Tech Roundup: 3GSM

BARCELONA -- 3GSM World Congress -- Snack on some technology tapas as the curtain lifts on the 3GSM show in Barcelona. On the menu this week: Euro gadgets, small and fast femtocells, and supportive software.

Devices: New devices are always a big draw at the 3GSM show, and this year will be no exception.

No. 1 phone maker Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) could launch up to three new enterprise-focused smartphones at the show, according to analysts. "Nokia is expected to launch three new E-series devices," says Gartner Inc. analyst Todd Kort "The E90 looks particularly interesting -- a new clamshell with large display."

A European Q phone from Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) could also be in the cards. Rumor has it that Motorola will produce a 3G UMTS smartphone for 3GSM. (See Motorola's Euro Q.)

Canadian wireless email maven BlackBerry may build on its recent consumer success in the U.S. with new "Pearl" variants. "RIM is being pretty quiet, but I would not at all be surprised to see some new devices coming that would extend the Pearl family," says Jack Gold from J.Gold Associates.

"LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) , Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC), et al. will probably be going hard in the higher-end smartphone market, as well as looking to launch some business friendly devices," adds Gold.

Home base stations: This 3GSM show could arguably mark the debutant's ball for this mini-cellular 3G technology, with many vendors lining up to show off their tiny wares for the first time. (See Femtocells Gear Up for 3GSM.)

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is among the latest to unveil a new addition to its smaller offerings. The Swedish vendor is claiming to have the "world's smallest" GSM home base station, or "femtocell," at the show, which can connect back to the Internet via ADSL or WiFi. The box is expected to be available to operators in mid-2007.

Startup Picochip , meanwhile, is claiming the fastest home base station design around with an HSUPA (High-Speed Uplink Packet Access) reference design for hardware vendors. HSUPA increases the maximum theoretical 3G uplink speed to around 5 Mbit/s when used in tandem with its downlink equivalent, HSDPA.

Email and operating systems: Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is taking the Good Technology route with its IntelliSync wireless acquisition and trying to add support for as many different smartphones as possible.

The latest cut of the software supports Micrsoft phones, Nokia phones, Symbian Ltd. devices, some Java-based Motorola gadgets, and more. The firm says that it is trying to make support issues easier and cheaper for enterprises that need to cover a multitude of devices.

Meanwhile Microsoft has its Windows Mobile 6 operating system ready for the show. Orange SA (London/Paris: OGE) and T-Mobile US Inc. are both expected to have new gadgets using the OS to show off in Barcelona.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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