New Wireless Tech Promises More For Enterprise

By Ron Miller

The latest in cutting edge wireless technologies on display this week focus mainly on making them friendly for the enterprise.

At this week’s GSM World Congress in Cannes, France, the hot topics include digital rights management for wireless technology, browsers that can handle bigger pages on smaller devices (driven by a Linux operating system) and a utility for viewing or editing native Microsoft Office documents on Symbian mobile devices.

In addition, there were a flurry of major announcements including deals between mobile messaging vendor Openwave and MSN and between Motorola and Microsoft .

Microsoft kicked things off with an announcement that Openwave plans to include its MSN Mobile software in its Openwave Phone Suite V7 phone software platform providing a way for manufacturers to rapidly add MSN Mobile software — including MSN Hotmail and MSN Messenger. The companies say it gives mobile operators the means to deliver these leading communications services to their subscribers.

“This announcement is a significant win for MSN Messenger, which has lagged behind AOL and Yahoo in wireless IM deployments,” Clint Wheelock, director of wireless Research at IN-STAT/MDR told “The major U.S. carriers have been ramping up their wireless IM programs over the past 6-8 months, taking advantage of the booming SMS market to drive additional data usage and revenues, but thus far Verizon Wireless is the only carrier using MSN.”

Openwave also said an additional 7 manufacturers were shipping its Messaging Client version 6.0.client software, building on some 500 million phones running its software worldwide.

Meanwhile, San Diego-based QUALCOMM announced a new digital rights management (DRM) solution for its SecureMSM security suite, which enables operators and content developers to deliver copyright-protected digital media over wireless networks.

“Enhanced DRM for wireless opens up revenue generating opportunities for operators and content developers alike — and addresses consumer demand for wireless devices that give them the premium content they expect from their infotainment experience,” Luis Pineda, vice president of marketing and product management for QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies said in a statement.

“We expect that mobile multimedia services, including video and music, will be some of the key demand drivers behind worldwide W-CDMA network rollouts over the next couple of years. Since reliable DRM platforms are critical to the availability of media content, this announcement is a big step forward. With the SecureMSM announcement, QUALCOMM is also strengthening its position within the standards-focused OMA community,” Wheelock said.

Not to be outdone, Japan-based Access Co., Ltd, makers of the NetFront v3.1 embedded browser announced the browser now works with the MontaVista Linux Consumer Electronics Edition (CEE), the first embedded Linux operating system for mobile devices. NetFront v3.1 boasts Smart-Fit Rendering, a technology that intelligently renders Web pages to fit the narrow screen widths of mobile devices, eliminating the need for horizontal scrolling and also features Rapid-Render a patent-pending rendering technology that progressively renders and displays Web page content, significantly accelerating the presentation, discovery, and interaction opportunities for mobile Internet users.

“Linux is increasingly becoming the systems software of choice for consumer electronics OEMs, Access and MontaVista Software will work closely together to provide embedded Internet software solutions for developers seeking to build Linux- based, next-generation products for the consumer electronics markets,” Access president and CEO Toru Arakawa said in a statement.

Despite a growing interest by developers and vendors, Linux has some challenges ahead in the cell phone marketplace.

“Based on what we’re seeing in the market now, the future of smartphone operating systems looks like an arm wrestling match between Symbian and Microsoft,” Wheeler said. “Linux is the dark horse here — if Motorola and others are finally successful in getting some Linux OS phones in the market, there could be some real potential for a third major player.”

Finally, Mobility Electronics, Inc. announced their latest product called iGo Quickoffice Premier, which enables Symbian OS-based Series 60 smartphone users to open, view and edit native Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files from email attachments, multimedia message attachments, and native Microsoft Office files saved on removable memory expansion cards.

“Quickoffice Premier is the first complete office suite for Series 60 smartphones. Not only does it contain full word processing and spreadsheet applications, it also includes the first smartphone application to save an edited presentation as a native PowerPoint file.” Charlie Mollo, chief executive officer, Mobility Electronics said in a statement.

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