TECH TALK: 3GSM World Congress 2006: Hot Issues (Part 2)

The mobease blog discussed four things that stayed on from 3GSM:

  • Video in all forms is invading the mobile space for real, not only in beta or trials. It ranges from handsets with DVBH tuners to ip streaming and tuner technologies such as Streamezzo with sfr.
  • Mobile Push Mail is everywhere and I’m very puzzled by the future that such companies as Visto, Seven or Dataviz have in this area, given the giants investment and policy on the area: Microsoft is providing it for free for windows mobile devices with exchange servers, Intellisync, recently bought by Nokia will be part of the standard offering and RIM is still the leader by Far.
  • Widgets are coming to mobile (yes this is definitely a smaller domain than the others but I’m particularly interested in it ;)). Opera’s platform provides such a framework, Flash lite also does. Some other contenders are entering the area such as Bluepulse. The area is not yet mature, neither in terms of ergonomy, neither in terms of business models but this is definitely going to change the way people consult information with their devices.
  • Instant Messaging (IM for the friends) is also everywhere with the community/tribal aspects it brings and of course the associated network data consumptions. The companies are not numerous but legions in this area, ranging from integrated features of the handsets and carrier’s networks to small startups that are jumping in the area and traditional software providers or portals, all providing non unified and competing solutions. This area is going to be a real mess before the users can really IM together from a mobile, from one operator to another, from one country to another.

  • Martin Sauter wrote about his impressions:

    There are many amazing things to see at the 3GSM congress that dont make it to the big press feed. For me, they are even more interesting then those who do. Pick number one today is Skype on mobile phones. Lots of talk about it already but nobody points out that you can see a running prototype on the Nokia stand if you ask for it. Oh, how I am waiting for that application in combination with the new Nokia N80. On the Nokia stand its shown on the 6680 (see picture 1), looks like a S60 3rd edition version is not yet available.

    This is the third year in a row I visited the Kineto booth who work on the integration of cellular and Wifi. The technology is called UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) and basically replaces the GSM air interface layer with Wifi. This year they seem closer than ever to reaching their goal as a number of mobile phone manufacturers such as Nokia have announced GSM/UMTS/Wifi phones. But these days I think they will have strong competition from SIP and Skype, especially on phones such as the Nokia N80. Their advantage: They dont bind the user to the cellular operator as UMA does and thus could potentially be cheaper. For the user, competition is good and will have a positive influence on prices.

    Mypick of the day is Picsel. They have a great eMail program and file attachment handler for S60 (and Java for other phones) that removes file attachments and downloads a mobile adapted version of the document. Very fast, very slick and reduces the amount of data you have to download or store on the phone.

    One of the trends identified by Carlo Longino is smartphones moving to the mass market. The smartphone platforms will allow for rich functionality, hopefully with fewer compatibility (and support) issues than todays fragmented landscape of closed, proprietary OS and differing Java implementations. So what does this all mean, beyond the fact that millions more users will be able to run native smartphone applications and access richer content and services?

    Carlo adds in a subsequent post:

    Standalone application development will find success, but it will be in niche markets. Those that find mass-market success will be those that provide an interface to a service (look at stuff that Ive written about before like ShoZu most recently as an example). Another way to look at this is that the mobile phone does provide a computing platform on which standalone apps can be run, but at their heart, mobile devices are communications devices, and the connectivity they have should be used to its full potential. Again, think of a simple voice call: what good is a basic phone when it cant access the network and, in turn, voice services?

    So, while the standalone application market will find some success, the service market will be huge. So think in terms of services whats the service users are being provided, and then whats the application needed to deliver it. This calls for plenty of support that existing applications providers can adapt to provide: distribution, and especially billing. There need to be frameworks in which to distribute the applications that provide access to services, systems for content delivery and billing mechanisms. And all of these need to be designed and delivered with the same attention to the user experience as the services themselves, integrating into existing patterns of use and payment mechanisms.

    Tomorrow: Emerging Markets and Mobiles

    TECH TALK 3GSM World Congress 2006+T

    Published by

    Rajesh Jain

    An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.