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Mae
| News and views on everything wireless and mobile, from WiFi and WiMAX to 3G and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC).

January 2007

You are browsing the archive for January 2007.

Portable Navigation Device Vendor Seeks Differentiation

January 30, 2007

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, at least for manufacturers of portable navigation devices. Skating on razor-thin margins for devices priced as low as $200, these manufacturers face some tough challenges.   So what’s a navigation device manufacturer to do? One word: differentiate, differentiate, differentiate. Okay, that’s three words, but you get the point.   In particular, a new report from ABI Research says, these manufacturers are seeking to differentiate their higher-end, pricier products.

ABI: Apple iPhone is not a 'Smartphone'

January 25, 2007

Here’s a seemingly simple question: what is Apple’s iPhone? Well, that’s obvious. It’s a phone. It’s a cellphone. It’s a music/media player.

Will iPhone be an iPod Killer?

January 23, 2007

Pretend for a moment that you run a company that makes a really kick-ass product; a product that has been hailed in your industry has groundbreaking and has had all your competitors jostling to regain market share for years.   Now suppose you develop another product similar to the first one, but with other features, that looks like it will be an even bigger hit than the first one. You’d like to dominate the market in all areas possible, but you’re concerned that the second product may cut into profits from the first one.   That’s precisely the situation Apple may soon find itself in. A recent Pike & Fischer Broadband Advisory report noted that Wall Street analysts are somewhat concerned that, when it hits store shelves in June, iPhone (or whatever it will be called by then) could cut into sales of iPod.   That’s hardly surprising, considering that iPhone includes a built-in iPod; anyone who buys one probably won’t see the need to buy a separate music player. After all, who wants to carry around two devices that both do the same thing, when one of them also does other cool stuff?   Wait, it gets worse (or better): “Some analysts worry that consumers may delay purchasing new iPods as they wait for the June release of the iPhone, which will have the same functions and much more,” Pike & Fischer said in its report.   Could be, I suppose.

Exclaim Launches Pictavision 6.0 Mobile Photo Sharing App

January 18, 2007

Here’s something for all you mobile shutterbugs out there: Exclaim, a provider of wireless and Web applications, recently launched version 6.0 of its Pictavision photo- sharing software for mobile phones.   With Pictavision, users can transform any mobile phone that’s enabled with BREW, Java or SYMBIAN into a tool for sharing and finding video and photos through a variety of media Web sites including KODAK EASYSHARE Gallery, dotPhoto, Flickr, Adobe Photoshop Showcase, and SmugMug.   Pictavision’s interface is designed to make this sharing quick and easy. Among its features are:
  • Text and voice tagging
  • Background upload of photos and videos
  • Multi-lingual support (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Integrated MMS
“Pictavision lets you take a photo, add a voice caption, send it as a greeting, and save it online in just four clicks, making it the easiest way to take, save and share photos and videos from a camera phone,” the product’s Web site says.   Pictavision is provided on a subscription basis, with plans starting at $3.99. It’s available through the following U.S.

Exlaim Launches Pictavision 6.0 Mobile Photo Sharing App

January 18, 2007

Here’s something for all you mobile shutterbugs out there: Exclaim, a provider of wireless and Web applications, recently launched version 6.0 of its Pictavision photo- sharing software for mobile phones.   With Pictavision, users can transform any mobile phone that’s enabled with BREW, Java or SYMBIAN into a tool for sharing and finding video and photos through a variety of media Web sites including KODAK EASYSHARE Gallery, dotPhoto, Flickr, Adobe Photoshop Showcase, and SmugMug.   Pictavision’s interface is designed to make this sharing quick and easy. Among its features are:
  • Text and voice tagging
  • Background upload of photos and videos
  • Multi-lingual support (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Integrated MMS
“Pictavision lets you take a photo, add a voice caption, send it as a greeting, and save it online in just four clicks, making it the easiest way to take, save and share photos and videos from a camera phone,” the product’s Web site says.   Pictavision is provided on a subscription basis, with plans starting at $3.99. It’s available through the following U.S.

Wireless Energy Efficiency Pop Quiz

January 16, 2007

Pop quiz: which of the following is the most energy efficient method of delivering mobile broadband?

1. WCDMA (cellular)
2. WiMAX
3. WiFi

Here with your answer is ABI Research analyst Stuart Carlaw (quoted from a recent news release): “From a pure coverage perspective WiMAX is twice as energy-cost-effective and metro Wi-Fi is 50 times more energy-cost-effective than WCDMA.





Cisco Sues Apple Over iPhone Trademark

January 11, 2007

Surprise, surprise. Cisco is suing Apple over the ‘iPhone’ trademark. Well, it does come as somewhat of a surprise, since up until Cisco announced the lawsuit yesterday afternoon, it appeared the companies were on the verge of an agreement regarding the name. I guess the agreement must have fallen through at the last moment.   To be honest, the lawsuit surprises me quite a bit, since I just assumed Apple had worked out the legal details of iPhone before announcing the product.

Phones That Were Popular Before iPhone

January 10, 2007

Here’s something that caught my eyes this morning: Wirefly, a Web site that offers comparison shopping services for cell phones and wireless plans, today released a list of the ten most popular cell phones during 2006.   My first response to the list is to wonder how many of these phones, a year from now, will still be considered popular or cutting-edge, now that Apple has shaken things up with the long-awaited iPhone. As Steve Jobs said in his speech Tuesday, its unlikely that anyone will look at smartphones the same way again now that iPhone is on the scene.   Back two days ago, before the iPhone, though, the following list did represent the hottest and best cell phones available.   1. Cingular RAZR by Motorola
2.

Apple and Steve Jobs: Masters of Product Design and Theater

January 10, 2007

I suppose it says something about my level of geekiness (in every positive sense of the word) that last night I went home and spent the evening watching the video of Steve Jobs’ Macworld keynote speech. At roughly two hours, the speech represented a time investment equal to that of a feature-length movie. And it was worth every second.

I came away from watching the keynote with a firm conviction that Jobs and Apple not only are masters of product design, but also of theater.

Yes, Virginia, There is an Apple iPhone

January 9, 2007

If you’re both a newshound and an Apple junkie like me, you just couldn’t resist hopping on some of the blogs reporting live from Macworld Expo, where even as I write this Steve Jobs is keynoting about The Next Big Thing.   Big news that I’m sure is causing a lot of analysts and commentators to eat humble pie (or crow, if you prefer): Apple IS coming out it a mobile phone. And they ARE calling it iPhone. (Not sure how that will work trademark-wise, given Linksys’ recent launch of its iPhone VoIP line.)   Here’s Jason O’Grady of XDNet’s Apple Core, quoting/paraphrasing Steve Jobs: “Today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products
1.

RFID Robots Invade Library

January 9, 2007

In a former life, I worked as a librarian. So, an article about the use of radio frequency ID (RFID) chips at Chicago State University’s library, in the January, 2007 issue of Wired Magazine, caught my eye. At this particular library, students have been banned from the stacks, because robots now are installed to quickly retrieve any item that is desired.

Here’s how it works: every item in the library (books, CDs, DVDs) is tagged with an RFID chip.

A Few Final Words About iPhone and other Potential Apple Macworld Announcements

January 5, 2007


Warning: time is running out to issue predictions regarding what cool, new products and services Apple will announce at the Macworld Expo next week. If you’ve got Apple fever, here’s a little something to keep your temperature high over the weekend.

In a posting Thursday, AppleInsider blogger posted information from the latest Macworld Rumor Roundup from research and investment firm PiperJaffray.

The roundup gives numerical rankings/probabilities for a variety of products that Apple potentially could be unveiling.




ABI: Tiny MEMS Technology Will Become Big for Mobile Phones in 2008

January 4, 2007

Warning: technical language ahead.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s proceed.

Ever hear of MEMS (short for Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems)? Neither had I until reading a recent report from ABI Research claiming that, starting in 2008, this technology will be all the rage in mobile handsets.



Parks Associates: Adoption of Standards Will Drive Growth in Wireless, Multimedia Networking

January 3, 2007

As is usually the case with technology, once the underlying specifications become standardized, adoption becomes widespread by both consumers and manufacturers/providers. That’s because standardization reassure people they knew what they’re getting, and that it will work the same way in a variety of applications.

 

Research company Parks Associates noted this fact in its recent report about the market for wireless, multimedia networking. The firm predicted that “industry adoption of next-generation specifications will provide a substantial boost to the market for wireless multimedia networking, prompting growth in excess of 50 million wireless network devices by 2010.”

 

Two of the specification poised to help spur the growth are next-gen WiFi and Ultra-wideband (UWB), Parks Associates said.

Sage/CMB Report: Here's Why FMC is Not Yet Mainstream in Corporate America

January 2, 2007

In a recent Sage/CMB Market Pulse newsletter, Chadwick Martin Bailey (a marketing and analytics company) reported that fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) technology is not yet mainstream in corporate America—and offered some reasons why that is.

Among those reasons:

  • Demand for FMC won’t really pick up until enterprises integrate mobile devices into their corporate telephony systems; most have not yet done this.
  • It may be true that business use of mobile phones is prolific, but most of those devices are not connected in any way to the corporate PBX.
  • FMC won’t become mainstream in corporate America until it becomes clear that adopting the technology offers clear return on investment (ROI).