Saturday, January 6, 2007

Verizon Unveils V CAST Mobile TV, MediaFLO Partnership

Verizon took the wraps off its V CAST Mobile TV service, which is due to launch later this quarter. Verizon is working with MediaFLO USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of QUALCOMM, which is building a dedicated multicast network to deliver programming in a linear format.

The new service will be accessible on new V CAST Mobile TV handsets via a dedicated V CAST Mobile TV key. The programming will be presented in "time block"/scheduled availability, consistent with familiar cable and satellite TV models, in both Eastern and Pacific Time zones.

Initial handset include the Samsung SCH-u620 and the LG VX9400 -- that also feature V CAST Music, V CAST Video, Mobile Web 2.0 and "Get It Now" capabilities.

Verizon's Media partners include CBS, Comedy Central, Fox, MTV, NBC News, NBC Entertainment and Nickelodeon.
  • FLO technology is a new air interface originally developed by Qualcomm with multicasting capabilities designed to increase capacity and reduce content delivery costs to mobile handsets. The technology is independent of the cellular network but complements CDMA2000 1X, 1xEV-DO and WCDMA cellular network data and voice services.

  • MediaFLO USA Inc. is building a nationwide network based on QUALCOMM's FLO technology to deliver multimedia content to mobile devices in the 700 MHz spectrum. QUALCOMM holds a nationwide footprint of spectrum licenses in this band.

Seagate Debuts 60GB 1.8-Inch Hard Drive

Seagate introduced a single platter, 60GB 1.8-inch hard drive for mobile devices. Seagate's Lyrion (formerly known as the ST18) is the industry's first single platter 60GB 1.8-inch hard drive enabled by perpendicular recording technology and is 5-mm thick. This should be enough for up to 80 movies, up to 200 hours of music videos, up to 20 hours of standard definition video or up to 12 hours of high- definition video. A 30 GB version will also be offered.

Seagate also introduced "FreeAgent Pro data movers" drives (320GB, 500GB, 750GB), which include software to automatically synchronize content to the Seagate Internet Drive, its online service. Three portable versions (80GB, 120GB, 160GB) plug into any computer's USB 2.0 port for mobile access.

Sony Ericsson W880 Walkman Phone Due in 1H07

Sony Ericsson pre-announced its W880 Walkman Phone. Product launch is now expected within the first half of 2007 when more details will be provided.

The company said more than 15 million Walkman phones have been sold since the introduction of the first Walkman phone, the W800, in August 2005.

Sony Ericsson also introduced the W200 Walkman phone -- a GPRS 900/1800/1900 & GPRS 850/1800/1900 handset and will be available in select markets from Q2 2007. This unit features storage of up to 37 tracks based on 128MB Memory Stick Micro, and up to 27MB internal memory and up to 255 tracks based on a 1G Memory Stick Micro.

Sprint to Offer OQO Pocket PC

Sprint will offer the new OQO model 02 computer, described as the world's smallest, full-feature Windows Vista PC. In addition to Sprint's mobile broadband, the model 02's features include a 1.5GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, 802.11a/b/g, Bluetooth 2.0, an ergonomic backlit keyboard, and a rugged magnesium chassis with a shock-mounted hard drive and drop detect technology

Microsoft Shows IPTV-enabled Xbox 360

Speaking at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Microsoft's Bill Gates unveiled an IPTV-enabled Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system, Windows Home Server, and a new partnership with Ford Motor Co. to extend digital experiences to the car.

The IPTV-enabled Xbox 360, which is slated for the Holiday 2007 season, will combine TV and digital video recording capabilities with gaming, movie downloads and even voice and video communications. The system will be offered through Service Providers that are deploying TV services based on the Microsoft TV IPTV Edition software platform.

Microsoft TV IPTV Edition is in market deployment with five of the world's largest service providers and trials with 11 additional companies, representing a footprint across 14 countries on four continents.

Windows Home Server, a new software product for families with multiple PCs that want to connect their home computers, digital devices and printers to help easily store, protect and share their rapidly expanding collections of digital content and entertainment. Later this year, HP plans to deliver the HP MediaSmart Server, powered by Windows Home Server.

Windows Home Server will be a new product to help consumers deal with digital content by automatically backing up home PCs and providing a central location for storing a family's photographs, music, videos and documents. HP plans to offer the product later this year. AMD, Inventec Corp. and Quanta Computer Inc. will demonstrate hardware reference designs for Windows Home Server.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Consumer Electronics Forecast to Surpass $155 Billion in 2007

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is predicting that factory-to-dealer sales of consumer electronics will exceed $155 billion in 2007, or seven percent growth.

CEA projects that display technologies will continue to be the star category in the industry and account for $26 billion in revenues for 2007. The migration to digital along with drastic price declines in plasma and LCD displays are contributing to growth.

Todd Thibodeaux, CEA's senior vice president of industry relations, acknowledged 2006 industry growth far exceeded CEA's conservative forecast at the beginning of the year. "We originally forecast eight percent growth, but when all was said and done, we saw an impressive 13 percent growth for the year."

Vidanti Selects Intellon for HD IPTV

Vidanti Ltd. announced plans to develop HD IPTV products based on Intellon's INT6000 HomePlug AV IC. Specifically, Vidanti will integrate the Intellon standards-based 200 Mbps powerline networking solution into its BBTV4000 family of IPTV and hybrid (IPTV & DVB) triple-play HD products.,
  • Vidanti was founded in August 2005 by ex-Virata / Conexant managers and engineers. The company is based in Cambridge, UK.

Cingular Demos IMS Video Sharing Call with Alcatel-Lucent Gear

At CES in Las Vegas, Cingular is showcasing IMS-based video call capabilities over its 3G UMTS/HSDPA network. Alcatel-Lucent is providing the Las Vegas 3G network and IMS platform. LG Electronics is providing the handset.

Key network elements include:

  • Alcatel-Lucent Session Manager, which provides multiple IMS functions including the call session control functions (CSCF), the service broker function -- the enhanced service capabilities interaction manager (SCIM), the policy decision function (PDF) and the breakout gateway control function (BGCF). It forms the core of Alcatel-Lucent's IMS architecture and manages user presence and call types, dynamically connecting subscribers to a variety of services such as "Push To Show" or "Video on Hold" on an IMS-based network.

  • Alcatel-Lucent Network Controller, which provides the IMS media gateway control function (MGCF) and the signaling gateway (SG) function. These VoIP functions were previously associated with media gateway control (MGC) within traditional softswitches.

  • Alcatel-Lucent Network Gateway, which provides the IMS media gateway (MGW) function and permits seamless interaction between IP networks and both traditional wireline and wireless networks.

  • Alcatel-Lucent Unified Subscriber Data Server (USDS), which provides the IMS home subscriber services (HSS) function which maintains information such as subscriber profiles and user location on wireline and wireless networks. The Alcatel-Lucent USDS is a product resulted from the integration of the Home Location Register, Home Subscriber Server, and Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) technology and next-generation Super-Distributed Home Location Register (S-DHLR) technology, along with Bell Labs enhancements.

  • UMTS/HSDPA Radio Access Network, which includes Alcatel-Lucent's radio access network, which includes base stations and radio network controllers.
  • In October 2005, Cingular Wireless and Lucent announced that Cingular had awarded Lucent a four-year agreement to provide a IMS-based (IP Multimedia Subsystem) solution that enables Cingular to rapidly develop and launch a broad range of new personalized voice, video, data and multimedia services, such as video share. Alcatel-Lucent's IMS-based architecture has been deployed in the Cingular network.
    In October and November 2005, respectively, AT&T (then SBC Communications) and BellSouth also have announced agreements for Lucent's IMS-based solution. Cingular and BellSouth have since merged with AT&T.

Tellabs Trims Q4 Estimates Citing Spending Delays from RBOCs

Citing delays attributed to uncertainty surrounding telecom industry consolidation, Tellabs trimmed its preliminary revenue estimate for Q4 2006, saying it now expects revenue to range from $455 million to $470 million. Fourth-quarter GAAP earnings per share, assuming dilution, are expected to range from 5 cents to 7 cents.

Tellabs said these preliminary estimates were driven by lower than expected revenue from some large North American customers, an unfavorable shift in product mix, revenue deferrals related to a new product launch, and a lower effective tax rate.

"Uncertainty surrounding telecom industry consolidation led to lower than
expected revenue in North America during the fourth quarter," said Krish A. Prabhu, Tellabs president and chief executive officer. "We expect the revenue impact to be temporary since, as 2007 begins, our customers continue to see growing user demand for bandwidth. Tellabs remains well-positioned to benefit from this."

Sprint Nextel and Nokia in WiMAX Pact

Sprint Nextel named Nokia as a key infrastructure and consumer electronic device provider for its 4G WiMAX network. Nokia joins Intel, Samsung and Motorola on the Sprint Nextel project, which is currently expected to enter service in late 2007.

The strategic relationship with Nokia involves network infrastructure, mobile device and market development commitments. Under the agreement Nokia will:

  • Be a major supplier to Sprint for WiMAX network infrastructure, including the market-leading Nokia Flexi WiMAX base transceiver stations which bring significant site and operating cost savings,

  • Develop and market WiMAX-enabled mobile devices in significant volumes, including multimedia computers and Internet tablets,

  • Jointly develop mobility services and applications to improve the customer experience, and

  • Conduct co-marketing efforts to drive market development and support global adoption to help establish worldwide roaming.

Sprint Nextel said it is expecting to invest up to $800 million in 2007 and between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in 2008 relating to the 4G WiMAX mobile broadband network. Sprint Nextel's goal is to have a broad range of mobile WiMAX-enabled chipsets and modules and an array of portable data, multimedia and consumer electronics devices available from multiple vendors which work seamlessly among Sprint's network offerings. As a result, customers will experience an interactive mobile data network that is designed to offer faster speeds, lower cost, greater convenience and enhanced multimedia content.
  • In August 2006, Sprint Nextel announced that it had selected WiMAX (IEEE802.16e-2005) technology for a next generation wireless network which would utilize the company's extensive 2.5GHz spectrum assets, and the formation of a unique business ecosystem designed to spur widespread adoption of WiMAX devices and services.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Motorola Trims Q4 Expectations

Based on preliminary numbers, Motorola said its Q4 2006 sales figures are now estimated to be in the range of $11.6 to $11.8 billion, versus the guidance given on October 17, 2006, of $11.8 to $12.1 billion. Fourth-quarter GAAP earnings per share are now estimated to be in the range of $0.13 to $0.16, which is below the company's internal forecast at the start of the fourth quarter.

Motorola said the shortfall in both sales and earnings occurred in its Mobile Devices segment. The company cited an unfavorable geographical and product-tier mix of sales as compared to the company's internal forecast. In the fourth quarter, Mobile Devices unit sales were approximately 66 million units, up 23 percent from the third quarter of 2006 and up 48 percent from the fourth quarter of 2005.

Motorola also said Q4 results for both the Networks & Enterprise and Connected Home segments are expected to meet or exceed the internal expectations of the company at the start of the fourth quarter.

Full results are expected on January 19.

NTT DoCoMo Acquires Stake in Nippon Television Network

NTT DoCoMo acquired a 3% stake in Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV). The companies have been collaborating on new services converging mobile communications and broadcasting. "One-segment" terrestrial digital broadcasting was launched in April 2006 and the companies note growing sales of compatible handsets.

Conexant Debuts VDSL2 CPE Gateway and CO Chips

Conexant Systems introduced a family of integrated VDSL2 customer premises equipment (CPE) and central office (Co) system-on-chip (SoC) solutions.

The new SoC family has been optimized for triple-play services ranging from VDSL2 voice-enabled CPE gateways to basic bridges. The SoCs feature a flexible architecture that supports all VDSL2 profiles up to "30a" for applications requiring 100/100 Mbps operation, an integrated voice-over-IP engine, and a network processor. The chipsets also include advanced CPE technology that significantly improves VDSL performance by reducing interference on the copper lines.

Significantly, Conexant said its second-generation Accelity-2 chipset delivers downstream speeds beyond 140 Mbps. Accelity-2 features a VDSL bonding capability that allows service providers to deliver IPTV services to a wider subscriber base, and expand their revenue-generating potential. Bonding increases bandwidth capacity and extends reach by enabling the transmission of data over two lines instead of a single channel. Additional advanced features include support for key data interfaces including SMII and POS-PHY that are required for high-speed, non-blocking throughput in fiber-based triple-play service deployments VDSL2/ADSL convergence is supported on a per port basis compatible with all data interfaces and high-speed aggregation devices.

Alcatel-Lucent has selected Accelity-2 for its ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) DSL products for deployments in Europe and elsewhere. The company has also secured North American and Asian design-wins with Calix, Huawei, NEC, Schmid Telecom, and ZTE.

Key features of the new VDSL2 CPE chips include:

  • An integrated hardware accelerator engine that enables up to one Gbps data throughput.

  • A dedicated voice digital signal processor (DSP) to support two simultaneous VoIP channels.

  • A flexible DSP architecture available in 30MHz or 17MHz bandwidth and two-pair bonded configurations enabling cost-optimized products for fiber-to-the-building (FTTB), fiber-to-the-node (FTTN), and CO deployments.

  • Full backward-compatibility with ADSL/2/2plus applications to enable highly interoperable ADSL/2/2plus fallback capabilities.

Pulse~LINK Introduces its UWB Whole-Home Interactive HD Solution

At next week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Pulse~LINK will introduce its "CWave" Whole-Home Interactive HD solutions, with demonstrations hosted by the High Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance (HANA), the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), Texas Instruments, and Vivid Logic.

CWave will be featured in the industry's first demonstration of simultaneous operation of 1394 and Ethernet supported devices over shared coax and wireless media. A combination of devices, including HDTVs, Blu-ray Players, DVRs, Media Center PCs, and Multimedia Storage devices, will be used to showcase room-to-room connectivity of HD content with interactive menu selection guides. Products include the new DLNA CERTIFIED Pioneer Elite Blu-ray Disc player and PureVision high-definition plasma TV, DLNA CERTIFIED Sony Media Center Laptops, HANA enabled DVRs and HDTV's supplied by Samsung, and Indigita A/V hard drives supplied by IntellaSys. Demonstrations will also showcase Pulse~LINK‘s ability to wirelessly stream 1080p HD content within a room between a Media center PC and a wirelessly connected HDTV.

New Micro-USB Specification Targets Mobile Devices

The USB Implementers Forum completed work on a new Micro-USB specification designed to replace many of the Mini-series plugs and receptacles currently used in portable products.

The new specification supports the USB On-The-Go (OTG) supplement, which was created in response to the growing need for portable devices to communicate directly with each other when a PC is not available.

Micro-series definitions include: Micro-B receptacles for standard devices, Micro-AB receptacles for OTG devices, Micro-A and Micro-B plugs, and standard cables.

The USB Implementers Forum said the Micro-series' stainless steel shell should yield more than 10,000 insertion cycles for longer life and higher durability. A passive latching mechanism provides for higher extraction forces.

Redback Trims Q4 Revenue Expectations

Redback Networks trimmed its revenue expectations for the quarter ended 31-Dec-2006, saying it now expects revenue of approximately $64 million.

"The fourth quarter was our largest quarter ever for the SmartEdge products as we experienced substantial quarter over quarter revenue growth and the acquisition of several new large SmartEdge customers," said Kevin DeNuccio, president and chief executive officer, Redback Networks. "Unfortunately we failed to meet our revenue targets due to, among other reasons, distribution channel disruptions caused by the timing of our proposed acquisition by Ericsson, and lower than expected revenue from our older SMS product line as we transitioned our largest SMS customers in the fourth quarter to our SmartEdge products. We expect that substantially all of the delayed purchases will become revenue in 2007."
  • On 20-Dec-2006, Ericsson announced plans to acquire Redback Networks for $2.1 billion, or $25 dollars per Redback share.

Tim Smith Named President of Vonage Network

Tim Smith was named President of Vonage Network, a position he had held on an interim basis since June 2006. As president of Vonage Network Inc., a subsidiary of Vonage Holdings Corp., he will oversee all of Vonage's network and systems operations globally and manage the Vonage Network staff. Before joining Vonage in July 2005 as SVP of Network and Systems Infrastructure, Smith worked in various management roles for Sun Microsystems, UUNET Technologies and Wayport.

Cisco to Acquire IronPort for Email Security

Cisco Systems agreed to acquire IronPort Systems, a start-up specializing in messaging security appliances, for approximately $830 million in cash and stock.

IronPort, which is based in San Bruno, California, is best known for its email security platform. The company claims that eight of the ten largest ISPs and nearly 20% of the world's largest enterprises are using its platforms. The systems provide spam defense, virus defense and content scanning. IronPort also offers a line of web security appliances, which protect the network perimeter against spyware and a wide variety of Web-based threats. These appliances combine multiple layers of Web security technology such as deep application content inspection, a Layer 4 Traffic Monitor, IronPort Web "Reputation Filters" and multiple malware signatures.

"We feel there is enormous potential for enhanced email and message protection solutions to be integrated into the existing Cisco Self-Defending Network framework," said Richard Palmer, senior vice president of Cisco's Security Technology Group.

IronPort has 408 employees based primarily in San Bruno, California.
  • IronPort Systems is headed by Scott Weiss, CEO and co-founder. Weiss was one of the early team members at Hotmail, which grew to become the world's largest web-based email service and was acquired by Microsoft.

  • IronPort Systems was founded in 2000.

  • In November 2006, IronPort agreed to acquire PostX Corporation, a leading provider of email encryption technology for enterprises based in Cupertino, California.

  • In October 2004, IronPort raised $45 million in series D funding, bringing the total amount of money raised to date to $90 million. The financing was led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation of Rembrandt Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures and Allegis Capital.