Category Archives: 34 Weeks

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:
Esmertec

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.

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34 Weeks of OHA: #6

Open Handset Alliance Member Profiles (Week #6 – eBay )
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:
eBay

How the OHA site classifies them: Software Company

What the OHA site says about them: Nothing. The name eBay kinda speaks for itself.

What they do:eBay is The World’s Online Marketplace®, enabling trade on a local, national and international basis. With a diverse and passionate community of individuals and small businesses, eBay offers an online platform where millions of items are traded each day.

If you don’t already know what eBay is, you’re kinda beyond my help. They are, along with Amazon and Google, one of the pantheon of companies that have gone past web success story and deep into holy-sh*t-that’s-a-massive-company territory.

But they’re a company with spiritually uplifting goals, as well. Check out this bit: “Ultimately, eBay Inc. will raise the expectations—and aspirations—of people around the world as they seek to connect, discover and interact with each other.” Man, that’s groovy. eBay seeks to raise the aspirations of people in regards to the profit that can be had from the crap in their attic or by fooling people into paying exhorbitant sums for a picture of an Xbox (I know, I’m cynical).

The crown jewel of eBay’s empire is, of course, eBay.com and its many international variants, the online shopping and auction powerhouse that is the locus for tens of billions of dollars worth of transactions yearly. eBay as a concept was a game changer, redefining the commercial possibilities of the Internet and truly making it possible to buy anything online (and, moreover, making it possible to profit by selling anything online).

In 2002, eBay acquired PayPal, the leading online money transfer service. Then, in 2005, Skype was purchased for an astonishing $2.6 billion dollars, an amount that eBay has since admitted was probably too much.

What they bring to OHA and Android: They’re one of the largest players on the Internet. That alone should be good enough.

In the auction space, I can’t see eBay on a mobile handset to be a big draw. Aside from being able to monitor auctions down to the last minute from wherever you are, what’s the point? A killer app, this is not.

PayPal, on the other hand, now there’s a great mobile app. Real-time money transfers on a mobile phone? The ability to not only pay for goods and services with your handset, but also get your friend the five bucks you owe? Making Paypal truly mobile puts it in a league where it can start competing with Debit cards or even cash. And if I’m making POS purchases using my phone, and eBay and Google can tap into that demographic information, the targeted advertising possibilities are staggering (and more than a little scary).

Skype is the other killer app, for obvious reasons in a world with WiFi-enabled phones and pay-per-minute talk-time models. As the largest player in the market, Skype has the clear advantage over any competition. In the VOIP universe, the size of the subscriber base is directly related to the convenience of the service. Already Skype offers mobile clients, and most likely they would for Android as well, but what if that client was completely integrated? What if your handset automatically made use of the Skype network to make calls when WiFi was available, or when that call was long distance?

It’s in PayPal and Skype that eBay’s membership in the OHA becomes exciting.

34 Weeks of OHA: #5

Open Handset Alliance Member Profiles (Week #5 – China Mobile)
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:
China Mobile Communications Corporation

How the OHA site classifies them: Mobile Operator

What the OHA site says about them: Nothing. There’s no blurb. Might be a translation issue.

What they do: Provide mobile service to more people than any other carrier in the world.

They have somewhere around two-thirds of the Chinese mobile market, which, according to Wikipedia, gives them 350 million customers. That’s a lot. They also own Pakistan telecomunications company Paktel, which seems like an odd fit, but whatever. China Mobile is the largest company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

They’re owned by the government of the People’s Republic of China, which may or may not be OK depending on how you feel about human rights and the decline of the West.
What they bring to OHA and Android: A massive subscriber base.

Just recently at the World Economic Forum, China Mobile scared the hell out of a bunch of people when their CEO Wang Jianzhou said in response to queries about what it does with users private information: “We can access the information and see where someone is, but we never give this information away … Only if the security authorities ask for it.” Owned by the Chinese Government + Only if the security authorities ask for it = someone’s Chinese ass in jail.

Google’s mantra is “Do No Evil.” Now, I don’t really think that the Chinese Government is evil, nor is China Mobile; the world just isn’t black and white like that, and I have an aversion to ethnocentrism. But “Do No Evil” is as much a PR slogan as anything else, and I would bet that a large majority of the public to whom that slogan is meant to appeal would not consider it an act of goodness to hand location information from a GPS-enabled handset over to the Chinese authorities, who are not well known for their respect for human rights. But, such is the reality of the World Economy that Google is in a consortium with a company that may or may not be doing something the public of the western world would find distasteful.

What do they really bring to the OHA? Moral ambiguity.

As always, we want to thank Jordan for taking the time to do this series for us. Please take a few minutes and visit Fandroid.net and read some of his articles. He has a great site going and we love his snarky tone.

Previous 34 Weeks: #1, #2, #3, #4

34 Weeks of OHA: #4

Open Handset Alliance Member Profiles (Week #4 – Broadcom )
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:
Broadcom Corporation

How the OHA site classifies them: Semiconductor Company

What the OHA site says about them: Broadcom Corporation is a major technology innovator and global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, providing products that enable the delivery of voice, video, data and multimedia to and throughout the home, the office and the mobile environment.

What they do: They build chips.

Wikipedia proclaims them…among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders.” Their site list their offerings as including Bluetooth products, network processing solutions, digital cable products, digital TV solutions, satellite devices, DSL chipsets, mobile multimedia processors, mobile phone solutions, networking components, security processors, I/O integrated circuits, storage solutions, VOIP solutions, WLAN solutions, and Ethernet solutions. They got solutions.

Broadcom is probably best known for their NICs. There’s a good chance that the network card in the PC you’re currently reading this article on was designed by Broadcom.

Of course, Broadcom doesn’t really build any of this. Rather, it employs Asian people to do the building for them.

Special Feature: What is up with the Broadcom vs. Qualcomm conflict?
It’s complicated, and probably less exciting than you’d think. Basically, these two seem to get off on suing each other, and have been doing so for a few years now.
The most recent and most interesting contest started back in May of 2005, when Broadcom went after Qualcomm with a lawsuit over 10 supposed patent infringments, as well as a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging unfair trade practices by importing products that infringe Broadcom patents. Then, in July of the same year Broadcom launched a couple more lawsuits accusing Qualcomm of violating antitrust laws.

Then a bunch of legal stuff happened.

The ITC eventually blocked the import of new cellphone models based on infringing Qualcomm chips, a jury awarded Broadcom $19.6 billion dollars, and, most recently, a federal judge has ordered Qualcomm to stop selling the contested chips.

So, like, ouch for Qualcomm.

I’m no legal reporter. This stuff makes my molars ache. Basically, these two hate each other. It makes Thanksgiving at the OHA household a tense affair. Let’s leave it at that.
What they bring to OHA and Android: Semiconductors. And, given their history with Qualcomm, domestic violence.

Broadcom kinda has its fingers in everything, including LiMo, a partnership with Trolltech, and now Android. Whether this means they’ll have a meaningful contribution to make in the Linux handset space or that they’re just lurking to keep options open for the future remains to be seen.

Broadcom Corporation

20/20 Podcast #7

Jamie and Scott sat down on Thursday to go over some current posts as well as recent Android related news. Recorded over two 20 minute segments, we present to you episode seven of the AndroidGuys 20/20 podcast. If you want to check out some previous podcasts, please subscribe to the feed! We’re open to suggestions, so if you have anything you’d like us to cover, let us know in the comments!

Part 1 (#7A) topics include the FCC Auction getting underway, Google Android and Yahoo Go!, and mobile search versus local search on phones. Shout outs to TechWag, The Big Bald Blog, and AskTheAdmin for all they have done for us lately, as well as what they have allowed us to do.

Part 2 (#7B) saw us discussing things like Hop-On’s Chitter Chatter, NTT DoCoMo, A La Mobile, BancoMap, lowering costs for bringing a handset, and job cuts at Sprint. Respect knuckles to Jordan over at Fandroid.net for his help with the 34 Weeks of OHA!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our standard feed as well as the podcast only version.

34 Weeks of OHA: #3

Open Handset Alliance Member Profiles (Week #3 – Audience )
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:
Audience.

How the OHA site classifies them: Semiconductor Company

What the OHA site says about them: Audience is a voice processor company that enables clear communications anywhere with noise suppression technology based on the intelligence of the human hearing system.

What they do: Apparently something that’s cool as hell. Check out that bit from the OHA site “Noise suppression technology based on the intelligence of the human hearing system.”

The Audience site isn’t open yet. Just a big “Starting in 2008, Be Heard”, the option to register for info (which I have, I’ll let you know if I receive anything), and some cool quotes, including one from Ray Kurzweil talking about “neuromorphic princples”. Neuromorphic, according to Wikipedia, describes “… Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) systems containing electronic analog circuits that mimic neuro-biological architectures present in the nervous system.” VLSI “…is the process of creating integrated circuits by combining thousands of transistor-based circuits into a single chip.” And they’re using these technologies to improve the audio quality of mobile calls.

Now that’s badass.

Audience CEO Peter Santos’ supporting quote attached to the OHA press release:
We are pleased to be a part of the Open Handset Alliance as it embarks on revolutionizing the world of mobile communications. As open devices enter the market in 2008, Audience is defining the new standard for noise suppression, enabling more usability of rich voice and data applications on this platform. Callers will be able to be heard everywhere from their mobile handset, even in the noisiest places.

What they bring to OHA and Android: Positronic brains.

I had a hard time finding anything specific about these guys, but the technology memes they’re slinging around got my Sci-Fi geekboy bits all a-tingle. They’re mimicking biological systems in a chip, here. Not just functionally, but architecturally.

Obviously, whether or not this is going to result in anything of note is up for debate. The propaganda sounds cool, but whether all these buzz-words are going to equal honest-to-goodness paradigm-shifting tech is up for debate.

I have hope, just ’cause I’m optimistic like that, that these guys are gonna put some real-life android-y goodness into the OHA’s offerings.

Audience, Inc.

34 Weeks of OHA: #2

Open Handset Alliance Member Profiles (Week #2 – Ascender )
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:
Ascender Corp.

How the OHA site classifies them: Software Company

What the OHA site says about them: Ascender Corp. is a leading provider of advanced font products and innovative applications for mobile devices.

What they do: Fonts. Big fonts, little fonts, fat fonts, thin fonts. Chinese fonts and Hebrew fonts. Fonts from A-B. In fact, they run a

Font Store, which is precisely as breathtaking and overwhelming as you’d expect it to be.

Oh, and they produce the Personality Kit , which is a system for customizing your Windows Mobile phone with themes, ringtones, and … fonts.

What you may not realize is that Ascender, of whom you may never have before heard, is actually a font superpower. Ever come across Arial or Times New Roman? Comic Sans? Tahoma? Trebuchet? All Ascender’s—sorta; that is: the company’s two founders, Steve Matteson and and Tom Rickner, worked with Microsoft and Apple developing these foundational fonts, which makes ’em like the Tim Berners-Lee and, er, Steve Wozniak of… fonts. I guess.

These guys have a contract to distribute Microsoft fonts and have worked with IBM on Japanese fonts. Steve Matteson designed the fonts for the Xbox 360. And, check out this bit from their Wikipedia article:

Ascender has conducted numerous typographic-related research projects including a study on the typefaces that appear on the front pages of America’s top daily newspapers. This study identified the most popular typefaces, sources, and the pervasive use of custom fonts in newspaper design.

Another Ascender study researched the free and shareware fonts that can be found on the most-popular Websites. The study analyzed more than 450- TureType® fonts that can be downloaded by Macintosh®, Windows® and Linux® users to determine their viability for use in linking downloadable fonts to web pages as part of the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) specification proposed by the W3C. The study found that out of the 4572 fonts tested, 4385 fonts (95.9%) failed one or more of six tests that were performed.

“Typographic-related research projects.” These guys are hard-core, yo.

What they bring to OHA and Android: Umm, fonts. Specifically, the Droid font collection.

In all seriousness, designing fonts that are readable and appealing on a two-and-a-half inch screen is no job for amateurs. These guys are probably the best in the world at what they do, so Android is in good hands.

Ascender Corp. Site
Open Handset Alliance Press Release

Ascender’s Wikipedia Page