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Mobile Computing & Wireless Networking News

Started by VelMurugan, May 07, 2009, 09:21 PM

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VelMurugan

PBX routes Skype mobile calls for free

Businesses willing to shell out 900 ($1,330) to upgrade their IP PBX now have a way to make free roaming calls using Skype running on the 3 network, PBK add-on maker VoSKY has said.

According to Silicon Valley startup, last week's news from the 3 network that it plans to allow subscribers to make zero cost Skype-to-Skype calls from its mobiles, offers businesses the opportunity to slash calling costs.

Buying one of its PBX-to-Skype gateways would allow roaming users to communicate with company offices for free, no matter where they were in the world. Office-to-office calls would also be free, as would calls from office workers inside an enterprise to employees roaming with mobiles.

VoSKY's innovation is that it can piggyback multiple user numbers within a company on to a single public Skype ID using mapping.

"Every VoSKY gateway has a Skype ID and it will show up on the network," said VoSKY's David Tang, after 3's announcement last week. "All you need now is a 3 phone and a VoSKY gateway and you have fixed-mobile convergence."

In the past, what had been missing was a way to route Internet-based VoIP calls such as Skype from mobile phones without also incurring at least some charge for the mobile-to-network cell connection. The announcement by 3 UK, removed a cost impediment to business use of such technology, said Tang.

Getting free calls requires users to run the client on a compatible phone, with a compatible 3 SIM, using a version of Skype downloaded from the 3 network. The required VoSKY hardware varies depending on the number of concurrent lines required and the type of PBX in question, but that PBX must be IP compatible.

The current entry-level VoSKY appliance is the Exchange 9040, costing 900, and capable of supporting four concurrent Skype lines. The company plans to replace this in the coming months with a more expensive model supporting more concurrent lines, the VIS8, costing 3,000, a company spokesperson said. However, the new model was totally plug-and-play, unlike the current one which required a PC for setup, the source said.

Source : techworld

VelMurugan

Fight to legalise iPhone jailbreaking goes to court

Apple' is set for a legal battle as it takes on the jailbreakers. The US Copyright Office is considering whether to allow an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that would permit jailbreaking.

Vice President of iPod and iPhone Product Marketing Greg Joswiak put forward the Apple case, as the Copyright Office held the first in a series of hearings on possible exemptions to the nation's copyright law. The office holds these hearings every three years. In the past it has granted copy exemptions to people such as college film professors who want to make compilations for their students or users of obsolete software who need to copy their programs to new media formats.

This year marks the first time the office will hear arguments about the iPhone, however, and Apple is doing its best to stop the jailbreakers. It has hired well-respected Fenwick & West intellectual property lawyer David Hayes to represent it at the hearing, and has filed a 27-page legal brief (pdf) arguing that legalising jailbreaking would lead to "copyright infringement, potential damage to the device and other potential harmful physical effects, adverse effects on the functioning of the device, and breach of contract."

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter.

Although it has not prosecuted hackers who have developed jailbreak software, Apple maintains that the practice violates the DMCA, which prohibits the circumvention of copy control mechanisms.

Technical users have been jailbreaking the iPhone since soon after it was released two years ago, despite Apple's best efforts to make it impossible. Apple strictly controls what software can run on the iPhone, but jailbroken phones have no such restrictions.

The problem is that the iPhone's digital rights management system not only prevents people from illegally copying its software, it also blocks legitimate users who want to run software on the device that is not approved by Apple, according to EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann. "When an iPhone owner jailbreaks her iPhone, no copyrights are infringed," he said. "Granting an exemption will not reduce the availability of iPhone firmware or apps - in fact, it's likely to increase the availability of both, by creating a more competitive, vibrant, consumer-driven marketplace."

If the EFF wins its case, users will not only be able to jailbreak the iPhone without running the risk of facing a DMCA lawsuit. They'll be able to legally bypass similar technology on other phones too, such as T-Mobile's Android-based G1 phone.

The Copyright Office isn't expected to make a decision on the jailbreaking issue until October, von Lohmann said, but even if Apple loses, Apple could still decide to go after jailbreakers, saying they violated their iPhone license agreement. "But an exemption would be a significant step toward legalising jailbreaking," he added.

Whatever happens, these arguments will probably be made again in 2012. DMCA exceptions have a shelf life of three years.

VelMurugan

HP and RIM team up to offer new Blackberry services

HP and Blackberry vendor RIM are teaming up to sell business software for BlackBerry smartphones. The two companies are set to design and launch new software to improve productivity among business people who need to work while on the move.

HP's CloudPrint for BlackBerry smartphones is a web-based service that allows Blackberry users to print emails, documents, photos and web pages at any printer as long as they can access the Internet. The company will also launch software called HP Operations Manager for the BlackBerry Enterprise Server to better manage and control IT.

The companies did not say when the software will be available.

The software and services designed by the two companies will be usable with BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0, the statement said.

VelMurugan

Cisco adds BlackBerry to IP phone system

RIM and Cisco Systems have agreed to let enterprises integrate their BlackBerrys with Cisco IP phones, providing single-number capability and other features.

The integration comes in the form of RIM's BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (MVS) Server for Cisco Unified Communications Manager. It brings together the top enterprise mobile platform with the dominant networking vendor's IP voice and messaging system.

Unified communications, a concept Cisco has aggressively pushed, is aimed in part at making individuals reachable anywhere, so mobile devices are a key element of the picture.

RIM introduced the MVS Server last year after developing it from technology it acquired through the purchase of Ascendent Systems in 2007. It developed BlackBerry MVS Server for Cisco Unified Communications Manager through Cisco's Technology Developer Program.

RIM announced the deal as it geared up to meet customers at its Wireless Enterprise Symposium in Orlando, Florida. Also on Monday, the company announced a business software partnership with Hewlett-Packard, a push API for consumer application developers and the availability of BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.

By bringing together their BlackBerry and Cisco infrastructures, enterprises can make users reachable with one number, one caller ID and one voicemail box for both their mobile and desk phones. When calls come in, they may ring simultaneously on as many as four devices, including BlackBerrys and Cisco IP desk phones, or ring one device after another in a sequence. Alternatively, employees can make calls out from the BlackBerry using either the smartphone's own number or an enterprise line.

The deal also brings to BlackBerrys the functions that workers are used to on their desk phones, including extension calling and transfers. In addition, they can also move a call from the mobile to the desk phone while it's in progress, according to RIM.

BlackBerry MVS for Cisco Unified Communications Manager will be available for North American customers in the third quarter of this year and require BlackBerry Enterprise Server 4.1.5 or later and Cisco Unified Communications Manager 6.1 or later. The MVS client software will run on phones with BlackBerry Device Software 4.5 or later.

Other versions of BlackBerry MVS Server are already available for a variety of enterprise voice systems, including hybrid circuit-switched and IP systems.

VelMurugan

Google pushes Gmail to BlackBerry generation

Google has announced a new service that will push Gmail and calendar items to the native client software on BlackBerry devices.

The service will be included with the Premier and Education editions of Google Apps. End-users will find their Google messages pushed to the email client on their BlackBerry, and messages sent from their phones will appear to have come from their organisation's Google mail account.

They'll be able to access their organisation's Google address list from their phone, and to synchronise contacts and calendar items. The service is in beta and will be commercially available in July.

The service requires organisations to add a piece of software to their BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), and that software is available today only for the Microsoft Exchange version of BES. The software connects back to Google's mail servers, rather than the company's Exchange server, to synchronise mail, contacts and calendar items.

The service steps up Google's rivalry with Microsoft in the enterprise, but it does have some weaknesses.

Initially, calendar items can be synchronised only from the server to the user's phone. So if a user makes a new calendar entry on their BlackBerry, it won't be synched back to their online calendar. An upgrade that supports two-way synch should come by the end of the year, said Raju Gulabani, product management director for Google Apps.

In addition, the service will initially support only 250 users per BES. A BES can typically handle at least 500 users, sometimes many more. If an enterprise wants to support more than 250 Google Apps users it will have to use an additional BES.

Some functions of the beta version available today don't work smoothly with the BlackBerry. For example, calendar item reminders that appear in a user's inbox are formatted awkwardly, with what appear to be images that don't load properly.

In some areas, Google has had to work around the BlackBerry's limitations. For instance, the BlackBerry mail client only lets users search emails that arrived within the past month. To look for older messages, a user has to log into a separate Google Mobile App client on the phone.

Google thinks the new service will encourage more businesses to use Google Apps. Organisations use Google Apps because it can be cheaper and easier to maintain than on-premises systems such as Exchange or Lotus Notes, Gulabani said. Some end-users want the familiar experience of receiving email on their BlackBerry, however, hence Google is offering the new push service.

Google plans to update the service over time, by improving the end-user experience and increasing the number of users that can be supported on a BES server, Gulabani said.

VelMurugan

Microsoft bars VoIP from Windows Mobile

Voice-over-IP applications will be forbidden from Microsoft's Windows MarketPlace for Mobile store, along with programs that are larger than 10MB or that change the default browser on a device.

They are among 12 prohibited application types that Microsoft listed for developers who register to create software for the store. Marketplace for Mobile is due to launch in the second half of the year, along with Windows Mobile 6.5, the next version of Microsoft's mobile OS.

Wireless developers, whom phone makers are courting in the hope of attracting the best applications to their platforms, are closely watching the terms of new application stores, which also include one that has yet to launch from Palm.

While some may be unhappy about some of the restrictions, many will be pleased to at least have a clear set of rules. That contrasts with Apple's App Store for the iPhone, where it is sometimes unclear why applications have been rejected or approved.

Among the list of prohibited applications is VoIP services that run over an operator's network. That's a common item on such lists because operators fear that the services will displace their own voice offerings, which bring in the bulk of their revenue. Developers presumably will be able to offer VoIP applications that use Wi-Fi, though.

Also forbidden are programs that allow people to shop at competing application stores, or that change a phone's default browser, search client or media player. Developers will also be unable to build programs that change the default phone dialer, short message service or multimedia messaging service interface. That could help ensure that standards for services like MMS are upheld.

Microsoft recently began inviting developers to sign up to sell applications in the Marketplace. In launching an application store, Microsoft is catching up to Apple, Google and Research In Motion. Palm and Nokia are also developing application markets.

They will have to work hard if they want to catch up with Apple, which popularised the idea with its iPhone App Store. According to research from ComScore, 59 percent of iPhone users have downloaded apps. That's more than five times as many as the average mobile user and more than double Windows Mobile users, ComScore found.

VelMurugan

Multi Gigabit wireless could be available in two years

Wireless is about to get faster: users could be offered a new multi gigabit-speed wireless option. An industry group that includes Intel, Microsoft, Nokia and Panasonic plans to introduce a specification for short-range networking by the end of this year.

The WiGig Alliance is developing a specification for using unlicensed 60GHz radio spectrum within a typical room. The group is set to announce the initiative on Thursday.

The technology could be used for a wide range of applications, including data transfers, entertainment and docking. It would complement Wi-Fi while eliminating many of the cables currently used to connect home consumer electronics products. The WiGig Alliance hopes to create an ecosystem of products that have low power consumption and are easy to use.

This area has been flooded with new technologies in recent years, including UWB (Ultrawideband), WirelessHD, and WHDI (Wireless Home Digital Interface), but none has really taken hold. The advent of HDTV, as well as web-based streaming multimedia and increasing file sizes for digital photos and other content, is likely to drive demand for higher bandwidth for certain tasks than Wi-Fi can now deliver.

WiGig's powerful backers could give it the momentum to gain wider adoption. Chip makers Atheros, Broadcom, Marvell and MediaTek are on the group's board of directors, in addition to Intel. Dell, LG Electronics, Samsung and NEC also are on the board, along with a wireless Israeli startup called Wilocity. Contributing members include NXP, Realtek, STMicroelectronics and Tensorcom.

The group expects its specification to be available to member companies in the fourth quarter of this year. WiGig officials wouldn't predict when products would hit the market, but they hope to have interoperability testing in place next year and possibly certify some products by the end of 2010.

WiGig hopes to collaborate closely with the Wi-Fi Alliance as well as with the IEEE 802.11AD task group, which has just started developing a standard for high-speed wireless in the 60GHz band, said Mark Grodzinsky, WiGig's marketing chairman. Given that major contributors to IEEE 802.11 standards belong to the WiGig Alliance, it's likely that the group's work will influence the eventual IEEE standard, he said. Grodzinsky is also an executive at Intel.

The technology might eventually become part of a "tri-band Wi-Fi" that could provide connectivity over the 2.4GHz, 5GHz and 60GHz bands, at different speeds, depending on the strength of the signal in different locations around an access point, Grodzinsky said.

VelMurugan

Apple to launch tablet says analyst

Apple is set to by-pass the netbook market and launch a  tablet-like device next year according to a leading Wall Street analyst.

Gene Munster, a senior analyst for Piper Jaffray, ticked off significant amounts of admittedly circumstantial evidence to back up his thinking on Apple's move into the lower-priced market.

"Between indications from our component contacts in Asia, recent patents relating to multi-touch sensitivity for more complex computing devices, comments from [Apple acting CEO]Tim Cook, and Apple's acquisition of PA Semi along with other recent chip-related hires, it is increasingly clear that Apple is investing more in its mobile computing franchise," said Munster in a note delivered to clients this week.

Contrary to other analysts, including Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research, who believe Apple will react to pricing pressure by unveiling a device priced between the lowest-end MacBook and the upper-end iPod Touch this year, However, Gottheil also said that Apple would release a low-priced netbook at this year's Macworld Expo, so he's been wrong before.

As Munster sees it, Apple's answer to netbooks - the smaller, lighter and most of all, cheaper notebooks that run Windows and Linux - will be a tablet sporting a 7-to-10-inch screen that runs a Mac OS X-like operating system optimized for multi-touch. The time it takes to develop that operating system - and wrap up negotiations with mobile carriers, who Apple may be talking with about iPhone-like subsidies for the new device - make any debut this year unlikely.

"We are anticipating a new category of Apple products with an operating system more robust than the iPhone's but optimised for multi-touch, unlike Mac OS X," said Munster in his research note. "Such a product line would be a sort of hybrid between the iPhone and the Mac, requiring a new operating system."

Much of Munster's prediction hinges on Apple's well-known dislike of netbooks. In October 2008, CEO Steve Jobs ridiculed current netbooks as "a piece of junk" and said Apple simply would not compete in the $500 PC market. "Our DNA will not let us ship that," he said at the time.

Just last month, Cook also scorned netbooks. "When I look at what is being sold in the netbook space today, I see cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens, and just not a consumer experience, and not something that we would put the Mac brand on, quite frankly," he said.

Munster is not concerned about the relatively long time that Apple will be without an entry in the netbook-priced market. Historically, he said, Apple takes a wait-and-see approach, scopes out the competition, then designs something different enough to separate it from the pack.

"A netbook would not differentiate Apple's product from other netbooks entering the market, and as we have seen with the iPod and the iPhone, Apple prefers to enter a market once [it] can offer a significantly differentiated and often premium version of the product," Munster said.

Although Gottheil agrees with Munster on some points, he disagrees on others. Back in March, Gottheil said Apple would likely use what he called an "iPod Touch on steroids" to compete with in the netbook market. Like Munster, he believed then that Apple would do without a physical keyboard and rely on multi-touch.

But he doesn't think Apple will wait until 2010 to put something in customers' hands.

"This is not a life-and-death matter for Apple," said Gottheil, citing the deferred revenues from already-sold iPhones that Apple has yet to post on its books. "But there's no doubt that netbooks are chewing up a substantial piece of what they'd get if they were playing in the market."

Munster, said Gottheil, may be right on the timeline, but he thinks a touch tablet will come sooner. "I don't think Apple is playing with a new processor," Gottheil said, "and although some upgrade [of the Mac OS] is necessary to support this functionality, I don't see it as a year's worth of work."

Rather than rely on another processor family for the tablet, Gottheil believes that Apple, which has made tighter ties to graphics chip maker Nvidia of late, will instead off-load some of the chores to the graphics processor.

"I don't quite see what will take so long," Gottheil said, referring to Munster's 2010 date. "I think that Apple wants to be out there, if they can. This would take a lot of pressure off the declining Mac sales.

"They'll have something this year," Gottheil predicted.

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