“Trolltech announced Qtopia Greenphone, the first open Linux mobile device for application developers. Greenphone enables commercial and open source developers, in-house software developers and handset manufacturers to create, modify and test Linux- based mobile phone applications on a working GSM/GPRS device, making the applications easier to build and faster to bring to market.Greenphone will be offered as part of a complete software development kit (SDK) and includes Trolltech’s Qtopia Phone Edition, an application platform and user interface for Linux-based mobile phone. Although not intended as a commercial mobile phone, Greenphone has many of the communication functions and features found in today’s sophisticated smartphones. Developers can exploit these features and functions in developing their own unique applications.Greenphone is a functioning mobile camera phone with the capability to re-flash the applications of the device.”With Greenphone, the sky is the limit when it comes to creating and testing new applications on a powerful mobile device platform,” said Haavard Nord, co-CEO, Trolltech. “Developers can create applications to suit the evolving needs of carriers and end users with a dramatically reduced development cycle,” added Eirik Chambe-Eng, co-CEO, Trolltech.Specifications SoftwareQtopia Phone Edition 4.1.4 Linux kernel 2.4.19 Hardware Touch-screen and keypad UI QVGA LCD color screen Intel XScale 312 mHz PXA270 64MB RAM & 128MB Flash Mini-SD card slot Broadcom BCM2121 GSM/GPRS baseband processor Bluetooth equipped Mini-USB port” via slashphone.com
Camera phone duel: Sony Ericsson K800i vs Nokia N93
” Both fitted with high-resolution 3.2 Megapixel cameras and autofocus, Nokia’s N93 and Sony Ericsson K800i look fairly similar with regard to their main attributes – but there are a number of small differences which set the two apart. For instance, the N93 comes with a 3x optical zoom and mechanical shutter, but these apparently don’t make too much of a difference as image quality is only marginally better than that of the K800i – although the latter appears to be cheating by overexposing pictures to obtain greater shadow detail.” Read more here:
Coming this week, the UMTS capable BlackBerry 8707g
“On the surface, the BlackBerry 8707g, ready for launch some time this week, looks a heck of a lot like the rumored 8703e that’s been kicking around the internet, but it’s quite a catch on its own. High-speed data junkies will be able to get their fix through the 2100 MHz UMTS capabilities of this unit, which can be exploited as a tethered modem for laptops.The 8707g latches onto GSM/GPRS networks over four bands (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), and throws down a full QWERTY keyboard (hurray! no SureType!), 64MB of flash memory, Bluetooth 2.0, 320 x 240 color LCD, a built-in speakerphone, and BlackBerry’s usual suite of PIM software.Push email is here, and attachment viewing is a cinch, with love for JPEG, BMP, TIFF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, WordPerfect, and PDF formats. No word on pricing.” via mobilemag.com
Canalys: sales of GPS devices in Europe doubled over a year
TomTom retains market lead with over 30% share, up year-on-year, but down on Q1 2006
Garmin doubles market share compared to one year ago, to hold firm second place
Market growth of 97% takes total quarterly shipments above the previous record set in Q4 2005
Handhelds now account for only 10% of integrated devices, down from over 40% 18 months ago
Highlights from the Canalys Q2 2006 EMEA mobile navigation research
New GPS navigation device market research from Canalys shows that sustained growth has taken shipments in the latest quarter above even the boom level seen in Q4 2005, which made a big difference to the year-end performance of many retailers. Canalys estimates that just under 2.5 million devices shipped in Q2 2006, beating the previous quarterly record of 2.3 million. The Canalys figures include all mobile devices that have integrated GPS receivers and provide turn-by-turn vehicle navigation, including handhelds, such as the Mio P550, wireless handhelds like the HP hw6915, and transferables (or ‘PNDs’: Portable Navigation Devices), for example the TomTom GO and Garmin nüvi ranges.
“Q2 can be a quiet quarter for many consumer electronics product categories, but the navigation market, particularly in Europe, benefits from lots of customers buying devices in time for their summer vacations,” said Chris Jones, Canalys director and principal analyst. “The market continues to go from strength to strength, and we are seeing a continuous stream of new products coming to market, and more and more variety in form factors, features and price points. There are also an increasing number of hardware vendors aiming to challenge the early leadership position established by TomTom.”
TomTom suffered from some supply issues this quarter, giving others the opportunity to make up some ground. Of the top five vendors it was second-placed Garmin that made the most progress, its shipments quadrupling year-on-year. Still the US number one vendor, Garmin has a long history in GPS products, particularly for outdoor use and for the marine and avionics sectors, but it was overtaken early on in the European market for portable navigation devices for vehicles, development of which has been led primarily by European companies. Increased marketing effort in Europe and an expanding product range are now helping Garmin increase its presence in this market.
An earlier Canalys research report pointed out how the handheld computer market in EMEA was declining (down 42% year on year in Q2 2006) now that the demand for GPS navigation solutions has shifted away to transferables (dedicated portable navigation devices with integrated GPS) like the TomTom GO. Its navigation market numbers show the extent of that shift. Of the 2.5 million devices shipped in Q2, only 10% were handhelds, a further 3% were wireless handhelds, while a massive 87% were transferables. Compare this to the start of 2005, when handhelds were almost half the market.
“Consumers have flocked to transferables in droves,” Jones added. “They typically present a simple proposition, in an optimised form factor, at attractive price points. They are easy to demonstrate and sell. As a result, they have stolen a lot of retail shelf space away from handhelds, which has hastened the latter’s decline.”
Early solutions for handhelds relied on product bundles with external GPS receivers connected by cable or Bluetooth, which could sometimes be quite difficult to set up, and cumbersome to fit in the vehicle. These have understandably withered away in the face of the much better user experience offered by integrated GPS devices, but solutions using external receivers are still growing in the mobile phone space. As in other market segments such as digital music players, Jones sees rising activity around mobile phone and smart phone solutions, which will present a growing threat to the makers of dedicated navigation devices, but he believes there are two fundamental things missing from the market in EMEA today. The first is a broad array of attractive mobile phones or smart phones with integrated GPS, the second requires a change in attitude.
“Most of the mobile operators still aren’t awake to the huge potential of mobile navigation, and it comes a long way down on their priority list, after higher-risk plays like mobile TV. It shouldn’t. It is perhaps the purest form of location-based service, and has huge potential, not just in terms of subscriber numbers and as a revenue stream in itself, but also as a way of changing customer perception of what a phone is for, thus building a foundation for the delivery of other information services through the handset,” Jones said.
Average selling prices have remained steady around the €400 mark, despite increasing competition. The market continues to attract new vendors, particularly in the transferable space, including many well-known in-car system and consumer electronics brands, such as Becker, Blaupunkt, Packard Bell, Pioneer and VDO Dayton. These are being joined by more vendors of wireless handhelds with integrated GPS, for example Fujitsu-Siemens, who will hope to tap into the still underdeveloped enterprise market. While there are many entry-level products available, and Jones expects to see a €199 transferable before the year is out, this is being counterbalanced by new feature-packed models coming in at the top end, bringing, for example, widescreen displays, real-time traffic and weather information, and additional capabilities that encroach further into the in-car entertainment space, such as playback of music, photos, video and TV. How far the mobile navigation market leaders can go down this route is one of the subjects being addressed at the first Canalys Navigation Forum in Geneva, taking place from the 11th to 13th of September. The success the market is experiencing is reflected in the tremendous speaker list and audience that this event has already pulled together, from not only the industry itself, but also the financial analyst community and press. More information…