Mobile World Congress Day Two

Ovum Analysts
18 Feb 2009

Microsoft scrubs up Windows Mobile - by Tony Cripps, principal analyst

The latest iteration of Microsoft's Windows Mobile experience offers a more attractive, consumer-friendly face than previously but lacks any real "wow" factor, following as it does, in the wake of others that were there earlier.

Version 6.5 of the OS itself offers a new home screen, featuring hexagonally-organized application shortcuts as well as live notifications of message and content updates. The OS is further enhanced through integration with cloud services, including personal information sync (My Phone) and the now obligatory application store (Windows Marketplace for Mobile).

These are essentially clones of similar services from Apple (App Store and MobileMe) and Nokia (Ovi Store and Sync) and further indicative of a move by device software vendors and manufacturers towards better integrated device/online service offerings.

Where Microsoft could score additional points, longer term, is in its potential to integrate across and extend such services between other types of internet-connected device. Its popular Xbox 360 games console is an obvious target here (any takers for Xbox integration with Windows Mobile‾) as are any future Zune media players. Evidence of such thinking would help Microsoft regain its Mojo and fulfill CEO Steven Ballmer's joined-up vision.

Spectrum crucial for mobile broadband - by Emeka Obiodu, senior analyst

The GSMA is making a strong case for more spectrum for mobile broadband, arguing that it could help the global economy to overcome the credit crunch. In a high profile stunt, the organization, together with CEOs of some of the leading mobile companies, called for 100MHz out of the 400MHz digital dividend spectrum to be set aside for mobile broadband. Importantly too, the GSMA is urging governments to adopt a harmonized approach to the spectrum that will "Ëœallow the same devices to be used in many different countries and enable vendors to achieve economies of scale'.

Although much of what the GSMA had to say is already known to governments and regulators, it is important that the GSMA continues to lobby hard. The benefits of spectrum for mobile broadband, especially in the low frequency range, can not be overstated.

If there is any hope of extending broadband services to rural areas cheaply, then governments and regulators must heed the GSMA's call to set aside the spectrum. As Alexander Izosimov, VimpelCom's CEO and the current GSMA chairman said, "additional spectrum is not a luxury but an absolute necessity for future growth."

Omnifone, omnipresent- by Michele Mackenzie, principal analyst

Omnifone, the provider of music services to mobile operators and device vendors, has announced at the MWC that it is extending its service offering to provide music services to ISPs. The new service, MusicStation Next Generation, will allow users to download music to the PC and the STB. The service, which comprises unlimited music downloads and streaming, is expected to be bundled into new subscription packages and offered to existing customers as an add on.

Until now Omnifone has focused its service offering more on the mobile industry but it is now expanding its reach, albeit positioning this development as a means for ISPs to fight piracy. It is reported that BSkyB will be one of the first takers of the new service.

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