Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Baby steps toward connected cars
TOKYO AND ESPOO, Finland-Following on a series of recent announcements regarding wireless in-car communications, Nokia Corp. and Land Rover said they jointly developed the Personal Telephone Integration system, an integrated automotive communications system especially for Land Rover vehicles. The system offers connections either via Bluetooth wireless technology or by using a compatible mobile-phone holder. The companies said the PTI system can be used with a wide range of mobile phones from different manufacturers. With the PTI system, users can conveniently access key mobile-phone functions such as viewing and selecting phonebook entries, initiating and receiving incoming calls, viewing call logs and managing text messages all through the vehicle’s central infotainment display. Voice dialing and other phone functions can be activated using the vehicles’ steering wheel controls. New Land Rover vehicles with the PTI system are expected to be available in the fourth quarter in Europe, Asia and the United States. Meanwhile, Japanese wireless carrier NTT DoCoMo Inc. said it will offer in-car i-mode content through an agreement with Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. The companies said they would offer a new service that enables drivers to receive i-mode content on their mobile phones by using Nissan’s CARWINGS navigation system. … Read more

Embracing mobile IM
Depending on your perspective, mobile instant messaging either has taken off like a rocket or is still idling on the launching pad.Like many other applications, IM has been a hot topic in wireless circles for years. And as with many of those other applications in their early days of wireless, primitive technologies coupled with high expectations make for a rotten user experience. “Over the last four years, there was a lot of talk about mobile IM,” said Skuli Mogensen, chief executive officer of Oz, an instant-messaging software firm. “(In those days), IM was based on a WAP interface that was completely unacceptable for IM users” because it virtually eliminated the most appealing thing about the application: the way it can feel like voice conversation. “In the past, there were a lot of false starts,” said Mogensen. The most recent start may be genuine, though. Instant messaging, which has been an unqualified success on desktop computers, appears finally to be going mobile. The industry is targeting IM users for good reason. The Washington-based Pew Internet and American Life Project estimated last month that 53 million adults use instant messaging. And as younger users become accustomed to the technology, they’ll be more likely to embrace IM on their handsets as teens and young adults. “You’ve got PC-to-PC IM creating 5 billion messages every day, and people are only sitting in front of computers 30 percent of the day,” Mogensen said. “But people carry their mobiles at all times. I think that market absolutely has plenty of room for targeted devices.” … Read more

Cingular/AT&T Wireless merger before the FCC
WASHINGTON-Cingular Wireless L.L.C. moved a step closer to winning government backing for its proposed $41 billion purchase of AT&T Wireless Services Inc., with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell signing off on the deal and setting in motion the possible start of a political tug-of-war over how regulatory approval should be structured. It is unclear whether Powell, a Republican and a former antitrust lawyer at the Justice Department, attached any strings to a vote for the merger or whether the other four FCC members will seek to do so. There is a strong expectation that Cingular Wireless-60-percent owned by SBC Communications Inc. and 40-percent owned by BellSouth Corp.-could be forced to divest wireless assets in some top markets where the combined spectrum holdings of the No. 2 and No.3 wireless carriers are substantial. SBC signaled such a move would not sit well with the San Antonio-based telephone company. “I don’t think we should have to divest anything,” said Edward Whitacre, president and chief executive of SBC, in an interview with Bloomberg TV last week. … Read more

Mobile video? Meh
TORONTO-Mobile video may get lots of buzz, but it’s not likely to draw consumers anytime soon, according to a study by research and consulting firm Advanis. The survey, conducted over the first half of 2004, indicates only 13 percent of mobile-phone users are interested in viewing video clips on their handsets. In an apparent contradiction, though, users said they would pay a premium for a video-capable phone. “This is good news for handset makers, who should be able to move significant numbers of video-capable units over the next year,” said Dave Cosgrave, the study’s managing analyst. “The risk to carriers, and their content partners, is that lagging demand could render mobile video services unprofitable for some time.”

3G data = enterprise turning point
BOSTON-The emergence of third-generation networks will serve as a turning point for enterprise mobility, according to a new report from the Yankee Group. The mobile worker’s user experience improves as wireless wide-area data speeds exceed 144 kilobits per second, allowing greater access to mission-critical applications, said the report. “Although higher data rates are crucial in reducing the overall complexity of mobile solutions, speed is not an elixir,” said Eugene Signorini, Wireless/Mobile Enterprise & Commerce program manager at the Yankee Group. “While enterprises reveal they are ready to adopt wireless solutions, they also indicate that barriers to adoption remain … Read more

Dobson launches EDGE in 16 markets
OKLAHOMA CITY-Dobson Communications Corp. launched its EDGE-based QuickLink Mobile Wireless Internet Services across its 16-state Cellular One-branded service area. Customers can access the network using either a Sony Ericsson GC82 Edge PC card through a laptop computer or EDGE-equipped handsets, including the Nokia Corp. 6200 and 6820. Dobson did not provide data speed information for its EDGE-based service, but independent testing on similar EDGE networks provided speeds of between 100- and 130 kilobits per second. … Read more

Ladies and gentlemen, the smallest Windows phone in North America!

Bill Gates was on hand as two new Windows Mobile-based devices were rolled out at the Digital Entertainment Anywhere event Tuesday. AT&T Wireless Services Inc. and Audiovox introduced the smallest Windows Mobile smart phone in North America. The Audiovox SMT5600-which is also the first such phone to integrate a camera-includes Windows Media Player 10 Mobile and features built-in Bluetooth and a tri-band radio. AWS is offering the phone for $200 after rebates with a two-year voice and data service contract. Intellisync Corp. was tapped to deliver Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino e-mail to the handset and will jointly market and sell the device with AWS. The company’s Mobile Suite provides network-based push e-mail, synchronization of data and files, and integrated device management. … Read more

Microsoft vs. Symbian in the smartphone market
OYSTER BAY, N.Y.-Microsoft Corp. could overtake Symbian Ltd. in mobile-phone operating system market share by 2009, according to research from ABI Research. The group believes that by 2009, mobile phones with Symbian operating systems could make up less than 50 percent of the overall market, with Microsoft Windows Mobile accounting for the rest. “The problem for Symbian is that they’re only targeting higher-end phones, which form a tiny part of the market,” said ABI analyst Brian Pellegrini. … Read more

Testing mobile payments
Motorola Inc. will conduct an m-commerce field trial of mobile phones enabled with MasterCard PayPass and Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, the company announced Tuesday. The handsets, which are expected to be in the field by the end of the year, will allow users to make “contactless” payments and will incorporate a number of security features to protect financial data. MasterCard’s PayPass was used on Nokia phones earlier this year in a similar trial in Dallas. … Read more

Hey, remember Joey?
NEW YORK-Crisp Wireless will offer video clips, images and other content based on NBC’s fall show line-up, the company announced Monday. A Crisp Wireless spokeswoman said the content will be offered through an undisclosed major North American wireless carrier that is currently in the process of being acquired-presumably AT&T Wireless Services Inc. Crisp’s new server-side component, mLogic Media 3G, will help deliver content from shows including “Hawaii,” “Joey,” “Las Vegas” and “LAX.” … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.

The post #TBT: Mobile video? Meh; embracing mobile IM; Microsoft vs. Symbian smartphones … this week in 2004 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.