Thursday, January 31, 2013

Trendium sets a new paradigm in CEM and CEA for 4G/LTE mobile broadband

USA: Trendium is a provider of Customer Experience Assurance (CEA) and Analytics solutions for fixed and mobile broadband communications service providers.

The new portfolio of solutions, purposely designed for 4G/LTE mobile broadband applications, is powered by ServicePATH, a carrier-grade collection and mediation platform that has been deployed for many years and has proven to scale in the largest network in North America.

Trendium’s new portfolio is comprised of ViewPORT and the Network Access Agents (NAA) family. ViewPORT is a cloud-based Customer Experience Assurance Applications and Analytics portal, powered by ServicePATH. It provides the most intuitive, logical, flexible and fastest assurance workflow and uses sophisticated correlation technology to link customer experience to underlying network and service performance.

The NAA family enables collection from any data source along the head-to-end service path: traffic, infrastructure, device, and end user. It includes a set of 1U rack-mount probes with port speeds from 1GE to 100GE that typically only take 1/10 of the footprint of today’s monitoring systems and a fraction of the price.

The new NAA family also features interactive smart device agents that collect location-based perceived customer experience and network performance data in real time, as well as a large set of 300+ adapters for collection from network elements, EMSs, NMSs, B/OSS applications and third party probes.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

BB10 now launched

Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum

UK: The Blackberry 10 platform offers a differentiated user experience in today’s crowded and homogenous smartphone market. The Blackberry Z10 and Q10 will stand out from the Android masses and look distinct from Apple’s iPhone.

The user experience of Blackberry 10 introduces some nice new features but importantly builds on Blackberry’s UI heritage and therefore will certainly appeal to existing Blackberry users. However, the challenge for the company will be to attract new users and those that have already moved to alternative smartphones.

Blackberry has rightly focused on insuring that the Blackberry 10 devices have a large catalogue of content and applications which is now essential for any modern smartphone, and achieving 70,000 applications at the launch of a new platform is good start.

However, Ovum believes that despite a well-designed Blackberry 10 platform, that will certainly attract short-term interest from existing users the company will struggle to appeal to a wider audience and in the long-term will become a niche player in the smartphone market.

Sprint to bring truly unlimited 4G LTE to BlackBerry Q10

USA: Sprint announced plans to carry the new BlackBerry Q10 smartphone later this year. Powered by BlackBerry 10, this device will benefit from Truly Unlimited 4G LTE data, text and calling to any mobile with no metering, no throttling, and no overages, all while on the Sprint network.

The new BlackBerry Q10 smartphone is based on the re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented BlackBerry 10 platform and offers customers a powerful and unique new mobile computing experience. The BlackBerry Q10 smartphone will be the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone with a physical QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen, delivering a smarter experience that continuously adapts to a customer’s needs.

“Sprint and RIM have been strong partners for more than a dozen years, and we have an extremely loyal base of BlackBerry customers who will appreciate the features of the new BlackBerry 10 platform,” said David Owens, VP, Product Development, Sprint. “We also look forward to adding BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 to our portfolio and bringing the enterprise mobility solution to our customers.”

“The BlackBerry Q10 smartphone delivers a powerful new platform for BlackBerry customers,” said Carlo Chiarello, executive VP, Global Smartphone Business, RIM. “Combined with the 4G LTE network and service plans from Sprint, BlackBerry Q10 customers will be delighted with a re-invented communication experience, seamless multitasking, easy access to multiple social networks and the peace of mind that BlackBerry security gives them.”

BlackBerry 10 gives customers a faster and smarter experience that continuously adapts to their needs. Every feature, every gesture, and every detail is designed to keep customers moving and includes advancements such as:

Peek and Flow into the BlackBerry Hub – A new mobile computing paradigm where what matters to customers is always only one swipe away.

Keyboard – Understands and adapts to customers, so they can type faster and more accurately, with a QWERTY keyboard that has rows separated by frets, making it easier to type accurately and with more confidence than ever before.

BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) – Allows customers to share things with the people that matter to them in an instant.

BlackBerry Balance technology – Protects what is important to customers and the businesses they work for.

BlackBerry 10 re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented

USA: BlackBerry has launched BlackBerry 10, the re-designed, re-engineered, and re-invented BlackBerry platform that creates a new and unique mobile computing experience.

Available on two new LTE-enabled smartphones, the BlackBerry Z10 (all-touch) and BlackBerry Q10 (touch with physical keyboard) smartphones powered by BlackBerry 10 offer you a faster, smarter and smoother experience than any other BlackBerry you have used before.

BlackBerry unveiled the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones at events held simultaneously in New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Dubai, and Johannesburg.

"Today sees a re-invented BlackBerry launching an entirely new mobile experience," said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of BlackBerry. "We are thrilled to be introducing BlackBerry 10 on the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones, to deliver a faster, smarter experience that continuously adapts to your needs. Every feature, every gesture, and every detail in BlackBerry 10 is designed to keep you moving."

Highlights of BlackBerry 10
BlackBerry 10 is a robust and reliable platform that is smooth and responsive. It has a modern design and a gesture-based interface that is highly discoverable. It is designed to support, learn, and adapt to the way you work and share with features like:

The ever present BlackBerry Hub, which is a single place to manage all your conversations whether personal or work email, BBM messages, social media updates or notifications, and the ability to "peek" into the BlackBerry Hub from anywhere, so you're always only one swipe away from what matters to you.

BlackBerry Flow, where the BlackBerry 10 experience excels by enabling features and apps to flow seamlessly together, helping you complete the task at hand effortlessly and efficiently. For example, you can tap on an attendee listed for a meeting to see their latest tweet or LinkedIn profile. Or tap the thumbnail of a picture you just took to launch the Picture editor and quickly apply a transformation or filter, then instantly share it with your contacts.

A keyboard that understands and adapts to you, that learns what words you use and how you use them, then offers them up to you so you can type faster and more accurately.

BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), which allows you to share things with the people that matter to you in an instant. BBM in BlackBerry 10 includes voice calling and video chat, and introduces the ability to share your screen with another BlackBerry 10 contact.

BlackBerry Balance technology, which elegantly separates and secures work applications and data from personal content on BlackBerry devices.

Time Shift, an astonishing camera feature that lets you capture a group shot where everyone is smiling with their eyes wide open. Story Maker, which lets you bring a collection of photos and videos together, along with music and effects, to produce an HD movie that you can instantly share.

The new BlackBerry 10 browser, which sets the industry benchmark for HTML5 support on smartphones, is incredibly fast. Scrolling or zooming is fluid and responsive. The browser includes many advanced features, supports multiple tabs, lets you browse sites privately, includes a reader mode, and integrates with the platform for easily sharing content.

BlackBerry Remember, which combines memos, tasks and much more into a single experience. It helps you organize and manage information you have on your smartphone around projects or ideas, letting you collect content such as websites, emails, photos, documents, and other files, and then like a To-Do list, lets you create tasks, assign due dates, and track your progress. If your BlackBerry 10 smartphone is set up with a work account, your Microsoft Outlook Tasks will automatically be wirelessly synced with BlackBerry Remember. If you have configured an Evernote account with your smartphone, BlackBerry Remember will sync Evernote workbooks as well.

BlackBerry Safeguard technology that helps protect what is important to you, and the business you work for.

Built-in support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync so your BlackBerry Z10 or BlackBerry Q10 smartphone can be simply connected and managed as other ActiveSync devices in a company, or enabled with BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 to gain secure access to work email, "behind the firewall" applications and data, and benefit from other security and enterprise mobility management features.

The BlackBerry World storefront, which now includes 70,000 BlackBerry 10 apps and one of the most robust music and video catalogs in mobile today - with most movies coming to the store the same day they are released on DVD. In addition, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare apps for BlackBerry 10 are preinstalled, and BlackBerry 10 customers will have access to leading applications from across the globe. Leading application providers including Disney, Cisco, Foursquare, Skype and Rovio have committed to the platform.

"At Foursquare, we are extremely excited to launch our new BlackBerry 10 application and to continue developing on the platform," said Dennis Crowley, co-founder and CEO of Foursquare. "Our team built the app just for BlackBerry 10, and the result is an amazing Foursquare Explore experience to help people around the world make the most of where they are."

"We're delighted to bring Angry Birds Star Wars to BlackBerry fans around the world," said Petri Järvilehto, EVP of Games, at Rovio. "It's a great platform that gives a fantastic gaming experience, so fans can experience the struggle of Rebel Birds vs. Imperial Pigs to the fullest!"

"Bringing Where's My Water? and Where's My Perry? to BlackBerry 10 smartphones will introduce some of Disney's most popular mobile games to new audiences," said Tim O'Brien, VP of Business Development, Disney Games. "The new BlackBerry 10 platform is an exciting opportunity to expand Disney's network of mobile players."

"We're proud to extend Cisco's WebEx technology to the BlackBerry 10 platform letting customers of any size join, start, view content, and stay connected to WebEx meetings right from their BlackBerry 10 smartphone," said Raj Gossain, VP of Product Management, Cloud Collaboration Applications Technology Group at Cisco. "Our customers access Cisco collaboration capabilities, such as instant messaging, IP voice calling and conferencing on BlackBerry smartphones to stay connected anywhere, anytime, and with anyone. RIM and Cisco have worked together to develop an application that is user friendly and meets the needs of our global customers."

"We are excited about our plans to bring Skype to smartphones running the brand new BlackBerry 10 platform," said Bob Rosin, VP & GM of Business Development for Microsoft's Skype division. "We are working closely with BlackBerry to ensure Skype runs great on BlackBerry 10 devices. This will give BlackBerry 10 users a great Skype experience, including free voice and video calling, sending instant messages and text messages, sharing photos, videos and files, and calling to landlines and mobiles at Skype's low rates."

BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones
The new BlackBerry 10 smartphones are elegant and distinctive, and the fastest, most advanced BlackBerry smartphones yet. They feature 1.5 Ghz dual core processors with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and an expandable memory card slot. They include the latest enhancements in high density pixel and screen technology to display clear, sharp, and incredibly vivid images.

Both feature a micro HDMI out port for presentations, and advanced sensors such NFC (near field communications) to support mobile payments and the exchange of information with a tap of the smartphone. They also have a removable battery.

Models of the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 will be available from carriers to support their respective 4G LTE or HSPA+ networks, and all the available models include connectivity support for global roaming. The BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones will also each come in White and Black.

A range of accessories for the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones, including the new BlackBerry Mini Stereo Speaker as well as a variety of carrying and charging solutions including a unique charger that provides on-the-go charging, will be available from select carriers and retailers.

Worldwide, we have several key markets that are revealing pricing and availability today, including the UK, Canada and UAE.

In the UK, the BlackBerry Z10 will be available beginning tomorrow on pay monthly contracts and pre-pay plans from EE, O2, Vodafone, Phones 4u, BT, 3UK and the Carphone Warehouse. BlackBerry Z10 smartphones will be available fully subsidized on competitive monthly pay contracts. Price points will vary according to carriers and retail partners.

In Canada, the BlackBerry Z10 will be available on February 5th. Pricing will vary by carrier partner, but it will retail for around $149.99 on a three-year contract.

In the UAE, the BlackBerry Z10 will be available on February 10th. Pricing will vary by carrier partner, but unsubsidized it will retail for AED 2,599.

In the US market, we expect availability with most carriers for the BlackBerry Z10 to be in March. Today, US carriers will start announcing pre-registration and price plans.

Opera and Neomobile to bring one-click mobile payments to Opera Mini

USA & ITALY: Opera Software and Neomobile will work together to bring mobile payment freedom to users of Neomobile services and the Opera Mini mobile browser. As part of the agreement with Opera Commerce, a fully-owned subsidiary of Opera Software, the Neomobile mobile payment system will be integrated into the Opera Payment Exchange (OPX).

OPX’s goal is to make mobile payments a secure and easy experience for the more than 200 million Opera Mini users globally. Thanks to Neomobile, Opera Mini users will be able to buy digital goods and services easily and securely on their mobile devices through direct carrier billing in each country where Neomobile has its mobile entertainment services.

Opera Mini is one of the world’s leading mobile browsers with users on all mobile platforms. Opera’s browsers are also available for computers, TVs and connected devices, including Opera Mobile, the browser for high-end mobile devices. Opera has more than 275 million users all over the world.

Neomobile is the global mobile commerce group at the center of the new mobile ecosystem. Established in February 2007, today Neomobile is a global leader in mobile entertainment in 11 markets, in Europe, Latin America and India, with an offer portfolio able to serve and meet the demands of users, whatever their device: from feature phones to smartphones, from PCs to tablets. The group is also a leader in mobile payments in 70+ markets where the company offers its Onebip solution suite to web and mobile merchants.

Opera Mini users will be able to purchase goods and services in the countries where Neomobile service is offered, with the same advantages of all other mobile browser users. With Neomobile, transactions will be seamlessly billed directly to the users’ mobile phone bill.

Extreme Networks announces audio video bridging (AVB, IEEE 802.1Q) support

USA: Extreme Networks Inc. announced Audio Video Bridging (AVB 802.1Q) technology available with its enterprise class Summit fixed Ethernet switches, helping to revolutionize high quality audio and video (AV) deployments for a multitude of environments, such as auditoriums, studios, stadiums, conference rooms and other event sites using the network.

Additionally, Extreme Networks is teaming with leading names in professional AV such as Axon, Biamp Systems, Meyer Sound and Harman.

The benefits of AVB-based systems include simplified cabling and improved audio video delivery with synchronization, integrated quality of service and low latency delivered over an open, multi-vendor standard.  Just as technologies like VoIP, wireless LAN and IP storage benefit from cost improvements and added functionality and improvements, professional AV will also see the fruits of convergence.

Extreme Networks is present at the AVnu Alliance booth at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), held in Amsterdam, known as the premiere professional audiovisual conference. As a member of the AVnu Alliance, Extreme Networks supports an industry forum dedicated to the advancement of professional quality audio and video converged over Ethernet at various link layers.

AVB interoperability will benefit hundreds of different types of venues highlighted by corporate conference rooms, TV/Radio studios, auditoriums, stadiums and resorts.  The benefits of AVB technology include reduced complexity of cabling and installations for audio and video solutions, ease of use through interoperability between networking devices, and reduced the need for complex network setup and management, as the infrastructure itself negotiates and manages the network for optimal prioritized media transport.

AVB technology can simplify system design and maintenance with the standards-based technology applying to both end-point devices and switched networks.

BlackBerry 10: RIM’s last, best hope to challenge Apple/Samsung and Apple/Google smartphone duopolies

USA: With the introduction of its BlackBerry 10, Research In Motion Ltd. is making the final charge in its struggle to become the third viable smartphone brand alongside market giants Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., as well as the No. 3 operating system vendor after Apple and Google Inc.'s Android.

"This year we will see multiple attempts to fight the Samsung/Apple smartphone duopoly in smartphone hardware—along with the twin Google/Apple duopoly in smartphone operating systems,” said Ian Fogg, senior principal analyst at IHS. “Because of the fast-rising adoption of smartphones, 2013 represents the last, best hope for RIM's BlackBerry 10—along with endangered specimens like Microsoft's Windows Phone, Nokia's Lumia and Mozilla's Firefox—to create a viable third smartphone competitor in the market."

Samsung and Apple in 2012 together accounted for close to 50 percent of global smartphone shipments, making them the dominant market force in the mobile market, according to the mobile and wireless intelligence services at information and analytics provider IHS. Google’s Android and Apple OS in 2012 collectively held about a 90 percent share of the smartphone operating system market.

Meanwhile, penetration by smartphones of the total cellphone market has reached a critical level, accounting for 49 percent of total cellphone market shipments last year. In 2016, smartphone shipments will grow to account for nearly three-quarters of the global cellphone market, as presented in the figure attached.

“With smartphones soon to reach their maximum penetration, time is running out for RIM and other Apple/Samsung/Google competitors to stake a claim in the smartphone business,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS.

When opportunity knocks
While time is running short for RIM, recent events also have opened a window of opportunity for the Canadian maker—as well as for other contenders in the smartphone market.

In particular, the struggle for traction by Windows Phone is opening opportunities for another player to establish itself. Leading Windows Phone proponent Nokia of Finland has shipped just 4.4 million Lumia Windows Phones in the fourth quarter of 2012 and posted poor ASP figures for its Lumia line. These facts suggest that the high-end Lumia 920 model has not achieved expected traction. And now with the revocation of the generous payments previously provided by Microsoft, the outlook for Nokia is tougher than ever.

Meanwhile, Apple posted extremely healthy iPhone shipments of 48 million in 2012. More importantly, Apple’s average selling price (ASP) held steady, indicating that the much rumored supply chain issues for the iPhone 5 did not adversely affect its sales.

However, Apple has had a few stumbles of late, including its widely criticized Maps app. Apple’s missteps last year seem to have generated a consumer sentiment that was not there before—namely, a willingness among consumers to try other products that may deliver compelling value. This also represents an opportunity for a new competitor to enter the market.

Vive la differentiation
“With the smartphone market maturing and changing, smartphone challengers must adopt differentiated strategies, rather than simply mimic what Apple, Google and Samsung did in the past,” Fogg said.

“The mobile industry is dramatically different from what faced Apple on the eve of the original iPhone’s launch. We’re now seeing smartphone designs that are third- or fourth-generation descendants from the initial Apple and Android devices. Those handsets have led to a revolution in the mobile market that has yielded wrenching changes in smartphone consumer usage, form factors, content, data plans and business models.”

Revolution will be mobilized
Among the changes revolutionizing the market is that smartphones have become credible TV- and movie-playback devices. This is because smartphones now typically have screens larger than 4 inches— sometimes more than 5 inches—and with high-definition resolution. In contrast, the original iPhone in 2007 had a display just 3.5 inches in size—larger than average for a cellphone at the time.

Another major development is that Samsung has overtaken Nokia as the biggest manufacturer of mobile handsets—primarily on the strength of Samsung’s smartphone sales. Nokia’s decline reflects a shift of power away from Europe that alters the opportunities for partnerships in the smartphone business.

Furthermore, operators are no longer the key distributors of mobile content. Back in 2007, almost all mobile games and other mobile content came from operator portals, with operators taking a share of revenues. Mobile content and data continued to be the great hope that would enable operators to weather the inevitable decline of mobile voice revenues that everyone knew would happen. Now, smartphone application stores, operated by the smartphone OS platforms—Google with its Play Store, along with Apple and Microsoft with their counterparts—have seized that value-chain position from the operators.

Meanwhile, new market entrants from the computer and Internet industries are now movers and shakers in mobile. Major players in today’s mobile market include Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook.

Finally, consumer communication behavior is being disrupted by smartphones and data plans. The smartphone and the mobile Internet threaten to disrupt the mobile operators’ core business of voice and SMS messaging. But the greater threat is from next-generation communication software that is built into each of the major smartphone OS platforms, such as RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger, Microsoft’s Skype, Facebook’s integration with iOS and Windows Phone, Google’s Google Talk and Apple’s iMessage.

Changing the game
To succeed in challenging the incumbent players—and accommodate the changed market conditions— smartphone challengers must offer products and employ strategies that are clearly differentiated.

For example, RIM hopes the BlackBerry 10 will offer differentiation in the areas of user interface with one designed to juggle apps, by helping consumers and businesses have content coexisting on the same device. RIM also has created a new smartphone OS focused on delivering a communications experience meaningful to the user. RIM likewise is pursuing a content-based strategy offering songs, television and movies.

For its part, Nokia believes that Windows represents its path to differentiation, along with included services, such as music.

Another upstart, Huawei, is trying to compete on the size and ruggedization front, with phones that are shock and water proof yet still maintain a sleek design, such as the recently announced Ascend Mate and Ascend D2.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Starhome predictions for 2013 - year of the network

SWITZERLAND: Starhome, the leading provider of roaming value added services, predicts that 2013 will be the year for new strategies to optimize network traffic performance in response to increasing data demands.

As the global deployment of LTE (4G) networks continues to grow, so does the need for operators to deploy compliant solutions. If operators are to enhance service delivery, boost network flexibility and optimize their networks, they will require LTE compliant solutions to promote seamless roaming between 3G and LTE network technologies. Until the full global deployment of LTE, fall-back solutions to 3G will be needed when 4G (LTE) is not available.

A sizeable change in the roaming picture will come next year when the 2014 EU Roaming regulation comes into effect.  To prepare for free subscriber choice in choosing a roaming provider, operators will spend 2013 readying their networks with solutions to tackle the new regulation.

Unprecedented competition between home networks for the roaming business will appear that in turn can threaten their local market share as some churn may occur as a result. Operators will need to compete with both visited networks and new non-operator players who will also be offering local data packages. Other regions are following these activities closely since regulation may eventually spread beyond Europe.

The 2013 is also set to bring a mixture of challenges to the mobile arena, including required solution upgrades to enable seamless subscriber services between various network technologies. Operators will have no choice but to re-evaluate their current Quality of Service (QoS).

To maximize current and future network infrastructure, mobile operators will need to harness big data analytics, not only to support key business initiatives, but also to help them better understand how heavy data users are utilizing the mobile Internet. In addition, big data is set to become an instrumental tool in aiding operators to anticipate potential opportunities and quickly respond to problems.

Analyzing big data gives operators a better understanding of subscribers’ usage patterns and preferences – enabling operators to provide sufficient bandwidth per device or fine-tune their offerings to each subscriber’s own personal profile, which means new revenue streams and growth.

Shlomo Wolfman, co-founder and COO at Starhome, said: “Starhome is constantly monitoring the telecom industry for new trends and developments. This allows us to predict future challenges and act accordingly. The roaming market is entering a new era where regulations are making an impact, and operators want to provide effortless roaming. As long as solutions are in place to tackle the latest challenges of emerging networks, new regulations and data roaming, operators are looking at a good year.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Voxbone forms partner program to broaden deployment VoIP solutions

BELGIUM: Voxbone announced a new partnership program for VoIP solutions providers to ease customer deployments of international telephone and toll-free services via technical and marketing co-operation. AudioCodes, Matrix Telecom and REVE Systems are the first partners to join.

The Voxbone Partner Program launched in conjunction with ITEXPO East in Miami this week, where Voxbone and the partners are exhibiting.

The program is designed to simplify customers’ ability to obtain global telecommunications solutions. AudioCodes, Matrix Telecom, REVE Systems and future partners will work with Voxbone to demonstrate use cases for global numbers and SIP networks, ensure SIP interoperability, and develop joint technical documentation.

Voxbone's offering of telephone numbers in more than 50 countries allows service providers, contact centers and enterprises using the partners’ VoIP solutions to offer customers local numbers that ring on VoIP-enabled systems, phones or applications anywhere in the world.

Functioning as a technological bridge between cloud communications networks and traditional PSTN and mobile networks, Voxbone is the market leader in providing worldwide geographical, toll-free and geographically independent telephone numbers.

The partners tested the following products for interoperability with Voxbone inbound services:

* AudioCodes enterprise-class session border controller and media gateway product lines; Mediant digital media gateways; MediaPack analog media gateways; and managed services and solutions for Microsoft Lync deployments.

* Matrix Telecom enterprise-class Eternity IP-PBX, and Media Gateway, SMB SAPEX, and SOHO SETU product lines.

* REVE Systems iTel Switch Plus (Softswitch Platform), iTel Media Gateway, Session Border Controller, Mobile VoIP Solutions and iTel Billing.

DSP Group and LS Research launch DECT/ULE system on module

USA: DSP Group Inc. and LS Research (LSR), a leading provider of wireless modules and design services for Smart Home, Smart Energy and healthcare, have jointly developed a DECT ultra low energy (ULE) system on module aimed at the home control, home automation, healthcare, and other vertical markets.

The solution will dramatically reduce time to market and ease the integration for OEM's planning to add DECT/ULE support to their product portfolio.

As part of this collaboration, DSP Group provided the semiconductor system, consisting of a DECT ULE module powered by DSP Group's DECT baseband IC and a full DECT ULE stack. This system was productized to fit the needs of the different vertical markets.

The modules built around DSP Group's DECT ULE IC and software stack are aligned with the latest DECT ULE and upper layer protocol standard drafts. LSR's production-ready design enables fast time to market, and minimizes the R&D effort required for the integration of DECT ULE-based Smart Home and Smart Energy features.

RIM will get a boost but not salvation from BB10

Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst, Ovum.

AUSTRALIA: Two major factors have worked against RIM in the past two years: companies are no longer buying the majority of smartphones sold today, and individuals overwhelmingly choose devices other than BlackBerries when they make buying decisions. Both of these have depressed sales for RIM’s devices, and neither is going away.

The first of these phenomena is unstoppable, and we expect a significant increase in employee-led rather than IT department-led smartphone buying. Our recent surveys suggest that even when employees aren’t choosing the device, they expect the replacement for their current BlackBerry to be an iPhone or an Android device. The second trend could be stopped in theory, but RIM does not seem to be focusing on this approach in BB10.

As part of our research for a newly published profile on RIM’s smart device strategy, it became clear to us that RIM’s intention for BlackBerry 10 is to be “the best BlackBerry for BlackBerry users, rather than something that will necessarily win converts from other platforms.

The points of differentiation RIM has focused on in teasers for the new platform confirm this – better multitasking, productivity, email, contacts and calendar applications and so on, rather than a better gaming, content consumption or social networking experience.

We can’t fault RIM for wanting to hold onto its 80 million existing subscribers. While exact figures aren’t available, our analysis suggests that RIM has always sold about half its devices to new customers and half to existing customers upgrading to a better phone.

For much of the last two years, the portion bought by upgrading customers has significantly outweighed the portion bought by converts, and this makes it all the more important for RIM to retain existing subscribers.

“We believe that much of the installed base in mature markets has delayed upgrading while BlackBerry 10 is pending, something that has unfortunately dragged on for far too long, thus lengthening the upgrade cycle and depressing results in the interim. If BB10 delivers, it should produce a nice fillip in RIM’s results in the first two quarters of 2013 at least as this pent up demand finally meets supply.

Longer term, RIM will return to its recent patterns of decline
Despite the brief bump RIM will see from the launch of BB10, we expect its decline to continue longer term. At its peak, RIM shipped between 12 and 15 million devices per quarter, but there is no way it can hit this number on a sustainable basis once the BB10 launch filters through.

Though the new platform should have significant appeal to existing users, we don’t expect it to win significant numbers of converts from other platforms. There is little in the new platform that suggests it will have the compelling apps, content stores, or the broader ecosystem that consumers have come to expect in a competitive smartphone platform.

There are bright spots in emerging markets, where BlackBerry devices have become a middle-class status symbol as they once were in mature markets. But these devices are low-priced and based on BB10’s predecessor BB7, which is destined for the scrap heap in the medium term. As developers shift their focus to BB10, it will be harder and harder for RIM to maintain the appeal of the older platform in these markets, especially since it is unlikely to release new hardware running BB7. BB10, meanwhile, requires high-end specs that will be impossible to deliver at such price points in the near future.

Therefore, the current popularity of BlackBerry in emerging markets is likely to be short-lived, especially as Android based alternatives begin to flood the market at even lower prices.

In all, RIM continues to face the twin demons of consumer-driven buying power and a chronic inability to appeal to mature market consumers. There is nothing in what we’ve seen so far of BB10 that suggests it will conquer the second of these demons, and the first is utterly out of RIM’s control.

We don’t expect a speedy exit from the market; with no debt, 80 million subscribers and profitability in the black in at least some recent quarters, the company can continue in this vein for years. But its glory days are past, and it is only a matter of time before it reaches a natural end.

Kyocera Torque, Sprint’s first ultra-rugged 4G LTE Android smartphone

USA: Water, dirt, drops – there seem to be 101 ways to break or damage smartphones that dutifully serve as mini computers, schedulers and entertainment devices. Sprint and Kyocera Communications Inc. announced the upcoming availability of Kyocera Torque, built to survive extreme elements and everyday life.

Torque will be available this spring; exact availability and pricing will be announced this quarter. Torque is an ultra-rugged, 4G LTE Android smartphone featuring Sprint Direct Connect push-to-talk service and Kyocera’s award-winning Smart Sonic Receiver audio technology.

“Anyone will quickly appreciate the durability of this smartphone, whether you work in rugged environments or just enjoy outdoor activities,” said David Owens, VP, Product Development, Sprint.

“It seems like everyone I talk to has damaged a phone by dropping it on a hard surface. This phone is for all those customers who want to make sure even if that happens, the phone will withstand the fall. This is an impressive Android device that can withstand extreme conditions while bringing our customers the speed of Sprint 4G LTE and convenience of instant push-to-talk communications from Sprint Direct Connect.”

Torque is built to Military Standard 810G (MilSpec) to withstand dust, shock, vibration, solar radiation, humidity, blowing rain, low pressure, salt fog and extreme temperatures, along with IP67 standards for dust, sprayed water and full immersion up to one meter deep for up to 30 minutes. The device is specifically designed to hold up to the rigors of today’s rough-and-tumble lifestyles – whether on a construction site, beach trip or a kids’ playground – without sacrificing style and features.

“We know from our research, conversations with customers and personal experiences that there’s a tremendous consumer need for rugged handsets to deal with life’s everyday challenges,” said Eric Anderson, senior VP and GM of global sales and marketing at Kyocera Communications.

“Those devices, however, have traditionally been designed specifically for an enterprise customer. Kyocera has taken the most robust, rugged MilSpec features and combined them with our easy-to-use, affordable, Android smartphone designs to create a durable mobile device that supports not only the construction foreman using Sprint Direct Connect but also the outdoor sports enthusiast or the busy mom or dad who’s juggling children and playground duties.”

Monday, January 28, 2013

Apple updates iOS to 6.1

USA: Apple updated iOS to version 6.1, adding LTE capabilities to 36 additional iPhone carriers and 23 additional iPad carriers around the world, so even more iPhone 5, iPad mini and iPad with Retina display users can experience ultrafast wireless performance to browse, download and stream content at blazing fast speeds.

To date, iOS users have uploaded over nine billion photos to Photo Stream, sent over 450 billion iMessages and received over four trillion notifications.

“iOS 6 is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and with nearly 300 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices on iOS 6 in just five months, it may be the most popular new version of an OS in history,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior VP, Worldwide Marketing. “iOS 6.1 brings LTE support to more markets around the world, so even more users can enjoy ultrafast Safari browsing, FaceTime video calls, iCloud services, and iTunes and App Store downloads.”

iOS 6 features include Siri, which supports more languages, easy access to sports scores, restaurant recommendations and movie listings; Maps with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and Flyover view; Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar, with the ability to post directly from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook-enabled apps; Shared Photo Streams via iCloud; and Passbook, the simplest way to get all your passes in one place.

Additional updates in iOS 6.1 include the ability to use Siri to purchase movie tickets in the US through Fandango, and iTunes Match subscribers can download individual songs to their iOS devices from iCloud.

The revolutionary App Store offers more than 800,000 apps to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users, with more than 300,000 native iPad apps. App Store customers have downloaded over 40 billion apps, and Apple has paid over seven billion dollars to its incredible developer community. Customers can choose from apps in 23 categories, including newspapers and magazines offered in Newsstand, games, business, news, sports, health & fitness and travel.

iOS 6.1 is available as a free software update today. iOS 6.1 is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad (third and fourth generation), iPad mini, iPad 2 and iPod touch (fourth and fifth generation). Some features may not be available on all products.

BuzzMob gets new CTO

USA: BuzzMob, a location-based fan engagement platform for mobile devices, has hired event industry veteran Shawn Kernes to serve as the company’s chief technology officer. With over 15 years of technology and development experience, Shawn will assume responsibility for driving BuzzMob’s development strategy in order to establish business partnerships with live sports events, concerts, conferences, brands and venues.

Kernes is best known for his role as the founding CTO at StubHub, an online marketplace for sports, concerts and theater events tickets that was acquired by eBay in 2007. After the acquisition, Shawn served as eBay’s senior director of product development, where he led implementation and support initiatives for the company's international technology solutions program.

“Whether it’s in your living room, or at a live event, second-screen applications are enabling consumers to interact and engage with entertainment and rich media on a deeper social level,” said Shawn Kernes, CTO for BuzzMob. "Through using location and events as key interest indicators, BuzzMob enables event organizers to deliver highly targeted interactive content directly to their fans in real-time. It’s an incredibly innovative platform that aims to change how event attendees experience live entertainment.”

“Since our initial rollout last year, BuzzMob has received an incredibly positive response from sports organizations and entertainment properties around the country,” said Jeff Jackel, CEO for BuzzMob. “Through bringing Shawn’s extensive development experience to the BuzzMob team, we will be able to fully capture the market opportunities in front of us. We are looking forward to several significant partnership announcements over the coming weeks. Stay tuned.”

Identive expands Tagtrail NFC mobile services platform

USA & GERMANY: Identive Group Inc. has announced enhancements to its Tagtrail NFC mobile services platform that make it easier than ever to launch NFC tag campaigns and create more targeted engagements.

The cloud-based Tagtrail platform allows advertisers, retailers and organizations of all types and sizes to deliver dynamic, personalized content and services to users' mobile devices via NFC and QR codes.

New features for Tagtrail include:
* Extension of Tagtrail's Dynamic Action Bundle rules engine, which determines what information users receive when they tap their phones to a Tagtrail tag. The Dynamic Action Bundle has been enhanced to enable an unlimited number of actions to be assigned to each tag within a campaign, and to allow multiple criteria to determine which content is delivered to each user.

For example, a tag in a shopping mall could deliver a store's website URL, information about daily specials or a merchandise coupon, depending upon factors such as who is tapping the tag, time of day, what kind of phone is being used, whether the user is already recognized by Tagtrail, or other rules the campaign owner wishes to incorporate.

* A simplified, click and drag process for ordering NFC tags for Tagtrail campaigns. A standard tag can be selected from our extensive menu of options, or artwork can be uploaded and the customized tags ordered online in a few easy steps.

* User interface improvements that further streamline the process of designing, launching, evaluating and improving Tagtrail campaigns.

Buzzinbees wins special jury prize for most disruptive innovation

FRANCE: Buzzinbees won the Pôle SCS special jury prize rewarding the most disruptive innovation: its machine-to-machine (M2M) solution lowers mobile infrastructure costs by a factor of over 100, allowing telecommunication operators to offer inexpensive M2M communication and cater for the long tail of this explosive market.

For M2M to gain mass adoption, communication price must come at a fraction of the cost of the device, while setting up this communication must be very simple. By allowing mobile operators to reuse their existing infrastructure without adding any specific equipment and without penalizing existing telephony services, Buzzinbees enables the industry to build and market communicating objects at prices below $25, including lifetime subscription for M2M communications.

Today, only high-end applications (luxury cars, transportation of goods, telemedicine, etc...) can benefit from M2M communications through mobile networks while allowing operators to cover their costs; it is not possible for operators to massively offer M2M communication under 50¢ per month and per machine.

To overcome this situation, some startups have proposed to create specialized networks based on proprietary technology. With its innovative approach, Buzzinbees makes it possible to reuse existing technology and mobile networks, making commercial success much more likely.

With Buzzinbees, operators can seize the market long tail, where the number of specialized applications has the upper hand on a small number of mass-market applications.

Buzzinbees filed six key patents, making its MLR — M2M location register, the equivalent of an HLR for M2M — the lynchpin of M2M communication: operators can scale the number of connected devices into their existing networks by a factor of well over a hundred, activate them while they roam, rehome them and offer central and flexible invoicing without additional investment.

Buzzinbees leveraged its flagship product — Bee-SOON — to endow its MLR with proven interoperability and unmatched scalability.

Aircel launches revolutionary product ‘One Nation, One Rate’

INDIA: In a step that will revolutionize the voice market in the country, Aircel, one of India’s leading telecom players, launched a revolutionary product ‘One Nation, One Rate’.

The product offers one rate for voice, SMS and data in home circles and on roaming on Aircel network. The product is an industry first, and will redefine the user experience and consumption of voice services in the country. The product does not only do away with roaming charges but also provides lucrative voice, SMS and data tariffs.

‘One nation, one rate’ will provide the following One India tariff to Aircel customers:

Voice – Local/National calling at 1paisa/second in Home circle as well as on roaming on Aircel network. Incoming calls while on Roaming on Aircel network will be free.
SMS – Local and national SMS at Re 1/SMS in Home circle as well as while on roaming.
Data – User will be able to carry the home circle rate while on roaming.

The product is available in Karnataka for Rs. 26.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Adoption of G.Hn standard likely to begin In 2013

IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Smart Home Network Equipment Market 2012-2016" report to its offering.

TechNavio's analysts forecast the Global Smart Home Network Equipment market to grow at a CAGR 35.91 percent over the period 2012-2016. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increase in cost-effective solutions. The Global Smart Home Network Equipment market has also been witnessing the growing demand for standard. However, the increased exposure to cyber attacks could pose a challenge to the growth of this market.

The key vendors dominating this market space are GE Co., Honeywell International Inc., Itron Inc., Landis+Gyr Inc., Siemens AG, Sensus USA Inc., and Schneider Electric Co.

The other vendors mentioned in the report are Sensus USA Inc., Elster Group., Acuity Brands Inc., ABB Ltd., AMX Corp., Control4 Corp., GE Security Inc., Home Automation Inc., SmartHome Controls Ltd., Vantage Controls Inc., Motorola Mobility LLC., iControl Networks Inc., ZigBee Alliance Inc., Ambient Devices Inc., Blue Line Innovation Ltd., and Silver Spring Networks Inc.

Commenting on the report, an analyst from TechNavio's Networking team said: ''There is growing demand for compliance with the standard. There are many standards in the Global Smart Home Network Equipment market, including MoCA, HomePlug, and Of the three, the adoption of the standard is expected to begin in 2013, and it is expected to witness high adoption from then on. The standard provides improved performance compared to the existing standards.

"This standard also facilitates the efficient management of phone lines, power lines, and coaxial cables in a single chipset. These features are expected to make the standard increasingly popular in the coming years.''

Further, the report reveals that the one of the main challenges in the market is the increasing risk of cyber-attacks.

4G wireless spectrum auction will determine winners and losers in UK mobile market

USA: The auction of coveted 4G spectrum that is now underway in the United Kingdom represents a critical juncture for country’s wireless market, with the winners set to gain access to data bandwidth essential for meet burgeoning demand for mobile data services.

Chiefly driven by smartphones, U.K. mobile data traffic will rise by more than 400 percent from 2012 to 2016, according to a new report from the IHS Screen Digest Mobile Technology Intelligence Service. IHS forecasts mobile data traffic in the country will rise to 1.4 billion gigabytes in 2016, up from 274 million gigabytes in 2012.

The auction features 2.6Ghz spectrum best suited for urban deployments and scarce spectrum at the 800MHz band, which is especially suitable for delivering wireless services in rural areas. This makes 800MHz desirable for any nationwide deployment of 4G.

“The importance of this spectrum auction in shaping the future of the UK wireless market cannot be understated,” said Daniel Gleeson, mobile analyst at IHS.

“Access to spectrum is the main barrier to entry for any company looking to build a new wireless network. The amount a company spends in the auction will affect their business performance for years to come. Seven companies are bidding for spectrum: the country’s four existing mobile operators along with three new players. With only three companies likely to win spectrum, at least one of the United Kingdom’s existing operators is likely to lose out.”

Bidders play mobile musical chairs
The four existing players that have entered the auction are EE, O2, Vodafone and Three. The three new entrants are BT, PCCW and MLL Telecom.

Other European spectrum auctions have only seen a maximum of three operators win 800MHz spectrum. The United Kingdom could follow this pattern, yielding three winners and four losers.

“The winners will have the bandwidth required to keep pace with the boom in mobile data—while the losers will struggle to remain competitive in the mobile market,” Gleeson noted.

Data explosion
Much like other developed markets, the United Kingdom has seen massive growth in smartphone users during the past five years. This, combined with a steady take-up of large screen mobile broadband services, is causing a substantial increase in data traffic carried by the mobile operators.

800MHz question
Different types of spectrum have varying propagation characteristics. Lacking spectrum in certain bands effectively limits an operator to urban areas. For an operator to succeed, it must have a spectrum portfolio with both breadth and depth.

The UK auction is offering spectrum in two bands; the 800MHz band and the 2.6GHz band. The longer wavelengths associated with transmissions at the 800MHz band mean signals travel further resulting in larger cells, fewer cell sites for operators and therefore lower deployment costs to serve rural areas.

The 800MHz cells are approximately 10.5 times larger than 2.6GHz cells transmitting with the same power. This makes 800MHz much more valuable than the 2.6GHz band.

The stakes
Among the existing mobile operators, the companies with the most to lose are O2 and Vodafone, which presently do not have 4G spectrum.

Not securing 800MHz licenses would be a disaster for O2 or Vodafone as their current licenses do not allow for the deployment of 4G, and relying on 2.6GHz spectrum would severely limit their capability to cover most of the country.

Consequences beyond 4G
While the deployment of 4G services will be the primary outcome from the auction, spectrum auctions have a habit of rearranging all the deck-chairs in the mobile market in a particular country. The past few years has seen cooperation between the operators in site-sharing deals in order to reduce costs while simultaneously expanding potential coverage.

These relationships are based around having similar needs due to similar spectrum holdings, so it’s clear that changing the spectrum holdings could lead to different joint ventures. Particularly in an era of economic uncertainty, operators will be on the lookout for ways to minimize the cost of rolling out services. Extra sites may be needed if an operator is aiming to use 2.6GHz exclusively in urban areas or if an operator with limited geographic coverage i.e. Three, is attempting to build out a more comprehensive network or of course there is a new entrant like BT.

Anite validates first GCF TD-LTE/TD-SCDMA inter-RAT test cases

ENGLAND: Anite, a global supplier of mobile device testing solutions, announced the validation of the first GCF (Global Certification Forum) TD-LTE/TD-SCDMA Inter-RAT (Inter-Radio Access Technology) test cases.

By reaching this milestone, Anite now supports all of the GCF LTE protocol test requirements for TD-LTE mobile operators ahead of their network launches. TD-LTE is a variant of LTE that mobile operators such as China Mobile are currently deploying.

The TD-LTE/TD-SCDMA Inter-RAT conformance test cases enable chipset manufacturers and handset vendors to develop and certify dual-mode TD-LTE/TD-SCDMA devices. TD-SCDMA is the 3G standard widely deployed in China. The availability of these test cases is key to accelerating the launch of dual technology handsets in China, which will allow users seamless access to high speed data services offered by both TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA. This is a key enabler to ensure the rapid deployment of TD-LTE in China.

Anite has an unrivalled level of industry expertise in the field of TD-LTE conformance testing and has to date been responsible for more than 90 per cent of all TD-LTE test case verification submissions to 3GPP RAN5.

Anite's capability and expertise in developing LTE test solutions has helped it forge strong collaborative relationships with the leading handset manufacturers worldwide. Anite was the first test solution vendor to successfully prove the first TD-LTE/TD-SCDMA Inter-RAT conformance test cases in June last year.

Anite's leading test case coverage for TD-LTE protocol testing means it provides complete support for TD-LTE mobile operators. This includes test case availability for TD-LTE bands 38, 39 and 40 and for the interworking between various technologies: TD-LTE/GERAN (2G), TD-LTE/TD-SCDMA and LTE TDD/FDD. The LTE FDD (Frequency Division Duplexing) technology has so far been commercially deployed in more than 50 countries worldwide.

Strong demand for smartphones and heated vendor competition characterize mobile phone market

USA: The worldwide mobile phone market grew 1.9 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12), as strong holiday smartphone sales raised shipments of these devices to levels nearly equal to those of feature phones.

According to the International Data Corp. (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 482.5 million mobile phones in 4Q12 compared to 473.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011. For the full year, the global market for mobile phones grew 1.2 percent on shipments of more than 1.7 billion units.

In the worldwide smartphone market, vendors shipped 219.4 million units in 4Q12, which represents 45.5 percent of all mobile phone shipments, the highest percentage ever. The 36.4 percent year-over-year growth was slightly below IDC's forecast of 39.5 percent for the quarter. On an annual basis, 712.6 million smartphones were shipped globally in 2012, which was 44.1 percent more than in 2011.

"The high-growth smartphone market, though dominated by Samsung and Apple, still presents ample opportunities for challengers," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "Vendors with unique market advantages, such as lower-cost devices, can rapidly gain market share, especially in emerging markets. A good example is Huawei, which overtook LG as a Top 5 vendor in the overall mobile phone market and passed HTC to become a Top 5 smartphone vendor."

"The fact that Huawei and ZTE now find themselves among the Top 5 smartphone vendors marks a significant shift for the global market," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. "Both companies have grown volumes by focusing on the mass market, but in recent quarters they have turned their attention toward higher-end devices. In addition, both companies have pushed the envelope in terms of industrial design with larger displays and smaller form factors, as well as innovative applications and experiences."

Smartphone vendor highlights
Samsung set a new record for the number of smartphones shipped in a single quarter and in a single year. Its broad and deep line-up of Android smartphones, particularly the Galaxy-branded Android family, combined with sustained demand for its mid-range and entry-level models to account for the remarkable shipment volumes.

Year 2013 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for the company as its Tizen smartphone strategy takes shape. Samsung will continue to rely on Android as its primary operating system, however, as the move to Tizen will not likely take place overnight.

Apple's record iPhone shipments in the quarter were driven by successes in Greater China, where shipments more than doubled, as well as the US, where 6.2 million iPhones were activated on Verizon alone. Interestingly, the company's success was due in large part to older models, in particular the iPhone 4, which Apple couldn't make enough of in the quarter relative to demand. Its sales success with the older model could portend success in higher-growth emerging markets where the company has performed well.

Huawei suddenly finds itself among the top three smartphone vendors in the world, a first for the company. The company had previously been a Top 10 vendor. To reach this milestone, Huawei has courted both the mass market with its simple and inexpensive smartphones and the high-end of the market with its Ascend-branded product line.

Along the way, Huawei has demonstrated its innovative skills, having released the world's thinnest (6.68 mm) smartphone last year, the Ascend P1S, and this year it announced the upcoming Ascend Mate, the first smartphone with a 6.1-inch display. At the same time, Huawei has brought its own software innovations, including Magic Touch, Guiding Wizard, Smart Reading, and Floating Windows.

Sony's strategy for becoming the global leader in mobile entertainment combined with its growing portfolio of high-end smartphones drove its smartphone volumes higher throughout the year. This marks a significant improvement since Sony acquired Ericsson's stake in 2011 in the Sony Ericsson joint venture. Sony introduced its Xperia TL last quarter and recently announced the addition of the Xperia Z and the Xperia ZL, to be launched in 1Q13.

ZTE maintained its spot among the Top 5 smartphone vendors globally thanks to continued international diversification efforts last quarter. The vendor also shipped more smartphones than feature phones for the first time. ZTE has grown its smartphone sales of late thanks primarily to an uptick in lower-cost smartphone sales in many emerging markets. The company has traditionally relied on sales of phones to China, where the company is based. Notable progress has been made in developed markets too.

NFC Forum launches SIGs to support market implementations

USA: The NFC Forum has announced the creation of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that will bring together leaders from the areas of Consumer Electronics, Health Care, Payment, Retail, and Transport to collaborate on NFC solution implementation, interoperability, best practices, and future requirements.

By fostering the direct, concerted interaction of NFC stakeholders in key vertical markets, use cases, and technology segments, the SIGs will enable the NFC Forum to take a more active role in driving NFC solutions development, deployment, and adoption.

The new SIGs build on the NFC Forum's progress to date and reflect the growing momentum behind NFC. Analysts estimate that more than 100 million NFC-enabled phones were sold in 2012 and close to 300 million will be shipped in 2013. NFC Forum membership is at an all-time high, and the organization has achieved major milestones in specification development and certification.

The five SIGs introduced today in two special public webcasts, "NFC Goes Vertical," represent the top near-term growth opportunities for NFC technology. The NFC Forum will form additional SIGs as market needs develop.

Each SIG leverages the Forum's alliance partnerships in that area, bringing together top experts, member companies, and NFC solutions developers to share the business and technical needs of their industry and to develop programs to support them. SIG activities include:

* Educating the market on use cases, implementation issues, and lessons learned.
* Gathering business requirements to drive new or modified technical work.
* Exploring ways to speed or smooth certification of NFC-enabled devices.
* Establishing and managing liaisons with other groups to further collaboration efforts.
* Creating regional programs as needed.

"As the commercialization of NFC solutions grows, we see an increasing need in the marketplace for education, guidance, and support for market implementation," said Koichi Tagawa, chairman of the NFC Forum. "By helping us focus our efforts and expertise on the specific needs of key market sectors, the SIGs will enable the NFC Forum to facilitate and accelerate the delivery of exciting new NFC solutions to consumers."

Eutelsat moves into new-gen in-flight connectivity services via KA-SAT

FRANCE: Eutelsat Communications announced the launch of a new aeronautical mobile service called Eutelsat Air Access designed to accelerate the deployment by commercial airlines operating in Europe of in-flight connectivity for passengers. Delivering speeds of up to 100 Mbps per airliner, Eutelsat Air Access will be available from mid-2013.

The new service uses ViaSat SurfBeam 2 technology, the most advanced and competitive system available for airborne connectivity using the Ka-band, and will be deployed on Eutelsat's KA-SAT high throughput satellite which delivers a total capacity of 90 Gbps.

Leveraging the high transmission speeds and bandwidth of KA-SAT, Eutelsat Air Access will allow aeronautical service providers to offer passengers top-quality Internet access, videostreaming and GSM services via tablets, smartphones and laptops. Eutelsat also has the option to add further unique ViaSat networking features for management of high-speed service levels to passengers.

The service will be launched across Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, with the objective to expand the service area using other Ka-band satellites.

Eutelsat is partnering on the deployment of Eutelsat Air Access with LiveTV, a leading provider of live in-flight entertainment and connectivity services for commercial airlines. LiveTV will provide, integrate and maintain on-board equipment and operate Wi-Fi internet access services and video streaming for passengers.

As a pioneer in the expanding market for live in-flight entertainment and connectivity, LiveTV has already equipped more than 700 aircraft around the world. Aer Lingus is the first carrier to seize the opportunity of new-generation in-flight services. The Irish airline last month signed a letter of intent with LiveTV and plans to launch in-cabin Internet access for customers on its European network.

The new service will be available on Aer Lingus short-haul fleet, including Airbus A319/A320 and A321. The first flights with the service are planned in the second half of 2013.

Smartphone pressure mounts for Samsung and Apple exiting strong Q4 2012

SINGAPORE: Nearly 196 million smartphones and 451 million handsets were shipped during Q4 2012, according to the latest estimates from marketing intelligence firm ABI Research.

This brings 2012 annual totals to 653 million smartphone and 1.6 billion handset shipments, representing a 36 percent and 2 percent YoY growth rate, respectively. Smartphones accounted for 43 percent of all handset shipments in Q4, which pushed smartphones to 41 percent of all shipments in 2012.

Samsung retained its lead position overall by shipping 106 million handsets of which 60 million were smartphones in Q4 and capturing 31 percent of total smartphone shipments. In 2012 Samsung grew its handset shipments by 21.6 percent and smartphone shipments by 123.8 percent.

Despite missing most analyst estimates in Q4, Apple grew its smartphone shipment share to 24.5 percent, up from 16.4 percent in Q3. Apple shipped 47.8 million iPhones in Q4 bringing its 2012 annual total to 135.8 million. Apple’s 2012 annual shipment growth declined from 96 percent in 2011 to 46 percent in 2012.

“It is clear that the iPhone’s hyper-growth has ended, and ABI Research believes that Apple’s market share will peak in 2013 at 22 percent,” says mobile devices senior analyst Michael Morgan. “Unless Apple is willing to trade iPhone margins for low cost iPhone shipments, Apple’s handset market share will become dependent on customer loyalty.”

Looking at the rest of the pack, Nokia shipped 86.3 million handsets and 6.6 million smartphones in Q4 while RIM’s shipments of smartphones declined to 6.9 million. ZTE had an excellent Q4 with 20.7 million handset shipments and 11.2 million smartphone shipments.

“Samsung and Apple are both under pressure to maintain their market lead as less costly smartphones gain momentum entering 2013,” notes senior practice director Jeff Orr. “Technology optimization choices and a diverse handset portfolio are critical decisions over the next six to nine months to come out ahead.”

Global smartphone shipments reach record 700 million units in 2012

USA: According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments grew 43 percent annually to reach a record 700 million units in 2012. Samsung was the star performer, capturing 30 percent marketshare worldwide and extending its lead over Apple and Nokia.

Neil Shah, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said: “Global smartphone shipments grew 38 percent annually from 157.0 million units in Q4 2011 to 217.0 million in Q4 2012. Global smartphone shipments for the full year reached a record 700.1 million units in 2012, increasing robustly from 490.5 million units in 2011. Global shipment growth slowed from 64 percent in 2011 to 43 percent in 2012 as penetration of smartphones began to mature in developed regions such as North America and Western Europe.”

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, added: “Samsung shipped a record 213.0 million smartphones worldwide and captured 30 percent marketshare in 2012. This was the largest number of units ever shipped by a smartphone vendor in a single year, beating Nokia’s previous all-time record when it shipped 100.1 million units during 2010. Despite tough competition in stores and courtrooms, Samsung continued to deliver numerous hit models, from the high-end Galaxy Note2 phablet to the mass-market Galaxy Y.

"Apple grew a healthy 46 percent annually and shipped 135.8 million smartphones worldwide for 19 percent marketshare in 2012, broadly flat from the 19 percent level recorded in 2011. Apple had a strong year in developed regions like North America, but this was offset partly by its limited presence in high-growth emerging markets such as Africa.”

Linda Sui, analyst at Strategy Analytics, said: “Samsung and Apple together accounted for half of all smartphones shipped worldwide in 2012. Large marketing budgets, extensive distribution channels and attractive product portfolios have enabled Samsung and Apple to tighten their grip on the smartphone industry.

"The growth of Samsung and Apple has continued to impact Nokia. Nokia retained its position as the world’s third largest smartphone vendor for full-year 2012, but its global marketshare has dropped sharply from 16 percent to five percent during the past year. Nokia’s Windows Phone portfolio has improved significantly in recent months, with new models like the Lumia 920, but we believe the vendor still lacks a true hero model in its range that can be considered an Apple iPhone or Samsung S3 killer.”

Global mobile phone shipments reach 1.6 billion units in 2012

USA: According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global mobile phone shipments grew a modest 2 percent annually to reach 1.6 billion units in 2012. Samsung was the star performer, accounting for 1 in 4 of all mobile phones shipped worldwide last year.

Neil Shah, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said: “Ongoing macroeconomic challenges in mature markets like North America and Western Europe, tighter operator upgrade policies, and shifting consumer tastes were among the key reasons why global mobile phone shipments grew just 2 percent annually to reach 1.6 billion units in 2012. Fuelled by robust demand for its popular Galaxy models, Samsung was the star performer, shipping a record 396.5 million mobile phones worldwide and capturing 25 percent marketshare to solidify its first-place lead. However, Samsung’s total volumes for the year fell just short of the 400-million threshold.”

Neil Mawston, executive director, Strategy Analytics, added: “Nokia’s global mobile phone shipments fell 20 percent from 417.1 million units in 2011 to 335.6 million in 2012. Nokia faced tough competition from Samsung in developing markets like China, while Apple and others ramped up the pressure in developed regions such as Western Europe. Nokia’s dual-SIM feature phones, Asha touchphones and Lumia handsets have been performing well, but this was not enough to offset a slump in demand for the company’s aging Symbian smartphone platform last year.”

Linda Sui, analyst at Strategy Analytics, noted: “Apple shipped a record 135.8 million mobile phones worldwide in 2012. Apple delivered 46 percent annual growth last year, which was bolstered by solid demand in North America and Asia. Apple’s launch of the iPhone 5 in Q4 2012 was a success as volumes ramped up in dozens of countries worldwide, but negative media coverage of the model’s new integrated maps service and supply chain challenges cast a slight shadow over the launch.”

Other findings from the research include that ZTE captured 5 percent share of the global mobile phone market in 2012, as its shipments fell minus 8 percent from 2011, partly because of heightened competition in core markets like China and Western Europe from rivals such as Coolpad and Samsung.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

4G, NFC, security, new form factors, and connected consumer devices to overcome slowdown in SIM card market growth

ENGLAND: SIM card annual shipments are expected to rise in 2013 by 5 percent to 5.5 billion units. Growth is slowing as markets near saturation and the SIM card becomes increasingly ubiquitous across different network technologies.

However, areas of growth remain with new applications, form factors, and an increasing breadth of connected products. As such, the related market value will grow at a higher rate to $2.3 billion this year and ASPs are forecast to increase slightly over the next five years.

The emphasis is now on extracting maximum value from the 6.3 – rising to 7.5 – billion cards in circulation. 4G rollouts, NFC, and solutions offering more advanced security for payments, DRM, authentication, and encryption will all see higher end SIM cards shipping over the next few years.

Security & ID practice director, John Devlin, comments: “Following shipment growth in 2012 of 8 percent, this is the first time that the SIM card market has had two consecutive years of single-digit growth. There is a growing emphasis from leading vendors on new developments to grow their SIM card businesses. The problem is that this is a limited market, highlighting this fact is that, even in 2017, over half of shipments will still be for use on 2G networks.”

New form factors and the growing need for data connectivity in consumer electronics and M2M devices will provide some further respite to a slowing market. In 2012, 3FF, 4FF, and MFF accounted for 6 percent of shipments; by 2017 this will have increased to 33 percent. Simultaneously, 3G and 4G will have grown from 19 percent to 42 percent. The end result of these advances is that high-end SIMs, i.e., 512KB and above, will account for a third of SIMs shipping in 2017.

Tata Communications brings 100G connectivity to carriers and enterprises using Ciena’s GeoMesh

USA & INDIA: Tata Communications announced the launch of 100 gigabits per second-enabled services on its TGN-Atlantic (TGN-A) subsea cable system – from New York to London.

Using Ciena’s GeoMesh networking solution ( based on its market-leading 6500 Packet-Optical Platform powered by WaveLogic 3 coherent optical processors and optical bypass), Tata Communications is upgrading its TGN-A submarine cable to 100G – the first on its global submarine network.

The upgrade will deliver bandwidth and provide flexibility to carriers and enterprises to scale their network seamlessly and meet their increasing capacity demands, driven by the use of cloud computing and mobile devices, as well as other high-bandwidth services including music / HD video downloading and social networking applications. It will be instrumental in increasing carrier network performance through consolidation of transport traffic.

“The move to 100G coherent technology on our TGN-Atlantic cable system demonstrates our leadership in global network infrastructure,” says Genius Wong, senior VP of Global Network Services at Tata Communications. “Based on Ciena’s GeoMesh, this major deployment will bring maximum bandwidth, lower latencies, higher uptimes and seamless scalability for carriers and enterprises, today and in the future.”

The implementation will pave the way for further upgrades leading to multifold increase in bandwidth availability across Tata Communications’ Global Network (TGN), which consists of 210,000 kilometres of terrestrial and subsea network fibre, reaching countries representing 99.7 percent of the world’s GDP.

The TGN IP Transit Network (AS6453) makes up 20 percent of the world’s internet routes and carries 4,200 Petabits of traffic per month on its Internet backbone. Ciena's WaveLogic coherent receiver technology enables unobtrusive 40G/100G upgrades to existing submarine networks with only the addition of new terminal equipment, significantly extending the life of existing cable plants and further lengthening their lifespans into the future.

The TGN-A will also be equipped with Ciena’s GeoMesh solution. “Our GeoMesh solution is designed to help operators like Tata Communications simplify their global networks by removing traditional network seams that inefficiently linked submarine networks to terrestrial networks,” says Ed McCormack, VP and GM, Submarine Systems at Ciena. “GeoMesh makes networks more cost-effective, reliable, and lower in latency.”

The first phase of the deployment will bring 100G capability to the New York-London route, expected to be in full service during the first half of 2013.

Newtec and Gazprom sign major VSAT deal

RUSSIA & BELGIUM: Satellite equipment specialist Newtec has been selected by Gazprom Space Systems (GSS), in a competitive tendering process, to provide the equipment for a new VSAT platform to be run via the Yamal-402 satellite.

Contracts have been signed making Newtec the preferred partner of choice to provide the complete VSAT system including hub, modems and antennas for the project.

Russia is a large country and having Internet access in the remote areas at an affordable price is essential. Until this year only expensive professional VSAT installations in limited hot spots in the Moscow and Saint Petersburg regions were available. GSS plans to offer satellite broadband access services to local ISPs that will in turn supply services to consumers and enterprise customers within the Yamal-402 footprint, which covers the whole of Russian territory.

Kvant Telecom deploys Ekinops coherent 100G between Moscow and Kharkov

FRANCE: Russian service provider Kvant Telecom has selected Ekinops, a leading supplier of next generation optical transport equipment, to provide coherent 100G transmission between Moscow and the Ukrainian city of Kharkov.

The 100G service is deployed over an existing DWDM system as alien wavelengths and provides Kvant Telecom a massive increase in capacity. It also allows Kvant Telecom to expand its offering to include native 100G services for its diverse domestic and international customers.

Kvant Telecom, founded in 2007, offers a range of communications services to commercial and residential customers via more than 1,500 kilometers of fiber and more than 100 nodes throughout eastern Russia.

The Ekinops 100G equipment is part of the Ekinops 360 family and is extremely compact at just 1RU height. It can be configured as a 100G transponder or 100G muxponder for aggregation of 10G services into 100G. The Ekinops 360 devices are located in Moscow and Voronezh in Russia and at a collocation site in Kharkov in Ukraine. From Kharkov, the 100G link is further extended to Kiev and Lviv in Ukraine, and then on to Frankfurt, Germany.

“The ultra-high performance and small form factor of our Ekinops 360 platform allowed Kvant Telecom to seamlessly integrate our 100G solution," said Didier Bredy, CEO of Ekinops. "This complements the Ekinops 20G services already deployed over their existing DWDM network for more than a year."

“The Ekinops solution is meeting perfectly our technical expectations," said Alexander Torohov, general director of Kvant Telecom. "It allows us to address the huge demand we are seeing to connect Moscow with other European hubs. We are particularly impressed by the optical performance of the Ekinops 100G product, its small footprint, low power consumption and cost which will hold down our overall cost of ownership."

The Ekinops 360 is Ekinops' flagship next-generation optical transport platform, providing DWDM and CWDM (dense and coarse wavelength division multiplexing) on a single platform for metro, regional, and long-haul applications. It handles service rates from 100 Mbps to 100 Gbps. It offers a broad portfolio of services, including SONET/SDH, Fibre Channel, FICON, video, Ethernet, and Infiniband.

Firefox OS developer phones

Nick Dillon, senior analysts, Devices and Platforms, Ovum

AUSTRALIA: Much like Chrome OS in the desktop, Firefox OS is an interesting academic exercise that will test the limits of what is currently possible with mobile web technologies.

As outlined in our Devices 2020 research, Ovum believes that web technologies are the future for mobile development. However, we do not think that the web-only Firefox OS will facilitate a dramatic change in the approach to mobile application development. There is already good support for HTML5 web technologies on the existing major smartphone platforms, meaning that there is little need for another platform in order to drive their adoption forward.

Despite their shortcomings, native mobile applications currently fulfill a valuable role in the mobile ecosystem and are both understood and popular with consumers. We therefore believe that the transition to web technologies will be more gradual than the wholesale switch proposed by Firefox OS, with consumers continuing to use a mix of native and web applications rather than limiting themselves one way or another.

Another significant barrier to the success of Firefox OS will be cost. The Firefox OS devices will be targeted at emerging markets, where they will be competing with low to mid-tier Android devices. From a consumer perspective, the Firefox OS devices will offer less functionality than comparable Android devices, without access to embedded Google services and the hundreds of thousands of third-party applications available on Android devices.

In order to be competitive and attractive to users, the Firefox OS devices will therefore need to be significantly cheaper than similar Android devices. The consortium has clearly acknowledged this and Telefonica has stated that the devices will be available for $50 excluding operator subsidies. However, we find it hard to believe they will be able to achieve this price point as they will be very similar in construction to comparable $150-200 Android handsets, and it is not clear where the savings will come from to drive the cost down to this level.

The devices will still require a relatively high-end processor (the announcement pointed towards Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipsets) in order to run HTML5 web apps. Additionally, the devices will require all the other components normally found in more expensive devices, such as screens, memory, and cellular radios. Removing middleware components will free up some memory and processor cycles, but will not make a fundamental difference to the cost of the devices.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Commercial Wi-Fi comes of age as operators trial new deployment strategies

USA: Stoke's newly-available Wi-Fi eXchange gateway is engaged in multiple commercial service trials uncovering new ways for telecom operators to incorporate Wi-Fi as a revenue-supporting service. In a single unit, Wi-Fi eXchange introduces a broad set of extremely flexible Wi-Fi management capabilities previously unavailable to mobile broadband carriers.

"Operators are exploring ways to enhance their return on investment by incorporating secure and seamless Wi-Fi into well-crafted business strategies," said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. " Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint addresses numerous opportunities to deliver a seamless and secure Wi-Fi experience, and our members continue to build on that foundation. The options now being explored by service providers in conjunction with companies like Stoke demonstrate terrific momentum towards pervasive Wi-Fi from service operators."

Wi-Fi Alliance has been instrumental in driving the evolution of Wi-Fi strategies, providing a forum for Wi-Fi operators, equipment providers and hardware manufacturers to develop industry-wide standards and programs which are critical to mass market adoption.  The Passpoint certification program, launched in June 2012, has already seen significant industry adoption.

Broadband carriers' strategies vary widely according to the specific drivers and objectives of each organization. Until now, for want of widely applicable, carrier-grade Wi-Fi technology solutions, operators have been forced either to cobble together compromise solutions or to delay implementation.

Since announcing commercial availability in November, 2012, Stoke's Wi-Fi eXchange has been in high demand with wholesale Wi-Fi, fixed line and cellular operators for trials leveraging the platform's ability to leapfrog previous technology challenges.

Wi-Fi eXchange offers an extensive feature set, including multi-vendor core and radio equipment interoperability, broad network topology support, and carrier-grade performance.

"Stoke's benefit to operators in these use cases is in delivering flexibility and efficiency in operations for both access and core networks.  For example, operators can terminate both Layer 2 and Layer 3 connected Wi-Fi access networks, as well as access points from different manufacturers, on Wi-Fi eXchange where they needed several gateways before," explained John Carvalho, VP, Wireless Architecture, at Stoke.

"In addition, on the core side Wi-Fi eXchange enables operators to selectively apply GGSN-based business processes to Wi-Fi subscriber sessions while the rest is directed – at least cost – to the Internet. For example we're demonstrating how operators can use Wi-Fi to recapture roaming revenues lost to Wi-Fi ISPs, without requiring major disruptions to the mobile core infrastructure," added Carvalho. "We are extremely pleased with the performance of the Wi-Fi eXchange in widely differing scenarios."

BroadSoft licenses SPIRIT DSP mobile video engine

RUSSIA: SPIRIT DSP announced that BroadSoft Inc., a leading global provider of software and services that enables mobile, fixed-line and cable service providers to deliver unified communications and other voice and multimedia services over their IP- based networks, has licensed TeamSpirit Voice&Video Engine Mobile and PC to provide HD-quality voice and video calls in its BroadTouch user application.

BroadTouch Business Communicator brings together voice, video, instant messaging and presence, on a single interface that spans mobile and desktop platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. BroadTouch harnesses the power of the BroadWorks application platform and BroadCloud, the firm's cloud-based service delivery platform, and extends these innovative communication services directly to the end-user. Before the agreement with SPIRIT DSP, Broadsoft used Google's voice engine.

BroadSoft has over 500 telecommunications service provider customers in more than 65 countries, including 20 of the top 25 service providers globally, as measured by revenue.

“We are dedicated to ensuring our global telecommunications service provider customers provide a superior communication experience to their users,” said Scott Hoffpauir, chief technology officer, BroadSoft. “We believe SPIRIT’s capabilities will help us power HD voice and video calling that will radically change the communication experience.”

"BroadSoft is the global leader in the IP communications space for carriers. We believe SPIRIT’s global agreement with BroadSoft underscores the growing demand from telecommunications providers around the world to offer HD voice and video communications as part of their service package in an effort to retain and gain new subscribers and reduce churn to OTT players," said Andrew Sviridenko, chairman of SPIRIT.

"With the help of our global partners, SPIRIT engines are the only real alternative to OTT VoIP-products of Google, Skype and Microsoft.  SPIRIT engines give carriers a reliable way to rapidly roll-out their own-branded high quality VVoIP communications products."

Embrace BYOD or be left behind

USA: Dell Quest Software announced the results of a global survey of IT executives to gauge the level of organizational maturity with existing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies, along with realized and anticipated benefits and problems.

The findings conclude that approximately 70 percent of companies believe BYOD can improve their work processes and help them work better in the future, while an estimated 59 percent believe they would be at a competitive disadvantage without BYOD.

According to a survey of nearly 1,500 IT decision makers across the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, Singapore, India, and the Beijing region, organizations are optimistic about the potential corporate gains of BYOD, reporting they would be at a competitive disadvantage without it. Some of the key findings include:

* An estimated three quarters of those polled stated that BYOD can only deliver massive benefits if the specific needs and rights of each user are understood;  while only an estimated 17 percent of the organizations encourage BYOD and who actively manage any device employees wish to use — showing they really understand the need to empower employees.

* On average, survey respondents identified four personal gains for their employees, including more flexible working hours, along with the ability to foster creativity, speed innovation, and facilitate teamwork/collaboration.

Embracing BYOD can lead to greater gains
* According to the survey results, companies with mature BYOD programs are most likely to achieve the most benefits; Beijing was the most optimistic in reporting potential gains.

* Organizations that consider applications part of a robust BYOD strategy are more likely to link and manage devices per user, clearly define roles for their user community in one central database, track and support each user’s level of mobility, and deliver applications to users based on their role within the company.

* A user-centric strategy can have a significant and positive impact reaping rewards for companies in data management and security, as well as employee productivity and customer satisfaction. Approximately 74 percent experienced improved employee productivity while an estimated 70 percent saw faster customer response times.

* Companies who embraced BYOD programs experienced improved employee productivity, faster customer response times and improved operational efficiencies.

* Companies with well-established BYOD policies are the least likely to experience any kind of setbacks, with over a quarter of this group experiencing none at all.

* Over half of respondents state that BYOD has completely changed their IT culture (approximately 56 percent) and or business culture (approximately 54 percent) in their organization.

How worldwide BYOD stacks up
* The US, Beijing region and Australia represent the top three countries that encourage BYOD by actively managing and supporting any device that users want to bring into the corporate environment; France, Germany and the UK are the bottom three in providing this level of support.

* The two technology areas most commonly implemented first for BYOD are desktop virtualization and mobile device management (MDM). France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Australia implemented desktop virtualization first, while Singapore, India, Beijing, the UK, and US started with MDM.

* In India and Beijing, all the organizations polled plan to, or already offer some support for personal devices.

* Only an estimated 19 percent in Germany said users would be required to purchase a support program for all personal devices—the only country lower than this is UK. However, around three in ten organizations in Germany state that their employees will not be required to adhere to any regulations when it comes to devices in their BYOD policy.

* Beijing, India and France were the top three countries to report that any BYOD support policies would require employees to ready their own devices for corporate use.

Vuclip releases global mobile devices rankings for Q4 2012

INDIA: Global interest is bubbling up for the Samsung Galaxy S III, even as Blackberry retains a strong hold on much of the global mobile handset market. This is according toVuclip’s Global Devices Ranking Q4 2012 published in its January 2013 Global Video Insights report.

At the top of the Q4 2012 Global Mobile Devices Rankings, there were no notable changes, with the iPhone remaining dominant. Further down the list, the quarter saw the continued growth of Android under Samsung, led by the Samsung Galaxy S III, which leapt 18 places in just three months.

Feature phones continued to slide, while Samsung's low-end Android handsets, the Galaxy Y and Galaxy Ace, moved up the list with modest strength. There was one bright spot in Nokia's line. The Nokia E72 rose five spots against expectations. This was not a rally for Symbian as a whole, however, as the newer Nokia 5233 shed ten spots. This may indicate that the utilitarian hardware features of the older E72 have a lasting appeal that the conventional touchscreen 5233 lacks.

Here are the top 10 devices, ranked by video views, globally:
“We are seeing the shift we predicted with the advent of larger screen, low cost smartphones," said Nickhil Jakatdar, CEO, Vuclip. "Our branding, content provider and carrier partners tell us that the data we can provide is unparalleled by anyone else in the space. Stay tuned in 2013 to see how we package these data insights in more interesting ways."

Huge market potential for Ethernet over coax in China; cablecos prepare for broadband fight

USA: Infonetics Research released excerpts from a new report, Ethernet over Coax (EoC) Equipment and Subscribers in China, which tracks market size and subscribers for EoC master/headend and modem hardware.

“The number of TV subscribers in China is 200 million and growing fast, presenting a huge opportunity for cable TV operators there to become significant fixed broadband service providers, challenging China Telecom and China Unicom”

“The number of TV subscribers in China is 200 million and growing fast, presenting a huge opportunity for cable TV operators there to become significant fixed broadband service providers, challenging China Telecom and China Unicom,” notes Jeff Heynen, directing analyst for broadband access and pay TV at Infonetics Research.
“Given China’s unique multi-dwelling unit-dominated environment, cable operators are using Ethernet over Coax technology to quickly roll out broadband services to compete with fiber deployments.”

Heynen continues: “But the cable companies are in the process of consolidating and retooling, and given the organizational and operational challenges that lay ahead, they’ll want to spread EoC rollouts over a longer period of time as they sort out which technologies to use, which markets to target first, and how to best market services they have little to no experience providing.”

EoC market highlights
* Infonetics forecasts the market for Ethernet over Coax (EoC) equipment in China, including master/headend units and modems, to grow at a 33 percent CAGR from 2011 to 2016.

* EoC modem shipments are expected to grow sixfold by 2016, when they will make up around 70 percent of the total EoC revenue.

* There are currently 3.7 million EoC subscribers in China, growing to nearly 24 million by 2016.

In 2012 smartphone users spent $8 billion for paid apps in top five app platforms

GERMANY: The market for paid application downloads has reached $8 billion in 2012 in the top five app platforms. This represents an increase of 27 percent compared to 2011 figures. In the meantime, average revenue for paid applications has decreased from $26,720 in 2011 to $19,560 in 2012.

Despite the global slowdown of the economy the demand for paid mobile applications is growing at an impressive speed. The main driver is still the growing number of smartphone users with pre-installed app stores. The majority of paid downloads are being generated by 5 app stores: Apple App Store, Google Play, BlackBerry App World, Nokia Ovi Store and Windows Phone Store.

This growing demand in turn gives rise to a surge in applications developed. Owing to this, there are now so many applications available that supply even exceeds demand. As a result, the average revenue of paid applications generated in 2012 is 27 percent lower than in 2011. Such a decrease is in line with previous years and could eventually lead to a development where paid apps are no longer profitable. This might lead to a similar situation as the internet one where, in general, paid content has proved to be not anymore a lucrative business model.

There are significant differences in the average revenue earned per application between the top five app stores. The trend nevertheless remains the same for all platforms.

As a consequence more and more application publishers build their applications around other revenue models, which include:

1. in-app advertisements, e.g. banners.
2. in-app purchases, e.g. allowing the user to reach a new level in a game.
3. mCommerce, e.g. selling pizza via app.
4. bundles with hardware or services, e.g. a free application bundled to a priced sensor to track health parameters.
5. efficiency gains for internal and external processes, e.g. a service technician app.
6. cost reduction, e.g. personal health record app, which allows patients and doctors to record medical treatments in order to prevent double-examination costs.

The shift in revenue models also means that mobile applications will resemble more and more traditional applications that we know from the enterprise application market with common business models.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Global LTE subscribers set to more than double in 2013 and exceed 100 million

USA: Just three short years after the technology’s original deployment, worldwide subscribers to the 4G wireless standard known as Long Term Evolution (LTE) are projected to surpass the 100-million mark this year.

LTE subscribers worldwide will reach 198.1 million in 2013, up a remarkable 115 percent from 92.3 million last year, according to an IHS iSuppli Wireless Communications Special Report.

Since being adopted in 2010 with just 612,000 users, the 4G next-generation wireless technology has grown by leaps and bounds, surging by an astounding factor of 22 to 13.2 million subscribers in 2011, and then jumping another 599 percent in 2012 to nearly 100 million subscribers. By 2016, LTE will claim more than 1.0 billion users, as shown in the figure attached, equivalent to a five-year compound annual growth rate of 139 percent.

“With LTE emerging as a true global technology standard, its ecosystem now faces both challenges and opportunities,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. “Rapid adoption will drive design innovations, particularly in smartphones, but issues like spectrum fragmentation will also remain an overhang for the LTE industry that requires attention. Overall, however, the LTE space will be less worried about rifts or divisions in technology, and more concerned with laying the foundation for sustained growth across the entire LTE landscape.”

If you build it…
Globally, wireless network operators have been continually building the infrastructure for LTE technology, driven by increased appetite among consumers for faster content delivery, feature-rich applications and expansive mobile services such as social networking. While the majority of early operator activity was concentrated in Europe and Asia, North America propelled new subscriber activity in 2011 and 2012.

The bulk of growth during the last two years also came from smartphone upgrades, especially as 4G LTE technology hit top-of-mind for data-savvy consumers. This is because more than any other type of phone, smartphones are able to take further advantage of the faster data connectivity provided by LTE, which leverages the kind of low-latency, always-on mobile broadband service that consumers now demand.

Spectrum fragmentation presents a problem
Even as LTE has become the de facto global standard for 4G over WiMAX, an early rival, interoperability across multiple carriers and spectrum holdings is far from consistent. While the precursor 3G technology was deployed over a handful of spectrum bands globally, LTE so far has registered more than 40 different frequency spectrums, resulting in a complex landscape for equipment and component suppliers.

But LTE-driven innovations are real too
Even in the face of this difficulty, the advantages to be derived from LTE are nonetheless substantial.

Compared to previous cellular standards, LTE with its low-latency performance allows the handling of a wider range of applications, such as live video streaming, video conferencing, voice over IP and realtime multiplayer gaming. These new applications, in turn, create fresh market opportunities for component supplier and device manufacturers.

In particular, LTE is a force multiplier for innovation among smartphones. To take advantage of a more capable network, device manufacturers are accelerating the pace of innovation for applications processors, touch-screen displays, camera technology and ever-more sophisticated mobile operating systems and software.

Such device innovations, in turn, will create ever-more capable smartphones.