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Cutting Edge Chocolate

Dan Jones
7/31/2006

3:15 PM -- Ah yes, another week, another concept handset stuffed to the gills with multmedia gadgetry.

This time it's the "Chocolate" phone made by LG Telecom , which is being sold to U.S. users by Verizon Wireless . The sleek little number, which has already sold over 1 million units in South Korea, is being touted by some as another potential "iPod killer" because of the package of audio and video downlaods available for the device. Certainly Verizon is putting its weight behind the phone and holding a national conference call to introduce the new product this afternoon.

So what does this design-conscious, youth-oriented phone have to do with enterprise wireless? Well, it seems to me that these types of services might be influencing the technology and security that trickles down to enterprise devices in the near future.

For instance, VCast and other wireless multimedia download services are really the first generation of online mobile multimedia offerings that can be taken seriously by carrier and consumer alike. As such, they are, and will continue to be, the proving ground for mobile digital rights management (DRM) software and could end up making or breaking security standards in this area.

That fact that right now that software might be protecting "The Beep Song" doesn't mean that it couldn't end up being applied to corporate video presentations and audio files in a year or so.

Such download services may also end up influencing how 3G and 4G networks are designed and developed. If there is a huge market for music and video downloads on phones -- and it seems there will be -- this may lead to development of more high-speed "bursty" services that can deliver the young'uns' entertainment needs at blazing speeds. That may not, however, be appropriate for corporate requirements like secure VOIP, which require less speed but more constant throughput to prevent distorted or dropped calls.

Cellphone network operators have always served two capricious masters -- the consumer and enterprise markets -- which have often placed quite different requirements on the underlying technology. And I'm sure that operators will continue to promote and adapt services for both sides of the market. With the increasing consolidation of the U.S. market, however, the carriers are also bound to try and go where the money is.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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