Nokia deal part of new wholesale/white-label strategy for Artemis Networks

Artemis Networks founder Steve Perlman. Credit all photos: Artemis Networks

Artemis Networks founder Steve Perlman. Credit all photos: Artemis Networks

A deal by startup Artemis Networks to provide test deployments of its pCell wireless networking technology to select Tier 1 phone-network customers of telecom equipment giant Nokia Networks is both a “coming out party” as well as a significant shift in the Artemis business strategy, from a consumer and end-user focus to a wholesale, business-to-business plan.

Though no actual customers, users or live pCell networks have yet been announced, Artemis founder and CEO Steve Perlman said he can see the end to the “long and winding road” toward real-world deployments that officially started when Artemis went public with its ideas back in February of 2014. “We look at this [the Nokia announcement] as our coming-out party,” said Perlman in a phone interview with Mobile Sports Report. “You’ll be seeing [customer] announcements soon.”

In addition to the Nokia “memorandum of understanding,” which says that Nokia and Artemis will “jointly test Artemis pCell wireless technology in 2016 with wireless operators, initially in large indoor venues and other high density areas,” Artemis also announced a shift in its plans for its expected commercial network in its home town of San Francisco, which was originally supposed to launch this past summer. (For a detailed explanation of Artemis technology, scroll to the end of this post and its links.)

From consumer network to wholesale provider

Instead of operating its own network as originally planned and selling access to consumers, Perlman said Artemis will sell LTE capacity wholesale to any interested network provider as soon as the now-approved network is completed. Artemis, which obtained a lease of spectrum from satellite provider DISH, is now setting up antennas on 58 rooftops in San Francisco, Perlman said, after finally getting FCC approval for its plans a little later than expected.

pCell antenna from Artemis Networking

pCell antenna from Artemis Networking

And instead of having to outsource or build its own customer-facing signup, billing and other back-end systems, the 12-person Artemis will instead sell capacity on its San Francisco network to any interested provider. According to Perlman, there are customers ready to buy, even though none are yet named. Potential customers could include MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) like TracPhone, who don’t own their own networks, or other larger providers looking for roaming capacity or cheap LTE in the crowded city by the Bay.

While it’s less cool than having its own branded devices and network, being a wholesale provider makes sense for the small-size Artemis, instead of trying to compete with wireless giants like Verizon Wireless and AT&T. “Wholesale [capacity] was a market we really didn’t know existed,” said Perlman. “And when they [potential customers] told us what they would pay, it was easy to see B2B as being the way for us.”

Big customers more comfortable with big suppliers

On the networking gear sales side, Perlman said that teaming up with a big equipment provider like Nokia was a necessity to get any traction in the world of LTE cellular networks. As we said before, though pCell’s projected promise of using cellular interference to produce targeted, powerful cellular connectivity could be a boon to builders of large public-venue networks like those found in sports stadiums, owners and operators of those venues are loath to build expensive networks on untested, unproven technology. And big metro wireless providers are even more so.

“We had a lot of Tier 1 operators tell us ‘we love this [pCell technology], we really need this, but we’re not buying from a 12-person startup,’ ” said Perlman. So even while Artemis’ radio technology — which promises huge leaps in performance compared to current gear — was attractive, the company’s lack of any kind of integration with the boring but necessary part of telecom infrastructure, including billing and authentication systems, held it back, Perlman said.

“We were told we could get things done more instantly if we partnered with a large infrastructure company,” Perlman said.

And while real customers from the Nokia deal will probably surface first in a stadium or other large public venue — since such a deployment would be easier to test and install than a new metro network — one team that won’t be using pCell technology any time soon is VenueNext, the app provider for the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium. Though VenueNext was publicly listed as a testing partner last spring, VenueNext has not commented on any results of any testing, and according to multiple sources there was no testing of Artemis equipment at Levi’s Stadium this summer. Though it develops the application and backend systems only, VenueNext does need to work closely with equipment providers, like Aruba Networks at Levi’s Stadium, to integrate its app functionality with the network.

Perlman, who also confirmed there was nothing brewing anymore with VenueNext (“but we’re still friends with VenueNext”), said the app developer also preferred to work with a larger-size developer than the short-bench Artemis. VenueNext, which recently announced the NBA’s Orlando Magic as its second stadium-app customer, has said publicly it would announce an additional 29 new customers before the end of the calendar year.

“We [Artemis] could probably go and do one stadium,” said Perlman about his company’s deployment abilities.

Wi-Fi thrown in for free

And while the main business for Artemis out of the gate will probably be in adding capacity to LTE networks that are running out of spectrum, Perlman said that having Wi-Fi support built into the pCell equipment could make the technology attractive to venues who need or want to bring Wi-Fi services to fans. The Wi-Fi version of pCell technology was also an after-the-fact idea that surfaced after the original pCell announcements.

“The pWave radio heads have [support for] all LTE bands and both Wi-Fi bands,” Perlman said. “So everything that Nokia does [with pCell deployments] can also do Wi-Fi. That’s pretty exciting.”

What’s yet unknown is how the ongoing acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent by Nokia may affect any potential pCell deployments. In the best possible scenario for Artemis, the acquisition could provide more entry points if the pCell technology gets integrated with Alcatel-Lucent telecom gear.

Short Week Grab Bag: Cheap HP tablet, new hockey TV deal in Canada

Hewlett-Packard has revealed that it will be entering the Black Friday fray with a very enticing offer: a 7-inch HP Mesquite tablet for the low, low price of only $89. The tablet will be available at your local Walmart.

The tablet is one of several that will be on sale that weekend that are powered by Intel’s Medfield family of microprocessors as the chip maker is using the start of the shopping season to start hyping its development partners in the tablet space.

Google Glass user booted from club
Earlier this year a Seattle bar said that it would ban anybody wearing Google’s see all glasses. Well a user of the hands free device has been kicked out of a bar, but not the one that made the original promise.

A user was asked to either remove the glasses or be asked to leave the Lost Lake Café and Lounge and apparently made a scene both at the bar but also online (where else) as he complained about his rights. Not sure where in the U.S. Constitution those rights are covered but I am sure its in there somewhere.

EdgeCast Networks helps Indianapolis Colts reach fans
The team has developed the ability to stream video and live content to fans using pretty much any mobile device using EdgeCast technology as the team seeks to increase traffic to its own web sites and away from third party apps.

Get your Apple rumors here
Now that Apple has filled its backlog of iPhone 5S orders it’s time for the company to start fending off rumors of what will be in its next generation iPhone, probably known as the iPhone 6. Well the International Business Times has done a nice roundup for you.

The release date will be late next year; it will have a larger screen, possibly as large as six inches. The display may be curved or flexible and it will be lighter than existing models. Is weight really an issue with iPhones?

Nokia looking at 8-inch tablet?
Well not really looking at but actually planning on building on for sale, with a possible release date sometime in the first quarter of next year, a follow-up product to its 10-inch Lumina 2520, according to Digitimes.

The piece also said that it expects that LG Electronics and Sony Mobile to stay in the tablet market but that sources are reporting that HTC, Motorola Mobility and BlackBerry may choose to leave and only focus on smartphones.

New hockey broadcast deal in Canada
The NHL has just signed its most comprehensive, and largest financially, broadcast deal for games to be shown in Canada. The deal gives Rogers Communications the broadcast and digital rights to all NHL games.

The 12-year deal cost the cable company $5.2 billion and is viewed as a step by Rogers to drive demand for its subscription based cable networks.

Nokia delivers tablet as market continues to diversify


Nokia has introduced its Lumia 2520 tablet, a $499 offering that will run Microsoft’s Windows RT 8.1 operating system and is destined for the consumer marketplace, a space that is already saturated by the likes of Google, Amazon, Apple and Samsung.

The Lumia 2520 futures a 10-inch 192 x 1080 display and is powered by Qualcomm’s 2.2GHz Snapdragon 80 processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB of internal storage with an expansion slot that enables the addition of 32GB more.

The tablet has a 6.7 megapixel rear-facing camera ad a 2 MP front-facing camera and an app that it has included called Storyteller that enables users to plot their photos on a map. The tablet is expected to be available later this quarter.

The company has included other technology brought over from its handset division and with that and its use of a different processor is differentiating its offering from the Microsoft Surface 2 that was also introduced this week.

That is an interesting move by the company since Microsoft is in the process of buying Nokia’s handset business for $7.2B and will get the tablet business as well, if and when the deal closes next year. So now it will have two similar, yet slightly different offerings for the same market segment.

I can understand Nokia wanted a product that helps generate revenue in the time between now and the closing of its sale but it seems that both parties would have benefited if it had focused elsewhere, no matter how nice the Lumia 2520 is.

The move by Nokia comes as tablet prices continue to drop and the number of players continues to grow. One of the surprising moments in Apple’s rollout of its new iPads this week was that one of them was actually more expensive than the last generation.

According to market research firm ABI, as reported in Mobile Marketer, tablet prices have been dropping and will continue to do so. Apple had been falling from its premium priced spot and its recent move was an attempt to move back into that space.

The report went on and discussed how the high end is pretty well saturated by existing manufacturers and that most new products in that space simply enhance existing features rather than add bold new capabilities. However it pointed out that there are several market segments that are currently underserved by developers.

Those spaces include the educational and business markets. The business segment is one of the last strongholds of the PC but that dominance is slowly changing, mostly driven initially by the BYOD (bring your own device) movement.

So with these large and relatively unexploited markets available why did the company make a “me too” offering that will compete with Microsoft and others in the heavily competitive consumer space? It will also be competing with them in the business and education markets but since those spaces appear to have the most room for growth it seems that they present the best opportunity for Nokia to establish itself.

GPS Developer TomTom Set to Deliver Two Sports Watches


TomTom has delivered a pair of GPS-based sports watches, one that is focused primarily on runners while the other is designed for a more multi sports approach that should appeal to a much broader range of athletes.

The company had two design goals win mind when they built the TomTom Runner and the TomTom Multi-Sport GPS sport watches. It believes that most existing watches in this field are too bulky and cumbersome and so sought to shrink the size and make it a slim, easily worn device. At the same time it was seeking to use a large display to show the graphical training tools. It believes that it reached both of these goals as well as simplifying the use of the watch with its one button control.

The watches are both built on TomTom’s Graphical Training Partner, a program that allows users to track vital statics in real time. It has three basic modes: Race, Goal and Zone. Race allows you to vie against a recently set time or your personal best. Goal allows you to set a number of parameters such as time, distance or calorie and then track how you are doing against your goals. Zone has users set targets such as pace or heart rate and then allows you to track your progress during a workout. A heart monitor for this is an option.

Among the watches other features are an indoor tracker to so that a user can track activity on devices such as a treadmill; QuickGPSFix uses GPS and GLONASS satellite technology to quickly find users’ precise location.

Since many runners and other athletes already often use other apps to track and share progress the watches have the multi-platform compatability and can sync with a variety of alterative platforms including the TomTom MySports website, MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, TrainingPeaks and MyFitnessPal

All of these and other features are standard in both watches while the TomTom Multi-Sport also allows multi-sport athletes to track their distance, time, speed and other key metrics when they cycle or swim and includes a built-in altimeter and a bike mount.

Last year TomTom teamed with Nike for a GPS watch and it ran Nike Fuel but it is not clear if this one will also support Nike’s platform.

The TomTom Runner and TomTom Multi-Sport will be available in Summer 2013. The market for sports watches is a fairly crowded one, and one that will get even more packed if all of the rumored hybrid smartwatches that have been reported from the likes of Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Microsoft and others actually do come to market. I expect that including all of the ones that have appeared on Kickstarter their will be a glut on the market of these types of devices and users should spend some time considering how and when they plan to use such devices to see what will best fit their needs.

Microsoft Moves Windows 8 into Smartphone Territory

Microsoft continued its move into a more digital, mobile software provider today with the debut of its Windows Phone 8 smartphone operating systems, offering a very much revamped OS along with a number of its partners’ latest offerings.

Microsoft is looking to leverage changes it has made in its operating system , with its Windows 8 OS introduced just last week, and will now be providing a similar look and feel with the same technology core used in both platforms.

The look and feel of the OS appears to be very different from what is offered from its rivals- no static icons but rather what Microsoft is calling Live Tiles, a technology that has the apps that you use in a tile format.

The nice thing about Live Tiles is that a user can customize the startup page and place the apps and functions that they want right there, rather than being stuck with a large number of predetermined apps.

A key attribute of many of the apps is that they are live, that when you look at the phone or start it up an app such as Facebook will be up to date, even if it is still in lock screen mode.. They are also sizable with three formats and you are provided with 20 options for colors.

Microsoft has also been working on developing a much healthier app ecosystem, an area that it has received criticism in the past. Its Windows Phone Store now has 120,000 apps including most of the top rated. In the future it will have Pandora, the leading Internet radio service, in early 2013 with one year of ad-free music.

There is a feature called Data Sense that helps prevent you from going over your data plan by automating and in some cases delaying tasks. It can compress images, or defer tasks until free Wi-Fi is available. It can monitor how much data apps use and inform you when you are nearing the limit. This is used in conjunction with carriers and Verizon is expected to be the first to support it.

One clever piece of software is it’s “Kid’s Corner” an app that enables children to play games on the phone without deleting information, ordering apps or calling Peru.

Along with the Windows Phone 8 OS, Microsoft had a trio of partners delivering new phones. There will be several options available from Nokia, Samsung and HTC, that will go on sale in November at AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the U.S., as well as at carriers and retailers around the world.

The move comes just hours after Google announced an update to Android, now at 4.2, along with a new Nexus phone and a revamped Nexus 7 and a new Nexus 1 tablet. Apple had a new iPhone out a few weeks back and a new iPad Mini last week.

I think that, depending on real world performance when the phones are available, Microsoft has a strong story simply because all of its products- PC OS, tablet OS and smartphone OS are compatible with each other and using Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud service a user can start projects on one device and finish them seamlessly on another- a compelling usage model IMHO.

Mobile Sports Report Grab Bag: MLB Man Cave, Red Bull Crash

Last fall ESPN rolled out a new stat that it claimed would be the be-all and end-all in quarterback ratings called the Total Quarterback Ratings or (QBR). The company said that it went much further than other rating systems by adding in such important features as how clutch the performance was.

Now fast forward a year and use of the number has fallen off a cliff at ESPN. A good look at this is provided by The Classical which provides a good overview of the inner workings of how QBR is figured. I guess they can put this next to the last attempt at creating its own stats – Productive Outs in baseball.

Samsung wins another round vs Apple
A Dutch court has ruled that Apple’s multitouch patent was not infringed on by Samsung last week. The Court of The Hague ruled that the patent that describes technology that prevents smartphone users from pushing two on-screen buttons at the same time is not the same as the technology that Samsung does use in its Galaxy products.

As part of the ruling the court has ordered Apple to pay Samsung court costs, which are in excess of $422,000, according to Where this leaves the overall case, with each player winning and losing versions of it around the globe is anybody’s guess.

MLB taking applications for 2013 Fan Cave
If you think that the Fan Cave contest is a waste of time consider the case of Ashley Chavez, Ricardo Marquez and Kyle Thompson who are all at the current World Series and one will be declared Fan Cave Champion.

Sound interesting? Well it is too late for this year obviously but MLB is accepting applications for 2013 to be part of the “Fan Cave.” After the application process is closed there are elimination rounds and then a final lineup of nine fans. Did I mention they also went to the All Star Game this year?

Miscellaneous earnings reports
Earnings reports were in and it was a very mixed bag. HTC reported sales down 23% from previous quarter to $2.4 billion and said that it expects a weaker Q4 at approximately $2bn. Samsung however saw a huge spike in sales of its Galaxy that helped it set a new all time highs in sales and profits, driven by an estimated sale of 56 million smartphones in the quarter. It had net profit of$ 5.9 billion.

Apple reports 24% increase in earnings at $8.2bn and a 27% increase in revenue at $36bn, and disappointed Wall Street. The company said that it shipped 26.9 million iPhones in the quarter and was still heavily backlogged. Amazon when back into the red for the first time in four years when it reported a $274 million loss on sales of $13.81bn. The company took a $169 million write down on its stake in Living Social, a daily deal site.

Cost of Instagram deal drops
When Facebook purchased Instagram for an estimated $1 billion in April quite a few in the market were astounded at the price tag. Now that the dust has settled, and the deal paid for, the price tag has dropped quite a bit.

According to a filing at the Securities and Exchange Commission Facebook’s final cost for the deal was $715 million that consisted of $300 million in cash and 23 million shares of stock. The original price was based on Facebook’s estimated $30 per share stock price, pre-IPO.

Looking for a great crash video? Red Bull has the answer
Here is a video taken from the helmet cam of extreme mountain biker Cam Zink taken during an attempt to cross a 68-foot canyon. Guess how he fared.

Is RIM, among others, doomed?
Digi Times is reporting that due to mounting losses Research in Motion may be broken up and sold to other high tech companies. This is not that really surprising if it happens, its management has said in the past that all options are on the board and the company’s losses continue to mount.

What is surprising is that the article goes on to say that both Nokia and Motorola may also be on the chopping block for exactly the same reasons, even though Motorola is now owned by Google. I suspect that Google will want to keep the patents at the very least.