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Showing posts from January, 2006

Wi-Fi Phone VoWLAN Market Forecast

The worldwide WiFi phone market jumped 76 percent between 2004 and 2005 to $102.5 million, and is projected to more than double in 2006 as enterprises slowly but steadily continue deploying voice over wireless LANs, according to Infonetics Research's latest report, WiFi Phones Biannual Worldwide Market Share and Forecast. Healthy VoWLAN growth is projected through 2009, when WiFi phone revenue will hit almost $1.9 billion. Initially an enterprise application, VoWLAN will eventually become popular with consumers too, and has potential for enormous growth as part of a VoIP service bundled with broadband connections. "The enterprise telephony market is undergoing a transition from circuit-based to packet switching, because organizations have extensive data networks that can potentially be used for telephony, eliminating the need for separate voice and data networks," said Richard Webb, analyst for wireless broadband at Infonetics Research. "Voice makes wireless LANs m

Cisco Needs Acquisitions for Digital Home

Cisco's recent acquisitions of Scientific Atlanta, Linksys and Kiss Technologies are part of a carefully tailored strategy to become a digital home market leader, according to the latest Strategy Analytics Connected Home Devices report, "Cisco Targets $74 Billion Connected Home Market For Revenue Growth." With global demand for IP-enabled connected devices set to reach $74 Billion by 2010, Cisco is banking on taking a top-3 market position in order to secure longer-term revenue growth. This report concludes that Cisco will have to pursue further deals and adjust its product strategy if it is to succeed. Peter King, Director, Connected Home Devices, states, "Two key factors lie behind Cisco's recent acquisition spree: driving new revenues from consumer video markets and strengthening the company's business with network operators. But our analysis suggests Cisco still has gaps in its portfolio. This goal of a top three position in networked home entertainment

Mobile Camera Phone Used as a Scanner

When is a mobile phone that includes a camera, not really a camera? When it behaves like a reader, receiving and displaying coded information from the objects in front of its lens. "It means using the camera phone not as a picture-taker," says Kenneth Hyers, principal analyst of mobile wireless research at ABI Research, "but as a scanner capturing metadata about products or services related to objects around us. I think we'll see more of this in coming years." That data can be visible, as in the case of barcodes or the "QR" codes popular in Japan; or unseen, as in "steganography" which in its current form, announced by Fujitsu in mid-2005, involves hiding information in printed pictures, invisible to the human eye but extractable by Fujitsu's algorithms in a camera phone. "Imagine walking through the park," says Hyers, "and aiming your camera phone at a data tag on a statue. It directs your phone's browser to a web

U.S. Will Open Spectrum for WiMAX

CED reports that the U.S. government plans to start licensing spectrum this year for wireless broadband services based on the recently ratified 802.16e WiMAX standard, aiming to stay "one or two steps ahead of other countries," according to an official from the DoC. Michael Gallaher, assistant secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, last week told an industry gathering in California that the Bush administration was looking at several frequency bands for licenses, including the 700 MHz band, with a view to providing "universal, affordable access for broadband by 2007." Pre-standard implementations of 802.16e have all been in the 2.5, 3.5 and 5.8 GHz bands, but it is adaptable, and could be adapted to work in the 1.71 and 2.11 GHz ranges Washington is thought to favor for licensing this year. By 2008, the 700 MHz band, which is currently used by analog TV, will become available for licensing as the States moves to digital television, due to be the

New VoIP-friendly Wi-Fi Access Points

That holy grail of wireless/IP convergence, the seamless handoff of a dual-mode phone call from a Wi-Fi network to a cellular network, is still a rare phenomenon in most places. But we are taking small steps towards it now, in the form of a new class of specialized Wi-Fi access points designed to support voice-over-IP. Connected to a VoIP network and phone service, these access points provide VoIP's cheaper services to cellular phone users within range of their Wi-Fi transmitters. They may also offer better-than-cellular indoor coverage. If the user leaves the zone of Wi-Fi coverage, and if (but only if) his or her mobile operator supports such services, these devices will also hand off calls from Wi-Fi to cellular. Motorola's recently-announced RSG system, expected by late this year, exemplifies the trend. "If such products prove successful," says Philip Solis, senior analyst of wireless connectivity research at ABI Research, "it will validate the idea and t

Prediction: the End of TV as We Know It

A report published by IBM predicts the end of TV as we know it, with a generational chasm emerging between the passive mass audience and leading-edge consumers adopting an individualised viewing experience. The report observes that consumers have been migrating to more specialised, niche content via cable and multichannel offerings. Now, with increasing competition from convergence in television and telecommunications, the industry is confronting unparalleled complexity, dynamic change and pressure to innovate. This will lead to a two tier market, with one consumer segment remaining passive viewers, while others search for a more individualised media experience through multiple channels. The IBM study concludes that �players within the TV industry sit on the precipice of an impending upheaval that promises to be no less dramatic that that experienced by the music industry�.

Hughes Selects Motive Software Solution

Motive, Inc. announced that Hughes Network Systems, LLC (Hughes), the world's leading provider of broadband satellite solutions, will use Motive software to build intelligent automation into its broadband offerings, greatly simplifying the process of rolling out and supporting new high-speed Internet services. With this announcement, Motive is now the only vendor providing broadband management solutions to service providers in the DSL, cable, and satellite markets. Hughes pioneered the development of high-speed satellite Internet services, which it sells globally. Available to consumers, small office/home office, and commercial enterprises, Hughes is rapidly expanding its subscriber base, and is increasingly focused on gaining efficiencies in rolling out and supporting new services. �After a thorough competitive analysis, we selected Motive software to help us accelerate the delivery, reduce the support costs, and streamline the management of broadband services,� said Chuck McCla

Google Toolbar Gets Personal Touch

Google Inc. announced the latest version of Google Toolbar and a new Google Toolbar for Enterprise. The new beta versions of Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer are open and customizable, with new features that enable users to customize their search experience and share information with friends. Google Toolbar was designed to make the Internet easier to use and help people find the information they are looking for as quickly and easily as possible. The new versions of Google Toolbar now offer customizable buttons, online bookmarks, enhanced search features, new sharing capabilities, and an open API. Google Toolbar for Enterprise beta also includes administration and control for business environments. "Now we're putting the tools of innovation in the hands of our users," said Marissa Mayer, VP of search products and user experience at Google. "We've opened up the Google Toolbar to enable them to create their own features and customize their search experience.&q

AOL Offers Broadband to Declining Base

Dow Jones reports that Time Warner Inc. AOL unit will begin offering high-speed Internet access service as it attempts to retain its rapidly deteriorating base of dial-up customers. While it was recently considered an online advertising and traffic darling by Internet giants Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp., AOL continues to lose customers and revenue in its core dial-up Internet access business. The move to offer a high-speed product via cable and telecommunication partners illustrates its willingness to play some defense. In early February, the Internet service provider will offer AOL High Speed - a package bundling broadband Internet from the likes of BellSouth Corp. or Verizon Communications with AOL features such as security and exclusive videos. In doing so, it hopes to retain control of its customers as more migrate to a faster connection. AOL had 20.1 million U.S. members at the end of the third quarter, down 678,000 from the second quarter.

Worldwide Wi-Fi Hotspots Reach 100K

The number of worldwide Wi-Fi hotspots has now surpassed the 100,000 mark, according to new statistics from JiWire, a provider of Wi-Fi hotspot information and services. The company defines a hotspot as a physical address where people can connect to a public wireless network, such as a cafe, hotel or airport. JiWire said that Seoul, South Korea (2,056) has the greatest number of hotspot locations, followed by Tokyo, Japan (1,802) and London, England (1,627). The top domestic Wi-Fi cities are San Francisco (801), New York (643) and Chicago (501). Locally around the nation's capital, the company said there are now 249 hotspots in Washington DC, 988 in Virginia and 712 in Maryland. "In just this past year, we've seen almost 100 percent growth in the number of hotspots around the world," said Kevin McKenzie, the CEO of JiWire.

China's MMORPG Online Gaming Market

China had 25.3 million paying online gamers at the end of 2005, according to Pacific Epoch's 2006 China's Online Game Report. A pre-release version of the report is now available. The 2006 report focuses on massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) in China, as low barriers to entry and very low user-stickiness make casual games a poor source of main revenues. In the next few years, traditional MMORPG's will continue to dominate the industry in terms of revenue, branding, and core strategy. The report includes 64 pages of comprehensive research, detailed market commentary analyzing the online gaming industry in China, and two major surveys on Internet gamer preferences. Late February will see the full release, which will contain the 3rd tier online game company profiles.

IEC Annual Review of Communications

According to the latest edition of the Annual Review of Communications, continued growth for service providers will rest on their ability to offer the valued-added services, via the next-generation network, that today's customers want. There is global demand for service packages that include high-speed Internet, high-quality video, and traditional voice � the combination of which is now referred to as the triple-play. "For service providers like telcos, the 'triple play' represents the ultimate way to increase profits and customer loyalty concurrently," says Wolfgang Schmitz, Senior Executive Vice President of Technology Engineering, T-Com, at Deutsche Telekom AG and a contributor to the Annual Review. "A triple-play service infrastructure opens the door to a whole new class of converged services. These services can be integrated into the traditional service packages to provide value-added services that differentiate the triple play offer from disjointed voi

Record 810 Million Mobile Phones Shipped

Global mobile phone shipments grew 19 percent year-over-year, to reach a record 810 million units during 2005, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics. Despite moderate industry-wide component shortages, fourth quarter volume reached an impressive 245 million units. Neil Mawston, Associate Director of the Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service at Strategy Analytics said, �2005 was the year of the emerging market. Booming demand in the Southern Hemisphere, in regions such as India and Africa, drove global mobile phone sales 19 percent higher year-over-year. Emerging markets accounted for one half of total worldwide sales in 2005.� Chris Ambrosio, Director of the Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, added, �Concerns about moderate component shortages at Nokia, Motorola, BenQ-Siemens and others, failed to significantly impact total demand during the final quarter of 2005. Looking ahead to 2006, we expect 930 million mobile phones to be shipped worldwide. The icon

Mainstream Consumer Media Networking

New home network management software will improve ease-of-use for consumers and reduce the level of customer support required, reports In-Stat. The hardware-agnostic consumer network management and setup software market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of well over 100 percent for both aggressive and conservative forecast scenarios. �This software will be instrumental in helping to remove the barriers to widespread adoption of hot, new digital-living technologies,� says Joyce Putscher, In-Stat analyst. �The marketplace convergence of networks, applications, and uses combines multiple types of networks and devices into a seamless consumer experience. We are about to enter an era of media networking for the mainstream consumer.� In-Stat found the following regarding this market: * Market drivers include an easier way to setup and manage consumers� networks, especially as the complexity factor is growing with more network-capable devices. This reduces service calls, benefit

Smartphone Market Growing Rapidly

Year-to-year growth in the Smartphone market in 2005 will exceed 70 percent, and will continue to grow robustly for the next several years, reports In-Stat. There is a risk, however, that these devices will be seen by consumers as just very expensive feature phones. A major problem is that many users do not download applications that make the devices more useful after they leave the store. �The market�s growth will involve major shifts in share among the OS platforms,� says Bill Hughes, In-Stat analyst. �The winners will be Microsoft and Linux. Their growth will be at the expense of Research In Motion (RIM) and PalmSource, although these organizations will continue to see their numbers grow.� In-Stat found the following: * The median number of applications that Smartphone users have downloaded is only one, and the ownership of PDAs, the devices that Smartphones are meant to displace, is twice that for Smartphone users as non-users. * Consumers, as well as the industry, still lack a

Mobile Content Portals Remain Key Platforms

IDC forecasts that the mobile portal market will increase to around 74 million users in 2010 in Western Europe, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 percent. As mobile markets shift towards 3G services, the role of mobile portals clearly represents a key development area, bearing many of the applications and services that can help the take-up of 3G in the consumer market. "Since 2004, other interesting developments have taken place in the mobile industry regarding mobile portal usage and content," said Rosie Secchi, senior analyst of IDC's European Wireless Communications service. "Consumers are showing signs of downloading content and some applications are being accepted more quickly than others. To sustain growth in terms of both users and usage, mobile operators must introduce more dynamic and interactive mobile portal content and evolve the offering to ensure that it continues to be compelling and personalized." The globalization of bran

Niche Market for Original Video Programs

Kagan Research reports that Google has made a fortune by simply cataloging content created by others. So could The Next Big Thing be organizing non-professional video programs on demand? Will this be another "disruptive" medium to established media giants that cuts into sales of theatrical films produced at a cost of tens millions of dollars and TV series dramas costing $2 million per episode? If history is any guide, the answer is probably not. When the home video revolution was just catching stride in the early 1980s, the 60-minute music video The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller and Jane Fonda's exercise tape Workout became early blockbusters, raising expectations. But only the children's sector developed a meaningful niche for original video programs. The prime outlets will be Internet Websites, given their huge capacity, which points to delivery via the rapidly expanding Internet protocol TV via broadband. Kagan Research report IP-VOD: Competitive Busin

U.S. Leaders Form Mobile DTV Alliance

A group of wireless and entertainment firms that includes Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Texas Instruments and Modeo has been formed to promote the growth of mobile TV services in North America. The Mobile DTV Alliance will promote the Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld (DVB-H) standard for mobile TV delivery, which is currently being tested in nearly a dozen network trials in Europe and the U.S. "The mobile TV market is heating up, with both trials and deployments accelerating over the next 12-18 months," said IDC research analyst David Linsalata. "The support of key industry players in promoting the advantages of the DVB-H standard will significantly aid mobile TV deployment efforts in North America." Within the alliance, chipmakers Intel and Texas Instruments are expected to support DVB-H mobile TV chips for cell phones, which will be used in handsets from Motorola and Nokia in conjunction with mobile TV delivery technology from firms like Modeo.

Internet Home Alliance Planning Conference

Internet Home Alliance announced that its spring 2006 Collaborative Research Planning Conference will be held on March 29, 2006, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Produced by Internet Home Alliance, a cross-industry network of companies conducting collaborative research in the connected home space, the conference gives participants an opportunity to hear the latest connected home research and then work side-by-side with other attendees to develop relevant connected home solution concepts for testing within the Alliance's collaborative (multi-company) research program. At this spring's conference, attendees will hear and discuss key learnings from the Alliance's 2005 State of the Connected Home Market Research, the organization's most comprehensive annual research study into the digital home market. Among the key findings, the study reveals good news for the connected home market -- a critical mass of consumers has adopted the three key founda

Market Opportunity for Smart TV Products

2005 was a good year for high-definition television product sales, and ABI Research expects 2006 to be nearly as impressive. The technology market analyst's research shows that including HDTVs, personal video recorders, DVD players, game consoles and set-top boxes (STBs), the global market for HDTV products should exceed $25 billion this year. But, says Vamsi Sistla, ABI Research's director of broadband and multimedia research, "pretty much everybody" is making HDTVs these days, from no-name Taiwanese manufacturers to famous global brands. The inevitable trend towards commoditization means that vendors need to look for new ways to differentiate their products. "Two schools of thought have appeared in the HDTV industry, with different ideas about what the future will bring," says Sistla. "One camp wants to focus on creating intelligence within the TV itself, making it network-ready, and incorporating storage or recording devices." One example is L

Predictions for Middle East and North Africa

The technology investments of the past two years will bear fruit in the telecommunications markets of the Middle East and North Africa in 2006. According to a new IDC Insight, the continued increase in demand for telecommunications services and greater availability of both broadband and mobile access have contributed to the market's development. Moreover, the increasing number of countries moving towards liberalization and privatization will bring new players to the market and usher in an era of mergers and acquisitions, new licenses, and major financing deals. "This in turn will fuel competition, causing the region's markets to grow not just in terms of size but also in terms of the variety of services and solutions available to consumers and businesses," said Mohsen Malaki, senior program and consulting manager, MEA region. "None of this would be possible without the substantial investments made in 2004 and 2005 by fixed and mobile operators into broadband,

Cable MSOs Will Benefit from IPTV

The recent Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers Emerging Technologies conference showcased more than 20 technical papers outlining what the cable industry�s platform might look like in 2010. For cable, IPTV represents a potentially more efficient platform to deliver video to the home. �In 2006, IPTV will be a word whispered with concern among cable executives in conference corridors, as it will be strongly associated with the rollouts of incumbent telephone operators,� wrote John Carlucci, chief network architect at Time Warner Cable, in an SCTE ET technical paper. �In 2010, IPTV will be another delivery vehicle for cable, and it could even emerge as the overall direction of the industry,� Carlucci continued. �Advances in wideband DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) leveraging the M-CMTS (modular cable-modem-termination system) architecture, which enables inexpensive downstream data transport, will enable the cost-effective deployment of IP set-top boxes

Demand Flat for In-Home Health Monitoring

The U.S.'s senior and baby boomer populations are not currently receptive to in-home health monitoring, according to a Parks Associates study, which reports that two-thirds from both populations see little to no value in these services. Of the one-fifth who find the service valuable, 60 percent would still not spend extra money, either out-of-pocket or in higher healthcare premiums, for in-home health monitoring. Only 20 percent would accept a moderate increase in health insurance premiums, and another 16-20 percent would be willing to pay out-of-pocket for it. According to Parks Associates, in-home health monitoring is a service that allows patients to use network-connected measurement devices, such as glucose meters, weight scales, and peak flow meters, to collect vital signs at home and send electronic data to clinicians for ongoing chronic condition monitoring.

WiMAX Making Market Momentum

With the recent announcement from the WiMAX Forum that some companies' equipment has successfully passed the first wave of WiMAX certification for 802.16-2004, WiMAX is finally starting to get real. Aperto Networks' PacketMAX 5000 base station, Redline Communications' RedMAX AN-100U base station, SEQUANS Communications' SQN2010 SoC base station solution, and Wavesat's miniMAX customer premise equipment (CPE) solution are all now certified as first wave approved. "This is a major milestone," according to ABI Research's senior analyst of wireless connectivity research, Philip Solis. "There is a long queue of companies waiting to undergo the same certification process. Then, they can proceed to �wave 2', covering security and quality-of-service, and when they too are certified, we can expect to see larger numbers of products actually reaching the market." At that stage the market will begin to widen, and we will start to see real interest

Western Europe 3G Subscriber Additions

New customers signing up to WCDMA price plans in western Europe accounted for almost one third of the region's total mobile net adds in 4Q05, according to latest research published by Informa Telecoms & Media. Western Europe saw 4 million new WCDMA subscribers in 4Q05, equivalent to 32.3 percent of the region's 12.39 million total net adds for the period, and giving the strongest indication yet that 3G is finally gaining momentum. Worldwide, there were about 8.4 million WCDMA net adds in 4Q05, a run rate of 8.07 percent of global net adds, while Asia Pacific saw the most successful WCDMA take-up in absolute terms recording 4.4 million net adds in 4Q05, or 11.08 percent of the region's total net adds. "After years of hype, delays, skepticism and then disappointment, it is a welcome relief to say that WCDMA has finally come of age," says Gavin Patterson, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. "Preliminary figures show that end-2005 there were

Mobile TV in Germany Lacks Demand

Strategy Analytics released the report �Mobile TV Germany: Failing Grades on Content and Network Performances,� which concludes that current generation Mobile TV services in Germany are failing to impress users due to poor network performance, lack of compelling content and inadequate devices. While T-Mobile�s Handy TV out-scored Vodafone Live! Mobile TV, users were unimpressed with the experience delivered by both services. Handy TV was rated 5 points higher than Vodafone Live! Overall, and was marginally preferred in all categories including audiovisual quality and usability. User perceptions of both services were adversely affected by sub-optimal network speeds and service reliability. �Users were virtually unanimously opposed to paying for current generation mobile TV offerings due to frustrations with perceived network quality and performance,� according to Paul Brown, Analyst, Advanced Wireless Laboratory. �Out of more than 50 test users, more than half experienced network-re

U.S. National Survey on Computer Usage

Using computers solely for basic tasks such as sending and receiving emails and typing reports is certainly a thing of the past. Today, computers are used for everything from downloading movies and music, to editing digital photos to playing games on the Internet; and for many users, the ability to perform various computer applications quickly and simultaneously is a necessity. A recent survey by Harris Interactive conducted among U.S. adults who own computers explores the types and frequency of their engagement in computer-related activities. The survey also examines consumer perceptions of dual-core processors, a new technology designed to increase a computer's performance and efficiency when running concurrent tasks. Below are some of the results of The 2005 Technology Report: Hot Issues Facing the Industry, a study conducted quarterly by Harris Interactive. The most recent study was conducted online from December 2 to 8, 2005 among 1,039 U.S. adults, of whom 1,012 are compute

Bush on Broadband: "We'll do Better"

Internet News reports that president Bush made one of his rare public comments on broadband Thursday, promising that the United States will "do better" in increasing broadband penetration rates. But he didn't say how. In March 2004 , the president set a goal of broadband access for all Americans within three years. "We ought to have universal, affordable access for broadband technology by the year 2007, and then we ought to make sure as soon as possible thereafter, consumers have got plenty of choices when it comes to purchasing the broadband carrier," Bush said at the time. When Bush set the 2007 goal, America ranked 13th in broadband penetration rates. According to the latest numbers from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the U.S. has since fallen to 16th while other countries -- like Canada -- have risen in rank. The ITU analysts attribute America's falling numbers to a lack of cohesive government policy while others attribute it to th

DT Must Open Broadband Network

According to a Dow Jones report, German regulators must ensure rivals have access to Deutsche Telekom AG's (DT) planned EUR3 billion high-speed broadband network, the European Union's top telecommunications official Viviane Reding said. "While telecommunications companies should be allowed to recoup infrastructure investments and reap a reasonable return, they should not be exempt from antitrust rules," Reding said. German authorities last month accepted Brussels' demands to open Deutsche Telekom's proposed network to other operators. Reding noted that while several players have shown an interest in investing in German broadband services, the German regulator still has to ensure they are allowed access. The German government had initially agreed with Deutsche Telekom's argument that it could only make a decent profit on the network if it was exempt from regulation and from any obligation to offer its lines to rivals.

IPDR.org Announces IPTV Standards Initiative

The Internet Protocol Detail Record Organization (IPDR.org), a collaborative industry consortium and recognized leader in next-generation IP service usage and exchange standards worldwide, announced it will host an open, industry wide meeting to focus on accounting and settlement standards for IPTV services. This would be applicable to telephony service providers, voice operators, broadband network providers, cable operators, entertainment content partners, support vendors, media and analysts. Their meeting will allow all interested parties to influence the direction of this IPTV initiative. Sponsored by Cisco Systems, the event will take place February 23-24, 2006. The objectives for the initiative include: -Understanding the requirements for IPTV accounting. -Summarizing challenges associated with all network data-related aspects of IPTV such as advertising, content settlement, user behavior, capacity management, multimedia events, and other IPTV service components. -Developing te

Video iTunes Leads Premiun Content Market

The momentum Apple created when it announced last year that it would sell videos online through iTunes continues into 2006. While the push to online video had started well before the launch of the video iPod -- demonstrated by skyrocketing advertising rates for broadband video impressions throughout 2005, and the launches of various online channels by large content companies -- the online video "big bang" started with Apple's announcement and continued through the Consumer Electronics Show. "At this year's CES, gadgets took a backseat to the bevy of announcements by large online and content players," notes Mike Wolf, principal analyst of broadband and multimedia with ABI Research. "The flood of online content announcements from Google, Yahoo and others shows that after years of hesitation from the larger media players, the market for premium content online is finally beginning to take shape." New offerings include those from Starz and Google. Nea

AOL to Invest in UK Broadband Services

AOL has more than a million broadband subscribers out of a total of more than 2.3 million members in the UK. The investment in the UK local telephone network is being funded by parent company Time Warner. The process of local loop unbundling allows third party companies to replace BT as the service provider over the local loop telephone line from the local exchange to the customer. The initial investment of �50 million in the first half of 2006 will cover up to 300 exchanges, covering around a fifth of UK households. If successful, the rollout may be extended to up to 1,000 exchanges, covering more than half the country, at an estimated cost of a further �70 million. In exchanges where it is not economic for AOL to have equipment installed, it will continue to deliver broadband and telephone services using wholesale access services.

Personal Computer Shipments in 2005

Red Herring reports that the rest of the world is soundly beating the United States in terms of the pace at which personal computers are being shipped, according to a preliminary Gartner market assessment. On the supply side, Dell managed to increase its worldwide market share lead over Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, as worldwide shipments of PCs grew 15.3 percent from 2004 to 2005. PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa grew 17.1 percent to 72.7 million units during 2005, while shipments in the U.S. grew 7.5 percent to 67 million. The two regions accounted for more than half of the 218.5 million PC units shipped worldwide during 2005. The Asia Pacific region and Latin America posted the fastest growth from 2004 to 2005 with an average regional rate of 26 percent. Asia Pacific accounted for 42.8 million units during 2005, while Latin America took 14.7 million units. According to the preliminary report released by Gartner, the U.S. market showed softness in demand in the sma

France Telecom Reaches 200k IPTV Subs

France Telecom now has over 200,000 subscribers for its MaLigne TV, a premium IPTV service that was first launched in December 2003. As of 30 September 2005, there were 142,000 MaLigne TV customers in France, compared to 116,000 at the end of June. Starting February 1, France Telecom is expanding the offering with the launch of "Le Bouquet TV", featuring free access to a range of general and specialized channels as well as all the free channels available with Digital Terrestrial Television. Le Bouquet TV will use an MPEG4-standard decoder. MaLigne TV is already providing access to some 200 channels. France Telecom will also begin carrying exclusive channels for major events. For the Turin Winter Games, it will have seven dedicated channels. France Telecom is also launching "Mon Magneto", another DSL-based video service that lets customers manage live recordings directly on their decoder's hard drive (PVR).

China has 111 Million Internet Users

China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) published its 17th China Internet Development Report. According to the study, through December 31, 2005, China had 111 million Internet users, up 18.1 percent year on year, and 64.3 million broadband users. According to the report, 91.69 million Internet users are in urban districts. Through the end of 2005 China had 49.5 million online capable PCs, up 19 percent from 2004. In other related news, China Telecom has announced that it plans to focus its development over the next three years on transforming from a traditional telecom carrier into a comprehensive information service provider, reports China Business News. China Telecom estimates that the entire transformation will take eight to ten years. China Telecom said that its investment in traditional fixed line and broadband businesses will not exceed 25 percent of total revenues. China Telecom will focus its business on telephone service, broadband access and video content.

Effect of the CE Digital Experience Gaps

Forrester Reserach notes that digital devices were a big hit over the holidays. Big-box retailers like Best Buy sold a boatload of HDTVs, digital cameras, and MP3 players. But consumers who purchase these products don't necessarily buy the content and services to accompany them, creating vast digital experience gaps that leave $3.8 billion in revenue on the table for CE companies. The digital experience gaps faced by today's consumers mean unrealized revenue for technology manufacturers, service providers, and retailers, as well as frustration, confusion, and unrealized digital potential for consumers. While 14.6 million US households own HDTV sets, only 50 percent of them subscribe to HDTV service. This means that half of the households that are equipped to enjoy HDTV service have underused devices, and this translates into $876 million of lost revenue for firms. Similarly, 43 million US households own digital cameras, but only two-thirds of them print digital photos; firms l

UWB Standardization Process Collapses

According to ABI Research update, the 802.15.3a UWB task group was officially disbanded after a stunning 94.7 percent voted in favor of the break-up. Ironically, this represents probably the only time there has been consensus in the working group for at least two years. Although this outcome was on the cards with predictions of disbandment coming from notable sources such as Edward Thomas, former Chief Engineer of the FCC, the reality is still a difficult pill to swallow. Who will win out? It seems very likely that the UWB community has shot itself in the foot over IP. With neither camp willing to compromise -- even with the introduction of a solution by Pulse~LINK that would support both PHYs -- the battle for supremacy has relocated to the market. The WiMedia alliance points to its multiple silicon sources as a major plus point and in doing so, pours scorn on the single source for DS-UWB, which was referred to as a proprietary solution recently by Jim Lansford, CTO of Alereon. The

HDTV Consumer Perceptions Mixed

While 90 percent of all Americans have heard of high definition television (HDTV), only 47 percent say they know anything substantial about it, and just 15 percent say they are somewhat or very likely to get HDTV�all reflecting basically unchanged levels over the past year, according to the latest research from Ipsos Insight. �Advertisers and marketers clearly have to take the initiative to expand the base of consumers who understand HDTV�s features and benefits, in order to convert them into buyers,� said Todd Board, leader of Ipsos Insight�s Technology & Communications practice. �Especially when you consider that the number of people who are substantially aware of HDTV hasn�t changed since 2004.� �Awareness levels have topped out as the range of HDTV-related technology products and services are promoted by manufacturers, networks, and cable and satellite service providers,� Board said. �We have seen some degree of growth in HDTV penetration in the U.S. � varying estimates tend

Digital Music Growth Wasn't Predictable

Sales of music via the internet and mobile phones proliferated and spread across the world in 2005, generating sales of $1.1 billion for record companies - up from $380 million the previous year - and promising further significant growth in the coming year. The findings are released in IFPI's Digital Music Report 2006, a comprehensive review of the development of the digital music market internationally. Music fans downloaded 420 million single tracks from the internet last year - twenty times more than two years earlier - while the volume of music licensed by record companies doubled to over 2 million songs. Digital music now accounts for about 6 percent of record companies' revenues, up from practically zero two years ago. The mobile phone became a portable music device in 2005, the first year in which song downloads to mobile phones spread internationally. Mobile music now accounts for approximately 40 percent of record company digital revenues. Record companies are seein

Amazon.com Will Develop New TV Series

According to a USA Today story, online retail giant Amazon.com, which has made its name selling books, CDs, DVDs and other items, is getting into the programming business. Its first weekly series, Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher, a variety show hosted by the HBO satirist (and former host of ABC's Politically Incorrect), begins airing on the website June 1. Highlights of a preview episode, to be filmed this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival, will begin showing on the site Tuesday. The first guests include Stephen King, whose new book, Cell, hits stores Tuesday; musician Rob Thomas; and screenwriter Armistead Maupin and actress Toni Collette from the film The Night Listener, which is showing at the festival. The 30-minute program, when it begins airing for 12 consecutive Thursday nights, will be streamed live. Afterward, it can be watched on demand.

U.S. Internet Consumers Fear Myopic ISPs

The vast majority of Internet users are worried that the companies owning the networks they use will abuse their power by raising prices or making it more difficult to get content, according to a new survey. According to the survey, sponsored by a trio of consumer advocacy groups, more than 75 percent of the nation's Internet users are seriously concerned that network owners will make it more difficult to choose an Internet service provider or force them to pay more for some Internet services. Meanwhile, 70 percent of those surveyed are worried that network owners, usually large phone and cable companies, will block or impair access to Internet services that aren't affiliated with those companies. In addition, 54 percent of those surveyed want lawmakers to take action to prohibit practices that favor one site or service over another. "These results show that although consumers believe network owners should provide unfettered access to the Internet, few believe they'

423 Million New Cellular Subscribers in 2005

According to the latest research from the Strategy Analytics, the cellular industry is on course for 2.5 billion subscribers by the end of 2006, and 3.5 billion by the end of 2010. In this report, "Worldwide Cellular User Forecasts, 2005-2010," Strategy Analytics also predicts the industry will generate $800 Billion in service revenues by the end of the decade. Phil Kendall, Director, Global Wireless Practice, notes, "There were two key trends in the global wireless market in 2005. First, emerging markets contributed phenomenal levels of subscriber growth. In particular, Russia, India and Indonesia saw major growth in new users in 2005, up 40-50 percent over 2004 levels. African nations, including Nigeria and Algeria, are waiting in the wings to become leading growth markets in 2006, and will help drive the worldwide cellular subscriber count to 2.5 billion before the end of the year. The second key trend was the coming of age of the high-speed 3G market." David K

iTunes Use Grows 241 Percent YoY

Nielsen//NetRatings announced that traffic to Apple's iTunes Web site and use of the iTunes application has skyrocketed 241 percent over the past year, from 6.1 million unique visitors in December 2004 to 20.7 million in December 2005, reaching nearly 14 percent of the active Internet population. Teens are disproportionately represented among iTunes users; 12 to 17 year olds are nearly twice as likely to visit the iTunes Web site and use the application as the average Internet user. iTunes users are also more likely to be male; the site's traffic is 54 percent male and 46 percent female. �The rapid growth of iTunes is an important phenomenon in the online media marketplace,� said Jon Gibs, director of media analytics, Nielsen//NetRatings. �Consumers have clearly indicated that they are eager to control their own music libraries, one song at a time,� he continued. Nielsen//NetRatings also revealed today that iTunes users form a distinct target audience with identifiable bran

Europeans Could Cut Their Landlines

According to the latest research from the Strategy Analytics, one in five cellular users in Western Europe would consider disconnecting their landline because of mobile phone ownership. This report, "W. European Cellular User Dynamics," also finds that two-thirds would use their mobile more at home if calls were charged at landline rates. Strategy Analytics' survey of 1,000 cellular users in W. Europe found that telecoms supply attitudes have changed very little in recent years, despite a rapidly changing market climate. Future voice usage profiles will be much more sensitive to price levels than any combination of new technologies or converged services. "19 percent of homes in W. Europe are already cellular-only -- cellular operators should be encouraged to see that a further 18 percent of cellular users with fixed telephones are also considering disconnecting that fixed line," comments Phil Kendall, Director Global Wireless Practice. "Younger users will

2005 U.S. Video Game Sales Record

Propped up by a strong portable games market that offset declines in the console market, U.S. retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories grew 6 percent in 2005 to a record $10.5 billion, according to sales data published by market research firm NPD Group. Game titles for handheld consoles generated more than $1 billion for the second year in a row, while console game title sales saw a 12 percent decline from 2004. Sales of handheld console hardware were up 96 percent in 2005 -- fueled by the release of the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS -- while Nintendo's Game Boy Advance continued to lead the segment, with 64 percent of handheld game sales. "The real story for 2005 was the incredible expansion of portable gaming. The GBA continued to realize stellar sales, and the introduction of the DS and PSP to the market brought older gamers to the portable format," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. Strong handheld hardware sales were offset by a 3 percent decline in th

Europe is Fiber-to-the-Home Hotspot

Recent announcements by the cities of Amsterdam and Paris that they plan to deploy pilot fiber-to-the-home networks have been reinforced by a similar declaration from France Telecom. Deutsche Telekom had already indicated last year that it was making FTTH plans, and several big initiatives are under consideration in Spain. "FTTH has been seen as a big draw in North America and Japan," notes Michael Arden, principal analyst at ABI Research. "Now, with the Europeans talking about connecting hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of homes, Europe is becoming a hotspot." Why Europe, and why now? "Europe has been seeing a lot of IPTV and 'telco TV' growth � it is taking off there far faster than in North America, and is offering more sophisticated services than in Asia," says Arden. "As demand for TV technology increases, so must the capacity and capabilities of the access technology. Operators and equipment vendors are increasingly interested i

Global IPTV Equipment Revenue Forecast

According to newly released report from Dittberner Associates Inc. the incremental IPTV equipment market will only reach $336 Million in 2013 up from $30 Million in 2005. The number of IPTV subscribers, will reach 53 Million globally in 2013 from about 2 Million as of end of last year. "Other studies on IPTV�s effect on network equipment market growth ignore the fact that most IPTV subscribers over the next seven years will be high-speed Internet access subscribers already," reports James Heath, Director, Broadband research at Dittberner. Heath added that "IPTV�s subscriber base will not become significant for a decade and the incremental investment per subscriber will be low. Combined together, these provide a small boost to forecasted DSL, FTTH, and router sales." The report provided an in-depth appraisal of the impact of offering IPTV service on the Access, Aggregation and Backbone networks. The forecast for the incremental increase due to IPTV for these three

Ongoing Challenges for RIM Blackberry

According to iGillottResearch, there is little doubt that Research in Motion (RIM) has enjoyed considerable success with the BlackBerry -- both the push-email experience and the range of devices. At the end of 2005, the company announced that the email service had more than 3.5 million users, and while the majority were in North America, penetration is increasing in overseas markets. According to the press, BlackBerry users are fiercely loyal and will seemingly tell anyone who will listen about their addiction � in fact, the term �crackberry� is often used to define the user who simply cannot get enough. Look on any plane, in the car rental bus, in the airport or at any major business convention and you will see all manner of shape, design and color of BlackBerries. BlackBerry is now offered by all of the major operators in North America, although several have just begun marketing the products recently and quite reluctantly. But things are not completely rosy for RIM: -Recent fail

Business Case for WLAN, UMA, VoWLAN

Over the last two years, WLAN has transformed from a network of stand-alone hotspots into a supporting technology for delivering convergent solutions, clearing the way for VoWLAN. According to Pyramid Research VoWLAN mid-tier handsets will come to market this year, placing MVNOs, fixed and cable providers in a position to make a strong play for mobile voice revenues. �A combination of factors makes the introduction of VoWLAN inevitable, notably demand for mobility emanating from fixed carriers, mobile providers� search for a cheap technology to carry IP voice bundles, and WLAN technology�s near-readiness to support voice,� says report author Svetlana Issaeva. Pyramid expects WLAN to deliver voice as early as 2006; whether in combination with other technologies, such as 3G, WiMAX or DSL, or on its own in city-wide hotspots. For fixed and cable providers, the VoWLAN business case is clear � add mobile voice to their portfolio of services to win a share of mobile traffic and retain su

U.S. Film Distributor Worldwide Revenue

Hollywood film distributors can expect a 4.2 percent compound annual growth rate for total revenues in the next 10 years, forecasts Kagan Research. That would be celebrated in most industries because it far surpasses the roughly 2.5 percent core inflation rate, but it represents a de-acceleration from the heady 9.3 percent growth rate of the prior decade 1995-2004. Business is still very good as Hollywood film distributors bagged an estimated $50.3 billion in 2005 film rental revenue, up 7.9 percent from the prior year, according to Kagan Research databook Economics of Motion Pictures 2006 (third edition). The figures � called "film rentals" in Hollywood parlance � include revenues U.S. film distributors receive from all media (cinemas to TV) and merchandising on a worldwide basis. Film rentals are only a portion of consumer spending, because they exclude the cut taken by theaters, video stores and other retailers.

Cisco to Grow in Consumer Electronics

Cisco Systems, the networking giant known for complex products that require a high level of expertise to operate, is getting ready to enter the consumer electronics market with products such as radios, telephones, and home theater devices. According to the Financial Times, Cisco is making this quantum leap because the Internet has become the common denominator among these previously stand-alone devices. Cisco�s routers account for a significant piece of the Internet backbone. Cisco already has a presence in consumer electronics retail outlets through Linksys, its home networking device arm. Cisco acquired the device maker for $500 million during 2003. But Cisco is looking for a bigger profile in the consumer market. One of the company�s executives believes the company has a number of advantages over traditional consumer electronics companies such as Sony, Bose, and Panasonic. According to Charles Giancarlo, the head of the company�s Linksys home networking division, Cisco�s relations

U.S. On-Demand Internet Content Revenue

U.S. consumer spending for online entertainment, including on-demand gaming, music, and video services, will grow by 260 percent in the next five years, according to a new study from Parks Associates. Driven by broadband usage and innovations in digital entertainment platforms and content services, revenues will grow from $2.4 billion in 2006 to nearly $9 billion in 2010. "This year will be a watershed for delivering to consumers an array of new entertainment experiences," said Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst, Parks Associates. "Thanks to broadband proliferation and growing cooperation between content producers and other members of the digital entertainment value chain, we'll see significant product and service announcements throughout 2006." Scherf indicated that the online video market - including such providers as Movielink, CinemaNow, Apple iTunes�, and Akimbo Systems - will be active in 2006, as PC and consumer electronics manufacturers

APAC Top Ten Telecom Predictions

According to IDC�s latest research and insights on the top 10 trends in the Asia/Pacific Telecommunications Industry, 2006 will be a year where several game-changing technologies and services will enter the marketplace and redefine the rules of the game. �Shifting business models and strategies are the key themes in the region for 2006. Changing regulatory environments, coupled with disruptive technologies in the guise of Skype, will cause many industry players to go back to the drawing board,� says Sandra Ng, Vice President, Asia/Pacific Communications, Peripherals and Services Research. The Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) telecom services market was worth slightly over $160 billion in 2005 and is projected to exceed $170 billion in 2006, a growth rate of 7 percent. Growth will continue to come from VoIP, Broadband, IP Services and 3G Services. Another area of opportunity for Telco service providers will be Managed Services, which is estimated to grow from $5.7 billion to US$6.5 bill

Western Europe Mobile Phone Penetration

At the end of last year, the western European mobile market hit a major milestone - it officially became 100 percent penetrated. According to Informa Telecoms & Media, that number can be misleading. At the end of 2005, their data indicated that there are now as many mobile subscriptions in western Europe as there are inhabitants. That should mean 100 percent mobile penetration, in other words that everyone in the region has a mobile subscription. But it doesn't, simply because many of these European consumers have two or more mobile subscriptions, which artificially boosts the region's penetration level. About 11 of the 16 major markets in western Europe now have official penetration rates above the 100 percent mark. The most penetrated at the end of the year were Luxembourg (160 percent), Italy (119 percent), Portugal (114 percent) and Sweden (112 percent). Others above 100 percent include Greece, the UK, Spain, Ireland, Finland, Austria, the Netherlands and Denmark. Th

Digital Cable Set Top Box Shipments

For the first time since 2000�2001, worldwide unit shipments of digital cable TV set top boxes will grow for the second consecutive year, reports In-Stat. Sustained North American demand for advanced or "high-end" digital cable set top boxes that include PVRs and/or high definition capability, coupled with modestly increasing demand in Asia, is fueling the market growth. "Demand for all types of digital cable set top boxes, especially in North America and China, is going to remain quite strong in 2006 and 2007," says Mike Paxton, In-Stat analyst. "This bodes well for cable set top box manufacturers." In-Stat found the following: - Digital cable set top box worldwide unit shipments reached 12.2 million in 2005, up from 10.8 million in 2004. - For the first time in the history of this market, shipments of advanced digital set top boxes exceeded basic digital box unit shipments in 2005. - Motorola and Scientific-Atlanta continue to be the leading cable

2006 Telecommunications Sector Predictions

Pyramid Research has announced their 2006 telecom industry predictions. Additional support for each prediction is available . Predictions for 2006: �The world�s mobile subscriber base will pass the 2.5 billion subscriber mark; more interesting however, is how it will get there - Beyond the Vodafones, Verizons and Oranges, 2006 will be defined by the strategic moves of players such as India�s Bharti, Pakistan�s Mobilink and Paktel, or Nigeria�s Globacom �Industry consolidation in the form of operator M&A will continue � Possible targets in the European market are: Bouygues, Belgacom, Swisscom, Eircom, Fastweb, Cable & Wireless, TDC, Elisa, Telindus and Kingston �Carrier margins will decline throughout 2006, most notably on the fixed side - Pyramid expects fixed carriers to see reduced EBITDA margins in 2006, but they remain bullish on new services and believe the blip will be temporary; 2006 is the down year preceding a strong rebound in the net contribution of new services

VoIP Enters Next Phase of Growth

As VoIP is about to shed its early image and kick off a new phase in the market's evolution, IDC forecasts the worldwide VoIP semiconductor market to grow over $2.4 billion in 2009, with a compound annual growth rate of 38.9 percent for 2004-2009. However, both opportunities and threats are emerging for current semiconductors selling into VoIP systems. "With basic product line ups complete, VoIP equipment vendors must look for opportunities to differentiate their offering and deliver tailored solutions," said Ian Eigenbrod, senior research analyst with IDC's Semiconductor program. "This need is creating new design-in opportunities and is ushering in the next phase of the VoIP semiconductor market evolution and it will be key to establishing market leadership long term." Key findings of IDC's study: -The Carrier segment (media gateways and softswitches) and the consumer segment (broadband gateways) will account for the bulk of the dollar shipments in 2

Google to Acquire dMarc Broadcasting

Google Inc. today announced it has agreed to acquire dMarc Broadcasting, a Newport Beach, Calif.-based digital solutions provider for the radio broadcast industry. dMarc connects advertisers directly to radio stations through its automated advertising platform. The platform simplifies the sales process, scheduling, delivery and reporting of radio advertising, enabling advertisers to more efficiently purchase and track their campaigns. For broadcasters, dMarc's technology automatically schedules and places advertising, helping to increase revenue and decrease the costs associated with processing advertisements. In the future, Google plans to integrate dMarc technology into the Google AdWords platform, creating a new radio ad distribution channel for Google advertisers. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Google will acquire all of the outstanding equity interests in dMarc, a privately held company, for total up-front consideration of $102 million in cash. "Google is com

Bazaarvoice Hires Dell.com Marketing Leader

Bazaarvoice, a new company aimed at online brands who want to drive greater business impact from word of mouth, today announced that Sam Decker will join the company as vice president of marketing & products. Sam previously led the growth of Dell.com, helping it become the world�s largest consumer eCommerce site in 2003. Decker is a word of mouth marketing expert who brings over 14 years of experience to Bazaarvoice, including authoring one of the first books on customer evangelism for the technology industry titled �How to Market with Computer User Groups� and on guerilla marketing titled �301 Do-it-Yourself Marketing Ideas.� A frequent speaker at online retailing events and author of a popular marketing blog, Decker combines market vision with a practical understanding of how to achieve customer-centricity in today�s business environment. Before joining Bazaarvoice, Decker spent 7 years of marketing & eBusiness leadership at Dell, Inc. From 1999-2003, he led Dell�s consumer

SBC Yahoo! DSL, New Name, Lower Price

AT&T Inc. announced a new name for its high-speed Digital Subscriber Line service and cut the monthly price to boost its Internet customer base. San Antonio-based AT&T, already the nation's largest provider of DSL with 6.5 million subscribers, is offering new residential customers the ability to order the new AT&T Yahoo! High-Speed Internet for $14.99 a month. It was formerly called SBC Yahoo! DSL. SBC Communications Inc. and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo! first launched SBC Yahoo! DSL in September 2002. This is one of the lowest prices the company has ever offered for new customers. AT&T first introduced the service at $14.95 on June 1, 2005, when it was still SBC. It is reintroducing the new promotional price in order to transition customers to the new AT&T brand, AT&T spokeswoman April Borlinghaus says. SBC and AT&T merged on November 18, 2005, creating the nation's largest telecommunications firm. The offer is only available to customers in A

Airbourne Internet Set for FCC Auction

Reuters reports that U.S. regulators plan to sell airwaves starting May 10 to provide communications services like high-speed Internet to U.S. air travelers. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said it plans to auction airwaves now used by phones embedded in airplane seats. Those phones, operated by a Verizon Communications unit, are not used regularly because of the high cost. The financially strapped airline industry could generate a new stream of revenue by partnering with companies wanting to offer high-speed Internet or a cheaper on-board telephone service. Verizon plans to bid in the sale so it can offer wireless broadband during flights, according to company officials. It could take about a year for Verizon to deploy if it wins a license, they said. "We're certainly planning on being successful at the auction," Bill Pallone, president of Verizon Airfone, said in a telephone interview. "Primarily, initially we believe it will be data (service), which

Central and Eastern Europe Internet Use

Internet research firm Nielsen/Net Ratings has released its Eurovision study of internet trends in emerging internet markets in central and eastern Europe. Its research finds that 93 percent of these internet users access the web from home, compared to 47 percent from work, 26 percent from educational institutions and 19 percent from internet cafes. Specific country studies showed that internet users in Hungary, at 97 percent, are most likely to access the internet from home. Greeks use the internet most from work (67 percent), and Bulgarians are the most frequent online users at internet cafes (47 percent) and libraries (16 percent). The study found that Austrians access the internet from the greatest variety of locations. With regard to devices used to access the internet, Lithuanian users are the most likely to access the internet from games consoles (12 percent), mobile phones (42 percent), PDAs (12 percent) and kiosks (8 percent). In contrast, 96 percent of Hungarian users acces

Telecom Italia Partners on Intel ViiV Apps

Telecom Italia and US chip maker Intel have signed an agreement for the joint development of applications and services for home entertainment, healthcare and development of new technologies. With Telecom Italia broadband services and PCs equipped with Intel's Viiv technology, it will be possible to share pictures, videos, music and videogames among different devices simultaneously. For example, users will be able to share digital content among their mobile phones, PCs and TVs. Telecom Italia broadband customers who have Viiv-equipped PCs will have online access to the on-demand contents of Rosso Alice channels. With the Viiv technology, these users can then view the video content on any compatible viewing device. Telecom Italia and Intel will also be developing ad hoc wireless telemedicine applications to monitor elderly people and patients alongside technology-led solutions to enhance wireless communication and data exchange among hospital wards.

BT Movio Tests Demand for Mobile TV

Results from the pilot of BT Movio, formerly known as BT Livetime, have shown apparent consumer demand for a broadcast digital television and radio service for mobile phones, due to become commercially available in the UK later this year. The pilot revealed that two thirds of customers would be prepared to pay up to �8 a month for the new service, rather less than operators might have hoped. BT is preparing to provide a wholesale service available to other operators, followed by the launch of a consumer service. BT Movio is broadcast using the Digital Audio Broadcasting or DAB network, originally designed for digital radio. As a broadcast service it can scale to an arbitrary number of users, unlike streaming services currently delivered over 3G networks.

Starbucks to Promote New Lionsgate Film

Starbucks Entertainment and Lionsgate announced a marketing and distribution partnership for "Akeelah and the Bee" that marks Starbucks' entry into the film business and breaks new ground by a giving a brand promotional partner a piece of a film's profits. In exchange for marketing and promoting "Akeelah" in its more than 5,500 retail outlets in the U.S. and Canada, Starbucks receives an undisclosed percentage of the movie's profits in a deal that appears to be unprecedented in the business of film promotions. "Starbucks is a true equity participating partner in the film with us," Lionsgate president Steve Beeks said. "They are getting a percentage of the profits alongside the other primary partners."

HDTV Consumers are Still Confused

About one-fourth of people who buy high-definition TV sets believe incorrectly the sets will display HD resolution without the need to provide a special HD program source from cable, satellite or new digital rooftop antennas, says a 2005 survey of 500 HDTV set owners. The computer-aided phone survey for Scientific-Atlanta by researcher StrategyOne. Among findings: * Close to one in four (28 percent) of HDTV owners reported they did not get any special equipment from their service provider to watch HDTV channels because the picture quality was already improved with the purchase of an HDTV. * 23 percent of HDTV owners did not invest in special equipment to watch HDTV channels because a message at the beginning of programs they watch tells them that those programs are being broadcast in HD. * Nearly one in five (18 percent) reported they believed the HD television would give them high-definition channels without additional equipment.

2005 Search Advertising Revenues

Information week reports that North American advertisers spent 44 percent more on search engine marketing last year, with Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. taking a large share of the market, an industry trade group said. Advertisers spent $5.75 billion last year, according to the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization. Spending on search marketing is expected to continue growing, reaching $11 billion in 2010. The survey of 553 respondents conducted in November by Radar Research LLC and Intellisurvey found that the bulk of the spending last year was on paid placement, which accounted for 83 percent or $4.7 billion. Optimization of Web sites for better search rankings accounted for 11 percent of spending, paid inclusion 4 percent, and the remainder on agency solutions, in-house development and other tactics.

Sky by Broadband Launched in UK

BSkyB launched the first legal U.K. movie download service, enabling its premium package subscribers to watch movies downloaded onto a computer via broadband access. The launch came as Sky programming head Dawn Airey said the channel was prepared to pay top dollar for U.S. acquisitions. The Sky by Broadband service, unveiled Tuesday by chief operating officer Richard Freudenstein, allows subscribers to the �34-a-month ($60) Sky Movies package unlimited access to movie downloads that they can store for up to 30 days and watch as many times as they like without paying more.

U.S. Broadband Policy: the Weakest Link

Randall Stross wrote a column entitled "Hey, Baby Bells: Information Still Wants to Be Free" for the New York Times that raises the same nagging questions about the state of broadband access progress within the United States. "At the top of my wish list for next year's Consumer Electronics Show is this: the introduction of broadband service across the country that is as up to date as that 103-inch flat-screen monitor just introduced by Panasonic. The digital lifestyle I see portrayed so alluringly in ads is not possible when the Internet plumbing in our homes is as pitiful as it is. The broadband carriers that we have today provide service that attains negative perfection: low speeds at high prices." "Slow broadband seems to be our cursed lot. Until we get an upgrade - or rather an upgrade to an upgrade - the only Americans who will enjoy truly fast and inexpensive service will be those who leave the country."