28th > August > 2006 Archive

Motorola gains ground on Nokia

Motorola continues to make in-roads into Nokia's share of the mobile phone market, increasing its share to 22 per cent during the second quarter. Around 229m mobile phones were sold worldwide during the second quarter of 2006, an increase of 18 per cent on the same period last year, according to research firm Gartner, which said the total number of handsets sold during the quarter increased by nearly 40m on the same period last year. Though Nokia maintained its top position in the market, increasing its share from 31.6 per cent in 2005 to 33.6 per cent, the Finnish giant is feeling the heat from its US rival Motorola whose Razr and Slvr phones are proving a worldwide hit. During the quarter Motorola gained over four per cent of the market to claim a 21.9 per cent share, compared to 17.7 per cent in 2005. The US mobile manufacturer sold 50.2m handsets globally during the quarter, compared to the 77.1m that Nokia shipped. Third-placed Samsung lost ground during the quarter, dropping by 1.8 per cent to an 11.1 per cent share with sales of 25.5m units. Meanwhile, Sony Ericsson's sales of 15.3m handsets helped it to boost its market share to 6.7 per cent, overtaking LG which dropped to 6.3 per cent of the market with sales of 14.4m. Most regions recorded increased sales on the same period last year, though North America bucked the trend with sales dropping 3.5 per cent to 38.6m during the quarter. "The second quarter of 2006 proved to be a difficult one in North America as network operators were unable to add new subscribers at the same rapid pace as in the first quarter of 2006," said Hugues De La Vergne, principal analyst for mobile terminals research at Gartner. On the other hand, Latin America recorded sales of 28.2m, an increase of seven per cent year-on-year. Having been the only region to record a drop in sales last year, Japan bounced back with a nine per cent increase; around 11m handsets were sold in the region compared to 10m last year and 10.6m in 2004. The rest of the Asia Pacific region recorded sales of 67.9m, a 5.4 per cent increase. Western Europe recorded a nine percent increase with sales in the region rising by 4.7m to 41.1m. The biggest increase was in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa; in all, 42.5m handsets were sold across these regions, a 20 per cent increase on 2005. Growth in global sales has slowed since the first quarter when a 23.8 per cent increase was recorded. Gartner, which said it expected the slowdown, is maintaining its forecast that 960m handsets will be sold in 2006. The research firm also said it expect sales of 238m in the third quarter. Copyright © 2006, ENN
Emmet Ryan, 28 Aug 2006

Get yourself up to speed with UML 2.0

Book reviewBook review The Unified Modelling Language (UML) has firmly established itself as the lingua franca of the object oriented development world. It offers the right levels of abstraction, independence from programming language implementation to make it pretty much ubiquitous.
Dr Pan Pantziarka, 28 Aug 2006

Oz 'pseudo-ID card' database racked by identity fraud claims

Australia's citizen database was routinely searched for personal reasons by government agency employees, some of whom have been sacked. Police are now investigating allegations of identity fraud resulting from the security breaches. There were 790 security breaches at government agency Centrelink involving 600 staff. Staff were found to have inappropriately accessed databases containing citizens' information. The databases are used to administer social security, pension and unemployment benefits. Prime Minister John Howard is said to be considering a proposal which would use this database for a new national identity card which is under consideration. In total 19 Centrelink employees have been sacked and 92 others have resigned. Police are conducting investigations into five employees, they said. The man charged with protecting citizens' privacy in relation to the project said that the government must do more to prevent this kind of security breach when so much vital information is gathered in one place. "The Centrelink revelations are deeply disturbing,” Professor Allan Fels told Australian ABC radio. “I take some comfort from the fact that the government has caught them and punished them, but there is still a huge weight now on the government to provide full, proper legal and technical protection of privacy with the access card.” The police have confirmed that investigations are ongoing after five referrals were made to it from Centrelink. At least one of the cases is believed to involve allegations of the establishment of fake identities to be used to receive payments. The investigation took two years and involved the use of sophisticated spying equipment. Union officials said that staff had repeatedly been warned about the inappropriate accessing of records. "Customer records should only be accessed for business reasons and we do not tolerate staff surfing the details of family and friends or peeking at records of neighbours," said Centrelink chief executive Jeff Whalan. "As a result we revamped our techniques to assist us to keep improper conduct in check, and we are committed to maintaining that process." Australian government minister Joe Hockey, who is responsible for the smart card project, told Channel Seven news there that the privacy breaches will not derail the plan, which will continue to be implemented. Editor's note, 29/08/2006: Some of our Australian readers pointed out inaccuracies in the original version of this story. These have been corrected. OUT-LAW apologises for these errors. Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.
OUT-LAW.COM, 28 Aug 2006

Windows Update for mobile phones?

The Open Mobile Alliance has published its Firmware Update Management Object (FUMO): a standard which allows mobile phones to be updated over the air - from fixing a spelling mistake to changing the whole OS, all without bothering the user at all. For all the complaints about Windows Update, there is value in the distributor of an operating system being able to issue updates, and few users are actually capable of installing those updates, even when prompted to do so. Windows Update has probably prevented more problems than it’s caused. While some people want comprehensive control over updates and patches, the majority just want security and functionality improvements to happen when they’re not looking. But enabling the same kind of functionality on mobile phones has proved a great deal more complicated. The lack of space to store a complete backup, and the relatively slow connectivity, has required that patches and upgrades need a visit to an approved service centre: a strange limitation for a networked device. The operating system on an embedded device, such as a mobile phone, is considered neither hard nor soft ware: so is known as “firmware”, and Nokia&'s recent decision to allow customers to upgrade their firmware at home reflects improvements in roll-back technologies and increased confidence in the stability of updates issued. But performing such an upgrade over the air is a big step from doing so over a nice, reliable, USB cable. few companies are hawking technologies for distributing firmware upgrades, but network operators won’t buy the servers until the handsets support the technology; and no handset will support the technology until the servers are in place. Operators have been very reluctant to support proprietary technologies for fear of having multiple platforms running, and being locked into a specific supplier. So without an industry standard the technology has been stalled. Now the standard has been published testing can start, which will begin in September. So some time next year we can expect to see handsets conforming to the standard becoming available. Assuming FUMA is used to fix instabilities and issue critical security updates then it seems unlikely anyone will mind. But operators are much more interested in having the capability to reach out and change the menus and interfaces on your phone: ensuring maximum visibility for their current promotions or premium services, and customers may find that an update too far. reg;
Bill Ray, 28 Aug 2006
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Nokia N93 camcorder phone

ReviewReview Nokia wants us to give up our cameras and embrace the future, as they see it, of integrated devices - those being mainly Nokia devices, obviously. The N series have been squarely aimed at achieving that and with the N93 they have certainly taken a step in the right direction. The N93 is Nokia's new flagship camera phone, so how does it line up against to the competition?
Bill Ray, 28 Aug 2006