Studies Predict Java, MMS Future

A picture of the future wireless world dominated by Java-based phones capable of roaming the world and exchanging multimedia messages emerged from a flurry of research studies released Tuesday.

ARC Group predicts that in a study that all Net-connected wireless phones will be Java-enabled within five years. Specifically, more than 1.1 billion phones will be capable of running Java applications by 2006, the study predicts.

One reason that will occur is that Java already is enjoying broad support among the wireless community.

“Every player along the value chain is embracing the technology and realizes the potential of Java to aid the migration to 3G,” said report author Steven Hartley.

The report notes tha 8 million i-mode users in Japan already have upgraded to Java-supported phones. It predicts that, as Java-enabled phones are increasingly rolled out around the world, that success will be duplicated in all other markets.

Games downloadable to the handset will be the most application until 2004, after which locatin-based services will be the most popular application, the study predicts.

Just as the wireless industry is transitioning to Java, it also inevitably will transition from from Short Message Service (SMS) to Multimedia Message Service (MMS), according to another study released by Mobile Streams.

“The transition from SMS to MMS is akin in importance to the mobile market as the transition from DOS to Windows was for the PC market,” said report author Simon Buckingham. “However, the MMS market will take several years to reach critical mass as SMS continues to spread around the world.”

One reason that MMS will take so long to grow is delays in MMS-capable handsets, the rport notes. The first MMS handset, the Ericsson T68, has been delayed by three months to the end of the first quarter of next year. The reason Ericsson gave for the delay is problems with interoperability. Still, the study notes that Ericsson, which has suffered market share losses of late for its wireless phone line, currently is the MMS leader, conducting nearly one-fourth of all MMS field trials with operators.

Cahners In-Stat Group’s study predicts that, as travel growth continues, phones that work thorughout the world will become increasingly important. Specifically, the report predicts that there will be 91 million subscribers to so-called “world phones” that support global roaming by 2005.

That will result in about $29 billion in roaming revenues for wireless operators in 2005, the study claims. It predicted that GSM-based technologies still will dominate in 2005.

Dave Haskin is managing editor of sister site

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