December results. Mobile technologies and communications

Another month has passed and you have a little belated December results. It will be very interesting for me to know your opinion on the format of the results, maybe it is worth changing something ?! Email me.

Market novelties

December was rich in new product announcements and long-planned releases. In particular, Handspring began selling Visor Phone telephone modules. Let me remind you that with the help of such a module you can turn the Visor organizer into a GSM cell phone. The module is equipped with a battery, speaker, antenna and buttons for turning on the device and switching between voice communication mode and the mode of sending and receiving text messages. When you turn it on for the first time, the Visor Phone module is automatically registered in the GSM network.

However, for now, these modules will be sold only in the territory served by Cingular Wireless, formed by the merger of the mobile communications divisions of SBC Communications and BellSouth. This territory covers the states of California, Nevada, part of the states of North and South Carolina, eastern Tennessee and the coast of Georgia.

Customers living in the area and subscribing to the mobile services of the aforementioned Cingular Wireless will be able to purchase the Visor Phone module for $ 299.

For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that for the competitor of the handheld Visor, namely Palm, there is a module similar in functionality.

Another interesting development appeared on the American continent. On January 6, Palm and Delphi automotive Systems unveiled a new device at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Built into the dashboard, the COMM uniport Mobile Productivity Center will allow drivers, using voice control, to receive information from the notebook of their Palm V or Palm Vex handheld computers, and use it to make a call on some Ericsson phones. In the future, the device may include a positioning system (GPS). We already wrote about such a device in the October results, but time will tell how widespread they will be, since the main obstacle to such systems is their high cost and relatively little functionality.

At the same time, the FCC is addressing the challenge of improving mobile digital phones for people with hearing impairments.

Today, mobile phones conflict with hearing aids. The problem is that mobile phones use radio waves to transmit information, which create electromagnetic fields around the antenna. These fields cause unpleasant humming and buzzing sounds in the ears of people with hearing aids.

Hearing aid organizations have asked the Commission to familiarize cell phone manufacturers with the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988. The law states that ordinary telephones must be equipped with special devices that eliminate extraneous noise and amplify the signal in the handset.

Representatives of the Association of Cellular Phone Manufacturers said that standards for the compatibility of mobile phones and hearing aids would be adopted in the near future. Nokia and Motorola have already released special headphones for their phones for the hearing impaired.

Experts cite computer monitors, fluorescent lights, store security systems, and so on among the most common clutter. Some analysts are already wondering why hearing aids cannot be made more resistant to interference. The American industry, however, prefers to make life easier for hard of hearing people by eliminating sources of interference.

Leaving the American continent and looking at the Korean giant Samsung. Ahead of the Christmas holidays, the announcements of new devices from the company followed one after another. So, she presented at ITU Asia Telecom 2000 a new phone designed specifically for women. The SCH A360 CDMA model calculates a woman’s biological calendar, estimates calorie intake from food input, and provides access to women’s websites. The model, also called the Queen Phone, is made with a thin red body that resembles a lipstick shade. This model is already on sale in Korea for $ 300. The company plans to bring the new model to the Asia-Pacific market in early 2001.

At the same exhibition, the company announced the upcoming release of a series of mobile phones – “smartphones” – based on the Palm operating system used in pocket computers. The Korean firm has thus opted for the Palm system over its rival Symbian systems or the lightweight versions of Windows that Microsoft intends to use in its future Stinger phones. The Samsung Electronics phones are slated for release in the second quarter of 2001 and will use the CDMA wireless standard. Palm previously announced that it is working with Motorola on a new series of “smartphones”. Nokia and Kyocera also use Palm OC for their mobile device designs.

And to top it off, the company announced the development of a color display mobile phone that can be used to watch videos when providing a video-on-demand service. This is the first phone of its kind on the market. It also has an MPEG4 decoder and a stereo player. With the help of a telephone, you can receive information from the Internet at a speed of 144 Kbps. The mass production of the phone will begin in February, the retail price has not yet been set.

Samsung is known in the computer world, first of all, as one of the largest memory manufacturers. Therefore, the announcement of a memory module that combines 64 Mbit NAND flash memory and 8 Mbit CMOS type SRAM was not very unexpected. The module is designed for use in cell phones.

Samsung hopes that the new module will become the standard for 3rd generation mobile phones, as it has more memory and is smaller (8 × 13 × 1.2 mm). The SRAM chip performs the functions of random access memory, while the flash memory stores data. Samsung expects to soon expand NAND storage to 128 and 256 MPs.

At the same time, the Japanese Toshiba Corp. and Germany’s Infineon Technologies AG have agreed to jointly develop a new type of memory chips for mobile phones. This type of memory is called ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM), and can store information even after a power outage.

32 Mbit FRAM modules are slated for release in early 2002, and then, depending on market conditions, 64 Mbit and 128 Mbit versions will be developed. The joint investment in this project, on which 20 engineers from Infineon and 30 from Toshiba will work, will amount to approximately $ 60 million.