By Carol Ellison  |  Posted 2005-04-01 Print this article Print

.0"> The OMA is the consortium of mobile-content companies and the telephone companies and phone makers interested in distributing their material that was organized to ace the problem. And it did—at least partially. The OMA DRM 1.0 standard for light content like ring tones, text messaging and other premium goods that dont put heavy demands on the air waves or devices, is out in circulation and doing nicely, thank you. Its the OMA DRM 2.0, the standard that promises to open the mobile market to high-value, high-bandwidth premium content, thats the most promising.
In March, NDS Group released the industrys first V.2 DRM solution based on a platform developed by ARM Ltd., specialists in embedded solutions for mobile devices. It secures content communicated to set-top boxes running Windows CE, as well as to mobile devices.
I recently chatted with Dave Steer, ARMs director of segments marketing in North America, about the solution. Back doors in Windows and Linux-based operating systems, he noted, leave them basically insecure. TrustZone relieves the OS of the digital rights management. But dont start filling out your play card just yet. Steer expects it will be 2006 before high-value content is distributed to consumers. OMA 2.0 has its own hurdles to overcome before we see a widespread embrace of the standard. The GSM Association of mobile operators—that would include the telcos and service providers who deliver the services—now complains that the patent holders on OMA 2.0 technology are demanding royalties so high theyll drive the prices of mobile phones that possess them off the charts. (Hmmm…unhappiness over high prices due to royalty payments…where have we heard that complaint before?) Parks Associates Wang expects the spat will be quickly settled. If it is, content is likely to quickly follow. The demand is there. Parks Associates estimates that, in the coming year, 28 percent of U.S. households will purchase a mobile phone and many of those will possess the bandwidth to turn those phones into media receivers and players. Video is already here in certain specialized applications. Just last month, I took a ride in and reported on my video experience in the back of an Interactive Taxi in New York. Click here to read more about Carols ride in the Interactive Taxi. This month a company called Cabvision will launch a similar service using GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) mobile services in some 1000 black cabs cruising the streets of London. And how will the Grokster ruling, when it does come down, affect all this? In Wangs crystal ball, the industry is prepared to deal with it whichever way it goes. "The Court is not likely to make a ruling that is anti-innovation," he predicts, pointing out that the industry recognizes that peer-to-peer networks are remarkably cost-effective as a distribution mechanism. "If the technology itself is capable of doing something good for the content industry, the industry would love to make use of it. If they can persuade consumers to accept the DRM content over the network it would benefit the industry." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.

Carol Ellison is editor of's Mobile & Wireless Topic Center. She has authored whitepapers on wireless computing (two on network security–,Securing Wi-Fi Wireless Networks with Today's Technologies, Wi-Fi Protected Access: Strong, Standards-based Interoperable Security for Today's Wi-Fi Networks, and Wi-Fi Public Access: Enabling the future with public wireless networks.

Ms. Ellison served in senior and executive editorial positions for Ziff Davis Media and CMP Media. As an executive editor at Ziff Davis Media, she launched the networking track of The IT Insider Series, a newsletter/conference/Web site offering targeted to chief information officers and corporate directors of information technology. As senior editor at CMP Media's VARBusiness, she launched the Web site, VARBusiness University, an online professional resource center for value-added resellers of information technology.

Ms. Ellison has chaired numerous industry panels and has been quoted as a networking and educational technology expert in The New York Times, Newsday, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, CNN Headline News, WNBC and CNN/FN, as well as local and regional Comcast and Cablevision reports. Her articles have appeared in most major hi-tech publications and numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel