dab digital radio mobile radio technology

nanoDAB – DAB, Bluetooth and Mobile

GSMWorld 2008

Tucked away on TTP’s little stand (1B39) was something remarkable, and genuinely revolutionary. This is “nanoDAB“.

Well, actually, it’s not nanoDAB. It’s a Lobster phone, ex of BT Movio fame. (Remember them – Mobile TV – yes? no? oh well, suit yourself). TTP designed the guts of the BT Movio device, which most owners (all five thousand or so of them) will tell you was a dreadful mobile phone with a rather marvellous DAB Digital Radio in it. It was sensitive, it was functional, and it had a very nifty little EPG.

When Movio closed down, it seemed a shame to lose the phones. So it’s great news that TTP have extracted the goodness, and squeezed it down into a great DAB radio accessory which can hook into any device via Bluetooth. Neat.

At first glance, it’s great because now you can have DAB Digital Radio on any mobile phone, and you get a free handsfree too. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Whatever. It’s a great opportunity. (Unless you have an iPhone, of course, which has a crippled Bluetooth interface. Can’t imagine why that might be).

But here’s the very special sauce of the nanoDAB.

Why are all DAB Digital Radios square wooden boxes? Because radio manufacturers understand square wooden boxes, and colour displays, embedded browsers and memory over 2Mbytes scares the living daylights out of them. So much DAB functionality is unused because of boring radios, from manufacturers who assume that consumers are boring and unable to deal with change.

But a mobile phone. Well, it’s a nirvana. Handheld, colour screen, embedded browser, pots of storage, performance microprocessors, and a real, genuine, programmable operating system. Now the nanoDAB allows DAB data services to bridge into the mobile phone, and finally you can see what DAB is to radio – it’s mobile, wireless, broadband at a fraction of the cost of 3G/UMTS/WiFi or WiMax, and it’s ours… all ours. We control the spectum, and we get it for free.

TTP were demonstrating DLS text, Slideshow, EPG and downloading audio and video files for on-demand playback, and doing so on a Nokia, a Sony Ericsson and a Motorola phone. Just pair the device, it installs the relevant Java app, and off you go.

Go find out about nanoDAB. It will be worth it. Pass the details around to colleagues who don’t get DAB because all they see is wooden box radios.

nanoDAB is the future of DAB. Good work on TTP for salvaging something genuinely useful from the wreckage of BT Movio. Let’s hope they keep the APIs nice and open so that people can freely develop exciting applications for it. (And apologies to them for adding an enhanced profile to Slideshow about two weeks before they launched it. But that’s innovation).

(P.S. I didn’t actually see the nanoDAB device. It was kept hidden around the back for cryptic reasons to do with branding).

(P.P.S.The eagle eyed will spot the juxtaposition of “Planet Rock” with Slideshow content from KISS 100 in London. Apparently, that was an in-joke).

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