8:00 AM -- In Light Reading's 2011 Leading Lights Finalists's Best New Service or Application (Mobile) category, we are looking for apps that use the wireless network in innovative ways, kick-start new categories of growth and showcase the potential of mobility. With so much innovation in mobile this year, it was tough to narrow it down to just a few choices.
But we had to. Here, in no particular order, are the apps and services that we think have the potential to shape next-generation wireless networks:
High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) Sense Version 3.5 -- HTC Sense is the most innovative, customized Android experience on the market, and its latest version, 3.5, takes the software to a new level. It's important in that it helps HTC to stand out in a sea of Android competition, as well as to defend itself against potential fallout from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s acquisition of Motorola Mobility LLC .
Verizon Wireless 's Long Term Evolution (LTE) service -- According to Pyramid Researchforecasts, the U.S. will account for 47 percent of the world's LTE subscriptions and 71 percent of LTE handsets sales by the end of this year. Right now, the U.S. is LTE, and Verizon Wireless is the de facto leader here. Not only was Verizon the first, but it is also the most aggressive. It will cover 60 percent of the population by the end of the year and already offers five LTE smartphones, in addition to data dongles and two tablets. What's more, early user data reports suggest it's a winner. Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown says it's better than any mobile network he's ever used.
KT Corp. 's Show It video-sharing service -- Mobile video chat is poised to become as common as voice calls, but it will only take off if it works across networks, devices and operating systems. Powered by Syniverse Technologies LLC , KT's Show It video-sharing service begins to tackle the problem of interoperability of video sharing between networks. KT is also taking an innovative approach to the business model for Show It, charging for data transferred rather than charging a subscription fee. It could help kick-start video calling as the next form of mobile communications.
Evernote Corp. 's Mobile App -- Evernote uses the cloud to make note-taking more convenient and efficient and robust than ever. Its mobile app is not locked into any hardware, and it includes location tags, rich text, shared note boxes, search and image-sharing features through its recent Skitch acquisition. It is available on 14 platforms, has 12 million users and more than US$50 million in funding. Plus, it sure beats sticky notes and to-do lists scrawled on napkins.
Leap Wireless International Inc. (Nasdaq: LEAP)'s Muve Music -- Leap's Cricket Communications Inc. brand is using unlimited streaming music to attract new customers, or upgrade existing ones, while standing out as more than just a value player. The carrier has signed up more than 100,000 customers, half of which are new to Leap, to its highest-level data plan that includes Muve for $55 per month. Mobile music is coming into focus as the record labels look to rebuild their business; moreover, Muve is the first example of a wireless operator doing more than just tired ringtone sales and expensive downloads.
Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF)'s BlueVia billing API -- Telefónica isn't the only wireless operator to offer in-app billing, but it's doing it in a seamless, easy-to-implement way. Powered by Boku Inc. , its billing API allows developers to offer mobile payments within an app without requiring further authentication. It is a ready-made, carrier-grade API with built-in revenue assurance for the developer, and that's a rare thing in mobile apps.
Don't forget: Leading Lights winners will be announced at an Awards Dinner at Hudson Terrace in New York City on Nov. 8, following the first day of Light Reading's Ethernet Expo Americas 2011 event.
Libelium and Movandi and their founders are pioneering new technologies that are already changing the game for IoT and 5G, respectively, making them startups you want to keep an eye on in 2018 and beyond.