Motorola products show wireless focus
GENEVA (IDG) -- Motorola joined other vendors at Telecom '99 in emphasizing wireless technologies, showing products designed to let users take the Internet with them wherever they go.
"The end-user is moving," said Timothy Stone, vice president and director of strategic wireless Internet applications at Motorola's network solutions sector, in an interview here. "We think there will be an entirely new set of applications that don't even exist now which will emerge for mobile users."
Motorola's new wireless offerings run the gamut from WAP (wireless application protocol)-enabled phones, to a new architecture scheduled for delivery in two to three years that will offer both fixed and wireless access to IP networks, Stone said.
"This isn't just about wireless Net access. Wireless will become part of the Internet," Stone commented.
Motorola has reorganized in recent months to match this new wireless focus. In the past, the equipment maker would typically build cellular networks in one division and make handsets in another, with no single group to integrate applications for use with these products. The company has now has set up system integration centers where customers can work with Motorola and its partners to put the pieces together and test applications before they are launched, Stone said.
Motorola is not alone in its emphasis on wireless Internet here. In one area, however, the equipment vendor claims it is ahead of the pack. It has developed a wireless IP-based network with Asian carrier DDI that the company plans to launch commercially in Japan by year's end, Stone said. The network will let mobile users download and send data at speeds of 64Kbps. Set up in a demo here, the network is made up of Motorola switching equipment and features applications such as Web audio technology from RealNetworks.
That network being developed with DDI will be a predecessor to what Motorola is calling Aspira, an IP-based communications architecture it is developing with Cisco Systems, Alcatel, and Sun Microsystems. The system will provide interfaces to all major wireless protocols, such as Code Division Multiple Access, Time Division Multiple Access, and the Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications. Whereas the DDI network is a transition for legacy systems, Stone said, Aspira will be a totally new IP-based network.
Motorola also is showing a suite of products here that are part of its Mobile Internet eXchange (MIX), a communications platform that integrates voice and data services. MIX is made up of servers, gateways, software applications, and a mobile applications development kit, and is designed for delivering information to a specific Internet device. A user will be able to enter information into a personal organizer, synchronize it with a home or office PC, and then access the data from any mobile device using voice commands, Motorola said in a statement.
Motorola also joined a crowd of telecommunications companies here launching phones that let users download Web content in a format specifically designed for mobile devices. It unveiled the Timeport P7389, which comes with a microbrowser based on WAP 1.1. The tri-band phone is designed to work in GSM networks in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia at frequencies of 900 MHz or 1800 MHz, as well as in the Americas at 1900 MHz where roaming agreements are in place. The tri-band phone is already available in some parts of Asia and Europe, but further launch plans were not immediately available.
Motorola also is showing users its Timeport P1088, a dual-band phone that it expects to launch in the first quarter of 2000. The phone combines functions of a personal organizer, according to a Motorola statement, and is based on Java in order to make the largest number of Internet-based applications available to end users, Motorola said. Users will be able to synchronize data on the phone with information in a PC.
Mary Lisbeth D'Amico is Munich correspondent for the IDG News Service.
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