20050316

Bluephone : a 2,005 pound gorilla or a GNOME ?

One year behind schedule, BT's Bluephone Project may give birth to the piggyback phone : your handset sniffs some open network and connects to it wirelessly. It's a phone, and it's "blue" because it sounds like some short range techno which happened to be all the rage a couple of years ago.

As usual, there are glitches with the branding : BT was good at "creating" the i-mode brand, but other people took the bluephone domain names long before the Project was even initiated. They need to hurry if they plan to launch such byproducts as the "steal a ringtone / ringtune" concept (Bluebell ?) or the "sniff & snatch some snuff / adult content" concept (Blueballs ?).

You can already perform such calls (i.e. with a Skype + laptop + wifi combo) and wifi handsets are on their way but this is about providing a better customer experience and making things happen. From the team that definitely knows how to bring people closer to each other to produce hot air : the Fixed-Mobile Convergence Alliance (FMCA - BT, Brasil Telecom, Korea Telecom, NTT Com, Rogers Wireless, Swisscom) and the Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA - Alcatel, AT&T Wireless, BT, Cingular, Ericsson, Kineto Wireless, Motorola, Nokia, Nortel Networks, , Rogers Wireless, Siemens, Sony Ericsson, T-Mobile US)... early Wi-Fi birds, mobile players eager not to miss the next big thing plus the usual niche start-up waiting to be purchased by any of the former). Yet these empty shells may turn into something interesting - see how the NFC Forum came alive !

Right now, Bluephone is so small it's called a gnome. According to Sourceforge, "BluePhone is a GNOME applet to allow you to remotely administer a bluetooth-enabled mobile phone from your desktop and also to control your desktop from your mobile phone". MNOs and ISPs are gonna hold each other so tight the adult version could come to life ahead of schedule... Especially if you are both a MNO and an ISP. Expect some move by France Telecom (Wanadoo - Orange).



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