Last year at the NAB Show, iPhone applications were all over the place. Tieline uses the iPhone platform for an application known as Report-IT. The iPhone has the computing power to run what is essentially an audio streaming application that allows it to connect to a studio site decoder (such as the Bridge or Commander series) for live broadcasts at high fidelity. Comrex offers a similar product, the ARC, designed for use with smartphones based on the Android operating system.
But the current speed limitations of 3G data networks mean these are not all that reliable yet, outside of WiFi zones. In that case, reporters can use their smartphone as an audio recorder and send audio clips back to a station file server using the ftp protocol. The recording can be done simultaneously with a live feed and sent afterwards so that editors have available the higher-fidelity version of the feed if needed. Instead of having to carry a netbook, a recording device and a cell phone it is now possible to do the same work with only a smartphone.
Just recently NPR announced that it has been using 4G telephone networks for field reporting. In early April, Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota was the first person to appear live via Verizon LTE and the Comrex Access 2USB. This was a 24-minute live segment that aired on national program Talk of the Nation. According to Charlie Mayer, NPR’s director of operations, they have been getting upload speeds between 2 and 5 Mbps using a USB connected modem stick — plenty of bandwidth for live, reliable and high quality audio. Advanced telephone networks are in their infancy but the prospect of combining high data speeds with a handheld device looks very promising.
For news stations these new technologies open up the ability to cover more places with greater quality. Smartphones have grown up and are now more than just a toy. For many, the iPhone or Android is the new recorder kit, and it offers greater flexibility than anything we’ve seen before. It promises to change the way we do news.
Mobile application platforms play an important role in enabling the use of Web 2.0 applications on mobile phones without compromising on the experience that users have on PCs.
According to analyst firm Gartner, the number of smart phones across the world will grow from 297 million units in 2010 to 792 million units by 2013. Gartner also forecasts that smart phones will comprise 38 percent of total mobile devises available in the market by 2013 (Source: Mobile Devices, Worldwide, 2008-2015, 1Q11 Update, Gartner Research, March 2011).
The growing popularity of smartphones and multimedia devices can be attributed to the versatility promised by these devices. Several enterprise smartphones and consumer multimedia feature phones have recently been launched, and mobile service companies are offering services built around them to their clients. Adding to it, the ease in usage and security features, continue to help make smartphones the best choice as next-generation communication devices, for both the consumers and business enterprises.
Among other technical components, semiconductor companies support mobile technologies with processors that help add many versatile applications into mobile devices. For instance, the OMAP processors from Texas Instruments (TI) enable OEMs to include future generation applications and processing power to cater to a wide range of devices that span beyond communications? From computing and multi-display capabilities to always-on Web browsing and more with higher degrees of performance at lower power levels, TI? OMAP 4 processors, for example, enable mobile device manufacturers to address applications needed for feature-rich handsets, while also providing head room and programmability to support applications that are yet to be imagined.