Category Archives: mobile-tech

Swype at TechCrunch50

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Swype was one of the mobile related startups at TechCrunch50 that I found impressive and innovative.  Swype delivers single-tap, multi-tap, predictive and “swype” motions for both stylus and finger based input.

Swype isn’t a pure mobile play as an embedded solution it may be applied to any screen as a enhancement to text input.  The screen might be a mobile device virtual keyboard, but the screen might also be a TV display or visual radio or navigation device, or any device which has a display and can receive text input.

Congratulations to the TechCrunch50 winner: Yammer, but my personal pick for top startup was Swype.  Swype has an amazing team including CEO, Cliff Kushler the co-inventor of T-9 and co-founder Randy Marsden, developer of the virtual keyboard included in Windows.  The company has funding and with the explosion of touch screens including the iPhone and all it’s competitors the market is ready for Swype.

The short video below represents my anticipation that my choice would also be the choice of judges at TechCrunch50.  Apparently, my prediction skills need refinement.

Sierra Wireless Acquires Cradlepoint

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Congratulations to my new favorite tech gadget company Cradlepoint for today’s acquisition bySierra Wireless. Sierra Wireless expands their product offerings from wireless data cards and embedded modules which provide connectivity to mobile networks from PCs.

My Cradlepoint PHS-300 also called a “Personal Wi-Fi Hotspot” is used to connect my Nokia N95 GSM device to the faster EVDO Rev A network. Rev A uplink connection is a zippy 1.8 MBs, in contrast to the GSM carriers in the US who top out at 700 kbs. The N95’s Wi-Fi radio makes this solution possible. Many mobile devices are beginning to ship with a set of three radios: CDMA or GSM, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It’s liberating to choose the best network for connectivity and have the compatibility problem solved by a Wi-Fi bridge. Adding mobility to the solution, the PHS-300 is battery-powered with a battery-life of 2 hours.

Cradlepoint PHS-300

Pat Phelan telecom distruptor and entrepreneur of CubicTelecom first alerted me to the Cradlepoint as the right solution for capturing and streaming video over US CDMA networks.

The deal is good news for Cradlepoint and good news for Sierra Wireless who now face stiff competition from Qualcomm’s Gobi in the embedded mobile broadband connectivity market. Cradlepoint is well positioned to continue innovating with SWIP’s resources and SWIR expands it’s product suite.

When asked about continued support of USB modems which compete with SWIR like the Novatel I own, Gary Oliverio, vp of marketing, said,

Our mission is to make sure we support as many handsets and modems as we can…we’ll be the Mobile Broadband Router division of SWIR, and will remain intact as an organization. Of course, we’ll continue to innovate with new clever products, features, and ideas!

The current list of supported cards and devices is as follows.

Compatible Cards

  • Sprint: Novatel U727, Novatel U720, Sierra 595U, Franklin CDU-550, Franklin CDU-680 & EX720-with adapter
  • Verizon: Pantech UM150, Novatel 720U, Sierra 595U & V740-with adapter
  • AT&T: AT&T USBConnect 881, Sierra AirCard 881U & Option GT Max 3.6 Express (with adapter)

Compatible Phones

  • Sprint: LG Musiq,Motorola RAZR V3c, Motorola RAZR2, Motorola Q (Not Q9c), Palm 700w, Palm 700p, Palm 755p, RIM Blackberry 8703e, RIM Blackberry 8830, Samsung A920, Samsung i830, Sanyo Katana 2, Sanyo M1
  • Verizon: LG VX7200, LG VX8000, Motorola RAZR V3c, Palm 700p, RIM Blackberry 8703e
  • AT&T: Motorola RAZR v3xx, Motorola Q v9h, Samsung SGH-A707, Samsung Blackjack

The PHS-300 was the perfect solution for increasing upload speeds by using the EVDO Rev A network and enhances the quality of streamed video as I produced during CTIA last week. The last remaining piece to the puzzle is use of an external mic. This solution is being addressed by Nokia and I’m hoping to report on it very soon.

Check out the press release for the details – Sierra Wireless Announces Acquisition of Cradlepoint, Inc. (pdf)

New Rules? 700 MHz Auction set for 2008

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FCC Chairman pledges open access for part of 700 Mhz auction.

“Whoever wins this spectrum has to provide … truly open broadband network — one that will open the door to a lot of innovative services for consumers,” Martin said in an interview Monday.

What this would mean in practice: “You can use any wireless device and download any mobile broadband application, with no restrictions,” Martin explained. The only exceptions would be software that is illegal or could harm a network.


Insider scoop here.

And here.

The opposition:

Verizon Wireless – We don’t need no stinkin’ open access

The doubters:

Wired – FCC Champions Open Access (Wink, Wink) – Read the fine print folks

Data Goldmine from Mobile and Social Networks

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The BBC reports on how real time data on mobile phone use in Rome is being used by MIT researchers to observe how people move around the city through the day.

Map of mobile usage in Rome

Anyone who has ever driven in Rome or any city in Italy knows the chaos which results from traffic congestion.  Researchers are looking to the mobile networks for real time data on the movement of people through the city.  Mobile networks must track phones to execute handoffs between towers as one moves in through space to ensure optimal signal strength.

There is little doubt that the mountains of data we generate when using our phones for talking, texting surfing the web or engaging with our social networks offers astonishing opportunities for new applications, targeted marketing, and new lines of business for those who house and store our data.

In Rome, one possible application for all this real-time information is its use by traffic planners to expand roads or increase public transportation resources in obviously high traffic areas.   The article extends this idea.

…in future sic buses might not stick to a fixed timetable or even route.

Sending busses to where the people are rather than vice-versa could mean fewer wasted journeys, so Real Time Rome might ultimately be good for the environment.

Better route planning for buses and cars could mean less time standing in traffic, pumping out noxious fumes.

Another example of how this data might be put to use was a demonstration by Verizon Wireless for the AdAge’s Madison+Vine event in LA last year.  Verizon wanted to show Madison Avenue the power of data mining its users to generate targeted advertising.  The demo consisted of a list of Verizon users in the LA area who had downloaded a hiphop ringtone during the previous 30 days.  A group of 10,000 of these identified subscribers were offered concert tickets for a same day outdoor concert and all of the 10,000 tickets were purchased in the span of one hour, according to John Stratton, chief marketing officer, Verizon Wireless.

And finally, consider MySpace’s move to launch a record label, and now, it’s own TV network.  These new lines of business are enabled and assured by the knowledge of what music and media (think YouTube) that MySpacers are consuming and promoting to their networks.  Further, the company knows much personal information about the demographics they can target with new media services.

The backend data from social networks, mobile phone networks and of course, mobile social networks and social media is a treasure chest for the data miners, researchers and marketeers wishing to understand or monetize your interactions.

iPhone Countdown: Watch live

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The day has arrived and lines have formed at Apple stores around the US.  If you’re in the US and have cable TV, CNBC is carrying live feeds from various cities awaiting the first sales of the iPhone.

There are Internet streaming sites also covering the launch and include live chat.  The NYC Soho Apple Store is covered live at  The chat room is full, but they’ve added a second web site for chat.

Many of you already know that Scoble is broadcasting from the Palo Alto, CA Apple Store   There is also a live chat available.  Scoble’s feed has been experiencing audio difficulties, but the video is not bad.  Zoomr TV is providing the equipment and using Sprint’s EVDO network for transmission of the live stream.

The first sale of the iPhone occurs at 6pm local time, so NY’ers will be able to purchase 3 hours ahead of California line dwellers.

What was new at BREW 2007: into the new

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The BREW Conference is traditionally focused on developers. Past events brought together operators, handset makers and developers working with Qualcomm’s BREW platform for the delivery of content, namely games and other applications. There were several new aspects to the conference in 2007 that distinquish it from previous years. A clear signal of the change in the conference and for BREW, itself, was the choice of Keynote speakers, notably H3 and Time Warner Music.

BREW and GSM Operators

The addition of GSM operators this year was a first for the conference. You might wonder what the attraction for a GSM operator would be in a platform designed to deliver applications to CDMA subscribers. The answer is found in Qualcomm’s move 18 months ago to break BREW into three components: UiOne, DeliveryOne, and QPoint.

UiOne has been deployed by O2, Telecom Italia and apparently there is a deal in the works between Qualcomm and Three for use of the platform (no official announcement, yet). In Europe, the UI is determined and controlled by the handset manufacturers, but UiOne places that critical aspect of the user experience back into the operator’s domain. UiOne allows for customization through theme development as illustrated by Alltel Wireless’ Celltop application. The availability of the scripting language TrigML from UiOne’s SDK makes the UI extensible. Third party theme development, enhanced discovery and web services delivery are simplified which is very attractive to operators regardless of their underlying network technologies.

Welcome Media/Content Providers

Also, a new addition to the conference this year was the participation of media companies like keynote presenter Time Warner Music (TWM). This is foreshadowing to the future of BREW plus MediaFLO. A number of other media companies were present as attendees changing the BREW audience and definitely the conference session lineup with broader coverage than in past years. The BREW Conference has been technology centric, but with the expansion of participants new topics arose focused on solutions over technology and seamless user experience as the path to monetization.

BREW 2007: Cardless SIMs on Sprint Nextel

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The BREW conference is underway in San Diego, CA. The attendance is strong and there are lots of applications which deliver “media”. My first observation at the conference was the following. The phrase mobile content is last year’s color, and now, all is media. Ringtones, wallpapers, logos, text messages, pictures, and of course, video are all media.

Brian Finnerty, director of devices at Sprint Nextel, reached the top of the escalator just as I walked up to it. I took the opportunity to ask him a question or two.

me: “Sprint has always been known as the carrier with the coolest phones. Why didn’t Sprint land the iPhone?”

Brian: “They didn’t ask us. Apple wanted a GSM carrier so they could launch worldwide, or internationally.”

me: “What about SIM cards for CDMA carriers? Will Sprint have SIM cards in the near future?”

Brian: “We are deploying SIM technology without the card.”

me: “When?”

Brian: “It’s working on the phone I have in my pocket, right now.”

me: “Can I see that?”

Brian: “No.”

me: “When will Sprint release it?”

Brian: “In August.”

Nextel phones use SIM cards, and the new cardless SIM solution may be one benefit that can be credited to the merger. From a consumer perspective the benefit of having a card module is the ability to move it from one phone to another or change network operators by popping in a new SIM card to an existing device. It’s unclear what the consumer benefit will be for Sprint’s cardless SIM.