Mobile Archives — Page 21 of 28


A review of a book on the achievements of Bell Labs, the entity that made most of inventions that we now take for granted: Indeed, Bell Labs was behind many of the innovations that have come to define modern life, including the transistor (the building block of all digital products), the laser, the silicon solar cell and the computer operating system called Unix (which would serve as the basis for a host of other computer languages). Bell Labs developed the first communications satellites, the first cellular telephone systems and the first fiber-optic cable systems.
First reports of the Indian census are coming in. Communication: A telephone, whether a land line or mobile, is used by 63 percent of total households – 82 percent in urban areas and 54 percent in rural areas, an increase of 54 percentage points from 2001. A mobile phone is owned by 59 percent of households. There has been a huge jump in television ownership – up from 15.6 percent to 43 percent in since 2001.
Not quite at the point of harvesting energy from passing em waves and making batteries obsolete, but still a major advance from the current nuisances of carrying a host of charging devices and looking for compatible plugs: WiTricity has signed a technology transfer and licensing agreement with MediaTek, a semiconductor company in Taiwan, to collaborate on systems for wireless charging of mobile handsets, tablet computers, game controllers and other devices, Mr. Giler said. WiTricity is also developing technology for wireless charging of electric vehicles and, later, for use in implanted medical devices like heart pumps, said Katie Hall, its chief technology officer. The technology is based on magnetic induction — the process used to recharge electric toothbrushes. In the toothbrush, the base has a magnetic coil that generates a magnetic field.
Assailing the shutting off of mobile networks in Egypt and Libya and then allowing the same to be done by the Bay Area Rapid Transit Authority was hypocritical. But American hypocrisy has limits. They have launched a public-comment process to define the terms. When will we see such actions in the developing world? The Federal Communications Commission is reviewing whether or when the police and other government officials can intentionally interrupt cellphone and Internet service to protect public safety.
We took the description of this conference, Regional ITS [International Telecom Society] conference, seriously. I served on the program committee. Despite one visa casualty and one last minute cancellation, with five people attending, we had perhaps the largest organizational presence. But it was focused almost entirely on India and India’s many telecom problems. Of all the countries in South Asia, only Sri Lanka was represented.
Pervez Ifthikar is a passionate commentator on telecom issues in Pakistan. A knowledgeable commentator and as the founding CEO of the universal service fund (one of the best in the world in his time), one who has to be taken seriously. Irrespective of the on-going, completely unnecessary, “controversy” surrounding auction of 3G in Pakistan, allotting 3G frequencies to telecom operators is extremely urgent and essential for Pakistan. We have already been left behind by others who used to be our followers in 2G. Mobile broadband – or 3G – should have been introduced here already four years ago.
The emphasis is on the word “still.” Nokia remained the world’s No. 1 maker of mobile phones, including traditional cellphones and smartphones, but its share of the phone market is rapidly shrinking. For the full year of 2011, its global market share was 23.8 percent, down from 28.
There was a small but high profile Government Transformation Forum organized in Kovalam, Kerala, Feb 5-6, 2012. The Kerala Chief Minister and the Minister in charge of IT made appearances and the high-profile MP of the area, Dr Shashi Tharoor, delivered the keynote address and showed deep engagement. I chaired the session on international and Indian best practices and made a presentation based primarily on the experiences of designing e Sri Lanka back in 2002-03 and LIRNEasia research. My key message was that there were no best practices that could be imported to Kerala. What were best were what fit the specific circumstances.
Most people access the Internet using mobiles. Many use Facebook from mobiles. Our research in Java showed that people at the BOP were beginning to call Internet Facebook. Yet, Facebook does not know how to monetize mobile products? “We do not currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven,” the company said in its review of the risks it faces.
Strong sales for Nokia’s Lumia smartphone line based on Windows OS has changed perceptions: Analysts are expecting Nokia to rapidly reassert its relevance in the smartphone market, which it had largely to itself before the 2007 introduction of Apple’s first iPhone. Over the next 12 months, Nokia will expand its smartphone market share more than sixfold, to 12.2 percent, overtaking Research in Motion, the makers of the BlackBerry, according to I.D.C.
We have always emphasized that telecom is a complementary input: Does not solve problems by itself, but makes solutions possible; Multiplies the effects of interventions. Here, in Bill Gates’ thoughtful year-end message, is a great illustration. He is talking about the first winner of a Gates Foundation innovation award, a doctor from Bangladesh: In 2009, Dr. Hossain was assigned to two districts where immunization rates were 67 and 60 percent, respectively. In 2010, they were 85 and 79 percent.
Gregory Mankiw is a gutsy economist. He defended outsourcing while still serving in the Bush administration. He is a also a good economist. He could make a living on textbooks alone. He is now advising Mitt Romney as he campaigns for the presidency.

Thai media reports Teleuse@BOP4

Posted on January 14, 2012  /  0 Comments

It took a little time, but a comprehensive report on the Bangkok launch of teleuse@BOP4 results has been published in the Nation (Thailand). The survey found that Thai users spent more than any other nationality on mobile phones, $93 on average compared to $50 or less elsewhere. Most of the phones they bought had radio connections, while 14 per cent had a Web browser and 5 per cent had touch-screens. Ninety-one per cent of the Thais said they’d used a mobile phone in the previous three months, up from 77 per cent in 2008. More than 90 per cent of the urban users made regular calls, compared to 80 per cent in the rural areas.
We predicted the spread the BTN model from Asia to Africa. We saw the duopoly structure in Latin America preventing its spread to that continent. We really didn’t say much about Europe, except in passing. But it looks like the issuance of a fourth license in France (we did not even know France had only three operators! How backward!
The story now is about Samsung’s rise and HTC’s decline. But the silence is more interesting: no talk about Chinese manufacturers. The US 100 computer handset is Huawei’s. Let’s see how this story gets written next year. HTC was the first company to make a big bet on Android.
We’ve been talking about the qualitative increase in data volumes that will result from the conversion of mobile networks into carriers of data since 2010. Is it a flood, a tsunami or an avalanche? The name does not seem to matter (though tsunami is the term that seems to be catching). Unless the problem is understood (operators do; some regulators and policy makers do, as evidenced below); and addressed (both in terms of access networks, as below, and in terms of backhaul, as we have been advocating), the quality of broadband experience will degrade radically. The announcement comes as wireless companies are facing a spectrum crunch crisis that has already begun to reshape the industry.