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The Mobile World Congress isn't just about an infinite number of similar handsets, operators trying to get anyone interested in mobile TV, and platform wars. Lots of companies have something just that little bit different on offer.
CSR — aka Cambridge Silicon Radio — shows off its eGPS technology.
This uses extremely accurate timing information extracted from mobile-phone network base stations to increase the accuracy and speed of GPS locations derived from satellite signals. At the show, they were getting around 10-nanosecond accuracy, or 10 billionths of a second.
eGPS doesn't need any specialist hardware beyond the ordinary GPS and GSM/3G radios; it takes between 20 and 100 MIPS of processor power, depending on what it's doing.
One of the best bits of the Mobile World Congress is finding small companies doing smart things. Funambol writes open-source software that provides push email, data synchronisation, software deployment and so on — and because it's open source, its user community is constantly adding new phones to its supported roster.
Right now, the company claims that it supports half the phones in the world, and that companies like CA and HP are using the software for enterprise deployment. Its latest idea is ad-supported push email, where a one-line advert appears in your email list: Funambol says this could make push email services free for consumers and profitable for operators.