Weekly Wrap: The Long, Slow Days of Summer
By Carlo Longino, Fri Jul 04 17:00:00 GMT 2003

New enterprise deals, more Microsoft mobile OS news, and more...

You can tell summer is upon us by the lack of news. Those in the industry that aren't at the beach or their summer house at the very least wish they were, and that seems to be affecting the whole wireless business' output. So here's this week's short and sweet vacation-style Wrap.

Several companies made moves this week to solidify their offering to the corporate and enterprise markets, to which many are looking to provide some growth for the mobile applications and infrastructure businesses. Sharp linked up with database giant SAP and Nokia inked a deal with systems integrator Fujitsu to facilitate mobile access to corporate data. The Sharp-SAP deal will see Sharp first enabling an SAP CRM application for a couple of its Zaurus PDAs, and will later see other SAP apps ported to other Sharp mobile devices as well. The Nokia-Fujitsu deal was more generic in scope, and will see the companies work to develop applications and systems geared for high-end Nokia handsets running the Symbian OS.

Microsoft got a big boost from Dell this week, when the world's top PC maker said it planned to sell a handset based on Microsoft's Smartphone OS. Dell gave few details about its plans or any potential device, with one exec saying the company would likely wait for the third version of the phone OS to be released before they sell such a handset. The company also said its next generation of Axim Pocket PC devices, due out next year, would feature both 802.11b and -g and either CDMA or GSM functionality.

European carrier mmO2 said this week it planned to release a follow-up to its first Pocket PC Phone Edition device, labeled the xda II. This son-of-xda will feature a tri-band phone, built-in digital camera, Bluetooth, and the newest version of the Pocket PC OS. Separately, however, rival Vodafone said it has no plans to sell any Microsoft OS devices, though it will work with the company in the area of mobilizing Office applications.

US carrier Cingular this week launched the first commercial EDGE network in the Midwestern city of Indianapolis. The carrier says the network can support peak data rates of up to 170 Kbps, and sustained rates of 70-135 Kpbs. Look for this to ignite a flurry of EDGE announcements from the other 2 US GSM carriers. And more PR blasts from the CDMA carriers that their 1x systems have been that fast for a while.

While you still can't use your mobile phone on an airplane, at least on one airline Wi-Fi is fine. Scandinavian Airlines said this week it would install Boeing's Connexion in-flight broadband system in its long-haul planes, and connect the system to in-seat ports as well as wireless access points. SAS said it will have all the jets equipped by 2005, and will charge around USD 35 per flight for unlimited use.

Finally, an online petition has been started hoping to persuade Sony Ericsson and US carrier Sprint PCS to release the manufacturer's T608 phone, which along with the rest of its CDMA line, got dropped last week. In a sweet piece of irony, only about 500 people had "signed" the petition at press time. After all, wasn't it the tepid response to this and other SE phones that got the line dropped? 500 sales does not a handset franchise make...