3GSM show dominated by software and services

Giant Software Marketplace might be a more appropriate name for the 3GSM World Congress, which opens in Cannes today (Tuesday 19...

Giant Software Marketplace might be a more appropriate name for the 3GSM World Congress, which opens in Cannes today (Tuesday 19 February).

The congress brings together manufacturers, network operators and service providers from all corners of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) industry.

Exhibitors great and small are putting the emphasis software for services, synchronisation and messaging.

Handset manufacturer Motorola chose to announce its new range of phones a week earlier, at a fashion event in Milan, while Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications has no stand of its own.

Also missing from the show floor is Sendo Holdings, the company which last year displayed a prototype device, the Z100, running Microsoft's Windows-Powered Smartphone 2002 software (then known by its codename Stinger).

General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) is one of the technologies driving interest in software at the show, as it opens the way for mobile phones and other pocket devices to establish always-on connections to the Internet or to corporate databases.

Citrix Systems will demonstrate software that enables access to existing corporate applications or services over GPRS using devices such as Nokia 's 9210 phone and ViewSonic 's ViewPad.

Niragongo's Lava Platform 2.0 is a wireless proxy application that aims to provide a consistent presentation format for applications, so that service providers don't have to worry about the screen formats and interfaces of the many different phones in use. Improvements in Lava 2.0 include a friendlier graphic navigation interface, improved management console, easy integration with new services, and advanced messaging tools.

Openwave Systems is expecting instant messaging to be a big traffic generator over GPRS. In addition to building its own Openwave Mobile Instant Messaging software, it is also lending its support to the development of standards for instant messaging service interoperability. Last week, Openwave announced it would back the Wireless Village instant messaging and presence standard.

Logica will be showing its Multimedia Messaging Service for corporate users. The company has been exploring business applications for audio and video downloads using a BlackBerry Wireless Handheld from Research In Motion (RIM) and RIM's Java Software Developers Kit for the GPRS version of the BlackBerry wireless e-mail system.

Upaid Systems sees profit in making a profit. All these services will have to be paid for somehow, the company reasoned, so it developed a billing system that network operators and content providers can use for real-time rating of transactions over GSM and GPRS networks.

Starfish Software, a Motorola offshoot, will be demonstrating synchronisation of data on an iPaq Pocket PC from Compaq using a Motorola GPRS mobile phone to its Java-based TrueSync Synchronisation Server.

Starfish will also be developing its remote device management software for Microsoft's Pocket PC platform, and for the Palm OS and Symbian OS systems, according to Starfish director of product management, Diane Law.

Java is an inevitable feature of the Sun Microsystems stand. Java Wireless Group manager, Eric Chu, said the big story is Sun's end-to-end delivery of Java applications, from the server to the mobile device.

Microsoft will reveal new partnerships with telecommunication operators, and demonstrate new hardware, which can run its software "any time and any place."

Hewlett-Packard will today announce an extension to its Jornada PDA range and is also showing its MicroChaiVM, a Java virtual machine with support for Java's Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP).

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