Sunday, November 21, 2004

First real 3G/WiFi mobile phones - FOMA 

In my last blog I already mentioned the new real 3G/WiFi SIP based mobile phones popping up in Japan. This will be IMHO the real device used in future with personal communication. What is also interesting is that these are general purpose devices based on MontaVista Linux:

Japan's number one Carrier offers 3G/VoIP Linux phone

NTT DoCoMo and its regional subsidiaries are now offering business subscribers a dual-network 3G/VoIP handset that works as a 3G mobile phone, VoIP (voice-over-IP) terminal, or both simultaneously. The N900iL is based on a Linux-based 3G mobile phone software platform developed jointly by NEC and Panasonic.

NTT DoCoMo was always good in marketing and branding, so they already have a 4letter word for it: NTT DoCoMo markets its 3G wireless network services under the brandname "FOMA," or "Freedom of Mobile-multimedia Access." 3G network services provide Internet access at broadband speeds.

The functionality and additional features provided are to be seen, but:

When used in wireless LAN mode, the N900iL supports call hold, call transfer, and other standard phone functions, the company says. N900iL users on the same LAN can send instant text messages to one another, and check one another's status with a "callee status function." Status information includes whether the callee is on- or off-line, in a meeting, out of the office, on a business trip, etc. Users can also browse lists of other local users.

When used in FOMA mode, the phone can tunnel through firewalls to access enterprise applications, using VPN (virtual private network) technology.

Impressive (for WiFI phones) the announced battery life:
  • Standby:
    • 3G operation --
      • 350 hours (when phone is stationary)
      • 270 hours (when phone is moving)
    • Wireless LAN operation -- 230 hours
    • Dual mode operation -- 150 hours
  • Continuous talk time:
    • 3G operation -- 140 minutes
    • VoIP operation -- 160 minutes
  • Continuous video calling: 140 minutes
And what is at the other side in NTT DoCoMo network?

NTT DoCoMo has also looked at using Linux on the other end of its FOMA network. It evaluated a Carrier Grade Linux switch developed by NEC in September.

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