Daily Insight: Mobile World Congress 2014 (Tuesday)

An Essential Guide to Announcements at Mobile World Congress


This is the third of our daily reports from Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona.

Divided into six research areas, it contains a round-up of the show’s notable announcements followed by initial comment by our team of analysts.


BlackBerry unveils Z3 and Q20 smartphones
CCS Insight: These products are the first devices launched under new CEO John Chen. BlackBerry is rightly focusing on its core customers and markets. The Z3 is the first device from the partnership with Foxconn and targets BlackBerry’s critically important Indonesian market. The Q20 is a classic full qwerty device that addresses its primary enterprise customers. Both products are a reassuring sign that the new CEO is taking a focused approach to rebuilding the company.

Blackphone showcases a device for the security-conscious
CCS Insight: The Blackphone device offers enhancements to Android that its maker claims offer a more secure and controllable environment. It takes advantage of current fears about government and commercial snooping, but the depth and complexity of surveillance techniques means it is unlikely to provide truly secure communications. Although the Blackphone will remain a niche offering, it continues the debate about security and privacy.

Software Platforms

BlackBerry announces BES12
CCS Insight: The new platform unifies BES10 and BES5 and is a much-needed development that will help BlackBerry in its efforts to retain its 80,000 existing BES customers. Keen pricing designed to match that of BlackBerry’s device management rivals is a clear sign that BlackBerry is stepping up its fight to maintain its enterprise leadership while also increasing its relevance in the bring-your-own-device world.

Nokia releases imaging SDK for Windows 8.1 developers
CCS Insight: This is an unexpectedly successful software development kit used by over 1,000 developers since its release with the Lumia 1020 in mid-2013. The new release brings improvements in filtering, image editing and performance. It is being made available for the first time in the same code base for developers of Windows 8.1 apps.

Nokia releases tools to encourage conversion of Android apps for Nokia X
CCS Insight: According to Nokia 75% of Android apps will work with full functionality on Nokia X. But 25% will need small changes to cope with different notifications, in-app payments and maps APIs. Nokia is releasing a new analytics tool to enable easy checking of app code for compatibility. Although support of Android sits uncomfortably ahead of the completion of the acquisition by Microsoft, Nokia is working hard to deliver on application compatibility. Still, Microsoft will need to reassure developers of its long-term commitment once the acquisition is complete.


AT&T offers unlimited international text messaging
CCS Insight: This move illustrates an increasingly competitive US market. AT&T has been the principal target of T-Mobile’s Un-carrier strategy which has driven strong customer take-up for the fourth-placed provider. The decision to bundle international text messages originating in the US comes soon after the introduction of more-generous data plans for Mobile Share customers.

Vodafone Germany conducts live tests of LTE Broadcast
CCS Insight: The trial is being carried out in collaboration with Ericsson, Qualcomm and Samsung. There is strong interest among operators to trial the technology given the explosive growth of video. However, the business case remains unproven and greater support is needed among all parties including chipset providers.

Operators focus on M2M opportunity during Day 2 keynote presentations at Mobile World Congress
CCS Insight: Presentations from Deutsche Telekom and NTT DoCoMo highlighted how operators are looking to position themselves at the centre of the Internet of things. However, they admitted that low margins mean that volumes will need to be significant to achieve a return on investment.

SK Telecom unveils context platform
CCS Insight: The application establishes a person’s “situation” based on smartphone functions such as camera, sensors, GPS and Wi-Fi. For example, repeated movement suggests a user is walking. A supporting lifelog tracks life style activities including spending patterns, app usage and transportation times. This service focusses on the niche category of lifelogging, which is also being addressed through the burgeoning wearables segment.

AT&T introduces User Defined Network Cloud
CCS Insight: The carrier plans network build-out using equipment controlled by software and cloud-based architecture. In the long term, it could save considerable capital expenditure while heaping further pressure on traditional infrastructure suppliers.

Apps and Media

Telecable selects Accedo for Android TV Everywhere service
CCS Insight: This is an important move for Telecable given the phenomenal growth in video on-demand services in Spain. It allows the company to benefit from that growth while keeping its subscribers engaged. Accedo will view it as an endorsement of the broad range of services it provides broadcasters and operators.

GSMA and Facebook announce joint initiative to connect the unconnected
CCS Insight: Timed to follow Mark Zuckerberg’s successful first appearance at Mobile World Congress, the arrival of the GSMA to the Internet.org campaign provides significant impetus to the movement. Internet.org should see more operator pilot projects in the short term.

GEMA and Samsung enter global partnership
CCS Insight: This further highlights Samsung’s commitment to expansion of its enterprise capability. It is entirely logical that Samsung should wish to benefit from GEMA’s managed service offering and reach into a broad range of multinational organisations.

Internet of Things

Sierra Wireless announces Legato M2M optimized Linux-based platform
CCS Insight: Linux is already finding strong favour among M2M developers, so Legato should accelerate progress in this area. However, Sierra Wireless may need to think more broadly, with a role in the app ecosystem and use of the platform in the wider Internet of things. CCS Insight predicts Legato will face competition from a cut-down version of Android and its app ecosystem later in 2014.

Orange to support start-ups in distribution and production of connected objects
CCS Insight: The supply chain for the Internet of things is less well-developed in Europe, so it is useful for an operator to apply the incubator model to attract more of the start-ups in the area. This move will also serve as a scanning process, as the landscape is complicated, and some of the players are potential threats to the operators’ own services.


Imagination Technologies launches launches MIPS cores for Internet of things
CCS Insight: Imagination Technologies is quickly producing results following its acquisition of MIPS in February 2013. It is targeting a broad opportunity in the Internet of things with its CPUs supporting hardware virtualisation. Although the opportunity is diverse, the company faces a challenge overcoming ARM’s strong expansion in this space.

Qualcomm announces LTE advanced solution for automotive market
CCS Insight: This is an unsurprising development as a host of chipset players seek to address the automotive sector and other opportunities in the Internet of things by using existing competencies in the mobile space. Qualcomm remains well-positioned thanks to its strength in technology and connectivity integration but faces growing competition as rivals also seek to diversify in the face of slowing smartphone growth.