Software: Symbian Smartphone Show London Excel Oct 06

There is a completely different feeling at this show compared to others that deal with the mobile world - Less hucksterism, and altogether more couth and slick. The people at the show are here to deal with telcos, OEM's, developers, and sundry tech people.

From the users or observer's point of view the interest lies partially in what developers are offering to other parties. For example, Ikivo in partnership with Monotype Imaging, are pushing the adoption of SVG-based fonts and GUI's. This entails them talking with networks, phone manufacturers, and also the press. In this case the result is light weight applications which are able to provide much greater font choice and a zingier interface. One of the big selling points, when dealing with phone manufaturers, is that a more compact solution is a cheaper solution. The savings really mount up when you're doing a run of a million or so phones.

Another example is Scalado which uses compression to manage and work on images. The result is superfast operation for actions like going through a picture library or zooming. Part of the trick is only storing in memory the bits that are needed. Another part of the trick is having some pretty racey algorithms.

On another front, My-channels are experts at putting together rich talk trading systems and chat for banks. Now they're involved with data aquisition programs where mobile phones are used to deliver and receive data. They frequently supply the secure transport layer while others build on top. In Greece they put together a system where operatives check fridges in stores and send stock figures back to a central database using a mobile phone and the internet.

And then there's handwriting recognition. MyScript were demoing software that was absolutely miles ahead of anything else we've seen - write a whole sentence in bad handwriting and it would miraculously render it in ASCII. We didn't quite catch which handsets are shipped with this and the problem for such developers is getting quality out of what is frequently a nickel and dime market.

The hardware people present included Texas Instruments with interesting chips for handling the likes of music and video. Another company had a reference 2G phone which could be branded however the purchaser wanted.

Msystems were there with SIM cards with up to 1 Gbyte of memory on board as well as NAND flash memory in some large sizes as well. Interestingly, these are controlled with ATA commands. The bottom line here is that network providers can load up the SIMs with all sorts of content should they wish.

There was also a special section for getting developers interested with booklets showing different aspects of the code and interviews stored on 1/2 gig USB thumb drives. There were also quite a few knowledgable people about to help out. One question we asked was about the fuss about signing applications, where some felt that this system would be used to block, for example, Open Source apps. In fact it's a sort of certification where the signer has demonstrated competence and has performed certain tests on the signed application. There was also a demonstration of software debugging with a Nokia N93 over a Bluetooth connection. Using the emulator is alright up to a point but network apps need to be debugged on real live phone. Bad news here is that there are still no plans to port the Codewarrior IDE to platforms other than Windows.

Google were recruiting there as well and said they were looking for solid comp sci generalists with the right sort of attitude - which means enthusiastic can-do.

All in all the show wasn't the place for any eye-popping news announcements or product revelations but it did show a rich ecosystem with lots of finessing going on. One cynic said 'We all want to make new technology that's cool but no-one wants to buy it'. That's not correct but there is a lot of engineering conservatism within the network community.

Kudos to the organisers. Developer cons and shows are always more pleasant than those for user space but this was unusually slick and pleasant.

Here are the show announcements:

The Symbian Smartphone Show Day 1 News

17 October 2006 - The Symbian Smartphone Show kicked off today in London, UK with more than 120 exhibitors showcasing the latest mobile technologies. Symbian announced the following news today, including two new handsets from two of the world’s leading mobile phone manufacturers:

Samsung unveils HSDPA Symbian smartphone The SGH-i520 is the latest Symbian smartphone manufactured by Samsung. The new HSDPA smartphone is based on Symbian OS v9 and S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 1. The slim slider phone has an HSDPA radio and browser enabling Internet access and content download speeds up to five times faster than other smartphones. It has an attractive design and comes with a convenient and sophisticated touch pad providing short-cuts to key phone functions.

LG Electronics introduces HSDPA Symbian smartphone Symbian today welcomed the introduction of JoY, an HSDPA Symbian smartphone by Symbian OS™ licensee LG Electronics. JoY is an attractive slider smartphone based on Symbian OS v9 and S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 1. With a 2,4" LCD screen, HSDPA radio and full xHTML browser, JoY makes it fast and easy for fun seekers to browse the Internet and download content and applications.

Sling Media and Symbian partner to bring personal TV home viewing to consumers Sling Media, Inc., and Symbian today announced that the two companies are partnering to bring consumers a powerful mobile TV experience to Symbian smartphones. Sling Media will deliver a version of its popular SlingPlayer Mobile software application, currently available only in the U.S. and Canada, for Symbian OS in select European and Asian countries during Q4 and will extend availability to the U.S. shortly thereafter. Unlike other offerings available on the market today, SlingPlayer Mobile delivers customers’ complete home TV experience on mobile handsets using standard network connections, including 3G cellular and WiFi.

Symbian and Cingular Wireless team up to promote and accelerate application development for Symbian smartphones Cingular Wireless and Symbian launched an early access support program to promote and accelerate application development for phones based on Symbian OS v9. Cingular Deluxe and Corporate Deluxe developers are offered complimentary Symbian Affiliate status, providing early and free access to Symbian reference materials. Cingular has also joined the Symbian Platinum Partner Program, enabling Cingular employees access to exclusive program benefits.

News from the Symbian ecosystem from day 1 of the Symbian Smartphone Show:

DataViz offers Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Compatibility for S60 on Symbian OS RoadSync 3.0, Dataviz’s Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync is now in beta for phones based on S60 and Symbian OS. With support for new Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 mobile productivity enhancements like e-mail flags, online mailbox search, support for linked SharePoint files and faster message retrieval, the RoadSync beta is one of the first and only ways to experience the exciting new features of Exchange 2007 on devices currently in the market today. product=

Visto first to receive Symbian Approved mark for push email Visto has successfully completed the Symbian Email Validation Program and is the first company to be accredited the "Symbian Approved" mark for push email. The Symbian Email Validation Program defines industry agreed quality guidelines for push email solutions in the form of a Symbian Recommended Practice against which vendors can validate their solutions. The guidelines cover the whole user experience from installation and device compatibility to minimum service functionality and ease-of-use.

Scalado provides mobile imaging software solution for Symbian OS Scalado AB, a leading developer of digital imaging software, today announced that Scalado is providing Scalado CAPS™ as an extended imaging solution in Symbian smartphones with camera. CAPS enables highly efficient capture, editing, browsing, and manipulation of high-resolution megapixel images efficiently on any mobile camera-phone, thus giving Symbian smartphones with cameras the speed, performance and functionality that end-users would expect from a high-end, megapixel camera. As part of the collaboration, Symbian will develop and add an extended C++ API on top of Scalado CAPS in order for Symbian OS licensees to easily add their own camera, album and photo editing-applications. CAPS will be available in the Software Development Kit (SDK) for testing purposes and can be licensed directly from Scalado for its use in products.

Sony Ericsson P990 goes LocationFree: use it to watch your favourite home TV shows from absolutely anywhere Owners of the Sony Ericsson P990 smartphone can now enjoy their favourite local TV shows from wherever they are in the world. LocationFree from Sony redirects your TV shows from your home television to target devices such as your P990, so you can keep up with your favourite programmes. You can watch live TV, playback recorded programmes and even set up future recordings, all on your P990. pc3_1_1&zone=pc&lm=pc3_1&prid=6442

ALK announces CoPilot Live navigation for Symbian smartphones with UIQ software ALK Technologies today announced that their award-winning satellite navigation system, CoPilot Live, is now available for the latest Symbian smartphones with UIQ software from Sony Ericsson. Initially compatible with the Sony Ericsson M600i and P990, the latest version of CoPilot Live provides fully featured navigation that offers the same experience as a dedicated system or Personal Navigation Device (PND) but with the convenience and portability of a mobile phone.

The Symbian Smartphone Show – Day 2 News

18 October 2006 - on the second day of The Symbian Smartphone Show there was a flurry of mobile developer announcements, including new initiatives to Symbian Signed, a new Accredited Symbian Developer book, and the Forum Nokia S60 Challenge award winners. Highlights follow from Symbian and its partners:

Symbian Signed launches new initiatives to make application signing faster A new range of initiatives was announced to help developers bring Symbian applications to market faster. These include a fast-track certification process, a DevCert Request plug-in for Carbide.c++, automated test tools and a new Symbian Signed website. The announcement comes in the wake of 12,300 signing instances since the creation of Symbian Signed and follows a strong wave of developers migrating applications to Symbian OS™ v9 where application signing has increased 68% from Q2 to Q3 in 2006.

Symbian launches new book for Accredited Symbian Developer exam The latest book in the Symbian Press series was launched at the Smartphone Show today: The Accredited Symbian Developer Primer. The book has been written to help prepare developers for the Symbian Accredited Developer exam. A pass from the exam is now recognised by the British Computer Society (BCS) as a suitable pre-requisite for becoming a member of the BCS. The Accredited Symbian Developer Primer teaches the fundamental concepts of Symbian C++ development and the knowledge and skills detailed in the book will teach developers how to create high quality code for Symbian C++ applications and services and will prepare them for the ASD examination. Once passed, the ASD accreditation now serves as a pre-requisite for joining the BCS as an associate member (AMBCS), having been formally ratified by the BCS as an exam of sufficient quality and integrity.

News from the Symbian ecosystem on day 2 of the Symbian Smartphone Show :

Forum Nokia S60 3rd Edition Challenge Winners Nokia announced the winners in the Forum Nokia S60 3rd Edition Challenge global developercompetition, awarding prizes to outstanding mobile applications developers for the best new applications based on the S60 3rd Edition. QuickOffice, Foreca, InfoTalk, and Augmentra won grand prizes for showing a high degree of enthusiasm for the advanced device management capabilities, user interface, and intuitive web browser functionality of devices based on S60 3rd Edition and Symbian OS.

Quickoffice® 4.0 Demonstrated Quickoffice previewed Quickoffice 4.0 for S60, a major upgrade to its award-winning solution. Quickoffice provides smartphone users mobile access to Microsoft Office documents, allowing them to open, edit, and save documents in their native format. With this release, Quickoffice brings many powerful features for the first time to mobile phones that greatly enhance the user’s experience and productivity, including comprehensive editing capabilities in Word®, PowerPoint®, and Excel® with complete integrity of a document’s original formatting.

Discretix addresses the challenges of secure DRM implementation for mobile devices Discretix, the leading provider of embedded security and Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions for mobile devices and flash memory has announced availability of a white paper addressing the challenges of a secure DRM implementation on Symbian OS. The white paper will be available for download on the Symbian Developer Network website, partner extranet as well as the Discretix website.

Synchronica gets Symbian smartphones screaming with Mobile Manager Synchronica plc, an international provider of robust mobile synchronization and device management solutions announced that it has expanded the security functions of its Mobile Manager to support Symbian smartphones. With Mobile Manager, businesses or service providers can immediately secure lost or stolen Symbian smartphones remotely, from Mobile Manager's web-based application. The device can be wiped and locked over-the-air, preventing sensitive corporate or personal data stored on the device from being accessed by unauthorised users. Also available with the software release is the ability to augment the wipe and lock feature with an optional screaming sound sent OTA to the device as a sound file. symbian-smartphones-screaming-with-mobile-manager.html

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