One of the major challenges to the adoption of open RAN in 5G networks in dense, urban environments is its sub-optimal support for massive MIMO radios. While there are several reasons behind this performance deficit, a key reason is that the O-RAN Alliance 7.2x open fronthaul specification was not originally designed to accommodate massive MIMO radio systems. Recently, the O-RAN Alliance announced a new fronthaul interface specification designed specifically for use with massive MIMO radio systems in dense, high-traffic environments.
This Technology Report provides an objective analysis of the O-RAN Alliance’s Next Generation Lower-Layer Split (LLS) and discusses the implications of the new interface on the adoption of open RAN massive MIMO radios.
Key Takeaway 1: Impact of Incumbents
With the availability of the new NG-LLS fronthaul split, it “appears” that the open RAN community has united around a single specification which will enable open RAN to be adopted in high-traffic urban regions. This should be welcome news as it means that operators will be able to use open RAN technology across all parts of their networks, from rural deployments to dense, high traffic urban environments. However, the NG-LLS standard has brought major incumbents such as Ericsson and Nokia into the open RAN limelight. While this brings scale and credibility to open RAN in the high-end 5G market, it also raises questions about open RAN’s goal of diversifying the radio supply chain and lowering barriers to smaller vendors.
Key Takeaway 2: Massive MIMO Use Cases Suitable for Split 7.2b
Although Split 7.2b has limitations when deployed in dense, high-traffic urban networks, Counterpoint Research believes that it will continue to be a good choice for other mMIMO use cases. For example, in uses cases with moderate traffic loads, where cell sizes are larger and where end-user mobility is low such as in Fixed Wireless Access applications. Radios based on Split 7.2b will also benefit from reduced complexity and lower costs compared to NG-LLS based radios. In future, the application of advanced AI/ML algorithms in the DU may narrow the performance differential between Split 7.2b and NG-LLS for some use cases.
In some markets, operators await evidence of successful use cases before switching to 5G SA.
In H1 2023, the Asia-Pacific region continued to lead in terms of 5G SA Core deployments.
Ericsson led the overall market followed by Nokia, Huawei, ZTE, Samsung, and Mavenir.
Counterpoint Research’s recently published July update of the 5G SA Core Tracker is a culmination of an extensive study of the 5G SA market. It provides details of all operators with 5G SA cores in commercial operation at the end of H1 2023, including market share by region, vendor, and the popular frequency bands for deployments. Apart from that, it touches upon the potential monetization opportunities for telecom operators across different domains and uses cases.
Last year, there was steady growth in the commercial deployment of 5G Standalone (SA), with more than 20 operators moving to 5G standalone core. However, the pace slowed down in H1 2023 with the number of operators launching commercial 5G SA ranging in single digits. The primary reason for the slowdown in commercial deployment of 5G SA was the restraint arising from global macroeconomic factors and the lack of a clear picture of 5G monetization for operators. Although the pace of commercial deployment has slowed down in 2023, operators are working on monetization avenues, and are working on SA-specific use cases, including on-demand network slicing and FWA.
Most of the 5G SA commercial deployments have been in developed economies, and Counterpoint Research expects the next bulk of network rollouts will take place in emerging markets. This will drive the continuing transition from 5G NSA to 5G SA.
Exhibit 1: 5G SA Deployments by Region, H1 2023
As shown in Exhibit 1, the Asia-Pacific region led the segment, followed by Europe and North America, with the other regions – Middle East and Africa, and Latin America – lagging.
Key points discussed in the report include:
Operators – 47 operators have deployed 5G SA commercially with many more in the testing and trial phase. Globally, most of the deployments are in developed economies with those in emerging economies lagging. Although the pace of deployment is steady in developed markets, it is progressing slowly in emerging markets, and in some markets, operators are biding their time and looking for evidence of successful use cases before switching from 5G NSA to SA. The ongoing economic headwinds also delayed the commercial deployment of SA, which was seen in H1 2023.
Vendors – Ericsson and Nokia lead the 5G SA Core market globally and are benefiting from the geopolitical sanctions on Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE in some markets. South Korea’s Samsung and Japan’s NEC are mainly focused on their respective domestic markets but are expanding their reach to Tier-2 operators and emerging markets, while emerging vendors Parallel Wireless and Mavenir are working with leading operators in Europe, and Middle East and Africa.
Spectrum – Most operators are deploying 5G in mid-band frequencies, n78, as it provides faster speeds and good coverage. Some operators have also launched commercial services in the sub-GHz n28 and mmWave wave n258 bands. FWA seems to be the most popular use case at present but there is a lot of interest in edge services and network slicing as well.
Use Cases – Operators are looking for avenues to monetize the 5G services, as they are struggling to make the RoI from their investments in 5G. Although FWA is a promised application for 5G SA monetization, there are many other use cases that operators can look into to increase their RoI, including network slicing, live broadcasting, XR applications, and private networks. Although eMBB is the most widely used 5G use case currently, MNOs need to move to 5G SA to leverage URLLC and mMTC use cases.
Counterpoint Research’s 5G SA Core Tracker, July 2023 provides an overview of the 5G Standalone (SA) market, highlighting the key trends and drivers that are shaping the market, along with details of commercial launches by vendor, region, and frequency band. Additionally, the tracker provides details about the 5G SA vendor ecosystem split into two categories – public operator and private network markets.
Table of Contents:
5G SA Market Deployments
Commercial Deployment by Operators
Network Engagements by Region
Network Engagements by Deployments Status
Leading 5G Core Vendors
Mobile Core Vendor Ecosystem
5G Core Vendors Market Landscape
5G Standalone Use Cases
Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.
eSIM has been a revolutionary technology driving the digital transformation of acquiring, accessing and consuming connectivity. OEMs are offering eSIM capability at the device level, while eSIM management solution vendors are offering software and services to mobile operators to connect these eSIM-capable devices to eSIM platforms securely.
The benefits of eSIM technology lie in enabling secure and seamless connectivity from chip to cloud, leading to an array of new business models for a broad range of stakeholders. This includes transforming mobile operators, making connected enterprises “fully digital”, thereby reducing overheads, customer acquisition costs and complexities, boosting customer experience, and driving newer business models connecting people and things at scale.
Demand for eSIM management solutions growing across different stakeholders
eSIM adoption is growing swiftly across different device categories and stakeholders. Mobile operators, enterprises, service providers and even platform players are sourcing innovative eSIM solutions to go digital, expand their service offering, maintain redundancy, plan hybrid deployments to comply with local regulations, or address specific subscriber or device segments. For example, players such as Uber are climbing on the eSIM bandwagon to drive newer business models and remove customer pain points by offering uninterrupted connectivity. Private networks are adopting eSIM to offer dedicated connectivity to their employees and remotely manage the connected IoT assets within the enterprise premises.
Different flavors of eSIM management solutions
The incumbent SIM vendors have been delivering eSIM management solutions in the form of ‘eSIM-Management-as-a-Service’ as an extension of their existing SIM business model, with the storage and processing of the subscriber data usually managed by the vendors at their own sites or now in collaboration with third-party cloud platforms such as Azure, AWS and Google Cloud. However, in such traditional deployments, the customers, especially other Service and Solution Providers have very limited commercial and technical control over the eSIM-based subscription management and customer data.
While this has been the established method of eSIM management solution delivery during the early years, which saw very limited eSIM usage, the competitive, geopolitical and regulatory landscape is changing. As eSIM technology has matured with a clear path ahead to replace the SIM card, operators as well as service and solution providers are increasingly either considering developing their own eSIM management software or licensing it “off the shelf” and building a service on top of it.
Developing software and service “in-house” demands significant resources and domain knowledge, from software to standards to security. This makes the exercise incrementally expensive amid changing technologies and regulations. Therefore, using an off-the-shelf eSIM management software is emerging as a popular solution, offering the best of both worlds, i.e. in-house and as-a-service eSIM management solutions.
achelos GmbH, an important player in the eSIM value chain, is positioned to satisfy the abovementioned needs. The company offers a suite of off-the-shelf GSMA-compliant eSIM RSP software solutions with bespoke features and extensions that perfectly align with the different requirements of a broad range of players, whether MNO, private network operator, service provider or system integrator. They fill a gap in the booming eSIM RSP market, helping democratize the technology by offering eSIM solutions to potential stakeholders looking for eSIM provisioning capabilities integrated directly into their existing platforms or infrastructure at the software level rather than the traditional as-a-service solution.
In our discussions with multiple operators and stakeholders, the key needs and challenges mentioned are related to having more control, independence over costs, technology, integration, and data to manage the number of connected devices and connectivity on their networks. This is where off-the-shelf eSIM management software solutions are looking to help eliminate the significant cost, risks, resource requirements and compliance requirements. However, with the growing trend of sourcing multiple eSIM management and orchestration solutions, we believe the off-the-shelf software is a nice complement to the traditional as-a-service eSIM solutions, allowing these key stakeholders to strike the right balance between control and flexibility.
Firms such as achelos started as niche players, with a highly focussed “software-only” approach offering flexible, customizable off-the-shelf GSMA SAS-SM-compliant eSIM remote SIM provisioning and orchestration software solutions. These complement or offer an alternative to traditional as-a-service solutions by promising proof points across the following key criteria:
Reliable: Redundancy, up-time, backup, recovery, security, resilience, etc.
Scalable: With growing traffic across locations, device types, features, etc.
Compliant: GSMA standards, specs, interoperability, etc.
Comprehensive: Support different implementations – SM-DP, DP+, DS, etc.
Efficient: Costs, resources, implementation, time-to-market, etc.
Customizable: Features, services, deployments, UI, analytics to help differentiate
Furthermore, having access to an end-to-end suite of eSIM RSP and orchestration software and capabilities helps potential stakeholders co-develop distinctive features and services on top of the standards efficiently, with full control over security, scalability, and costs.
The key to success with this approach is in having a software partner which embraces open, lightweight, and advanced tools, frameworks and processes. This makes it seamless for the stakeholder’s IT team to co-create unique solutions built on industry standard-compliant and interoperable foundations.
As the eSIM adoption rises across key stakeholders beyond mobile operators, there are significant opportunities for the vendors providing eSIM solutions in different forms. Different stakeholders have different needs, influenced by their digital transformation journeys, regulations, and need for redundancy or control over the solution and services attached to it.
As a result, we are seeing growing need for off-the-shelf eSIM solutions where some stakeholders want greater control, commercial independence, and sovereignty of the platform alongside the traditional ‘eSIM-Management-as-a-Service’ solutions. Players such as achelos are well positioned to complement and expand the eSIM solution provider ecosystem for the different key stakeholders in their eSIM transformation journey.
Ericsson and Nokia’s Q2 2023 results are in line with their revised expectations.
The telecom gear manufacturers are convinced that a few short-term hurdles can be managed to drive growth.
The mobile network segment, the largest contributor to both firms’ revenues, witnessed some slowdown in Q2 2023 due to decreased demand from capex-saturated regions.
Nordic telecom giants Ericsson and Nokia announced their Q2 2023 results last week, which were in line with their revised expectations despite lower revenues. The overall market condition remains challenging due to macro uncertainty, but the telecom gear manufacturers are convinced that a few short-term hurdles can be managed to drive growth both in the short term and long term.
Fast 5G rollouts in emerging nations such as India were highlights for both the vendors as revenue growth in these regions was able to offset the sales decline in North America and North-East Asia where operators slowed down their network expenditures after several quarters of high investment.
Swedish giant Ericsson generated net sales of $5.9 billion for the quarter, reporting a 9% YoY decline in organic sales. Ericsson’s Finnish counterpart Nokia generated $6.2 billion in revenue for the quarter, which was flat YoY on a constant currency basis.
Mobile network segment
This segment is based on the core competence of these organizations and is also the largest contributor to both firms’ revenues. It witnessed some slowdown for the two companies in Q2 2023 on the back of decreased demand from capex-saturated regions. Operators in these regions continue to be selective in spending and are depleting their inventories that have been running high after the 2021-2022 boom.
Revenue from Ericsson’s Networks division stood at $3.9 billion. It doubled for emerging markets like India and Southeast Asia but plummeted for regions like North America. India is now Ericsson’s second-biggest market. During the quarter, the company also marked the shipping of 10 million 5G-ready radios.
Revenue from Nokia’s Mobile Networks division stood at $2.85 billion, a slight growth YoY. The increase in revenue due to faster 5G rollouts in India and Europe was able to offset the decline in North America.
Gross margin was impacted for both operators as the sales mix changed drastically. Adapting to changing demand and expecting a recovery in the North American region, both manufacturing firms are looking forward to an improved gross margin by the end of this year.
Cloud software services
Telecom service providers too have been hit by cloud disruption as network evolution has witnessed operators migrating to the cloud. The two Nordic vendors have been at the forefront in assisting operators in transitioning to cloud-native operations, which helps in future-proofing and improving network performance and efficiency.
Ericsson’s revenues from its Cloud and Software Services division stood at $1.39 billion, a marginal increase over the previous year. The sales, for a change, were driven by 5G in the North American region. Ericsson currently leads the global market for 5G Standalone Core deployments with a majority of operators choosing the Swedish company for their cloud-native 5G SA Core. Ericsson’s managed services, however, took a hit.
Nokia registered $806 million in net sales for its Cloud and Network Services division. Unlike its Swedish counterpart, Nokia’s growth came from the Europe and Middle-East and Africa (MEA) regions, while it faced a decline in the North American region. Nokia too has been actively helping operators worldwide to deploy 5G Standalone Core (just behind Ericsson in the number of deployments), which alongside Enterprise Solutions helped boost its revenues in this segment, marginally offset by declines in the Cloud Services and Business Applications.
Ericsson’s enterprise segment, network APIs and IPR licensing
Last year, Ericsson acquired Vonage, which contributed revenues of nearly $390 million during the quarter, a 12% increase YoY. The company strongly believes that the enterprise segment will continue to grow as it redefines how the capabilities of 5G networks are utilized and paid for by the customers.
Ericsson will also continue to digitize the ecosystem for CSPs by maintaining its investments to build the Global Network Platform (network Application Program Interfaces or APIs). With time, a variety of global network APIs will complement the existing communication APIs like video, voice and SMS to help CSPs better monetize their 5G networks, accelerate 5G network rollout and improve network capex.
The company also signed a 5G IPR licensing agreement during this quarter to help validate its IPR portfolio strength.
Nokia’s diverse portfolio – Networks infrastructure and enterprise
Despite facing some short-term challenges and macroeconomic uncertainty, which resulted in a YoY revenue decline, Nokia’s Network Infrastructure segment generated $2.15 billion in revenues and continued to gain market share across the globe.
The IP networks grew in Europe with increasing sales to enterprise customers.
The optical networks unit registered a double-digit growth driven by increasing broadband penetration in India.
The fixed networks unit witnessed a decline on the back of slowing FWA deployments in North America.
Nokia’s revenue from its enterprise customers grew by almost 30% YoY. The company added 90 new enterprise customers this quarter. Its private wireless business reached more than 635 customers.
Nokia also signed a long-term patent license agreement with Apple. Multi-year revenue recognition might start in January 2024.
Nokia also struck an important deal with Red Hat this quarter, where the latter will serve as the primary reference platform to develop, test and deliver core network applications in an attempt to rebalance Nokia’s portfolio.
Network equipment vendors and software providers are looking to transform obstacles into opportunities. Both Ericsson and Nokia are expecting their business performance to improve towards Q4 2023 and to continue improving in the coming years. Inventory correction by operators has been the prime reason for the revenue decline this quarter. But network sales have been able to weather the slowdown as operators need to increase the capacity of their networks.
Counterpoint Research believes that 5G investment has not yet peaked. Over the next few years, the industry will witness the advent of 5G Advanced starting with 3GPP Release 18, operators transitioning to 5G SA, an increase in the number of monetizable 5G use cases, FWA going global, and increased 5G investments in mid-band and mmWave bands. The entire mobile industry is bullish about private networks, which present a significant opportunity for operators and vendors alike. Amid the growing geopolitical turbulence, with the West hardening its stand on the “rip and replace” of Chinese networking equipment, Nokia and Ericsson might even see other markets opening up for them. Reducing internal costs and streamlining internal operations remains a challenge for both suppliers. The two should benefit from growing confidence in the enterprise segment. Nokia expects to leverage its leadership in the network infrastructure business and attain market leadership in the fixed-broadband space with its wide variety of ONTs, OLTs and FWA CPEs.
Twenty years ago, I was an equity analyst for a Wall Street investment bank. At the time, my research director liked to get all the analysts to write occasional thought pieces. In the following article written in June 2003, I chose to write a speculative piece that looked back to 2003 from five years in the future, i.e. 2008. I speculated that there would be quite a few technological leaps in the five intervening years.
Given the 20 years that have now passed since I wrote the article, how many of those technologies have actually come into being? As you will see, not many, while others that were not foreseen have matured – for example, app-based smartphones and music streaming.
Without specifically naming it as artificial intelligence, I foresaw a role for cloud-based intelligent software agents that would provide intuitive assistance in multiple situations – a true digital assistant. These have not come into being and they are not even much discussed. We do have digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa, but they are mostly incapable of anything more than answering simple questions and certainly couldn’t be trusted to book travel tickets, make restaurant reservations or update other people’s diaries. While ChatGPT and derivatives of Large Language Models seem superficially smarter, they are still not yet at the stage of being able to function as a general assistant.
One other technology referenced in the article that is still far from maturity, is augmented reality. The glasses described were not too far-fetched – Microsoft’s HoloLens can achieve some of what is described and Epson and Vuzix, for example, have developed glasses that are in use by field service engineers. But these products are not able to reference real-world objects. Apple’s forthcoming Vision Pro, while technically brilliant, would not be a suitable solution for the use case described.
At the end of the article, I listed companies that I expected to be playing a significant role in the development of the various technologies highlighted. But where are those companies now?
For context, and for the younger readers, around the turn of this century, third-generation cellular licenses had been expensively auctioned in several countries and many mobile operators were struggling to generate a return on their investment. Oh, how things have changed (or not)! As an analyst covering mobile technology, I could see that investors were valuing mobile operators solely on their voice and text revenues, with zero value being ascribed to future data revenues. My article was also an attempt to awaken investors to the potential value beyond voice.
Anyway, here’s the report that I wrote in mid-2003. It was written as though it were an article in a business newspaper.
Special Report – June 2008
It is just eight years since European wireless telecom companies became the subject of outright derision for spending billions of dollars on licenses to operate third-generation cellular networks. Now the self-same companies have become core to our everyday existence. Their stock, which bottomed in the middle of 2002, has risen steadily ever since.
The original promise of 3G technology was high-speed data networking coupled with an exceptional capacity for both voice and data. But critics said that it was an innovation users didn’t need, want or would be willing to pay for.
When the first commercial 3G networks appeared in 2003 and faltered at the first step, the doubters started to look dangerously like they had a point. But the universe is fickle and within the last two or three years, the combination of maturing networks and the inevitable power of Moore’s Law has started to deliver wireless devices and applications that would have been thought of, if not as science fiction, then at least science-stretching-the-bounds-of-credibility, when the licenses were issued.
However, while the long-time infamy of 3G means it is taking the starring role as industry watchers chart the chequered history of the technology, it is the supporting cast of technologies that has really delivered the goods. Without them, 3G would have remained just another method to access the backbone network.
The following snapshots from one perfectly ordinary day last month show how the coordinated application of a whole slew of technologies has subtly but distinctly altered our lives.
Bristol – May 1, 2008, 12:57 pm
Beads of sweat form on the face of Jim McKenna, a 24-year-old technician, as he studies the guts of a damaged generator. McKenna is a member of a rapid response team, looking after mission-critical power generation facilities across Southern England.
“Dave, I’ve located the damaged circuits, I think I can repair it, but the control unit is non-standard and I’ve not seen one like it before. Can you help me out here?”
McKenna’s voice is picked up by a tiny transducer microphone embedded in a Bluetooth-enabled hands-free earbud. The bud is so small it nestles unobtrusively in the technician’s ear. The earbud is wirelessly connected to the small transceiver on McKenna’s belt. His voice activates a ‘push’-to-talk connection to his controller in the Scottish technical support center. The word push is in quotes because it is his voice that effects the push, leaving McKenna’s hands entirely free.
In the Edinburgh-based command center, David Sanderson, an experienced engineer, maximizes the image from one of a half-dozen sub-screens that compete for his attention. Each screen shows live pictures from his team of technicians with data about their location and degree of job completion.
Sanderson taps the screen again and, 400 miles away in Bristol, a tiny camera on McKenna’s smart glasses zooms in on the generator specification plate. Sanderson peers intently at the screen:
“I see a code on the side panel. I’ve highlighted it for you. Can you scan it? I can then pull the circuit files for you”.
Seemingly in mid-air, a red circle appears around a barcode away to McKenna’s right. The heads-up display in McKenna’s glasses maintains a fix on the code even though he moves his head. He leans across and uses the camera to scan the code, which is instantaneously transmitted back to Edinburgh where the circuit plans are uploaded from the database. Sanderson extracts the relevant section before speaking again to McKenna.
“Jim, I’m initiating the synchronization, you should have it in a few seconds.”
The 3G transceiver on Jim’s belt receives the information and immediately routes it to his smart glasses via Bluetooth. As Jim looks at the damaged circuitry, the heads-up display begins to superimpose the circuit diagram over the actual circuits, adjusting for size. He spends a few minutes comparing the damaged circuits with the schematic images. He calls for more backup.
“Dave, the problem is definitely in this sector of the step-down circuit,” McKenna points to a series of circuit boards, “is there a suggested workaround in the troubleshooting file?”
Within minutes the heads-up display starts guiding McKenna through a series of measures that isolates and bypasses the damaged circuits. Within 20 minutes, McKenna successfully reboots the system – power is restored.
Five years ago, very little of the above could have been done as efficiently and intuitively. Field service engineers needed substantial experience to tackle complex tasks – they also had to carry heavy, often ruggedized PCs and a whole series of manuals on CD-ROMs. Technical backup, where available, was a cellular voice call.
Liverpool Street, London, May 1, 2008, 2:32 pm
Joanne King, an equity analyst, is meeting a buy-side client. As they settle into the soft leather chairs of the meeting room, she slides a flexible plastic sheet across the table. The sheet is printed with electronic ink. The latest marketing pack was downloaded to her mobile terminal on the way over in the taxi. She taps the screen of her smartphone and the slide set appears on the sheet. As Joanne and her client discuss the vagaries of the stock market, they are able to use virtual tabs to flip between ‘pages’ within the pack. When the client requests more information on the balance sheet of one of companies they’re discussing, Joanne is able to pull down the necessary information, adding it to the slide set.
Partway through the discussion, Joanne hears a subtle tone in her ear indicating an urgent communication request from her personal digital assistant. She apologizes to the client before initiating the communication path. “Wildfire, what’s the problem?” she knows that Wildfire will only override her no-interrupt rule if an issue requires immediate attention.
“An air traffic control strike in Paris has disrupted all flights. Your 6 pm Brussels flight is showing a two-hour delay and may be canceled. The best alternative is to take the Eurostar train. Services leave at 16:30 and 18:30.”
After a moment’s thought, Joanne comes to a decision: “Book the 16:30, please.” Conscious of the topics still to cover in her meeting, she adds, “Can you also have a taxi waiting when I am through here?”
Wildfire confirms the instructions and drops back into meeting mode. Joanne apologizes to the client and resumes her meeting. Meanwhile, Joanne’s software agent communicates with various travel services, canceling her flight reservation and booking the rail service.
Having learned from Joanne’s prior behavior, the agent books a First Class seat in a carriage toward the front of the train. The agent also communicates with a taxi firm – a car will be waiting when her meeting is completed. The agent is authorized to spend money within predefined limits. Simultaneously, the agent modifies Joanne’s expense report and calendar.
Joanne’s dinner date with friends in Brussels will be hard to keep given the change in travel plans. The agent negotiates with the diaries of her three dinner guests and the reservation computer at their chosen restaurant. A new reservation is agreed and four diaries are updated accordingly.
At the conclusion of her meeting, Joanne leaves the slide set contained in the pre-punched flexible display. Her client will be able to store it in standard folders and refer to it at leisure. Solar cells ensure that there is enough power to display the material without having to worry about battery charge.
As she heads for the taxi, Joanne’s location-aware PDA recognizes she is in motion and, therefore, ready to communicate. “Joanne, you have 2 voice messages, 23 business e-mails and 12 personal e-mails. How would you like me to handle them?” Joanne chooses to listen and respond to a voicemail on the short taxi ride to Waterloo, deferring the e-mails for the train.
Once in her seat on the Eurostar train, Joanne unfolds a screen and keyboard that work alongside her 3G smartphone. Bluetooth provides the link between the smartphone, screen and keyboard. The Light Emitting Polymer screen is extremely lightweight and flexible, yet delivers high contrast and color resolution. Power consumption is low.
Joanne spends an hour responding to the e-mails before kicking off her shoes and taking out an e-book to settle down to listen to some music. She is particularly looking forward to a new album she bought on the way to the station. A song she was unfamiliar with came over the radio in the taxi – loving it, but not knowing what it was, Joanne recorded a quick burst. Vodafone, her service provider, was able to identify the music and offered to sell her the single or album. In anticipation of her long train ride, she chose the album. Leaning back in her seat, she lets the cool beats ease her to Brussels.
In 2003, one-on-one presentations were either made from a PC screen or delivered on regular paper. Meeting interruptions were either obtrusive or impossible, and changing travel reservations on the fly typically required several people – often with intervention by the traveler herself. Meanwhile, mobile e-mail was possible but only on large-screen PCs, compromised by size, weight and power consumption, or devices with screens and keyboards too small for anything other than limited responses.
Hyde Park – May 1, 2:18 pm
Mike Lee is on his way home from high school. He flips his skateboard down three steps and dives for cover in the bushes, the sound of gunfire ringing in his ears. Peering through the leaves, he holds a small flat panel console in front of him. He scans through 120 degrees, concentrating on the screen. The intense rhythms of electro-house are now the loudest sounds he hears, but there is also the distant rap of gunfire. On the screen, he sees the surrounding park, but in addition, the occasional outlandish figure appears, flitting between hiding places among the trees. “Josh! Where are you?” Mike demands in an urgent whisper.
“I’m by the lake dude. Surrounded. Can you get down here? I’m running out of ammo.”
Mike swings around, looking toward the lake through his device. He sees Josh’s position highlighted on the screen. He turns back, takes a deep breath and starts jabbing buttons on his device. Explosions and smoke fill the screen. Then running to the path, he jumps back on his skateboard and carves down the hill to the lake, pitching into the shrubbery next to his buddy Josh. They proceed to engage the advancing enemy in a frenzy of laser grenades, gunfire and whoops of delight.
After a few minutes, they both hear the words they have been waiting for, “Well done men, you have completed Level 12. Hit the download button to move on to the next level.”
Mobile gaming, even as recently as 2003, offered a relatively poor user experience. Simple Java games were the norm. Games now not only involve online buddies but they are also immersed into the surrounding environment, massively enhancing the experience.
3G has come a long way from its ignominious start. However, the real catalyst that has made it a life-changing technology has been the incredible range of diverse technologies that have emerged to support the growth in wireless voice and data applications.
My original cast of technology characters has seen mixed fortunes, some are still around but with different owners while others have disappeared altogether. Few are still going in their original business niche:
Nokiaand Motorolaare brands that are still making mobile devices, but in different guises than in 2003.
I don’t know what became of Sound ID. There is an app called SoundID created by Sonar Works, but it is different and unrelated to the Sound ID identified in the article. But Bluetooth True Wireless earbuds are now a huge market.
Microvision is still in business but has shifted its focus to LiDAR in the automotive space.
Sonim is still in business and still making ruggedized devices, including push-to-talk devices for the safety and security sectors.
Advanced Recognition Technologies was acquired by Scansoft in 2005.
Wildfire was an innovative voice-controlled personal assistant that was acquired by the operator Orange in 2000. But Orange killed the service in 2005.
E-Ink still exists, although Philips parted ways with it in 2005.
Shazam still exists but was acquired by Apple in 2018. When it started in 2002, you had to dial a short number and hold your phone to the sound source. Users would then receive an SMS with the song title and artist.
CSPs are showing an increasing interest in leveraging the benefits of RAN virtualization and cloud-native technologies and vendors are responding to this demand. As a result, future RAN networks are expected to evolve gradually towards Cloud RAN based solutions, which will be deployed alongside traditional, proprietary 5G networks.
In contrast to traditional RAN networks, the baseband unit of a cloud RAN base station is split into two units: a Distributed Unit (DU) and a Centralized unit (CU). Today, the vast majority of commercially deployed DU basebands run on x86 processors. However, alternatives to Intel’s x86 platform, based on ASICs, GPU and RISC-V architectures are expected to become widely available during the next three years.
Cloud RAN platforms typically use PCIe-based accelerator cards to process the compute-intensive Layer 1 workloads. There are essentially two types of accelerator architecture: look-aside and in-line:
Look-aside accelerators offload a small subset of the 5G Layer 1 functions, for example, forward error correction, from the host CPU to an external FPGA-based accelerator.
With an in-line accelerator card, all the Layer 1 data passes directly through the accelerator and is processed in real-time – a critical requirement for Layer 1 workloads. This processing is done by other processor types, for example, ARM or RISC-V based DSPs.
However, there is a marked difference in the approach of vendors towards Layer 1 acceleration, with some vendors supporting the look-aside option, some supporting the in-line option, while others plan to offer both options.
5G network has seen steady growth in deployment globally, with the total number of subscribers of 5G services crossing the billion mark. Although most of the deployment has been through the Non-Standalone (NSA) mode, the Standalone (SA) core will see big commercial deployment in the years to come to explore the full potential of 5G, including venturing into newer 5G applications such as Network Slicing. To provide high bandwidth and low-latency connectivity with processing capabilities at the Edge to support enterprise and mission-critical use cases, it becomes important to manage the network effectively and autonomously, and AI/ML can help in this case. As the algorithm is advancing every day, AI/ML can help automate most of the tasks. The huge amount of data collected by network vendors and operators can be used to train an effective algorithm, thereby helping in the effective management of resources.
Some of the verticals where AI/ML will be useful in network management are:
Intelligent Network Automation
5G networks are complex and managing them is a difficult and expensive task. AI/ML can provide intelligent algorithms that can automate various network management tasks, thus reducing the time and resources required to manage the network. AI can help in managing the network traffic, as an increasing number of devices connected to a network makes it harder for an operator to monitor the usage, and the algorithm can monitor the network traffic pattern and optimize it, and allocate resources based on the devices’ bandwidth requirements, thus ensuring the efficient use of resources.
AI can also be used to get insights into network behavior, which can be used to identify bottlenecks and anomalies in the network that can cause security issues.
AI can help improve network energy savings by managing energy usage. The algorithm can optimize the transmission power of base stations for the devices based on their proximity. Another application can be the activation of sleep mode to reduce energy consumption when there is less network load on the base station or it is idle.
AI can also be used for precision planning in small-cell deployments. The ever-increasing demand for data is congesting the network in some areas, especially in urban and compact spaces such as stadiums. To solve the problem, small cells are required to be deployed. AI can analyze the data on network traffic and latency, and identify the black spots where small cells can be deployed. It can also help in identifying suitable locations for small-cell deployment so that not many cells are deployed at a site.
Huawei has launched intelligent RAN solutions iFaultCare and iPowerStar. The company claims that its iPowerStar AI-based intelligent RAN solutions can generate power savings of 25% and reduce OPEX by 20 million KWh per year, whereas iFaultCare can improve troubleshooting efficiency by 40%.
One of the major use cases of automation will be network management. The algorithms can monitor the network metrics, such as load factor, traffic and latency, and adjust them to optimize the performance. Another way in which AI can help is by improving network reliability through the prediction of issues that may arise. The algorithm can analyze the network data to identify patterns that may lead to outages, thus allowing time for preventive action.
In 5G, we are going to see an increasing number of connected devices along with an increasing volume of data transmitted across the network. With an increasing number of devices, the potential for cyberattacks also increases, and operators must enhance cybersecurity to prevent a possible attack on the network. Critical use cases such as private networks are more prone to cyberattacks, which can result in revenue losses to the enterprise. AI can come in handy in preventing cyberattacks. It can help identify potential threats, such as malware or phishing attacks, and respond quickly to mitigate the risk. Besides, AI can play a significant role in 5G network security by detecting, analyzing, and responding to security threats in real-time. With the past dataset provided to analyze network behavior, the algorithm can identify patterns and anomalies that may lead to cyberattacks. AI algorithms, for instance, can recognize a potential security breach if a certain device is transmitting an unusually large volume of data. It can then take appropriate steps to prevent any damage.
AI can help in effective MIMO management. The algorithm can analyze the network and adjust the number of MIMO antennas to be used for optimized device performance. AI can also be helpful in beamforming, a technique that allows the transmitter to focus its energy in a specific direction to improve network coverage and capacity. The algorithm can identify from where the demand is coming and ensure that sufficient bandwidth is provided to the device. By effective use of beamforming, operators can provide high-speed, low-latency services to different devices and applications.
Network slicing is one of the most discussed topics in the industry. It is being touted as one of the important use cases for 5G networks. Network slicing is a technique that allows operators to create multiple virtual networks on top of a shared physical infrastructure. Each virtual network can be designed to meet the specific requirements of a particular use case, such as high-speed data transfer and low latency. AI can be of immense help in network slicing, as it can automate most of the prerequisite tasks, such as:
Preparing the network: The algorithm can use past data to predict the demand that might come from the user.
Resource reservation: The algorithm, after predicting the demand, can slice the network and reserve it for the task which the network might be getting.
Resource allocation: Once the requirements come from the user, the reserved resource can be allocated to the user.
Networks are becoming complex and AI/ML-based solutions are being used to reduce the complexity and make the network more intelligent. Introduced with Release 15, and with subsequent enhancements in Releases 16 and 17, AI/ML is being used for different use cases, such as network energy savings, network load balancing and mobility optimization.
Release 18 will be looking to incorporate more enhancements for automating the network and predicting the network behavior to make it efficient. Different areas are being looked into to study the potential of AI/ML for different elements of air interface, such as beam management, mobility, and position accuracy.
Drawbacks of AI/ML
Although AI offers lots of benefits in effectively managing the network and automating most of the tasks, it also has some deficiencies. One of the biggest problems faced in writing an effective algorithm is getting a large amount of reliable and relevant training data. Bigger players have access to large amounts of data and resources to train their models, whereas smaller players lack them and have to rely on other players to get the algorithms, which might not be relevant for their use cases. A lack of appropriate training data can make the model less reliable and relevant, and it might produce undesired outcomes.
Some of the challenges which an AI algorithm can face are:
Complexity: Implementing AI technology in 5G is a complex task and it requires significant investments in resources. Besides, the AI algorithm needs to be effectively trained and tested before being deployed, to ensure that it provides the desired outcome.
Bias: AI algorithms are trained on the data they get. If the data on which they are trained is biased or skewed towards one side, then it can generate biased results and could lead to the wrong label of false positives or false negatives.
Privacy: Privacy has become one of the most important issues today for AI algorithms, as the algorithm needs data to be trained upon, but some of the data might contain sensitive information. Privacy laws must be in place to ensure that sensitive information is not used for inappropriate purposes.
The Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2023 kicked off in Barcelona, Spain. Some of the biggest names in the tech industry will be showcasing their new launches and innovations during the four-day event. Counterpoint Research analysts are on the ground covering all the major announcements, so stay tuned! Ahead of the show, major tech companies like Xiaomi, Nokia HMD and Motorola made some announcements. Here is our quick analysis and summary of the same:
Xiaomi 13 Series, Watch S2 Pro, Buds 4 Pro, and Electric Scooter 4 Ultra
Xiaomi took the stage to announce three new smartphones, a smartwatch, a TWS and an electric scooter. The Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro smartphones were the stars of the show, featuring a Leica co-engineered camera system, which converges both the hardware and software tuning for a professional photography experience. Both smartphones are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, which brings performance and efficiency gains, among other features.
The more premium among the two, the Xiaomi 13 Pro, comes with a Sony IMX989 50MP primary 1-inch camera sensor, a 50MP floating telephoto lens, and a 50MP ultrawide camera as well. Both the regular 13 and 13 Pro smartphones feature the Leica Vivid and Authentic modes, along with a bunch of filters, which enables the Leica camera experience on smartphones. The 75mm equivalent telephoto lens on the Xiaomi 13 Pro also offers professional-style portrait effects.
Apart from still photography, Xiaomi has also strongly focused on the videography aspect of its smartphones. The two new devices can capture crisp 8K 24fps videos and 4K night videos, and a 10-bit Log mode. They also feature Dolby Vision video recording, similar to what Apple iPhones offer. The Xiaomi 13 offers 67W fast wired charging and 50W wireless charging. Meanwhile, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is powered with 120W fast wired charging, which can charge the phone’s battery to full capacity in just about 19 minutes.
WATCH: Xiaomi 13 Pro First Impressions
Xiaomi unveiled a third smartphone during the event called the 13 Lite which boasts dual front cameras with a 32MP sensor and an 8MP depth sensor. The smartphone’s features include dynamic framing to keep everyone in the frame in focus, and dual LEDs to help capture better selfies in low-light settings. The 13 Lite also has a vlog mode for content creators to record and edit on the go. The smartphone is powered by a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 SoC.
Xiaomi also announced the Watch S1 Pro smartwatch with a 1.47-inch AMOLED display, advanced health tracking, over 100 fitness modes and more. The smartwatch has built-in GPS, wireless charging and includes Bluetooth phone calling as well. On the other hand, the Xiaomi Buds 4 Pro TWS headphones come with 11mm drivers, Hi-res audio support, six ANC modes and three transparency modes among other features. It also comes with multi-device connectivity, which allows it to connect with two devices at a time.
Xiaomi’s final announcement was the Electric Scooter 4 Ultra with an enhanced 70 kms range, IP55 water resistance, dual suspensions and more. In terms of pricing, the Xiaomi 13 Lite will be available for €499, the 13 starts at €999 and the 13 Pro starts at €1,299. Although the pricing is a little steep, almost close to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, the Leica brand value and camera innovation should help justify the price tag. The Watch S1 Pro starts at €299, the Buds 4 Pro will be available for €249 and the Electric Scooter 4 Ultra has a €999 price tag.
Nokia G22: A durable and sustainable smartphone
Nokia HMD, which usually positions its smartphones around durability and longevity, announced a global partnership with iFixit to focus on the repairability of devices, particularly the Nokia G22. This fits nicely with Nokia HMD’s efforts toward sustainability. All of Nokia’s new devices – G22, C22 and C32 – focus on improved imaging, durability and at the same time improved CMF (Color, Material and Finish).
Additionally, Nokia HMD has announced that these devices will be locally manufactured, making Nokia HMD one of the very few device OEMs looking to localize their European smartphone manufacturing. However, it will be easier said than done and Nokia will likely start with assembly initially. The new C and G Series are likely to help Nokia HMD gain share in some of the Western and Central Eastern European markets where the entry-tier segment has been hurt due to muted upgrades in the previous years.
Nokia has packed some firsts in the C Series. The C32 has the highest image quality in the C Series yet while the C22 promises a better build quality than its competitors. The G Series has solid specs as well, though Nokia HMD might need to pivot from the existing notch design as soon as possible while competing with pricing with its Chinese rivals like realme and Xiaomi in similar price segments.
Nokia unveils new logo and identity
Nokia has announced a major strategy shift that will see the company move into a new stage of its three-phase strategy announced in 2021, which was aimed at delivering sustainable and profitable growth. Nokia has announced that it is now moving away from the reset phase and working towards focusing on six key pillars of growth that aim to boost the company’s market share and consolidate its leadership in key business areas. They will also leverage Nokia’s brand for more product categories and launch new service-based business models.
We have already seen some of this strategy at work. During MWC 2022, Nokia launched software-as-a-service for CSPs and enterprises while also launching Network-as-a-service and iSIM secure connect as a SaaS. Nokia’s smartphone licensee, Nokia HMD has been talking about sustainability at the centre of their vision for some time now.
Lastly, Nokia also refreshed its visual identity to mark its shift in strategy by changing its iconic (and almost nostalgic) logo. Nostalgia could be one reason behind this decision because most consumers still remember the company for its early smartphone leadership, a perception which according to the company has been holding the brand back as it seeks to grow in the enterprise market and outpace competitors.
(Written with inputs from Tarun Pathak, Ankit Malhotra)
This is a developing post…
5G in Russia is looking like a distant dream, as major network vendors Ericsson and Nokia have decided to suspend their operations in Russia, while Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE are grappling with US sanctions.
To compound matters, Russia’s 4G network is yet to reach full penetration levels, and Nokia and Ericsson’s exit might impact its expansion and upgrade. Although 5G is available in a few parts of Moscow and St Petersburg on the MTS network using Huawei equipment, the sanctions on the supply of semiconductors to Russia might hamper further imports of 5G equipment from Huawei and ZTE.
Telecom operators’ problems
Russia’s major telecom operators MTS, MegaFon, Beeline and Tele2 are facing the challenge of maintaining their network equipment as they are mainly dependent on Nokia and Ericsson for such requirements. Although MTS is also using Huawei’s equipment for providing 5G services in some parts of Moscow and St Petersburg, that too looks in limbo.
Russia Mobile Subscribers by MNOs, 2017-2021
Sources: Company reports, Counterpoint Research
Huawei and ZTE might face difficulty in providing network equipment to Russian telecom operators, as they are heavily reliant on TSMC, Intel and Samsung on semiconductors, and wouldn’t want to be falling foul of US sanctions.
It might be a costly affair to replace the existing equipment with the new ones for providing 5G services, and telcos might look at focusing on improving their 4G coverage. Also, the Russian government is yet to auction the 5G spectrum. Deliberations are still on to decide the spectrum to be used for 5G services.
To overcome problems associated with 5G spectrum allocation, the telcos have formed a joint venture, New Digital Solutions, to test electromagnetic compatibility, conduct research on frequencies suitable for 5G services and implement measures to free up radio frequencies for 5G services.
With major global service providers suspending their operations in the country, the Russian consumer is facing an increase in costs as telcos are increasing their tariffs to be able to maintain equipment and avoid frequent network disruptions.
Another issue that Russian consumers are facing is that they are not being able to purchase 5G smartphones from some of their favorite brands. While Apple, Samsung and some other brands have suspended their supplies to Russia, the sales of Chinese smartphone players are increasing.
Russia might have to wait to get 5G services, as the government hasn’t finalized the spectrum band for the auction, although the ministry concerned is moving towards mmWave in the 24.25GHz-27.5GHz band from existing radio relay stations and 4GHz. The plan is expected to be finalized not before 2023.
In the absence of Nokia and Ericsson, the telcos have to depend on Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE for most of their 5G equipment, but the situation here also looks uncertain for the time being. Chinese vendors are already reeling under the pressure of US sanctions and would be careful not to fall foul of the sanctions.
This year’s edition of Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA), Europe’s biggest consumer electronics show, showcased some interesting product announcements and trends that will set new standards across the consumer electronics ecosystem. New product technologies on display at the show held in Berlin from September 2 to 6 included bigger screen size OLED and Mini LED TVs, bigger and better soundbars, foldable laptops and bendable TVs, digital charging cases, and smartwatches with more features, among others.
The chief focus of the show this year revolved around major consumer electronics segments like smartphones, smart TVs, TWS, tablets, home appliances and smartwatches. Big players such as LG, Sony, Lenovo, Huawei, Asus, Jabra, Fitbit and TCL launched new and amazing products at the event to enhance user experiences. We give below the major CIoT announcements at IFA 2022:
Foldable laptops by Asus and Lenovo
Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED
Asus launched the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED, a foldable laptop that has a 17” screen when expanded and a 12.5” screen when folded.
The device comes with an Asus ErgoSense Bluetooth keyboard and touchpad to make it easy to work with.
Once the magnetic keyboard is on screen, you can use it as a regular laptop. When expanded, it can have an expanded tablet.
The devices are equipped with a 1080p OLED display, 12th generation Intel Core i7 processors, Harman Kardon-certified quad speakers with Dolby Atmos support, Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, and two Thunderbolt 4 ports.
Priced at $3,499, the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold is an expensive laptop.
The laptop will be beneficial for people who travel a lot and need a large screen, or those who work in creative fields. The device can also be used for entertainment, as it supports both Dolby Atmos and Vision.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 2022
Lenovo launched the 2022 version of its ThinkPad X1 Fold (review), an upgrade from the 2020 version. The latest version has smaller bezels, a 16.3” screen when unfolded and a 12” screen when folded.
The folding laptop comes with a 1080p OLED display and has Windows 11 OS.
The device comes with a detachable keyboard, which when attached turns the device into a 12” laptop.
The laptop is equipped with 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processors, with up to 1TB of storage and up to 32GB of RAM.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is priced at $2,499 for the base variant and $2,999 with a keyboard and a pen.
New smartwatches, smart bands and smart glasses from leading brands
Garmin Venu Sq2 and Venu Sq2 Music
Garmin launched two new smartwatches — Venu Sq2 and Venu Sq2 Music edition.
Both the smartwatches come with a 1.41” AMOLED screen, Gorilla Glass 3 protection, 5ATM water resistance and support for both Android and iOS.
They also support contactless payments through Garmin Pay and have smart notifications for text, email and other alerts.
Both have the Health Snapshot feature which lets users have a two-minute session and record health metrics such as heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygen level, respiration, and stress.
The Venu Sq2 is priced at $249.99, whereas the Venu Sq2 Music is priced at $299.99.
The Venu Sq2 Music offers built-in storage for offline music playback from streaming services. It can store up to 500 songs.
Both smartwatches are compact and lightweight. They are among the best in terms of features and come in a low price range.
Huawei Watch D
Huawei launched the Watch D, already launched for the Chinese market earlier this year.
The watch comes with IP68 certification, AMOLED display and over 70 sports modes with a battery life of around seven days.
The Watch D has advanced health monitoring features, such as blood pressure, ECG, skin temperature and blood oxygen tracking.
The Watch D will be priced at €449 in Europe.
The Watch D is more expensive than its competitors, but with additional health features, it could stand out.
Fitbit Inspire 3, Versa 4 and Sense 2
The Fitbit Versa 4 is a smartwatch thinner and lighter than the Versa 3. It also has a tactile button, making it easier to operate. The Versa 4 will have a revamped Fitbit OS with Google Wallet, and Google Maps with turn-by-turn directions. The watch has 40 sports modes, and Sleep Profile to analyze sleep.
The Fitbit Sense 2 is a lighter and thinner version of the Sense series. It has continuous EDA (cEDA), which measures skin perspiration response and signs of stress, and is used in conjunction with the Heart Rate Sensor.
The Inspire 3 smart band is Fitbit’s entry-level and lowest-cost device. It has a color display, blood oxygen monitor and Fitbit features such as Active Zone Minutes and sleep tracking, and supports 10 days of battery life.
It has an improved display and newer features. The mechanical button offers improved functionality. The Inspire 3 will offer more choices to the consumer in the entry-level smart band market.
Amazfit GTR 4, GTS 4 and GTS 4 Mini
Amazfit launched the GTR 4 and GTS 4 smartwatches.
The GTR 4 features a 1.43” AMOLED screen, whereas the GTS 4 has a 1.75” AMOLED screen. Both the watches are 5ATM resistant and feature 150+ sports modes.
Both the smartwatches have a new feature called BioTracker 4.0 optical sensor, which offers improved heart rate tracking, and an upgraded GPS for more accurate route tracking. Besides, they have more than 150 sports modes and can be connected via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Both the GTR 4 and GTS 4 are priced at €199.
Amazfit also launched the GTS 4 Mini, a smaller and cheaper version of the GTS 4. The GTS 4 Mini has a 1.65” AMOLED display, 120+ sports modes, and health and fitness tracking capabilities, such as heart rate and SpO2. The watch is priced at €99.
The GTR 4 and GTS 4 have a dual-band GPS antenna which improves the route tracking capability. Besides, the two have features like fall detection and offline voice assistant that will attract users.
TCL NXTWEAR S
TCL launched the NXTWEAR S smart glasses which offer enhanced comfort and conveniences. The smart glasses have a dual 1080p Micro OLED display, front and correction lenses.
The wheel on the left temple can be used to adjust volume, whereas the one on the right can be used to adjust brightness and 2D/3D mode switch.
The NXTWEAR S will be available from Q4 2022 in selected regions.
Lenovo Glasses T1
Lenovo launched the T1 smart glasses, which let users connect devices like PCs, tablets and smartphones with USB C and watch content on a bigger screen. The glasses have a Micro OLED display, swappable noise clips, adjustable arms, and support prescription lenses.
The glasses have 1920X1080 resolution with a 60Hz refresh rate and are TUV Low Blue Light certified to reduce strain on the eyes. The glasses also have inbuilt speakers.
TWS category saw some interesting launches
Jabra Elite 5
Jabra launched the Elite 5, a mid-range offering and placed between the Elite 3 and Elite 7 Pro.
The Elite 5 features hybrid noise cancellation and is powered by the Qualcomm QCC3050 chipset. It also has an IP55 rating, 6mm drivers and support for Google Assistant and Alexa. Other features include the 6-mic call and wind-noise suppression technologies for a better call experience.
Another interesting feature is Spotify Tap Playback, which allows users to launch Spotify and pick up from where they left off with a single button press.
The Jabra Elite 5 is priced and £149.
JBL Tour PRO 2
JBL launched the Tour PRO 2, a TWS with the world’s first charging case having a touchscreen display.
The case features a 1.45” LED touchscreen to manage music, customize earbuds, receive calls and manage notifications. The TWS features a 10mm driver, ANC and JBL Spatial Sound.
The Tour PRO 2 comes with a 10mm audio driver and is Bluetooth 5.3 compatible. It lasts 10 hours, and 40 hours with the case.
The charging case is the first of its kind in the industry. It lets users control most of the functionalities of the case, instead of touching their smartphones.
The JBP Tour PRO 2 is priced at €249.
Tablets saw new models from leading brands
HONOR Pad 8
HONOR launched the Pad 8. It has a 12” 2K display and runs on Android 12.
The tablet is powered by the Snapdragon 680 4G, 7250mAh battery and a Type-C port.
The device makes it possible to operate phone and tablet on the same screen. The smart multi-view feature allows up to four windows at the same time.
Huawei MatePad Pro 11
Huawei launched its newest tablet, the MatePad Pro 11. The tablet has an 11” OLED display with120Hz refresh rate and 2560×1600 resolution. It also features Huawei Pencil, Huawei Notes and multitasking.
The tablet has six speakers and four mics, a dual rear camera with a 13MP main camera and an 8MP wide-angle camera, and a 16MP front camera.
The MatePad Pro 11 will run on HarmonyOS 3, with a configuration of 8GB RAM and 128GB storage.
The tablet is priced at €649. Early-bird offers include free Huawei M-Pencil Elegant Edition and a folio cover.
Nokia launched its newest tablet, the Nokia T21, at IFA 2022. The tablet has a 10.4” 2K display with a 60Hz refresh rate. It has 128GB of internal storage which can be expanded to 512GB. The rear and front cameras are 8MP.
The tablet comes with two years of Android updates and three years of security updates.
The Nokia T21 is a compact size tab that will attract those looking for a smaller-screen device.
Lenovo Tab P11 (2nd Gen) and P11 Pro (2nd Gen)
Lenovo launched two new tabs at IFA 2022 — P11 (2nd Gen) and P11 Pro (2nd Gen).
The P11 Pro (2nd Gen) is an 11.2” OLED display tab with 120Hz refresh rate and Dolby Vision support. The P11 Pro comes with a detachable keyboard with a built-in trackpad, and an optional Lenovo Precision Pen 3. The tab has quad JBL speakers and Dolby Atmos.
The P11 (2nd Gen) is an 11.5” 2K display tab with a 120Hz refresh rate. The tab has quad speakers with Dolby Atmos. Along with the tab are available optional Lenovo Precision Pen 3 and keyboard pack.
The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro (2nd Gen) is priced at €499, whereas the Lenovo Tab P11 (2nd Gen) is priced at €299.
Smart TVs saw bigger OLED/Mini-LED displays and bendable TVs
LG OLED Flex and LG OLED evo Gallery Edition 97”
LG launched the OLED Flex, a 42” OLED TV and the world’s first bendable OLED display, which can be bent from a flat to a curved screen using a button on the remote.
LG is targeting the gaming segment with this TV, as curved screens are more suitable for gaming. The TV has a host of features for gamers, such as Dolby Vision support, 4K resolution with 120Hz refresh rate, variable refresh rate, and ultra-low latency mode.
LG also launched the world’s first OLED TV with a 97” display. The TV will be a part of its C2 series.
TCL Mini LED TVs
TCL launched the EISA Premium-awarded Mini LED TV C835 series, a 4K Mini LED TV with Dolby Atmos for an immersive sound experience, and the EISA Best Buy-awarded QLED TV C735 series with 144Hz refresh rate for a better viewing experience.
TCL also launched the C935 series, a premium Mini LED series with 1,920 local dimming zones and 2.1.2 channel up-firing speakers.
The company also launched the world’s largest Mini LED TV at 98”.
The new offerings from TCL will help it to increase its share in the Mini LED segment and offer more choices to consumers.
Toshiba QA5D, UF3D and UK4D
Toshiba launched QLED TV sets and TVs with Fire TV at IFA 2022.
The QA5D series is Toshiba’s first QLED TV series, offering better picture quality. The TVs have Toshiba’s TRU Picture Engine technologies, which offer enhanced picture quality. The TVs also have Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision and run on Android.
The UF3D series is Toshiba’s first with Fire TV in the UK and is ideal for someone who prefers Alexa. The series also has Toshiba’s TRU Picture Engine, Dolby Vision and Atmos.
The UK4D series is powered by Toshiba’s own operating system, and also comes with Alexa. The series has frameless models. It also supports Toshiba’s TRU Picture Engine and Dolby Atmos and Vision.
Toshiba also announced that models launched in 2019 would have the TikTok TV app, giving more entertainment choices to the consumers.
Other notable product launches
Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Chromebook: Lenovo also launched the IdeaPad 5i Chromebook, a 16” Chromebook with 2.5K resolution and 120Hz refresh rate, giving a smooth scrolling and video-viewing experience to the user.
TECNO Megabook T1: TECNO launched its first laptop at IFA 2022, the Megabook T1. It is an ultra-thin laptop that is 14.8 mm thick with a 15.6” display and weighs 1.48 kg. The entire body is made of aluminum and has a fingerprint sensor over the power button. The device has a 70wh battery supporting up to 17.5 hours, and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.
LG launched the MoodUP refrigerator with color-changing LED door panels. With the LG ThinQ app, users can choose from 22 colors for the upper door panel and 19 colors for the lower door panel. The refrigerator also has a Bluetooth speaker.
B&O launched the Beosound Theatre soundbar. It has 12 drivers and 800W of power and supports 7.1.4 Channel Dolby Atmos. The Beosound Theatre has a new three-dimensional sound directivity, which is a combination of direct, side- and up-firing speakers. Besides, the soundbar can be wall-mounted or floor-standing.
JBL launched the Bar 1000, a 7.1.4 Channel Dolby Atmos-supported soundbar and wireless subwoofer. The Bar 1000 has two battery-powered detachable speakers which work in concert with four upward-firing speakers attached to the sound system.
Sennheiser unveiled the AMBEO Soundbar Plus, a compact and affordable version of the AMBEO Soundbar Max. It is a 7.1.4 Channel system, has nine drivers, with two upward-firing ones, and supports Dolby Atmos.
The focus of the tech companies was on improving customer experience. The new products offer various new features, such as bendable and foldable displays in TVs and laptops, enhanced health trackers in smartwatches, expanding choices in tablets and Chromebook, and a better audio experience with new soundbars. Home appliances are becoming more connected, and visually appealing to soothe the people and the environment.
In the wearables segment, there has been an increased focus on health-related aspects. The new launches in smartwatches and smart bands at IFA 2022 bring more health-related features. Also, the inclusion of new AI capabilities to measure health more accurately in real-time is likely to provide a boost to this segment.
In order to access
Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited (Company or We hereafter) Web sites, you may be asked to complete a registration form. You are required to provide contact information which is used to enhance the user experience and determine whether you are a paid subscriber or not.
When you register on we ask you for personal information. We use this information to provide you with the best advice and highest-quality service as well as with offers that we think are relevant to you. We may also contact you regarding a Web site problem or other customer service-related issues. We do not sell, share or rent personal information about you collected on Company Web sites.
How to unsubscribe and Termination
You may request to terminate your account or unsubscribe to any email subscriptions or mailing lists at any time.
In accessing and using this Website, User agrees to comply with all applicable laws and agrees not to take any action that would compromise the security or viability of this Website. The Company may terminate User’s access to this Website at any time for any reason. The terms hereunder regarding Accuracy of Information and Third Party Rights shall survive termination.
Website Content and Copyright
– Passwords are for user’s individual use
– Passwords may not be shared with others
– Users may not store documents in shared folders.
– Users may not redistribute documents to non-users unless otherwise stated in their contract terms.
Changes or Updates to the Website
Accuracy of Information:
While the information contained on this Website has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, We disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. User assumes sole responsibility for the use it makes of this Website to achieve his/her intended results.
Third Party Links:
This Website may contain links to other third party websites, which are provided as additional resources for the convenience of Users. We do not endorse, sponsor or accept any responsibility for these third party websites, User agrees to direct any concerns relating to these third party websites to the relevant website administrator.
Cookies and Tracking
We may monitor how you use our Web sites. It is used solely for purposes of enabling us to provide you with a personalized Web site experience.
This data may also be used in the aggregate, to identify appropriate product offerings and subscription plans. Cookies may be set in order to identify you and determine your access privileges. Cookies are simply identifiers. You have the ability to delete cookie files from your hard disk drive.