More on PTT / LG to Make QChat Phones
Mike and I differ only slightly on our takes of PTT. We both believe it to be an interesting application that will grow in usage, but we disagree on the eventual price. Clearly, different prices will be charged based on the different latencies of the PTT service. Fast connections will cost a premium. But PTT has a few surprises in store: PTT truly starts to become interesting when all the apps inside the phone come out of their silos (photos, ringtones, games, content, SMS, MMS) and the “Push-to” interface becomes the main tool for connecting users. Call it PTx. With PTx, a user triggers the PTx button, and a buddy list pops onto the screen. You can see which buddies are present (like IM) and choose them, trigger the button again and you are presented with a list of options for that buddy, based on their state of presence, the capabilities of their phone, and the interoperability with their network (ex: call, PTT, send image, send email, IM to their desktop…whatever), when you choose an option and hit the PTx button again, you get the kind of connection chosen, or a contextual menu (ex: enter email address, choose picture to send, etc.) This is actually many fewer keystrokes than we currently must make to do these kinds of actions. Furthermore, if the PTx button were pushed during an existing phone session, like a photo display session, then the menu that pops up would default to a “send this picture” prompt with the ability to choose from a list of buddies. If this all sounds far fetched, it isn’t. PTT, in most cases, is a VoIP session, which means it is an IP session set up by the SIP standard protocols. No reason why the IP session cannot handle any kind of IP traffic just as easily as voice. That’s one of the reasons the GSM community’s PTT standard is called PoC – notice that the limiting terms “to talk” are not part of Push-over-Cellular.
In other PTT news, Qualcomm says LG will make Push-To-Talk phones using the BREWChat solution from Qualcomm. I had the privilege of talking to Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm in Atlanta, and he explained that BREWChat is the 2.5G version of QChat. QChat is a 3G PTT technology co-developed by Nextel, Motorola, and Qualcomm. Why would Nextel and Motorola cooperate with Qualcomm on PTT when iDEN already handles it with such aplomb? Well, iDEN has no 3G evolution, so when Nextel hits a wall with respect to squeezing more capacity out of 2.5G iDEN, they will need to overlay a 3G technology and migrate customers to it, and they seem to be leaning towards CDMA2000, not W-CDMA. If Nextel goes to a EV-DV network, they need to be sure that their low-latency PTT service can make the leap, too, so they worked with Qualcomm on QChat. Hence, QChat is said to be as fast as iDEN PTT. But don’t expect to see QChat in the US anytime soon: part of the development deal assures that only Nextel has the rights to QChat in the US, while Qualcomm will market it in foreign CDMA markets.