Is U.S. Wireless Industry Catching Up on 3G?

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2004-10-26 Print this article Print

Although the United States has long trailed behind Europe and Japan in deploying third-generation wireless technology, its strength in content development is making it a fertile market, said attendees at the CTIA Wireless show.

SAN FRANCISCO—Wireless software developers and content producers attending the CTIA Wireless show here say the United States is on the verge of catching up with Europe and Japan in the deployment of the latest wireless technology and content. The United States has long been characterized as working in the shadows of its counterparts in Europe and Japan in terms of deploying advanced 3G (third-generation) wireless technology. But this image is steadily fading as competing wireless carriers compete to offer the most advanced and fastest 3G wireless voice and data networks with sophisticated content. Benjamin Hautefeuille, project manager at Burlingame, Calif.-based Victoire Inc., said he thinks U.S. wireless use and development will rapidly catch up with Europe and Japan because it is already the center of multimedia content development.
"I think they are catching up because all the content development, such as games, is here in the U.S.; its not elsewhere," said Hautefeuille, a native of France. He added that "the Americans are the biggest consumers of entertainment of all," which makes the United States a fertile market for wireless multimedia.
Victoire is a developer of wireless applications both in J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition) and in Qualcomms BREW language. For Hautefeuille, one of the important developments at the show was Nokias announcement of an application distribution platform for Java and Symbian smart phone OS. The platform, called Preminet, will enable wireless service carriers to access a catalog of games, applications and content developed for Java and the Symbian OS. In effect, Preminet will give developers a central exchange for marketing their applications. This service will give many small and startup wireless application developers greater access to the global market than they could usually achieve through their own efforts, Hautefeuille said. Preminet promises to give Java and Symbian OS developers the same level of visibility that Qualcomm has lent to its BREW development platform, he said. But Hautefeuille has questions about how quickly some of the rich-media applications, such as live television and video clips, will catch on among consumers. "The screen is too small—its not too comfortable a user experience" at its current stage of development, he said. But he can see the potential value of using the technology to keep in touch with news and current events as people move around the world. Next Page: Cashing in on ring-tone mania.

John Pallatto John Pallatto is's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.

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