Mobile Industry Targets The Enterprise

The heads of the two leading European handset makers told the 3GSM World Congress Wednesday that they are increasingly targeting corporate customers and emerging multimedia applications while seeking to expand

February 25, 2004

2 Min Read
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CANNES, France -- Mobile phone makers and the vendors who are driving the integration of devices and services on 3G handsets are looking for ways to attract more customers while squeezing more business out of existing ones.

The heads of the two leading European handset makers told the 3GSM World Congress here on Wednesday (Feb. 25) that they are increasingly targeting corporate customers and emerging multimedia applications while seeking to expand the number of voice subscribers, especially in underserved areas. That will require significantly lower handsets costs, a requirement where chip makers like Intel Corp. and Texas Instruments Corp. claimed here they are making significant progress.

Camera phones are commonplace and multimedia messaging services took off in 2003, said Jorma Ollila, Nokia's chairman and CEO. "Mobile is becoming the sixth medium" after TV, radio, print, recording and the Internet, Ollila asserted. Hence, "We need more intelligence in mobile networks."

Nokia's majority stake in the Symbian operating system alliance has raised eyebrows about the company's continuing commitment to the open standards and interoperability " the mantra of the mobile conference. Ollila downplayed the move, adding that "We will continue to work with other [Symbian] shareholders to maintain open platforms."

Ollila and Ericsson President and CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg also defended the industry's performance in delivering 3G handsets. Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin earlier blasted handset makers for failing to deliver dependable, affordable 3G handsets, saying their deficiencies have slowed 3G deployment.Ollila said operators' networks need to be ready and stable to test handset performance, a requirement that was not always met by operators. He also said the complex wideband CDMA specification has slowed development.

Svanberg and other executives here said handset makers want to pack as many functions on phones as possible to drive mobility. He forecast a single device for voice, imaging, music and other multimedia applications. The rosy scenario has raised concerns about complex user interfaces often dictated by operators. Panel moderator Walter Mossberg, technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal, said handset makers will must develop easier-to-use interfaces if they hope to attract new customers. "Where's the phone mute button" consumers need when their mobile phone rings in a theater? Mossberg asked.

Chip makers here said they are well on the way to integrating new mobile functions on handsets. "The silicon content is no longer the limiting factor in the form factor of handsets," said Paul Otellini, Intel Corp.'s president and chief operating officer. Intel and Texas Instruments are releasing reference designs that will gradually shrink the number of components to two and eventually single chips.

Rich Templeton, the incoming head of Texas Instruments, said the DSP specialist has completed an Edge smartphone reference design is developing a single-chip cellphone. Templeton said TI engineers recently made their first GSM call with the new platform.

Templeton said the company's OMAP 2 architecture for 2.5 and 3G phones will begin sampling later this year, with products expected by as early as next year.0

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