34 Weeks of OHA: #7

Open Handset Alliance Member Profiles (Week #7 – Esmertec )
For 34 weeks, each Tuesday, Jordan from fandroid.net will be joining us to offer a profile of each of the 34 members of the Open Handset Alliance.

Company Name:

How the OHA site classifies them: Software Company.

What the OHA site says about them: Esmertec is a leading provider of multi-media solutions and end-to-end integration services that accelerate time-to-market and reduce operational costs for OEMs and Operators.

What they do: We provide software platforms that enable the deployment of content and applications in devices and over servers. Our customers include mobile telecom operators and manufacturers of mobile handsets, set-top boxes and interactive televisions. Esmertec’s software and service capabilities excel with its reliability as well as fast and local execution.

Basically, they offer Java-based products for mobile and embedded systems. Their Jbed Java Virtual Machine (JVM) offerings come in a number of flavours, including a JVM and real-time operating system package that runs directly on the hardware, with no intervening bits. A focus of the Jbed system is to deliver powerful multimedia capabilities.

So, they’re another Java-on-handsets company. They breed like rabbits.

As owners of Cellicium, they also offer Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services, the real-time messaging system for GSM phones that is commonly used to enable SMS and other real-time messaging.

What they bring to OHA and Android: They go into a bit of detail on this very question on their site.

Esmertec shares the Open Handset Alliance’s vision of enabling innovative and easy-to-use solutions for mobile end-users. We have actively contributed to this initiative with our OMA applications (MMS, WAP, DRM, SyncML, and IM).

The OMA offerings are Open Mobile Alliance standards – Multimedia Messaging, Wireless Application Protocol, Digital Rights Management (whew – and I was worried that Android might not have DRM), Synchronization, and Instant Messaging. So, they have the basics covered.

In addition to Android’s open source, Esmertec’s leading edge Jbed™ Java™ Virtual Machine (JVM) platform can easily be made commercially available on customer demand for the Alliance ‘s mobile platform. This option offers immediate and seamless compatibility with the standard Java ME world, leveraging thousands of existing Java ME applications.

For those wondering what a company offering JVM products has to offer a system with its own virtual machine (Dalvik), here’s the answer. All those existing mobile Java apps out there don’t have to be ported; just slap Jbed on your Android-running handset and all’s happy in Java world.

Finally, Esmertec also offers a full range of integration and development services for the Android platform that will help current and future players in the mobile value chain to reduce integration time, ensure operator compliance, and deliver enhanced multimedia functionality for new handsets quickly and cost-effectively.

Here’s an interesting angle: Android consultants. No doubt there’s great value in this proposition. If I’m a company looking to bust into the Android world, here’s someone to hold my hand. Help with porting apps, integration with existing Android features, customizing Android to my needs – a general wheel-greasing.

Sounds like an attractive offer, and one that may make Esmertec a major back room player as Android usage ramps up.


New SDK Considered "Big Improvement"

Ryan Paul over at Ars Technica spent some time with the new release of the Android SDK. He claims that there are ‘noteworthy improvements’ to the platform with the recent offering known as ‘m5-rc14’.

Even with plenty of work to do and “technical issues to resolve”, he says that “Google has now demonstrated enough responsiveness to developer demands to justify giving the company the benefit of the doubt. This second look at the platform and the development ecosystem has boosted my confidence in the endeavor and given me reason to be optimistic about Android’s prospects.”

Anybody else play with the new version yet? What kind of stuff have you encountered? Let us know in the comments.

Alienware: No Comment

TechRadar spoke with Alienware’s Mat Bettinson earlier today about that mock-up for a prototype. They were served up the good old “no comment” when asked about the company’s plans to move into the mobile phone market. Bettinson says that Alienware was “flattered by the mock-up”. Adding, the “design is not necessarily what Alienware would do, but it’s interesting to see how the artist sees Alienware design elements enhancing another technology product.”

PacketVideo Brings TV to Any Wi-Fi Capable Phone

For user of phones and mobile entertainment devices without TV capability, your day has come. PacketVideo, one of the founding members of the Open Handset Alliance, has demonstrated a mobile receiver device that decodes digital TV signal and re-purposes it for use on phones.

The receiver is compatible with all of the major mobile standards like TDtv, DVB-H, MediaFLO, and WiMAX. Compatible with many phones including the Nokia N-series, Apple iPhone and HTC Smartphone devices, the receiver can be customized with the operator’s badge.

Samsung Dropping Two Android-Based Phones in ’08?

Here’s a departure from what we’ve already heard. Samsung is rumored to be releasing to handsets this fall and winter. A high end model due in September and a lower end model due in time for Christmas. So far, we’ve only been told 2009 for Samsung. On top of that, HTC is the company rumored to be bringing the first device to market.

Which carrier will get the phones? According to this article, both Verizon and T-Mobile are mulling it over. The first non-exclusive phones from Google might be around the corner however we’re not holding our breath over this as apparently the source has an shaky past when it comes to breaking news. One thing that tips us off that it might be inaccurate: Referring to them as gPhones and not Android-based. Google is not in the business of branding a phone (yet).

There are two gPhones slated for release with the first coming in September and the second probably not appearing until after Christmas. Given that the first is the high-end model and the second is cheaper, Google will probably expect to make as much money as possible on the higher-margin units at Christmas before revealing the budget model even exists…

Both will include WiFi, which makes me wonder if a VoIP client will be there, too. The high-end phone will look somewhat like a Blackberry Pearl, but the screen flips up and there is a keyboard for texting. No word on pricing for the high-end phone, but the second model is intended to be less than $100 — AFTER Christmas.

AG5 – February 16th Edition

It’s Saturday again so it’s time to hit you up with 5 AndroidGuys we think are worth another look. If this is your first time stopping by, consider this your Cliffs Notes for the last week. 3GSM/MWC has ended and now we start looking forward to the products and services coming in 2008. Android and the Open Handset Alliance are poised to place themselves prominently within the industry and we hope you’ll continue to rely on us for your news and opinion. To make sure you don’t miss anything important, subscribe to our standard feed as well as our podcast feed.

#1 – Android makes its official debut
Finally! After what seemed like an eternity, we get to see it in the wild. What was the initial response? It’s fast and doesn’t need much power to run it! Imagine the potential with cutting edge technology.

#2 – Reactions to new SDK are all over the spectrum
In what comes as no surprise to us, Android’s new developer kit is being compared to iPhone. This will be one of those cases where you can’t please everybody all the time. Get used to it.

#3 – Nokia picks Google for its search
Is it us, or does Nokia seem like they are being really aggressive with their purchases and alignments? Almost weekly, we hear of something else the cellular giant is doing to position themselves for the long term.

#4 – Microsoft likes Danger so much, they bought ’em
Does Microsoft want to make their own handset to deliver Windows Mobile to the masses? Now, if they ever get up enough money to buy Yahoo, we could see a super duper device deluxe!

#5 – LiMo is getting a whole lot more attention than expected
With a full year head start on the Open Handset Alliance, the LiMo Foundation not only debuted 18 handsets at MWC, they also announced 9 new partners. At 32 members, they are breathing down the OHA’s neck. Or are they already out in front?

Addressing the Alienware Phone Article

Let me start off by saying that the design I saw of that Alienware phone is about the most hideous looking phone I’ve ever seen. In my 6 years of working in and closely following the cell phone industry, I have never been so completely turned off by a design. It would probably do well with the hardcore Star Trek and World of Warcraft fans but not the other 95% of the world. There is no market out there to sell this thing. Dell and Alienware would invest far too much time and money into a device like this only to see it sell limited numbers.

Enough about the device itself. I want to switch gears and discuss the content of the article and talk about how little credibility I find in the piece. First of all, the article comes after 3GSM/MWC yet it refers to being announced there. We know that nothing materialized from neither Dell nor Alienware. There is not one substantial reason given as to why the phone is currently in the works, only rumor and conjecture. There is no ‘source’ to credit where the alleged specs come from. Where is the basis for ‘classic Alienware eye catching design, large screen with high resolution, superb video gaming capability, or fantastic audio?

Finally, the actual prototype. It’s clearly not a leaked mock-up when you can see at the bottom that it was designed for the website. Anybody with half a knack for Photoshop could work up a phone design with a taste of Alienware in it.

Please note that I am not saying there will be no Alienware phone. There may be, but it will not look anything like this.