Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Software Option Doors Thrown Open By Cellphone Hardware Giant

Smartphones as represented by the Nokia "N" series pictured here, are getting a software structural boost with the formation of an "open-source" foundation based on the Symbian OS software platform. Image Credit: Nokia via BusinessWeek

Software Option Doors Thrown Open By Cellphone Hardware Giant

In a move that will become the sea change for an industry that had been largely controlled here in North America by consumer level distributors, the world’s largest cellphone handset manufacturer buys the software operating system and plans to make the code available to developers.
By releasing the operating system to other developers, any manufacturer of a cellphone handset could adopt the software for use on its hardware platform and thereby “spread the wealth” of the development of programs that people use to get more function out of there daily mobility devices.

This move is 180 degrees from the way the recent development and release of Apple’s popular iPhone. All hardware and software comes from and can only be approved for use in the iPhone by Apple and its willing marketing partner, AT&T.

With Nokia’s ownership of the Symbian operating system software, and the decision to release the ability to use this operating system on any other manufacturers’ hardware, will naturally lead to the development of programs that can be used on many types of phones anyone purchases.

This ability for the software to work on many manufacturers’ phones will increase the competition for the more popular software applications that will get things done better, faster, and at a lower cost. An explosion of development will ensue to meet the demand for an application starved marketplace based upon the improved intelligence of the new generation of handsets.

Apple, however, will remain Apple.

Vodafone to offer 10 3G handsets including two megapixel camera phone. The headsets to be offered are: Sharp 802, Sharp 902, Motorola E1000, Motorola C980, Motorola V980, EC's Vodafone 802N, Sony Ericsson V800, Nokia 6630, Samsung Z110V and Samsung Z107V. Image Credit:

This excerpted and edited from BusinessWeek -

Nokia Throws Open Mobile Software
Buying Symbian and making its mobile operating-system software open source should keep the likes of Apple and Microsoft on their toes
by Jennifer L. Schenker (With Mark Scott in London) – BusinessWeek,Technology (Paris) - June 24, 2008, 2:16PM EST

Few companies have the heft to take on Apple (
AAPL), Google (GOOG), and Microsoft (MSFT)—much less all three at the same time. But Nokia (NOK), the world's largest handset maker, made it clear on June 24 that it does not intend to cede its ground in mobile-phone software to gate-crashing U.S. tech giants.

The Finnish company announced a plan to buy the 52.1% of shares it doesn't already own in London-based
Symbian, the leading maker of operating system software for advanced mobile phones. In an industry-shifting move, Nokia will merge the company with parts of its own organization and then create an open-source foundation that will give away the resulting software for free to other handset makers.

Until now, Symbian has been owned by a consortium of rivals including Nokia, Sony (
SNE), Ericsson (ERIC), Panasonic (MC), Siemens (SI), and Samsung. The company was set up a decade ago to develop an independent software platform for smartphones. And indeed, Symbian software is now used in more than half of all such devices, relegating rivals such as Microsoft's pint-size Windows Mobile to a thin slice of the market.

But in the past year, the complexion of the industry has shifted as a new crop of rivals, most using open-source Linux software, have barged in. Nokia and the newcomers are now locked in a high-stakes battle whose outcome could shape the future of mobile communication—and by extension, of the Internet, as a growing number of consumers around the world
access the Web from handheld devices (, 2/12/08).
But there's more to it than that. In an era of emerging wireless applications, a platform is merely the jumping-off point. The real focus in the industry is shifting from what's inside the phone to the snazzy online stuff a handset can access over the air—from mobile music and photo sharing to GPS and location-based services.
Before Nokia can convert millions of customers to wireless Web services, though, it has to give many more phones the capability found in its high-end N-Series models or the trendsetting Apple iPhone. That's where Symbian comes in: Today it's used mostly for top-of-the-line devices, but Nokia and others want to see it move down into mass-market products (known in industry jargon as "feature phones").

Today, such phones tend to use inflexible, homegrown software that's nightmarishly hard for handset makers and mobile operators to modify, limiting the opportunity for economies of scale possible if phones from many makers shared common software. Closed systems also make life more difficult for operators and suppliers of mobile software and services.
Can the new Symbian Foundation really be open and independent when Nokia has such a vested interest in its software? That's one reason so many big players in the mobile and tech industries continue to spread their bets.
In the end, it's unlikely any one operating system will prevail in handsets, as happened with Windows on personal computers. And for all its efforts to remain in the lead, Symbian could stumble if the rival initiatives do a better job of recruiting handset makers, independent software developers, service providers—and end users.

"This is a difficult industry," says Colly Myers, a former CEO of Symbian. "Part of it is technology; part of it is fashion; and part of it is consumer." As with anything tied to trends, he notes, "today's hero is tomorrow's fallen idol."

Reference Here>>

The big question here is will Symbian software development begin to tackle business development and mobility applications just as PALM attempted to do in its relationship with Motorola (Symbol Technologies) and JANAM ... or will this application segment become a backwater development eddy as it had for both of these business efforts ... who are left with a graduating path to the more capable linux OS for the future?

At the very least, consumers will win through a broader access to applications for use on a greater choice of devices that will provide full computer functionality, aided with access to the internet via WiFi or cell tower on an anytime, anywhere basis.

Welcome to the new emerging and open world of personal computer/phone mobility!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Proximity Payment Systems Get An Olympian Effort

Artist Conception - Olympic Stadium, London. Image Credit: Evening Standard (UK)

Proximity Payment Systems Get An Olympian Effort

From cellphones, credit/debit cards, to kiosk pay systems … the 2012 Olympic Games hosted by England will be run as a cashless, contactless payment affaire.

London already boasts more than 5,000 retailers from quick transaction food to specialty retail working with the new systems that feature the use of a special Visa “wave and pay” card that goes by the name Oyster.

The larger plan for the Olympic venues is to have all that attend, carry absolutely NO CASH and be able to go from venue to venue in a utopian, controlled instant and/or pre-paid environment.

Contactless payment systems known as "wave and pay". Image Credit: The Retail Factory (UK)

This from the Evening Standard (UK) -

The plastic Olympics: visitors to 2012 told 'no cash is needed'
Mark Prigg, Science Correspondent - 19.06.08

Visa is already using the technology and has distributed more than 100,000 "wave and pay" cards to its customers in London. More than 5,000 retailers, including McDonald's, Krispy Kreme and Eat have signed up to the scheme.
From today, the cards can also be used to pay for an Evening Standard simply by tapping them over electronic readers at vendors' kiosks. This uses GPRS-based technology developed in conjunction with Lloyds TSB Cardnet. Guido Mangiagalli of Visa said: "By the end of the year we hope to have over 13,000 retailers signed up but we see the 2012 Games as being our chance to really showcase this technology. Every Olympic venue will have contactless readers in retailers and we aim to make the Games entirely cash-free for visitors."
For visitors to the Olympics who do not own a credit card, prepay cards will be sold. Payments with the cards will be limited to £10 and Visa hopes they will be used for smaller purchases.
Mr Mangiagalli said: "We knew there would need to be a significant cultural shift for consumers and retailers to fully embrace the concept of using cards to make low-value payments - traditionally the preserve of cash.
"In retail environments, such as coffee shops, express grocery stores and newsagents, where purchases are lowvalue and speed of service is essential, Visa payWave offers a secure, convenient and quick alternative to cash and it is revolutionising how consumers pay for items in London and across Europe."

Mobile phone firm O2 has also been testing the technology with a mobile that acts as a credit card and Oyster card. Users simply swipe the back of the phone over a reader to make payments.

Reference Here>>

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Traffic Jams On The Information Superhighway Explained

The Harbor Freeway Interchange is the largest and tallest freeway interchange in Southern California. This massive 5-stack interchange connects the Century Freeway (I-105) with the Harbor Freeway (I-110). Nestled between its soaring ramps is a 3-level train and bus depot. Image Credit: g. s. george (2007)

Traffic Jams On The Information Superhighway Explained

In an article published in Britain’s leading financial publication, the Financial Times, the Chief Technology Officer of Nortel Systems does a pretty good job of explaining the current and future landscape of the demands consumers are placing on today’s internet.

The demand and applications requiring more data to be transferred in shorter periods of time combined with the availability and expansion of mobility devices, are having their effect on the efficiency and confidence in the structure of the whole of this New Media world.

If consumer and business applications are to be successful in the future, changes will need to take place in order to have a system that will deliver the desired communication requirements demanded by all who participate.

Using MobileFrame's Smart Architecture, novice computer users can build and deploy sophisticated mobile applications, and make changes, without the need for professional IT services. When the MobileFrame Monitor autonomously senses network availability, it transmits those processes to selected remote client devices across any wired or wireless TCP/IP connection (WAN, LAN, 802.11, GPRS, device dock). The MobileFrame Client operates on any .NET enabled handheld device, including Pocket PC PDA's, Tablet PC's or Laptops. Image Credit:

This excerpted and edited from the Financial Times (UK) –

Satisfying the bandwidth monster in all of us
By John Roese - Published: June 18 2008 03:00 Last updated: June 18 2008 03:00

The internet today is much like a motorway or freeway, with its multiple lanes, on and off-ramps, and its ability to move large volumes of traffic made up of different types of vehicles from point A to B quite effectively most of the time.

More often than not, things run smoothly, but during rush hour, arteries get congested and traffic slows to a crawl, no matter what vehicle you drive.

At the heart of the internet are fat "pipes" - the fibre-optic equivalents of the LA Freeway - which can carry huge amounts of "traffic" in the form of voice, data, video and any combination thereof. The myriad on and off-ramps - connections that telecom service providers have hooked up to it - are not quite so fat or quite so fast.

The "vehicles" traveling over the internet form different-sized traffic streams; roughly speaking, smaller streams carry voice, medium-sized streams carry data such as e-mail with attachments and internet links, and monster streams carry video.

And, as on the LA Freeway, traffic jams and accidents on the internet can and do occur. In the internet world that can mean a delay in packets arriving at their destination - which, for an internet phone call can result in a voice sounding like a Dalek - or packets arriving without all the "passengers", potentially causing the video you are watching or the phone conversation you are having to terminate.

It is these traffic jams and accidents that are causing increasing concern for internet service providers (ISPs), who bear the brunt of the resulting end-user road rage. This is in spite of the fact that it is end users themselves wreaking the havoc as they embrace and demand services and applications that require increasingly large amounts of bandwidth.
Downloading a DVD on demand takes the equivalent bandwidth of 16m web page downloads, 400,000 e-mails, or nearly 2,000 iTunes songs (the size of web, music and e-mail files varies greatly, but these are realistic averages). And one movie on a dual-layer Blu-ray disk consumes the staggering equivalent of 100m web page downloads, 2.5m e-mails, and more than 12,000 iTunes songs. Suddenly, the images of consumers as bandwidth-hungry monsters and the LA Freeway as a car park spring to mind.
The new services are gobbling up huge amounts of bandwidth, to the point where we have virtually eliminated the "bandwidth glut" of unused capacity that was built up during the late 1990s dotcom boom. We are, in fact, speeding towards a "bandwidth crisis".
Anything that would benefit from being connected is being connected. This is not just mobile phones and PDAs, but home appliances, cars, clothing, industrial machinery and billions of small sensors that can be used for everything from monitoring patients' vital signs for remote diagnostics and emergency alerting, to environmental conditions and countless other items.

So, what can we do?

First, we need to expand the freeway but without the year-long roadworks that cause endless frustration.
This is something Nortel is working on. We are making it so that each road (that is - a single-strand of optical fibre) can support up to 80 lanes (called wavelengths in the telecom world). The result is that one road can move eight terabytes (thousand billion bytes) of information per second compared to less than one terabyte today. (To provide some context, the entire UK National Archive contains approximately 60 terabytes of data.)

Most importantly, this expansion can be achieved by upgrading existing fibre networks - without the delay, cost and inconvenience of new fibre roll-outs. As well as making the internet motorway bigger, it needs to be made more efficient, for example by replacing the "traffic lights" of legacy internet systems with "roundabouts" that keep traffic flowing, and by making the on-ramps much bigger.

Is there a way to sate the ravenous appetite of the bandwidth monster in us all?

No, not really. We have an insatiable - and natural - need to communicate with each other in as rich a way as possible and we will take advantage of every type of media in order to do so. That will never change.

But by applying breakthrough technology and by looking intelligently at the evolution of the internet, there is a way to ensure we never go hungry.
Reference Here>>