrew Corporation, which began operations in China in the 1970s and was acquired by CommScope in 2007.

Worldwide mobile phone market grew nearly 20 percent in Q1 2011

FRAMINGHAM, USA: The worldwide mobile phone market grew 19.8 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2011 (1Q11) fueled by high smartphone growth, especially in emerging markets, and gains made by market challengers. According to the International Data Corp. (IDC) Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped 371.8 million units in 1Q11 compared to 310.5 million units in the first quarter of 2010.

Smartphone growth worldwide, particularly in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Latin America, helped lift the overall market to a new first-quarter high. Increasingly, mobile phone makers and carriers are making smartphones affordable to a wider variety of people, which has helped drive the market to new heights. Smartphone-specific vendors, such as HTC, continue to grow sales at a steady clip as a result of this trend.

"Several notable vendors, including feature phone makers, outpaced the overall market, which contributed to share losses of some top suppliers," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker. "The growth of companies outside the top five vendors – vendors in the 'Others' category, such as Micromax, TCL-Alcatel, Huawei and Research In Motion – shows that the overall market is still very much ripe for share gains."

"At the same time, feature phones have represented the majority of mobile phone shipments, but still are under tremendous pressure from smartphones," adds Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team. "Even popular quick-messaging devices (phones with a QWERTY keyboard), once a bright spot within the feature phone market, appear to be losing steam as smartphones gain popularity. Still, IDC does not expect feature phones to disappear quickly as there is still strong demand across the globe."

Market outlook
Nonetheless, IDC expects almost all of the worldwide mobile phone market's growth to be driven by smartphones throughout the forecast, which goes to 2015. "Increasingly smartphones will drive market growth. This means feature phone makers will either need to become smartphone dependent or consolidate that part of the market," noted Restivo.

Regional analysis
The Asia/Pacific market grew thanks in part to strong mobile phone shipments to Greater China despite the seasonally slow quarter. Smartphone shipment growth was exceptional despite some key product launch delays. In Japan, the market underperformed IDC's forecast due to the impact of the earthquake and tsunami. Japan's largest mobile operators ordered fewer phones than expected in March.

In Western Europe, Android-based phones and iPhones helped grow the market in the seasonally slow quarter. New devices from HTC, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson sold well in most countries in the high-end tiers. Alcatel, Huawei, and ZTE Android devices helped drive mid-tier segment sales volume. Meanwhile, feature phone shipments receded as more smartphones hit the market. The CEMA markets performed well on a year-over-year basis despite civil unrest in some Gulf countries, such as Egypt, where sales were negatively impacted by the turbulence. Nokia and Research In Motion performed well in the regions overall.

In the United States last quarter, Apple's iPhone and the LTE-enabled HTC Thunderbolt were two smartphones introduced at Verizon Wireless that helped keep the category front and center of the overall mobile phone market. Feature phones, including once popular quick messaging devices, continued to lose ground. Similarly, in Canada, the market grew thanks to smartphones. BlackBerry, iPhone, and Android devices were best sellers.

The Latin America market growth continued last quarter as the gap between smartphones and feature phones narrowed. Smartphone shipments were aided by carriers, who are moving customers to 3G networks while vendors shipped more touchscreen and QWERTY models. New Android and Windows Phone devices were launched too, which helped drive smartphone growth. The average selling prices also declined in the region, thanks to aggressive expansion by Chinese vendors.

Top five mobile phone vendors
Nokia laid out its transformation strategy during the quarter, one that will embrace Windows Phone as its primary smartphone operating system, introduce further enhancements to its mobile phones, and invest in future disruptions to the mobile phone market. Until that strategy is fully realized, the company will rely on its current platforms to compete in the market. Its Symbian-powered smartphones continued to find a warm reception, and the company introduced the E6 and X7, both running on the new Symbian Anna software. In mobile phones, Nokia ramped up shipments of its C3 and X201 from last year and announced a dual-SIM phone with the C2. What remains to be seen is how quickly Nokia will introduce new phones as competition intensifies.

Samsung having posted a record Q1 shipment volume, further closed the gap against market leader Nokia and extended its lead ahead of third place vendor LG Electronics. Although feature phones comprised the majority of its shipments, smartphones represented a greater share from a year ago, nearly a fifth of its total volumes. Samsung appears well poised to reach its goal of 50 million smartphones shipped this year, as new models, including the Galaxy S II, 4G smartphones, and more mass-market smartphones are expected to reach the market later on.

LG unit shipments declined on a year-over-year basis for the third straight quarter. The phone shipment drop off was most noticeable in Europe and the CIS countries where shipments on a combined basis declined. The company hopes to deliver a better second quarter performance with the introduction of products such as the Revolution, which will run on the LTE network of Verizon Wireless, and the Big. The question for LG will be whether feature phone declines in emerging and other markets can be offset by smartphone gains in future.

Apple maintained its number 4 spot on IDC's Top 5 list thanks to a record quarter for unit shipments. The company posted the highest growth rate of the worldwide leaders. Apple's results were buoyed by strong sales on Verizon Wireless and additional carrier deals; the company is now on 186 carriers operating in 90 countries. The iPhone once again sold particularly well in developed economic regions of the world, such as North America and Western Europe.

ZTE held on to the number 5 slot in the rankings thanks to strong year-over-year growth in countries and regions where it does particularly well, such as China and Latin America. ZTE primarily sells low-cost feature phones but the company is making a concerted effort to ship more smartphones, which are based on the Android operating system, this year. The company has said it will try to create brand awareness and sell more devices in developed markets, such as the US, this year.Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, April 28, 2011.

Qwest enters into license agreement with Klausner

NEW YORK, USA: Qwest Communications International Inc., through its subsidiaries, has entered into a patent license agreement with Klausner Technologies Inc., for Qwest consumer and enterprise voicemail products.

Qwest is the 30th company to license Klausner Technologies’ Visual Voicemail patents. Current licensees of the Visual Voicemail patents include major US and European mobile operators, handset manufacturers, VOIP/cable operators, and other providers of Visual Voicemail services.

"Our patented technology lets consumers view, prioritize and select voice messages from their mobile phones or via the Internet," said Judah Klausner, CEO of Klausner Technologies.

Qwest was a defendant in the pending patent infringement lawsuit brought by Klausner Technologies in the Eastern District of Texas. The parties have settled their outstanding litigation and the case has been dismissed. Klausner Technologies is represented in the litigation by the law firm of Dovel & Luner.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Agilent's SystemVue smashes validation barriers for emerging wireless circuit designs

SANTA CLARA, USA: Agilent Technologies Inc. announced the release of SystemVue 2011.03, a leading system-level communications design environment.

With this release, SystemVue now enables wireless system architects and system-on-chip designers to validate multiband, high-transistor-count wireless IC designs accurately against the latest communications standards.

Until now, wireless communications architects have lacked the accurate commercial modeling formats needed to qualify the system-level performance of their RF/analog and mixed-signal CMOS transceiver designs. Agilent’s GoldenGate and SystemVue environments now connect in two ways to help system-on-chip designers meet the challenging requirement of ETSI LTE/LTE-A and other emerging wireless standards, via an exclusive, fast circuit envelope (FCE) model or direct envelope-level cosimulation.

The new FCE models execute 1,000 to 100,000 times faster than the original RFIC physical designs, with virtually no loss in accuracy at the system level. Unlike indirect commercial modeling approaches, the new FCE models can account for nonlinear memory effects and are generated from the RFIC design itself, with little human intervention or coding. They can also account for frequency- and power-dependence, frequency translation, multiple ports and internal nodes, and can be exported at various settings of control states, bias voltages, process corners, temperatures and impedance loading.

The new FCE models run natively in SystemVue, as part of the W1719 RF System Design Kit. For challenges that require dynamic behaviors and the highest possible analog accuracy at the system level, a direct cosimulation mode is also available.

SystemVue 2011.03 also unveils new wireless capabilities for Spectrasys, the spectral domain simulator at the heart of SystemVue’s RF System Architect personality.

Autodesk brings AutoCAD WS mobile app to Android

INDIA: Autodesk Inc. has announced the availability of the AutoCAD WS mobile application on the Android platform. A free* web and mobile application, AutoCAD WS uses cloud computing technology to enable Autodesk software users to view, edit and share their designs through web browsers and mobile devices.

AutoCAD WS for Android enables an expanded group of users to enjoy the benefits of effortless collaboration with architects, designers and engineers from anywhere in the world and experience the freedom of taking designs with them—wherever they go.

“Architects, engineers and designers have clearly communicated that they want access to their AutoCAD projects on their Android devices and we are more than happy to meet their needs. The impressive and consistent growth of the Android ecosystem serves as an excellent platform for Autodesk to further expand its accessibility through AutoCAD WS,” said Jayant Keswani, head Marketing, Autodesk, India and SAARC.

“Now, our customers with Android smartphones and tablets can use AutoCAD WS to collaborate with colleagues in the field, and across the globe, on a wider variety of mobile devices.”

Users of AutoCAD WS for Android will enjoy features such as a simplified, intuitive set of viewing, editing, and markup tools so users can work on their designs while on the go. Users can open drawings from email attachments, sync files from the web, or upload drawings directly from AutoCAD software through the integrated online tab. Drawings can also be saved locally for use in the field when an Internet connection is unavailable.

One feature unique to Android version of AutoCAD WS is the text annotation tool supports integrated voice commands available on devices running Android 2.2 (Froyo) or above. Now Android users can insert comments and notations on a drawing simply by speaking rather than typing them into the text edit box.

Telcos risk losing ground in emerging markets mobile data battle

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Mobile operators in emerging Asian markets need to make urgent adjustments to content strategies if they are to adapt to rapid shifts in the market, according to Ovum.

In a new report, the independent telecoms analyst claims that while telcos are currently the dominant force in the emerging markets mobile content space, this is set to change with 3G due to strong competition from new distribution platforms led by device and platform vendors.

Angel Dobardziev, Ovum analyst and author of the report, said: “Unless telcos make rapid changes to their strategy and execution, their dominance is set to be challenged.

“We have found that once a consumer has bought a data access plan, they begin to move away from telco services. This is being heightened by the fact that many device and platform vendors are establishing alternative content distribution platforms that connect providers and end users easier, faster and cheaper than telcos. This will ultimately reduce the role of mobile operators to little more than providers of bandwidth.”

While 3G connections accounted for a tenth of all connections across the emerging markets in Asia-Pacific, we expect that in 2015, they will account for just over a third of connections.

Moreover, we estimate that 3G device shipments accounted for only about a quarter of all device shipments in Asian emerging markets in 2010. However, we forecast accelerated growth of 3G device shipments to four fifths of all device shipments in 2015.

The aggressive entry of local device manufacturers in China and India in particular has led to a rapid re-definition of entry-level, mid-tier, and smartphone segments. Previously unaffordable features such as color screen and camera are increasingly the norm in entry level devices, touch-screens which were the preserve of smartphones are increasingly common in feature phones.

Dobardziev added: “Android smartphone price points reached $100 toward the end of 2010 making them increasingly affordable in markets such as India and Indonesia.

“Telcos currently have mobile content strategies that are increasingly inadequate for addressing the new challenges and competition they now face. The key issue is one of strategic clarity on whether telcos plan to make money from bandwidth, mobile content or both. This issue goes to the core of the bit-pipe versus full service provider debate.”

The report states that focusing on mobile bandwidth and making a fair return on billing for content could be a profitable strategy for telcos, unattractive as the bit-pipe role may be. The other option is to develop a well-executed content strategy, which will require a significant change in mindset and considerable investment in IT, people and processes in order to facilitate such a strategy.

Dobardziev concluded, “What is not an option for telcos is to carry on pursuing both access and content strategies but failing to do either effectively.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

AHA and RIM launch BlackBerry Curve 8530 for CDMA customers in Indonesia

JAKARTA, INDONESIA: PT Bakrie Connectivity through AHA, together with Research In Motion (RIM), launched the CDMA-enabled BlackBerry Curve 8530 smartphone in Indonesia. AHA will launch the new smartphone along with comprehensive service plans to fulfill the needs of AHA’s growing customer base.

The BlackBerry solution combines smartphones, software and services to provide easy wireless access to social networking, email, instant messaging, voice calls, Internet browsing, multimedia and a wide range of mobile apps.

Erik Meijer, President Director of PT Bakrie Connectivity said: “We see very fast growth for CDMA services in Indonesia. With approximately 31 million CDMA subscribers demanding reliable and richer data services, Bakrie Connectivity is taking this opportunity to build momentum and introduce the BlackBerry Curve 8530, which supports the faster EVDO Rev A technology on the CDMA network.

“For the launch of the BlackBerry Curve 8530 in Indonesia, AHA is offering customers an amazing opportunity to get 6 months of free data, a choice of preferred mobile phone numbers and free lifetime voice and SMS to all AHA and Esia subscribers.”

“We are very pleased to be working with PT Bakrie Connectivity to launch the BlackBerry Curve 8530 smartphone for AHA customers" said Gregory Wade, MD, Southeast Asia, Research In Motion. "Now AHA subscribers can enjoy the freedom and productivity benefits of using the BlackBerry Curve 8530 to stay connected to the people and information that matter most throughout the day.”

Knology selects Level 3 to support customers' growing demand for data and video

BROOMFIELD, USA: Level 3 Communications Inc. announced that it has signed a multi-year agreement with cable operator Knology Broadband Inc. to deliver scalable bandwidth services that will further enable Knology’s advanced broadband network for its enterprise and residential customers.

Level 3’s national scale and resources will help West Point, Ga.-based Knology stay ahead of its customers’ rapidly growing demands for bandwidth, and provide improved reliability based on a fully redundant architecture. In addition, the arrangement will offer increased procurement simplicity and operational efficiency for Knology as it consolidates services with Level 3 as its primary provider.

Under the new agreement – which expands on a long-term relationship between the companies – Knology will leverage the Level 3 infrastructure to support core backbone upgrades in Knology's key markets, including Augusta and Columbus, Ga.; Panama City, Fla.; Lawrence, Kan.; and Sioux Falls, S.D. Knology will also upgrade existing services in Chicago, Atlanta, Huntsville, Ala. and Charleston, S.C.

“This new agreement with Level 3 allows for enhanced delivery of advanced video, data and voice services for our residential customers, in addition to significantly increasing our portfolio and reach for business customers,“ said Knology’s CTO, John Treece. “As our customers’ demand for video and data continues to grow rapidly, Level 3 provides us with the required national scale and ability to adapt quickly to our customers’ increased bandwidth needs.”

“It’s a true testament to our quality of service when a longstanding customer like Knology substantially expands their relationship and consolidates their business with us as their primary network provider, especially when it involves a critical, strategic initiative like upgrading their backbone network,” said Andrew Crouch, president of Sales for Level 3. “Knology’s mission is to deliver great service to their customers, and with Level 3’s advanced network services and expertise, they are better poised to accomplish that now and in the future.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

PLX switches to provide unique x16 PCI Express bandwidth for CPU-GPUs in HP ProLiant servers

SUNNYVALE, USA: PLX Technology, a leader in high-speed connectivity solutions for the enterprise and the home, announced that two configurations of PLX ExpressLane PCI Express (PCIe) switches are enabling the high-performance CPU-GPU flexible scale-out in the latest HP ProLiant SL390s G7 4U server platform.

The new HP ProLiant SL390s G7 4U servers, with PLX switches enabling system fan-out, are part of the SL6500 Scalable System family of HP server solutions optimized for scale-out and HPC market segments. With high-density trays in half-width form factors, the SL390 family allows system designers to greatly reduce costs and maximize efficiency by sharing power supplies and fans. HP ProLiant SL390s G7 4U servers are built to enable massive compute environments with modular architectures that reduce components and maximize return on investment.

The HP SL390 solutions have been implemented in several of the TOP500 Supercomputer implementations across the globe. HP currently holds a prestigious rank of fourth on the TOP500 and the second rank on the Green TOP500, with both installations featuring the GPU-intensive computation capabilities of the SL390s servers.

The PLX PEX8664 (64 lanes, 16 ports) and PEX8647 (48 lanes, 3 ports) PCIe Gen2-compliant switches were chosen by HP for their industry-leading performance, x16 support, low power and latency, and flexible port configurations. The PLX switches offer exclusive x16 port flexibility to each GPU in the SL390s 4U, thereby offering optimal performance and efficiency. These specialized features, coupled with the SL system’s modular design, enable maximum GPU-CPU rack-mount density.

The PLX switches help reduce the total cost of ownership by allowing for a fully integrated solution versus forcing customers to purchase multiple cables, host interface controllers and miscellaneous options that drastically increase aggregate cost. The vast amount of additional components and cables also lend themselves to possible service issues when installed in heavily dense configurations. The SL6500 further lessens this issue with front cabling, which is ideal for secured data center hot-aisles or ultra-dense implementations.

Cellcrypt adds encrypted messaging to its secure smartphone voice calling solution

LONDON, UK: Cellcrypt, the leading provider of encrypted cell phone voice calling, has announced a new secure messaging feature for users of Cellcrypt Mobile for BlackBerry. It brings government-certified end-to-end encryption for messaging, countering interception vulnerabilities of standard SMS (Short Message System) and IM (Instant Messaging) and uses ‘immediate delivery and delete’ instead of a ‘store and forward’ design which makes exchange of real-time, short-lived messages less vulnerable to compromise.

Cellcrypt’s secure messaging brings government-certified cryptographic security to real-time messages, running on off-the-shelf smartphones as part of an easy-to-use downloadable Cellcrypt Mobile application.

Real-time, short-lived information exchange, like that used in voice calls, typically means that the callers do not require or want the conversation to be stored or forwarded at a later date, and prefer the information to perish immediately after it is received. So Cellcrypt messaging uses an ‘immediate delivery and delete’ metaphor, which further enhances the security.

In use since November 2010, Cellcrypt customers have reported effective and widespread use of the encrypted messaging feature: as a last resort at times when cellular network quality is so poor that sustaining an encrypted voice call is not possible; to continue simultaneous message exchange with multiple parties; to exchange information without disturbing meetings; to remain unidentified in covert operations; and to save valuable time when exchanging structured data such as names, addresses, logistical information and reference numbers.

Cellcrypt’s secure messaging feature complements a secure voice call rather than providing stand-alone SMS/IM-like capabilities – such as delayed delivery, buddy lists, group and conferencing functionality, threaded messages, presence, status and profiles – that could compromise the user.

The feature sends text data, rather than voice data, down a highly encrypted stream, and adds user menus to write and read messages. Delivery occurs only when both parties are directly connected so the message is not stored, unless deliberately saved by the recipient to read later. In addition, the sender can specifically set a message-retry interval, which limits the time a message stays in the ‘out-box’, if the recipient is unavailable to receive it immediately.

Cellcrypt Mobile provides encrypted voice calling for off-the-shelf cell phones using government-certified security in an easy-to-use downloadable application that makes highly secure calling as easy as a normal phone call. It is a software-only solution that uses the IP data channel and works over cellular (2G (GPRS/ EDGE), 3G (HSPA, CDMA/EV-DO), and 4G), Wi-Fi® and satellite networks. The Cellcrypt product is validated to CESG Claims Test Mark in the UK, and to FIPS 140-2 standard, approved by the US National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST).

“With the new encrypted messaging feature we add significant value to our customers’ secure voice calling capability.” said Richard Greco, Cellcrypt CEO and chairman. “Cellcrypt has led the market in providing easy to use and rapidly deployable solutions for real-time, short-lived mission-critical information exchange, and this capability broadens our reach to more users in more scenarios”.

Cellcrypt’s encrypted messaging feature is an additional feature of the core Cellcrypt Mobile product. It is available now in Cellcrypt Mobile for BlackBerry version 6 and later.

Interxion selects Sipartech to implement fibre optic infrastructure between its six Paris data centres

PARIS, FRANCE: INTERXION HOLDING NV, a leading European provider of carrier-neutral colocation data centre services, has chosen Sipartech, a neutral, dark-fibre-optic infrastructure operator in Paris and its surrounding region, to interconnect its data centres.

Sipartech has implemented a fibre optic infrastructure between Interxion’s six data centres located in Paris. The network built by Sipartech will enable Interxion data centres to be connected to existing and future data centres via short and secure routes.

"Dark fibre is a key issue for data centres in Paris, especially in terms of providing optimised and reliable routes for interconnecting the different data centres", said Julien Santina, president and founder of Sipartech. "The fact that a key player such as Interxion has chosen Sipartech shows that we have the ability to execute large projects and that we can apply the necessary resources and expertise required to meet the challenges of building interconnection structures that support Interxion customers’ requirements”, commented Julien Santina.

Interxion connects its data centres to create campus environments in strategic business locations in 11 countries across Europe. The campus structure ensures that connectivity opportunities are maximised, allowing carriers, ISPs and Internet exchanges to have a presence in any one data centre and be available to every customer in the entire campus. This approach maximises customer choice, generates increased revenue opportunities for connectivity providers, and fosters the growth of interconnected customer communities.

Sipartech deployed two routes of 55 and 25 km fibre using two different infrastructures: civil engineering and sewers. Interxion customers can now benefit from the use of 144 dark fibre pairs, which are reserved for an initial ten-year period.

"The dark fibre network, designed and built by Sipartech, took into account the geographical distribution of our data centres in the Ile-de-France region and will allow us to offer our customers complete turnkey colocation solutions, orientated to high availability. To use a dynamic company such as Sipartech, which is responsive and attentive to our needs, means that we can meet our clients’ connectivity requirements quickly and efficiently", commented Fabrice Coquio, Managing Director of Interxion France.

Sipartech hosts all of its primary connection nodes in Interxion’s data centres, allowing the creation of the shortest possible routes between Interxion’s data centres and other data centres in Paris.

Equifax releases mobile app for Android users

ATLANTA, USA: Equifax continues to embrace mobile marketing and mobile commerce, announcing the latest version of its Equifax Mobile app for Android users. Now, Android users can access freemium features like Equifax Places, which enables users to view credit and fraud averages by GPS location or zip code anywhere in the United States.

Equifax monitoring product subscribers can also protect the power of their credit and identity on-the-go with real-time access to their credit file, including the ability to lock and unlock their Equifax Credit Report.

Equifax Mobile App Key Features:
* Equifax Places
-- Equifax Credit Rankings – Credit averages such as total debt, utilization, and late payments.
-- Equifax Fraud Index – Frequency of fraud by age, gender, income, and credit score.
* Equifax Credit Report Control – Ability to lock and unlock your Equifax Credit Report+.
* Equifax Web Detect – Find out if your sensitive personal information is found on suspected Internet trading sites++.
* Alerts of key changes to your credit files (e.g. account balance changes, activity on dormant accounts, new account openings).

Monday, April 25, 2011

On-Ramp Wireless intros remote monitoring unit

SAN DIEGO, USA: On-Ramp Wireless announced the availability of its Remote Monitoring Unit (RMU), a certified Smart Grid and infrastructure-monitoring device.

In its first application deployment, the RMU provides specific functionality for monitoring and automatic alarm notification of solar-powered and line-power obstruction warning lights in electric transmission towers, cellular towers and other obstacles per FAA guidelines. This allows organizations to streamline the scheduling of required maintenance and rapidly provide mandatory FAA notifications.

On-Ramp’s RMU is a flexible monitoring platform that can be used to “Smart-enable” any analog or digital sensor, allowing rapid monitoring of deployed devices on the company’s Ultra-Link ProcessingTM (ULP) wireless system. Designed for reliable operation and offering advanced features, the RMU includes intrusion detection, back-up battery for continued alarm notification during power outages, and 24/7 operation with configurable monitoring intervals.

“Deploying automated monitoring and alarming eliminates the need to manually monitor lights, which may be in difficult to reach and remote locations,” said Joaquin Silva, president and CEO of On-Ramp. “Our RMU provides significant operational cost savings and peace of mind, thanks to its automated monitoring, audit trail, and alerting via e-mail or text messages.”

The RMU is environmentally certified for outdoor operation and has been field tested in the harshest of utility transmission environments, including transmission substations and high power transmission lines with high EMF/EMI environments. It currently supports monitoring solar-powered and line-powered lights from Avlite, Dialight and Crouse-Hinds and is configurable for new light types and other devices.

Fiberhome selects Mindspeed’s crosspoint switch for use in optical networking system

NEWPORT BEACH, USA: Mindspeed Technologies Inc., a leading supplier of semiconductor solutions for network infrastructure applications, announced that Fiberhome Telecommunications Technologies Ltd, a leading provider of telecommunications network solutions, has selected Mindspeed's large crosspoint switch for use within its next-generation OTN product line.

“Fiberhome chose to use the Mindspeed’s crosspoint in our OTN system because it solved both our signal-integrity and switching requirements in a highly-integrated device,” said Yang Ming, vice general manager of optical networks products division at Fiberhome. “The Mindspeed crosspoints enable our OTN equipment to deliver superior flexibility, intelligent electronic/optical management and terabits per second (Tbps)-class switching capabilities."

“Mindspeed offers the most comprehensive portfolio of crosspoint devices in the industry,” said Kurt Busch, senior vice president and general manager for Mindspeed’s high-performance analog business unit. “As a result, we were able to offer Fiberhome a product that was optimized for their application in terms of channel count, power and performance.”

Mindspeed’s crosspoint switches provide the key signal-integrity and interconnect technology required in OTN and other networking systems. The crosspoint switch’s high-density switching capability enables OTN systems to route traffic as required, and its integrated signal-conditioning features enable multi-gigabit transmission through the networking equipment.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Samsung sues Apple after accusations of 'copying'

SOUTH KOREA: Samsung Electronics is suing Apple, claiming its rival violated its patent rights, days after Apple accused Samsung of "slavishly" copying designs of its iPad and iPhone.

The patent lawsuits, filed in South Korea, Japan and Germany, involve infringement of up to five patents, Samsung said in a statement.

Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung last Friday for violating its patents.

It is the latest patent dispute in an increasingly competitive industry.

Rivalry intesifies
"Samsung is responding actively to the legal action taken against us in order to protect our intellectual property," the statement said.

South Korea's Samsung is one of the fastest-growing smartphone makers in the telecommunications industry.

Its Galaxy line of smartphones and tablet computers, which use Google's Android operating system, have emerged as the top competitors so far to Apple's iPhone and iPad.

However, Samsung is also one of Apple's main suppliers of components such as chips and LCD displays.

The legal battle could therefore hurt the earnings of both companies as strong sales of Apple's iPhone and iPad mean added revenue for Samsung.

Source: BBC News

Friday, April 22, 2011

QLogic and Huawei Symantec sign OEM pact for stackable Fibre Channel switches

ALISO VIEJO, USA: In the latest move to expand its global market share in Fibre Channel switching, QLogic Corp. announced that its 5800V Series and 9000 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel stackable switches will be available immediately from Huawei Symantec, a global provider of network security and storage appliance solutions to enterprise customers around the globe.

"Flexibility is a key criteria for enterprises today. IT departments need solutions that address physical space limitations as well as power restrictions," said Fan Ruiqi, vice president of Huawei Symantec. "QLogic's stackable Fibre Channel technology enables organizations to implement storage network switch solutions that grow with their business needs, unlike non-stackable switches that force you to acquire and manage more switch ports than the business actually requires. We selected QLogic because of the many advantages its switches offer over competing products."

"With operations throughout the world, this pact allows us to expand QLogic Fibre Channel switch revenues in China, Asia Pacific, Japan and around the globe," said Martin Darling, vice president and general manager, Asia Pacific and Japan. "Huawei Symantec's selection of the QLogic 5800V and 9000 Series validates the value of our signature stackable switch architecture and demonstrates that QLogic switch adoption continues to gain momentum on a global scale."

As multi-core servers begin to drive higher adoption rates of virtualization, there is a commensurate increase in customer demand for higher bandwidth connectivity options. With 20 dedicated 8Gb Fibre Channel device ports per switch, scalable to over 100 device ports in the fabric, QLogic 5800V Series switches address the needs of server virtualization, massive storage capacities, resource-intensive applications and other sources of unpredictable IT growth.

QLogic 9000 Series switches scale to 256 Fibre Channel ports in an 8U dual chassis module HyperStack configuration. This solution provides SAN administrators with all the rack density and performance needed to support hundreds of server and storage nodes—including blade servers and virtual machines.

Apple shipment shortfall prompts cut in 2011 iPad shipment forecast

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Manufacturing issues at Apple Inc. led to a shortfall in iPad 2 shipments in the first quarter, prompting IHS iSuppli to reduce its forecast for 2011.

IHS iSuppli now forecasts Apple will ship 39.7 million units for all models of the iPad this year, down from the February forecast of 43.7 million. This represents a reduction of 9.1 percent, or 4.0 million units. Based on IHS iSuppli’s final estimate of 15.1 million units shipped in 2010, IHS iSuppli now predicts total iPad shipments will rise 163.3 percent in 2011, down from the 189.6 percent predicted in February, as presented in the attached figure. IHS iSuppli has slightly increased its 2012 forecast for iPad shipments, to 62.6 million units, up from the previous forecast of 61.6 million.

Apple’s first-quarter supply of the iPad 2 fell far short of demand. IHS iSuppli sources indicate that Apple’s production was stymied by manufacturing difficulties, which—combined with strong demand—led to short supplies of the popular tablet. Those issues, according to the sources, included quality concerns with liquid crystal display (LCD) panels, production shortages of the new speaker, lamination issues with one of the touch suppliers and end-unit production shortfalls.

While Apple is now on track to significantly increase its production volume in the second quarter, the company reportedly is still falling substantially short of its target production goal for April.

Apple’s first-quarter manufacturing challenges are unrelated to the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Apple appears to have moved more aggressively than most of its competitors to mitigate any potential supply chain disruptions from the Japan disaster. As with many electronics manufacturers, Apple extensively sources components from Japan. For example, there are several devices found in the iPad 2 that are manufactured in Japan that could have encountered supply problems following the earthquake and tsunami.

However, Apple was quick to react to the potential supply fallout from the Sendai quake. Within days of the disaster, Apple had executives on the ground in Asia ensuring that its component supply chain would support iPad 2 shipment plans in 2011.

Apple reportedly has agreed to higher pricing, where necessary, to secure needed components. Apple’s fast action to lock up much of the available capacity of the leading component suppliers has left many competitors scrambling for needed components, particularly touch screens. Despite these precautions, quake-related supply constraints could still work to limit Apple’s ability to ramp up production in the second half of 2011 to the levels necessary in order to offset the first-quarter shortfall. The potential for second-half supply constraints contributed to the decline in IHS iSuppli’s 2011 iPad forecast.

Mirroring the first month of the initial iPad’s introduction, demand for the iPad 2 has outstripped supply, with the initial release limited to the North American market. Demand was also heavy for the freshly discounted first-generation iPads while supply remained. However, much of Apple’s iPad 1 manufacturing activity is not reflected in the company’s second-quarter shipment numbers—which occurred in the calendar first quarter—given that a substantial portion of those units shipped into the channel in December 2010.

Apple is expected to retain its short-term dominance in the tablet market because of the iPad’s advantages in the areas of content, marketing, supply, pricing and momentum, based on the iPad being the first product to enter the market. The iPad continues to set the standard by which other tablets are measured. Android-based tablet sales are slowly gaining momentum, but products released in the first quarter of 2011 continue to fall short of reviewers’ expectations.

“Content represents Apple’s most significant competitive advantage in the tablet market,” Alexander said. “Application development is accelerating for the Android market but still lags far behind Apple. Furthermore, the kind of seamless access to movies, music and other content that Apple can provide is still not in place for the competition.”

In terms of marketing, Apple also has a leg up on the competition, particularly when it comes to garnering support from third-party software vendors. To date, application developers have focused on advertising that promotes their wares are “available on the iPad” rather than “available on your tablet.” This will change as the tablet universe expands to include more vendors and operating systems, but it gives Apple an advantage right now.

Apple’s supply chain management represents a critical advantage in 2011, placing the company at the front of the line when it comes to procurement of components, frustrating competitors’ efforts to build and meet product demand.

Pricing is another area where Apple has a temporary edge over the competition. “Given its reputation as a seller of premium products, pricing is the last category where Apple should be expected to have an advantage,” Alexander said. “However, Apple’s move to discount the first-generation iPad when the iPad 2 was introduced frustrated competitors’ efforts to build sales volume while retaining a profit margin.”

Finally, Apple continues to benefit from its first-mover advantage in the tablet market. “Apple is still riding the momentum of having beaten everyone else out of the starting gate on this product. Its introduction of the iPad 2 coincided with many other vendors’ initial product releases and stole much of their marketing momentum. Apple will continue to have this advantage, to a lesser extent, in the future as many competitors are still playing catch-up to the company’s previous introductions.”

Despite the difficulties with many early Android releases, the sheer volume of models is starting to make an impact on the tablet market, particularly in Asia, where the lower price point on some regional brands works to offset performance or content concerns. Panel suppliers report strong demand from Chinese manufacturers for twisted nematic (TN) panels used in tablets. While most of the brands are still focused on developing products with in-plane switching (IPS) panels, IHS iSuppli believes there is a substantial TN opportunity in the tablet space, provided the other tablet elements are there.

Regardless of Apple’s short-term advantages, tablet competition is mounting and Apple’s market share will decline during the next five years.

IHS iSuppli forecasts Apple will lose its majority position in late 2012 or early 2013, although its earlier momentum is likely to leave it with more than 50 percent share of the total 2012 market. The early fumbles notwithstanding, Apple’s tablet competitors are constantly improving, leapfrogging over each other in the race to get the right price/performance combination. As that price/performance weighting differs significantly by customer and region, single-brand dominance does not tend to last in the electronics market.

Just the same, Apple’s lead is safe for now. “While Apple may lose its dominant share, there is no sign yet of a serious opponent to challenge Apple’s place as the tablet market leader at least through 2015,” Alexander said.

In 2013, shipments of other media tablets will rise to 111.1 million units, compared to only 81.3 million iPads, as shown in the attached figure. IHS iSuppli predicts iPad shipments will rise to 97.9 million units in 2015, compared to 164.2 million for other media tablets.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Now all Airtel digital TV HD set top boxes are 3D ready!

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Airtel digital TV has announced that it all its High Definition (HD) set top boxes are 3D ready. The initiative reinforces Airtel digital TV’s focus on innovation and technology as the cornerstone of its strategy of bringing in the best for its customers.

The process of enabling all HD set top boxes on Airtel digital TV’s network to process 3D signals is now complete, enabling both its existing and new HD customers to be able to view 3D content.

With LCDs expected to contribute over to 40% of TV sales this year and increasing in the next few years and the growing acceptance of HD in India, clearly show that the consumer ‘wants’ to be at par with globally evolving entertainment standards. 3D TV is firmly established as TV technology in Europe, the US and Far East Asia. The move to upgrade all HD customers will be yet another differentiator that will ensure Airtel digital TV customers are future ready.

Ericsson still owns top spot in global network infrastructure market

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Ericsson retains a lock on top spot in global network infrastructure market, despite second-place Huawei’s impressive 30 percent revenue growth in 2010. ALU, Cisco and NSN round out the top 5, all with share more than 10 percent.

Commenting on the Chinese vendor’s $27.3B in reported 2010 revenues, Ovum Principal Analyst Matt Walker said that Huawei’s multi-year investments in geographic expansion, overseas sales operations, and R&D continue to pay off.

Breaking down Huawei’s growth, Walker estimates the US$5.5 billion in incremental revenues in 2010 are roughly allocated as follows:

* Roughly $1 billion is incremental revenue from fixed broadband, both DSL and FTTx. A large portion of the FTTx growth is in China, but DSL is distributed globally.

* Another $1 billion is from increased Services revenues. Like Ericsson before it, Huawei is trying to move beyond traditional network rollout and maintenance-related services, to more sophisticated, higher margin services. As with other vendors, it will take time for Huawei to do this.

* Another ~$900 million is from increased device revenues, both handsets and dongles. Most of this is likely sales through carriers that are also customers of its Networks division.

* Most of the remaining $2.6 billion in incremental revenues can be attributed to mobile infrastructure, where Huawei has performed well over the last few years in some of the more advanced, demanding customer accounts, across various technology standards – from 2G GSM to HSPA+ to, most recently, LTE. Its commercial contracts for LTE network rollouts include the following: Belgacom Mobile / Proximus, WIND (Italy), Safaricom (Kenya), Bite Latvia, Telenor Norway, Net4Mobility (Sweden), MTS Uzbekistan, and three in Poland: Aero2, CenterNET Mobile, and Mobyland.

In the broader market, telecom spending was restrained in 2010, with carrier capex down 3 percent globally from 2009, but capex will rebound by up to 10 percent in 2011. In 2011 and beyond, though, Walker noted that the competitive landscape facing vendors continues to shift, and that affects vendors’ outlooks as much – if not more – than the overall market trendline.

“Many vendors continue to ‘do deals’ to improve their competitive position. That can include M&A, such as NSN buying Motorola’s wireless infra assets. It can also include strategic partnerships, such as the recent deal between Nokia and Microsoft. In addition, it can include reorganizations, aimed at better focusing on core strengths (high margins, high market share) and achievable growth markets, and/or lowering the cost base. In early April 2011, Cisco announced such a reorganization, the most notable feature of which was to close down part of its consumer business, the Flip video camera operation,” said Walker.

Another way is mostly defensive: resort to the courts. Disputes over IP are the norm in the tech industry, and there have been quite a few in telecom lately. One involves Huawei suing to block Nokia’s purchase of Motorola’s assets. While this was ultimately resolved in mid-April 2011, the case delayed Nokia’s closure of its Motorola purchase by at least four months.

“Some people will view this as a big commercial achievement by Huawei, unfortunately”, added Walker. “Whether Huawei’s case had merits or not – and that is impossible to know as an outsider - the end result was to derail a rival’s business plan by 1/3 of a year.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Google’s FTTH experiment unlikely to spark Gigabit broadband revolution in North America

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Despite Google Inc.’s recent selection of Kansas City, Kan., as the initial location for the company’s broadband networks capable of gigabit speed Internet service, it could be a decade or more before such high-speed delivery will be widely available in North America, new IHS iSuppli research indicates.

The Google announcement on March 30 marks the search giant’s first foray into fiber-to-the-home (FTTH). FTTH can deliver connections many times faster than current technologies, by means of fiber optic cable instead of the telephone companies’ traditional copper phone lines or cable operators’ hybrid fiber coax (HFC) networks. Google said the initiative will deliver speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) and involve as many as 500,000 subscribers.

FTTH continues to be a high-growth segment of the broadband market as deployments move forward in nearly every developed and developing country.

The move comes at a time when worldwide usage of FTTH is on the rise.

Worldwide, 5.52 million new FTTH subscribers were added in the fourth quarter of 2010, resulting in a total of 77 million subscribers, IHS iSuppli figures indicate. Except for the third quarter in both 2009 and 2010 when numbers dipped slightly, growth has accelerated throughout the last two years.

However, the worldwide growth in FTTH is not being reflected in North America.
“Regardless of Google’s efforts, gigabit-rate speeds may not be within reach of the average U.S. household for many years to come, conceivably up to a decade or more,” said Lee Ratliff, senior analyst for broadband and digital home at IHS. “Aside from the expected high cost, gigabit service faces other more significant obstacles to adoption, especially in North America.”

These obstacles include lack of competition among broadband providers, which is reducing pressure among them to offer faster service and lower rates. Furthermore, there are no new applications on the horizon that are driving demand for faster broadband speeds.

“These factors have contributed to moderated demand from consumers, who often don’t take advantage of higher-performance tiers of service that are available today.”
There also is a lack of fundamental demand for faster broadband among North American consumers.

“Despite the wishes of broadband activists, technology evangelists and communications equipment manufacturers, Americans remain largely ambivalent regarding broadband performance,” Ratliff said. “According to the Pew Internet 2010 poll on broadband, 51 percent of broadband subscribers subscribe to the most basic tier of service, unwilling to pay the $6.82 extra per month on average that premium subscribers pay.”
Finally, the market is being stymied by a lack of economic incentive among broadband service providers.

“Service providers know that revenue does not scale with broadband speed and that pricing is inelastic, with the sweet spot for mainstream use remaining at around $40 to $45 for Internet access regardless of speed,” Ratliff said. “And despite improvements in performance, pricing has remained relatively constant over the years. As a result, investing heavily in networks to gain a quantum leap in performance but only to earn the same revenue is often a non-starter.”

Through its effort, Google said it hopes to learn how to economically deploy and operate FTTH networks, as well as to gain insight into new types of applications that will arise when virtually unlimited bandwidth becomes available. In addition, Google will wholesale broadband access on the network, enabling multiple internet service providers (ISPs) to compete for customers, in the process providing customers with increased choice and competitive pricing.

Google’s Kansas City effort will be among the first gigabit networks in North America. Even Verizon’s FiOS FTTH network—the gold standard of broadband performance in North America—currently tops out at 150 Mbps, a fraction of Google’s promised rate. Compared to the average subscriber’s maximum rate today, the Google project will be more than 100 times faster.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Bharti Airtel 3G service comes in UP West and Uttarakhand

MEERUT, INDIA: Bharti Airtel announced the launch of its 3G services in UP West & Uttarakhand, lighting up the key cities of Dehradun, Agra and Meerut to begin with. This will be followed by a rollout reaching 30 towns in the next 180 days. In order to enable the customer to experience the Airtel 3G advantage, 11 3G Experience Zones have been set up in Dehradun, 12 in Agra and another 12 in Meerut.

Deepak Mehrotra, Operations Director-North & West, Mobile Services, Bharti Airtel said: "Airtel’s 3G services will change the way our customers communicate and experience the advantage of adding power of mobility to the internet. There are numerous avenues for the customer to have faster access to entertainment, better fulfilment of their information needs and a smarter way to communication while on go. We expect a strong uptake and high demand for these 3G Services and welcome our customers of UP West and Uttarakhand to enjoy high speed internet access and a host of other exciting services on their mobile devices. As we bring the power of 3G to UP West and Uttarakhand today, we are confident that this launch will add impetus to the expansion of data services in India."

With Airtel 3G services, customers can now access a wide array of capabilities at speeds never experienced before – thereby bringing them closer to all that they love. Airtel 3G will give it’s customers a faster, smarter and better mobile experience with internet access at speeds upto 21 Mbps on their finger tips. With the high speed HSPA (High Speed Download Packet Access) network, Airtel customers will get best quality experience with cutting edge technology, making it delightful and enjoyable.

Airtel customers in Dehradun, Agra and Meerut can now go 3G and choose from Airtel’s easy-to-understand 3G tariff plans. Crafted to prevent ‘bill shock’, Airtel 3G plans are designed to help customers monitor their data consumption with personalised usage limits and alerts. Airtel 3G customers can enjoy the benefits of 3G speeds on the device of their choice – be it their mobile handsets, laptops or tablets.

Salora launches Tenda’s range of Web smart Gigabit switches

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Salora International Ltd (SIL) has introduced Tenda’s range of Web Smart Gigabit Switches with the launch of its TEG12xxT series. The TEG1216T (16 Port) and TEG1224T (24 Port) provide management capability and are ideal for small and medium businesses setting up a secure and productive network environment at an affordable price.

The Tenda Web Smart Gigabit Switching Series provide 10/100/1000M auto-negotiation RJ-45 port & SFP Ports. It supports automatic switchover between Gigabit electrical interface and Gigabit SFP optical interface. With this the network can be extended from 300ft to over 50 miles using the SFP optical interface.

The switch provides intelligent features such as port mirroring, VLAN, Port Security, Traffic Statistics & QoS, making it an excellent choice for small and medium enterprises with serious network needs. Many bandwidth intensive applications like video, voice & data throughput can be conducted simultaneously.

However, unlike emailing and other applications, voice, video or online gaming requires more bandwidth. With Tenda’s intelligent QoS program, it guarantees priority to those bandwidth sensitive applications, providing a better surfing experience. It also means an end to the frustration of sluggish downloads poor quality video conferences and slow access to internal files. The warranty on these Switches is 3 years.

LG-Ericsson and Brocade to deliver high-performance data and voice networking solutions in Korea

NEW DELHI, INDIA: LG-Ericsson and Brocade announced a strategic partnership through which LG-Ericsson will offer industry-leading networking solutions from Brocade and enable both companies to jointly pursue business opportunities in the high-growth Korean Information and Communications Technology (ICT) market. South Korea ranks among the top ten Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (1) countries with a total size of nearly $75 billion per year.

This partnership leverages the complementary strengths of both companies. Brocade delivers innovative networking solutions for both enterprise and data center professionals who want to simplify the deployment of new capabilities such as virtualization, unified communications, cloud-based architectures and IPv6. LG-Ericsson is a leader in the development of global communications products and a leader in cutting-edge fixed and wireless telecommunications and networking solutions in Korea.

Following the conclusion of the agreement, LG-Ericsson will build a complete Layer 2 to Layer 7 network product portfolio by adding Brocade core Layer 2/3 enterprise switch products with field-proven technology and stability under the LG-Ericsson “iPECS” (IP Enterprise Communications Solution) brand. Furthermore, the two companies will further explore the feasibility of jointly developing convergence solutions that integrate Brocade data products and LG-Ericsson voice solutions to address the diverse demands of the networking market.

“Brocade is delighted to partner with LG-Ericsson to deliver a new portfolio of high-performance VoIP solutions to Korea,” said Deb Dutta, vice president of Brocade Asia Pacific. “The unique combination of both companies’ technologies will serve that market’s ever-increasing demands of bandwidth, functionality and reliability in the high-growth communications segment.”

International Data Corp. (IDC) predicts that growth in the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service market will continue while the home phone market significantly drops off. IDC recently reported that the Korean VoIP service market, except wholesale, grew from 2008 to 2009 and continues to escalate. More specifically, revenue increased from KRW279.1 billion in 2008 to KRW469.3 billion in 2009. Its CAGR is likely to rise to 37.2 percent in the next five years to approximately KRW1.14 trillion by 2013.

To address these substantial networking business opportunities, LG-Ericsson plans to offer five Brocade Ethernet switching and routing product families designed for data center and enterprise environments. LG-Ericsson plans to launch these Brocade networking solutions under its “iPECS” brand throughout Korea in April, 2011.

Initially, the agreement covers the following products:

* Brocade FastIron WS and Brocade FCX Series switches: High-performance, flexible and easy-to-manage 1 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) campus wiring closet and top-of-rack switches that are purpose-built for today’s converged voice/data networks and virtual data centers. They will be named as iPECS FWS and iPECS FCX.

* Brocade TurboIron 24X Switch: A compact, high-performance, high-availability and low-latency 10/1 GbE dual-speed switch that meets mission-critical data center top-of-rack, aggregation and High-Performance Cluster Computing (HPCC) requirements. They will be named as iPECS Turbo24X.

* Brocade FastIron SX Series switches: Switches that provide industry-leading price-performance value for campus aggregation in a chassis-based scalable, secure, low-latency and fault-tolerant infrastructure for 1 GbE and 10 GbE enterprise deployments. A highly available, high-performance and non-blocking architecture with 8- and 16-slot chassis supports integrated Power over Ethernet (PoE) functions with IPv4/IPv6-capable Layer 2/3 switching and routing. They will be named as iPECS FSX.

* Brocade BigIron RX Series switches: Cost-effective, high-density/high availability 10 GbE chassis-based switches that provide both line-rate and oversubscription options. They feature a compact design with system redundancy built in for all major components, providing aggregation for dense 10 GbE environments. The switches include high-performance IPv6-capable Layer 2/3 switching and routing. They will be named as iPECS BRX.

* Brocade MLX Series routers: IP/MPLS aggregation routers delivering unprecedented scale and performance, high reliability and cost-saving operational efficiency for the most demanding enterprise and data center networks. Fully distributed, non-blocking architecture with up to 3.2 Tbps data capacity (~2 billion pps) per system, as well as support for advanced MPLS, VPN and IPv6 features. Line-rate performance for all 10 GbE and 1 GbE interfaces. They will be named as iPECS NMLX.

IPTV broadens its horizons

Jonathan Doran, principal analyst, Ovum.

AUSTRALIA: Telcos are finally recognizing that they have other things to offer besides IPTV, which for most hasn’t turned out to be the holy grail they’d hoped for.

IPTV has failed to transform the multi-channel TV landscape
After years of being fixated with carving out a position in the pay-TV market, many telcos (as well as their software and hardware vendors) are assigning less priority to closed-network video delivery. Instead, they are increasingly redirecting attention to other areas of their portfolios such as broadband (access and VASs), in-home media sharing, and multi-device content delivery.

With very few of this year’s conference streams dedicated to IPTV, telco speakers at the event addressed a broader range of topics that included multi-screen delivery, connected home, Internet traffic management, and CDN opportunities. The same was true for the big equipment vendors as well as smaller enabling technology specialists.

IPTV middleware providers, previously a staple of this event, were conspicuous by their absence, reflecting partly their consolidation (primarily via acquisitions by larger vendors) and, more importantly, the lower priority of middleware on the telco service development agenda.

Here are some predictions for IPTV revenues for Asia-Pacific (USD millions):
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
$2,946 $3,886 $4,934 $6,101 $7,348

With platform barriers evaporating, now it’s just “TV”
With cable, satellite, and now digital terrestrial increasingly incorporating IP elements, closed-network IPTV is becoming in most cases a “me too” service that doesn’t differentiate significantly from other digital TV platforms. While cable was relegated to a minor stream in previous IPTV World Forum shows, with little contribution or interest from MSOs, it took a far more prominent position at this year’s event, with a full day’s presentations dedicated to IP over cable as well as keynotes from Cox Communications and Virgin Media.

Satellite operators were also present, with BSkyB and DirecTV sharing insights on multi-device delivery over broadband.

OTT video isn’t perceived as an alternative, but rather a complementary enhancement to the user experience (and hence the value proposition) of traditional TV offerings. The battleground of broadband or pay-TV versus OTT has faded, giving way to a more collaborative environment where the various parties focus on their core competencies, working with other (sometimes competing) entities to build a relevant TV proposition.

This change in the competitive climate was evidenced by the presence of Hulu,
Netflix, and Google TV executives as keynote speakers, delivering instructive talks on (among other things) ad-supported business model approaches, content discovery, and multi-device service integration. There’s also a growing recognition among OTT players of the need to move more closely towards the traditional pay-TV model to achieve the requisite levels of content security and service quality that will earn the trust of content owners and the loyalty of consumers.

Multi-screen is a common aspiration for most players in TV and video
Multi-screen delivery has become an over-arching strategic objective shared by the majority of stakeholders in a rapidly converging broadband TV marketplace. As well as occupying its own dedicated conference stream, multi-screen video featured heavily as a topic in presentations and panel sessions elsewhere at the event as well as permeating marketing messages and discussions throughout the exhibition.

Several of the major telco infrastructure vendors, including Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, and NSN, were advocating turnkey multi-screen solutions to facilitate cost-effective cross-platform delivery of their customers’ content services. One spoke of the need for content management systems that can aggregate and integrate assets from multiple sources, as well as a common client architecture that cascades the user experience across multiple devices.

Another stressed the need to break away from vertical solutions and move towards a consolidated matrix of devices and networks, offering a single service that uses the same permissions across all delivery platforms and devices. The vendors’ product realignment and messaging reflect a broad and growing consensus that’s also shared by content service providers on the importance of unifying multi-screen service delivery, both at the back-end and at the presentation level.

Small-screens drive mobile broadband market to revenues of $108 billion

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: The Asia-Pacific (AP) mobile broadband market will hit revenues of $108 billion in 2015, driven by continued strong demand for Internet access on small-screen devices such as smartphones, predicts Ovum.

The independent telecoms analyst finds that revenue growth is not keeping pace with connections, highlighting the need for service providers to develop improved monetisation strategies.

In a new forecast, Ovum states that revenues from the AP mobile broadband market will more than double from $43 billion in 2010 to $108 billion in 2015, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 percent.

Meanwhile, AP mobile broadband connections will grow at a CAGR of 35 percent, reaching 1.5 billion in 2015 from 333 million in 2010. Of those 1.5 billion connections, 80 percent will use small-screen devices such as smartphones and feature phones.

Big-screen mobile broadband connections (laptops, netbooks and tablets) will grow at a CAGR of 41 percent from 2010 to 2015. However, this segment will only have 310 million connections by 2015.

In terms of revenues, small-screen devices will also lead the way, reaching $57 billion in 2015. However, there will be a smaller gap between big-screen mobile broadband revenues, which will reach $51 billion. This reflects the premium that operators can charge for dedicated big-screen mobile broadband services as opposed to the bundles of minutes, messages and data seen in the small-screen segment.

Steven Hartley, Ovum principal analyst, commented: “The market for mobile broadband on small-screen devices is eating away at the opportunity for growth in the big-screen market. Consumers now expect to be able to access services such as Facebook on their mobile phone, which is why we will see handset connections far outstripping big-screen connections by 2015.”

“The picture in emerging markets is also a key factor. Devices such as laptops are less affordable in these markets. However, low-end feature phones or smartphones are much more attainable, and many consumers will use these as their only form of Internet access, driving connections growth.

With Asia-Pacific mobile broadband connections growth forecast to outstrip mobile broadband revenue over the forecast period, Hartley says that service providers will need to develop strategies that meet the demand for mobile Internet access while managing costs and securing customer loyalty.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Apple sues Samsung over Galaxy phones, tablets

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Apple Inc. has sued Samsung Electronics Co. over patent infringement in a latest suit, US media reported Monday.

The suit, filed last Friday in US District Court in Northern California, alleged that Samsung's smartphones, such as "Glaxy S 4G" and "Nexus S," and the Galaxy line of tablet computers violated Apple's patent and trademark, according to All Things Digital, a technology and startup company news site.

"It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging," the report quoted an Apple representative as saying.

Intellectual property suits can be often seen among mobile computing rivals, including suits between Microsoft and Motorola, a suit by Oracle against Google, and Apple's patent dispute with Nokia and HTC.

Although Samsung supplies chips for a number of Apple products, Apple CEO Steve Jobs once openly mocked Samsung and other tablet makers as "copycats" during the iPad2 launch. Last month, Apple is reportedly partnering with China's Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to make iPad chips.

Source: Xinhua News.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mitel brings UC to Android

OTTAWA, CANADA: Mitel, a leading provider of unified communications (UC) software solutions, announced that Mitel Unified Communicator (UC) Advanced software is now available for the Android mobile operating system, one of the most popular smartphone platforms in the world.

Based on the Mitel Freedom architecture, this gives IT managers another tool to deal with the growing Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend in which workers request bringing their personal mobile device into the workplace. IT now can deliver Mitel UC applications via mobile clients across Android-based as well as RIM-based smartphones, representing the majority of mobile devices in business environments.

"The BYOD trend is a big challenge for companies that need to supply a consistent set of communications services across their entire workforce. For many IT departments trapped in a walled garden architecture, there is simply no solution at all," said Stephen Beamish, vice president of marketing and business development at Mitel.

"UC Advanced enables our customers to connect users across multiple platforms and devices no matter where they may be located. With the addition of a mobile client for Android, we further extend the in-office experience anywhere by leveraging the native capabilities of the device for enhanced UC application integration."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hughes Telematics selects Sierra Wireless embedded wireless modules and application framework to power In-Drive aftermarket solution

VANCOUVER, CANADA: Sierra Wireless announced that Hughes Telematics Inc. a leader in providing next-generation connected services, has selected Sierra Wireless AirPrime embedded wireless modules and application framework to support its award-winning In-Drive aftermarket solution.

Using Sierra Wireless modules such as the AirPrime SL6087 EDGE Module and the AirPrime XM0110 GPS Module, In-Drive offers a range of industry-leading solutions that leverage simple, self-installed devices to offer a comprehensive set of in-vehicle connected services ranging from emergency response and family monitoring, to diagnostics and driver behavior data.

The AirPrime EDGE modules provide a connectivity platform for the In-Drive solution to connect over GSM/GPRS/EDGE wireless networks. These modules deliver reliable connectivity even under the demanding conditions of transportation systems, which can include extreme temperatures, vibration, and limited reception.

Built upon SiRFstarIV GPS technology, the AirPrime GPS module provides a comprehensive, field-proven solution that integrates seamlessly with the AirPrime wireless modules. With a direct connection to the wireless modules, a shared power supply, simplified software integration, and no external components apart from the GPS antenna, the GPS modules are much easier to integrate than standalone GPS solutions.

“The tight integration of GPS and GSM communications that Sierra Wireless can offer helps streamline and improve efficiencies in our design and engineering process,” says Eric Berkobin, vice president of aftermarket engineering, HTI. “We can offer our customers the latest GPS technology while lowering our costs and getting products to market more quickly.”

Comtech Telecommunications receives $1.2 million satellite ground station equipment order

MELVILLE, USA: Comtech Telecommunications Corp. announced that its Tempe, Arizona-based subsidiary, Comtech EF Data Corp., received a $1.2 million order for satellite ground station communications equipment. The order was from a systems integrator and will be used by a Latin American country as part of their military network.

The military end-customer specified that they required Comtech's CDM-625 Advanced Satellite Modems and LPOD Block Up Converters. The CDM-625 Advanced Satellite Modem combines advanced forward error correction with revolutionary DoubleTalk Carrier-in-Carrier bandwidth compression, allowing for maximum savings under all conditions.

The combination of advanced technologies in the CDM-625 enables multi-dimensional optimization. Comtech's LPOD Block Up Converter eliminates the traditional requirement for the modem to supply a DC power source and a 10 MHz reference to the Block Up Converters and Low Noise Block Converters.

"This order demonstrates the continued reliance on our products by foreign military customers who acknowledge our best in class products by deploying them to support mission-critical communications," said Fred Kornberg, president and CEO of Comtech.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Japanese earthquake hits supply of cell phone image sensors

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Last month’s earthquake in Japan is impacting the production of complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors at two facilities in the country, affecting the supply of these parts to the cell phone market, IHS iSuppli research has determined.

Toshiba Corp.’s Iwate Image Sensor fab, which produces logic chips and CMOS image sensors for mobile phone cameras, was shut down. Likewise, delivery was delayed from Sony Corp.’s CMOS image sensors to cell phone original equipment manufacturers.

Toshiba in 2010 was the world’s fifth-largest supplier of handset image sensors with 11.8 percent share of global revenue, according to a preliminary IHS iSuppli estimate. Sony ranked sixth with 7.3 percent share. Together, the companies accounted last year for 19.2 percent of the global handset digital camera image sensor revenue.
The table presents the revenue market share ranking of the world’s Top-10 suppliers of CMOS and CCD image sensors for cell phones.Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

“With their low cost and easy integration with other electronics, CMOS has long been the technology of choice for cell phone cameras,” said Pamela Tufegdzic, analyst for consumer electronics at IHS. “The Japan earthquake and subsequent logistical challenges have disrupted a portion of the supply of this key component.”

While CMOS sensor production and distribution has been impacted, supplies of the major alternative image sensor technology—CCDs—appear to be unaffected, at least for the near term. The global CCD market is dominated by Japanese suppliers including Sony, Panasonic Corp., Fujifilm, Sharp Corp. and Toshiba.

Because of their higher image quality, CCDs are commonly employed in digital still cameras. In contrast, CMOS sensors predominately are used in cell phones and often in other devices where the camera is secondary to other functions.

Taiwan-based digital camera makers Altek Corp. and Ability Enterprise, which contract-manufacture products for major Japanese brand names, said they were not experiencing any shortages in near-term CCD supply from Japan. Ability now sources about 90 percent of its CCD components from Sony, while Altek buys between 70 and 80 percent of those parts from Sharp. Sharp’s CCD plants in Japan are far from the worst-hit zones, while Sony’s CCD plants are located in Thailand.

Because of this, CCD supply in the future should not face any immediate supply issues. The situation may change over the long term, however, as CCD makers could experience challenges with their own upstream material suppliers and encounter problems with transportation and power.

Given the impact of the quake, Japanese-based digital camera brands Panasonic, Canon and Nikon have had to close down some of their high-end production lines for digital still cameras in Japan. But because the lower-end consumer models of those companies are primarily manufactured at plants in China and Thailand or outsourced to Taiwan-based makers, the earthquake is not expected to have a significant impact on those segments, the two companies noted.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Qualcomm and Zoom Technologies sign WCDMA subscriber unit license agreement

BEIJING, USA: Qualcomm Inc. and Zoom Technologies Inc. announced that they have entered into a subscriber unit license agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Qualcomm has granted Zoom a worldwide, royalty-bearing patent license to develop, manufacture and sell WCDMA and TD-SCDMA subscriber units. The royalties payable by Zoom are at Qualcomm's standard worldwide rates.

"Qualcomm and Zoom Technologies both share a strong commitment to R&D and are dedicated to driving the wireless industry forward in China and around the world," said Derek Aberle, executive vice president and president of Qualcomm Technology Licensing. "This agreement enables them to develop, manufacture and sell advanced 3G products, greatly enhancing Zoom's competitive position in the global wireless landscape."

"This agreement with Qualcomm is an enormous step towards our advancement in the 3G market, enabling us to produce the latest products for the dynamic Chinese market," said Leo Gu, chairman and chief executive officer of Zoom Technologies.

"Our Nollec Wireless subsidiary, long known for its world class design team in wireless communication, will now develop highly competitive 3G products, such as smartphones, running on the Android operating system, setting in motion our plan to deliver a series of professional use 3G smartphones to Asia, Europe and beyond."

Zoom's wholly owned subsidiary Nollec Wireless, a mobile phone and wireless communication design company, will operate under the license.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

CommScope appoints new head of wireless sales for India

BANGALORE, INDIA: CommScope, a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communication networks, has appointed Pankaj Gandhi as director of Wireless Sales for India, effective immediately.

In his role, Gandhi will head all customer-facing sales activities for CommScope’s wireless business in India. Gandhi reports to Navin Vohra, who was promoted to vice president of Wireless Sales, Asia Pacific last year.

A veteran in the telecom industry, Gandhi brings more than 16 years of industry experience including a successful sales track record and relationships with key telecom players in India. Gandhi joins CommScope from Nokia Siemens Networks, where he was the head of customer marketing for India.

Prior to Nokia Siemens Networks, Gandhi started up the Indian sales office for Airwide Solutions and was head of wholesale business, South Asia at British Telecom. He also worked for Siemens Communication for 12 years.

Apple iOS to dominate media tablet market through 2015, owning more than half of it for next three years

EGHAM, UK: Despite mounting competition from other operating systems (OSs), Apple’s iOS will continue to own the majority of the worldwide media tablet through 2015, according to Gartner, Inc. Due to the success of Apple’s iPad, iOS will account for 69 percent of media tablet OSs in 2011, and represent 47 percent of the media tablet market in 2015.

Gartner analysts said Apple iPad did to the tablet PC market what the iPhone did to the smartphone market: re-invented it. A media tablet is not just a different form factor to perform the same tasks that can be done on a PC. Tablets deliver a richer experience around content consumption, thanks to the ecosystem they support. The richer the ecosystem, the stronger the pull for consumers.

“Seeing the response from both consumers and enterprises to the iPad, many vendors are trying to compete by first delivering on hardware and then trying to leverage the platform ecosystem,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “Many, however, are making the same mistake that was made in the first response wave to the iPhone, as they are prioritizing hardware features over applications, services and overall user experience. Tablets will be much more dependent on the latter than smartphones have been, and the sooner vendors realize that the better chance they have to compete head-to-head with Apple.”

Google’s Android OS is forecast to increase its worldwide share of the media tablet market from 20 percent in 2011 to 39 percent in 2015 (see Table 1). Analysts said Google’s decision not to open up the Honeycomb, its first OS version dedicated to tablets, to third parties will prevent fragmentation, but it will also slow the price decline and ultimately cap market share.

“Volume will be driven by support from many players, the ecosystem of applications for tablets getting more competitive and some platform flexibility allowing lower price points,” said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner. “The new licensing model Google has introduced with Honeycomb enables Google to drive more control, allowing only optimal tablet implementations that don’t compromise quality of experience. This might mean that prices will drop at a slower pace than what we have seen in the smartphone market.”

Table 1
Worldwide Sales of Media Tablets to End Users by OS (Thousands of Units)

Source: Gartner, April 2011.

With the migration of Blackberry devices to QNX – the OS used on the Blackberry PlayBook - in 2012, RIM will be able to offer users a consistent experience across its whole product portfolio and create a single developer community. While QNX is a strong platform that delivers on performance, graphics and multitasking features, Gartner analysts said success in the media tablet market will be driven by richness of ecosystem.

“It will take time and significant effort for RIM to attract developers and deliver a compelling ecosystem of applications and services around QNX to position it as a viable alternative to Apple or Android. This will limit RIM’s market share growth over the forecast period,” Ms. Milanesi said. “It will be mainly organizations that will be interested in RIM’s tablets because they either already have RIM’s infrastructure deployed or have stringent security requirements.”

Gartner analysts said platforms such as MeeGo and WebOS, which currently have a weak presence in the smartphone market, will have a limited appeal unless they can grow that business.

“Smartphone users will want to buy a tablet that runs the same operating system as their smartphone. This is so that they can share applications across devices as well as for the sense of familiarity the user interfaces will bring,” Ms. Milanesi said. “Vendors developing on Android should be prepared to see more cross brand ownership as some users might put OS over brand when it comes to the purchasing decision. Improvements on usability and brand recognition are the strongest differentiators they can focus on.”

A media tablet is a device based on a touchscreen display (typically with a multitouch interface) whose primary focus is the consumption of media. The devices have screens with a diagonal dimension that is over 5 inches and may include screens that are as large as is practical for handheld use, roughly up to 15 inches. The media tablet runs a lightweight OS such as Android and iOS that is more limited than, or a subset of, the traditional fully featured OS such as Windows.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Movial launches RCS on Android and iPhone, taps Russian Android market

IMS World Forum 2011, BARCELONA, SPAIN: Movial has launched its award-winning Movial Communicator on Android and the iPhone and is working with several operators to launch Android and iPhone VOIP applications.

Movial Communicator, a SIP/IMS (RCS and MMTel) application for operators provides HD voice, HD video telephony, enhanced address book and messaging along with advanced communication user experiences across PCs, Mobile, TV, and Multimedia devices running on MAC OS, Linux and Microsoft Windows platforms. The company also announced it is working closely with the industry’s leading manufacturers and silicon vendors to enable up to 720p HD video calling on Android tablets. Movial Communicator on Android is immediately available in the Android market in Russia.

The Movial Communicator Android and iPhone application integrates the native phone book for intuitive GSM and VoIP calling and messaging. This enables end users to make IP calls when they are in Wi-Fi coverage. All phone calls and messages are charged to the user’s single phone bill. The Android and iPhone applications are accompanied with PC/Mac applications enabling users with "mobile phone" capabilities such as voice calls, SMS, MMS, but also IM, Presence, and contact list management.

Movial Communicator on Android can be downloaded to Android 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 phones. The application is seamlessly integrated into Android address books enabling IM and file transfer for convenient, single tap access to rich communications. The Russian application for the Android Market is available here.

Movial ensures that operator voice and video chat services are well received by subscribers – providing uncomplicated, intuitive and easy to use features along with the added convenience of VoIP service offerings. Over 18 operators have had mass market success with Movial’s services that eliminate over-the-top players’ credit card account top-up irritations and hassles by enabling them to offer subscribers a single, easy to understand monthly bill tied to their single phone number for their mobile phone, PC and Web calls and even enable them to extend free video calls to their subscribers.

“Movial is delighted to power leading smart phones with commercial deployments,” said Jari Ala Ruona, CEO and Co-founder Movial. “We started as smart phone company 7 years ago committed to improving the user experience and as platforms have evolved so have we. Our commitment has never wavered, and today, our team of design engineers provide highly competitive and sought after applications for operators that deliver the industry’s smartest and most beautiful consumer user experiences.”