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Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Huawei has announced that it recently has signed a Global Master Agreement with Telenor Group to supply Mobile Broadband Modems.

Under the agreement, Huawei will involve to deliver 1.2 million Mobile Broadband Modems in the coming 12 months for Telenor’s 13 operating companies in Europe, CIS and Asia, including Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Russia, Ukraine, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand and Malaysia.

According to the report from consulting firm ABI Research, Huawei secured a substantial 55% of the global mobile broadband terminal market. By the end of February 2009, Huawei had shipped over 30 million mobile broadband units, serving 235 operators in 115 countries and providing them with customization solutions that match subscriber requirements.

Source: Huawei website

I don’t often write about tech issues, but so much is being written about the Google Chrome OS announcement I thought I’d weigh in.

On the surface, the announcement of a Google operating system seems to many like a shot at rival Microsoft, an attack at MS’s core business. But those who have been following Google’s moves know that it’s more than that — it’s an (expected) evolution in Google’s long-term strategy.

Google is moving everything online, and I really believe this is the future of computing. The desktop model of computing — the Microsoft era — is coming to an end. It’ll take a few years, but it will happen.

The Old Model
For years, the OS has used the desktop analogy, with folders and files, all stored in a big file cabinet (your hard drive). And applications such as Word have run from the hard drive.

What this has meant is that, in order to insure against computer crashes (which are eventually inevitable), you’ve had to back up your files to a remote disk (another drive, a CD-ROM, etc.). It also has meant a headache when it comes to accessing your files and programs from multiple computers — you have to save and sync files all the time, and buy and install multiple copies of applications.

It’s also meant a lot of headaches when it comes to filing and finding your files, and sharing them with other people (this had to be done using floppy disks/CDs, or more recently, email attachments).

Finally, operating systems, trying to do everything, have become bloated and slow, taking up a lot of your computer’s processing power, memory and storage.

The New Model
Google’s model is based on connectivity to the Internet, a model that was unthinkable a decade ago and has only been really viable in the last few years as almost everyone has high-speed connections and wi-fi or mobile access.

Google has moved applications, and increasingly, our files, to the web (or cloud). It started with Gmail’s success — a fast, powerful online email app that beats desktop email apps hands down. It expanded with a suite of simple web apps: Google Calendar, Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Reader, Picasa for photos, eventually YouTube for video, Blogger for writing for the web, and more.

These apps are lightweight but powerful. They aren’t as feature rich as desktop apps, but here’s what many critics don’t understand: in today’s (and tomorrow’s) computing world, they don’t have to be.

While the business world has long used Microsoft Word to create rich documents full of formatting and charts, the increasingly mobile world doesn’t care about any of that. We send emails and text messages and tweets and messages on Facebook and forums and other social media — with no formatting at all. We do blog posts that have bold and italics and links and photos and videos and not much more in terms of formatting text.

We don’t need feature-bloated Microsoft Word anymore. Nor Excel, with its 2 million features, nor PowerPoint (who likes to watch slides?). Sure, there are still some great desktop apps that people use, for photo and video editing and much more … but the majority of us don’t need those. We need to communicate simply and quickly, without hassle.

Web apps don’t match up with desktop apps … but that’s a good thing for most of us who use the new computing model.

Web apps are lightweight and fast. They store all your files online, so you don’t need to worry about syncing them or carrying around CDs or flash drives, or backing up. You can share with anyone you like, or everyone, with a click.

This is what the computing world is becoming, and will be for many years. Google has driven these changes, and when it announced the Chrome browser last year, that was an obvious move to make the browser handle web apps better.

The Chrome OS is an obvious move to make computers bypass the old model of desktop apps and files and folders, and go straight to the web, web apps, and online files. Chrome OS will be lightweight and fast (like the Chrome browser), it will feature web apps and not much else, and it will be perfectly aligned with how more and more of us are using the web — with mobility, speed, sharing, and connecting in mind.

Why Google Music is the Next Logical Step
If you read the Google Chrome OS announcement carefully, you’ll see an interesting item:

“[People] want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files.”

This obviously means Google OS will store all its files online — then people don’t need to worry about backing up the files, and if they lose their computer, nothing will really be lost.

And that makes sense, considering that Google has moved almost all your files online if you use its web apps: emails, photos (in Picasa), videos (in YouTube), documents (Google Docs & Spreadsheets), even pdfs now.

Almost all of your files.

The average user has one other type of file, though: mp3s. Sure, I know there are many other types of files, but I’m only concerned with what most people use computers for these days — email, online reading and social stuff, video, photos, music. And Google has not moved music online yet.

There are already sites that do this, but they’re not Google. So either Google will buy one of the online sites (like it did with YouTube and Blogger and Writely, which became Google Docs), or it will create its own.

Your mp3s will be stored online, and you’ll be able to play them from anywhere. This will complete Google’s goal of keeping all your files online.

Concerns: Connectivity and Privacy
There are two main concerns that people have when cloud computing or web apps are brought up, so we should talk about them briefly:

1. What if you’re not connected to the cloud? You might lose your Internet connection and lose access to your files. This is not a concern for most of us, as we’re almost always connected, more and more each year, especially with data plans on mobile devices (ala the iPhone). However, Google is already addressing this issue with Google Gears and HTML5 — you’ll be able to access your files and use web apps even when offline.

2. Do I really want Google to have all my files and info? This is a valid privacy concern, and I don’t have an answer. My personal feeling is that I don’t have any data that I’m incredibly worried about losing or that might become public. I highly doubt Google would be interested in browsing through my files, as they’re not very interesting. And if Google uses my data to serve up better ads … what do I care? I don’t look at their ads anyway.

However, I understand the privacy concern. It may turn out to be an important issue, or it might just be something we learn to live with, as we have with many other privacy issues (government having access to our financial data, Microsoft getting info from our computers, etc.).

Update: More info on Chrome.

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The toolkit launches in a couple of days, and until then there’s a pre-sale that drops the price from $67 to $49 (32% off).

Source: zenhabits

For once the telecoms industry has found a 3G application that works: mobile broadband take-up has been swift in the last 12 months and has shown that access is important again, said Didier Bonnet, global head of consulting services, telecom media and entertainment at Capgemini.

But like many, Bonnet fears that the industry has rushed too soon to implement pricing levels that are unsustainable, with “phenomenal” price decreases to attract new users.

“I think there will be a rethink on mobile broadband pricing,” said Bonnet, who added that he is encouraging Capgemini’s operator customers to consider different types of pricing models depending on the user.

Click here to find out more!He said operators should consider how to encourage low users and restrain higher users, noting that 20% of users typically generate around 80% of the data traffic on networks.

Indeed, as the recession bites harder Bonnet said pricing and bundling analysis will be an increasingly important tool for all mobile services. For example, operators have to understand which users want to move to a lower-priced bundle to be able to prevent them from churning to another provider, while at the same time they can do more within the bundle to create stickiness.

With regards to the wider impact of the recession on the mobile industry, Bonnet said an analysis of consumer spending in previous recessions indicates that although telecoms is not immune to economic downturns it is more resilient than other industries, such as the car industry or luxury goods.

In good times, he said consumer telecoms spending growth is typically higher than GDP per capita, while in bad times spending tracks GDP per capita. “It doesn’t collapse,” Bonnet said. “And if you track consumption over the last 40 years it has shown steady growth.”

But although consumption is constantly going up, the industry has been unable to monetise this as revenue growth has not kept pace. And Bonnet said matching revenue to consumption growth will be even more difficult during times of hardship.

“You have to be realistic about what you can get out of consumers in a recession,” he said.

Bonnet said he also believes there will be a new wave of consolidation in the mobile industry: “Life is very hard for smaller operators,” he said. “There might be some nice bargains to be had in the second half of the year, by which time the market might be more accepting of acquisitions.”

He said there will also be an increased move to network outsourcing and network sharing, although he said he has been surprised at how slow operators have been to adopt such measures.

Source: Total Telecom

The Internet is abuzz these days with speculation over the launch of a new online storage offering from Google said to be dubbed GDrive. The service would apparently be bundled with Google Pack, the company’s software download offering that includes products such as Picasa and Google Earth. With no official word, many questions remain unanswered about the service. But I have a theory as to why Google is introducing what is essentially a commodity service.

Online storage isn’t quite the pot of gold folks assume it to be. Even with millions of page views generated by free online storage, the resulting advertising revenues are never going to be meaningful. They can charge for these services, but that means a long gestation period. There are some that manage to make a decent living offering back-up services, but such revenues would represent little more than a drop in Google’s overall business bucket.

Information leaked on the web outlines Google’s GDrive ambitions: “GDrive provides reliable storage for all of your files, including photos, music and documents. GDrive allows you to access your files from anywhere, anytime, and from any device – be it from your desktop, web browser or cellular phone.” In other words, an awful lot like Microsoft’s Skydrive and Live Mesh offerings. Google, however, always introduces products to consumers before taking them to corporate users. Google Apps is a perfect example: GMail was available for consumers before it became part of Google Apps and was sold to enterprises. GDrive will involve a similar strategy as well.

I believe Google is looking to build something unique, a service that it would position as a direct competitor to not only Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Live Mesh services, but to the software giant’s SharePoint services. My guess would be that they would marry GDrive storage with Google Apps and other applications, such as Google Talk. In doing so they’d create a virtual “computing environment” in the cloud.

Think of it this way: On your computer you have a processor, storage, memory and a screen, and operating systems and applications running on top of it. In the always-connected world, the notion of computing has gone through a change. What was once put on a disk is now put into an online storage locker, while the processor and memory is locked away somewhere in Google’s data centers. The browser is the operating system. So anywhere there is a screen and a connection, you can access the computer. (Of course you could do this back in the days when mainframes ruled the planet, too.)

In a post last year, I argued that one way for storage startups to stand out would be by using the online storage drive as “an underpinning to share documents, files and folders with people in your network (whether consumer or corporate).” That’s precisely what Microsoft is doing with its SharePoint service, a billion-dollar business that grows stronger by the day. “What’s working well for Microsoft is that they are treating storage for what it is — a cheap throwaway service — and layering it with more valuable ones,” I wrote.

And Microsoft wouldn’t be the only company Google would be looking to take on with this offering; Cisco Systems and EMC would be in its sight line as well. In a post last August, I pointed out that, “Cisco would develop a suite of applications that pivot around WebEx, which they could do by offering to work with all comers, big and small. Acting as a neutral player that delivers best-of-breed web services would give Cisco that best shot at effectively competing with Google-only and Microsoft-only solutions.”

From a strategic standpoint, I marvel at Google’s game plan. From a personal standpoint, however, I don’t like it a bit. My biggest problem with GDrive is that it would come from Google.

As my friend Mark Evans points out, “Before you know it, Google has become a daily and integral part of your digital portfolio. Not that this a bad thing given Google’s products are really good but it should make you think about how dependent you can become on Google for pretty much everything. The downside is you can lose access to a lot of essential information if Google, for whatever reason, locks you out.”

My fundamental belief is that as companies get too big and too powerful, they start doing anti-consumer things because they have a much larger revenue stream to protect. And while Google might come across as cute and cuddly today, they are, in reality, a monopoly. Giving such an entity unfettered access to my desktop and my data makes me uneasy.

Paint me cynical –- though I like to think of myself as realistic –- but I don’t think Google’s backing of President Obama and his campaign was done with purely altruistic intentions. Given how close the company’s management is with the government officials, I worry that Google will one day go too far — and get away with it.

Source: GigaOm

The number of people on the Internet surpassed one billion in December, according to comScore. The actual number is probably higher than that (Internet World Stats counted nearly 1.5 billion Web surfers worldwide as of June 30, 2008). In any case, only between 15 and 22 percent of the world’s population is on the Internet. We have a long way to go.

Using the comScore numbers, here is the breakdown by country and region (in unique visitors as of December, 2008; some of the numbers are rounded):

Top 15 countries, by Internet population:

1. China: 179.7 million
2. United States: 163.3 million
3. Japan: 60.0 million
4. Germany: 37.0 million
5. United Kingdom: 36.7 million
6. France: 34.0 million
7. India: 32.1 million
8. Russia: 29.0 million
9. Brazil: 27.7 million
10. South Korea: 27.3 million
11. Canada: 21.8 million
12. Italy: 20.8 million
13. Spain: 17.9 million
14. Mexico: 12.5 million
15. Netherlands: 11.8 million

Worldwide Internet Audience

* Asia Pacific: 416 million (41.3%)
* Europe: 283 million (28.0%)
* North America: 185 million (18.4%)
* Latin America: 75 million (7.4%)
* Middle East & Africa: 49 million (4.8%)

Source: Tech Crunch

THE number of subscribers to High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) services – a technology that enables broadband access on mobile phones and other computing devices – will more than double next year in Asia, according to a forecast by telco industry group GSM Association (GSMA).

In an interview with BizIT, Jaikishan Rajaraman, GSMA director of product and service development, said the number of users in Asia subscribing to HSPA will swell from 26.5 million to 53.5 million over the next 12 months. Fuelling this trend are soaring demand from both businesses and consumers, coupled with falling prices of mobile broadband services, he said. This trend is expected to be mirrored in other parts of the world, including Europe and the US.

In August, GSMA – a global trade organisation comprising more than 750 mobile phone operators around the world – reported that the number of HSPA subscribers worldwide had exceeded 50 million, from 11 million a year ago. There are 197 HSPA commercial deployments in 92 countries, with Asia currently accounting for 46 per cent of the global HSPA subscriber base, according to GSMA.

‘Mobile broadband has truly made socio-economic impact, especially in emerging markets like Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka as well as developed markets like Australia, Japan and South Korea,’ said Mr Rajaraman.

As Asia embraces mobile broadband, Singapore is expected to be at the forefront of the trend.

He observed that telcos in Singapore have been proactive in upgrading their mobile broadband network to the latest HSPA specifications. And he believes more HSPA devices, in particular HSPA-ready laptop PCs, will become available here in the coming months, further stoking this trend.

‘Mobile broadband adds value to consumers in Singapore, who already recognise the importance of mobility, and the overall impact in strengthening Singapore’s role as an international business and communications hub,’ the GSMA official said.

Last month, StarHub announced plans to upgrade its data network to HSPA’s next guise, dubbed HSPA+. The telco said its network will enable uplink speeds of 5.76Mbps by end December, and downlink speeds of up to 21Mbps by the second quarter next year. StarHub currently offers a maximum downlink and uplink speed of 14.4Mbps and 1.9Mbps respectively.

SingTel likewise has been beefing up its data networks. In May, it announced plans to upgrade its HSPA network for downlink and uplink speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps and 5.76 Mbps respectively, by next March. It currently offers a maximum downlink and uplink speed of 7.2Mbps and 1.5Mbps respectively.

MobileOne currently offers mobile data plans with speeds that top out at 7.2Mbps for downlink, and 2Mbps for uplink.

Uplink refers to sending data from devices to the Web and other devices. A faster uplink speed means that the posting of photos to Facebook or dispatching of e-mail messages. for instance, will be faster. Downlink refers to downloading Web pages and e-mail messages on devices.

Mr Rajaraman believes that prices of mobile broadband services will steadily tumble in the coming months as telcos’ economies of scale for this platform continue to improve. This, coupled with falling prices of HSPA hardware and peripherals, will fuel more demand and market growth for mobile broadband, he said.

‘Demand and deployment of mobile broadband will continue to grow despite the economic downturn, because access to information will be more critical than ever for enterprises and consumers, to help them make the right decisions at the right time,’ he said.

‘There is nothing that would derail the growth of mobile broadband in our opinion. Indeed, we anticipate that operators would be hard-pressed to roll out networks fast enough to meet the sheer demand for these services, especially in developing nations where fixed lines are scarce or completely nonexistent,’ he added.

‘This is where mobile broadband enables the common man to leapfrog fixed broadband entirely.’

Source: Business Times



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