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CTIA offers new speed for the road warrior

This week's CTIA Wireless 2004 show in Atlanta brought the promise of new speed and applications to the road warrior.

Company after company announced products and services for enterprise users; some will give users the tools they need to access enterprise data and applications from what essentially would appear to be a very large, metropolitan-area sized hotspot.

Motorola Inc. announced partnerships with both Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. With EDS, the companies jointly announced a new managed mobility service, which will provide companies with Windows Mobile software-based wireless e-mail, voice and enterprise data applications.

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 The offering builds on EDS' Extended Connected Office solution, and the two companies will jointly develop enterprise mobility solutions on the MOTOPro Innovation Platform, utilizing such MOTOPro products as the Motorola MPx, Motorola MPx100 and Motorola MPx200 devices. The CGE&Y partnership initiative will join CGE&Y's AtAnyplace Office, which is part of CGE&Y's Global AtAnyplace Mobile Solutions Portfolio, with Motorola's MOTOPro devices.

Motorola also introduced several Bluetooth-enabled mobiles that are road warrior-friendly. The A845, a dual-mode UMTS/WCDMA mobile phone for the North American Market, sports two-way video calling, GPS location services, high-speed Internet access, downloadable applications, multi-media messaging, and the ability to download MP3 files -- all with 64 MB of memory. The V710 is a CDMA mobile with a megapixel camera and video capture, as well as PIM functionality, PC sync, speech recognition and CDMA 1x High-Speed Packet Data support.

A very useful accessory was unveiled by JABRA: The JABRA SP100 is a mobile Bluetooth speakerphone. It includes two car-mounting accessories, a visor clip and a suction mount. The microphone features a pivoting arm, which can be positioned for optimum voice pick-up. For participating in conference calls, a mute button is provided.

To really speed things up, AT&T announced plans to deploy UMTS networks in San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego and Dallas and other markets later this year. UMTS is also referred to as W-CDMA. Verizon Wireless said it will have CDMA EV-DO service in 30% of its market by year's end. The company also announced EV-DO infrastructure deals with Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks Inc. totaling $700 million. Verizon would not reveal which markets would comprise the 30%; presently, San Diego and Washington, D.C. have Verizon's EV-DO service.

To make AT&T's EDGE wireless network more appealing to road warriors, Sun Microsystems Inc. and AT&T Wireless jointly announced the availability of Sun's Java Desktop System on AT&T's EDGE wireless data network, commencing in autumn 2004. Road warriors will be able to access Web sites, corporate networks and e-mail from the fully mobile laptop client.

How will these offerings benefit the road warrior? Only time will tell. Past experience tells us that things don't and won't always work as planned, but one thing we can predict with certainty: it will be an exciting time to be a road warrior.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and chief analyst at Basex, an analysis firm that specializes in collaborative business knowledge in the enterprise. Click here to contact Basex.

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