Sunday, February 11, 2007

Adobe's Flash Lite to Video Playback for Mobiles

Adobe Systems announced that support for video will be integrated in the next generation of Adobe "Flash Lite" software, its Flash Player runtime specifically designed for mobile phones. Flash Lite 3, expected to be available in the first half of 2007, will bring the Adobe Flash Player video format from the desktop to mobile phones and devices, enabling operators, handset manufacturers and developers alike to deliver more compelling and engaging experiences to mobile users.

The release is expected to allow users to view video content from popular Internet sites like YouTube or MySpace and enable developers to create new, dynamic applications across a variety of mobile and consumer electronics platforms. Adobe said videos can be viewed in different forms within the Flash environment, including downloadable video clips, streaming videos, applications with user interfaces based on Flash or personalized content such as wallpapers or screensavers.

"Video support in Flash Lite will revolutionize the way users engage with mobile content and open up new revenue opportunities for developers worldwide," said Al Ramadan, senior vice president for Mobile and Device Solutions at Adobe.

Telefónica Selects Alcatel-Lucent for Presence-Based IMS

Alcatel-Lucent announced a contract to supply its Presence Server IMS solution for Telefónica. Once implemented, communication services such as instant messaging, video mailbox, push-to-talk and push-to-view, click-to-call, or instant collaboration, both in fixed and mobile communications will benefit from this new capabilities based on the information, control and intelligent management of location, presence and availability of users. Alcatel-Lucent will also provide integration in Telefonica's core and the maintenance services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

TI Launches "LoCosto" Single-Chip for GSM Phones

Texas Instruments launched its third generation GSM solution for the ultra low-cost handset market. The "LoCosto ULC" single-chip platform will reduce electronic bill of materials by up to 25% percent compared to the current generation, and include improvements in voice clarity and loudness; battery life; and support for a range of advanced features, such as enhanced color display, FM stereo, MP3 ring tones, camera, and MP3 playback.

Compared to the current "LoCosto" generation, the TCS2305 and TCS2315 solutions will enable 60 percent longer stand-by time and 30 percent longer talk time, significantly improving handset battery life - a critical requirement in rural areas where access to power infrastructure may be limited. The solutions will also offer a 2X improvement in voice loudness and will include full duplex voice call support to mitigate voice chopping, both of which are necessary in noisy environments.

Ericsson and Telstra Achieve 200 km Cell Range with up 2.3 Mbps Downlinks

Telstra is ready to launch the world's first 200 km cell range in a commercial mobile broadband network. The performance is achieved using Ericsson's Extended Range software, which has been installed in selected mountaintop sites across Australia, supporting all 3G services over extensive geographical areas.

The advanced software employs High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technology to achieve peak network speeds of up to 1.9Mbps in the uplink and 14.4Mbps in the downlink. Downlink speeds of 2.3Mbps at a 200km range have also been achieved during testing.

Ericsson Acquires Entrisphere for Fiber Access

Ericsson has acquired Entrisphere, a start-up specializing in GPON fiber access technology, for an undisclosed sum. Entrisphere was founded in 2000 and is based in Santa Clara, California. The company employs about 140 people. Its platform is currently in deployment in North America and undergoing trials overseas.

The core of the Entrisphere GPON solution includes Optical Line Terminals (OLTs), Optical Network Terminals (ONTs), Optical Network Units (ONUs) and management systems. The solution also includes software upgrades that expand existing IP service-aware features such as IGMP multicasting, VLAN stacking and tagging, and security upgrades.

Ericsson said the acquisition brings a leading IP based broadband access platform ready for volume deployment compliant with both North American and international standards.
  • In December 2006, Ericsson acquired Redback Networks for $2.1 billion. Earlier in 2006, Ericsson closed its acquisition of Marconi. This deal, which was valued at US$2 billion when it was announced in October 2005, included Marconi's optical networking business, Marconi's broadband and fixed radio access network business, Marconi's softswitch business, and Marconi's data networking equipment and services businesses.

  • In May 2005, Entrisphere raised $75 million in Series C financing for its network access equipment. The funding was led by VantagePoint Venture Partners and included all of Entrisphere's existing investment group-Accel Partners, Benchmark Capital, CDP Capital, Crosspoint Venture Partners, Duff Ackerman & Goodrich, El Dorado Ventures, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board, and STAR Ventures.

  • Entrisphere is headed by Mark Floyd, who previously was a founder of Efficient Networks (acquired by Siemens). The company is based in Santa Clara, California with an office in Plano, Texas.

Virtual Network Elements to Integrate Carrier Management Silos
Access Platforms enable new IPTV and packet voice services, and they lower
capital costs by reducing the number of separate boxes needed to provide
the various functions. But the very integration that makes MSAPs so
attractive also causes problems for the legacy side of telco operations.
The solution is to use software to abstract non-integrated, virtual views
of the MSAP's functions from its integrated hardware.

Nokia Unveils New Eseries Business Mobiles

Nokia unveiled the second wave of its Eseries business mobiles, including the Nokia E90 Communicator, the Nokia E65 slider device, and the slim email-optimized Nokia E61i device. All three support popular email and business voice applications across quadband GSM and 3G network frequencies. They also provide fast broadband data connectivity with 3G WCDMA and WLAN. In addition, Nokia E90 Communicator is now High Speed Download Packet Access (HSDPA).

"The tipping point for widespread adoption of business mobility is upon us, and it will take new levels of performance, greater functionality and interoperability, and broad access to mobility solutions beyond the executive suite for customers and operators to realize the benefits of anytime, anywhere productivity and collaboration," said Antti Vasara, senior vice president, Mobile Devices Unit, Enterprise Solutions, Nokia.

Nokia-Siemens and NEC Continue Collaboration on WCDMA

Nokia and Siemens Networks and NEC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for continued co-operation in the area of WCDMA radio networks. The deal builds on the work of Mobisphere, the joint venture company of NEC and Siemens Networks. Mobisphere is expected to continue as a joint venture of NEC and the future Nokia Siemens Networks after the creation of Nokia Siemens Networks.

In addition to the support and development for WCDMA radio access network installed base, NEC, Nokia and Siemens Networks will cooperate in further enhancing 3G/WCDMA businesses. The companies also will continue to discuss the possible cooperation beyond 3G areas like LTE.

Nokia Siemens Networks Unveils Product Portfolio

Nokia and Siemens unveiled their proposed product portfolio plan that will result from their pending merger, which is expected to close this quarter.

The proposed portfolio plan covers the six future business units for Nokia Siemens Networks: Radio Access, Service Core and Applications, Operation Support Systems, Broadband Access, IP/Transport, and Services. Highlights of the proposed plan include:

  • The continued development of GSM/EDGE radio and WCDMA/HSPA Node Bs without change, acknowledging the large installed bases of both Nokia and Siemens, plus the migration to a common Radio Network Controller (RNC) that will support both installed bases. The portfolio will also include Nokia's mobile WiMAX and Siemens' fixed WiMAX solutions.

  • A single, lead solution for: IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), mobile and fixed softswitches, Media Gateways (MGW), Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC), Intelligent Networks (IN), Packet Core, Mobile TV (DVB-H) and IPTV, and Converged Charging, among other solutions.

  • Migration to a common microwave transport solution and a single IP DSLAM solution, while continuing all other IP/Transport and Broadband Access products without change.

  • One umbrella solution for managing convergent and multi-vendor networks with a fault, performance and configuration management portfolio based on Nokia NetAct platform.

  • A global services capability supporting over 300 fixed and 300 mobile clients in more than 100 countries.

"Our customers have responded positively to the proposed merger, and with this announcement we aim to justify their faith in us. Our customers have crucial decisions to make about their business going forward, therefore clarity for them about our planned portfolio is a key strategic priority," said Nokia Siemens Networks COO-designate Mika Vehviläinen, speaking at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona.

Vodafone Selects Alcatel-Lucent for Network Convergence in Spain

Vodafone will migrate all networking services in Spain onto an Alcatel-Lucent IP/MPLS based network. The converged network will support broadband data services (GPRS and 3G), signaling and billing traffic, 3G voice traffic as well as future multimedia evolutions.

Alcatel-Lucent is providing Vodafone with an IP/MPLS core and edge network solution based on its next generation Alcatel-Lucent 7750 Service Router and 7710 Service Router along with the Alcatel-Lucent 5620 Service Aware Manager.

Alcatel-Lucent said the IP/MPLS implementation will enable Vodafone to optimize the use of bandwidth in its IP core network, dynamically adapting to the bandwidth needs depending on the volume of data and the type of traffic transmitted. Additionally, its intelligent service management capabilities will allow the operator to guarantee reliability and end-to-end quality, and to diversify its offering by establishing differentiated quality of service levels based on the type of client or the use of the network.

SanDisk Introduces 4GB microSDHC for Mobiles

SanDisk introduced a 4-gigabyte (GB) microSD High Capacity (SDHC) card --- the largest removable flash memory card to date. Sampling is underway. A 4GB microSDHC card can store more than 1,000 digital songs or more than 2,000 high-resolution pictures or up to 8 hours of MPEG 4 video2.

"Content is driving the demand for higher capacity flash memory cards in mobile phones," said Jeff Kost, vice president and general manager of the Mobile Consumer Solutions division at SanDisk.

SanDisk Introduces 8GB JEDEC-Compatible iNAND for Mobiles

SanDisk introduced a JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) compatible iNAND embedded flash drive (EFD) in capacities of up to 8 gigabytes (GB). SanDisk said the product is especially suited for small portable devices.

iNAND is a high-performance NAND flash storage device that is now JEDEC JC-64.1 package, which should help to reduce integration efforts for handset vendors and other mobile device manufacturers.

iNAND, which is compatible with the SD bus and commands, is designed to support mobile TV, multimedia downloading and other storage-hungry applications on portable systems such as mobile handsets, digital audio/MP3 players, gaming applications, GPS applications, personal media players and PDAs.

Cingular to Deploy MediaFLO for Mobile Entertainment Services

Cingular, the new wireless unit of AT&T, has selected MediaFLO USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of QUALCOMM, to deliver mobile entertainment and information services to its wireless subscribers beginning in late 2007. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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.

AT&T plans to launch the mobile TV services from MediaFLO USA on phones specifically designed with an intuitive, easy-to-use user interface. AT&T will also have access to advanced features MediaFLO USA expects to launch in the second half of 2007. These features include MediaFLO USA's multicast video clip distribution service; a datacasting application for realtime information and entertainment; and audio services.

AT&T said the MediaFLO USA service complements its existing voice, data and video-on-demand services.
  • In December 2005, MediaFLO USA announced that Verizon Wireless had agreed to use the MediaFLO multicasting network in the United States. At the time, the companies expected to launch mobile TV services over the MediaFLO network in approximately half of the markets already covered by Verizon Wireless' CDMA2000 1xEV-DO-based broadband network.

Microsoft Introduces PlayReady Technology for Streaming Media

Microsoft introduced its "PlayReady" multimedia content access technology optimized to meet the needs of mobile operators and handset manufacturers for digital entertainment and commerce. The technology, which supports multiple content types and flexible DRM, is position for content services including subscription, rental, pay-per-view, preview and super-distribution.

Content types supported include music, video, games, ring tones and images. Audio/video formats supported include Windows Media Audio (WMA), AAC/AAC+/HE-AAC, Windows Media Video (WMV), and H.264. Microsoft PlayReady enhancements make it easier for consumers to move their content between their devices, giving them a new level of freedom with their digital content. It is designed to be fully backward compatible with Windows Media DRM 10.

PlayReady is slated for implementation in handsets and mobile devices during the first half of 2007.

Microsoft said it had indications that Telefonica, O2, Verizon Wireless, Bouygues Telecom, and Cingular Wireless would be among the early implementers of PlayReady technology.

France's SFR selects Thomson's Cirpack Switches for FMC

SFR, which serves 17.8 million mobile users, is deploying Thomson's Cirpack switches with Mobile IP Centrex capabilities to offer advanced business telephony features with fixed mobile convergence to enterprise users. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Microsoft Unveils Windows Mobile 6

At 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft unveiled Windows Mobile 6, the newest version of its mobile software platform. Key improvements include the ability to view e-mails in their original rich HTML format with live links to Web and SharePoint sites.

Windows Mobile 6 includes Windows Live for Windows Mobile, which includes a set of Windows Live services, such as Windows Live Messenger. The newest version also includes mobile versions of Office Outlook, Office Word, Office Excel and Office PowerPoint.

Microsoft said Windows Mobile 6 supports a variety of security options for businesses, including new Exchange Server policies and certificate options, storage card encryption, and continued support for remote and local device wipe.

Windows Mobile 6 will also support Information Rights Management (IRM) technology to help control the viewing, storing and printing of confidential information on the mobile phone.

Microsoft expects the first Windows Mobile 6 powered devices to be on the market by Q2. In Europe, Orange plans to deliver the SPV E650 smartphone from HTC, and in Japan, SoftBank Mobile Corp. will offer new devices from Toshiba and HTC. In the U.S., the T-Mobile Dash will be updated with Windows Mobile 6 and be available in the coming months.

MobileOne and HKBN Make Joint Bid for Singapore's NBN

MobileOne M1) and Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd (HKBN), a wholly owned subsidiary of City Telecom (HK), agreed to submit a joint bid to participate in Singapore's Next Generation National Broadband Network (NBN) project.

The Next Generation National Broadband Network is part of the Singapore Government's 10-year infocomm masterplan.

HKBN is the largest alternative end-to-end telecom operator in Hong Kong. Its network currently supports a wide range of affordable symmetric broadband services up to 1Gbps, which is based on an optimized combination of both FTTH and Fiber-to-the-Building (FTTB) connections.

Orange, TI and ViaAccess Collaborate on Mobile TV Conditional Access

Texas Instruments is working with mobile operator Orange and Viaccess, which specializes in the secure distribution of digital media content, to provide content and access protection for broadcast TV on a mobile device.

The solution combines devices powered by TI's OMAP processor with its integrated M-Shield technology with Viaccess' Conditional Access system.

Orange is able to deploy protected mobile TV content over the wireless network.

TI's standards-compliant M-Shield security technology provides the high security levels needed to protect both the execution of the conditional access application and the system-level handset security, while the OMAP processor itself meets the performance and power requirements of the decrypted mobile TV content.

Viaccess' Conditional Access gives mobile handsets the capability to support multiple distribution models for mobile television, including TV channel bouquet subscription, a la carte subscription, pay-per-minute and pay-per-view.

Samsung Debuts Ultra Smart F700 Touch Screen Phone

At 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung unveiled its Ultra Smart F700 mobile phone, featuring a full touch screen user interface as well as QWERTY key pad. It operates over HSDPA 7.2Mbps, EDGE 900/1800/1900 MHz + 2.1GHz networks and will include a 5 Megapixel camera.

The Samsung phone will feature "drag and drop" touch screen menu navigation and music play list control. Volume, play lists, brightness of screens as well as other menu control can be controlled utilizing the touch screen. A unique "VibeTonz" technology allows the user to feel the buttons accompanied by responsive vibrations.

Additional capabilities include:

  • MPEG4/H.263/H.264/Real MP3/AAC(+)/eAAC+/Real

  • Bluetooth / USB

  • microSD memory slot

  • MMS / E-mail / JAVA / WAP 2.0

Pricing has not been disclosed.

TI Adds Over-the-Air Security for its OMAP Platform

Texas Instruments is demonstrating its "M-Shield" security framework on its OMAP platform at 3GSM World Congress. TI has collaborated with Vodafone to showcase how operators can securely deploy and upgrade key applications, such as DRM agents to phones over-the-air (OTA), making it possible for an installed-base of users to upgrade the capabilities of their handsets and purchase protected multimedia content transparently.

TI said this over-the-air M-Shield will reduce operators' operational costs, improve time-to- market of new services deployment, while at the same time preventing the risk of installing unwanted applications and malicious software.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Alcatel-Lucent Reports Large Q4 Loss, Announces Further Job Cuts

In its first quarterly financial report as a combined company, Alcatel-Lucent reported Q4 2006 revenue of EUR 4,421 million, a decrease of 16% compared with revenue of EUR 5,249 million in the year-ago quarter (a decrease of 12% at constant at EUR/USD rate). For the quarter, net income (group share) was EUR (618) million, or EUR (0.27) per diluted share (USD (0.35 per ADS), which included the negative impact of EUR (0.26) per diluted share (EUR (577) million) for restructuring charges and impairment of intangible assets.

Citing "challenging market conditions," the company also announced plans to increase the number of layoffs by 3,500, bringing the total number of expected layoffs to about 12,500 over 3 years.

For the full year 2006 Alcatel-Lucent's adjusted pro-forma revenue was EUR 18,254 million, a decrease of 2%, compared with revenue of EUR 18,574(3) million for full year 2005, operating profit(2) was EUR 1,025 million, compared with EUR 1,411(3) million in full year 2005.

Patricia Russo, Chief Executive Officer of Alcatel-Lucent, stated:

"While the results for the fourth quarter are clearly disappointing, the positive long-term benefits of the merger and the growth potential of Alcatel-Lucent remain as envisioned. Since we began operating as a combined company on December 1, 2006, we have made progress against our integration plans, and we expect to increasingly recognize the benefits of our integration over the course of the year.

"Our newly combined company is focused on supporting the overall transformation occurring in our industry. This includes the transformation of networks to all-IP, video and multimedia content to enhance communication services, broadband mobility as well as high value services."

Some additional highlights include:

  • the access business registered a record quarter with 8.8 million DSL lines delivered (totaling 30.6 million lines for the full year 2006)