Techwatch: More advances in 3G services [pg. 17]

Two years after launching 3G cellular technology in Israel, Partner Communications, which operates the Orange cellular network, said it has 219,000 subscribers to the service. The company this week launched a new notification service enabling Orange customers to receive real-time updates on their mobile phones of articles from leading news Web sites, new blog postings and other programs according to the personal settings of the user. The user can also set the time when they wish to receive the update. Partner said the updates were being processed through the Internet via a protocol called "Really Simple Syndication" currently distributed on Web 2.0 Web sites. Meanwhile, Pelephone launched a new music offering on its 3G services making live concerts of leading artists available on its television portal. The company has embarked on a $700,000 advertising campaign to market the service, which includes shows by the likes of Beyonce, Bon Jovi and Robbie Williams. That isn't to say Pelephone is shying away from its sports focus. Following its 3G content programming during this year's World Cup soccer tournament, the company launched a campaign aimed at raising morale ahead of next week's European Championship qualifier against Croatia. Pelephone said Israel's home games in the campaign would be broadcast live on "Pelephone Sport." Strengthening the prospects for the local 3G market, research company Gartner said it expects worldwide sales of camera phones to account for 48 percent of total worldwide mobile phone sales in 2006, and that this would grow to 81% by 2010. Global camera phone sales have almost tripled since 2004 and will reach 460 million in 2006, an increase of 43% from 2005, according to Gartner, which expects that the trend will continue, leading to sales of one billion camera phones by 2010. Gartner projected the biggest growth market over the next four years would be the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions increasing 39% and 37%, respectively. With 7.3 million units sold in the Middle East last year, Gartner expects the region to close 2006 with sales of around 14 million and to grow 24% to 34 million units by 2010. Western Europe is currently the largest market for camera phones with sales forecasts of 122 million phones for this year, followed by North America with 107 million units. Breaking from its focus of providing content for cellular phones, Jerusalem Capital Studios has expanded its programming to the Internet and will produce three programs for local news Web site YNET, the company said. The line up includes a trivia program, consumer magazine program and a children's talent search competition, which are in production at JCS production facilities and are expected to take to the air at the start of 2007. JCS said the programming would be formatted for the Internet in three to four minute segments so that a television-like quality could be ensured. Internet provider Bezeq International won a tender to provide for the integration of all Steimatzky book outlets on a VPRN network including the transmission of services. The project will see Bezeq International provide all 120 Steimatzky stores with high-speed Internet and connect them all to the central Steimatzky site. The solution will give them access to maintenance support in the event of a systems breakdown and transfer all information and transactions through the network. Cisco Israel said it is upgrading the IP (Internet Protocol) network at some 350 Bank Hapoalim branches across the country. The contract is valued at $3 million, Cisco said and forecast that it would further expand the project in the coming years to equip the bank with IP phones. The network will allow Bank Hapoalim to provide customers with a variety of information services using multimedia. Security technology company McAfee and m-systems, a developer of smart storage devices said they have reached a milestone of having shipped one-million msystems U3 smart drive bundled with U3 Anti-Virus Powered by McAfee.