Ericsson and Motorola have turned their backs on one of the emerging high-speed data protocols favoured by rival mobile vendor, Nokia.
Swedish phone giant Ericsson said today it will include high-speed circuit switched data (HSCSD) only as a secondary feature in its next-generation mobilephones. Motorola said it has no immediate plans to support HSCSD.
Nokia yesterday launched the 6210, the first handset to include HSCSD support. Nokia's first HSCSD device, a PC Card modem, was launched in the UK by Orange last December.
HSCSD increases the bandwidth of a circuit-switched mobile data transmission from 9.6Kbps to about 44Kbps by occupying multiple timeslots. But operator support for HSCSD is weak.
The preferred high-speed technology in the mobile industry is general packet radio service (GPRS), which uses a packet-based rather than circuit-switched network to provide always-on mobile data access at up to 100Kbps.
Motorola plans to launch the market's first GPRS handset this year. The p7389i will be a tri-band wireless application protocol (Wap) phone with GPRS support, and it will be available in volume by the third quarter.
Ericsson's first GPRS phone is expected in the fourth quarter of this year. The company said it will include HSCSD in future phones, but only as a secondary feature of its GPRS phones.
"We thought HSCSD was a way to develop the market for mobile data in general. We see now that Wap and short messaging service [SMS] has given users a lot of new services and taken away from HSCSD," said Bengt Didner, marketing manager at Ericsson's GPRS unit.
"With HSCSD, operators need to go through the process of how to sell and market it. With GPRS there was never such a discussion; as a technology, it was a given."
Dominic Strowbridge, communications division marketing manager at Motorola, said today at Cebit: "GPRS is bringing the internet to wireless. HSCSD isn't, it's building on old technology."
Motorola is focusing on GPRS, he said, but it does not rule out developing an HSCSD product if customer demand is high enough.
The first hybrid GPRS/HSCSD device from Ericsson could be its Communicator, a concept device that is a cross between a phone and a personal digital assistant. The device includes Bluetooth and GPS wireless technologies as well as a colour screen. No release date has been given.
Ericsson also launched a rugged mobile phone, the R310, although it did not claim to support Wap, unlike Nokia's handset launched yesterday. Ericsson is also bringing Wap to the masses with a phone that gives users access to Wap services using SMS text messaging. The A2618 will be available in the middle of the year.
Motorola announced a Wap-enabled phone for consumers which uses native Wap rather than SMS. "SMS is not a viable transport method for Wap," said Strowbridge. He believes the cost of each SMS to be prohibitive.
Motorola also added Wap to its v fashion phone range and its Timeport p7389 business phone range.
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