MWC Day 3 News Round-up

Here's our final news round-up from MWC, just the main highlights from yesterday. We're heading back to the UK today, so any further coverage of mobile happenings away from Barcelona will depend to some extent on battery life and the ability to track down a mains socket at the airport, but normal service will be resumed in the morning, and we will have one last report on the winnersof the Globile Mobile Awards in the next half hour or so.

Vodafone and HTC Corporation unveiled HTC Magic Smartphone, Vodafones first Android-powered mobile, which will be available in the spring. The handset is exclusive to Vodafone in the UK, Spain, Germany and France (SFR) and available on a non-exclusive basis in Italy. A tablet-style device, the HTC Magic is available in white in the UK, Spain and France, black in Germany and in both colours in Italy. The device will be offered for sale in several other Vodafone markets over the next few months. Available from free on various price plans, the HTC Magic has a 3.2 QVGA touch screen display and features a trackball and navigational buttons.

PacketVideo (PV) announced the commercial availability of its mobile video application for the iPhone, enabling the delivery of operator-branded TV and video services on the device for the first time.
The application is available immediately and will be sold via operator distribution. Mobile operators are expected to offer the new iPhone application under their own brands via the Apple App Store, enabling subscribers to view local live television channels and on-demand video clips.
PV's first ever commercial application for the iPhone is powered by its CORE software platform that has shipped in more than 320 million mobile phones worldwide. In addition to video streaming and playback capabilities, CORE supports the middleware services needed to deliver live and on-demand content, including support for mobile operator TV services electronic program guide (EPG) information.

deCarta, which supplies software and services for the Location-Based Services (LBS) industry, and Appello the supplier of Wisepilot, the online navigation and local search service, announced an agreement with LG Electronics to install navigation and local search services on LG feature phones worldwide. Under the agreement with LG, deCarta will supply the Appello Wisepilot navigation application built on deCartas Drill Down Server (DDS). Additionally, the application will be integrated with other mobile services such as geotagging and social networking. Users will also have access to a companion personal web portal, allowing further customisation.
The services will be offered initially in over 40 countries, where they will be pre-installed on all feature phones, giving LG users a free 30-day trial period, followed by the option to continue the service under a daily, 6- or 12-month subscription plan.

The GSM Association (GSMA) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a programme that will expand the availability of financial services to millions of people in the developing world through mobile phones. The Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) programme, supported by a $12.5 million (9 million) grant from the Foundation, will work with mobile operators, banks, microfinance institutions, government and development organizations to encourage the expansion of reliable, affordable mobile financial services to the unbanked.
The MMU programme will fund regulatory and market research to help overcome some of the barriers of providing these services, and demonstrate the business case for serving this market. The programme includes a $5 million fund to catalyse a new wave of mobile money innovation, encouraging mobile network operators to create new services for previously unbanked people in emerging markets. The MMU programme will support approximately 20 projects in developing countries, focusing on Africa, Asia and Latin America, with the goal of reaching 20 million previously unbanked people with mobile financial services by 2012.
Separately, the GSMA, together with 17 mobile operators and manufacturers, announced their commitment to implementing a cross-industry standard for a universal charger for new mobile phones. The aim of the initiative, led by the GSMA, is to ensure that the mobile industry adopts a common format for mobile phone charger connections and energy-efficient chargers, resulting in an estimated 50% reduction in standby energy consumption, the potential elimination of up to 51,000 tonnes of duplicate chargers, and the enhancement of the customer experience by simplifying the charging of mobile phones. The group has set a target that by 2012 a universal charging solution will be widely available in the market worldwide, using Micro-USB as the common universal charging interface.

Anam announced that three major, global (though unnamed) mobile operators have signed up to its Smart Services for SMS solution. Anam delivers value-added SMS services which enable global mobile operators to increase their revenues from SMS. The three operators are located in Taiwan, Ireland and Vietnam. Anams Smart Services solution includes Messaging+, which adds email-like functionality to SMS, allowing users to forward messages or set up an out-of-office alert; Anti-SPAM, which blocks unwanted messages on the network; Ad-Funded SMS, which inserts ads into text messages to allow operators to increase revenues from advertisers and offer subsidised messaging; Parental Control, which allows parents to block unwelcome messages from their childs handset; and SMS Money Transfer, which allows users to send money to contacts in their address book, via a standard text message.

Messaging company Acision revealed that it had been awarded a contract for advanced messaging services for 3s networks in Australia and Austria. Acisions has been tasked with enabling the delivery of enhanced voicemail and videomail services to the networks customers.
Acisions IP-based architecture will enable 3s networks in these countries to reduce the voicemail hardware footprint in its data centres by as much as 90% and provide long term savings, high performance and scalability. It also provides them with further flexibility to easily deploy services such as voice-to-text, celebrity caller greetings, visual voicemail and enhanced voice message notification features.

Mobile marketing and content services technology provider Velti and ad-funded mobile network Blyk revealed that they have partnered to launch the mobile operators new content portal On Blyk. The new service is built primarily on messaging and is now available to all Blyk users in the UK. The new portal acts as a conduit for Blyk members interested in content from relevant brands or lifestyle choices, which the companies claim moves away from the traditional mobile portal business model. On Blyk enables content providers to host their content and then align pricing and promotional activities in line with their objectives. Content spanning areas such as video, chat, wallpapers, games and ringtones are delivered through On Blyk, from established providers including Player X, Saffron Digital and Jumbuck, amongst others.

Scalado, which delivers mobile imaging software solutions, announced that its image technology has been optimized for the Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI)
OMAP 3 processor-based products such as mobile phones running on the Windows Mobile 6.5 platform. By working closely with TI, Scalado has adapted its imaging technology to provide mobile phone users with a broad range of imaging capabilities, including image management, browsing, zooming, panning and handling.
Since the introduction of the Zero Shutter Lag technology last year, Scalado and TI have been working closely to optimize Scalados CAPS SDK and related modules for TIs OMAP 3 platform. SpeedView and other Scalado imaging technologies are already included in more than 300 million mobile devices from the top six handset manufacturers.

Mobixell, which provides mobile multimedia and advertising solutions, announced a partnership agreement with mobile and digital advertising company OgilvyOne to deliver end-to-end mobile advertising solutions for mobile operators. OgilvyOne, the global direct and digital unit of The Ogilvy Group, has teamed up with Mobixell to deliver a complete commercial and technological package, which includes advertising, brand management, consumer profiling, campaign planning and execution, ad serving and rich media delivery.

Polaroid unveiled the Polaroid PoGo inkless mobile printer, which enables instant printing of images directly from most phones, almost anywhere. The device uses a Bluetooth or Pictbridge connection to receive pictures and creates full-colour digital photos without the need for ink cartridges or ribbons. The pictures print in less than 60 seconds.

Truphone announced plans for the launch, later this year, of Truphone Local Anywhere, a single-SIM, multi-country mobile service that will make any mobile call within the set of supported countries a local call.Truphone Local Anywhere will deliver low rates on the users Truphone plan in any supported country – eliminating the need to maintain separate phones, switch between multiple SIMs or incur expensive roaming charges. The service will also provide savings to people calling Truphone Local Anywhere customers as well. Friends, family or business associates can call whichever number is most convenient to the caller – making every call cost the same as a local call.

Intivation and Freeplay Energy unveiled a solar-powered case for charging the iPhone. The TuffCharge is based on technology from Intivation, that enables users to charge their phone in ordinary daylight conditions. Exposing the case to an hour of sunlight throughout the day will add up to 60 minutes of talk time (or 30 minutes on 3G), or two hours of music playback!

Mobile messaging firm Sybase 365 announced the release of its SMS Locator Service, an intelligent SMS geo-location service, with advanced geographic information, enabling mobile subscribers to request turn-by-turn directions of locations closest to their current position. The SMS Locator Service interface uses natural language software to guide users through the process, providing prompts when necessary and allowing the user to make requests using their own words, by supporting abbreviations, acronyms, nicknames and common misspellings. The companys mobile banking suite Sybase mBanking 365, now offers the SMS Locator Service, enabling customers to find their closest bank branch or ATM location.

Digicel Group announced the launch of the Coral-200-Solar, which it describes as the worlds first ultra-low-cost solar-powered mobile phone. The Coral-200-Solar, manufactured by ZTE, uses proprietary technology from Dutch-based innovator Intivation, with a solar charger built into the phone.