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Results of 3GSM Congress 2005 in Cannes
CeBIT and 3GSM Congress are the most significant for communicational industry of those many specialized exhibitions and congresses taking place today. The majority of the products and services are announced here, important agreements are signed. And if CeBIT is some kind of an exhibition displaying World-wide Computer Field Developments then 3GSM Congress is a specialized enterprise intended for cellular market participants (and also including other wireless technologies).
Many companies attach great importance to the congress. According to the congress results that's possible to determine clearly all the trends the branch will try to follow the next year. And a Hanover exhibition CeBIT taking place a month after only corrects these trends but doesn't actually set new ones.
Our colleagues and participating companies noticed the number of participants had increased. During the whole congress the stands of the main companies gathered crowds. And recreation areas looked about this way:
Let's provide a small photo session of the congress opening before passing to the theme:
Course towards 3G - the first trend
The main trend is obviously orientation on manufacturing 3G terminals. All the companies claimed manufacturing 3G terminals. Gaining leadership on the 3G market is a priority task.
Nokia. The company announced a UMTS/GSM model Nokia 6680 that is actually a renewal of Nokia 6630. And you may read a full report on the Nokia products represented during the 3GSM Congress 2005.
Motorola. The company declaimed it would keep its leadership in 3G segment by the end of 2005 and would have announced 16 new models by the end of the year that is 10 terminals more than in 2004. The company has represented a part of its models at the congress and a full material about Motorola at the 3GSM congress may be read on our site.
Sony Ericsson has announced only 3G phones at the congress and that is a demonstration. First that is a 2G model Sony Ericsson Z800 that is much less in size than Sony Ericsson Z1010. The specification of the model is available on our site. We'll only note such functions as a Memory Stick DUO card for 1GB, a possibility to work with the phones via a USB-cable without installing drivers (USB Mass Storage Device), 3D Java, 72-tones polyphony. The model is expected in sale in the 2Q 2005.
Second that is Sony Ericsson K600 also reviewed on our site. In fact it resembles Sony Ericsson T610 with its strict design and a model Sony Ericsson K700 in the main functions with a more qualitative screen, a second camera and UMTS support.
GSM terminals took the most significant part of Samsung product line though 4 UMTS terminals also were represented. A separate article is devoted to Samsung at the 3GSM Congress.
Panasonic also demonstrated terminals supporting 3G (model Panasonic P900iV) however this branch is not still the priority one for the company that is more a demonstration of possibilities. The model provides an AV output to a TV set and a film was translated onto a big screen on the company's stand. The display is 252K , 2.4" in diagonal and supporting miniSD cards, equipped with a 2-megapixel camera. Other company products are highlighted here.
Nec traditionally distinguishes from 3G phones manufacturers and that is the second company after Motorola in the number of produced 3G terminals. An UMTS-clamshell NEC 338 attracted attention the most of the announced products (they were mainly I-mode supporting models). The model is already available in sale under the badge of a "3" operator. According to the company representatives that is the smallest and lightest 3G terminal on the European market (weight of 114 g, dimensions - 93.8x47.1x23.3 mm). The screen is 65K and the polyphony is 40-tones.
Some more pictures of the NEC's stand.
Alcatel didn't represent 3G terminals to the public and only a C651 clamshell distinguishing in a diagonal position of the external screen was shown.
Other new models by Alcatel were demonstrated behind a glass.
A comparatively old model Siemens SK65 was the center of a Siemens's stand. No new models were represented and the company postponed them to CeBIT.
We think there are two main reasons why the leading companies pay attention to 3G terminals:
HSDPA+Wi-Fi – the second trend
While experts keep arguing about if a wireless standard Wi-Fi (WiMAX hereinafter) is a rival to 3G networks the manufacturers have made up their minds. Wi-Fi and WiMAX standards are taken as extra but not rival. The industry hurried up to use the advantages of wireless Wi-Fi networks having integrated them into many products.
Two remarkable events may be noted. First, agreement between Skype and I-Mate (a brand that belongs to Carrier Devices). Second, a similar agreement between Skype and Motorola. Skype is known for its free program for IP-telephony carrying the same name.
A HSDPA standard (High-Speed Downlink Pocket Access improving an existing WCDMA 3G one) has already been named as 3.5G. Theoretically, download speed increases to 14 MBps and practically to 1-3 MBps as compared to usual UMTS.
All the companies have represented their PCMCIA cards for notebooks supporting various wireless interfaces including HSDPA: Sony Ericsson GC95 (UMTS, EDGE, GPRS, GSM; the next version will support Wi-Fi and HSDPA besides these all), Motorola D1100 (HSDPA, UMTS, GSM, GPRS), Sierra Wireless AirCard 850 (HSDPA, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS, GSM). Siemens has distinguished in this matter having represented a card working almost with all wireless networks.
So, HSDPA, a high-speed expansion of UMTS, has been discussed much during the congress and ready products supporting the standard were announced. At the same time the manufactures are not going to refuse Wi-Fi as a high-speed data access standard and consider it an extra interface with its own advantages and not a rival to HSDPA/UMTS.
Mobile music - the third trend
If many companies tried to represent phones with integrated megapixel cameras last year then this year all of them paid great attention to mobile music. And many important announces were made. So, everybody has forgotten about megapixels in some way.
Nokia has announced partnership with Microsoft in a field of mobile music: a possibility of synchronization with Windows Media Player 10, support for digital rights control and online download of compositions.
Sony Ericsson has announced a similar partnership with Nokia. Collaborating with Sony Group the company will release musical mobile phones under a well-known Walkman brand. Let's remind Motorola concluded a treaty with Apple as long as in summer.
That is evident these agreements are aimed at an existing and working well online melody delivery/download infrastructure. The companies see the market perspectives but are not ready to develop the infrastructure on their own.
Let's note incidental trends connected with mobile music in some way. First, more and more phones are equipped with flash memory connectors. Second, many phones will work via USB as external storage device without drivers (USB Mass Storage Device) and that is also a common tendency. Third, almost all the companies are anxious about following digital author rights.
The most significant event of the exhibition in a software area is announcement of Nokia Series 60 Third Edition and UIQ 3.0. A separate article will be devoted to Nokia Series 60 and we'll tell some words about UIQ 3.0. The interface has changed by sight greatly. It got smoother, signs larger. The main differences are the interface suitability for various form-factors devices, great flexibility to operator's needs and a support for the main 3G services.
Unfortunately, Microsoft has not announced its new operating system Windows Mobile 2005 (Magneto).
The answer on my question about when finally devices based on Palm OS 6 will appear was "most likely by the end of the year". Well, let's wait; I hope they will finally be released if not postponed…
A product called Qix by Zi Corporation comes to memory speaking about exterior manufacturers. About the same idea as the one used for dialing numbers realized in Windows Mobile smartphones is used here but expanded for the whole menu. For instance, to access the settings you do not need to refer to a "settings" item in the menu, you need only to dial two-three numbers in the standby mode and the program will "guess" which menu item you were trying to call and will represent a list.
Many game devices were represented in a separate game zone. And mainly those were Java games.
Providers of the adult content gathered in a separate (or even the farthest) corner. They attracted public with plain posters and reality-shows. We provide not the most revealing photos from the stands here:
These are the main tendencies and events that have revealed during the congress, but we do not finish with this. We'll tell about the things we found interesting.
A new smartphone Xplore M68 based on Palm OS Garnet 5.4 was demonstrated on the Palm Source stand. It possesses not bad characteristics: 1300 mAh battery, 1.3 megapixel camera, 2.2 TFT screen with the resolution of 160x220 pixels. But a cheap plastic of the body spoiled all the impression and the device is comparatively large and heavy (109x49.522.5 mm, 127 g).
At a BenQ's stand we acquainted with a working version of a long-waited-for communicator BenQ P50. According to the company representatives, the device will appear on the market in the 2Q 2005.
BenQ Z2 having a square body stressing a musical orientation of the device (integrated player, miniSD memory cards support) attracted attention on the same stand.
A European premiere of a game console Gizmondo is expected in 3 weeks.
A phone at a chip manufacturer Qualcomm's stand.
Phones for Japanese market.
An interesting model was introduced by Sanyo and that is a WiPOD messenger. This is a very thin folding device a bit larger than a visit card. It is not equipped with a GSM/GPRS module and the idea of the device is working coupled with a phone via Bluetooth. You can access the Internet, send mail with attachments, type SMS and run Java applications. That is of course rather a fashion product but surprising with size. The device is expected in the 3Q 2005 with the price of about $250.
Besides the exhibition
We provide some around-the-exhibition photos for you to feel the atmosphere before making conclusions.
That is not still restricted to speak on the phone driving Segway and girls from Texas Instruments successfully used it:
Soldiers from the Star Wars guarded the entrance to the Orange pavilion.
As usual Samsung has occupied the most of advertising areas with its ads - from the posters in the airport to the restoration area in the exhibition.
Motorola has also distinguished in it but not as significantly.
A Siemens motor ship was seen from any point of the bank. We argued with colleagues about if the inscription is both-sided since we saw only the one note from the bank. It turned out to be both-sided.
3GSM Congress is not a Russian SvyazExpocomm and that is why it does not shine with beautiful girls and thus we provide only two photos:
The congress has already overgrown small film-festival Cannes. The infrastructure almost doesn't cope with the increasing number of participants and thus enterprises are lead in the joint hotels or build marquees on the beach. Everybody complains of cram.
So, starting with the next year an annual 3GSM Congress moves to Barcelona that is a big modern city with a similar climate to Cannes (even warmer), developed infrastructure. Like congress organizers hope "Cannes' discomfort will stay in past.
See you in Barcelona!
Published 23 February 2005
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