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3GSM - Mobile battle heats up

Millionaires' playground Cannes seemed a fitting place for a real-world, high-stakes game of survival, as telecom and high-tech manufacturers gathered at the 3GSM World Congress to seek nothing less than wireless world domination.

Texas Instruments announced deals with arch wireless rivals Microsoft and Nokia to develop chipsets to enhance each company's content development platform.

In selecting Texas Instruments' Open Multimedia Applications Platform (OMAP) processor, Nokia said it could make converged devices less expensive because OMAP combines application processing and digital signal processing in a single chip.

"Short term, it's a land grab. Who is going to make the most out of GPRS and do something of value?" said Gerry Purdy, president of Mobile Insights.

Microsoft and Intel joined Texas Instruments in announcing, along with Nokia, that they would work to develop a standard reference design that incorporates the blueprints for both hardware and software.

Motorola, IBM, and Sun all introduced mobile development platforms of their own. Targeting users 16-25-year-old consumer market, Motorola launched Mobile Services Cafe, which will develop and host services and applications for carrier customers.

IBM introduced its Service Provider Delivery Environment to offer customised voice, text, and Internet-based services, and touted its use of Web Services protocols such as SOAP.

Sun Microsystems' Java based wireless services group is focusing on the., company's use of PIN and PKI authentication products, integrated into mobile services.

Another battle is over handsets. Microsoft's Smart Phone 2002, based on Windows CE, is a real-time operating system designed to allow manufacturers to build converged mobile phone and PDA devices. Competing with Microsoft is an array of handset manufacturers such as Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia.

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