Best of Show
Posted: 11.01.05 - By Eric M. Zeman


Announcements and partnerships abounded at the recent Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) Wireless I.T. & Entertainment 2005 event held in San Francisco at the end of September. Below is a sampling of the many products and announcements that grabbed attention at the show.

Wireless Makes a Difference: CTIA Touts Commitment to Public Service

CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent kicked-off day one from the keynote stage in the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco.

Largent used his address to highlight several industry initiatives that have been launched during the year. Before encouraging the several thousand in attendance to donate to the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund through the industry-sponsored Text 2HELP fundraising campaign, he introduced a short video illustrating the wireless industry’s unprecedented response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes.

“Despite facing serious obstacles, the wireless industry’s response to these natural disasters was nothing short of Herculean,” said Largent. “We remain fully committed to aiding and assisting our subscribers in the affected regions in whatever way we can.”

The keynote stage also featured three top industry leaders who shared insights on how wireless devices continue to revolutionize the enterprise. Microsoft’s Suzan DelBene, Nokia’s Mary McDowell and Intel’s Sean Maloney predicted that smart, intelligent mobile devices would continue to better connect workforces and provide practical and realizable benefits to the business community.

Verizon Wireless First to Market with New Treo Smartphone

Mobile-computing pioneer Palm and software giant Microsoft stunned the mobile world with an announcement concerning a strategic alliance to accelerate the smartphone market segment with a new device for mobile professionals. Palm has licensed the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system for an expanded line of Treo smartphones, the first of which will be available on Verizon Wireless’ national wireless broadband network.

Yes, folks, you read that correctly. Palm is licensing the Microsoft platform for its device. The news was revealed in a press conference with Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft; Ed Colligan, president and CEO of Palm; and Denny Strigl, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless.

The collaboration marks a dedicated effort to deliver one of the world’s most innovative smartphone solutions on the software platform favored by many businesses. Treo smartphones combine the hallmark Palm experience of a full-featured mobile phone with e-mail, messaging, Web access and organizational software—in an attractive, compact design. The new Treo smartphone takes advantage of the Windows Mobile 5.0 platform in multiple ways, offering Outlook Mobile, Office Mobile and Internet Explorer Mobile built into the smartphone, as well as direct access to Exchange Server 2003 for mobile access to information. In addition, the new Treo will operate with Verizon Wireless’ BroadbandAccess service. Verizon Wireless expects the new Treo smartphone to be available to its customers in early 2006.

Gates noted, “This is a landmark alliance that will help businesses remain on the cutting edge. Demand for accessing information on mobile devices is soaring, and businesses want a low-cost, scalable solution that connects professionals to their critical information while on the go,” he says.

“We’ve long believed that the future of personal computing is mobile computing, and our collaboration with Microsoft is a step in delivering that vision to a larger market,” says Colligan.

The Treo smartphone on Windows Mobile is a CDMA-based phone targeted for the U.S. market and takes advantage of Verizon Wireless’ BroadbandAccess service on its EV-DO network with download speeds between 400 and 700 Kbps. Today, about half the U.S. population, in more than 84 metropolitan areas and in hundreds of airports across the nation, can access download speeds comparable to DSL or cable-modem connections. Verizon Wireless has been expanding its BroadbandAccess service area steadily since its debut in the fall of 2003.

“The Treo will deliver fast downloading of e-mail and attachments, as well as quick access to critical business information, providing businesses with a great ROI,” says Verizon’s Strigl.

Mapquest Offers A Portable, Personal Navigation Device

We all know how frustrating it can be to get lost, especially when en route to a meeting or interview where punctuality is key. MapQuest and TomTom are
hoping to make our lives easier with
the launch of the MapQuest Personal Navigation Device (PND).
Combining the latest GPS technology with preloaded detailed maps, the MapQuest PND will deliver highly accurate, turn-by-turn, voice-guided directions in an easy-to-use portable device. With the MapQuest PND, users simply turn it on, tap in the destination and drive. This extends MapQuest’s maps and directions beyond the desktop.
“The MapQuest Personal Navigation Device represents the most natural and significant extension of our brand to date, as we move beyond the PC and take navigation into the car, making it simple for drivers to reach their desired destination and change course, if needed,” says Austin Klahn, CTO of MapQuest. “We selected TomTom, as we believe they offer the latest technology and the best experience in personal navigation devices.”

“TomTom is proud to offer a customized device based on its GPS products to MapQuest. Our 3-D view, full touchscreen operation and voice-guided instructions deliver on the ease of use that MapQuest users have come to expect online,” says Jocelyn Vigreux, president of TomTom.

Designed to be mounted on a car’s dashboard or attached to the windshield, the MapQuest PND uses GPS technology to determine the current location. Using the touchscreen, users input their destination to obtain directions based on a variety of different routing options such as “quickest,” “shortest,” or “avoiding toll roads.” The on-screen and voice-guided turn-by-turn directions are available in multiple voices and languages. Corresponding 3-D maps and graphics depict the car’s progress toward the destination.

I was able to see a live demonstration when the MapQuest staff kidnapped me from the Moscone Center and drove me around the streets of San Francisco for 20 minutes. Considering that we were in urban canyons, the device worked quite well at providing accurate directions and was able to re-route us when traffic presented some unforeseen delays. The interface was very simple to read and use, and I was able to convince the MapQuestors to deliver me back to the Moscone Center in time for my next meeting.

Sprint and Motorola Unveil Windows Mobile–Based Smartphone for Business Professionals

Aimed at providing former Nextel subscribers with the power they need to get their jobs done in an increasingly information-intensive business environment, Sprint and Motorola plan to offer the i930, a compact clamshell device featuring the Windows Mobile Smartphone platform. Packed with domestic and international voice, data and walkie-talkie capabilities, Sprint’s newest Motorola iDEN technology Smart Device for the Nextel Nationwide Network helps mobile professionals take care of business in more places than ever before.

“Sprint recognizes that customers want the option to choose which communications solutions are best to help them increase efficiencies and gain a competitive edge,” says Vicki Warker, VP of marketing for Sprint. “The availability of a powerful single device that gives customers multiple communications options in the United States and abroad is a significant addition to Sprint’s portfolio of flexible solutions that are designed to meet the needs of those whose work takes them around the globe.”

Using the provided SIM card, the i930 operates on 800/900 iDEN and 900/1800 GSM frequencies, allowing users to make or receive voice calls and receive voicemail messages in the United States and more than 100 countries using a single phone number. Keeping connected to clients, co-workers or family members while abroad is easy with support for iDEN and GPRS data roaming in areas where Sprint has international roaming agreements. Customers traveling in parts of North America, South America, Europe and Asia can utilize e-mail, Web browsing and text and messaging.

Road warriors desiring instant communication with the push of a button will benefit from Nextel Nationwide Walkie-Talkie Services in the United States and Nextel International Walkie-Talkie Services that allow customers to instantly connect with other users in and between the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and Peru.

“The Motorola i930 is packed with advanced features that make it easy for users to stay connected worldwide” says Rey Moré, senior VP and general manager of Motorola’s iDEN Mobile Devices. “This new handset is a great multitasker, with the ability to successfully perform various functions all within one compact device, including advanced walkie-talkie and multimedia-messaging capabilities.”

Columbitech Announces First Secure WiMAX-Ready VPN

Though WiMAX networks are not yet widely available in the United States, one security-minded company has made sure that when they are, you won’t have to worry about the safety of using them. Columbitech is enabling secure connection and seamless roaming to wireless broadband technology across virtually any network supporting TCP/IP and the first secure WiMAX-ready VPN solution. This solution will help virtually any enterprise interested in WiMAX feel safe in knowing full security support is available.

Acceptance testing of the new version of WiMAX-ready Columbitech Wireless VPN will be done in cooperation with leading WiMAX equipment suppliers. “WiMAX has great potential and will be a very interesting complement to existing technologies, such as Wi-Fi and 3G networks,” says Åsa Holmström, President of Columbitech. “The Columbitech mission has always been to offer full security with total mobility. This makes it a natural step for us to include WiMAX among the different networks supported by the Columbitech Wireless VPN.”

The WiMAX-ready Columbitech Wireless VPN (WVPN), a session-based security solution, provides users with
a seamless and secure connection, allowing the use of a combination of different and emerging network technologies. For example, a user can log on to a corporate network from home using Wi-Fi or any broadband connection available such as ADSL. The user can then travel to the airport, where the secure WVPN session to the corporate network can be resumed over the airport Wi-Fi network as soon as the laptop session has come out of hibernation. There is no need for the user to log in again, as the mutual authentication of the secure session is performed in the background and requires no user intervention. Columbitech Wireless VPN both encrypts the transmitted data and offers various methods of user authentication to eliminate unauthorized access.

A live demonstration of the interface and security technology was enough to demonstrate that Columbitech is serious about your data and its safety.

Cingular, Nokia ‘Connect’ with Nokia 9300

Long available in the European market, Cingular Wireless and Nokia have finally introduced the EDGE-powered Nokia 9300 business device with BlackBerry Connect to the U.S. marketplace. Cingular is the first U.S. carrier to launch the popular BlackBerry wireless services on a third-party handset via the BlackBerry Connect licensing program from Research In Motion (RIM). The Nokia 9300 will be available in the United States through Cingular Wireless beginning in November.

Corporate customers can now choose the Nokia 9300 business device as an option to use with the behind-the-firewall BlackBerry Enterprise Server, and individuals and small business customers can use the Nokia 9300 with BlackBerry Connect to access popular Internet Service Provider (ISP) e-mail accounts through BlackBerry Internet Service.
In addition to offering the BlackBerry Connect e-mail solution, the Nokia 9300 is also compatible with several third-party applications to provide individuals and businesses of all sizes with a comprehensive wireless solution.

The Cingular-enabled Nokia 9300 business device with BlackBerry Connect is designed for the mobile professional seeking a high-quality combination of PDA, phone and mobile e-mail in a sleek, compact device. From a traditional handset on the outside, opening to a full keyboard on the inside for fast, efficient text and data input, the Nokia 9300 offers a compelling voice and data experience. Further, it boasts a wide, brilliant 65,536-color screen for a desktop-like Web browsing experience.

The tri-band (850/1800/1900) Symbian OS-based Nokia 9300 delivers the voice experience that customers have come to expect from Nokia, with key calling features such as five-way conference call capability, an easy-to-use speaker phone and Bluetooth connectivity for use with an optional Bluetooth headset. “The Nokia 9300 phone marks the convergence of two eagerly anticipated, business-focused wireless products—the Nokia 9300 and BlackBerry Connect—with Cingular’s nationwide EDGE network,” says Kent Mathy, president of Cingular’s Business Markets Group. “By bringing all of these together, Cingular is offering a truly powerful tool and complete voice and data solution both to businesses and individual users.”

Mary T. McDowell, executive VP and general manager of Nokia Enterprise Solutions, notes, “Our goals to grow the impact of mobility and be the mobile device of choice for the enterprise is an exciting opportunity that we look forward to achieving with the help of partners like Cingular Wireless and RIM. In a marketplace where many professionals carry more than one device—one for voice, one for data—the Nokia 9300 business device is a compelling alternative for companies ready to mobilize their employees with a single
reliable, manageable business-optimized device.”

RIM is excited as well. “BlackBerry Connect is an important part of our global strategy to expand the reach of BlackBerry services and provide customers with a broader choice of handsets while maintaining the important benefits of the BlackBerry architecture, infrastructure and security model,” says Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO of RIM.
For an extended review of the 9300, please check back with Mobile Enterprise in the coming months.

 


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